Vera Katz is the mayor of Portland, Oregon, a post she has held since 1992. Before being elected to this position, she had served since 1972 in the State Legislature, with three terms as Speaker of the House.
Vera Katz was born in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1933, which was a bad place for Jews to be born at the time. She escaped as a refuge to America, arriving in New York City in 1940. She grew up in New York City, and graduated from college there in 1957. She was an activist of some stripe in the 1960's, working for Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign, shortly before entering into the world of establishement politics. Although the position of mayor is non-partisan in Portland, she was a Democrat while a state legislature, and her term as mayor have shown her to be a centrist democrat.
Her official biography lists an impressive list of accomplishments since becoming Mayor: the expansion of the MAX light rail, expansion of the Convention Center, construction of the Classical Chinese Garden and the Eastbank Esplanade, and the fact that Portland still has a downtown. She is literate, moderate, cultured and all of the other things you may want from a mayor.
That being said, I am not the only Portlander who thinks she is one of the most infuriatingly ignorant, obstinate, arrogant politicians ever. Much of the open rage against her has to do with her support of Mark Kroeker, and such statements as "they aren't bullets, they're pellets" to excuse the Portland Police firing on citizens angry at a visit by the Governor of Texas to the City of Portland. The inability of the Mayor to admit any wrongdoing in the death of Jose Mejia also made quite a few people upset. But it is not any specific policy or action that makes the Mayor so bad: it is a fundamental inability to admit that anything is wrong with her or her plans. It's hard to explain until you have either had to live in her city or have seen her speak (as I did personally on the occasion when a group of angry highschool students seized city hall).
She has some basic lack of awareness that those around her could possibly be smarter or more aware of what is going on around them. I seriously wonder if a survivor of Hitler's Germany has even the slightest idea of the irony, in a severely non-funny way, of commanding police to tear gas and fire bullets upon political protesters. Since she seems to avoid anything outside of her rose colored glasses, I will leave this question here, so future generations will be able to reflect on bad leadership.