Friday, January 21, 2011

He's not a beer

Sam Adams on the town

I like thinking about the mayor doing mundane things. (Or, in the case of that TV show's premiere at the Hollywood theater a few weeks ago, not so mundane things.)

I think a lot about the Mayor now that he's following me on Twitter -- which I know has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the fact that I identify myself as a Portlander on twitter. Not wanting to seem rude, or stand-offish, I followed him back, and now I receive all sorts of wonderful snippets from the Mayoral desk. (Or, more probably, his web-presence staff.)

Either way "he" is very attentive, very vocal. For some reason most of his replies to people seem to be confirmations-of-receipt of pothole complaints. But he also tweets about parades, meetings, weather hazards via ODOT, local craft fairs, leaf blowers and socks. It yields the comforting impression of a sort of old-fashioned down-home little town mayor who really is concerned about those potholes on 78th and Stark.

sam adams

It's safe to say that if this was a political tactic I have totally fallen for it. It's just as well it sparked an interest, for I only have a vague understanding about how local government actually works. I think after the last couple of rounds everyone is fairly solid on presidential elections, and if you like libraries or other things that often have taxation initiatives on every ballot you tend to have an opinion there. Mayor though. The only other mayor I've given much thought to is the figurehead of Townsville from the Powerpuff Girls. A charming fellow, but not exactly an accurate example of the noble post. One would hope not anyway.

So probably what this means is I need to learn more about mayors. What it is they do, what authority they have, why we have them, and so forth. I really should learn more about city governance in general. I worked extensively with the city of Greeley when I was doing the legal notices for the newspaper there, but I always dealt with the wonderful clerks, and never the mayor -- I don't even know who the mayor of Greeley was at that time. For shame! Could a young illustrator visit the mayor's office or workplace? Go on an informational tour? A day in the life of a mayor!? A girl can dream.

In the mean time there's probably books. And in the meantime there's the city of Portland website. I suppose that's a good place to start.