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Guest Opinion: I’m Tony Jordan and I endorse Jo Ann Hardesty for Portland City Council

Posted by on April 29th, 2018 at 4:58 pm

Cynthia Fisher, Jo Ann Hardesty (center), and Tony Jordan.
(Photos courtesy Tony Jordan)

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.

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“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.

JoAnnforPortland.com.

— 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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mh
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I was filling out my ballot and grinding my teeth about this race, and only this race. I celebrate a council member who is angry about important things that deserve fury, but am afraid of one who classifies cyclists as moneyed white guys who are unnecessarily coddled. Doug said “Tony Jordan has been advising her,” and I immediately filled in her bubble. At least she has a transportation advocate on her team (even if he is an entitled white guy).

Ms. Hardesty, please fight your way at least into a runoff. If I am forced to choose between Smith and Emmons, I won’t be able to vote for either.

soren
Guest
soren

Sarah Iannarone also endorsed Jo Ann Hardesty today:

“Given the lackluster leadership we’ve had on Portland City Council in recent years, I’m almost giddy to see someone with Jo Ann’s backbone, tenacity, and commitment to racial equity making a serious run for this seat — even on days she disagrees with me.”

https://medium.com/@sarahforpdx/portlands-voting-from-its-happy-place-2018-primary-local-election-endorsements-21d65cff162c

soren
Guest
soren

Jo Ann Hardesty has always been willing to speak truth to power as can be seen in her fierce opposition to the Columbia River Crossing here:

https://bikeportland.org/2013/02/04/anti-crc-rally-shows-opposition-still-has-strength-82581

Coalition for a Livable Future is hiring a full-time lobbyist to work in Salem starting today. CLF’s Board President Jo Ann Hardesty said the lobbyist will talk with every legislator. “They’ll tell them that this project is not acceptable, that Portlanders don’t want it, Oregonians don’t want it, and we can’t afford it.” “There’s nothing about this project that passes the smell test,” she added. “We the people get to decide what a livable community looks like, and that ain’t it.”

William Henderson
Guest
William Henderson

Thanks for writing this, Tony. I agree with every word, and second your endorsement for Jo Ann! Even if you don’t vote for her, transportation wonks who aspire to be truely progressive should do the work to understand Jo Ann’s perspective.

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

If JoAnn doesn’t get elected, it proves that Portland is incapable of addressing its transportation problems.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Here’s hoping Portlanders vote in a progressive pro-density city council! We in Minneapolis did just that last November, buoyed by a strong YIMBY movement – and just in time for this year’s rewrite of the city’s Comprehensive Plan. BIG zoning changes are on the horizon here. Most notably, nearly the entire city is going to be rezoned to allow up to fourplexes, but other upzoning actions are also part of the plan.

Unfortunately, Portland’s too-little-too-late easing of its own zoning restrictions coincided with a big spike in housing demand, causing a lot of people to assume a causal link where there is none. Let’s hope Portland’s voters realize the problem is there is still not enough supply, and that while new apartments are always expensive, their existence helps deter wealthier renters from bidding up the rents on older properties.

Gregg
Guest

I also fully support JoAnn Hardesty and I ride a bicycle too!

Sean Kelly
Guest
Sean Kelly

I’m another bicycle commuter for JoAnn. Portland has been too slow to adopt housing measures & strategies to make livability accessible for all.

Joe
Guest
Joe

I was hesitant about who to pick in this race because I don’t want to end up with another Fritz, but after a little research it became clear that JoAnn was the right choice for me, for basically all the reasons Tony points out. I didn’t realize JoAnn was so on-point with the land use policies by supporting “missing middle” and telling it to the Rose City NA NIMBYs. That is quite encouraging!

stevenovick
Guest
stevenovick

The oddest thing about Hardesty’s policy positions is that she supports a new tax (the gross receipts “Just Energy Transition” tax) allegedly to fight climate disruption, but would not spend a dime of the money on transportation, the biggest source of carbon emissions. I don’t see how she is going to get the money to improve transit options if, even when she herself proposes a new tax, that logically should fund transit, she doesn’t want to fund transit.

Douglas K
Guest
Douglas K

I’m also a Hardesty supporter. I was on board because of her work on police reform and housing, but I think she’s good on transportation as well.

Her campaign website has now added a position statement to transportation. Ms. Hardesty supports “access to free and widely available public transportation” and “a Portland where you can get where you need to go without using a car.” She wants to expand bus service and make it free (no specifics on how, beyond “securing and expanding our Youth Pass for students”) and supports the SW Corridor Project. She prioritizes public transportation over congestion pricing for equity reasons (“people of color in our community have been pushed to the edges of town” and shouldn’t be charged “for the privilege to come back for work or play”) and also is concerned about how drivers will seek to evade tolls by choosing new routes. She also doesn’t want congestion pricing to pay for more roads, but rather to invest in other modes of transportation, which I’m completely on board with.

David Hampsten
Guest

I’ve worked with both Hardesty and Valderrama through EPAP. I think they are both sympathetic towards alternative transport modes and would make good Portland city councilors. Neither are particularly avid cyclists.

I’m kinda glad I don’t have to choose between them, as I can no longer vote in Oregon.

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

Self-loathing white guys seem to love Hardesty.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony

anubus
We need centrists in this city, Recommended 7

Yes, because that’s been working out so well for us thus far.

SUVtoBike
Guest
SUVtoBike

What we really need in Portland is transportation tax reform so that bicyclists start paying their own way with user fees, licenses, registration fees and tolls for the infrastructure space on the street they selfishly reserve for themselves, when taken away from motor vehicle infrastructure adds to congestion and then expect the people who drive now in that congestion to pay for their special treatment. Additionally, the two wheel hypocrites can’t even decide whether they are vehicles (as in state law) or pedestrians and can’t even follow traffic laws such as stopping at stop signs or obey traffic signals for which they expect others to do. It is just twit mayhem on two wheels.

Al M
Guest
Al M

Damn Tony, look what you started.