This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 3, 2006 4:04 PM. The previous post in this blog was Today's tram lie. The next post in this blog is Pulling for Pittsburgh. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Friday, February 3, 2006


The tram's in crisis. The public school tax plan is in trouble. "Clean money" may or may not be going up for a public vote.

So if you're the mayor of Portland, what do you do now?


I think this one's to Taiwan. There's a "vision" for ya.

Comments (29)

He's probably only trying to get back some of the jobs given away by the preznit.

Grrr. Link is supposed to go here. Please edit, thx.

Good question, Jack. Let's also pretend it is "what do you do now if you're Erik Sten?"

First things first. I've said before, this is a classic case of escalation of commitment. Slam on the brakes. It's not in violation if you postpone further construction until all the details like an accurate cost accounting of the aerial tram is in. That's just due diligence. Make OHSU, PATI, and the developers put forth hard estimates.

In the meantime, a one-year hiatus based on the "fuzzy math" of PATI isn't going to decide the ultimate outcome of SoWa anyway. Playing hardball with developers strengthens your hand for whatever cards you decide to play for the schools--tax, bonds, budget cuts, or otherwise. At least you look like you have a backbone supporting the eyes of your "visioning process."

"Roadtrip" is abosolutely out of the question, though the humor is not lost on me. I once got in big trouble at Freightliner for contrasting different executives' actions with the behavior of Bernard Montgomery with George Patton, allies during WWII. Montgomery drank champagne and dismissed talk of an offensive in the Ardennes from his chateau in France. Patton slept in a tent with his troops. If Potter is going to live up to the rhetoric of "leadership" and "community" he used to deflect serious questions in the 2004 Primary, then he's going to have to eat C-rations and @#%* in a bucket if he wants to be taken seriously.

The Portland city income tax proposal is a done deal.

It worked for Multnomah County, and then survived a vote to repeal it after the first year.

Potter's doing a "cover version" of the County Itax, and is counting on voters to sing along. He had plenty of time to consider alternatives (even if he just read The Oregonian), but it's clear he's another Vera Katz, who loved taxes.

The schools need it, so pony up. That's the song, and it was a "hit" before.

Potter has no vision, and going to Taiwan won't give him any.

It's up to voters to say that the record is "too scratchy" to buy now.

My bet he is multi-level marketing Trams in hopes
OH&SU gets one free or a juicy rebate.

The schools can always use the money!!

But patrickb, really: why do you expect the mayor to have all the answers? So you can criticize him when he doesn't?

Here you are, being given a chance for once to not be a slave to some Sun (Son) King like the preznit, and you're blowing it. "Waaa, I want to be told what to do, waaa." Dude, stop whining. We know you voted for Bush, and are down with continued cuts in health and social programs even as defense increases by 5%, the debt balloons to China (literally), the tax cuts benefit only the people at the top and the jobs keep being exported. What a fantastic vision that is.

So when the mayor asks "What do you want local government to look like, given this c**p hand we've been given by the state and feds, who take in orders of magnitude more in taxes?" be sure to say "I want leader who acts strong and who will do exactly what I want." That'll go over well. I'm sure that vision is just days away from being realized. It's no wonder the Ayn Rand crowd lives at home until their thirties.

Portland is in dire economic straights because of something the Feds have done?

Please elaborate, without saying something really stupid that I will use against you.

Ouch. Careful or Jack's going to turn the station wagon around.

Those be straits.
Straits can be bad. "Straights" are usually good until flushed.

Has anyone seen the verbage of the actual City Charter change that will enable this income tax. I personally smell a fast one coming with schools being the cover.

I suspect that Portland is about to empower the city Council to levy new taxes without a vote so we may be handing over a blank credit card if we are not careful. With the unfunded pension liablity, the propensity of the PDC to swing deals that don't pay for themselves, and the impossiblity of turning a sitting Commissioner out we may be stuck.

Road Trip. Watch the numberous "road trips" to come by all the Council.

Adams thoughts of being mayor are gone because of the tram issue and it's personifications; and Adams being with Katz for 12 years.

The same thought applies to the rest of the Council-this might be there last terms. We don't need public campaign financing, they are making the change for us.

"I suspect that Portland is about to empower the city Council to levy new taxes without a vote so we may be handing over a blank credit card if we are not careful."

Too right! That's exactly how urban renewal was passed by the voters back in the 1950s!!! It was sold as a way to allow cities and the state to accept federal funds. The LAST paragraph in the law added something like, "We can also levy local tax increment funds if we want to." Who knew what tax increment funds were then? Who knows now, except the esteemed readers of this blog?

