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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 5, 2005 1:43 AM. The previous post in this blog was Let's sing this one together. The next post in this blog is Dear Sal Kadri. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Wrecking Randy's weekend

The O ran a two-part front page screamer about the Portland police and fire disability system on Sunday and yesterday. It pointed out that lots of folks retire from the local forces on disability even though they're still able to be gainfully employed. One guy appears to be a bodyguard for Paul Allen. Another one joined the armed forces and served as a medic in Iraq. And yet they collect disability pay from the city, many for the rest of their lives. Some even get pushed off the force, even though they say they'd like to stay on and serve their bureaus in some capacity or another. Today, the O's editorial board is calling it a scandal.

When the O reporters stuck the needle into City Commissioner Randy Leonard, a former firefighters' union president, about this, he gave his usual response: Everything's fine with police and fire disability. Nothing's broke, and so there's nothing to be fixed.

I dunno. Those articles sure made it sound as if there were lots that could be improved.

There's a showdown looming on all aspects of the pension and disability benefits enjoyed by the men and women in Portland blue. Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who's running for re-election and needs to bolster his portfolio quick, is making an issue of the fringe benefits that ex-cops and firefighters get. And it's easy to stir up the public if they look at the facts. The disability anecdotes are bad, but even the basic police and fire pension benefits are much more generous than most workers in the private sector could ever dream about.

As I understand it, after a certain number of years on the force, even if you're only, say, 45 or 50 years old, you can turn in your badge and start a lifetime of pension checks. You can take on all the new work you want, and the retirement funds keep a-rollin' in from City Hall.

Fireman Randy himself reportedly takes down around $48,000 a year in city fire pension, over and above his $89,000 salary on the City Council. Mayor Tom Potter, the ex-police chief, reportedly draws an annual police pension of around $91,000 over and above his $104,000 pay as mayor. Potter says he's in favor of reforming the system, while Leonard seems opposed, but you wonder why they both shouldn't have to recuse themselves from voting on the matter. On the other hand, I guess any changes that would be made wouldn't affect ladies and gentlemen of their vintage. Legally, they probably couldn't.

In any event, although I mostly plead ignorance on this, I suspect there are many state and local governments that also have very, very generous pension and disability systems for their police and fire officers. But as I've pointed out here before, in Portlandia the police and fire retirement fund makes up 24.3 percent of all the property taxes that I (and presumably others) pay to the city. Nearly a quarter out of every dollar is now going to the retired and "disabled" public safety folks, including to perfectly able, fully employed guys like Leonard and Potter, who are taking home two city paychecks each. Potter's add up to $205,000. That's a real eye-popper in my book. What they heck do they think this is, the PDC?

And no matter how good the officers may have it in other cities, I don't know of any other place that's so strapped for public safety funds that they close the police precincts after 6:00 at night and all weekend long, as we do here in the Rose City. Maybe we need to be a little more careful with the bucks.

Too bad The Oregonian ran the series on July 3 and 4, when readership was sure to be low. Oh, well. Methinks the pot has been stirred nonetheless.

Comments (31)

Attention: Ron L.! Three hundred word limit on this one!

Again, as I gazed at the O's Sunday cover at the grocery store, deciding once again to pay $5 and take home, instead, the New York daily that admits it's from New York, I was struck by the fact that the Willy Week has been on this story for years, with its first cover on the topic printed in 1998 (http://www.wweek.com/html/cover032598.html).

None of this info is new. Why does the O spend so much time chasing after the Willy? When are they gonna get in front of the curve, and stay in front of the curve?

Lars has been complaining about this for years as well. Its one of the few issues that I agree with him.

You have to remember the O's motto:

"If it's news in Oregon, it's news to us!"

My biggest issue is the majority of trustees are all beneficiaries of this fund. These same politicians will scream murder about Enron and why we need Sabanes-Oxley and board independence, but in their own dealings it is the same self-serving nonsense.

