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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Surprise, surprise

Today's Oregonian editorial page gives us the newspaper's management's picks in the Portland City Council races.

You'll never guess.

And the most important criterion for their endorsement? Whether the candidate would have the "courage" to vote more millions for the OHSU aerial tram [rim shot]. "Passion" is also important -- just don't let it get you into an "affair" with a 14-year-old, I guess.

Of course, the O rarely calls a winner in city races any more, and so perhaps this is a good sign. In any event, all you Old Boy Network members, get right on down to the O tomorrow morning and buy some more ads to show Fred how much you appreciate him.

Comments (56)

Beware those "snappy 'numbers' guys"!!!

Why? Because they don't understand how to wield public-private partnerships?

Plus, the "snappy numbers guys" aren't bought and paid for by Portland's West Hills mafia.

I currently subscribe to the "O" for Sunday deliveries only: it turns out that even once a week is too much propaganda.

I get the bOregonian daily. This is because I'm a daily comix junky.

It's nice to know that the the big bOre has made their endorsements and they do not include the candidates for whom I was considering casting my vote. That means I'm on track and needn't rethink either of the candidates I'm ostensibly supporting.

Thanks, Fred, for confirming my choices!

This was the highest level of arrogance and disdain for challenges to the status quo exhibited by the O.
Yeah they ramped it up.

This O's big middle finger to Fritz, Lister and the percolating masses who are sickened by the business as usual crowd should be reason enough to vote for Lister and Fritz.

The clarity in these council races could not be greater.

One outcome, Satlzman/Burdick, is 100% assurance of the continuation of absent scrutiny and the policies this zero oversight breeds.

The other outcome, Lister/Fritz, is 100% assurance that genuine scrutiny and oversight will turn policy making away from the fast and loose and back towards shoring up core functions, basic services and priorities long ago degraded.

I also couldn't help but get the impression the O editorial was holding up their middle finger, in a large part, to this particular blog and it's host as the discussions here are often delivering the more accurate portrayals of the Oregonian and it's unethical motivations.

Electing Fritz and Lister would not only be a sharp turn towards municipal sanity but a strong rejection of the Oregonian's long running agenda
of support for the insanity.

You comics junkies can get your Dilbert and your Doonesbury on line, you know. The only comics you'd miss if you don't take the local daily are the inadvertent ones.

I normally don't comment here because I would be too much of a contrarian. But today the O's editorial board provided the definition to Out Of Touch.

Only in the Oregonian can they print this on the front page:
"Despite election-year rhetoric that businesses are overtaxed, no state asks businesses to pay a lighter share of its state budget than Oregon does, according to the Council on State Taxation, which represents big business."

and then endorse the Big Business candidate on the editorial page.

Status quo. Out of touch. I'm tired.

Could Fritz rise above parochial neighborhood thinking to do what's best for the city? Fritz has said she would have preferred to see the tram shut down, rather than vote to finish it.

Looking for rationality on the tram project equates to "parochial neighborhood thinking?"

I'm not surprised to see the Oregonian endorse Saltzman over neighborhood activist Amanda Fritz. I am, however, amused to see them do so in the context of criticizing neighboods for being "parochial".

I hope the citizens of this city, speaking from their neigborhoods, send a message to the folks at the Oregonian that we're tired of this city's future being mortgaged away for the benefit of a handful of Usual Suspects. Just as small-business represents the backbone of our economy, our neighborhoods are the heart and soul of this city.

Nice picture of Saltzman. He looks as much like Lurch as Kerry did.

Just another reason to use Craigslist for all your classified advertising. Just another reason to burn a watt or two on the internet instead of buying a daily paper.

My guess is that the editorial was written by Mr. Lora Cuykendall or one of the girls. A friend of mine described a meeting she had with Bob Caldwell and the two relatively young women on the editorial board; she said he looked like a toad seated between two flowers. I am not sure whether I have ever seen Caldwell on TV, but when I think of him now, that image supercedes any others I may have had in my mind.

