Friday, April 07, 2006

Tram Awards Party Pressures Council Into Folding

The timing tells the story. The tram budgeting process has been muddling along for months, as various commissioners tried to justify rolling over for the powers that be at OHSU, while still holding onto their coveted jobs. So what happened to cause the breaking point? What crumbled up Dan Saltzman’s intestinal fortitude and tossed it into the garbage can?
Yesterday morning the Portland Freelancer announced plans for a media event to be held the night before the April 26th city council vote. The Lighter Notes musical group had been recruited to play and Carl, the owner of “It’s a Beautiful Pizza,” had agreed to hold it at his place. Carl, you might recall, was the restaurant owner who was initially billed 36 grand by the city for moving across the street. This was for something called a Systems Development Charge.
I walk down Belmont quite often and I have yet to see any new systems in place, but never mind. We only live in Portland; we’re here to provide a revenue stream for the civic big shots to blow, as they see fit.
So what happened today? Obviously, the council realized that this party had too much karmic energy going for it. Once the Lighter Notes had revved the crowd up, and local bloggers had been honored, the pressure on the council would have been immense. There is no way they wanted to wake up the next morning to a tram vote after that.
Something had to be done, and soon. So later yesterday, on the same day the party was announced, Dan Saltzman bit down hard on his former integrity and agreed to roll over and take one for the team.
It was a remarkable display of civic cowardice on his part, but what did you expect from the Gang Who Couldn’t Get Their Story Straight?
The tram town hall meeting at Portland State was a minor annoyance compared to the potential power of this gathering at Carl’s “It’s a Beautiful Pizza.” This is why the council folded. Come to think of it, some may take this opportunity to blame the Portland Freelancer for the way things turned out, but this is not a time to play the blame game. This is a time for healing. Before you take me to task let us pause and relax. Let us look forward to a brighter future in Portland with its new glorious tram. Good luck with it, gentlemen, and good luck with your future careers after politics.


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