Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Economic growth via young singles? Not.

Cities such as Portland have put their stock in creating a vibrant environment that is attractive to young -- often-single, usually childless -- professionals and artists. Their belief is that these people will spark sustained economic growth and vibrancy in downtowns that have otherwise declined.

Not so fast, says Joel Kotkin, a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. In this morning's Wall Street Journal, Kotkin says this effort is "less successful than advertised," and that urban centers traditionally favored by these young singles have experienced below-average job and population growth because of the flight of families to the suburbs:
Cincinnati, Baltimore, Cleveland, Newark, Detroit and Memphis have danced to the tune of the hip and the cool, yet largely remain wallflowers in terms of economic and demographic growth. Instead...the strongest job growth has consistently taken place in those regions--such as Houston, Dallas, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham--with the largest net in-migration of young, educated families ranging from their mid-20s to mid-40s.
Portland officials might argue that its city isn't in that list, and that its numbers don't play along with Kotkin's argument, but Kotkin responds (emphasis mine):
Advocates of the brew-latté-and-they-will-come approach often point to greater Portland, Ore., which has experienced consistent net gains of educated workers, including families. Yet most of that migration--as well as at least three quarters of the region's population and job growth--has been not to the increasingly childless city, but to the suburban periphery. This pattern holds true in virtually every major urban region.
Kotkin quotes Paul Levy, the president of the Center City district association in Philadelphia, who notes that just 14 percent of Center City residents have children, and half of Center City's residents move out when they hit their mid-30s. Levy continues:
If you want to sustain the revival you have to deal with the fact that people with six year olds keep moving to the suburbs. Empty nesters and singles are not enough....Our agenda has to change. We have to look at the parks, the playgrounds and the schools.
Alas, Portland is too busy building trams and condos amid the concrete jungle -- and too busy closing formerly vibrant school communities -- to worry about providing a place for people with a 6-year-old.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Just say no

Regardless of what happens this Saturday -- and I don't expect it to be pretty -- the Oregon Ducks should decline any bowl invitation. As we saw last year, there is no upside to accepting a trip to Las Vegas and getting embarrassed by Air Force or New Mexico.



Quote of the Day: on loving other Christians

I'm reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, and chapter 12 deals with Miller's experience at conservative suburban churches contrasted with his current church, Imago Dei. It's clear he loves his church (and from what I've read and heard, there's good reason), and it's clear that he struggled with the conservative political ideals he found in those conservative suburban churches. As he said on page 131 of my paperback version:
I just felt like, in order to be a part of the [church] family, I had to think George W. Bush was Jesus. And I didn't. I didn't think that Jesus really agreed with a lot of the policies of the Republican Party or for that matter the Democratic Party.
At the end of the chapter, Miller comes to the conclusion (with some help from the Apostle Paul as told by Eugene Peterson) that we need to ask God to help us find a church with people who hold the same interests and values, and let go of any grudges we might have against previous churches.
I had to tell my heart to love the people at the churches I used to go to, the people who were different than me. This was entirely freeing because when I told my heart to do this, my heart did it, and now I think very fondly of those wacko Republican fundamentalists, and I know that they love me, too, and I know that we will eat together, we will break bread together in heaven, and we will love each other so purely it will hurt because we are a family in Christ.
Those lines made me laugh out loud -- which was good, because it kept me from cringing. Am I one of those "wacko Republican fundamentalists"? How do my political positions affect my ability to love "the least of these," and how do they impact others' willingness to let me love them? These are some of the questions I'm asking and praying about.

Labels: ,


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Would you like some yarn with that latte?


Monday, November 19, 2007


This came from my uncle, who sends me many things; my 9-year-old noted that "some of it is cool, some of it is kinda weird," which pretty much sums him up:
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Aspirin, sun lotion or a sticky plaster to a student, but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know my Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I'm a Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.



Friday, November 16, 2007

Quote of the Day: on Oregon tax reform

Today's quote of the day comes from Rob Kremer, who noted a new task force to study ideas for restructuring state revenue sources. The task force has two spots for "taxpayer association representatives," and one of the spots went to Chuck Sheketov of the Oregon Center for Public Policy (OCPP). This prompted Rob to proclaim:
Calling the OCPP a taxpayer association representative is roughly the equivalent of calling Planned Parenthood an "Embryo Advocacy Organization."