At least the front page of the Oregonian talked about the shift in the Taxes to regular folks, and you can see why Goldschmidt got all those big fees for lobbying. That is the info I was trying to quote in my info under another string where Portland is 6th or if you deduct the I-TAX 8th highest per capita taxes of 51 cities in the country. As the graph on page 10 shows it was pretty obscene last year.

Nice picture of Saltzman. He looks as much like Lurch as Kerry did.

Gotta disagree, Jack. NO ONE looks as much like Lurch as John Kerry (and I say this as someone who STILL has his "Kerry for President" poster in his window, like a talisman; my way of saying I REFUSE to accept the bumbler Bush as the President of these United States).

Jim Hill sorta looks like he wants to eat your brains, though...

I thought the bit about parochial neighborhoods was a stunning display of arrogance. Is building monuments to politicos and developers while basic services suffer broad-minded? Doesn't seem like it to me. Perhaps it is the presumption that all growth is good that is parochial.

The other week I finished reading John Perkins' "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" about how, as an economic forcaster, he helped US companies and government rip off developing countries' resources. He makes a case that this article of faith, the presumption that all growth is good, has justified amazing moral blindness. I think many of the folks at the O suffer from an inability to question this sort of presumption.

In the old animal-world theory of ascension by destruction, you made publishing cred by taking a political life. Or making one out of a derelict.

When in the course of human affairs the animal attacks domestic tranquility, and gashes the general welfare, you shoot it. The newspaper's published endorsement is become, like Liars Larson's, the kiss of death for candidates.

A community not buying it, indeed, intentionally voting opposite The O is better for an Oregonian's future. More than ending the bad advice -- the newspaper is the private taking capital in public/private monetizations -- more than opposing the 'hood old-boys rigged game, the public surge this time crushes the entire newspaper enchilada -- kicking over that wicker Easter basket and all the old deviled eggs who are in it.

My disgust barfs most at Susan Nielsen trying to bury Derrick Foxworth, (and Tom Potter, too, if the chain of innuendo can be stretched), and claim her killer Press cred. Looks to me like the dirt pile mudslid to the back side and comes down being the grave of the gravedigger, instead.

Two socially consenting adults are preferred in public service to one antisocial dissenter.

Yeah, like Jack has been really right on with his endorsements -- Vicki Walker for Governor, for example. Who have you endorsed lately that has won, oh wise one?

Tom Potter.


Those who would like to see Mr. Sten unseated should take note: This weekend the Opie lawn signs have sprung up like weeds all over town. If you want a crack at him in a runoff, you'd better call a few friends.

Ginny Burdick said at one forum (candidate debate) that the government should force people out of their cars. At another forum Burdick said the Oregon voters made a terrible mistake rejecting the legislature's imposed tax increase during a recession (Oregon voters rejected the tax increase via Measure 30 by a solid majority.). Burdick thinks the voters and people who want to drive cars are stupid.

Did the Oregonian newspaper know about these positions before it endorsed her, or did they even care? Apparently, the Oregonian is still supporting the badly broken status quo at Portland City Hall because Ginny Burdick represents the status quo. As in "its not the philosophy thats wrong just the personality."

Ginny Burdick and Erik Sten are two sides of the same coin, a plug nickle rolling in the wrong direction.

Perhaps the most significant sign that the O has lost all credibility is this statement: "But would Fritz antagonize her ardent union supporters to reform the city's tax-guzzling fire and police disability system, as Saltzman has done?"

Yet, in the same endorsement, the O endorses Burdick, who I believe actually SAT as a trustee on the FPD&R Board during the most outrageous "tax-guzzling" by that entity.

