This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 13, 2006 12:48 PM. The previous post in this blog was Spring is here, I hear. The next post in this blog is I'm a Listerine. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Vote Sten and Saltzman -- for the children's sake

It goes by quickly. Our older child is now school age. And so the parents we've been running with since the new moms' group days now have school-age children. All of a sudden the scary state of Portland's public schools is replacing the Wiggles and brands of baby wipes as the new predominant topic of conversation.

Over the weekend we got one of those "call to action" e-mails of which there are so many these days. Some friends of ours who are about to see their neighborhood school folded out from under them are the new firebrands. They're involved with something called Stand for Children, and they want us to get an e-mail out right away to the City Council urging them to pungle up more dough for schools.

Fair enough, but just under the place where you click to send your e-mail message to the mayor, along comes a gratuitous endorsement of a slate of candidates running in the upcoming elections. It states:

These outstanding candidates have proven records as champions for children and public schools, or they have the demonstrated leadership to make needed changes for children and schools.

Dan Saltzman, Portland City Council, Position #3
Erik Sten, Portland City Council, Position #2
Jeff Cogen, Multnomah County Commissioner, District 2
Ted Wheeler, Multnomah County Chair
Ben Cannon, House District 46
Tina Kotek, House District 44

I rubbed my eyes in disbelief when I saw that one. Sten and Saltzman -- for the children?

Moms and dads, you've got it all wrong. The reason the schools are going broke is because the voters won't pay taxes for them. And the reason voters won't pay taxes for them is that they see our current City Council wasting money on aerial trams, streetcars, transit mall tear-outs, solar powered parking meters, reservoir covers, totem poles, and item after item of wasteful spending. It's all about broken trust, folks.

So if you're wondering why Hollyrood School is going to be closed, you ought to be looking at those two guys as part of the problem. Agents of "needed changes"? Don't make me laugh. Sending them back for four more years in office is not the solution.

Comments (46)



Interesting how politics infiltrates EVERYTHING around here - check out the whirly-twirlies that make up the "Stand on Children" group. Whole lotta consultant, empathic, gubmint-dependent types, one of whom "...spent the next ten years traveling around the United States. Crossing the country, Teddy held jobs ranging from hot air balloon pilot, to ambulance driver, to high school geology teacher, giving him a better understanding of the challenges Americans face around the country. (emphasis mine - the fact that anyone would actually publish this as if it were some defining experience helping to establish their credibility with anyone other than their "fellow travelers" is indicative of their disconnect from reality)

These people are cut from the same cloth as those who have helped(?) create the "crisis" with schools we're faced with now - and their endorsement of Sten and Saltzman just reinforce my take on their lack of... Oh, maybe consciousness isn't even too strong a term. IMO they're "for the children" only insofar as that position reinforces their already-established groupthink.

The schools aren't "going broke ... because the voters won't pay taxes for them." We all pay plenty of taxes for them. We just won't pay ever-increasing taxes for them while at the same time witnessing the BS that gets funded while we get hit up. Not to mention the woolly mammoth in the room whose name may not be spoken for fear of inciting normally civilized folk to uncivil behavior.

How soon we forget, which is why the kids suffer and the developers prosper

Paper: Oregonian, The (Portland, OR)
Message: STEIN, KATZ KEEP TUSSLING OVER FUNDS How soon we forget, which is why the kids suffer and the developers prosper

Paper: Oregonian, The (Portland, OR)
Author: SCOTT LEARN of the Oregonian Staff
Date: August 16, 2000
Page: B02

Stein, a longtime Katz cohort, wants $2 million a year from the city
for the next 25 years to help compensate for property taxes the new
Interstate Avenue urban renewal district would take away from Multnomah

"I'm going to keep advocating for this," said Stein, who will speak at
the hearing tonight. " She's not happy with me and I'm not happy with
her. But we have a long relationship."

Stein is backed by the Citizens Crime Commission and the League of
Women Voters, long concerned about urban renewal districts sapping basic
city and county resources.

The council still is expected to unanimously support the overall urban
renewal plan, despite critics who question the value of a new light
rail line and the legality of declaring the district "blighted" to qualify
it for urban renewal.

The new district would cover 3,700 acres, the city's largest urban
renewal district. For the next 25 years, all property tax growth in the
district would go to pay off loans drawn to build projects and spur
economic development within the district. That would leave less for the city,
county and other local governments, but create an estimated 6,700 extra
jobs and 2,600 more homes.