UR is still being sold to taxpayers as a way to get "free" money for development projects. Watch the ball carefully, my child, and tell me which cup it is under.

Jacks BLog made the Police Rap sheet

C.W. Jensen blog post
gives citizens some
insight into officerinvolved
21 years ago this month I shot and killed an armed
robber who was holding a hostage at knifepoint
and threatening to kill him.
To this day I can see the eyes of the man held hostage. They were
focused on me, not the knife poised above him. Because he knew that
I, not the knife, was his only hope of survival.
And I shot. And I killed. And the hostage lived. He promised me he
would always stay in touch. But I have never heard from him again.
But he is in my dreams. And I bet I am in his.
Police work is tough. Killing people is tougher. Sometimes it is black
and white, sometimes gray.
Cops do the best they can. Really. No one goes to work hoping they
will kill someone.
I have been to the funerals of officers and of citizens and they are all
sad and senseless.
Who the hell am I? Just some retired cop. But I have actually done the
job, done the awful job of killing.
You can listen to the commanders and spokesmen and sheriffs and
chiefs who tell you the officer had no choice.
But for the most part all those cops never pulled the trigger.
For us shooter cops we know we had a choice.
And we made the right choice.


The full transcript of this blog can be found at:

Portland is in dire economic straights [sic] because of something the Feds have done?

Uh, yeah, in case you hadn't noticed, 70% of the industrial jobs that were here three decades ago have been exported. That's called a federal trade policy. Wage arbitrage continues to lead to downward pressure on wages and elimination of health care and other benefits, directly impacting the middle class and consequently the ability to support a family. The result, which should be obvious, is that working families now either rent or have abandoned the city and its property asset bubble, which has been driven by an outside wealth effect.

Meanwhile, federal taxes were cut numerous times on the wealthiest citizens, while spending has continued to increase on programs that enrich and subsidize narrow sectors of the economy, many of them based on suburban development. Like most blue cities, Portland pays significantly more than it receives back in federal taxes.

Additionally, though the city has successfully imported educated labor, it has no capital generation mechanism besides real estate to support an innovation economy. It used to have steel/metals, and does have a port, but the RoR on those is pretty damn low these days. Staggering amounts of money gets sucked up by the feds to support a defense expenditure totaling 51% of the budget, or roughly 10% of GDP, creating a huge drag on the economy. Virtually none of this money comes back to the city, either in the form of research/innovation grants (because the city has no research entities besides OHSU) and no major military installations. Instead, that money is sent to subsidize red states or other countries.

Like the video in the second post says, lesson #1 is to take in more than you send out. Kind of hard to do when it's compulsory and your federal reps are clueless.

What's so amazing is that there's plenty of money in the top levels of the system. Even a marginal increase in returns from the feds, if it could somehow be applied to the city's problems in education, criminal justice, etc, would be substantial. The past-and-present 10% GDP drag from defense starts looking substantial if we could only recover 0.5% nationally. But no, we're increasing defense 5% and crowding out that much more private sector investment. The only jobs in the protected federal economy become those in defense and other industries that can't be exported. And that's exactly where we're headed.

And then there's the State. Equally unwilling. Just do the math. When your federal policy is to have cities subsidize everyone else through the tax system, leave the borders wide open, and encourage international wage arbitrage, guess what happens? But you were probably too busy cheering on Reagan-Bush, or thinking Clinton was really that different, to notice.

And Bush has been President for three decades already? Funny, it seemed like alot less.

If your economic analysis were intellectually honest, you would first acknowledge that globalization and free trade preceeded G.W. Bush's presidency by 60 years. Google "Bill Clinton+Free Trade" and you get more than 15 million hits. It did not pass unnoticed.

Ironically, during the past three years of U.S. economic growth, Oregon has consistently ranked in the bottom three our four states for the WORST UNEMPLOYMENT RATES IN THE COUNTRY. We've consistently ranked with the likes of Alaska and Puerto Rico. And the Portland/Metropolitan region would be neck and neck with Washington D.C. (aka "bottom") if it were not for Vancouver raising our standing on the curve. Ironic that Clark County (Vancouver) is one of the fastest growing regions in the entire United States (#1 in Washington State), but Multnomah County is not. Mmmmmm.

Must be those damn Multnomah County Republicans screwing everything up for the rest of us. There was one?

Do you think the Bushies are just picking on Portland, or are they trying to crush Oregon too? I think you ought to let the subscription to Mother Jones lapse this year.

Maybe it's just me, but I didn't exactly hear a refutation there.

The 'Couv gets a lot of mileage out of federal transfers and programs that prop up the suburban sprawl economy. Funny that most of the financiers for that have offices in downtown Portland. It's not the jurisdictional boundaries that really matter - it's the effect of the payments (protection) or lack thereof.