The O knows the ship is sinking politically, but they really don't want anything to change. Erik Sten is the most visible member of the crew... Passengers know who he is and know he has been at the helm as the ship hit rocks and swamped. Sten made command decisions the O disagreed with. The passengers are mad and want to take the helm to save the ship. The O doesn't want to give up the rudder or change direction. The O, to save their control of the ship decide to throw Sten overboard, and bring in a new crew member who will navigate in the O's same desired course direction. Even if that means hitting the rocks, and tearing the entire hull out while the passengers scream "I can't swim, and the rich guys took the life boats!"

jfe Did the Oregonian newspaper know about these positions before it endorsed her, or did they even care? Apparently, the Oregonian is still supporting the badly broken status quo at Portland City Hall because Ginny Burdick represents the status quo.
JK: Either that or the editor is kissing up to his wife who works at OHSU promoting kohler's koster, (Sam's Tram) and millions more of taxpayer money to other grand schemes.

Portland: Building the finest Millionaire Condos that taxpayer money can buy.
Too bad about the schools.


I've spoken with the Oregonian's editorial board, and it is hard to describe the degree to which these are weak minds. Journalism was never the most demanding major, and doesn't draw the best talent.

I long for the days when Newspaper men and women knew they were whores, now days they prefer to think of themselves as courtesans.

If the crowd over at the O could move beyond egotism, perhaps some members could learn and grow. It seems there is too much reliance on a chain of command for the better minds to flourish.

The one good question in the editorial, though, is whether Fritz would do what is needed to rein in FPD&R. She has stated (I think on this blog) that she wants to bring all sides to the table so we can get to a mutually agreeable solution. That is also Fireman Randy's position.

Sounds nice, but why would firefighters and police officers agree to give up cushy disability and retirement benefits? There is a public interest here, and it is not the same as the fire and police union interests. Any deal that has the endorsement of the fire and police unions is de facto a bad deal for the rest of us.

Saltzman seems to get this.

I think that most of the fireman and police officers are honest hardworking people. My brother is one, so I know what his tunure as a fireman was like. I also know he got fair compensation for the hazardous work he was in, which I think the general public appreciated more after 911.

I also know that although he did retire after 20+ years of service at age 50, he has health issues from exposure to smoke that haunt him the rest of his life, he is the kind of guy that went in to carry out invalids and older folks in the four story wooden flats, that I am sure Jack is familiar with being from back East, and on more than one occassion I can remember him with seared off eyebrows, from such an encounter. He also lost several collegues from purposefully set arsons, where the owners had chopped holes in the floor and set traps to make sure the firemen were not successful and the loss was total.

He also had very specialized skills that justified that pay, those skills are not readily transferable to a private sector job. I think the thought behind the disibility and retirement, is that these folks should not be asked to take a pay cut when they are no longer able to safely do this work that damaged and just plain wore out thier bodies. This is valid. I think that legitimately the disability and retirement, should bridge the gap between what they were paid with Hazardous pay and what with little or no transferable skills they could make starting over in a job in thier 50's.

Maybe this needs to be a two teir system, but I think they do deserve consideration and should not be made to run into burning buildings up until age 65. Ideally we could use thier knowledge and skills in a less hazardous way, I have suggested that these folks be used to supervise CCC type operations, the firemen in urban wildfire prevention and the policemen for that and other supervision of community court cases, and other options. There is a valuable contribution these folks could still make to the city in that gap between, when thier days of dodging bullets and running into burning buildings are ended.

I would bet most of these guys have the pride to want to do something like that instead of taking handouts.

Miles, your comment mirrors Commissioner Saltzman's "Us vs Them" approach to fixing the FPDR fund problem. In reality, many Portland firefighters and police officers are also homeowners in Portland and therefore concerned about property taxes funding all city services. Everyone agrees the current "system" of paying this year's pensions with this year's property taxes is unsustainable.

To fix this problem, taxes must be raised to provide long-term sustainability of a revised pension plan (even if new hires are enrolled in the state system). There is almost no chance for a referendum with a tax increase to pass without the active support of the police and fire unions. They know the system must be fixed, and they must be at the table to help develop the final plan that protects both taxpayers and our police and firefighters. Dan Saltzman's top-down approach of putting HIS plan on the ballot will result in a defeat at the polls and the loss of political will to fix the FPDR fund problem. It MUST be fixed. This is not an issue to be used for political grandstanding.

