Tri-Met touts benefits of flesh-eating bacteria on buses

by Dave Lister 

You have to question the motives of the city of Portland, Multnomah County, Metro and TriMet when they seem to spend as much effort fueling their public relations machinery to promote their agendas and convince us they are doing a great job as they do in doing their jobs in the first place.

It’s a constant barrage of direct mail, emails and PR-flack radio interviews exhorting us to drive less and save more, or walk and bike the neighborhood, or jump on transit. Even during the wettest spring and early summer in recent memory, with the Columbia River dams’ spillways opened to maximum capacity, the radio jingles urging us to conserve water are already in full swing. And every dime spent to persuade us to behave one way or another is a dime not being spent on the services we require.

It’s very troubling that in recent months several prominent area journalists — the latest being KGW’s City Hall reporter, Randy Neves — have left their media posts to join the growing ranks of government spokesmen. The very people we used to look to to watchdog the claims of government are now being paid to make those claims, and the spin cycle is on high. With professional journalists crafting government press releases, the sound-bite media often reports them as news, unquestioned and unchallenged.

Of course, even this highly polished public relations machinery is not without its gaffes and lighter moments. Case in point is the July 6 email from Mayor Sam Adams’ office with a subject line reading, “Our Education Initiatives Dont Go On Summer Vacation” — with the apostrophe in the contraction conspicuously absent. Evidently, the proofreader was on summer vacation. A “drive less, save more” mailer featured a cartoon character flying with the aid of a jet pack — too cutesy by half and, frankly, insulting to most people’s intelligence.

Nevertheless, the folks staffing these public relations juggernauts have learned what every good propagandist from Joseph Goebbels to Nikita Khrushchev understood: An oft-repeated lie becomes the truth. And the bigger the lie, the more people believe it. Now that a local plastic bag ban is back on the table, Adams is once again decrying the “massive plastic islands of trash” in the Pacific Ocean and the “oil needed to manufacture” the bags. The plastic island notion, which was described in a city-sponsored “push poll” when the ban idea was first floated as being twice the size of Texas, has been debunked by OSU assistant professor Angelicque White, and the so-called “single-use” bags, which are rarely used just once, are a byproduct of natural gas production, not a petroleum product. But facts don’t stop the spin machine.

Of all the paid mouthpieces getting a public sector paycheck, the award for excellence has to go to TriMet’s communications director, Mary Fetsch. After Joseph Rose’s July 14 report in The Oregonian that PSU microbiologist Pamela Yeh had taken samples from TriMet bus seats and discovered alarming levels of bacteria, including the flesh-eating and antibiotic-resistant MRSA, Fetsch hit the talk-radio circuit with gusto. With conviction, Fetsch took the position that if it didn’t kill you, it would make you stronger, proclaiming that those high bacteria levels were actually good for a person’s immune system. During an interview with KPAM’s Victoria Taft, Fetsch said that people “actually are feeling better and have less colds when they ride transit more often because they get exposed to more bacteria and different things.”

I think I’ll stick with vitamin C.

Dave Lister is a small-business owner who served on Portland’s Small Business Advisory Council.

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Posted by at 12:41 | Posted in Media, Metro, Portland Politics | 39 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Brodhead

    To:Committee on Ethics

    Charles Dent
    1015 Longworth House Office
    Washington, DC 20515
    Phone: 202-225-7103
    Fax: 202-225-7392


    Greg Walden

    2182 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    Main: 202-225-6730
    Fax: 202-225-5774

    Eric Cantor/contact-us/culpeper-office

    /contact-us/culpeper-office/contact-us/culpeper-office/contact-us/richmond-office/contact-us/richmond-office/contact-us/richmond-officeWashington, DC Office
    303 Canon HOB
    Washington, DC 20515
    Phone: (202) 225-2815
    Fax: (202) 225-0011/contact-us/washington-dc-office/contact-us/washington-dc-office




    Brodhead for Congress

    P.O. Box 2725

    Hillsboro, Oregon



    Some very discouraging news is coming forth concerning David Wu and sexual misconduct with the teenage daughter of one of his donors and best friends.

