A Wild Ride Into 2024 By Dave Lister

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A Wild Ride Into 2024 By Dave Lister

  • Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt wants a life sentence for the “TriMet Barber.” His new tough-on-crime stance indicates he’s heard there is an election coming up.
     
  • Speaking of DA Schmidt, he’s had a lot of press time lately explaining why everything that’s wrong in Multnomah County is because of someone other than him. Meanwhile, eager voters are waiting to check the box for “the other guy.”
     
  • Turns out the other guy is Nathan Vasquez, a prosecutor in Schmidt’s own office, who says that Mike Schmidt has made Portland “unsafe and unrecognizable.”
     
  • Vasquez should win this thing easily. Even the good progressives with the BLM signs and rainbow flags on their homes don’t like their yard furniture getting jacked whenever they leave it out.
     
  • The good folks at “People for Portland” have thrown up another billboard barb. The “all talk, no action” theme is aimed at DA Schmidt and County Chair Jessica Vega Pedersen. The image is of those chattering, wind-up teeth.
     
  • It’s not all Schmidt, of course. We have the failed Measure 110 drug decriminalization to blame as well. Interestingly, they were both funded by America-hater George Soros.
     
  • Bybee Lakes Hope Center, the homeless program started with private money, is out of funds. The county has grudgingly given them a lifeline. The problem they have with the Bybee model is that it works. The county doesn’t like that.
     
  • The county fought the Bybee Lakes project from its inception. Originally, they thought putting homeless people in a building built as a jail would be “stigmatizing.” Better they stay unwashed under tarps.
     
  • Speaking of tarps, we learned throughout the pandemic that the county’s answer to homelessness was to hand out tents, tarps and sleeping bags.
     
  • The county primarily serves the homeless population through carefully chosen nonprofits. If you were making six figures running one of them, how badly would you want to solve homelessness?
     
  • The county loves to hand out stuff. Until it went public, they were planning to hand out tinfoil and pipes for smoking meth and fentanyl. Their reasoning was that the needle exchange program was winding down because addicts are now smoking and not shooting.
     
  • Needle exchange, of course, came into being to combat blood-borne illnesses like HIV and hepatitis. I’m not sure what illness you are preventing with clean aluminum foil between hits.
     
  • A recent report shows public transit accommodations test positive for meth and fentanyl residue. Years ago, similar tests turned up bacteria, and TriMet spokesperson Mary Fetsch insisted that was good for the immune system. Maybe being exposed to meth and fentanyl residue on public transit helps protect one from an overdose.
     
  • Willamette Week and investigative heir apparent to Nigel Jaquiss, Sophie Peel, continue their fight against prominent politicians with ties to La Mota. They’ve set their sights on Congresswoman Val Hoyle, former head of the Bureau of Labor and Industries.
     
  • In her initial interview, Hoyle was asked if she had dined with either of the La Mota owners. She replied that she wasn’t sure, wasn’t saying she did or didn’t – but if she did, she was sure the tab was under $50.
     
  • It seems Hoyle was mixed up with some sort of endeavor to legitimize unpaid interns in the marijuana dispensary business. Reminds me of former Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly using unpaid interns so they got experience with cash registers.
     
  • As a frequent commenter on Willamette Week mentioned, “Where was that internship opportunity when I was in high school?” If you’re my age, that resonates.
     
  • Gov. Tina Kotek has convened a board of heavy hitters to figure out how to fix downtown Portland. How hard is it to write “drugs, crime and homelessness” on a legal pad?
     
  • We all know Portland’s problems are obvious and decades in the making, but it is amusing to watch liberal politicians, like Kotek and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, talk about enforcing laws. It must be very conflicting for them.
     
  • Wheeler wants Kotek to give him 100 state troopers to help police Portland. Maybe he shouldn’t have gone along with defunding police in the first place.
     
  • Like Schmidt, Wheeler is pretty good at blaming others. For most of his tenure, he has blamed Portland’s form of government for his woes. I never heard Schrunk, Ivancie or Katz complain about it.
     
  • Wheeler’s latest complaint is that the city cannot enforce a ban on public drug use unless the legislature tweaks some law on the books, six months from now. I would like a mayor who would tell the cops to enforce it now and worry about the lawsuits later.
     
  • Wheeler has announced he will not seek a third term. He says he wants to be laser focused in his final year on the problems he has ignored for his first seven.
     
  • Really, I suspect Wheeler has a different motive. I suspect he read what the mayor’s role will be under Portland’s new form of government and figures he won’t be able to cut ribbons without hurting himself.
     
  • Of course, Wheeler’s successors will not be able to blame our form of government for much longer. In a little over a year, we will be paying higher salaries to the 12 council clowns than we are to the five we have now. It’s going to be a wild ride.

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