The FPDR problem has been known for over a decade, including being in the headlines in 1998 when Commissioner Saltzman was first running for City Council. He's had seven years to fix it, and hasn't. History suggests a different approach is needed, including (here's a radical idea) respecting the men and women most affected while seeking their help in crafting a better program. I have the endorsement of both the police and firefigher unions, AND I'm the only candidate in my race talking about the need to prioritize all property tax levies.

I am pleased with The Oregonian's editorial. It acknowledged I'm the best argument for public campaign funding, and agreed with Jack that I "would stand a chance of winning any race, even without public funds". Public financing gives me a GOOD chance of winning this one, though - an important distinction for someone dedicating 17 hours a day, 7 days a week to this campaign.

I find it interesting, however, that both The Oregonian and some on this blog question my ability to take stands contrary to union positions... at the same time as noting my opposition to the tram. Apparently The Oregonian and others don't realize the tram is providing good union jobs to my supporters in the Laborers union. The unions don't expect 100% agreement in return for their endorsement. They expect respect and to be heard - like all the taxpayers of Portland funding my campaign.

I think we need to separate two issues -- reasonable and appropriate compensation and retirement for police and firefighters, and effective controls to prevent fraud.

Police officers and firefighters are brave, hardworking people who deserve to make a good living. They also deserve retirement at an earlier age than the rest of us, and they deserve disability benefits if they become disabled in the line of duty. I support all of this, so please don't make this about "respecting the men and women most affected."

What I do not support is the abuse of that system. Portland's FPD&R has been taken advantage of by those looking for an easy way out and a welfare check, and there are no systems in place to stop the fraud. Cops who are "disabled" but fighting in Iraq should not get disability checks. Firemen who are injured and find successful work as a chef don't deserve taxpayer money for the rest of their lives. Being ordered to testify against a fellow officer does not entitle you to spend the rest of your career on disability. It is this abuse that is destroying the system, and we must respect the taxpayer who is funding it.

The lack of enforcement, the overly generous payouts, and the FPD&R board need to be reformed. That is the first order of business. Whether or not we switch from a pay-as-you-go system to a pre-funded system is secondary -- and the public will only support that switch, and the tax increase it requires, if they see action on the reforms. The police and fire unions have expressed strong opposition to those reforms, so this really is an us vs them problem.

Amanda, the trouble with your position is that it is a political one. A tax levy to pre-fund the system might require union support to pass, but what I want to hear from you is what a "good" system would look like, not whether it would pass or not. After laying that out, if you need to give something back to the unions to build political support, fine. But right now, you seem to be saying that a "good" system is one that the police and fire unions agree to, and that's the root of Portland's current problem.

Jack -

Since the Big O just won a pulitzer for their editorial writing, care to revise and extend your remarks? ;) It seems SOMEONE thinks they're doing a good job.

The actual editorial WRITING is OK, even very good sometimes. I tend to like Doug Baker and Rick Attig's stuff. I might even give the others As if I weren't scoring for content. But I am reminded of the remark Alan Derschowitz madeafter the Wall Street Journal's editorial page was awarded a Pulitzer to the effect that, there is something wrong with the prize. The Pulitzer committe isn't God, Sirijul. Sounds like high level good old action that secured that score to me.

Oops, that is "if they deserve it, there is something wrong with the prize."

Aha. If it's so easy, when you all win Pulitzers, be sure to let me know.



You aren't responding to what I said. My point is that even prestigious awards can be co-opted to uphold a status quo that needs adjusting. Anything can this side of Heaven.


Does the Pulitizer Committee consider how those editorials are received by the community, or are they narrowly interested in the quality and style of the writing?

"Distinguished Commentary" is an empty phrase if many Oregonian readers found the editorial page to be rife with conflict of interests, factual errors, and callous attempts to deceive.

I like how the regulars here are adding the Pulitzer Committee to their enemies list. Next it will be the Nobel Committee, the Red Cross...

(joke! joke!)

Anyway. The Pulitzer Committee can defend their own standards. Alls I'm saying is, the O has won multiple Pulitzers in recent years. There's talented people working at that paper. What have YOU all done compared to what THEY'VE accomplished? I think the same could be said of some (notice I didn't say all) of the elected officials that receive a drubbing here on a regular basis.