    Rep. David Wu has been accused of an “unwanted sexual encounter” with the teenage daughter of a longtime friend, the latest scandal to engulf the troubled Oregon Democrat.

    The Oregonian reported that the 56-year-old Wu “acknowledged a sexual encounter to his senior aides but insisted it was consensual,” according to sources aware of the incident.

    Gentlemen, I strongly insist that you the “House of Representatives” to investigate these extremely serious allegations. If these allegations prove to be true, I demand that David Wu be brought up on ethics charges, and forced to resign.

    In addition, I am very concerned that a “Cover up” has occurred ,and several operatives from the Democratic party and David Wu’s staff were possibly involved. I want these questions answered:

    1. When did David Wu’s staff find out about the alleged sexual misconduct? Was it before or after the “Tiger suit fiasco?”

    2. Why were only the “Tiger suit” photos released when evidence may prove that David Wu’ staff had knowledge of the sexual misconduct and phone message incident? Did David Wu’s staff exit because of the sexual misconduct and the “Tiger suit event” was just a scam, and part of an “Exit strategy,” in order to preserve fund- raising avenues.

    3. I want to know if other Democratic operatives had prior knowledge of this incident and provided the Oregon Democratic Party with this information in order to get a “Head start” on a possible “Special Election” in Oregon CD1 ,when David Wu is forced to resign?

    4. I want to know the exact date that David Wu’s staff received a phone message from the distraught teenager about David Wu’s alleged sexual misconduct!

    If these allegations prove to be true, David Wu is not fit to be a role model for our children or a representative in Congress. David Wu is an embarrassment to Oregonians. This is very serious.

    Moreover, there is a distinct possibility that a “Cover up,” “Damage limitation,” and an “Staged political Exit strategy” was perpetrated on the Oregon tax payer and voter. This would be considered “Fraud” and the wholesale abuse of ethics in fund raising. David Wu continued to seek campaign contributions, even though, he knew that eventually this sexual misconduct issue would get to the American people. I want answers to these questions! Did fraud on the Oregon voter occur, and was there a carefully orchestrated exit strategy that the Democratic party knew about ahead of time both in Washington DC and here in Oregon.

    Then, I demand that the Republican party nominate its previous CD1 Congressional nominee for 2010 “Rob Cornilles” for the “Special Election” that will soon follow. If the time period after David Wu vacates his seat goes past 79 days, of course, I will file to run in the Special Election primary.

    Oregon demands competent representation. In a time of massive deficits, very serious debt talks, perpetual wars on every front, 10% unemployment , and President Obama threatening to cut off Social security checks on August 3rd, Oregon and America cannot be focusing on David Wu’s personal failings. It is time to move forward.


    Stephan Brodhead

    • Anonymous

      First,  David Wu shouldn’t be taken out. There are so many Democrats lining up for the 1st District job that it’s likely Wu will slip by and take the nomination. With Wu as the Democrat nominee the Republican candidate will mop up the floor with him. It’s laughable that you apparently think that if Wu is forced to resign that you immediately have a good chance of replacing him

      Second, in more than 20 years in politics I’ve seen candidates of your ilk think they have a chance. Much more qualified Republicans will make the race.You don’t stand a chance.

      • Stephan

        Thanks for the insight…….

      • Devin

        I dont think Wu will win, as he has said he will not run for reelection.

  • Oregonnative

    How did this thread go towards David Wu.

    Anyway, it is amazing our Tax dollars pay someone to say ” high bacteria levels were good for a persons immune system”. If this was true why did the city drain a reservoir of millions of gallons of water because someone pissed in it. They probly should drain public pools daily, but no not that.

    Is it good for us to have our taxes pay someone to convince us germs are good ? Maybe Aids is good for us also.