This is really getting ridiculous, I mean this fund is more than we pay for police, fire or parks. I assume they'll try to float a bond (like Cali is doing) for this eventually to get it out of the prop tax limelight.

Oh well, one more thing for Mssrs Leonard and Potter to ignore. Just keep building those condos, boys.

As long as local politicians live in fear of the police and fire unions endorsing their opponent in the next election, there's no chance for real reform.

I'd like to see a courageous local official stand up and say that it is actually possible, you know, to be opposed by the union AND favor tough anti-crime policies.

However, in this world of the 10 second soundbite, all you need to say is "the police officers union refused to endorse my opponent," and, BAM, there you have it.

The City Club has just formed a committee to study the PFP&D fund. The report will not be out for a few months (at least), but I imagine it will prove to be more of an eye-opener than the O's article.

The big Q is: Where was CW Jensen's name? Is there anyone more high-profile than this guy? He went out on disability due to stress suffered, according to him, from a shooting that happened many years earlier. The fact that he was being investigated for some unethical behavior and was likely going to be terminated at the same time was probably a coincidence.

His stress didn't stop him from flying around in a helicopter or act in local plays. Who does he know at the O?

Once again, I'll have to wait for Jaquiss & Co. to finish the picture The O started.

and slightly off topic, here is another example of how far behind americans have fallen compared to the rest of the world. technology, education, production and now this:

http://www.katu.com/stories/78180.html

alas, we can't even lay claim to the deadly sin of gluttony.

Leonard said on his weekend radio show that "if the problem is as reported then he agrees" it needs fixing.

But he also says he doesn't believe there is a problem.

Why doesn't he already "know" for sure?

There lies the problem with Leonard.

If he believes something that's it.

Even when, as so often is the case, his belief is contrary to reality.

He believes sweeping zoning changes and a huge public investment is the only way to develop South Waterfront.
He believes there was never a plan to develop the site with private money.
He believes the entire site is a "toxic wasteland" preventing private development.
He believes the Tram is a good investment.
He believes a Convention Center Hotel is a good investment of many more millions in tax dollars.
He believes there is no problem with PERS.
He believes there is no problem with the PPFD Fund.

He also believes that anyone outside of Portland should shut up and stay out of their business.

Is Randy Leonard looking into the PPFD fund today?
He helped craft the system, now so out of control and costing 7 times other systems around the state.

Will he change his opinion tommorrow?

I've done quite a bit of research and written a column on this one. The problem is two-fold. Long term, the system is unsustainable. It gobbles up more and more property taxes and has even begun cutting in to local options money such as the parks and children's levies. Short term, the disability rules are ridiculous. There is virtually no case management, officers are not required to use sick time prior to going out on disability and, in fact, continue to accrue sick time while on disability. When they retire, an officer can receive a one-time payout of his accrued sick leave. According to a source in the Office of Management and Finance, these one time checks can go tens of thousands of dollars. One of the best suggested solutions is to take new hires into the PERS system, like the rest of the city employees, and let the old system wind down. The FPD&R is definitely the 800 lb. gorilla when it comes to Portland's fiscal stability.

Jack mentioned Leonard and Potter "double dipping" with city salaries and PPFP&D pensions.

Those city jobs are covered by PERS. When they retire they will be able to continue "double dipping" with PPFP&D pensions and PERS pensions assuming they achieve at least 5 PERS years for vesting purposes. Leonard already has by virtue of his years in the legislature. Same goes for John Minnis, retired PDX police sergeant, former legislator, curent state employee (Corrections Dept.) In the late 90's Leonard and Minnis jointly sponsored a bill in Salem that guarantees their PERS eligibility.

The ORS 238.600(2) liability limitation does not apply to the Portland Police and Fireman fund.

