The Ruiz Questions, Part Three: "I've Nothing To Hide."

Comments

1
"made clear at interview that their preference was to work 40 hours a week if possible, and that was the fatal flaw"

My goodness, the nerve of that individual! Heaven forbid he/she might have a family that they need to spend time with.
2
Can we, as readers, ask that you, as reporters, follow- up every question to Ruiz and Adams for the remainder of their tenancy at City hall:
"Are you lying?"

Every Time.
3
Did you ask her why she claimed to be the Mercury news editor back in 2005 when Scott Moore held that position until 2007?
4
I tend to believe Amy Ruiz was qualified for this job and there probably wasn't anything intentionally squirrelly going on (i.e. she wasn't trying to kibosh a story and Adams wasn't trying to shut it down).

And we all know the Mercury is transparent about its advocacy, which is not only its charm, but arguably superior to the old model ("objective" on the outside, reinforcing hegemony on the inside). That being the case, it would be hard to separate out opinions and slant that simply come from sharing the same vision as Adams from anything that comes from being in the tank for him.

But that doesn't mean both parties couldn't be guilty subsconsciously. And in journalism (if not politics) the appearance of a conflict is just as bad as a real conflict.

Thing is, once she decided she wanted a city job, it *was* a real conflict, and the minute she actually applied she should have quit the beat, if not the paper. That's not because of the Breedlove story, but *any* story.

So, was it the Merc's decision to keep things as usual? or did she keep her employers in the dark? There's no reason for her to step down from her city job (unless of course the mayor does, then it's moot) but what she did would have gotten her fired from most newspaper jobs.

If nothing else, there could have been transparency. Like, if Matt decided to apply for a job at Sisters of the Road and continued writing about those issues for several months, but said so up front, it'd be like, "ok, cool, that is consistent with how he's covered this stuff all along, and as a reader, I can digest his subsequent coverage knowing he's considering this move." The same might have been said about Amy and politics in general. But pretty hard to justify having her anywhere near this particular story, if in fact she was.

Sure would like to see Scott Moore expand on that "no comment" to the WW too.
5
gaak.
6
For clarification:

Ruiz and Moore both held the title of "news editor" during their shared time at the Merc.

"So, was it the Merc's decision to keep things as usual? or did she keep her employers in the dark?"

Ruiz said this afternoon that she did not officially inform anyone of her application for the job until she had signed up for it. Her application went in on November 3, she took the job on December 22.
7
Sam Adams displayed extremely bad form allowing her application to go forward. Certainly he could have exerted some influence on his staff towards Ruiz; but regardless - its just smells too fishy.

Any as far as her abilities go, you cannot tell me that in a city with such a commitment and focus was not able to do a better search across the country to find the best and the brightest.

I mean really, out of the entire country, she was the best person for a job in planning?
8
Missed the poll, I just follow the feed, but trusting internet polls for anything resembling statistical accuracy is crazy talk. The loud, smack-talking, outraged folks with nothing better to do will always skew the results, even if they have to resort to spoofing their IP address.

Anyhow: @disappointed, a "sustainability advisor" isn't a city planner, Portland is still just a city and not some magical fairy talent attracting land, people who are "best and brightest" in a lot of their fields tend to work in the private sector where the pay is better, and why would you want someone brilliant from, say, Hartford, to advise our mayor on anything except vacation packages to Connecticut?

But, then, here I am actually responding to people who are inventing conspiracy theories on the internet...
9
Just shows the BAD judgement of Scam Adams. Amy Ruiz is NOT, I repeat NOT qualified for her position at all. Adams needs to resign NOW, and Amy needs to resign now or be fired!

RESIGN NOW SCAM ADAMS or FACE RECALL IN JUNE!
10
That's a compelling argument, and all of the irrefutable facts and stuff combined with the total lack of name-calling have completely convinced me!

Or... wait, are you being ironic?
11
As an actual, real-live planner, I think I would be the best person to move into Amy's position at the Portland Mercury. I can not only read, but I also have opinions and the ability to interview people! I can even check grammar and punctuation.

In all seriousness, it's sad that simply having opinions and a pulpit - rather than actual experience or even education in the mechanics of urban development - is the highest qualification for such an important policy position.
12
It's the same two questions that arise in every political scandal. They're the only two questions, really, that matter in a situation like this.

1) What did she know?

2) When did she know it?
13
Something tells me all the Ruiz haters here either a) applied for and didn't get the position themselves, or b) have never been in a position to hire anyone before.

Job postings, and the requirements in them, aren't set in stone. Sure, on paper, Ruiz's resume might not address every single bullet point on the original listing, but it's not all that uncommon for a perspective employer to change the position on the fly when they get someone in the interview. Maybe they just decided that they really wanted Ruiz and her other skills/experience on the team and were willing to look past her lack of degree to make that happen?

