Regular readers of this column (I like to pretend that they exist) will know that I have something of an obsession with city politics and policies. Despite all of my eye-rolling and fake snoring sounds, I genuinely enjoy diving into complex, wonky policy issues—my favorite part is nodding my head and acting like I know what everyone's talking about—and then filtering out all the borrrrring parts so you, the reader, don't have to be bothered.

But not this week. After what seems like months of technical, snoozy issues like the reform to the Fire and Police Disability and Retirement plan, citywide wireless internet, and biodiesel requirements, I'm friggin' exhausted. If someone hands me another 60-page report on stormwater runoff or other such mind-boggling tedium, I'm going to simply shut down. Yeah, I could use a vacation, but since the Mercury pays me in peanut shells and rubberbands to begin with, time off is out of the question. So I'm taking a working vacation. Here's what you get this week:

News Flash! Mayor Tom Potter wins seed-spitting contest! In what must have been a white-knuckle contest for salivary supremacy, Potter managed to crush his competitors by spitting a watermelon seed a full 37 feet, 6.5 inches. His heroic feat occurred Friday, August 4 at the 16th annual Hermiston-Portland Tailgate Party, held at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Pictures of this shining moment in municipal dignity can be found at I just hope he was tested later for possible testosterone doping.

News Flash! The parade of nutters keeps marching through city hall! A week after the mayor, auditor, and two commissioners introduced an ordinance to cut back "open communications" at council meetings to once per month per person (as a way of cutting back on people who ramble on and on every week about "irrelevant" horse poop), the flow of oddballs has yet to slow. This upcoming Wednesday, someone is set to address council "regarding Trojan mass grave cover up—cold cases." Now that is an effective use of city government's time. Council will vote on the ordinance next Wednesday, August 16.

News Flash! Commissioner Randy Leonard announced in a comment on the Mercury's blog ( last week that he will run for reelection in 2008. That means that former Erik Sten challenger Dave Lister will have to wait and see if Sam Adams decides to run for mayor before firming up another election bid.

Also on the blog, I was informed that 52 is not, in fact, old—although it is older than most Mercury readers' grandparents.

Gettin' tipsy?