"You are expected to just take it, and pray that nothing bad will happen to you"

New York Nick, Kristof that is, can't be governor of Oregon (yet), because he hasn't lived here long enough. But he's got a website where he writes some good stuff, including about this fair state. On Friday he asked an interesting question:

[W]hy aren’t Democratic cities in the West doing as well as Democratic cities in the East? Are West Coast cities less manageable? Is governance less effective on the West Coast?

He's got a lot of thougtful readers, of course, and many weighed in in response. If you've got some time, they're worth a scroll.

One comment in particular stopped me in my tracks with its blunt accuracy. I hope everyone involved will be okay with me reproducing it here. Written by a person named Deborah, it crystallizes some things I've been stewing about for a while:

In Portland the populace is naive and also doesn't follow local news very well. The local government has been fully captured by zealots with a religious zeal for fixing the racial sins of the whole country. Every single policy now must first and foremost be about race. All city offices cite that as their first concern over anything else. The numerous non profits also cite that as their first concern over anything else. The routine corruption in the city where officials dole out money to their friends is now focused on doling out money to BIPOC friends. The corruption is super ok if the money goes to a BIPOC person. It's still corrupt and doesn't do a damn thing to help with homelessness, or climate or whatever they sell to the public. The non profits now advise the city on everything, and they are getting the money shoveled their direction.

And the populace goes along with it because it's mostly a lot of white folks who feel guilty. Never mind that the police violence locally isn't toward black people mostly, but toward mentally ill people. Never mind that the soaring gun violence and the soaring murders are of black men and gang related. Police are not allowed to utter the word "gang". Local folks mostly don't know that Portland Police had a consent decree from the Obama Justice Dept. because the police abused their power toward mentally ill people too often. All they know is that in Minneapolis a cop murdered a black man with a cold blooded cruelty.

Not surprising that the mentally ill were considered expendable by the frustrated police, because the libertarian left wing populace doesn't want to do anything at all about mentally ill people - just wants to allow them to wander the streets without any help because insisting that they get help is somehow "fascist" or "authoritarian". And the idiot populace voted to decriminalize hard drugs (not much policing was happening around that anyway). They were sold some bill of goods about "treatment" magically appearing. And how did they think people would get into treatment without any enforcement of laws or any coercion by the justice system? Did they not know of one friend who was an addict? But never mind reality, the majority want to believe in fairy tales.

We have dumped all hard problems on the police. The police union behaves badly. There are some bad cops. BUT, the black bloc idiots run around spray painting ACAB everywhere and the naive white people, who don't pay attention to local news are obsessed with national news and assume that the hideous murder of George Floyd is what is happening in Portland. The local politicians were scared to decry rioting by mostly white men (in the guise of caring about black lives). They were scared because the population has been led to believe that all cops are bastards, and that racial sins are the only important issue.

And then there's the people who run for office - often ideologues who want to prove their point. They don't have to run things well, and there are not enough good, competent, centrist people who run. When they fail, or have ridiculous policies they double down on their ideas - like not requiring background checks before disbursing millions of dollars to a non profit. (Portland Clean Energy Fund which was about to give money to a woman who was a white collar criminal.) They have zero shame.

Our city and county don't work well together. Then we have Metro. Now we have city charter and county charter reform measures to be voting on soon. They will offer some choices for slightly better governance, but the city charter measure is again - all obsessed with, and based on trying to guarantee racial outcomes. The people on that committee are ideologues. They lumped all the ideas into a package and will force a vote on the whole thing - multi member districts (no accountability), ranked choice voting (unclear how this will work with multi member districts), a city manager (good idea). But because the most important thing they care about is that BIPOC people win races - as if being BIPOC means you have better skills, ideas etc. - we have to do it this way so that the system is gamed. (I sat in on a meeting and was so depressed to hear what was going on. They had to be forced to include "homeowner" as a category on the survey done by the Communities of Color non profit.) A lot of the young people on the committee (and in the general populace) have adopted woke-ism as a religion. All BIPOC people = good. All White People = Racist. All homeowners or landlords = greedy terrible capitalists. Might as well toss in "four legs good, two legs bad".

You get shouted down if you talk about the terrible homelessness (you are cruel and heartless), or murders (you're a Karen), or if you mention that you don't trust the city, the county or the state to listen to your valid concerns. You are expected to just take it, and pray that nothing bad will happen to you. There is no help at all. They don't have to help you because you are a NIMBY, or a Karen, or some nonsense. Never mind that you have voted Democratic all your life.

You go, Deborah. 


  1. Portland took the turn when the Rajneesh dumped hundreds of homeless on Portland streets and the city rolled out the red carpet to help them. Since then the red carpet has only grown larger and more inclusive.


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