Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, you catch a "cold," and you have to call in sick—regardless of how dedicated to your job you are. Even if you're a local elected official.
Wednesday, September 20, City Commissioner Sam Adams took a sick day following a long weekend in San Francisco. Proving that Adams' job is a lot like yours and mine when it comes to dealing with coworkers' bullshit, some of his colleagues took the chance to get in a few jabs to his ribs in absentia.
"I think he's got the Irish Flu," said one of Adams' fellow commissioners, referring to a somewhat politically insensitive term for being hung over. (See, the Irish drink a lot—every one of them—so they're constantly hung over. Here's how you can use it in a sentence: "Millions of Irish peasants died during the potato famine because all of the farmers caught the Irish Flu and couldn't show up to work.")
One of his staffers though, was slightly less veiled about the cause of Adams' absence. "I think when he was in San Francisco, he kissed a boy and caught something," the staffer said.
In all seriousness, the sick day threw a small wrench into council business. Mayor Tom Potter was already out on vacation, which left only three commissioners on the bench—that's short of the quorum needed for much council work, so it was a lackluster session. Aside from the appearance of a giant ear of corn. I won't explain it—see portlandmercury.com/podcasts. For the record, I had very little to do with this.
Speaking of corn! Two weeks ago, the Mercury broke the news that Commissioner Dan Saltzman is prepared to sign a ban on smoking in Pioneer Courthouse Square—that led to a deluge of attention from the public, which Saltzman's office says has been mostly supportive. Interestingly, the news came out on the same day that the Piedmont Neighborhood Association shot down Saltzman's idea to rename Portland Boulevard in honor of the late Rosa Parks—sending the commissioner back to the drawing board.
What would normally be a pretty demoralizing piece of news for Saltzman (who loses a bid to name a street after a civil-rights leader?) became non-news, buried under all the smoking-ban headlines. Ta-da!
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