If you decide to vote for someone other than Phil Busse, I'll understand. As his employer for four years, I, more than most people, am familiar with his faults. For example, he'll occasionally burst into a room and launch into a diatribe without the slightest regard for social niceties, like saying "Hello," or "How are you?" Sometimes he goes well out of his way to say something wildly inappropriate for the sole purpose of getting on the nerves of Arts Editor Julianne Shepherd. And he also lets his filthy dog run rampant through the office, coating our furniture and clothing in wet, oily hair.

That said, I think he'd make a pretty fucking good mayor.

Last August, Phil decided to run for office based on two reasons: 1) city hall was ignoring the wishes of a large portion of our readership, and 2) it might be funny. Unfortunately for his bank account, Phil developed a taste for civic leadership and the political process, and the number two reason for running for mayor was tossed out the window.

And while he was still saying wildly inappropriate things and letting his dog run roughshod, Phil began to develop a vision of how Portland could be a better place. With the help of friends and activist groups he built a platform entitled "100 Ideas for the 100 First Days"--which, frankly, kicks the ass of every other candidate's platform. [Sidebar: Look, we know you're not stupid. You can vote for whomever you want, and we'll still love you. However, Phil's platform really does kick ass, and if you want to make a truly informed opinion, check it out at www.meformayor.com , and compare for yourself.] So regardless of what The Oregonian might imply (that Phil is a hillbilly/dilettante), or what the Willamette Week may present as fact (that Phil is a criminal), the point is I know Phil pretty well, and his intentions for this city (if not your daughter) are serious and honorable.

So for you, the choice pretty much comes down to this: Do you want a mayor with little experience but a ton of energy and ideas, or a mayor that has a lot of experience and will keep the status quo happy? Not an easy choice. However, I would like to make one request: Don't vote for Francesconi. We've admittedly been rough on the guy, but facts are facts--he consistently goes against what we think of as the ideals of our readership (homeless issues, the anti-war resolution, kowtowing to downtown business and developers, etc.). Friends and foes alike have also perceived him as a one-time idealistic activist who has gradually turned into just another stagnant career bureaucrat.

Does that mean I can look into Phil Busse's soul and predict whether he'd go all Darth Vader once he gets into office? I can't. I like Phil as a person, and he's a good employee, but frankly, we don't hang out much. I've given $50 to his campaign, put a sign up in my yard, and own a "Vote Phil" T-shirt that I never wear because of its unflattering cut. Other than that, I've had nothing to do with his campaign. What I can tell you is this: After listening to the debates, hearing him speak and reading his platform, he's convinced me. The Mercury trusts you. Look at his 100 ideas, and decide for yourself.

If you need a status quo candidate, go for Potter. If you want to burn down city hall, vote for Posey. As for me, I'm voting for Phil Busse.