I wouldn't get too high on the 'Couv's job creation ability either. Many of those jobs are low wage, particularly compared to Portland's suburbs of Tron, Hillsboro, and Tigard. If the 'Couv were anything more than an artifact of federal pro-suburbanization policies mixed with declining working class finances, cheap land, federally subsidized cheap oil, and a property bubble in Portland fed by outside wealth, then you'd have something to talk about.

What's even funnier is that you don't even try to defend the trade policy or the "jobless recovery". I guess Delphi really should be paying those auto workers $9 an hour after 20 years. Low wage jobs in Vancouver? That must be progress. That's the whole problem here. You're so busy cheering on the masters and trying to keep your crumb that you can't even see what we've lost...choosing instead to blame ridiculous scapegoats like a 1% local tax differential, as if that has and will somehow effect a wholesale transfer of investment from one side of the river to the other.

If we could get the federal and state situation under control, we could lower those taxes and raise local taxes enough to meet our needs. But like a good Bushie, you're not interested in reigning in the federal goverment's runaway spending on defense. Thus, my peace dividend will be your foreclosure.

I always love it when the Bushcons and the Birchers hold Vancouver WA up as if it is some sort of shining counterpoint to Portland. Because if Vancouver WA is so good at suspending the rule that "you get what you pay for," and so good at proving the uniquely American delusion that "you can get something for nothing," then why is it sucking wind compared to Vancouver BC?

Surely, globalization and the theories of the Univ. of Chicago have had sufficient time to operate that we should be seeing massive capital flows from Vancouver BC into Vancouver WA. After all, the numbers in WA are all what the tighty-righties say they should be, all lower than BC. WA should be a boomtown full of relocated Canucks learning how to be fat, miserable tv watching slobs with delusional expectations of getting something for nothing, and still griping about their taxes.

Oh wait, it's not happening. The jobs are staying in BC. And I hear the proles there even get health care. Oh those communists! Maybe we should get the military to invade!

Low wage jobs in Vancouver?

OK, Vancouver has HP, LinearTech/Altera, SharpMicro. If you know of any major employers that pay as good a wages moving into Portland, let me know.

hahaha - One other thing before you blame Bush for making China strong - Remember Mssrs Clinton/Gore were responsible for giving PRC Most Favored Nation status and dropping all of their import duties to the min.

Notably, Oregon has clawed it's way up to the 6th worst UNEMPLOYMENT Rate (excluding Puerto Rico and Washinton D.C.) in the nation for 2005.

We've been led by Democratic Governors, County Commissions, and Mayors for how long? Maybe we need more taxes to achieve full employment.

Cut and paste the below link:


Unless you think the Bushies/Birchers are manipulating the statistics over at the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Those dysfunctional states (or territories) with worse unemployment include:

Puerto Rico, at 11.9%
Mississippi, at 9.9% (Katrina?)
South Carolina, at 7%
Alaska, at 6.9%
Michigan, at 6.7%
Louisiana, at 6.4% (Katrina?)
Kentucky, at 6.3%
Washington D.C., at 6%
Oregon, at 5.7%

Let's not forget that Alaska residents get a check BACK from their government each year (the "permanent fund"), and is still home to a large grey economy.


Would "mileage out of federal transfers and programs that prop up the suburban sprawl economy
" also include Federal funding for MAX and trolleys, Katz' Freeway Esplanade, bike lanes, and even the billions of subsidies poured by the Port of Portland and the BPA.

Oh, were you referring to THOSE federal transfers which flow exclusively to Vancouver, WA?

Wow. We're great at reading, aren't we?

Vancouver has HP, LinearTech/Altera, SharpMicro
Apples to apples. Portland's suburbs have three times the tech jobs, at least. As you would expect, given the relative disparity in urban/suburban subsidy and size of Tron, Tigard, etc combined relative to the 'Couv.

Clinton blah blah blah
Never said he wasn't responsible. READ.

Unemployment stats
So, if we could just have the city get on board with a bunch of red-state style subsidized federal defense contractor jobs, resource payments-in-lieu-of-taxes, etc, and get full employment that way, it would be okay? Because, HINT, that's how the states with low unemployment do it, now that we've exported all the jobs to China and India. What next, are you going to start faulting New York City for not creating enough jobs to keep New York near the top? Love how you call Michigan dysfunctional. Would love to hear you explain where those jobs went, Deux.