The city and county will forgo an average of $3.6 million to $3.8
million in property taxes a year for basic services over the next 25 years,
the Portland Development Commission estimates.

Stein's $2 million-a-year plan would cover only a fraction of the need
for early Head Start. An estimated 5,090 low-income families with
infants and children to 3 years old are eligible for early Head Start in
Multnomah County; only 191 are served now. At $10,000 a slot, the full $2
million would add another 200 families a year.

Stein said the county's planned public safety levy for November 2002
would likely include more money for early childhood programs. A potential
gubernatorial candidate in 2002, Stein said she expects the state and
other governments to chip in, too.

"Not to mention the woolly mammoth in the room whose name may not be spoken for fear of inciting normally civilized folk to uncivil behavior." You are talking about the U-N-I-O-N right?

Wow, Jack--you're going for broke in the race to blame Sten and Saltzman for things they have nothing to do with, aren't you?

First of all, City voters ARE willing to pay additional taxes in general. They just finished a 3-year stint doing so, did they not? Secondly, you and I both know that the actions of City Council have almost NOTHING to do with the status of funding for the schools in Portland. Finally, who should we believe? The people who are desperate for acheiving gains in PPS and endorse the pair based on questionnaire responses and detailed interviews? Or the guy who has about a 3-note blogrange (tram/SoWa/Pearl), every one of them in a minor key?

Ah, the truth hurts, doesn't it?

Thank you for your final post on this blog.

If any of you wonder who "loadedt" is, here's his or her IP address:


City of Portland CITYPDX-1 (NET-216-239-183-0-1) -

Pretty pathetic.

Still, Jack, as for myself, I think I'd rather see these people step on their appendages in your blogspace, than be left only with a chorus of "Amen". Of course the comments policy should be respected, but within that envelope, I think different points of view are at worst entertaining and in other cases potentially helpful.

Wow. I didn't know the CoP employed people *that* clueless.

I didn't think the CoP policies allowed people to post to blogs from work computers... (Maybe that it just MultCo.)



Actually there's plenty of blame to go around.

Union contracts theoretically are negotiated which, at least to me, implies a level of fiscal responsibility on both sides of the table. I can't (and don't) blame PAT for trying to get the best deal possible for their members. I can and will blame the various incarnations of the PPS board for their repeatedly demonstrated lack of responsibility to their "members". They have been unable or unwilling to make decisions or take negotiating positions unpopular with parents (who, after all, constitute a minority of those whom they represent, and in doing so have allowed the problem to grow its present proportions.

Voters, as usual, don't pay attention until the house is on fire and have elected these boards without much, if any, thought about their suitability or ability for one of their toughest jobs - contract negotiations.

So here we are at the site of the imminent train wreck.

For the unions to be deemed untouchable, (the "mammoth" comment) indeed unmentionable, by so many of the "leaders" of this community would be laughable if not so serious. While, as I said above I don't blame the union for doing its best in past negotiations, I would be quick to blame them now if they claim "bystander" status in this mess. Should PAT assert some sort of "immunity" from sharing any of the pain which may be part of rescuing PPS, any pent-up resentment, fair or otherwise, toward them won't stay pent-up for long.

We'll soon see what the union position will be this time around. "Trust" cuts both ways.

Pick one.

That "loadedt" sure is clueless. Even an occasional reader of this blog should know that Jack is one of the biggest supporters of tram/SoWa/Pearl and that even his almost irrational love for that triumvirate would never lead him to distort the real issues facing this city in order to pander to the anti-tax, anti-government, anti-union crowd and thereby make himself feel like an important rabble-rouser.

Can I say "amen" to Alan L?

"""The city and county will forgo an average of $3.6 million to $3.8 million in property taxes a year for basic services over the next 25 years,""""

Not even close. Interstate MAX took $30 million alone and over the 25 years of payback will divert around $45 million in property taxes from basic services.

Sten, voted for the Alexan Tax abatement which would have cost the city and county at least $10 million over ten years had it passed.

It is either absolute foolishness, pure insanity or flagrant dishonesty to suggest Sten and Saltzman have "demonstrated the leadership to make needed changes".

The problems with the status quo they represent are city wide and a continued and worsening parade of costly boondoggles is dead ahead.