If PERS folks reach out and grab the Portland Police and Fireman fund, and roll it into PERS, under the guise of assuring that no public pension plan can be worse than PERS, what then am I to make of the liability limitation as to the old Portland Police and Fireman fund? Could I then say that the liability limitation provision applies? How could this possibly be construed as beneficial to the public safety workers in Portland?

Keep your eye on the ball -- the PERS grab for more stuff upon which to issue glorious bonds and feed money to the Oregon Investment Council to invest via back room deals. The greater the unsoundness of a pension system the greater the underfunding and bonding opportunities. A sound pay-as-you-go pension plan that has an optimal balance of zero and is just no fun for the folks who favor back room deals with lots of other people's money.

If we cut off the able bodied disabled then that translates into a lower calculated actuarial liability and a smaller bonding and investing opportunity. You can figure out how this distorts the motivation of the community of folks offering bonding and investment banking services.

(speaking as a citizen only)

I tend to agree with Dave's perception about the rules surrounding disability and case management; it seems currently the fund administrators are loathe to revoke the payments, if they happen discover a reason to at all.

But disability is a different animal entirely from retirement pensions. "Retirement" is a misnomer in this case; what they really are, are service time awards. And I have no problem at all with providing such an award to those who serve in the incredibly dangerous and necessary police and fire services. It is part of the compensation, that if you do your time you will be taken care of later in life. I don't know a whole lot of cops, but the firefighters I know ALL have some kind of injury history if they work long enough. Many of them sacrifice their bodies, long term, for a career.

The public compensation rate for cops and firerighters, on a flat salary basis, is ridiculously low. If you worked 25 years for a private firm and made your way to a top position, you wouldn't retire with 70 or 80 grand a year and your sick leave paid back, you'd reap millions in stock, severance and future consulting fees.

To sum: management of the fund is a legitimate issue, and I would support closer tracking of disability payments. The existence of the fund, however, does not constitute a problem to me at all. Safety is not free.

Speaking of flat salaries, one of the factoids from the article was "a police officer on the job at least five years makes $5,299 a month today." Sure Portland is expensive, but over $63K per year for a policeman with that level of experience is not a ridiculously low salary, regardless that it's a dangerous and stressful job.

""$5,299 a month today is not a ridiculously low salary"

Add to that the benefits package which would appears to be at least 50% or more,

and it moves far from the "ridiculously low" category.

I too know police and fire personnel and have no problem with adequate pay and benefits.

Poorly managed pension and disability plans, on the other hand, are as unacceptable as Portland's are non-sustainable.

It is also inexcusable that elected public officials do not keep up to speed and sit idly by as the mismanagement and cost problem grows.

Especailly when police and fire individuals are the ones getting elected.

I never understand this "argument" that is regularly made that public employees should be paid as if they were top officers in a private corporation. If you want the pay & benefits of a top officer in a private corporation, go for the job, not equivalent salary at public expense.

I doubt "most" people can, even if they want to, work at one job for 25 years any more. And by definition, most cannot rise to the top.

I do think most people are sympathetic to paying police and fire officers well, for obvious reasons. That discussion is outside this disability issue.

In my view, most public employees should not garner either pay, benefits or pensions above and beyond most people who are paying for them. It seems to be required for public employees & their elected representatives & sympathizers to repeatedly assert or insinuate that they suffer relative to "most." This is a big gimmick, working nicely. I often think most of you engaging in the discussions are in a stratosphere that has entirely lost view of that.

This thing with police and fire pensions has been well known throughout the country for a long time. I remember reading more than one article in public administration journals back in the early '70's about how several large cities on the east coast were facing bankruptcy by "...the end of the century..." unless there were drastic changes to the fire and police pension programs. Like the PDX situation these were the result of long term wheeling and dealing by highly focused self-interest groups with a strong political base sitting across the table from relative amateurs.

