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"Am I the only one who should be laughing at the beard-referendum suggestion but isn't?"

Yes, Brian, you are the only one. It's funny. Lighten up.

Terry Shrunk

I read that beard article too. Think about this Carlo: were you absolutely sure it was a joke at first? Just the fact that I had to stop for a minute and ask myself sez something about Potter.


OK, let's see: We live in a city that works so well we're more or less the envy of most other cities in the nation, and we have a mayor who perfectly embodies both the Portland and Oregon ethos of having the people vote on every little thing (gay marriage, land development, water fluoridation, on and on), and what do we long for? Authoritarian leadership!

Brian writes: "Come on, Mr. Mayor, lead!" I say: Be careful what you wish for. Isn't that precisely the attitude that got us stuck with two consecutive Bush-Cheney (read: We're going to do whatever we want, and we don't care what any of you have to say about it!) regimes?

Brian Libby

Carlo, I see your point about Potter and the 'city that works' stuff. But don't you think it's a stretch connecting my criticism of Potter to a desire for Bush/Cheney style leadership? Like, a stretch of tissue paper across the Grand Canyon?


Re; "...nationwide effort to turn parking spots into greenspace....The idea is to plug a downtown meter with a few hours' worth of quarters (assuming, like me, you can't ever make a credit card work), lay down some sod and maybe a bench, and presto! A few square feet of asphalt are transformed into park space the size of a car.d" Libby

Does anyone know if the city intends to remove all the extra parking spaces placed along the park blocks once the latest downtown light rail extravaganza is completed? The ones supposedly installed to raise money to defray costs of that project or the streetcar...I don't remember which.

I feel that the change to having cars parked on the side of the street next to the Park Blocks themselves definitely is not consistent with the objective of enhancing beauty and relaxation that the Park Blocks are intended to offer citizens and visitors to this city.


OK, I'll grant you that it's a bit of a stretch to even imply that you, Brian Libby, would ever personally consider voting for Bush/Cheney. (You wouldn't, would you? Say it ain't so!)

Still ... it's a step in a very dangerous direction. I mean, 62 million Americans voted for Bush/Cheney in 2004, knowing full well by that time where Bush/Cheney were leading them, and at least a few million of those -- enough to put B/C over the top, probably -- did so based on that very argument. You know: We may disagree totally with where they're leading us, but we admire the fact that they're strong leaders (because, I guess, we're sheep, and we want more than anything else to be led!) You'da thunk we'd have learned our lesson by now, but isn't that the very same reason Rudy Giuliani is now leading nationally in the Republican polls? (But he showed us on 9/11 that he's such a strong leader!)

So, back to Mayor Potter. All things considered, these days I really have to admire a "leader" who cares what his constituents think, whether it's about a vision for the city or even about his beard. As the bumper stickers say: Keep Portland weird.


I think criticism of our mayor's leadership style is not a cry to bush type leadership.

I think Mayor Potter has offered little to no leadership for the City and I will be thrilled if he doesn't run again. He stands for nothing and thus makes nothing happen.

Brian Libby

Carlo, I am 100% liberal. I even once co-started a T-shirt business devoted to promoting the cause (see www.teamliberals.com). Although interestingly enough, I was raised in a small-town Republican household.

It seems to me you're staying the desire for a strong leader is inherently foolhardy because strong leaders take control in obscene, illegal, out-of-touch ways like the Bush administration. While I wholly agree with the anti-Bush sentiment (damn straight!), I disagree with the notion that there can't be such a thing as a strong liberal leader.

All I'm saying about Potter is that I'd like to see him do just a little bit more to combine the visioning ideas he's soliciting from thousands of Portlanders with a strong vision of his own. He doesn't have to be Vera Katz and have a more micro-managing way than will ever be his nature. He can take all the extra vacations he wants, and delegate to other experts. That's good leadership too, in its way. But I want a mayor who is not just listening but taking that bully pulpit forcefully now and then. To me, that's what having a job like mayor of a large city has to be about.


Whew. I feel better now, so I'll stop bugging you.

Re Tom Potter, I guess I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other about him. But as for Portland in 2007, so much is going so right for this city these days that I'm not so sure a "strong" (or assertive, or take-charge) leader is necessarily what's called for right now. It seems increasingly obvious that we're entering a golden age for Portland ... and if it ain't broke, don't fix it, you know?


Maybe TPL took their turf over parking space idea from forest activists from Alaska and Greenpeace who sodded over a block-long portion of Independence Ave in front of the USDA headquarters in Washington, DC and called it a roadless area. Seems it was about 2 years ago.

The activists were arrested and fined, but the National Park Service confiscated their sod and used it in places they needed more turf--like the National Mall.


In a free society, voting is an appropriate mechanism for selecting a nation's political representatives, not its political principles. The great achievement of the U.S. Constitution was to limit the power of the government to a single function: the protection of individual rights.

Unnlimited majority rule on the other hand substitutes the will of the majority for individual rights, and it is therefore contrary to freedom, because an individual's life and property are at the mercy of the mob--and any tyrant that may be democratically voted into power.

Potter was elected, that should show the people's vision. Now go do it Mayor.


This idea isn't exactly new; the Rebar group pioneered this one in San Francisco a few years ago - they called it park(ing):


Streetsblog has a page on it:


Shouldn't we be able to come up with something that at least pushes the envelope a bit? I like the bit about taking over (part?) of a surface parking lot... although the food carts are a good point.

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