A guest post from Portland blogger and PCP Patrick Castles about the recent controversy involving City Council Member Jo Ann Hardesty and her refusal to enforce the Portland City Code.
We are used to the Democrat/Left complaining about the politics of fear, allegedly a province of Republicans who believe that an unprotected border is a danger to the country. So, it is surprising that we find the leftist Portland City Council (aka People’s Republic of Portland) passing a law by a 3-0 vote requiring owners of unreinforced brick buildings to post signs notifying the public of seismic hazards. Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who was not a part of the original decision, now opposes it. In Portland’s quirky ruling system, Commissioners are assigned to bureaus. Hardesty was assigned to the Portland Fire Bureau which administers the building ordinance.
Hardesty’s opposition apparently takes her cue from the Portland chapter of the NAACP, which also opposed the ordinance. As head of the Fire Bureau, Hardesty recently announced that she would not be enforcing the Council’s earlier decision, which caused great consternation among her comrade commissioners. Republicans, of course, can only bemusedly stand by and watch as the self-destructive council suffers from the well-worn tactic of the Mayor who refused to provide Portland police protection against anarchists threatening Immigration Customs Enforcement officers from threats of assault, ICE officers from enforcing U.S. Border laws based on sanctuary city ordinances, or Republicans desiring participation in the 82nd Avenue Parade. All these non-enforcement actions set a precedent that Hardesty couldn’t resist.
Republicans have mixed feelings about the position taken by Hardesty. On one hand, Republicans believe in democracy—the virtue of a system that promotes the Constitutional ideal that the actions of the government come from the consent of the governed and that consent is derived from a vote of the people. Thwarting that will is undemocratic. On the other hand, Republicans want to divest themselves of government overreach in the form of excessive regulation, no matter the virtue of building shaming and other forms of political pressure derived from the presumed superior morality of the leftist children in charge of Portland city government.
But as Republicans, we believe the Portland City Council has not done enough to warn Portlanders of all building hazards. For example, and regarding snout house suburban construction featuring odious homage to the automobile, a sign might read, as follows:
“Warning, hold on to your comfort animals as you pass this ugly snout house dedicated to the carbon emitting car.”
Or, passing the Portland Building:
“Warning, The Portland City Council advises you purge your stomach contents before passing this ugly building with small windows and a sexist female statue, created by a former right-wing administration.”
But let us say as Republicans and citizens of Portland, Oregon, in the name of bipartisanship, let us stop this bickering. We would like to propose a compromise. We don’t think it benefits anyone to have an unseemly conflict among our commissioners. Therefore, we would like to propose that instead of the original language, the sign should have a single scarlet E implanted on each accused building at eye level as your City proves that, once again, it is, “The City that works.”