And for heavens sakes PERS is NOT the solution given its present use of the "highest 3 years salary" formula for computing retirement! This is because, for many years now, it has been common practice in police and fire departments throughout the state to steer all the overtime hours to those personnel within the final 3 year retirement window. It's a mutual backscratch with the knowledge and acquiescence of management (who just want to keep the peace and, hey, it doesn't affect their annual operating budget) and the result is that most Fire and Police personnel (and others such as dispatchers) are retiring at far higher levels than their base salary would warrant. These folks are the great bulk of the ridiculously high PERS retirements you've been hearing about in recent years - not the teachers, clerks, planners, librarians and others who don't have access to overtime pay but instead get comp time if anything.

Not surprisingly this manipulation of the PERS formula issue has been minimized, if mentioned at all in recent years, as a result of the wonderful job of lobbying by the police and fire unions not to mention their very active efforts to get members into city halls and the legislature.

It may be legal but it sure ain't in the spirit of PERS or in the best interest of the taxpayers who are picking up an ever increasing load for public retirees.

"....ever increasing load..."

Boyhowdy, ya got that right. ;)

It's really not very complicated. People just don't want to face the truth, because the truth is ugly. Portland, and really Oregon as a whole, is nowadays a locality that exists for public employment. It's part and parcel of the fact that Democrats hold each and every state-wide state elective office, and have for years, and the state senate, and while supposedly nonpartisan, they run Multnomah County, and the City of Portland and the school board, and Metro. One way the Dems got that control and keep that control is by openly and unabashedly pandering to public employees and their unions. And the Dems get those public employees votes in a bloc. Labor negotiations between the state or any of the municpal entities or the school districts and their unions are not truly at arm's length. Management always voluntarily allows itself to get rolled. They want to get rolled. They gotta keep those public employees happy after all, to keep them voting for Democrats. Plus, if the workers get big pay and big benefits, management and elected officials get even more. A 10% differential I believe is the accepted norm. And that's how we end up with out of control disability funds, an out-of-control PERS, and why there are always, in perpetuity, chronic revenue shortages at every level of government. Pay and benefits go up up up, taxes go up up up, and so on.

jaybird, I'm sure Gordon Smith would be distressed to hear he is a Democrat, having held statewide elective office for years. I'll refrain from dismissing the rest of the paranoia within--management begging to be rolled so that more Democrats can be elected, indeed!

As for pay scales--police salaries are higher than fire salaries, true. The five-year figure for firefighters is less than $49,000, and that's with a 53-hr week, not 40. And for the first five years you make crap--you start at $12.50 an hour, for heaven's sake. I suppose it's merely a matter of opinion, but I do consider $50K ridiculously low for a crucial service that is physically debilitating over the long term.

Sally, I never claimed that public employees should be paid as if they were CEOs. What I said was that the compensation being lightly discussed as out of bounds, is several orders of magnitude lower than equivalent responsibilities in the private sector. My goodness, Tom Potter got 100K for being the chief of police! Absconder! What did Kim Kimbrough make for his valorous service to the community? I also don't quite understand the contention that most people can't work at a job 25 years or more. Police and fire are heavily multi-generational occupations, grandfathers to fathers to sons (and now daughters). Many do in fact stick around for long terms of service. Finally, I _really_ don't understand what relevance the pay structure of the taxpayer has to do with appropriate public safety salaries, since it seems to have no bearing at all on private salaries. And make no mistake, we all pay for private salaries in one way or another, and the total in that sector is much, much higher overall.

torridjoe - If Gordon Smith is going to be dismayed at all, it might be because you have demoted him from a vaunted federal elective office-holder, to a mere state-level office-holder.

One needs to learn to read with discerning care, grasshopper, always considering the possiblility that the scrivener has chosen and placed each and every word that's there for a reason. Read my post again. I wrote, and I quote, "state-wide state elective office" [emphasis added].

And it's no minor or cosmetic distinction. State and local governmental labor relations, PERS, and disability funds are not within the purview of a US Senator.

Any, yeah, state and local governments do choose to get rolled in labor negotiations. Why shouldn't they? It's a win-win deal for them when they do.

