Carol McCracken (Post # 2,550)
In his first State of the City speech, Mayor Ethan Strimling acknowledged he does not have any statistics or graphs nor can he predict the city’s GDP growth, but he is confident that the city is “strong..” In the space of 12 minutes, Strimling read an uninspiring statement that offered no new initiatives to a handful of people gathered at city council chambers. Clearly the Mayor hasn’t hired his new speech writer yet – the one that caused such controversy when word of it became public several weeks ago on this blog – but he clearly needs someone to step up for him\ in this capacity. The speech took place at 5:00 pm today at city hall prior to the regular monthly scheduled meeting. (Please see Post # 2,534 dated January 12, 2016 herein for more on this subject.)
It’s inevitable that Mayor Strimling will be compared with his predecessor Mayor Michael Brennan in many ways. Mayor Brennan was an excellent off-the cuff speaker – who didn’t use notes and spoke easily in front of crowds. He also began initiatives to respond to the needs of Portlanders.
The Mayor’s positive assessment of the City today was in sharp contrast to the picture that Councilor Nick Mavadones painted of the City last August 19th when he held a press conference on the steps of city hall. That was when he endorsed Ethan Strimling for Mayor. At that press conference Mavadones gave his famous “chicken little” talk – and blamed it all on Mayor Michael Brennan, who was running for re-election in November 2015. What an amazing turnaround in just a few months!
Mayor Strimling did acknowledge that the city has challenges to deal with, but was short on solutions for them. It was more “build baby build” talk.
It was clearly a speech by a Mayor elected to be a caretaker and to maintain the “status quo” for the city’s developers and business community. The figurehead Mayor did not mention the rental crisis in the city nor steps that might be taken to address that crisis for renters.