MAX and trolleys, etc
Try math, it's a fascinating subject, you'll learn amazing things, like: It's the sum that matters, not the magnitude of the individual addends.

hahaha: You said Bush ("Preznit") was giving away jobs overseas. You did not mention Clinton, which is a glaring omission. President Clinton campaigned for and signed NAFTA. As noted above, the rise of globalization and free trade was well under way in the 60's. It is a trend that is impossible to reverse.

If you don't want a partisan debate, then don't make partisan attacks the jist of your first and last posts on this thread.

Honestly, if Oregon has the worst unemployment in the western United States (ex-Alaska), you're not willing to lay any blame at the feet of Oregon's political establishment? Is it all the Preznit's fault?

How many times do I have to explain it? When you send out more in trade and taxes than you take in (Portland and any blue city), you will have fiscal crisis. When you send out more in trade, but take in more in taxes, where the trade deficit is >> taxes returned, you get an artifact, a little bubble sucking wind (Vancouver, WA and any other suburb in a blue state). It's still a net deficit situation. Only when you send out more in trade, but get back more in taxes, where taxes > or = trade, is prosperity occuring in this country (any red state community with protected subsidized industries like defense, health care: those industries don't trade, so they have no trade deficit).

It is a trend that is impossible to reverse.
Nice. Glad you're a surrender monkey. So will you be supporting the extermination of the remnant working class in the name of population control as well? After all, as Lars will tell you, it's really all their fault for not wanting to be slaves. How effing weak.

If you don't want a partisan debate...
You're the one stuck in the false left-right paradigm. I outright said it was stupid to thin[k] Clinton was really that different. You just can't answer for the fact that your side has no solution besides more job exporting, more slavery, more government secrecy, more centralized police power to enable the elite to hang on as long as possible. But hey, "it's irreversible." Just like working Americans having healthcare, which you also have no plan for: "oh, it's impossible, we've got to spend more on defense boondoggles." Just like environmental quality "oh, too much to ask the corporations."

You're starting to make sense to me now: you expect to get something (results of long term community investment and mutual trust) for nothing (paying no taxes, cheerleading for the elite through the false left-right paradigm while hoping for a crumb)...and you wound up with nothing (the very definition of the 'Couv). You were a sucker. And now that you're invested, you've got to cheerlead that much harder for elite interests like job export, environmental degradation, etc. because you've got nowhere else to go (no more jobs), and you're still hoping for your crumb. Thus, asking anything for the working or middle class, like closing the border, not polluting, providing decent health care...well, you see, it's irreversible, and just too much to ask. Better submit to Dear Leader. Karl Rove figured you out about 10 years ago.

"Monkey"? "Effing"? No more of that, please.

hahaha/heeheehee: you're making this way too easy.

Portland has received more Federal largesse than Vancouver (in total dollars or on a per capita basis too). Thanks be to our Congressional delegation. If facts might persuade you, I can provide a link.

I have no idea what "Red State style subsidized federal defense contractor jobs, resource payments-in-lieu-of-taxes" is supposed to mean. You seem to believe that Red States receive more defense contracts than Blue States? WRONG!

Ever heard of Boeing? How about California (the largest single recipient of DoD Appropriations dollars)? Illinois (home to Boeing HQ), Washington (Boeing's assembly plants), and California are all still Blue.

You seem to be confusing trade policy with fiscal policy ("you send out more in trade, but take in more in taxes, where the trade deficit is greater than taxes returned"). I have no idea what that means: I suggest you don't either. Individual states are not permitted to levy export duties or collect tarrifs. If you believe there is a linkage between foreign trade and tax receipts, please explain.

Explaining, unlike ranting, does not require you to make personal attacks on me, or to make assumptions about my position on environmental protection or unrelated (yet polemic) topics that allow you to divert attention from your absurd postings.

I started this post with a simple question: please inform the readers what the Federal Government has done to hurt Portland's economy?

You assert that low-unemployment states achieve that status by exploiting defense spending or the pursuit of health-care jobs:

"any red state community with protected subsidized industries like defense, health care: those industries don't trade, so they have no trade deficit"

Pardon me? American exports of health care (technology and pharmaceuticals) and military hardware are enormous.

More importantly the "trend that is impossible to reverse" refers to globalization and free trade, not unemployment. I'm not suggesting the U.S. can't compete, I'm suggesting that we have no choice but to compete. No surrender here.

Now let mommy have her computer back so she can play some solitaire.

And let us remember that the "official" unemplyment numbers only represent those currently receiving benefits, NOt those who have gone through their benefits and are still unemployed. I suspect the number would be twice as high (at minimum).

"And let us remember that the 'official' unemployment numbers only represent those currently receiving benefits..."

Actually, Lily, federal unemployment statistics are gathered through a survey of households - not by looking at unemployment insurance rolls. At least, that according to the BLS...

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