August 5, 2013 | Oregonian-- Steve Novick clearly understood the dilemma. He framed it over the weekend for the owner of Union Rose, a Montavilla clothing store:
"What does Portland need more?" the city commissioner asked Kelly Moyer: "Parking meters in Northwest Portland, as quickly as possible, or a city that stands up for principle?"
Moyer nailed it. A tough call, the shop owner said, but the principle is far more important than the parking meters.
Especially in a political arena where over-hyped and mercenary yahoos like Rudy Crew, Jack Graham and Jeff Cogen have, of late, invited so much cynicism and anger.
In his first stab at the same choice, Novick blew it.
The city's former parking manager, Ellis McCoy, accepted bribes totaling $164,567 from executives at Cale Parking Systems, but Novick was still willing to buy more meters from Cale to speed their installation in Northwest.
"We just came up with a grand compromise," he said. "I really don't want to postpone the Northwest parking agreement because of stupid Ellis McCoy."
On Monday, Novick took the full measure of that blunder and owned it.
He quoted the late Fiorello H. La Guardia, New York's legendary 5-foot-2 mayor: "When I make a mistake, I make a beaut."
And Novick informed his fellow commissioners that the Bureau of Transportation would most likely launch another RFP to secure as many as 400 new meters for Northwest and the Central Eastside.
Commissioner Nick Fish, for one, thought it was about time: "We can't afford to have the taint of the contract hanging over the city."
Moyer's opinion was not the only one to give Novick pause. He was contacted by a city employee over the weekend, and viewed the Facebook posts of several other current and former city workers.
They were embarrassed, they said, by McCoy's greed and the bureau's ineptitude, and ashamed the city would continue to traffic with the company that took advantage of both to secure a $20 million contract.
"That weighed heavily on me," Novick said. "Ultimately, I concluded I was thinking short-term and convenience. In the long term, we're better off sending the message that we take bribery seriously."
Whatever delay this means for the advent of parking meters on Northwest 23rd, Novick was adamant that READ FULL ARTICLE