For a leftwinger to deny it, is to not only deny reality, it's self-serving too, inasmuch as support from public employees, teachers unions and other public employee unions, is the mother's milk that keeps the leftwing in power in Oregon. But you don't really want the normal every day private-sector people who pay for all this to be ruminating about that too much, do you?

jaybird,

"And it's no minor or cosmetic distinction. State and local governmental labor relations, PERS, and disability funds are not within the purview of a US Senator."

This may be slightly off on a tangent but . . .

The federal involvement in labor law and regulations of savings institutions and investment trusts (of which pensions are just a particular variant) are instrumental to the shape of local labor law and public employee pension trusts.

The feds have largely extended their reach as far as the commerce clause and tax authority will reach (with a little fed restraint pertaining to municipal corporations). But for this federal preemption the public employees trust fund issues across the country might instead have lots of plain vanilla state trust fund regulations that make no distinction whatsoever as to whether the savings and investments are derived from public employment rather than private employment. The intrastate voting blocks have been distorted, by the federal folks . . I believe partly by design. If I argue that the public employee pension trust laws must comply with a common set of laws that are applicable to all Oregonians and all pension investment trusts, so as to be consistent with Oregon's equal privileges and immunities clause, people seem oblivious or believe that I must be crazy.

The Wall Street Party (rather than left or right) is as happy as a clam that pay-as-you-go schemes and balanced budgets that mean fully and completely balanced (even as to pension obligations) have been displaced by a dependence on a Wall Street Bubble and Economic Development on steroids though bonding. They actually like unsoundness in pensions because it gets local numskulls to raise taxes on the middle class and issue bonds to throw at Wall Street with reckless disregard to fiscal sanity.

Some of these problems are the City's fault. For example, long time back injured fire fighters were given desk positions, including a few 911 operators; this kept them off disability. The City took that away; the only bargaining the Union could do was the impact on fire fighters, not whether to take away the jobs. Then there were the fire inspector jobs, for which you didn't have to be as fit...and the City decided to assign those to fire fighters in addition to their other duties while on shift, again taking away light duty jobs that might have kept some fire fighters from disability retirement.

Remember, too, that rates are set by comparables, under the assumption that the pool of potential employees looks at other jurisdictions of similar size and compares salary, hours, and benefits. In order to draw applicants the City must offer comparable pay. For myself, though, I question the assumption! I know of fire fighters who took jobs in smaller towns (for lower pay and benefits) while waiting to get in at Portland, rather than going to one of the comparable cities.

Another factor is the equal-to-or-better-than problem. So long as PP&FD can prove that it pays benefits equal to or better than PERS, it can stay alive...and we just massively reduced the benefits PERS pays, because of the new OPSRP plan, which is what PP&FD gets compared to.

Ron Ledbury - Yes, I'm aware of the fact that there are federal tax and other federal law considerations when it comes to pension and disability plans, but to say that the outrageous extravagances contained in Oregon's PERS and the Portland police and fire disability plans are driven by the need to be compliant with federal law is sophistry at best. And then to try to take that a step further and imply that Gordon Smith, with his 1 out of 100 vote in the US Senate on that federal law is somehow intimately involved in what occurs on the local level goes beyond mere sophistry. It's out and out untrue. We have these irresponsible plans because state and local politicos gave away the store.

And state and local governmental bodies are not covered by the National Labor Relations Act. Other than the 1st Amendment right of free association, there is no federal involvement in state and local labor relations.

