LETTERS to the Editor
"Charter change" on November ballot
Thank you for your editorial endorsing the new charter plan for Portland. Indeed, it decided me. It makes a couple of good points — for example, that change is clearly called for; and that this proposal, drafted over 18 months and countless public hearings, was thoroughly vetted and widely endorsed, including by a "super majority" of the volunteer Charter Commission.
As for the City Council naysayers, Commissioners Mingus Mapps and Dan Ryan, who are now looking to offer a somewhat different and presumably better plan down the road, may I remind them that "perfect is the enemy of good".
THE BEE is a fine little newspaper. I quite like it. I especially enjoy the local history articles and photographs. I hope you can keep it going in a tough environment.
Editor, Something is broken in Portland government. Homicides and traffic fatalities are at record levels. Car thefts, burglary, and robbery are escalating. Graffiti and trash are everywhere. The city is failing to provide some of the most essential public services. With this lack of city leadership, it is tempting to believe that some structural change in city government will make things better. However, the Charter Commission proposal, Measure 26-228, will only make things worse, far worse.
Does anyone truly believe that a 12 member City Council will better be able to address the real problems Portland has now? It is more likely to devolve into bickering and promotion of individual agendas, particularly if they are elected by the unusual ranked-choice voting scheme. . .
Proponents of the charter change argue that it is necessary in order to increase minority representation. Have they looked at the current City Council, which has three minority members, of five? Though Portland is a city with a small minority population, voters have had no problem with electing minority council members. . .
Under the Charter proposal, no matter what the Council passes, the Mayor must implement it. . . Will the 12 new City Council members all vote themselves big salaries, staffs, and office space? Who knows how much this experiment will cost?
Most people agree we would do better under a single administrator. But to get there, do we need to accept all the bad things in the charter proposal? Commissioner Mapps has a better idea. Vote No now to get to a better Yes later. I am a resident of Sellwood and a 50-year Portland resident.
S.E. 15th Place
Glad to see you're continuing to talk about the Charter change, and that it is on Portland's November ballot. I hope it passes. I know I'll vote for it. And I appreciate all that you've done to try to raise awareness of it in THE BEE.
Whether it passes or not, I thought I'd point out that there are also ways for citizens to help improve the city, by reporting things like graffiti, abandoned cars, etc.
Report abandoned vehicles, or vehicles with people living in them, online — www.portland.gov/transportation/parking/abandoned-auto
Report graffiti, potholes, overgrown vegetation, illegal campsites, or tents on sidewalks, garbage, etc., here — pdxreporter.org — or by calling 311.
Richard Robinson via email
It's been a downhill slope living in Portland for ten years. I now feel I live in a city of grit, graffiti, crime, trash, and untrustworthy public officials. I am going to vote yes for this reform because I cannot tolerate waiting another year for another "form" of a better proposal.
I have voted yes on every additional tax requested, I have tried my best to be a good citizen and a good neighbor, but I cannot bear to see this city deteriorate into such rampant incompetent officials who cannot take care of anything — the people dying on the streets in traffic accidents, the gun violence, homicides, meth-psychosis afflicted individuals, abandoned vehicles, homeless, lack of a detox center that provides access to long-term drug rehab and recovery, the underfunded police… I need not say more. I need change and I need it now. Juliana James S.E. 15th Avenue
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