Supporters of public campaign financing in Portland aren't celebrating yet, but they did get potentially good news last week. An initial check of signatures turned in by First Things First, a business-funded group seeking a vote on repealing public finance, showed many of the John Hancocks were invalid. Uh, if you're calling yourself First Things First, the first thing to do might be to get your act together.

Seattle bashers breathed a sigh of relief when the Seattle Seahawks fell apart in the Super Bowl, losing 21-10 to Pittsburgh. While the refs did the Seahawks no favors, dropped passes and dumb clock management did a lot more to ensure our Northwest rival went one more year without an NFL title.

Wanna-be reformers of Portland's troubled pension and disability fund for firefighters and cops got a little help when the City Club OK'd a report recommending the eventual replacement of the pay-as-you-go system. Look for that study to be cited many times between now and November when those reformers want to put a change on the ballot.


Tobacco companies may want to start pushing the patch now that courts have upheld a $79.5 million damages award against Philip Morris. The Oregon Supreme Court said the award to the family of a dead Portland man wasn't excessive because the company knew cigarettes could be fatal and didn't tell smokers for nearly 50 years.

Brother can you spare a million, or 15 million? The latest cost estimate for the OHSU tram has climbed to $55 million—now nearing four times the original projection. The only thing increasing faster than the price tag: the amount of finger-pointing among OHSU, the City, and South Waterfront developers over who will pick up the mounting tab.

What's that big bright light in the sky? Vampires and other lovers of winter's deluge and darkness are cowering inside with the blinds drawn this week after days of...what is that? Sunshine.