Way back when the kids were still kids, I got a little Portland political wake up call when the city decided to close our local swimming pool. City Council cried ‘austerity! austerity!’ and that they had to close Buckman Pool. Led by Christine Yun and others, we organized, demonstrated, wrote, testified and pools were saved by last-minute budget money. Since then our little pool was put on the chopping block three more times and each time Christine led the Buckman Pool Heros in demonstrating, writing, testifying and keeping the pool open. Coming from Chicago, I had expected Portland to have cleaner politics: Having no expectations is highly regarded in Toltec and other teachings.
Now, our money-elected commissioners have Buckman Pool on the chopping block again, this time with a budget surplus. Is this anyway for a free people to live? Is that anyway to treat my wife? It sure does not make me want to shout out, “DemocracyHere! Hey look here Flint, this is how you manage your water; Hey Hey, look here Chicago, this is civilian control of your police; Hi Germany, this is how we have fair recreational opportunities; Yo world, this is how we elect public servents.”
Our local swimming pool is small and losing it is surely trivial compared with the unfairness faced by thousands sleeping out in Portland tonight. For me, Buckman Pool is significant as a kind of Portland-political awakening and as a measure of what money does to elected officials.
Jan 13, 2016