Labels: , ,


Sunday, November 11, 2007

I expected something closer to third grade

cash advance

(HT: Jack)

Friday, November 09, 2007

A class act -- with help from Molly Raphael

What would you do if you had the chance to obtain inside information on a chief business rival?

This apparently wasn't much of a dilemma for Saucony President Richie Woodworth, who received an unsolicited offer for Nike's 2008 fall product catalog -- Nike being the business rival -- and promptly mailed it to Nike CEO Mark Parker.

Parker contacted the FBI. Which created a sting to catch the alleged seller. Which caught a Portland man. Who was charged with theft of trade secrets under the Economic Espionage Act.

And how did they catch the man? The Oregonian story said it was done by tracing the man's e-mail address "to the Multnomah County Library, which identified Reynold Sare Chapin as having used an Internet address linked to the e-mails."

Did you catch that, civil libertarians? The Multnomah County Library cooperated with -- gasp!! -- the Federal Bureau of Investigation to reveal a patron's identity in a criminal investigation.

As an aside, Woodworth hasn't heard a peep from anyone at Nike, and Nike's only official response was to say they "appreciate...Mr. Woodworth's collaboration on this matter." Gee, how warm and friendly. How classy.

But regardless -- bravo, Mr. Woodworth. And bravo to Molly Raphael, the library director.

Labels: , ,


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Perusing the morning news

Thanks in part to the Oregonian's decision to drop a newspaper on my front lawn this morning (because, you know, the day after an election is a holiday):

Measure 49 passed easily. The remarkable thing was the post-election willingness of the Oregonian to truthfully describe the measure. The headline said it would end up "limiting property claims." The first paragraph said the vote would mean "rolling back the property development rights," approved in Measure 37. And inside, it said the vote "drastically scales back development" under 37. Too bad they weren't that up front before the election. Oh, and that editorial headline about how the tobacco industry spent $24 per no-vote for Measure 50? Well, first of all, according to the O's front page, it's $22 per vote -- but regardless, Phil Morris and friends put up a mint, and that was a prime reason why I voted for it. However, the pro-49 folks spent almost $5 million -- a bargain at just 40 percent of the terbacky lobby's purse, but a chunk of change nonetheless -- and outspent the anti-49 folks more than 2-to-1. So don't give me this crap about how special interest money killed Measure 50 -- it goes both ways.

Portland City Commissioner Erik Sten will give up seeking a compromise on the Interstate Avenue issue, and will vote for the change. Huh? What did I miss? Since when does an inability to reach compromise mean that you should cave in and cast a vote simply to be done with the issue? The lesson seems to be that if a group screams "racism" loud enough, they don't have to compromise.

Dennis Doyle wants to be the next mayor of Beaverton. He says his top priority is to gather city and county leaders to publicly decide the future of urban unincorporated areas. Hey Dennis, let me make it easy for you -- leave us the hell alone. As Jerry Boone said this morning, you've got enough trouble trying to convince the electorate that you're an innocent bystander in all the garbage that's happened under Mayor Rob Drake, even though you've been on the council for 14 years. Oh, and that goal of yours to broaden the council's responsibilities? To me, that sounds like a recipe for even more shenanigans.

The Hollywood writer's strike is in its second day! 'Desperate Housewives' has run out of scripts! The world is coming to an end! Maybe there are people who think this way, but as far as I'm concerned, the longer this lasts, the better.

Pat Robertson has endorsed Rudy Giuliani for president. Whoopee. This shows how desperate Guiliani is for an in-road into the evangelical vote. Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post calls it a loss for Mitt Romney, but I tend toward the mindset of an e-mailer to NRO, who said: "How did Romney pull that off?" Robertson is a loose wingnut, and for every voter who thinks Robertson's endorsement is a plus, there are two more who think less of Guiliani because of it.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Quote of the Day: convenient certainty

On the Corner today, Jonah Goldberg notes Fred Thompson's appearance on Meet the Press, and highlights Tim Russert's revelation that Thompson opposed early-term abortion prohibitions in the mid-1990s because he didn't know when life began and didn't think "the law ought to impose that standard on other people."

