Your Viewpoint: Portland doesn’t need a big-city mayor

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The governance committee of the Portland Charter Commission will be attempting to steer Portland voters away from a well-managed city government to either a politicized or a highly politicized city government. Both options are centered on a “strong” mayor, with little or no regard for his or her fiscal aptitude, experience, and management skills as job requirements.

Think of the Woody Allen film “Bananas” and you’ll get one possible outcome. Or, more likely a big-city boss like Chicago’s late Mayor Richard Daly, handing out favors to cronies who helped put him in office. Of course, Portland could seesaw back and forth between one politically extreme mayor and the opposite, but that would not make for a well-managed city either.

Small-city Portland with a big-city mayor could be exciting – lots of potential corruption opportunities to get angry and ginned up about. Let’s go for it! Maybe some voters will be lucky and get their choice of a politicized mayor. As “Dirty Harry” once asked, “Do you feel lucky? Well, do you, punk?” 

Robert Kahn
Portland