Posted by Tony Jordan (Contributor) on April 29th, 2018 at 4:58 pm
Tony Jordan is a long-time BikePortland reader and founder of Portlanders for Parking Reform.
I’m Tony Jordan and I support Jo Ann Hardesty for Portland City Council Position 3.
I’ve been active in the housing and transportation political scene for many years and I think Jo Ann has the integrity, resolve, and lived experience to help Portland earn its celebrated position at the vanguard of progressive and sustainable cities.
“Jo Ann is well regarded as being a champion for everyday Portlanders and has never been afraid to speak truth to power, or tell you how she sees it.”
Her platform contains a lot to be excited about. She has solid ideas about sustainable industry, she is uniquely poised to reform our police department, she supports the Residential Infill Project, and she wants to make public transit affordable and effective for everyone by expanding the youth pass, bringing down fares, and prioritizing buses on busy streets at peak hours.
Jo Ann doesn’t say everything I want to hear and that’s OK. She is not afraid to tell the Rose City Park Neighborhood Association (one of the most “NIMBY” neighborhoods in the city) that “we will have more people, we will be more dense” and that we need “housing for every income level in every community.” Jo Ann is also not afraid to tell transportation wonks that she is skeptical of congestion pricing and road pricing. Jo Ann is well regarded as being a champion for everyday Portlanders and has never been afraid to speak truth to power, or tell you how she sees it. When you talk to Jo Ann, and I do believe that Jo Ann will be an accessible commissioner, it will be clear if your message resonates with her or not.
I’ve also learned that Jo Ann is a fighter and I believe she is a commissioner who will make progress on the issues she chooses to focus on. Jo Ann is a reluctant politician and I don’t think she will make the same frustratingly political moves I have seen far too often as an observer of City Hall. Too often do we hear pleasing campaign rhetoric from our candidates and then we are disappointed as they compromise or capitulate on delivering results. I went to a house party for Jo Ann where Israel Bayer, former Executive Director of Street Roots put it this way, “Portland politicians run left, and govern right.” Jo Ann has a sustained record of holding the establishment accountable for progress. She has chosen critical issues for her platform: police accountability and reform, housing all Portlanders, advancing Portland’s green future, and providing access to government for all citizens and I know she will make progress on these issues.
“I’m OK with her not being a transportation wonk, because I know that her voice is needed to highlight and make progress on issues that have been stalled out much longer than diverters on the Salmon greenway.”
I know that a lot of people in my circles; BikePortland readers, YIMBYs, active transportation advocates, and cheerleaders for the “missing middle” to name a few, are on the fence about whether to cast a vote for Jo Ann Hardesty. These communities are largely made up people with social and economic privileges and it’s important to examine how much of this hesitance comes from the idea of a strong black woman wielding significant political power in a very white city. On the policy side, a big issue is her skepticism of road pricing and her concerns about the impact of tolls on Portland’s low income citizens. I understand this concern, I’ve been at countless meetings, hearings, and committees where “equity” is a buzzword used cynically by people who don’t want to pay for the resources they use. I don’t think Jo Ann is cynical in her concerns about user fees. Jo Ann promises to represent the voices of Portlanders who aren’t always present at our meetings and happy hours and who might not be commenting on our blogs or facebook groups.
Jo Ann will bring a much needed perspective, informed by lived experience, to a council that has been far too homogenous for far too long. I’m OK with her not being a transportation wonk, because I know that her voice is needed to highlight and make progress on issues that have been stalled out much longer than diverters on the Salmon greenway. We should also remember that having a wonky commissioner doesn’t guarantee a wonky vote. If you’ve spent time lobbying commissioners, you’ve almost certainly been told that they know your argument is correct, but they’re getting calls from their big donors and they need to get re-elected.
Transportation advocates have been very successful in Portland in raising awareness about our concerns and demanding changes. We must be mindful that there are many people in this city who don’t have the access or power to effect the changes they need, I believe Jo Ann will seek out and amplify those voices.
My passion is parking reform and I believe strongly that we should charge market rates for on-street parking. I am also a car-free everyday cyclist who knows that charging people to drive on congested roads during peak hours works. I’m endorsing Jo Ann Hardesty even though I know that we will have to work hard to earn her support for those policies. Jo Ann Hardesty will hold the transportation advocacy community accountable to propose solutions that truly consider the people who aren’t at the table. I think that’s a very good thing and I know that we are up for the challenge.
— Tony Jordan @twjpdx23 on Twitter
For more on this race, read an of Hardesty’s competitor Andrea Valderrama by former Commissioner Steve Novick. And don’t miss the discussion in the comment section.
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