Like your grandma after that third box of Franzia, city council is shutting down for Christmas week. Four of the five commissioners are out of town, and Dan Saltzman can't quite make up a quorum by himself.
So guess what, long-suffering readers—I'm treating (?) you to a clip show of sorts. As I rifled through the archive of Hall Monitor columns in an attempt to justify my paycheck, I realized two things: (1) I'm a brilliant and clever writer, whose worst scribblings are still pure genius, and (2) this has been an awesome year for city politics. Here are my favorite moments:
April—My first column! Boy, was that exciting. Like delivering a gold-plated baby covered in diamonds. First up! Linda Schumacher, of Schumacher Fur, utters the words "effing whore" in council chambers. A first? Only Vera Katz knows for sure... Sam Adams makes an impromptu speech in honor of Oregon's immigrants, and spends the next two weeks under a flood of phone calls from bigots, one of whom calls the commissioner a "queer, spic-loving bastard," reiterating the point by ending the call with "you rotten, spic-loving queer!"
June—Mayor Tom Potter learns that an FBI agent is trying to infiltrate city hall—although it turns out the agent may have just been trying to infiltrate a female city staffer's pants... Disgraced former city council candidate Emilie Boyles gets her ass handed to her by an administrative judge, who upholds more than $150,000 in fines against her for royally violating the city's trust... Randy Leonard's plans for a biodeisel mandate call up oil industry lobbyists from the sixth layer of hell. Leonard responds to their claims by saying, "Are you kidding me?"
July—Robert Hill makes city hall history by screaming at city council at the top of his lungs—from all the way up in the balcony. Potter wakes up long enough to shout him down. This ushers in a new era of fake paranoia in the building.
August—In a very slow news week, Potter spits a watermelon seed 37 feet, 6.5 inches. In your face, Hermiston Mayor Bob Severson!... I write about an injured circus elephant coming to town and get inundated with irritating emails from PETA groupies, leading to a new Mercury rule: "Never write about elephants."
November—Saltzman unveils a laundry list of conducts he wants to ban from city parks, hysterically including "ejaculation" in the list. We spend the next two months giving him shit for it.
Sweet Baby Jesus, that was an awesome year! See you in the '07.