Mayor Charlie Hales has stopped hinting his predecessor, Sam Adams, might be to blame for a plan by the cityâs top financial officer, Jack D. Graham, to improperly shift Water Bureau funds to his own departmentâs budget last year. Hales told Oregon Public Broadcastingâs Think Out Loud on June 12 heâd âneed to charter a couple of busesâ to remove every city employee who âworked on a shaky financial proposition or ideaâ under Adams. But results of an investigation into Grahamâs actionsâmade public July 9 after a legal appeal from WW and The Oregonianâcontains no evidence Graham acted under Adamsâ orders. Hales says he apologized to Adams a few days after the radio show. âHe was not happy with my comments,â Hales says.
Another sign everyone thinks they look good in black: Nearly 50 lawyers and judges have applied to fill three new positions on the Oregon Court of Appeals, including Brandon Mayfield, falsely accused by the U.S. government of involvement in the deadly 2004 Madrid bombing; former Oregon Commissioner of Labor and Industries Jack Roberts; and Portland lawyer Tim Volpert, who lost an appeals court race in 2012. The positions âcreated by the 2012 Legislature and funded this yearâpay $122,820 annually. Gov. John Kitzhaberâs office says he expects to make his pick by mid-October.
Anyone wondering why lawmakers failed to approve bigger savings in the Public Employees Retirement System before adjourning July 8 should consider these numbers: The Service Employees International Union and the Oregon Education Association gave a combined $1.78 million to 2012 legislative candidates last yearâand 88 percent went to House Democrats, who had no taste for deeper cuts in retirement benefits this session.
Rep. Shemia Fagan (D-East Portland) keeps doing what Mayor Charlie Hales canât: find new money for East Portland sidewalks. Not only did Fagan secure $3.6 million in state money to design sidewalks and crosswalks on Southeast 136th Avenueâa stretch where 5-year-old Morgan Maynard-Cook was killed by a car in Februaryâbut she also landed $4.9 million for sidewalks, crosswalks and lane widening on Southeast Powell Boulevard between 111th and 174th avenues.
The national progressive blog ThinkProgress blames a pivotal ânoâ from Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) in a 15-15 Senate vote for killing a bill to register 600,000 Oregonians as voters when they get new or renewed driverâs licenses (âNo License to Vote,â WW, June 12, 2013). âOregon appeared to be on the cusp of passing one of the most innovative, progressive voting laws in the country,â the blog says. âNow, thanks to one Democratic senator, that legislation is dead.â