Archive for April, 2005

Best/Worst Pet Stores

I have to admit, as I see the more substantive stuff on this blog, my niche doesn’t seem so worthy. However, we press on.

Being a new pet owner, I’m newly delving into the world of pet stores. Most of my time, perhaps predictably, is spent at Petco, which may be the Walmart of pet stores. However, I’ve yet to find a better place to find such a wide supply of pet stuff so reasonably priced.

I’ve been to Pets on Broadway to buy plants and snails for my miniscule frog chamber, but otherwise haven’t been there enough to develop an impression.

I go to Scamps at Lloyd Center with my friend JLowe whenever he buys his toad a mouse to eat, and I enjoy looking at the various furries there. However, I don’t like the store in general and don’t see myself ever seriously shopping there.

Anyway, all you pet-people, give me your submissions for the best and worst that Portland has to offer!

Why we’re pulling out of the FBI terrorism task force

To properly put the withdrawal of the city of Portland from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, you have to look at what is really at play here.

On one level, you have a federal bureaucracy that is not so adroit fighting terrorism. This is a bureaucracy with a CIA that can’t infiltrate Al-Queda, and was sure there were terrorism weapons in Iraq. And an FBI with a Portland chapter that busted some losers for not being able to sneak into Afghanistan (as drug smugglers have done every day for hundreds of years – and based on an erroneous read of Brandon Mayfield’s fingerprints, thought he had something to do with the Madrid train bombings.

Our intelligence agencies try, but you can’t take a fine, churchgoing family man from South Carolina, send him to a language school to learn some Pashto, have him grow a beard, and then expect him to drop in on Peshawar,Pakistan and have a well-connected local tell him over tea where Osama is holed up and being protected.

So, with flawed intelligence skills, our collective defense against terrorism largely falls to our stateside federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Keep in mind that although most people at these agencies are dedicated to preventing another 9/11, that law enforcement and related investigation can attract a certain type of individual. One who is naturally suspicious rather than trusting.

And when those with a predisposition to be suspicious make policy, they naturally are informed by the secretive parts of their nature.

Secretive, rather than collaborative. Which is why the FBI, an agency with a conservative, secretive patina, might not want to share information with the Mayor of a city that is the municipal poster child for tolerance.

Even if your name is Ahmed,and your wife wears a burka.

If we do pull out,it won’t have an effect on our anti-terrorism efforts. It will just mean that people who should talk to each other are not.

The five root causes of Portland’s school budget mess

So, this morning, we read that the Portland School District has eliminated funding for the equivalent of 250 teachers, classroom aides, counselors and librarians.

As a journalist with degrees in political science and sociology, I often find myself irresistibly drawn to interpreting political acts through a sociopolitical lens.

Here then,are the root causes that led to this unfortunate cut:

*Measure 5. That datardly 1990 law severely limited property tax authority of local governments, and set in motion a scheme that found the state as the main distributor of funds to schools.

*The Urban Growth Boundary. Although blessed, this has condensed housing sizes in the city and encouraged growing young families to move out of the city and the school district;

*The welcome yet impactful gentrification of smart and hip intown areas by those less likely to have children of school age: wealthy Californians, gays, young attorneys, and those who bailed before the tech boom went bust.

*Statewide decline in the natural resource extraction economy, which has led to an increasingly polarized electorate. This phenomenon, in turn, has borne the rise of conservative politicians who detest taxes and public schools.

*The growth of home schooling as a choice by culturally conservative parents who, confused and dismayed by what they observe in the broader culture, has had an effect on local school enrollment- causing some local elementary schools to close.

And,the longer all these causes cycle in the sociopolitical body of our city and state,the more the impactful ripple effect. Parents with kids of school age either dig in for private academy tuition, go to the suburbs where larger lots are available, or even cross the river into Clark County. When they leave our city, they change where they vote as well.

Oregon Pears

Oregon pears are an industry in Oregon that seems not to get enough attention from the public. So this post will give some information about Oregon pears along with some links to websites with more information. There will even be some links to recipes for Oregon pears.