It just shows something about the respective characters of those who whine here, versus those who actually achieve.

Do you want us to list what we have accomplished. Sira? Not enough snobs here, I fear. I am not in competition with the folks at the O but am not their inferior. In fact, I believe many of us that comment on this blog are better educated than most of the gang over there.
Would that the O were as much of a Fourth Estate as Jack Bog is.

I get tired of the formulaic game: "If you don't agree with us, you're bad. And jealous". Strictly junior high school. And transparent.

Misuing awards to divert attention from real issues is an old trick. A few years back the "Spirit of Portland" award was given to a couple of easily distracted SW activists. I mentioned this to people from The Idaho Rural Council, a visiting grassroots group that has accomplished much on behalf of ordinary citizens. Members said they refused any offers of awards. Awards play to people's vanity, not to reality. And there is plenty of that at the O.

Jesus didn't get any awards; he got crucified. But his lack of awards isn't related to his accomplishments.

It just shows something about the respective characters of those who whine here


I disagree, Miles. The most essential component of a "good system" is that it would pass. For over a decade, nobody has been able to get major revisions to the ballot that may not be perfect, but would be better than the current system and pass.

And the way to get to that point, is NOT to have elected leaders or aspirants pontificating about their preferred solution before listening to others' concerns and including them in the responsibility for fixing the problems. As Dana Carvey doing the elder Bush would say, "not gonna do it, wouldn't be prudent". It might get me votes, as people wanting a solution on a platter would see a proposal as "strong, independent leadership". But in the long run, it wouldn't help fix the problem.

The disability portion of the fund liability is only 18%. Funding the pension part of the system is by far the more significant and urgent need.

"Cops who are "disabled" but fighting in Iraq should not get disability checks."

Agreed. Did you know it was the Fire Fighters Union who found and publicized their member (fire fighter, not police officer) in Iraq drawing disability? They are as invested in their honor as in their benefits. And did you know that until Chief Moose's administration, injured public safety officers assigned to light duty desk jobs continued to have their salaries paid by the General Fund? After all, they're still officers performing city functions, that makes sense. In one of the budget cuts in the 90s, the burden was shifted to the FPDR property tax surcharge instead.

I believe we need to prioritize General Fund spending for basic needs like keeping precincts open 24/7, so we don't have to keep asking citizens to pay extra on annual property tax bills. That's a component of the FPDR problem I haven't heard Commissioner Saltzman discuss, since budgets for the past 7 years have been transferring the burden.

Not sure how to break it to you folks, but... The Oregonian's Editorial Board just won the Pulitzer Prize, according to oregonmediainsiders.com.

As W would say, "Surprise, surprise, surprise!"

How comedic.

The Pulitzer was awarded for a specific group of editorials on "abuses inside a forgotten Oregon mental hospital" written by Rick Attig and Doug Bates.

It is not a general award for the entire body of Oregonian Editorials, nor should we infer the Pulitzer Committee ever considered that Bob is sleeping with the P.R. hack from OHSU. They received a Pulitzer (and ten grand) for a couple of editorials, not for the hundreds of myopic and misleading editorials that came before and after the prize winning entries.

Quoting the Pultizer.Org website:

For distinguished editorial writing, the test of excellence being clearness of style, moral purpose, sound reasoning, and power to influence public opinion in what the writer conceives to be the right direction, in print or in print and online, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

