You know it's a lousy election when no one can come up with any good jokes about it Ñ and saying that the proposed income tax hike is Measure 28 on steroids Ñ which it is Ñ somehow doesn't cut it. You mean to tell me the public and union officials who cooked up this one couldn't have come up with something better for us to vote on? É The people who're angriest are the ones, like me, who feel they weren't given any choice but to vote yes. É Win, lose or draw, if serious negotiations for a new teacher contract don't start this summer, I predict they've got a taxpayer revolt on their hands. É And to top it off, the Multnomah County Elections Division doesn't even have its act together. Am I the first one to notice the contradictory voting instructions on the mail-in ballot? On the ballot it says: 'You may use pen (black or blue) or pencil.' On the 'secrecy envelope': 'We suggest you USE A #2 PENCIL to vote. (If you use a pen, mark over any votes with a #2 pencil.)' Huh?
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Inquiring minds want to know why parking mogul Greg Goodman doesn't seem more upset that his company may be about to lose its long-standing contract to run the city's SmartPark garages. É Could it be, says one City Hall insider, that the Goodman family just doesn't want the SmartPark contract anymore? É The parking business has been down lately. And besides, with ownership of all or part of 30 downtown blocks (plus most of the commercial parking lots in town), the Goodmans are the largest single downtown property owner. In other words, pal, who needs the aggravation?
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Former KATU (2) weatherman Jim Bosley, who somehow ended up as an honorary local consul to the island nation of Fiji, says the Oregon Consular Corps (which is apparently something real, because he capitalizes it) has challenged Gov. Kulongoski's bowling team to a match. É All of which raises at least two important questions: One, does the governor really have a bowling team, or was it just a campaign gimmick to persuade the voters that he's a regular guy like the rest of us? And two, what is a consul? É Boz, for example, represents the interests of Turtle Island, a small Fijian vacation spot owned by his good friend, Vancouver, Wash., zillionaire Richard Evanson. Ask him nicely, and he'll send you a brochure or something.
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The Great Bowling Challenge notwithstanding, my favorite P-town consular tale takes place back in the '70s when Ray Kell still ran Portland. One dark and stormy night, Ray got stopped for what, under ordinary circumstances, would have been an open-and-shut case of drunken driving. É Undoubtedly because of some work his law firm had done for interests in South Korea, Ray was consul for that country Ñ and he claimed diplomatic immunity. Well, you can't blame him for trying. É What makes it such a great story, though, is that the district attorney, Harl Haas, actually granted it. É And if you can top that for authentic tales of Portland derring-do, it's lunch on me at the restaurant of your choice.