Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Jack Bog's Kryptonite: Context, Delivered Relentlessly

Regular readers of LO know our high distaste for the unyielding dirge of disaster that is Jack Bog's Blog, both in substance and outlook. You just knew that after an election in which the things he wanted were fairly resoundingly rejected by a majority of Portlanders, Jack was going to be cranky. I don't want to spread too much of the bad vibe, but here's today's heaping helping of knee-jerk snark:
I can't believe that the majority of Portlanders want to continue down this path. But let's face it. More than half the people who mailed in their ballots (and their spouses' and significant others' and dead relatives' ballots) want the current juggernaut to continue. My best guess is that the vast majority of Portlanders don't understand, or don't care. And so hey, we soldier on. Read up on municipal bankruptcy, stock up on canned tuna, get a referral on handgun training from Ginny Burdick, stay friendly with your realtor pal, and watch the wheels of incompetent socialism roll on.
I don't think "soldiering on" involves whining like a young girl whose birthday party wasn't as good as Janey's, who got a pony for hers last month...but I've never served.

You want to talk about soldiering on, try being a beacon of reality amongst those grumbling masses. I'm a three-time loser when it comes to commenting at Bog's place; my ability to stay bland and nonbuzzkilling only lasts for a few comments before I'm booted. So here's a heroic effort from someone known only as "Richard," who puts it all into perspective:
I'm a long-time Portland resident. I know the city well, and I'm very fond of it. I think it has improved in many ways over the past 40 years: better mass transit, richer cultural life, more vital downtown, increasingly vital neigbborhoods, greater entrepreneurial spirit, larger proportion of people who really want to be living here rather than just happen to be living here.

More specifically, I think that many of the things that Jack and most of his commentators rail against are on balance positive for the city: the development of South Waterfront; the expansion of light rail; the Pearl district; condominiums (many of which are quite handsome and few of which replace good historic structures) that increase density and bring with them the cultural and economic benefits of more people living within the city.

The "Golden Age" of Portland that existed some 20, 30 or 40 years ago is a lie or a nostalgic dream. Maybe what the anti-change, anti-Californian, anti-Sten, anti-Homer, anti-planning crowd really misses is their own youth, or the feeling that Portland was somehow "my town" before it caught on with other people across the country.

Like all big cities, Portland faces big challenges and has to deal with a wide variety of problems. But all in all, it's a pretty great place. I hope that those who support the main theme of this blog--"Portland is going to hell because its leaders are corrupt and incompetent"--will at least pause and consider the possibility that there might be some informed and intelligent people within this city who actually approve of its general direction; those who disagree with the Bojack and Lars Larson line aren't necessarily ignoramuses or dupes.

And by the way, I'd like to express my appreciation for TK and Libertas, who so tirelessly offer intelligent comments that challenge the prevailing opinions on this blog.

(And no, I do not work for the city.)
Stay weird, Richard!