Worsening. As in the opposite direction the city MUST take.

The choice is simple. Give a rubber stamp of approval for the whole mess by reelecting the same people, or elect someone like Dave Lister and Sharon Nasset who will provide genuine leadership and oversight, back up and bolster basic services and rebuild confidence in city agencies.

From where I sit, waaaay out here in East county, it appears it's not so much the projects that the boys on 4th and Madison favor causing the problems. It's their truly abysmal ability to manage those projects and the bureaus assigned to them. Sten's complete lack of management skills have been apparent to many for years, beginning with his water bureau billing system disaster. The wasted dollars attributed to that disaster far exceed the PPS budget gap.

It appears your council is dominated by left wing activists, which by it's self is no shame.
It's just too bad that most of them are weak in leadership and management skills.

Is it possible to be a far left liberal activist and still be a competent leader and manager?
Or is that why so many of them end up teaching?

You come on here with "Jack this, Jack that, this blog sucks" and you won't be around for long.

Although I agree with Jack that these guys have done serious damage to the rep of our local gov't and, because of their actions, have fostered a climate that makes us all wary of throwing money at the problem, none of these variables mean much unless Measure 5 is repealed and a proper school funding program created. Until its tossed we'll be arguing in circles for years about how to fill the economic holes in various school districts in the Metro area. It will be one band-aid after another. The symptoms will be addressed as opposed to the underlying problem.

"It's just too bad that most of them are weak in leadership and management skills."

Seen how our fed govt's been run lately? Its not a left or a right thing, its a competence thing. There seems to be very little of that around these days in government or big business (although its getting hard to tell the difference between the two.)

"City of Portland CITYPDX-1 (NET-216-239-183-0-1) -"

Yeah that's great.

We're paying them to propablogize.

Who's office did that come from?
I wonder if the city auditor cold tell us.

Beats me. On the net, he or she is "Torrid Joe."

A repeal of Measure 5? If anyone is waiting around for that to happen they will go to their grave still waiting. If measure 5 were to be repealed and property taxes were levied against current market values at around the $28/per M of pre M5, those who are living in the same home since 1992 would see their property taxes immediately rise 40% - 45%.

In looking at my 1991 property tax statement (yeah I never throw crap away) and then plugging in my home's current market value (I just had it appraised)....my property taxes would be right around $7,100 this coming November rather than the $4,800 they will be under Measure 5.

Measure 5 did more than limit the amount local jurisdictions could levy....it limited the amount the county can raise your appraisal in any one year. Those differences are huge now that we've gone through two red hot real estate booms since 1992.

A good friend who recently retired from Multnomah County's assesors office told me in 1994....if Measure 5 isn't repealed in the next year or so, it never will be. It's in granite now. Better save your energy for a sales tax. It's really the only way out.

save your energy for a sales tax. It's really the only way out.

They'll take all that money and build four more aerial trams [rim shot] or tram equivalents.

Charlie - it doesn't matter how we get taxed - the take just keeps going up. Current income from taxation (property and income) to state and local governments, including school districts, has exceeded the rate of inflation and population growth for the past 10 years or more. Yet, we are told there is a crisis. We are told there are 'holes' in the budget. Hogwash!

People who think urban renewal and other grandiose 'economic development' projects would be fine if just managed well don't understand the underlying problem. These projects don't belong in government. No one's job is on the line in govt if a project fails, or goes over budget, so all projects are guaranteed to be 'mismanaged.'

It would help a lot to understand the big picture, rather than adopt this cult of personality: Sten good; Sten bad. Saltzman good; Saltzman bad. Etc. It reminds me of a very earnest former state legislator who, along with me and some other folks. was on a local chamber of commerce committee devoted to getting a road built in our area.

He assured me, firmly, that the project would happen. He had been promised by the current ODOT director, Grace Crunnican. And, he said, "I trust Grace Crunnican." He got very angry when I laughed in his face and said, "I would never use the word 'trust' in the same sentence with an appointed high government official."

He chose to interpret that remark as meaning I didn't trust G.C., even though I told him I didn't even know her. My point was that appointed officials do what they are told by the person who appointed them and she was appointed by a governor who had sworn no more roads would be built. Today, years later, we still don't have the road.

So, you see, I was right and he was wrong. You have to look at policy and who is driving policy. Oh, I have to go - a huge woolly mammoth just showed up!


