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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 5, 2006 11:14 AM. The previous post in this blog was Up in the air. The next post in this blog is Rough night at Hanko's. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, October 5, 2006

Just vote no?

Here's a wicked idea that I can't get out of my head:

Vote no on the Metro parks levy to protest the park giveaway planned for Mount Tabor and the $7 million patch of grass in the SoWhat district.

Vote no on the Portland police pension "reform" Band-Aid to protest police brutality.

Sure, it's irrational, but what passes for government in Portland these days is insane. And we all know "the issues we face" when dealing with insanity. Sometimes the innocent get killed.

Comments (24)


Jack,

That is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, its the bathwater that is dirty.

The METRO Parks is needed regionally particularly on the East Side, and there are studies that show that protecting Natural Areas actually lowers taxes, as it is as by the time you pay for all the urban amenities, it costs a lot more than property taxes, ie why the income tax supports schools so much.

I am also concerned with the Library Levy, the amount increased this year instead of holding flat. If Multnomah County is true to form, it will back fill, or re-adjust the tax supported library operations budget to reflect the "new money". It would be interesting for one of your tax slethes to go back and see what the Library budget and the % of it that used to come out of property taxes was.

The give-away of Mt. Tabor Park property has me feeling somewhat reactionary myself. Voting against the parks measure might be a good idea if it would pressure the powers-that-be to change course.

And as to the library levy, I have seen no assurance that passage of the measure would keep the libraries open in the evenings.

I usually vote in favor of most of the local tax measures, but this year may be different.

Unfortunately, voting "no" to send a complicated message is simply ineffective. Pundits will interpret a no vote as a "no more taxes" message, just as they (incorrectly, I think) interpreted the passage of Measure 37 as an anti-land use planning message (polls showed two-thirds of folks thought our land use laws were good or too weak).

It's sort of like people who don't vote thinking they're getting a message across. It just don't work.

Pundits will interpret a no vote

I'm more interested in how our elected officials will interpret it. If they get the message, I don't care what's in the papers. But your point is well taken, because even the political types may not get it.

Jesse O nailed it

Just out of curiosity, have any Portland newspapers covered the Mount Tabor sale, or is our esteemed host the only one to have broken this story?

No one I talk to seems to know much about it.


It was a funny thing, it was on the online version of the "O" between midnight and 6AM on Thursday, then taken off and back again on Friday the dead news day. It was also in the SE Examiner this week.

They don't seem to get it. Anything ever. But I sure understand the temptation to send a message. Yesterday' lead Big O editorial "Don't deprive Oregon of a key economic tool" urging a no vote on M39,contained the astonishing line "But there is no evidence that condemnation is abused or overused in Oregon". Oh C'mon: legitimate land use tools have been misued in this state since before it was a state. I wrote a citizen piece that appeared in the West Linn Tidings in August 1995 on a midnight hearing to condemn land (for a PUBLIC purpose) in that case outside the urban growth boundary when there were better sites available inside, where a developer had cut a deal with a school board member. Something much like the Texas Rangers condemnation scam for which our beloved commander in chief is known. Mary Kitsch also says that land use types were not surprised by the Kelo ruling. Well, it may not have been a surprise, but it was also only a 5/4 decision, if memory serves. The issue is not as lacking in controversy as she made it appear. Economic incentive programs are really under fire in the courts these days. I have an article on enterprise zones on the table to read right now. What really gagged me most is her bold assertion that another ruling in Kelo would have upset precedent that land use issues are for the states. Yes, that is true, but that wasn't really the issue; it was whether PRIVATE property can be condemned for PRIVATE gain if there is ostensible public benefit.

And remember the Columbia Gorge Scenic Act-FEDERAL land use law. The Oregonian was all for it and stubornly refused to look at evidence of abuses. Gag me with a spoon, Big O.

"Something much like the Texas Rangers condemnation scam for which our beloved commander in chief is known"..
in that more land than was needed was condemned and middle men profitted. The sports stadia are justified on economic development grounds, I believe.

"it was whether PRIVATE property can be condemned for PRIVATE gain if there is ostensible public benefit."-a departure from the wording of the 5th Amendment of the US Constitution.

Wouldn't the levy failing put more economic pressure on the park system, thus causing them to look to gain money in other places - such as by selling off parts of parks?

Although I am torn this year as well. There are lots of good things asking for levies - but we already pay so much damn money in taxes as it is. I strongly support public projects (as you see if you read my other comments) and I like good economic development (although I agree to disagree on many readers ideas on ehat good economic development may be). But in the end, I am a middle class fellow who only has so much money left over at the end of the day.

I usually vote against all Police bonds though. When they stop using traffic violations as revenue generation then they can have my tax dollars...

Measure 37 sucks ass no matter which side you are on. A poorly written measure that is making rich people richer and destroying Oregon in the process...

"""Measure 37 sucks ass no matter which side you are on. A poorly written measure that is making rich people richer and destroying Oregon in the process"""

That's as patently false as anything the PDC ever spewed.

Having watched the M37 claims in WA County and filed and got one myself I know that the vast majority of claims are not only for non rich people but they are utterly harmless to Oregon.

