Pouring on charm won't sway this guy

Owners of local bars and liquor stores have long complained of what they see as puritanical Oregon Liquor Control Commission agents.

Well, to paraphrase Jack Nicholson's Joker character in the movie 'Batman,' wait till they get a load of Stanley Grubbs.

The former assistant chief of the Portland Police Bureau, who retired shortly after being demoted by Rosie Sizer when she took over as chief, was hired last week as a $36,540-a-year 'liquor regulatory specialist' by the OLCC.

As a rookie, Grubbs exhibited by-the-book ways that caused cops to repeatedly throw loose change in the back of his patrol car, just so they could laugh at him for filling out reports on the coins and turning them into the police bureau's property room.

Later, to put it charitably, his emphasis on accountability over affability created both friends and foes.

'We're happy to have him,' said OLCC spokesman Ken Palke, adding that Grubbs will be able to run decoy operations and go undercover himself. Misbehaving bar owners, the jig is up.

Reading between the lines of the Voters Pamphlet

Connoisseurs of sneaky politics will enjoy the Voters Pamphlet arguments on four proposals to change the City Charter that are on the May ballot.

Although the fight over the measure to place all city bureaus under a professional manager appointed by the mayor is being waged primarily between affiliates of the Portland Business Alliance (in favor) and city labor unions (against), their names appear nowhere in the arguments.

Instead, most of the arguments are submitted by generic-sounding political action committees, like Citizens to Reform City Hall and Portlanders for Accountability.

Another clever move was by proponents of the Mayor Tom Potter-backed change in the city's form of government.

Starting with the first measure that appears - a slam-dunk administrative measure with no opposition - voters will find that Potter's allies have front-loaded the pamphlet with statements urging them to vote yes to all four charter-change measures en masse.

Of the first 30 statements voters read, 24 will urge them to vote yes on all four proposed charter changes; four will urge yes on specific measures; and two will urge no on a different measure. Only then will voters (if they're still paying attention) come to the no arguments on the form-of-government measure - the most controversial one.

They could be trembling over at Billary HQ

If at first you don't succeed, try … and run for president?

That's apparently the thought behind Glen Livingston's campaign to draft Mary Starrett - who garnered 3 percent of the vote for Oregon governor in 2006 - for the presidential nomination of the Constitution Party in 2008.

'If there's a woman already in it, Hillary Clinton for the Democrats, Mary would make even a better candidate than that,' said Livingston, 51, of Southwest Portland, who works as an exterior modeling contractor and has a penchant for local politics.

Livingston says he has run for local office a number of times - for instance, challenging city Commissioner Mike Lindberg in 1992.

Now, Livingston said he's sent notice of his latest campaign, Starrett's, to Constitution Party leaders across the country and received two responses so far: one in favor and the other not so much.

As for Starrett herself, he said, 'She doesn't feel she's qualified for it. But she didn't exactly say no.'

- Tribune staff

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