Sports Illustrated

readers know to fear the "jinx." Bad things inevitably befall their beloved teams and heroes after they grace the magazine's cover.

SI hasn't come calling on Erik Sten. But with one blog ( positing a New York Times jinx for the Portland city commissioner after he was in those august pages, we offer an equally worrisome theory: Have tough political times come because Sten made our cover in May?

Last month, after Sten's efforts on a city purchase of PGE went belly-up, his grim-faced mug went on page A-1 of The Oregonian. And last week, after Sten's proposal for changes to the fire and police pension fund proved to have a moth's life span, the commish also made the Tribune's front page. The photo: Sten with a Nixonian 5 o'clock shadow. The headline: "Has Sten lost his clout?"

Feeling a tad guilty, we drummed up do's and don'ts for Sten as he heads into an election year.

Do take a page from Mayor Tom Potter's "I'm listening" approach. Having endorsed Potter, Sten should realize how well Potter plays in kumbaya Portland. "Vision" a little. Hope your opponent is Jim Francesconi.

Don't get an endorsement from Commissioner Randy Leonard. He backed Francesconi last year, then became a regular critic. With friends like Leonard...well, actually, you wouldn't want him for an enemy, either.

Do borrow Commissioner Sam Adams' frenetic daily schedule so you, too, can be at a half-dozen events for happy photo-ops. You meet a lot of cool people this way.

Don't adopt Commissioner Dan Saltzman's strategy of pissing off the world. He has ticked off the cops and firefighters with criticisms about their retirement and disability setup. Public-process types still seethe over his now-abandoned efforts to cover Mount Tabor reservoirs. Creating an army of motivated opponents does not a re-election strategy make.