  • David Appell

    What a loony response from Fetsch. It brings to mind Mark Twain’s comment that “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
    On the other hand, laughter is good for your health, and if we didn’t have PR people like Fetsch we’d definitely have less to laugh about.

    • Jim karlock

      Congratulations David, finally a rational posting.


  • Rupert in Springfield

    OK, so Fetsch just has it pop into her head that you get less colds if you ride mass transit, and Adams still thinks plastic bags are made with petroleum and create islands off the coast.

    I guess we know what happened all those idiot kids who could never catch the Frisbee, and took it in the face every time, who could never solve a word problem in math, who could never remember in history class which came first, the Reformation or the Renaissance, I guess we know what happened to them. They all went into government. 

    • 3H

      “who could never remember in history class which came first, the Reformation or the Renaissance…”

      Ummm.. weren’t they roughly contemporaneous.. and depends upon which part of Europe you’re talking about?

      • valley dude

        Stop picking on poor Rupert.  You will force him to take a humanities class.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          Obviously there are jobs waiting for both of you in government. The ignorance of not even knowing which class subject this would fall under is especially telling. Might I suggest DMV or school admin?

          • valley person

            “Humanities,” dear Rupert, covers a wide spectrum that includes history, literature, art, religion, philosophy, law, and the classics. The Reformation and Renaissance fit squarely into this. But then you knew that right?

            And note, no exclamation points or other barely literate grunts. Its really me this time. (I could have used an exclamation point there come to think of it).

          • 3H

            But you do agree that the Renaissance and Reformation were contemporaneous, yes?  In fact, you could probably argue that the Reformation was part of the Renaissance – as was Humanism, a veneration of the classical Greece and Rome, new techniques in art and literature, etc…

            And yes, History is part of the Humanities Rupert as VP has pointed out.   Does your ignorance of History (and what History is) mean that you should be in government?   Or does this apply only to others, not you?


            Ohio Humanities Council

            If you have a definition that explicitly excludes History, I’d love to see it.

    • Anonymous

      Some plastic bags *are* made from petroleum. About 4%
      of the world’s oil production goes to making plastic bags.


      There are an estimated one million tons of plastic
      in the northern Pacific Ocean.


      An estimated 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million
      seabirds die each year from entanglement or ingestion of plastic


      Reducing such trash is the
      right thing to do. 

      • Jim karlock

        Got any credible sources for those numbers?

        (You last attempt at credible sources, the IPCC, turned out to be about 30% international corporate propaganda machines such as the WWF, EDF etc.)


        • Rupert in Springfield

          Frankly these numbers sound about as wacky was when David “the
          physicist” confused momentum with energy consumption and thought a cars
          gasoline consumption went as the square of its speed.

          Without a citation for such outrageous claims these numbers are hooey.

          • Anonymous

            You’re funny, Rupert, asking for citations. I get it.

            Anyway I posted citations for everything but the system said the reply had to be approved by the moderator. Which apparently it wasn’t.

          • Anonymous

            I doubt I ever confused momentum with energy. I can’t even think of an energy discussion where the concept of momentum (=mv, a vector) would be useful.

          • Anonymous

            I also do not recall claiming that gas consumption is proportional to speed squared, but in any case it’s well-known not to be flat, or even linear, as a function of speed. See Fig 1-2 of

          • Anonymous

            And need we recall, Rupert, your denial that one gallon of gas could possibly produce 20 lbs of carbon dioxide? (Oregon Catalyst, “Cash for Clunkers Proves Government Can Do Good Things, August 8, 2009)

          • Anonymous

            And need we recall, Rupert, your denial that one gallon of gas could possibly produce 20 lbs of carbon dioxide? (Oregon Catalyst, “Cash for Clunkers Proves Government Can Do Good Things, August 8, 2009)

      • valley dude

        There is a plastic “island” the size of Texas and 30 feet deep floating  200 miles off the coast of Oregon.  We need to ban the bags and shut the factories that make them!

        • Rupert in Springfield

          Um, yep, the garbage bag island turned out to be a made up story. Real old news there, sorry.

