It looks like a bit of a war o' words is brewing between two well-known and controversial icons in Portland journalistic/blogging circles--John Canzano of The Oregonian, who we all know (and perhaps some of us love), and Lewis and Clark law professor and well-known online commentator of the local political scene, Jack Bogdanski, or "bojack" as he is better known. Bojack last attracted attention of bedgers when during the playoffs, he called for Nate McMillan's head--that said, sports is not his forte. The subject of this little battle royale--Merritt Paulson, and the various proposals to move the Beavs out of PGE Park to make way for the MLS Timbers.
More after the Jump.
I trust that most BEdgers are familiar with John Canzano. For those of you not familiar with Bojack, he is a right-leaning blogger (more of the libertarian bent than the fundamentalist Christian variety), and a frequent critic of the City of Portland and its relationships with developers in such. In short--he's of the opinion that most public projects undertaken by the City and the Portland Development Commission are wastes of money, and frequently are rewards to certain favored developers for political patronage. He has little use for public funding of sports--including Paul Allen--and has had some pretty harsh words for Timbers/Beavers owner Merritt Paulsen, and the proposal on the table to relocate the Beavers to Lents Park or the MC or wherever, so PGE Park can be made into a full-time football/soccer stadium. He views the whole thing as a giant boondoggle, and essentially accuses Paulsen of shaking down the city and its taxpayers, aided and abetted by the City Council.
About a month ago, Bogdanski posted a screenshot of Merritt Paulson's Facebook "Friends" list, showing Portland mayor Sam Adams among his "friends" (a term which can mean anything on Facebook). The page in question is publicly accessible (or at least it was at the time), and Bojack has since blacked out the face of Paulson's daughter in his profile picture. Bogdanski didn't say anything in the posting other than "no surprise here"--but the implication seems clear: The whole deal is corrupt, Adams and Paulson are not dealing at arms length, etc. Yours truly noted in the comments that another "friend" of Paulson was--John Canzano.
Cue this morning's column in the Big O--one month after the fact--Canzano comes out swinging and rips Bojack a new one or two. Not by name, of course--Canzano gets paid for his words, so he's not gonna dignify a blogger like Bogdanski by actually mentioning his name in print, no sir--but anyone familiar with the situation knows exactly who he is talking about. Canzano protests that the Facebook posting was a gross invasion of privacy, and also refers to Bogdanski as a "bitter local blogger" for his practice of referring to Paulsen as "Little Lord Paulson". Apparently Pauslon has been accosted in restaurants by angry residents who think he's trying to screw the city over. And indeed, part of Bojack's schtick is riling up the Jim Goad demographic in town--lower-middle-class (and often politically conservative) Portlanders who want the city to focus on things like crime and schools and other basic civic necessities, and view the City's frequent focus on transit projects, urban renewal in trendy neighborhoods, and yes--investment in things like pro sports--as a fleecing by a cabal of yuppies and other wealthy elites, at their expense. In what looks like an obvious attempt to damp down those sentiments, Canzano played his familiar "just plain folks" card, describing the Paulson's is if they were a middle-class family, not folks with an eight-figure net wealth, headed by the son of the former treasury secretary.
Bojack, naturally, hit back today in his blog. Flaming Canzano for his style is kinda like shooting ducks in a barrel--OTOH, Bogdanski didn't really say anything he hasn't said before.
Ahh, fun times.