P.S. Torrid Joe may have been assigned to run the blogs, the way old trappers run their traps. He used to show up regularly on SoundPolitics.

Charlie: I completely agree. But as long as it exists we'll have a school funding shortage in Multnomah. Which means it won't be going away either.

I collected a list of posts on Stand For Children.

I can't quite summarize them.

I exhaustively searched for a genuine advocate for kids and came up dry, even with the PTA folks.

Good luck in your initiation, your skepticism will make sick until you cave in and just go with the flow . . .

A deep breath before hitting send and a visit to www.occp.org has taught me that I agree (partially) with rickynagg on one point. Some people in our state are already paying too much in taxes. Low wage workers are being taxed unfairly in Oregon. We can do better to have tax fairness, but overall taxes are low in Oregon compared to most other places. I don't know how we compare in public expenditures on projects like aerial trams, but overall people surveyed believe that far less of their money is spent on education, safety, and healthcare than is the case. Most tax revenue goes to these basic services, not white elephants.

As far as unfair teacher pay, well I think the LTE in Oregonian today cover this point well. I truly hope Oregon decides it wants to have major league public education again. It had it before Measure 5. It's gonna take ending that cap or adding sales tax to get good schools back. Sticking 27 kids in a kindergarten class is a criminally negligent act in my book. Children in this state are not getting a fair shot at life.

I put up some prayer flags today in hope that our children will be valued and respected for the wonderful gifts that they are. I hope there is a great neaighborhood classroom waiting for the littleest Bogdanski's and for the little Stewart once she reaches for the kindergarten door. Peace.

Jack, it's possible - but not necessarily true - that is an official City of Portland government computer.

Running an IP check, best I can verify is that it's part of portland.or.us -- NOT ci.portland.or.us.

There are plenty of folks that are potential "culprits" here that aren't in the city system. Need an example to prove the point?

The One True Bix is at communique.portland.or.us. There are plenty more, too. At last count from Google, some 53,000 web pages.

(Minor correction. Thumbing through those Google results, the count isn't that high -- but there's still plenty... tofu.portland.or.us, powells.portland.or.us, pasa.portland.or.us, veg.portland.or.us, etc.)

Who cares? He or she is banned. I don't care if he or she's coming from Neptune. It's not worth further discussion.

Jack, it's possible - but not necessarily true - that is an official City of Portland government computer.

Running an IP check, best I can verify is that it's part of portland.or.us -- NOT ci.portland.or.us.

Um, best to run that check again. That IP address ( resolves to ptldnet.ci.portland.or.us -- which is what pretty much all City computers resolve to as far as the outside Internet is concerned.

Note that address is a ci.portland.or.us address, and therefore is the City.

And that's why Bix is a smarter net-nerd than me.

I should add, however, that I do not know whether or not the wifi available now at City Hall also is behind that same NAT'd firewall, in which case any random person could appear to belong to the City.


No, this person works for the city, as his or her e-mails to me have confessed. But as I say, they're gone now.

Kari, just curious -- why did you jump in and erroneously attempt to cover this person? One of your clients, perhaps?

Taming the mammoth will require changes to Oregon laws governing collective bargaining for public employees. Two simple changes would tilt the playing field back toward level: 1) throw out the "last best offer" requirement that forces an arbitrator to choose one offer or the other, rather than melding components from each - to arrive at a fair and equitable resolution. 2) don't allow arbitrators residing outside of Oregon to hear these cases. Arbitrators in Washington and California don't have a clue about the realities faced by local governments in Oregon. A governments ability to pay is supposed to be one of the primary factors considered by the arbitrator - in reality it is usually not given much weight at all in these arbitration rulings. It is interesting to read some of these cases at http://www.erb.state.or.us/ia750.htm
It's pretty clear that a lot of these lame brain arbitrators are retired public employees.

Look thru the clouds of past funding crises and you'll see the reason why Measure 5 passed--out of control property tax increases. The pendulum swung one way, then it swung the other. It's an important lesson to our elected politicians: voters use hammers to swat flys.

I'm curious about Stand for Children. I'm patiently awaiting their annual report, which I'm 75% certain will reveal a substantial inflow of contributions from OEA and its affiliates. More curious is why they are no longer registered as a charitable organization with the State of Oregon (their registration expired in 2004). Is it so they can endorse the union's (er, their preferred) candidates?

