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Front Page > Issues > 2003 > December

A few words from the Editor

This is the time of year when it is traditional for editors to look back over the past year and attempt to offer readers some meaning to the stream of events that filled the last 12 months. Reading those editorials is a lot like reading some long-forgotten theater review by an equally long-forgotten theater critic: “Next year theatergoers will have completely forgotten a terrible little play called Our Town.” Fortunately, as we approached our press date, something came up that was not only good news, but suggested a different way to handle the year-end editorial.

Last month, we were informed that the Alliance had been nominated for an Utne Independent Press Award for local and regional coverage. We are very excited by a nomination that puts us in competition with such publications as the High Country News, Southern Exposure, The Stranger and the Texas Observer. We also encourage folks to cast their vote in the Utne reader survey as to which of these publications they think should win (visit to vote) even though the press award is decided by Utne editors.

But more important than providing an opportunity for shameless self-promotion, the nomination reminded us the importance of awards in our celebrity- and entertainment-driven society. So rather than providing you with some dense text exploring the dialectic of global capitalism during 2003, we decided to offer some awards of our own that reflect just what kind of year 2003 really was. If we forgot an award-winning moment or personality, we hope you will send in the entry for next month’s issue.

So, here we go...

The Thank God and Greyhound You’re Gone Award: This award goes to who else, but now former Police Chief Mark Kroeker, whose long, excruciating exit from Portland started almost as soon as he arrived. The award is testimony to how much pain Mayor Katz is willing to inflict on Portlanders rather than admit to making a mistake.

The C is for Chutzpah Award: Again, our boys in blue win with C.W. Jensen’s brave effort to return unpunished to the bureau after jumping ship over a year ago to avoid discipline. The photogenic former police spokesmen came down with the dreaded post-traumatic stress syndrome just as he was being taken to task for poor bookkeeping.

The Less is Really More Award: This award goes to Steve Rudman of the Housing Authority of Portland for his ability to cause the number of public housing units to continue to shrink while receiving HUD dollars to renovate those same units. Rudman’s HOPE VI project for Columbia Villa has just announced its second downsizing of publicly-owned units in favor of more Section 8 units. That means more public lands being handed to private contractors and fewer public units for the city’s most needy.

The I Really was Rooting for You Guys Award: Mayoral candidate Jim “Money-bags” Francesconi snatched this award with his public rejection and after-the-fact acceptance of the idea that the City of Portland should be opposed to war.

The Keep Your Day Job Award: This award goes to the aspiring filmmakers in the police bureau who created the video demonstrating Officer Scott McCollister’s difficulty extricating himself from an automobile and thereby justifying his killing Kendra James. Critics of the film were unsure whether to classify it as fantasy or police fiction.

The Dr. Goebbels “Big Lie” Award: This award goes to Neil Goldschmidt, Tom Walsh and all the other downtown business interests who helped perpetuate more lies about a people’s utility district than Enron has angry creditors. Aided by $2 million in misleading television, radio and print ads, these power brokers not only crushed the grassroots campaign, but set themselves up for buying PGE themselves — a fact they failed to mention while trashing the PUD.

The Half a Tram is Better than None Award: This award for fudging numbers goes to OHSU, the 800 lb. gorilla that pushed City Hall into approving an aerial tram for the South Waterfront project despite the outcry of angry residents. The contractor for the tram recently announced that the tram would cost 2-3 times more than the amount in the original contract.

I’m afraid that like our friends at the Oscars, we’ve run overtime and will have to wrap up before announcing the rest of our winners. We’d like to thank Randy Leonard for driving neighborhood associations to consider armed struggle; the management at PGE Park for demonstrating that with a little hard work you can screw up every event, and finally to Michael Powell for keeping a straight face while making contract offers to his workers that would make you laugh it the offers weren’t so insulting. Until next year...




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Last Updated: December 30, 2003