Monday, May 4, 2009

Poll Results and Portland Politics

The poll is closed and the masses have spoken: MLS in Portland is a Boondoggle.

Given that I have been an ardent supporter of the deal, this result can be interpreted in many ways:

1. My readers are intelligent and independent and are willing to consider my opinions but are not unduly influenced by them.

2. I am not very persuasive.

3. I was fighting against truth and reason all along and I should wake up to that fact.

4. Some dude was stuffing the poll.

I hope the truth is 1. I hope this is true in general and if this poll is an artifact of this fact, then this is wonderful news. 2 is also probably true. I am not ready to accept 3 - I am not convinced that the opportunity cost of turning down this deal has been adequately understood. I suspect 4, however. The poll suddenly took a decided turn in the opposite direction and continued its trajectory suspiciously. Though the economic indicators of the Oregon economy did the same...

But who knows? And who really cares, the point is that if this is any indication of the mood among the general population, Paulson and City Hall have some more work to do to convince people.

And speaking of City Hall, will The Oregonian ever give up on trying to run Adams out of office? Regardless of what their personal opinions are, he is our mayor and needs to be effective for our well-being and their crusade is contrary to our interests. Normally I respect David Sarasohn's opinion pieces, but when he writes the following I wonder what he is thinking:

Friday brought yet another development in the endless tale of the mayor's admitted lies and his desperate effort to survive in office. From Freedom of Information Act requests, Ryan Frank and Brent Walth of The Oregonian reported 33 phone calls from Adams to Beau Breedlove before Breedlove turned 18, a very different view of the relationship from even the mayor's most recent account of it.

There was actually another City Hall story Friday, about Portland's new budget, with higher than expected revenues allowing the city to maintain more of its services.

Guess which was the top City Hall story of the day?

Ummm, it was The Oregonian that made it the story of the day and could have (AND SHOULD HAVE) made the budget the story of the day. When the major daily of the city is not focusing its reportorial energies where it should, don't blame city hall. This is like saying "I hit you for no reason and therefore you must have been at fault."


Jacob Grier said...

"... he is our mayor and needs to be effective for our well-being.."

Does not follow! I have no strong opinions about Sam Adams in particular, but effective politicians are hardly an unalloyed good.

Patrick Emerson said...

Well, yes, you are of course correct, and I concede the point. I was making an assumption of competence that is not necessarily true. Actually, more precisely, I am making the assumption that a functional city government is better overall than a dysfunctional one. But perhaps a government that cannot function will also give up trying to do too much and this might lead to a more robust economy and higher social welfare. I am willing to consider this hypothesis. Especially as I go well into the second month and fourth phone call to try and get a permit to plant a tree in front of my house...

Robert said...

2 months for a tree permit - that strongly supports hypothesis #2 - you are not very persuasive!

Jeff Alworth said...

How about another:

5. People generally don't know how to assess complex deals like MLS, and used a variety of often competing criteria in making their judgment.

A person might have voted "boondoggle" because she hated soccer, didn't like the idea of supplanting baseball, or thought it would lose money. If she hates soccer, she could well regard even a hugely successful team a "boondoggle."

Time will tell. Meanwhile, we soccer fans will enjoy the experiment.