Really That Big a Deal?

The rumblings began on February 1st, when the O ran a little story on gifts to Mayor Tom Potter. As the O reported yesterday, after reading that story, Potter’s people realized that they probably needed to report that Potter had also received some courtside tickets to a Blazer game.

It seems that some are gearing up to argue that this is a major issue. I think how major it is depends mostly on what you think of Potter.

Now, I’m tremendously disappointed with Tom Potter as a mayor. As a sports fan, he’s proven to be unfriendly to some of my ideas for civic improvement, and as a citizen, his “let’s have a task force and talk about problems until people forget about them and never solve them” system of governance is annoying. (As a side-note, imagine putting him in charge of the whole city in the charter “reform” and watching the whole works grind to a halt…). But I’m also a pretty fair-minded guy (in my own opinion) and, as such, I don’t see that it’s such a big deal.


Well, first, it’s pretty well established (if Potter’s people are to be believed) that Potter tried to pay for the tickets and was refused. Second, it’s also clear that the tickets weren’t for sale. Noone was using them, or at least paying for them. By any reasonable use of the term, therefore, the tickets had no value. If they could not be sold, and could not be bought, there is no way to say that Potter should have to report them.

Potter reported the $34 the team provided for entry into the buiding. In my opinion, that’s fair. Enough said.

Now, the real crime (in my opinion) was Potter’s reaction while at the game. According to today’s O, “S pectators who saw Mayor Tom Potter at the one and only Portland Trail Blazers game he has attended this year were struck by how exquisitely bored the man looked. More than once, he seemed barely able to stifle a yawn.” What a jerk. Tommy Boy, you’ve got a freakin’ front row seat to an NBA game. If you’re not going to enjoy yourself, have the decency to make a run for the rest room and not return. Portlanders are passionate about their Blazers (whether with pride or disgust lately), and the face of Portland should reflect that.

So, is it a big deal? Discuss…

16 Comments so far

  1. TKrueg (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 10:25 am

    On its face, the ‘gift’ is obviously not a big deal and reeks of desperation on someone’s part. I haven’t been impressed with Potter’s term or his lack of passion for anything, but it seems like there is a cabal of people who really want to run him out of office or undermine him behind the scenes. Rumors about the PPD having blackmail material on him and other scuttlebutt has circulated without evidence.

    Another obvious point: If you’re trying to gain favors with Potter through ‘gifts’, do your homework because everyone knows he could give a sh*t about Blazer tickets. Instead, how about the Green Acres DVD box set? Hometown Buffet gift cards?

    Anyway, the hubbub over this reminds me of the concerted effort to smear Nancy Pelosi about the use of government transport. Or any of the ‘outrages’ produced by the wingnuts to distract from real issues.

  2. atlas (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 10:33 am

    I read the courtside seat issue and also didn’t see the kerfuffle surrounding it. The explaination was satisfactory.

    Now, if his critics think that is going to be the flagship to highlight his idiocy… wrong, that ship is already sailing strong, it need not a non-issue like that.

    I have been a vocal critic of this buffoon of a mayor and am pleased that, at last I heard, he is considering calling this term as mayor his first and last. Portland will survive this lame duck.

    Nice post Rusty

  3. Nolando (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 11:04 am

    I agree, too, that this seems like an awful lot of over-wrangling over nothing. And, hey, who *wouldn’t* yawn during an NBA game? I’m getting sleepy just thinking about it…

  4. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 12:15 pm

    I think the issue here is the tickets themselves-how is a courtside seat for ANY team in the NBA a $34 seat? That would sell for a grand plus, if there wasn’t petty BS keeping those seats from being sold. I can’t buy the ignorance claim they are using, how can anyone think a courtside seat to anything is going to be a 34 dollar proposition? I don’t care if it was a seat to the dog show, if it’s worth over a thousand dollars and you tell me it has a value of 34 bucks I’m calling shenanigans.

  5. Rusty (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 12:21 pm

    What was conveyed to him, though? Tickets valued at $34. What he did after he entered the building is independent of the value of the item(s) he was actually given.