Jack's comment that Potter and Leonard ought to recuse themselves reminds me of something else. The Oregon Supreme Court has to take its share of the blame here. In 1996, the Oregon Supreme Court issued a decision overturning Measure 8, the 1994 voter-approved PERS reform measure, on grounds that it violated a "contract" with state employess. The Oregon Supremes (1) got it wrong, and (2) were not disinterested arbiters. The court's ruling was wrong in that it said "a deal is a deal" for work not yet performed. In other words, yes, it would be a reneg to try to take away penion bennies already earned by state workers, already earned and "banked" for pay periods already credited. But the measure applied only to prospective pay periods and to work not yet performed. Under the rules that apply in employment law there is no breach of contract here at all. I'll belabor the obvious and point out that Supreme Court justices are state employees, themselves on PERS, and thereby directly and personally vested in the outcome of the decision. Other state's supreme courts have recognized this conflict, and have recused themselves en banc, and gone the special master route when considering their own pension plans. That level of judicial ethical caution didn't exist hereabouts when that case came before them.

Apologies, jaybird. I missed the second "state" in that sentence. Nonetheless, your speculative, tinfoil-hat conspiracy hyperbole about the pernicious motivations of public employees, remains at the level of easy-to-dismiss. It's simply empty rhetoric that reflects a preexisting bias being brought to the discussion, rather than a serious look at what's going on with the fund.

torridjoe - "Tin foil hat"? Nah. Just pay attention to who gives what to who, and who votes for who in return. It's all right there for everybody to see. They don't even try to hide it or disguise it anymore. They've gotten that arrogant.

Just pay attention to who gives what to who, and who votes for who in return. It's all right there for everybody to see. They don't even try to hide it or disguise it anymore. They've gotten that arrogant. NO KIDDING!

For health reasons for one,and sick of the BS for another, let me state this.

I promised a couple of people that I'd stay out of this crap...but the above is just my point all along about doing something about this issue and the total, and complete, arrogance of people like Mr.Leonard.

You folks can vent, rant, cry, whine, all you want..and when I put it in your face, you turn on me like a pack of "GREAT WHITE SHARKS!"

Until you recall..there is that word again, recall an elected offical for whatever you want too decide on, then just once, stick together, you will get the same post as above, because they do not fear you, an yes, they should fear the people that elected them....and got screwed for it.

I fought as most know for the revamping of the idea you can place 5 criminally insane people in any neighborhood, anywhere you want, and tell people ..."SCREW YOU, that's they way it is!"


Now, people like Leonard, who say's he wanted too do something and I BACKED OUT on his "plan"..are going to tell you, there is nothing wrong, and oh by the way.....SHUT UP ABOUT IT! Is continuing to demonstrate just why if you don't shut him up,he will continue to ride roughshod, because maybe one man will try for awhile(me),but until 38,000 people say on a recall...Randy, you better watch who you're talking too, he will get away with it.

But hey, people use blogs like JB'S too put shrinks out of work, but someday, an issue or someone getting killed will finally make a difference, but......then again, maybe not.

"Sally, I never claimed that public employees should be paid as if they were CEOs."

OK, TorridJoe, what you said was:

"The public compensation rate for cops and firerighters, on a flat salary basis, is ridiculously low. If you worked 25 years for a private firm and made your way to a top position, you wouldn't retire with 70 or 80 grand a year and your sick leave paid back, you'd reap millions in stock, severance and future consulting fees."

The air is still too rarefied or the blood too blue for me when you speak of 70-80/year + benefits as if it were measly. For almost anyone.

"I also don't quite understand the contention that most people can't work at a job 25 years or more. Police and fire are heavily multi-generational occupations, grandfathers to fathers to sons (and now daughters). Many do in fact stick around for long terms of service."

Average time in job is much greater in public than private sector anymore -- 17 years vs. three, last I read. This is not our fathers' America.

"Finally, I _really_ don't understand what relevance the pay structure of the taxpayer has to do with appropriate public safety salaries, since it seems to have no bearing at all on private salaries. And make no mistake, we all pay for private salaries in one way or another, and the total in that sector is much, much higher overall."

The relevance that (all, en masse) public sector salary packages have to the private sector is that they are non-profit. The rest of us fund them supposedly for our benefit. Nobody pays their servants more than they have themselves. It simply isn't possible. (Oregon's taxes are quite regressive, as well -- an essentially flat income tax and sin taxes that harvest from the poor.)

