Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Failure at the Legislature and a Bridge's Name

There is sad and infuriating news on the front page today, even as the interior pages have at least two stories about climate-related disruption.

Front page today

Interior page today

Also interior today
There are many dimensions to the story, and I'm sure more will be written, but one of them has to be about the basic failure in exercising power by our Senate President. Apparently he chose collegiality over hardball, and his colleagues chose nullification rather than reciprocating. In trying to play nice he failed badly. A little bit of Charlie Brown to Lucy, in fact.

Last spring, there was another instance of a pattern where he apparently chose collegiality with peers over justice and protecting more vulnerable charges. It seems necessary now to read these two stories together.

It may be we need to consider a different name for the Minto Bridge.

As the scandal at the Legislature unfolded, and again as Cap and Invest appears dead, and the minority party practices Legislative nullification at this very moment, it is reasonable to ask whether it was best to dedicate the bridge to a still active, still living Legislator, before his legacy could adequately be assessed. 

Though the SJ evaded it, WW highlights the Minto Bridge
Willamette Week's story from last spring opened:
When Leah Mangis walks the Peter Courtney pedestrian bridge in Salem, the beauty of the new span across the Willamette River conflicts with her ugly memories.
It's been hard to tell if the "Peter Courtney" bridge name has really taken in the popular imagination. Here it has seemed like the enduring name was going to remain the "Minto Bridge."

However that may be, it's probably early still to say outright that we should pull the "Courtney" epithet from the bridge, but it's also now more of a legitimately open question whether the prior act of naming might have been premature. Maybe we will come to have buyer's remorse. Or maybe we will judge that on balance Courtney's legacy remains positive, despite what appear to be grievous missteps at the Legislature and at WOU.


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Willamette Week has something of a post-mortem: "How Peter Courtney Lost Control of the Oregon Senate." After I've read it there might be more to say.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

And OPB has more, "Does Oregon Republican Walkout Mean The End For Peter Courtney's Tenure?"

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Well, here we are in 2020, and there's another walkout and Calhounian nullification. Since the Rs made no attempt to hide their intentions, you would have thought Courtney would have a plan.