    The fact (assuming it is a fact) that the seats were not sellable undermines my agreement with you of a $1000 value. What we think an item is worth based upon how much we feel it would be worth doesn’t necessarily correlate to its actual value on the marketplace. If an item can’t be sold, and therefore would be wasted by non-use, I’m inclined to agree with the position that there is no demonstrable “value” for purposes of reporting…

  6. TKrueg (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 12:34 pm

    Wait… courtside seats for a Blazer game cost $1000?? Haaahhahahhh…

    In what world are we speaking of?

  7. atlas (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

    Just in case anybody missed it the first time

    Tkrueg said…

    “Another obvious point: If you’re trying to gain favors with Potter through ‘gifts’, do your homework because everyone knows he could give a sh*t about Blazer tickets. Instead, how about the Green Acres DVD box set? Hometown Buffet gift cards?”


  8. not a partisan (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 1:51 pm

    Why are people so small these days? What happened to integrity and character?

    If someone likes a leader, that leader can create war at will and the person will approve of it.

    If someone dislikes a leader, that leader can save orphan babies from drowning, and the person will ask why he isn’t adopting them, and why society should now have to keep paying social services for them.

    The Potter issue isn’t an issue at all. It’s dumb.

    I’m not a Potter fan. In fact, I’m indifferent at best, but sheesh! Why should one’s opinion of him affect their view of right or wrong. It says a lot about people today, and it’s sad.

  9. Rusty (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 1:57 pm


    Just for clarification, are you discussing the people attacking Potter’s acceptance of the gift as doing so out of a need to find a way to smear him (which is, I think an appropriate criticism) or are you discussing our commentary here (where it seems most of us dislike the mayor but generally agree that our attitudes about him don’t change the fact that this is a non-issue)?

  10. Lady (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 3:02 pm

    I have no respect for Tom Potter as a Mayor. That said, his appearance at a Blazer game seems like a no win,who cares issue on where to focus our attention. What has this guy done, besides having vsions, to improve our beautiful city?

  11. not a partisan (unregistered) on February 9th, 2007 @ 4:06 pm

    I am referring to the need to smear. It is ridiculous and sad.

    Most of the commentary here seems to be in agreement with me that this entire Blazer “issue” is bogus. Ab-so-lute-ly bogus.

    People look for reasons to criticize and smear. For small people, any reason will do, even if it’s petty, Even if it’s fake.

    Nancy Pilosi’s plane, anyone? Or Obama’s madrassa?


    It’s all a sad statement about people today.

    I’m no Potter fan, but the man did nothing wrong. And the $1000 ticket comment is sheer comedy.

  12. Lelo (unregistered) on February 10th, 2007 @ 12:21 am

    Whoa! For a second I had to blink my eyes and check to make sure I wasn’t over at bojack crankypants. Sheesh, peeps.

  13. dieselboi (unregistered) on February 10th, 2007 @ 3:45 pm

    Hey LeLo, we celebrated Portland’s 156th Bday. did Jack? nope, he probably whined about the cost of the cupcake.

  14. Jack Bog (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 10:48 pm

    Those uplifting, positive comments are what make you so superior to me.

  15. Jack Bog (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 11:08 pm

    As for the substance of this issue, we need to enforce the pitifully few government ethics rules that we have, rather than making ad hoc exceptions based on no standards whatsoever. If you think Potter should be allowed to sit in the front row of a Blazer game, that’s a perfectly acceptable position to take. But you need to propose a rule change that would allow it to happen while still prohibiting other politicians from accepting a $1,000 cash gift.

  16. Rusty (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 8:39 am


    1) Not all of us are ragging on you. I’m sure you’re aware of that, but I wanted to let you know that, at least, my opinion of you hasn’t changed in the past few months.

    2) As for the issue at hand, I think you and I actually agree to the main issue: a $1000 gift does need to be prohibited, and we need to enforce the rules. However, my understanding (which may be flawed) is that the gift Potter was given had no market value, as the seats couldn’t be sold. As I said above, there’s what our gut tells us something was worth (“it would cost me $1000 to get seats like that”) and there’s what those seats are actually worth (“we can’t sell those seats, we have to give them away”). A seat that can’t be sold, and that would be given to whomever ended up occupying it, is not a $500 seat… You’ve been studying tax law too long.

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