I thought it was clear that I was speaking to more than just your points, though they were the proximate cause. I have long been tired of the regular drone of a mantra long untrue: that public sector employees labor for little. I have begun even to wonder if the reality has become nearly Soviet, where much of the governmental sector lives or earns better than the non-governmental sector that funds it.

Just a simple question. Is blogging about this all you people want to do about runaway tax's,empty brand new jails ,arrogant beyond reason elected officals?? I bet money, there is not a soul among you in a firefight in combat or a public discussion where I'd trust my life too you on any issue.

Like the people in Spain...CUT AND RUN! Prove me wrong.

Jack P,

I'd argue that the self-interest of R's are just as bad as the D's and that the merging of the D's self-interest with that of the R's self-interest is worse than either side alone. Just a thought . .

http://pdxnag.com/wp/?p=3
(Temporary link pending a fix to some mystery bug.)

Suppose I myself sue to compel adequate funding for schools, but demand that the PERS costs that are rolled up into the school budget be split off. I could even seek to have the contracts that the school districts entered into with the state (by and through the Oregon Department of Education) that redirect state school funding toward PERS to cover Pension Obligation Bond (POB) payments declared invalid.

I suppose the DA could himself sue to roll back gifts to the safety workers in Portland, just as the elected city attorney in San Diego is doing.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20050707-1400-bn07pension2.html

"The individuals had clear economic interests," Aguirre said. "We do not characterize those interests as pension interests, we characterize them as interests in what essentially were illegal agreements that allowed benefits to be created that were not paid for, in exchange for mutual agreements not to meet respective fiduciary obligations."

It is all explained in the turn or twist of a phrase, I suppose.

Dare I add that even the so-called libertarian's over at the Cascade Policy rag seem inclined to use local politics to justify feeding dollars to Wall Street?

http://www.cascadepolicy.org/cctext/2003_12.txt

"Portland’s Mini PERS" . . . "unfunded fiscal time-bomb"

It is the R's who have lost their way.

It seems I am all alone in demanding that accountability through soundness in pension plan design need not be clouded by the crap associated with the pay-as-you-go versus full-funding blizzard from the pro-Wall Street propagandists.

Give me a buck, on your bet, and I'll get right on it. . . for such payment itself will rile the Oregon State Bar . . . which is my self-interested goal anyway. The public pension stuff is just an academic interest to get at the bar anyway, from my perspective. Drop by with a big check and you'll see the wild man work.

I am just running on fumes . . . and some may say in more ways than just one. You know the feeling. Sometimes a blog is the last best hope, regardless of the topic . . . as a mere outlet for a grievance of any sort.

(Condensed to about 415 words, sorry.)

You know the feeling. Sometimes a blog is the last best hope, regardless of the topic . . . as a mere outlet for a grievance of any sort. SAID RON:

Oh, I know the feeling alright,but I'm a believer in people standing together and fighting back.

It seems that in 58 yrs though, I have only seen that once. But Ron, I guess one of my many faults is I don't quit, an I despise those that do.

The unsuccessful recall I led, made me think that even though it failed, I heard it gained some attention at the doors of certain leaders, of course they would deny that.

Lets think for a moment what would have happen if we had nailed just one of these people.

Not withstanding your politics, it's human nature to respond to overwhelming odds if your rear is being kicked.

All your points are good ones..IF(sorry,all caps) if the elected official actually responds to you and does something if nothing else but respond with more then a form letter.

The D'S ARE WRONG....and yes, the R'S are too.

Ron, first of all,(growing up on a 4000 acre ranch) you must get the horses attention and short of animal cruelty nail him between the ears to get him too listen to you.

So I guess venting on the blog is OK, but I want to fix the problem, an I'm convinced bringing both sides together in a recall of just one of them is the way to do it.


