“At the end of the day, the public needs to vigorously evaluate and remove its underperforming leaders.”
— John L
Welcome to the Comment of the Week, where we highlight good comments in order to inspire more of them. You can help us choose our next one by replying with “comment of the week” to any comment you think deserves recognition. Note: This column will be posted on Monday mornings from now on.
With ballots due tomorrow, John L’s comment struck us as a timely reminder that our votes matter. On Friday OPB reported about deep pessimism among Portlanders, and an historically low voter turnout trend continued into the weekend.
In our corner of the world, the Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) has also experienced growing dissatisfaction, which has led to talk of reorganizing the modal advisory committees. This is the oldest of debates — is it the individuals or the system that needs changing? John L forcefully argues that tweaking the system is not enough and that your informed vote for competent leadership is critical. His comment stood out because it hewed closely to the subject of the article, and was concise.
Here’s what they wrote:
I don’t have the sense that the BAC, past or present, has lacked for expertise, knowledge, or hard work. My feeling is the core problem is the city’s attitude toward the BAC. I recall last year when the BAC’s attempt to hold the PBOT commissioner accountable resulted in the BAC being bullied into a cringing apology.
City electeds and staff often seem to forget that they work for us, not the other way around. Until that changes, public advisory bodies will remain an exercise in box-checking theater and misuse of civic-minded Portlanders.
Incidentally, advisory bodies that get elevated to rule-making bodies have problems of their own. They can become another tool of the city, an unelected, handpicked, and beholden body to further reduce electeds’ accountability for their decisions.
At the end of the day, the public needs to vigorously evaluate and remove its underperforming leaders. If voters won’t do that, then all this is just window dressing.
Read the comment and the rest of the thread, here.
Thank you for being part of the conversation John L!
Lisa Caballero has lived in SW Portland for 20 years. She is on the Transportation Committee of her neighborhood association, the Southwest Hills Residential League (SWHRL) and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.