Work less, get paid more

Portland's misguided new city charter stumbles along. Now not only are we going to have 13 City Council types (if you count the mayor) instead of five, but they're all going to get paid more than the current officeholders do. Under the latest proposal floating around, the mayor's salary will go from $143,666 to $175,463, and the City Council members' salaries will go from $120,973 to $142,404 each. You can do the math, but I think the payroll just about tripled.

And keep in mind, unlike the current setup, where the councilpeople run city bureaus, under the new system they'll just sit around "making policy" all day, sort of like what happens (or doesn't) in Salem. Plus remember, under rank-choice voting, there will always be a handful or more of otherwise-unemployables, like Sarah Iannarone, on the council. At $142K, plus PERS, they'll do more than OK.

But think of all the benefits for the taxpayers!

    • Pay will open opportunities for historically marginalized communities and will not be a deterrent to running and holding office.
    • Pay should be based on examining a range of data, be fiscally responsible, and consider the city's budget, the public, and the elected officials. 
    • Pay should reflect the City of Portland's values around anti-racism, equity, transparency, communication, collaboration, and fiscal responsibility.
This, of course, is hogwash. On the current City Council, we have two people of Latin descent, a Black man, and a gay man. There is one white male. The current payscale and workload don't seem to be marginalizing anyone.
    Meanwhile, the insanity of having only four wards for the whole city is causing headaches for the people on the inner east side, some of whom will be thrown in with the upper crust on the west side and effectively have their votes cancelled out on anything that matters. Funny thing, they're not too happy about it.
    Devin Ruiz, movement building director at Next Up, said she worried the strong youth and progressive voices in the Central Eastside would be diluted if the neighborhood is included in the mainly-west side district. 

    “Portlanders in the Central Eastside are more progressive than the west side,” Ruiz said. “It just makes me think about what city electeds those Portlanders would want representing them.”

    An interactive map in the Oregonian that shows which Portland neighborhoods voted for the charter reform bill last fall depicts the potential ideological differences between people who live in the city’s outer west side and those who live in the Central Eastside. 

    Members of the Buckman Community Association in the Central Eastside sounded alarm bells about the "Cedar" and “Maple” draft maps, writing in a newsletter that the maps “either greatly diminish/divide the Buckman Neighborhood itself, or include it entirely with all of the west side of Portland for representation.”

    Hey, peeps, you voted for it! Now lie back and enjoy it. 


    1. “Historically marginalized” is a bankrupt description.

      1. You just need a decoder ring, available from many nonprofits.

    2. When is the first fixed “election” again?

    3. I'm starting to think that concentrating the various progressives in a legislative body with no real power might not be a bad thing. Sure, they can pass resolutions condemning Trump or declaring the city a nuclear-free zone or whatever while not actually doing much damage. Could be worth the money.

    4. I wondered how pay would be handled when council positions ceased being full time jobs. Why am I not surprised that Portland would want to increase the pay for less work. That sounds about right for this broken city.

    5. If these are just "token" positions, they should get a ceremonial bong to pass around before sessions. Is there a lemon law that applies if the voters get buyers remorse?

      1. We would need to gather signatures. There is no scenario where the college student council activists that will comprise Portland's next city council would ever refer an end to this gravy train.

    6. There is a such a thing as "historically marginalized communities" but I fail to see how this has bupkis to do with remedying anything real to do with the effects of that.


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