Archive for the ‘Government & Politics’ Category

Why Portland Absolutely Rocks


Thanks to @bfinklea for the link

Nader Protesters

Riding the bus home today, I was surprised to see a row of people waving Nader/Gonzalez signs right in front of the Obama and Merkley campaign office.

A group of Nader supporters in front of the Obama/Merkley campaign office

A group of Nader supporters in front of the Obama/Merkley campaign office

Many Nader supporters held signs criticizing Nader’s exclusion from the debates, saying “Open the debates,” and “Nader Debates, America Wins.”

One sign read \"Nader Debates, America Wins. Step Up, Barack\"

One sign read Nader Debates, America Wins. Step Up, Barack

The recent economic news was also a concern. One protester held a sign reading “$700 billion out of my cold, bare hands.”

Their chances aren’t good: polls by the American Research Group show Obama ahead in Oregon 52% to 41%. 6% were unsure, and the Nader supporters were included in “other”, with just 1%.

Oregon Farmers not McCain fans?

As anyone who has driven I-5 south out of Portland during an election season can tell you, from the look of the highway you would never know that Portland and Eugene are overwhelmingly liberal. Typically, nearly every farm along the drive has political signs for the Republican candidates and the conservative ballot measures.

As my husband and I headed to Bandon last Friday morning, driving south all the way to Roseburg, we noticed a very pleasant change. Not a single McCain sign anywhere. Not a single Gordon Smith sign. There were a handful or Erickson signs.. but, not the overload we’ve seen in the past. I didn’t have to grumble to my husband about the ridiculousness of trying to stop people from marrying or giving women the right to make their own medical decisions. It was wonderful!

Now – there weren’t an overwhelming number of Obama signs either, although we did see a few. And quite a few for Jeff Merkely. So I wonder, are the more typically rural and conservative Oregonians just not excited enough about McCain and their other candidates to bother with signs this year? Or has this Zauner guy just gotten old and given up?

Would you like nutritional information with that?

According to the folks over at KGW, there is currently a proposal requiring chain restaurants to include nutritional information on the menu.

I’ve got a couple of problems with this.

First of all, nutritional information is already available for just about any chain restaurant I can think of (warning – here be PDF’s). Why, in a matter of seconds I can wow you with numbers. A mondo chicken burrito at Taco Del Mar has 615 calories and 32 grams of fat, while a mondo pork burrito only has 24. A Whopper with cheese at BK has 47 grams of fat (but only 30 if you skip the mayo), and a large fries packs an additional 500 calories and 28 grams of fat. You can read all about it here. A Tillamook Cheeseburger at Burgerville will net you an incredibly tasty 630 calories and 40 grams of fat. Throw in a large order of fries and you’re looking at 400 additional calories and another 22 grams of fat. Oh sure, you could go healthy and get a chicken salad at Baja Fresh, so long as you skip the dressing. Or perhaps a Subway sandwich (34 grams of fat in a foot-long cold cut combo, but only 9 in a turkey, so long as you’re careful with the condiments).

And if you don’t have web access, most fast food joints have this information posted on a nice big board at your local location. The word is out on nutritional information, and it’s not hard to find.

My second problem is – what constitutes a chain, and why are mom and pops exempt? Fire on the Mountain has two locations – are they a chain now? And why is it important that a consumer have nutritional information listed on the menu at Rock Bottom (a chain), but not Urban Hopworks (not a chain)? Is their health less valuable at one place than the other?

Finally, this. I know when I go out to eat that I often make bad nutritional choices. I know that order of Carne Asada chips at Muchas Gracias is not exactly healthy. But sometimes, that’s kind of the point. If I’ve had a crappy day, sometimes an order of corn chips served with beef, sour cream, cheese, and a number of other bad things is just the remedy I’m looking for. I know where to find nutritional info on this stuff if I want it. I don’t necessarily need it waved in my face every time I want to order it – trust me, I’m hip to the fact that it’s bad for me.

And speaking of the mighty MG, word is that a new outlet has opened on 707 NE Weidler. Go there, eat a burrito, and fight the power!

The New I-5 Bridge – What to do?

It’s obvious that something’s gotta give. Anyone who’s made the drive from Vancouver in the morning or to Vancouver in the evening knows that. On bad days, it can take more than an hour to cross the span. It’s a headache for both commuters and trucks making shipments. But is a new bridge the answer? The problem is more complex than it looks.

First, while I most definitely sympathize with truckers just trying to get across the river to make their shipments and do their jobs, our neighbors up in the ‘couve haven’t really done much to try to solve the problem of having too many cars on the road. For well over a decade now, our neighbors to the north have given the finger to mass transit. They voted down a MAX connection. They refused to pay three cents out of every $10 spent to prevent major service cuts for C-Tran. And now there are rumblings that they might try to kill the light rail portion of the new bridge, essentially dooming the project. I know that our suburban readers get pissed about perceived “bashing”. Unfortunately, Vancouver readers, the shoe fits here so you’re gonna have to wear it.