The Pulitzer is a huge honor. Congrats. I admit I felt badly when I first heard about it, given the Oregonian’s recent role in the tram disaster, but that’s human. Rick Attig seems like a nice guy, and the work helped – it was positive. I don’t think about OHSU as one thing either. I’ve talked with Dr. Brian Druker up there – and he’s as much of a hero as we have in town for his work with Gleevec. After my column about him came out he sent a nice letter thanking me. I keep that and an autographed picture from Ray Charles as my two best mementos from my time writing columns at the Tribune.
Hey, I just thought of an angle here. The Oregonian regularly prints jokes I’ve sold Leno. This past Sunday it was, “Why can’t President Bush leak things we can use, like warn us when Dick Cheney’s going hunting again?” If we’re going to look at this as a victory for everyone in the paper, I’ve got some calls to make. I just helped win a Pulitzer!
Finally, my post over on the Portland Freelancer was called “Glory Days at the Oregonian” – I believe you have to tip your hat. A win is a win.
But I was concerned later that it would be seen as a Springsteen reference and a slam at Jack. It wasn’t. My mind doesn’t work like that. I prefer to think of another Springsteen song I heard for the first time today: His version of “We Shall Overcome.” The role of the bloggers continues,
and it still could turn out that our heartfelt concerns about the tram and this entire project were well-founded.

Hey, let's not begrudge the O its Pulitzer. The two guys who earned it must be good writers, and I'm sure they have rolled their eyes many a time, just as we do, at their superiors.

Plus, think of all the fun we'll have reading about it for years to come.

The mental hospital ediorials were good as are the writers. Congrats are in order certainly. But Siri's extrapolation beyond that isn't.

But Siri got me thinking, while I was running errands this afternoon about my accomplishments. This past week, my proudest accomplishment was placing a "death row" pound cat with a divorced man whose cat had died. It seems to be a good deal for both man and beast. Looking back, what stands out is a time I represented a guy whose ex wife was withholding visitation rights, taking advantage of the fact that he couldn't afford a lawyer. Sometime later, I heard one of his daughters say to a friend " There's the lawyer who got our daddy back when I was praying to see him again". I don't think I ever felt more accomplished than at that moment. As for a Pulitzer, don't know if I will ever be in competition, but, in my younger years, I won creative writing awards, was invited to participate in my college's English honors program, and scored in the ninety third percentile for verbal ability on the Graduate Records Exam. Caldwell and company have tried to suppress my stuff, not Doug Bates.

Regarding jouralists and journalism generally: I recently finished a book I found hard to put down: "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls. She was raised by intellectual idealist parents -one a drunk and the other neurotic, who didn't bother with "mundane" matters like providing for their children, so that theyhad to scrounge in garbage cans for food. When Walls started working for her high school newspaper, she felt accepted and noticed that she had power over people who previously despised her, people who wanted their names in the paper. This made me wonder how many present day journalists came from dysfunctional families and are making the rest of us pay for it.

Probably the big O gave the middle finger to Fritz is because they know how she uses the council and has seen some of the things that she has been involved in (with absolutely no regard for the big picture. Only a few loud neighbors),
Like deciding to take S.W. Portland out of Merto and Portland's Comprehensive plan! They probably see that that was a dagger in the heart for S.W. Portland's schools (Gee do you think that four years of NO-infill in S.W. Portland has had some affect on our school enrollment).
Someone needs to ask Amanda how taking S.W. Portland out of Metros plan and Portland's Comprehensive plan and also changing St Johns comp Plan helped our great city.

No infill in SW? I have 7 new large houses within 1/4-mile, on tiny subdivided lots, plunked amidst the early 20th century bungalows and the later 1970s ranches. There's plenty of infill in SW, the problem is that families with kids can't afford them -- they're all $500,000-plus.

Amanda -- Even though I disagree with your approach, thank you for your thoughtful responses. I recognize that disability is only about one-fifth of the fund, but the abuses there are so egregious that they make it impossible for most taxpayers to consider pre-funding the entire FPD&R system. My understanding is that the police and fire unions expressed strong opposition to 1) reforming the FPD&R board so that the unions do not have a controlling majority, 2) giving the responsibility for disability determination to an objective body that will make determinations based on the facts of the case rather than to help out a fellow officer, and 3) changing the system so that outside income from other work reduces disability payments from FPD&R.

These are specific, sensible, necessary reforms that Saltzman supports and the unions oppose. I would feel much more comfortable voting for you if I knew that you would include these in any FPD&R reform, even though it will upset your union supporters.

