Welcome to WW's first-ever Rogue Desk Grudge Match: the People vs. the People.
To the loser goes the heavyweight title in the Great Parade Duct Tape Debate of 2007, the utterly Roguish kerfuffle that Commissioner Randy Leonard sparked last week with his proposal to ban the use of paint, tape or other marks to reserve parade spots in advance.
In one corner stands the countless Rose Festival enthusiasts who longed to get a good glimpse—without having to wake up early—of the 100th annual Grand Floral Parade on Saturday, June 9. In an annual practice that's annoying, unfair and unsightly, they used duct tape, chalk and lawn chairs to reserve seats for friends and family along the parade route.
In the other corner? THE people, as represented by the public sidewalk-loving, litter-hating, point-making troupe of trustafarians, pre-hipsters and, oh yeah, our beloved colleagues at the Portland Mercury. Armed with Leonard's proposed ban on sidewalk taping, they set out last Friday on parade eve to remove as much tape as possible from the sidewalks along the parade's route —and draw as much attention to their shenanigans as possible.
The Rogue Desk happens to agree with the Mercury's stance. The taping is ridiculous. What's next? Putting blankets down on the beach in April to reserve spots in June? That said, many paradegoers were probably disappointed to find their tape had been ripped up.
So who wins this epic battle of Rogue-on-Rogue action?
Why, Randy Leonard, of course.
Instead of staging this worthy debate at any other time—like, say, not the week before the parade—the ex-firefighter fanned the flames like a politician who proposes to ban flag-burning right before the Fourth of July. Leonard's proposal comes up before council Wednesday, June 13, and he defends his timing: "I'm not sure what other time it could have come out and gotten as much publicity as it did."
Sorry to rain on his parade.