Just down the street from me is an old firehouse. It was retired years ago and now serves as a private residence. This last year for Halloween, they actually partly converted it to a Ghostbuster themed Vacasa complete with props and even a really cool replica ghostbuster ambulance. How’s that for cool?
A 28 year old worker from Tacoma who worked at Zulily was just busted by skimming shipping fees charged on the site. He claimed he was inspired by the movie Office Space (and Richard Pryor in 1983’s Superman III), and stole about $260,000 in shipping fees by redirecting the payments into his own account. He also manipulated prices using his developer permissions to buy $41,000 in merchandise on the website for pennies on the dollar.
In a recent Goodwill find, I managed to buy a mint condition $1000 Xeltek Superpro IC programmer for $5. In the process of selling it, it turns out there is a local guy that does an amazing amount of work with these devices as well as PCB repair and a whole host of other electronics work.
Mike Schmidt is the current Portland DA. He, much like San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin, was elected on a platform of justice reform policies to reduce incarceration, bail, and alternatives to prosecution and sentencing. However, he was heavily criticized for mismanagement of the office, dramatic increases in crime, and insensitivity to victims (especially sexual assault victims his office dismissed). Ultimately voters chose to remove him from office by a recall.
So how has Schmidt done? Not so well. In fact, almost identically as bad.
First off, his office has been decimated with 13 lawyers leaving during the first nine months of 2022 when he took over. Most damning are seven of whom were women who wrote extremely pointed letters:
Amber Kinney, who as a veteran child abuse prosecutor handles some of the most serious and complex cases in the state’s largest district attorney’s office, outlined the reasons for her resignation in a blistering seven-page letter
Just like other cities that banked heavily on reform candidates, Portland has experienced dramatic upticks in crime. Portland is no different; but is dramatically worse than national averages. Almost all crimes have doubled in just 2 years. Particularly bad is the fact murders, disproportionately of people of color, have doubled until Portland’s per-capita murder rate is higher than Boston or San Francisco. The increased deaths of minorities in 2020 and 2021 now outstrips those killed by police in total over the last decade each year with 2022 shaping up to be even worse.
That might be excusable except he has had almost no success on any of his reform efforts. Combine that with such disasters from his leadership like this, and there is solid reason for Schmidt to be concerned:
In the last few months of 2022, 220 felonies and 75 misdemeanor cases were simply dropped because the DA failed to assign people to the cases. Cases included child abuse, DUII drivers, and a host of property crimes. Schmidt’s office dropping cases due to mismanagement has become a regular, monthly occurrence; while neighboring counties with nearly the same loads do fine.
Oregon has been one-party Democratically controlled for nearly 35 years. Princeton University’s non-partisan Gerrymander Project report on Oregon basically explains why our last governor election in 2022 resulted in a Democratic governor winner that didn’t even get half the votes.
Brian Smith, a Democratic campaign consultant and member of the Muscogee Nation who works to elect Democratic candidates of color, agrees with Schrader.
“I joked with some colleagues the day after the election that Oregon Democrats can’t even get their gerrymandering right,” he said.
Paul Hessburg gave this amazing TED talk in Oregon. Combined with Oregon’s increasingly hotter and drier summers (which will only increase), he says that our well-meaning efforts at forest conservation have actually led us to have very unhealthy forests that are ripe for megafires. He gave this talk years ago, but it has turned out to be even worse than he knew. The Pacific Northwest now has summers with massive forest fires – and air quality so bad that is now regularly off the chart and worst in the world. Most summers you can no longer have campfires in federal, state, or local forests. Unless we change our unhealthy forest management, we should expect bigger and bigger megafires as well as massive forest diseases.
It’s another example of unintended consequences of human actions. Sometimes, as we’re finding, over-conservation is turning out to be just as damaging as unmanaged forest destruction.
And of course, the Overlook hotel is actually Timberline Lodge – a place I’ve stayed and skied at over the years. I enjoyed the atmosphere so much that I attended a murder mystery party and one of their Halloween ‘Fright Night’ events.
I was going to try out RKC sleep for my next mattress as a local option (I heard good things about a the Beautyrest Black hybrid). I’ve been told they sell top brand mattresses at amazing discounts – often well below wholesale. If you don’t mind the no-frills shopping experience in search of top name mattresses for super-cheap – give them a shot.