In my SW neighborhood in just one block length on just one side of the street there are four additional houses in the past 4 years. On Slavin Rd. just off Corbett Ave. there are an additional 106 town/rowhouses built in the last ten years on five acres.

Then if you count all the rowhouses, new houses built on in-fill lots just in the Johns Landing area, I think my point is made.

Ginski: Your information is incorrect. The West Portland Town Center is the only Metro 2040 concept area put on the 2040 map at the request of citizens. I was one of those, as the land use chair of my neighborhood. I worked very hard to keep the Town Center designation in the SW Community Plan and on the Metro 2040 map, despite the opposition of three of the four neighborhoods that initially lobbied for it.

The folks in St Johns, Cathedral Park, and Portsmouth I've visted with in the past three weeks seem to believe the St Johns plan is showing some benefit, with more expected. I lobbied with the land use chair of Friends of Cathedral Park to ask the Council to pay the Measure 37 claim that threatens the zoning plan there. Only Sam Adams would even consider it. If you want someone on the Council who cares about land use, and understands the Comprehensive Plan and its importance to Metro's 2040 Plan, please check my record more carefully and you'll find your previous impression may be unfounded.


Are you sure you are not Hahn, It was interesting that he hasn't posted in this string since he talked about the tax burdens in the string previous and didn't answer the question if he was involved with Saltzman.

Nope, not Hahn. Nor do I have any involvement with Saltzman. I am genuinely undecided in that race because I think Dan brings a needed perspective and sanity to the Council on issues like FPD&R, but I like Amanda and find her to be very thoughtful and passionate about neighborhood issues. And she would break up the old boys network of the current Council. But FPD&R reform is a watershed issue for me because it symbolizes the unintended consequences of an entirely union-friendly Council. (I'm generally pro-labor, but there has to be a balance and it is missing from the current Council.)

I agree Miles on the labor issue, and something needs to happen, but it won't be solved without dialogue which isn't happening now. I have seen what can be done when you work with the union at the table, and what happens to perfectly sensible things when there is no one at the table talking to them. It is off topic so I don't want to go on about it in this string, but the staus quo isn't working, and I don't think they are even asking the right questions, just playing to the media.

I didn't answer because I had already answered the question earlier and didn't feel like repeating myself. The answer is still no - I have no connection to Saltzman. I simply believe that while this City Council hasn't done everything "perfectly" (whatever THAT means - show me a government that has EVER made everyone happy), I happen to be satisfied with them. I think there's a lot of extremism here, especially in regards to making a villain out of Saltzman simply because he was the third vote for the Tram. In case you hadn't noticed, the Tram is more than 40% done. As much of a disaster as you think the current cost is, it would've been a far greater financial disaster if we stopped it right now with the what, thousand tons of concrete and foundation already poured and a building already built and designed to receive the Tram. The time to stop the Tram has already passed, so it's time to stop whining about it and bite the bullet. Saltzman did just that. And while I have nothing at all against Amanda, I don't happen to believe that Saltzman has done anything to deserve getting voted out. Would ANY of you have voted down the Tram at this point if it would potentially cost the city tens of millions in lawsuits not to mention burning the developers and ensuring that none of them will ever do ANY project of significant value here in Portland ever again? I'm sure some of you actually want that which honestly confuses me. If you don't want a city with highrises, I don't understand the difficulty in moving to a suburb - there are plenty of them around Portland. Save in taxes and live the quiet life. Let those of us who LIKE urban living, pay for our lifestyle and stay in the shiny new Portland.


I doubt that most of us would have supported the Tram at all, certainly not without a fixed price contract and an architect that had designed one previously.

That said, it would have been far cheaper to cancel it when it was still a "$30 million dollar tram" rather than build it for $65 million. If they ever include all of PDOT's soft costs, plus the legal and various consulting fees, we'll be lucky to spend a nickel less than $70 million by the time the first paying passenger boards.

We still don't know how they plan to evacuate it in case in case it gets stuck in route. There's a lot of terrain that an aerial ladder truck won't cover, and their vertical reach is typically less than 11 stories (straight up), and less if you have to "reach" laterally.