Yes, I carry an umbrella…

…wanna make something of it?

Seriously. I don’t get it. It rains in Portland. A lot. Yet if you are to be a true Oregonian, you ought to learn how to slog through the stuff and/or clothe yourself in head-to-toe Gore-tex.

Carry an umbrella?

Rookie. Non-native. Wimp. The perjoratives fly, don’t they? You may not hear them – but you’ll see that raised eyebrow. The sneer when they think you’re not looking.

I’m sorry. I like being dry. I don’t always like wearing head-to-toe Gore-Tex – it’s no fun being a walking sauna in weather like this, for starters. And since I commute via mass transit or walking?

I carry an umbrella. Proudly. I have several, actually – ranging from a small fold-up one I can keep in my bag to that huge, honkin’ golf umbrella branded with a local law firm’s logo, no less.

Wanna make something of it?

Washington County should say no to Intel

Chuck Sheketoff over at Blue Oregon has a post entitled “Is Intel Bluffing Washington County Commissioners?

In the post he explains how the Washington County Commissioners are considering givng up about 579 million bucks in local tax breaks for Intel over a 15 year period under the strategic investment program (SIP).

According to Commissioners no new jobs will be created and this appears to be a necessary part of the strategic investment program (SIP).

Washington County signed a previous SIP and Intel did not uphold its end of the bargain.

Intel says it will move its manufacturing facilities overseas if the Washington County Commissioners don’t cave in to Intel’s demands.

Since Intel didn’t keep its end of the bargain concerning a previous SIP what makes the Commissioners think that Intel will uphold its end of the bargain with this new SIP.

I think it’s time for the Commissioners to, “Just say no.” What good is having Intel here when Intel only has about 500 employees in Washington County and hardly contributes to local government because of the ridiculously low taxes it has to pay?

I like Intel. I like having Intel in Washington County. But there has to be some sort of limit on how much corporate welfare Intel should get.

Best and worst places to get married

I’m going to a wedding today. As such, I have a convenient topic for today’s best/worst blog.

OLD LAURELHURST CHURCH: This is where I got hitched. It’s a beautiful old chapel with a large arch over the stage, subdued lighting, and (for our ceremony) looked great with candlelight.

BRIDAL VEIL LAKE: Not really in Portland, but not too far away, either. A great place for a summer wedding.

THE LITTLE CHURCH BY OAKS PARK: It’s a cliche, but a beautiful one.

MULTNOMAH COUNTY COURTHOUSE: My dad married my step-mom here. I’ve never been a fan of marriage by judge. Kinda anticlimactic. Plus, imagine just getting married, then the big one hitting and having the whole building collapse on your head.

PORTLAND FOURSQUARE CHURCH: It’s my church, so I can rip on it. There’s no center aisle, and the buildings colors are hideous.

So, that’s my two-cents worth. Your thoughts?

Security guards in high schools

I was talking to my eldest teenage daughter recently and I asked if anything new was going on at school. Both my teenage daughters go to high schools in the Beaverton School District.

My daughter told me that one of the security guards recently got her license. According to my daughter now that the security guard has her license she can now grab, and even tackle, students in order to drag them to the principal’s officer or wherever they drag erring, recalcitrant students.

Apparently each high school has two security guards.

Also, according to my daughter, there is one cop assigned to each high school.

I tend to think having a couple of security guards and a cop roaming about the high schools is a good idea, although I understand some students aren’t exactly ecstatic with the situation.

Not much sprawl, y’all

We are being watched. We are being watched by an organization. We are being watched by the Northwest Environment Watch (NEW).

In October of 2004 NEW issued a press release and I’m putting excerpts below in blockquotes.

Salvaging the Stereo

LeSabre – Post Crash

Originally uploaded by benkay.

Here’s a photo of the car, with my dads in the background. If you were paying attention, you might have noticed me whining about how my car was destroyed lately.

In short, I was hit in the right front quater-panel by a bad driver who ran a light. Here’s a photoset of me salvaging the stereo from the inside of the car.

It’s dead!

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.