Whether you think the 2014 Legislature was successful apparently depends on your

political party.

Within minutes of the session adjourning Friday, several legislators issued statements on it. Not surprisingly, Democrats, who control the Legislature, rated it higher than Republicans.

House Majority Leader Val Hoyle of Eugene, was one of the first to weigh in, saying, “Our focus going into this session was: What do we need to do to keep our state moving forward, and what can we get done to help the people of Oregon? We delivered better results for our students, put more Oregonians back to work, and pushed to make our state government work better.”

Not so fast, said House Republican Leader Mike McLane, who represents part of Central Oregon: “Of the 33 days in the Capitol, the majority party spent 32 days playing politics. With less than 24 hours left, Democrats finally revealed their budget to the public and Republican legislators. It’s unfortunate we’ve taken a break from the Oregon tradition of bipartisan problem-solving and apparently adopted a D.C.-style of gamesmanship.”

Busting broadband monopoly for a bigger monopoly

Is getting Google Fiber in town a progressive political issue? Apparently the folks running the BlueOregon website think so. They’ve launched an online petition urging the city council to bring Google’s ultra-high-speed broadband service to Portland to “bust up the corporate broadband monopoly.”

According to regular BlueOregon blogger Carla Axtman, Google Fiber is worth fighting for because, “For years, the Portland region has been at the whim of a small group of companies like Comcast, Qwest and Verizon that dominate the area’s broadband market.”

Of course, Google is no small potatoes itself. It recently became the second-most valuable company in the world, just ahead of Exxon Mobil, with a market value of around $389.6 billion. And it’s not like the council needs any encouragement. Mayor Charlie Hales and the rest of the council recently appeared at a city hall news conference to explain how hard they’re working to cut the deal.

Call for oversight overlooked till now

Separate reports by the City Club and the Portland Business Alliance find lots of problems with the proposed Portland Public Water District on the May 20 primary election ballot. Both say its passage could threaten the city’s bond rating and not result in water or sewer rates being lowered.

That doesn’t surprise Kent Craford, a co-petitioner of Measure 26-156. He says both organizations are too close to city hall to back a measure opposed by the city council.

Craford is a little surprised the City Club and PBA both say more oversight is needed to take politics out of council decisions that drive up water and sewer rates. The draft City Club report calls for the creation of an appointed Portland Water and Sewer Authority to recommend rates, while the PBA wants the council to convene as a utility district to consider water and sewer issues.

Although Craford dismisses both proposals as ineffective, he wonders why the City Club and PBA hasn’t made them before if they think the council has been playing politics with the bureau’s budgets.

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