Last week we shared an interview with Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. This week we hear from one of the candidates who wants her seat: Vadim Mozyrsky.
Mozyrsky is an administrative law judge who specializes in disability law (and sees improving city policy for people with disabilities as one of his top priorities if elected). He lives in the Goose Hollow neighborhood and, while he’s a newcomer to local politics, he’s well-known in civic circles for his service on a number of committees and commissions. Mozyrsky is currently a member of the Portland Charter Commission, that’s looking into changing Portland’s form of government; and the Portland Committee on Community Engaged Policing, a group charged to be a liaison between the community and the Portland Police Bureau. Mozyrsky is a former member of the Citizen Review Committee, formed by the City of Portland in 2001 to improve police accountability; the Portland Commission on Disability (now defunct); and the Portland Public Safety Action Coalition.
Like many of you, before last week I didn’t know much at all about Mozyrsky. He contacted me out of the blue when a mutual friend of ours suggested I could help him learn a bit more about transportation issues in Portland. I agreed to meet him for an informal chat, and after we had an interesting conversation over coffee on NW 23rd Street last week, I invited him into our studio to record something on the record.
We talked about his personal story as an immigrant from Kiev, Ukraine and how he more recently escaped Houston’s terrible traffic for the walkable and bikeable streets of Portland. Mozyrsky also explained his ideas on how to boost bicycling and reduce driving, how to improve policing and law enforcement, how tackle Portland’s homelessness crisis, his style of leadership, and much more.
A few notable moments from this episode:
“Culture dictates policy“, in response to a question about whether or not Portland’s 25% bicycle mode share goal is possible. Mozyrsky said he believes the role of council is “governing by culture” as much as policy. “Over the last few years, that [biking] culture has unfortunately fallen by the wayside. We’ve had politicians in the past, Blumenauer, Sam Adams, that have sort of raised that culture and made it a focal point of policy making. That’s what we need to reinvigorate…”
“I wouldn’t say I’m pro-police. I’m pro victim’s rights,” in response to a question about his strong support for more police officers. “We’re seeing a breakdown in the system right now… People who are in danger, people who have needs, we need to make sure that those needs are addressed. And if a crime is taking place, we need to make sure that someone arrives there and helps those individuals out.”
“Instead of governing by an ideology, I will govern by listening,” in response to a question about how he would reach out to people who didn’t vote for him if he was elected. “It’s been a hard couple years. Let’s bring people together and fix the problems that we have.”
“I think that’s not forward looking. That’s backwards looking,” in response to a question about how he might use PBOT to impact the homelessness crisis, Mozyrsky said one of the problems are that bureaus are currently very siloed. Mozyrsky seems to prefer a shift to having a city manager which would free up commissioners to do legislation, instead of run bureaus (which he likens to corporations). “There’s not enough time to govern. The only person that’s for our current form of government is my opponent. And I think that’s not forward looking. That’s backwards looking.”
This episode was recorded on December 4th, just five days after he filed his paperwork with the city elections office.
You can follow Mozyrsky at his campaign website, VoteVadim.com.