Maybe there's an escape hatch on top that a helocopter could access?

Yes, keep mentioning the price tag of $65 million as if that's what the city's bill is for (and not $8.5 million). If we'd cancelled it right now, that likely WOULD have been the bill for the city. If you're going to complain about the price tag, use the correct price.

As for an evacuation plan - what's the evacuation plan for skiiers who get stuck on a lift in sub-zero temperatures? What's the evacuation plan if an airplane's engines stop working mid-flight? If you're so afraid of it, then DON'T ride it. Stop acting like someone's got a gun pointed at your head forcing you to board the Tram. Quite frankly, $8.5 million (say it with me Alice: $8.5 million, NOT $65 million), is pretty damn cheap. Since you're SO stubbornly indignant about it, I imagine you can tell me how much the Tram will cost YOU as an individual. I look forward to seeing your estimate.

I think that Ryan Frank's article pointed out in the shell game of public finance and concessions to OHSU in tradeoffs equal more than the number you keep quoting. Right now it is hard to say just what the deal really is.

The capital investment is just the tip of the iceberg, you are going to have to operate it and as noted in the more recent post tram operations cost NY over $2 million a year. If it is like the Streetcar, this will be a pass through from other goverment agencies so "the City" persay may not pay for it directly, but as in the case of he street car, transportation funds were diverted in a round about way from parking revenues that would have gone into a capital replacement fund, ie fixing potholes and sidewalks, ie eventually every one who is not tax exempt will pay for it, whether it is in higher charges to the Oregon Health Plan by OHSU for the folks that go there, or a bond measure that everyone is afraid to propose at the City to pay for the $2 billion in deferred maintenance that is stacking up.

The majority of the tram costs in some form or another will be paid for by the taxpayers, if it is such a great deal, why no life cycle cost estimate, why no cost/benefit analysis. But again, the way this thing has shaken down it just is so disrespecful of the neighborhood, taxpayers, and intelligence of the citizens, and its not just this but the convention center, PGE park, all of them are running in the red when things that people do want like schools suffer.

Hahn said, "Let those of us who LIKE urban living, pay for our lifestyle and stay in the shiny new Portland."

Hahn, this is what you're not understanding - That would be great if you were actually "paying for your lifestyle." But the "shiny new urban Portland" is NOT being paid for by the people that live in the new condos.

The Pearl, the SoWa area, the UR areas... all are being financed on the back of the other residents. THAT'S the crux of the issue that has people so peeved.

Larry, if you make that allegation, you need to back it up with SOME proof. Let's start with the Pearl and let's see some hard numbers. How much has the city paid into the development of the Pearl? How much has it received (total over the years of the Pearl's existence) in property taxes, state income tax, and city taxes?

I suspect that you will have a hard time finding the numbers because there are numerous intangibles that are difficult to count. Among them, how much of the population increase in Portland is due to cleaning up and developing places like the Pearl? Besides the figures of taxes, how much does it promote businesses, thus promoting increased employment opportunities, thus promoting increased income taxes, etc, etc, etc.

If your allegation is to have any merit, you have to provide solid numbers that the "other" residents have suffered directly as a result of UR. Claims are frequently made about how the property taxes paid by UR areas don't benefit anyone else. Even if that were 100% true, if the people in those UR areas didn't move there (many are from out of town, or even out of state), then you would not only not have the property taxes, you wouldn't have their state income taxes, or city taxes. Plus, businesses would have no reason to be in the city without a minimum consumer base. So just WHO do you propose would keep the city economically viable? The property taxes of $100,000 homes?

Don't get me wrong - I think we need diverse neighborhoods in Portland. I certainly don't want it to all turn into one gigantic Pearl District. However, like it or not, the city NEEDS the wealthy residents who would move to modern urban districts like the Pearl or the SoWa. If you think the school system is short money now, what do you think will happen when the people who pay a large chunk of the state and city income taxes are chased out of state? It's in the city's interests to provide an incentive for them to stay and preferably for the long term.

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