          • valley person

            There is a valley dude fake playing games with you Rupert. Wasn’t me. Try to use your judgment on my writing style versus this near illiterate. When was the last time I used an exclamation point for example?

            The real valley person

          • valley dude

            Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I lived on that godforsaken floating plastic island for two months!  Didn’t get anything from it except for footage for my next documentary titled “The Island That Everyone Saw”.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    OK, so Fetsch just has it pop into her head that you get less colds if you ride mass transit, and Adams still thinks plastic bags are made with petroleum and create islands off the coast.

    I guess we know what happened all those idiot kids who could never catch the Frisbee, and took it in the face every time, who could never solve a word problem in math, who could never remember in history class which came first, the Reformation or the Renaissance, I guess we know what happened to them. They all went into government. 

  • Bob Clark

    Portland city is a lost cost, foremost because its governance is not reality based.  The city floats on a mound of ever increasing public debt and massive federal and state government subsidies.  Soon the easy flow of external monies may fade, and then city hall will have to face the music; and it may not be very fun for us all.

    My only advice is to not invest any more monies in Portland city than you may have already sunk.

    I would gladly see the national debt level rise by $1 trillion if the federal government would just axe all monies for city commuter trains and street cars.  The only folks wanting these projects are the government planner types and crony capitalists looking to make bank off local government expenditure.  Most of the rest of us try to avoid riding these creepy conduits.  And the mangled commuting caused by light rail and street cars makes many want to avoid down town altogether.

  • Anonymous

    Speaking of Angelicque White, the OSU scientist who said there isn’t a Pacific garbage patch twice the size of Texas: she also said, in the same press release, “There is no doubt that the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans is troubling….”“garbage-patch”-not-nearly-big-portrayed-mediaFunny how so many people, like Dave Lister, leave that part out.

    • Jim karlock

      A whole less people than claim that AGW caused Katrina (YOU!)


    • valley dude

      She was caught lying after the corporate fascists paid her to!

  • Anonymous

    Some plastic bags *are* made from petroleum. 
    About 4% of the world’s oil production goes to 
    making plastic bags. 

    — S Muthu et al, “An Exploratory Comparative Study 
    on Eco-Impact of Paper and Plastic Bags,” Textile 
    Bioengineering and Informatics Society 

  • Anonymous

    There are an estimated one million tons of plastic 
    in the northern Pacific Ocean. 

    — K Saido et al, “New contamination derived from 
    marine debris plastics,” Presented at the 
    238th American Chemical Society National Meeting, 
    August 22-26,2009, Washington DC 

  • Anonymous

    An estimated 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million seabirds 
    die each year from entanglement or ingestion of plastic. 

    — J. G. B. Derraik, Marine Polltn. Bull, 44, 842, 2002

  • Anonymous

    The system won’t allow hyperlinks to my references to be posted.

    • 3H

      It’s puzzling – considering some of the irrational, vulgar and rude, diatribes they allow to remain posted.

      But, remember, they are an opinion blog and don’t have to adhere to any standards.  😉

      • David Appell

        Those who truly want the links can go to my blog: davidappell dot blogspot dot com and look for my post on July 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm. 

        (This is a ridiculous way to have to present information.)

      • David Appell
        • valley dude

          There are approximately 44 million tons of plastic bags off the Oregon Coast!  We have to stop this madness now and ban the bags before its too late.  When will we ever learn that these corporate fascists that sell these bags are like drug dealers selling non-medical marijuana to innocent children!

          • Oregonnative

            Wow, Valley PERSON,

             WHO EVER is posting in your name is well beyound reality. There is not 44 milion tons of plastic floating of the Oregon Coast , or in case you might be refering to the Tsumee that hit Japan recently, then there is a lot of debri floating west.

                Some times Valley Dude you put these “facts”, out just to get a response. It reminds me when I was talking to a person and they said the “Sky was green” , and I said “the sky was blue.” They called me a lyer and the conversation stop after that.

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