That said, good on Matt for following this so closely. Public deserves to know if there were any shenanigans, and Ruiz/Adams/etc. deserve to have their names 100% cleared if there weren't.
14
"Thing is, once she decided she wanted a city job, it *was* a real conflict, and the minute she actually applied she should have quit the beat, if not the paper. That's not because of the Breedlove story, but *any* story."

Uh huh, cause you would have quit your job during the recession to try and get a job that you have a 50-50 shot for? Right...you hypocrite.

15
Amy just remember a smile is a curve that sets everything straight!
16
"Uh huh, cause you would have quit your job during the recession to try and get a job that you have a 50-50 shot for? Right...you hypocrite."

Journalists and public officials are supposed to have a code of ethics. Seems like Ms. Ruiz may have violated both codes in this instance. That, in my mind, prevails over meefy concerns about living day to day in a tough economy. Nobody's stopping her from slinging coffee at Starbucks, and nobody would hold her behavior to a higher standard if that's what she chose to do.
17
In my post, I suggest quitting was just one option. Changing beats would have been another. Transparency yet another, but that would have required her to tell her editor she was doing this in the first place.

And yes, as Jacobus suggests, all these things can be avoided by, A) not being a journalist or B) not being a journalist who applies for jobs with people she is actively covering.

And favoring certain subjects/sources isn't the only problem - there can also be a tendency to be too hard on sources/subjects if you're concerned you might be inclined towards favoritism.

The best thing about this for the Merc is actually that she got the job, because keeping a politics editor who tried and failed to work for the mayor, and/or might still be interested in employment with any number of government or public interest organizations at any time, would have been equally problematic.

If the paper feels that its role as an activist/alternative voice means otherwise, I'd certainly be interested to read that article. In any case I'm assuming y'all are slowly and carefully formulating further coverage.
18
I can take one look at that mediocre resume and gag-inducing cover letter and know FOR A FACT that she was NOT the most qualified person for the job. Seriously, if I was looking for someone and read her "objective," the resume would have been tossed in the garbage. Something smells fishy here.
19
"I can take one look at that mediocre resume and gag-inducing cover letter and know FOR A FACT that she was NOT the most qualified person for the job. Seriously, if I was looking for someone and read her "objective," the resume would have been tossed in the garbage. Something smells fishy here."

No, it doesn't. You have no idea what you're talking about. When was the last time you were conducting a job search and requesting/going through resumes looking for qualified applicants? I've done it about half a dozen times over the last few years - it fucking sucks. It's amazing the number of people who can't follow simple instructions or address the specific details of the job posting. Her cover letter was grammatically flawless and well written. You may not like or agree with the content, but it's content like this that gets resumes noticed. Assertiveness and confidence. I threw cover letters and resumes away at the first grammatical error - the wrong use of the word "there/their/they're" etc. Because when getting a dozen or two entries per day, it was the simplest way to separate the crap from those who were even worth meeting in person.

As for the objective - it's cheesy, for sure. But it speaks to the platform Sam Adam's ran on in the first place. And sometimes brown noising cheesiness is what gets noticed first. You might not like the way the game is played, but that is how it's played. Learn the rules and follow along or work in fast food the rest of your life.
20
People pour their hearts into cover letters. I think it was a good one and don't doubt that reporter was probably qualified. But at this point, even if she had 30 years experience as an adviser to the president, it wouldn't help anyone understand how no one involved will admit they had any clue it could possibly look so bad to outsiders.
21
In a city that is swarming with highly qualified and specifically educated and experienced individuals who have previously worked for sustainability, policy, and planning focused non-profits, private businesses and government agencies, I seriously doubt Ms. Ruiz was the most "qualified applicant" for the job. I mean, we have one of the most well respected urban planning schools in the country that even has its own sustainability specialization. I've seen the qualified people that apply for city jobs in the 50K range. There are usually stacks of applications from people that have planning and policy degrees from places like Harvard, have advanced related degrees and have years of experience.

Sam's office and the City hired on cronyism here with a specific agenda at worst. At best, they just hired on personality and not skills and experience.

Ruiz might be a well seasoned reporter with her pulse on the city, but she has zero education or professional experience in public administration, planning, or sustainability. City Hall = FAIL on this one and points to a second scandal brewing for Sam Adams.

22
Jeez people, how simple can this be?
She was about to out him about over his mis-conduct and illegal activities. She gets an 80k a year job that obviously needed no experience to get. She kills story and hops on the gravy train. Conspiracy to cover up a major felony is breaking the law. Plain and simple. Ethics aside (Portland Style!) this is an on going criminal event.