Did folks catch this in the O's Weblog.


Mr. Magoo set the stage in his comments, and as I understand it there may have mistyped figure in the City's position taken to arbitration that may have set up this whole scenaro in Anna Griffins observation. The rumor is that the % HR typed in was wrong and so out of line the arbitrator had no choice but to accept the union proposal as the best and final offer.

It will cost the City millions.

Let's get this straight.

Whoever LoadedOregon is, Carla? Torrid? or both?

One of them works for the City of Portland?

They are blogging during the work day, from a city computer, to defend and repell criticism of city policies and leadership?

That should be another nail in the status quo coffin. IMO

Can the IP address be traced to a particular office or desk?

It's not worth pursuing. They probably do less harm trolling blogs than they do when they're focused on their bureaucratic agenda.

Mr. Magoo,

"Taming the mammoth will require changes to Oregon laws governing collective bargaining for public employees."

Absolutely not. No law needs to be changed, just compliance with current law.
See -- pdxape.us Associated Portland Educators

Reining in the power that has been ceded to Credit Rating folks is one essential remedy, which is/requires a team effort by D's and Rs.

Debt equals slavery. Rich folks do not have a single problem with government bonds, as they are an investment opportunity with guaranteed returns and reduce their net tax burden, relative to the poor folks. Public employee pension bonds are even better as the dollars flow right back, for investment, without effectively even leaving the bond buyer's hand. It is sort of like Foreign Aid that is nothing more than a Transfer Payment to local folks that made a bad business judgment.

The PERS stuff is not even a permissive term of bargaining (see Strunk on dismissal of some claims citing a SAIF case), even though wages and length of service are in the formula. If SAIF cannot alter the terms of a legislative contract then neither can any of Oregon's governmental entities, even if they still toss the PERS stuff into contracts that, by their nature, usually expire after three years anyway.

Make the OIC's favored clients guarantee, personally, any projected returns the Credit-Rating-Affiliated-Self-Dealing actuary merely says are likely. And, get a performance bond, if one can be had, legally.

"""It's not worth pursuing""""

No doubt.

"""They probably do less harm trolling blogs than they do when they're focused on their bureaucratic agenda."""

I agree.
I would also add that it has become impossible for any effort to successfully neutralize blog discussions or put the cat back in the bag on the issues.

The ease at which blogs share and circulate information also makes it nearly impossible for the electeds and bureaucrats to snow job the public.

But they still have no problem snowing the Oregonian.

I think the blogs are outing the trolls and this,I hope, will be a lesson to reporters who have been known to parrot trollspeak. Oftentimes, I think they know better, but perceive it to be in their best interest to go along with "insiders". When the trolls go after someone who is accomplished and popular like Jack Bog (The good oles even went after Gerry Spence) and the Oregonian goes along for the ride, down again goes the credibility of the O. It should be getting the message.


In order for the O to "get the message", they would have to acknowledge, as an institution, that blogs matter.

While some of their writers and columnists have accepted and even embraced this new medium, the "supertanker" of crude, oily, sycophancy that is the Oregonian proper will need a long time and a huge turning radius to find a new course. (sorry)

Meanwhile, it's "damn the torpedoes (read: thoughtful research and healthy skepticism)... full speed ahead!"

Thanks for sticking up for me, folks, but I've gotten used to dealing with wayward comments. It's all part of the blogging game.

Like dealing with a web host whose server is severely sick at the moment...

Hmmmmm....well there certainly are folks in city hall that Kari protects. I got into a back and forth string with Randy Leonard awhile back. No bashing my either of us.....just a few reminders from me on some things Randy had said and done back in his legislative days which look a bit hypocritical now.

I've been banned from Blue Oregon ever since. You don't have to drink the koolaid over at Blue Oregon, but you had better make sure none of it gets spilled!!!

Garage Wine:

Stand for Children's annual report might not reveal anything. I assume they are a 501c3, which are not required to report their donors to the public.

I think they might also run a 501c4, which are allowed to lobby, but whose donors are disclosed. You will be able to see their donations if you request the IRS 990 for for their c4.

They probably have both - and they run non-lobbying expenses through the c3, and anything lobbying related through the c4.

Did I get anything wrong there, Jack?

Of course no one would even be speculating if you didn't see the need to post the IP address.

I guess the credibility of someone's comments depends on who they work for, eh?

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