Compounding the problem is that the new bridge might not be effective after all. As reported here and here, the new bridge might not be all that effective in reducing congestion, anyway. According to the “O”, right now it takes a driver 16 minutes to get from SR-500 to Columbia Blvd. With the new bridge, that same trip would take 19 minutes. The reason is that the current bridge reduces the flow of traffic into existing bottlenecks in the I-5 system – bottlenecks that will still exist, even with a new bridge. By way of contrast, doing nothing would result in the trip taking 19 minutes – two minutes shorter than if the bridge was built. With information like that, I think that the city should at least look at some alternatives before building this thing. The Merc has some listed here.

So, what do you think?

No Headlight Means Tasering?

This story is everywhere today. I am often the one criticizing cyclists holier-than-thou attitudes and disrespect to others – so I am definitely not on the ‘cyclists are uber-cool’ bandwagon – but even I’m appalled at this. I cannot imagine any sort of situation where not having a light requires being tasered.


Read all the details on

Busted! Someone named Tower is in trouble

Yesterday, when it was sunny, I walked about 2/3rds of the Rose Festival Parade route looking for duct tape. The good news is that people who normally were taping and reserving spots almost 2 weeks before the parade got the message. The bad news is that today, someone used spraypaint to reserve their spot.

According to the City, “The use of duct tape, chalk, paint or unattended personal property, such as lawn chairs, to mark or reserve a spot along the parade route is prohibited. “

Now, I wonder if the Portland Police are going to be out enforcing said ban. It is a $100 fine if you are caught. Will they go out Friday evening/Saturday morning passing out fines? Will they let it slide this first year? Anyone know how to get stats on that?

Oh, and to be honest, this actually may mean Tower as in placement of. But hey, let’s get this party started!

Duct tape

Originally uploaded by dieselboi


Unless you live under a rock you know the election is approaching – Obama was at Waterfront park yesterday (and his speech was impressive!), Bill and Chelsea were in town planting gardens with school kids and campaigning for Hilary, the yard signs for local elections are everywhere – with supporters standing at busy intersections waving at passing cars – John Kroger himself, Attorney General candidate, was out with his supporters at the east end of the Hawthorne bridge this morning. But because of our mail in ballot process – which I do love – it can be easy to suddenly go “Holy Crap – I haven’t mailed in my ballot yet!”

The deadline is tomorrow people – it’s too late to mail them – but you can drop them off in a myriad of locations.

Potter’s budget eliminates IFCC funding

dn_web_logo1-thumb.jpgTom Potter’s proposed budget would cut all city funding for the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center (IFCC), a vibrant and unique center for the arts in North Portland.

This $80,000 funding cut represents a minuscule savings to the city, but would be devastating to IFCC. It represents 24% of the budget for the non-profit that operates a gallery and theatre and offers classes, shows and cultural outreach to the community.

This proposed cut was announced just as IFCC opened an exhibit showcasing the work of more than 70 North and Northeast Portland artists. The show, “Do North,” represents the unique way IFCC works to connect an extraordinarily diverse group of artists to the community.

“The conversation about diversity is deeply important to the successful growth of our City,” writes IFCC’s Creative Director Adrienne Flagg in a message to supporters. “I know you have experienced the conversation here — in the gallery, theatre, civic meetings, and classes. Please extend your support and let the Mayor and the City Commissioners know that you value IFCC’s mission to awaken cultural awareness by creating an environment for artists and audiences to explore, honor and celebrate diversity. Let them know that you recognize this vital connection to our City’s well-being.”

IFCC has been enjoying a period of stability under Flagg’s leadership, and this cut would mean significant cuts to IFCC’s ability to fulfill its mission.

Please contact your city leaders and urge them to continue their 25-year relationship with this remarkable program.

The final hearing on the budget is tomorrow, May 8, 6:30-8:30 pm, at King Elementary School, 4906 NE 6th. Sign up for three-minute testimony on site.

Last day to register to vote in Oregon

Yep, today is the last day to register to vote in Oregon.  Oregon will become a focal point for the Democrat nominees over the next few weeks as we have delegates they need.  Everyone has visited at least once and will indeed visit again.  This could be your chance to make your voice heard on a national basis.  We don’t get that opportunity to many times.

Also, we have local races you should be interested in – Mayor, City Council, State Legislature, etc.  The May ballot will be chock full of candidates.

Everyone has a right and the duty to vote in America.  So head on down to Multnomah County Elections Division at 1040 SE Morrison to register or call the Bus Project @ 503-233-3018 to find an alternate location for in-person registering.  Your own county elections office should also be able to get you registered.

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