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In Vino Veritas

If You See Kay, Red 2011
Turnbull, Old Bull Red 2010
Cherry Tart, Cherry Pie Pinot Noir 2012
Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Cabernet, Oakville 2012
Benton Lane, Pinot Gris 2012
Campo Viejo, Rioja, Reserva 2008
Haden Fig, Pinot Noir 2012
Pendulum Red 2011
Vina Real, Plata, Crianza Rioja 2009
Edmunds St. John, Bone/Jolly, Gamay Noir Rose 2013
Bookwalter, Subplot No. 26
Ayna, Tempranillo 2011
Pete's Mountain, Pinot Noir, Haley's Block 2010
Apaltagua, Reserva Camenere 2012
Lugana, San Benedetto 2012
Argyle Brut 2007
Wildewood Pinot Gris 2012
Anciano, Tempranillo Reserva 2007
Santa Rita, Reserva Cabernet 2009
Casone, Toscana 2008
Fonseca Porto, Bin No. 27
Louis Jadot, Pouilly-Fuissé 2011
Trader Joe's, Grower's Reserve Pinot Noir 2012
Zenato, Lugana San Benedetto 2012
Vintjs, Cabernet 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White 2012
Rainstorm, Oregon Pinot Gris 2012
Silver Palm, North Coast Cabernet 2011
Andrew Rich, Gewurtztraminer 2008
Rodney Strong, Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Canoe Ridge, Pinot Gris, Expedition 2012
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rose 2012
Dark Horse, Big Red Blend No. 01A
Elk Cove, Pinot Noir Rose 2012
Fletcher, Shiraz 2010
Picollo, Gavi 2011
Domaine Eugene Carrel, Jongieux 2012
Eyrie, Pinot Blanc 2010
Atticus, Pinot Noir 2010
Walter Scott, Pinot Noir, Holstein 2011
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
Coppola, Sofia Rose 2012
Joel Gott, 851 Cabernet 2010
Pol Roget Reserve Sparkling Wine
Mount Eden Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains 2009
Rombauer Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2011
Beringer, Chardonnay, Napa Reserve 2011
Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Schloss Vollrads, Spaetlese Rheingau 2010
Belle Glos, Pinot Noir, Clark & Telephone 2010
WillaKenzie, Pinot Noir, Estate Cuvee 2010
Blackbird Vineyards, Arise, Red 2010
Chauteau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2005
Northstar, Merlot 2008
Feather, Cabernet 2007
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Alexander Valley 2002
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2002
Trader Joe's, Chardonnay, Grower's Reserve 2012
Silver Palm, Cabernet, North Coast 2010
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
E. Guigal, Cotes du Rhone 2009
Santa Margherita, Pinot Grigio 2011
Alamos, Cabernet 2011
Cousino Macul, Cabernet, Anitguas Reservas 2009
Dreaming Tree Cabernet 2010
1967, Toscana 2009
Charamba, Douro 2008
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend No. 12
Opula Red Blend 2010
Liberte, Pinot Noir 2010
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red Blend 2010
Woodbridge, Chardonnay 2011
King Estate, Pinot Noir 2011
Famille Perrin, Cotes du Rhone Villages 2010
Columbia Crest, Les Chevaux Red 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White Blend
Familia Bianchi, Malbec 2009
Terrapin Cellars, Pinot Gris 2011
Columbia Crest, Walter Clore Private Reserve 2009
Campo Viejo, Rioja, Termpranillo 2010
Ravenswood, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Quinta das Amoras, Vinho Tinto 2010
Waterbrook, Reserve Merlot 2009
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills, Pinot Grigio 2011
Tarantas, Rose
Chateau Lajarre, Bordeaux 2009
La Vielle Ferme, Rose 2011
Benvolio, Pinot Grigio 2011
Nobilo Icon, Pinot Noir 2009

The Occasional Book

Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria DermoČ—t - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 254
At this date last year: 103
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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