Thompson, while emphasizes that his voting history has always been pro-life,
acknowledges that Russert is accurate. However, Goldberg goes on to show how the logic of uncertainty has been used inconsistently by the pro-choice side and how the pro-life side has an opportunity to point this out (boldfaced emphasis mine):
Obviously I'm invested in defending the uncertainty case for being pro-life as it's my own position. But this is a good example of how completely the pro-choice side owns the logic of uncertainty. It seems perfectly natural and reasonable that if you're not sure life begins at conception, you have to be pro-choice. But that doesn't necessarily follow at all. As Reagan said, if you see a sack on the road that may contain puppies, you don’t go over and kick it.

Ironically, the left owns the logic of caution and uncertainty on so many issues, from the precautionary principle in environmentalism (unless you're positive it won't hurt the environment, you shouldn't do it) to its rage against cost-benefit analysis to its passionate opposition to any kind of free-market entitlement reform. So while drilling for oil in ANWR might, maybe, possibly, in some scenarios conceivably, cause harm to some caribou in a place no one will ever go and therefore it must not be done, a sweeping right to abort fetuses that quite reasonably could be called human beings is a no-brainer unless all doubt of any kind is totally obliterated.

Why couldn't Thompson have simply said: "I still don't know whether life begins at conception. But I've come to believe that it is not the place of government to decide which innocent humans [an important distinction for supporters of the death penalty] deserve the right to life and which do not. Government isn't God and cannot play God."

The problem with that statement is that the left will push to use government as deity when it fits into their worldview, while bashing religious conservatives for trying to do the same.


Friday, November 02, 2007

I expect Jack Bogdanski to be all over this

Jack has been a vocal supporter of John Edwards for the Democratic presidential nomination, so I expect to see this video on his site any day now.



Color me surprised

Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Guisto says he's innocent. Or at least that the story isn't entirely accurate. But I thought it interesting that this story quotes Guisto as refusing a polygraph test when this blog entry (quoting an Oregonian story from January) quotes Guisto as favoring polygraph tests for new deputy applicants. As Guisto said in the final paragraph:
Every tool available to us at the front end of the career to find the best applicants, we owe the public. I don’t know how you could argue against it.
I agree, sheriff. Except I think it's appropriate at any point in the career path, not just at the front end. Apparently you think it's OK for everyone but you? And if it's appropriate in the hiring process, doesn't that add legitimacy to the polygraph test that Fred Leonhardt passed? You know, the one that suggests you and the governor are lying through your teeth?

By the way, I did a double-take on today's Portland Tribune headline:
Giusto’s base erodes
My reaction: He has a base? What is it called? The Oregon Law Enforcement Cover-up Association?



Quote of the Day: Hillary's verbal gymnastics

Peggy Noonan chimes in this morning on the Hillary Clinton's "performance" in Tuesday's Democratic debate, noting that even a review of the transcripts make it difficult to determine Hillary's positions because they are so Twister-like. Here is Noonan's summation (emphasis mine because it made me laugh):
Giving illegal immigrants drivers licenses makes sense because it makes sense, but she may not be for it, but undocumented workers should come out of the shadows, and it makes sense. Maybe she will increase the payroll tax on Social Security beyond its current $97,500 limit, to $200,000. Maybe not. Everybody knows what the possibilities are. She may or may not back a 4% federal surcharge on singles making $150,000 a year and couples making $200,000. She suggested she backed it, said she didn't back it, she then called it a good start, or rather "I support and admire" the person proposing such a tax for his "willingness to take this on."

She has been accused of doubletalk and she has denied it. And she is right. It was triple talk, quadruple talk, Olympic level nonresponsiveness. And it was, even for her, rather heavy and smug. Her husband would have had the sense to look embarrassed as he bobbed and weaved. It was part of his charm. But he was light on his feet. She turns every dance into the polka. And it is that amazing thing, a grim polka.