This take of yours is a product of the PDC, Metro the other agencies and all their crony groupies.

One false hood after another just like the PDC and their Urban renewal schemes.

And their is no question the PDC and Metro are connected at the hip.

Using propaganda to roll out their agenda and devour resources like drunken sailors.

Metro's measure isn't a park levy?

It a lock up more land levy, a skimming levy to channel $15 million to their favorite activist groups and municipal pay off money that will end up back filling other shifted monies.

Their won't be any parks of any significance just as the first open spaces bond measure didn't provide any.

And who needs another swamp interpretive center any way.
I mean come on. Are taxpayers swarming these wetland nature "facilities"?
Hardly.

Vote no. And you shouldn't need a Mt. Tabor reason.

Metro can't be trusted. They wrote the book on plotting and scheming.
The PDC went to their school.

Hey Steve, aren't the evil developers/builders the ones who ultimately stand to profit from Measure 37? Who's gonna build those lovely tract home subdivisions?

I guess they're alright when they side with conservative initiatives...

Metro can't be trusted. They wrote the book on plotting and scheming.
The PDC went to their school.

And there's terrorists hiding under your bed, waitin' to get ya! C'mon, Steve...

The last bond measure for open spaces produced more saved acreage than was promised...bought from willing sellers. Whatever other screwy things METRO may do...I think there's a proven track record here of success.

It a lock up more land levy (sic), a skimming levy to channel $15 million to their favorite activist groups and municipal pay off money..

What money went to --or would go to--"activist groups?" I haven't a clue what you're talking about. Could you explain...after taking a deep breath, and slowly backing away from the coffee? :-)

METRO runs the zoo and you don't vote to stop feeding the elephants because garbage rates went up (also a METRO responsibility). You gotta focus responses to specific things..and a "no" vote meant to "send a message" is just going to come out garbled. Does that mean we don't want to save more land from development?

BTW Steve, the claims filed with the state, and counties, from ballot measure 37 are now in the billions. That's hardly a benign impact on the state and its taxpayers.

Portland voters should think about the FPD&R and property tax "compression" when considering any local options. The FPD&R has first dibs on local option money if it's obligations are not met by the amount of prop tax allocated to it. To make it simple, the money you want to go to children, parks or schools may not go there at all if the FPD&R comes up short.

The reform plan, if implemented, doesn't solve this until all currently employed safety officers and all currently retired safety officers pass away and everyone has moved into tier 3 PERS.

Come on Frank,

Metro will do more screwy things with this new money.

The fact that you are unaware of the $15 million in activist money shows how good Metro is at plotting and scheming.


The last bond measure was not this measure. Although Metro managed to skim off $12 million (for management?) from that $136 million levy for God knows what.

My take is they need more of that money to keep their agenda running.

And this measure promises to deliver an additional $15 million to their activist organizations. I know, that part isn't being talked about.

Only the fuzzy and warm stuff.

"The last bond measure for open spaces produced more saved acreage than was promised"

Wow? Isn't that the typical unqualified hype.

Who knows if they paid too much or not.

You'll never get any independent look see at that any more than anything the PDC does.

And Metro "promised" a whole lot more facilities than they delivered.

The "proven track record" is they NEVER deliver what they promise.

Real the measure Frank.

$44 million spread out to cities and $15 million for "community" groups.

You might have "a clue" if you read it. Then take a deep breath and slowly spin that distribution to pure good.

"METRO runs the zoo" Oh yeah they "run the Zoo" all right.

Money laundering and tax evasion a specialty.

In 2004, the zoo improperly transferred $719,415 of taxable zoo income to the Zoo foundation, which then returned the money to the zoo. The zoo treated the returned money as a donation, which saved the zoo $56,489 in excise tax that otherwise would have been due to Metro.

"Does that mean we don't want to save more land from development?"

Again that is not what the phony measure is about. We have countless preserved acreage and regulations dictating endless protections even when development happens.

BTW Frank the claims filed with the state, and counties, from ballot measure 37, now in the billions is NOT billion in cost to the state.

But a boom with billions in essentially harmless home building, development and jobs and revenue for taxing jurisdictions.

The benefits will far outweigh any impact on the state and its taxpayers.

Go look at the claims and know they mean enormous benefits to the counties and cities.

If you want to see adverse impacts go to Metro or PDC policies.

They're the criminals.

Dave is right, folks need to think about compression. The other question I have Dave or Jack is does the Current scheme in place to finance FPD&R go away or is the one we are voting on in addition to the other one currently on our taxes as a line item, and exempted along with Urban Renewal from the property tax limitation measures. The "reforms" were pretty limited, it seems to me , and looking at the list of contributers, this is just another scheme to make more money avaiable to UR and change the revenue stream to allow more bondability. If all we are doing is trading the current line item for bond obligations and compressing the funds on the parks, library, and schools levy's then who is really benefiting.

Instead of the "open space" sham the real "Park" measure I would prefer to see is one limited to upgrading, expanding and maintaining all of ouor region's school yards, playgrounds and regular parks which the super majority of people and children use daily.
Enough already with the lock up land for little or no use mindset and get on to making the usable facilites nicer and more of them.

John,
As I understand it, we are being asked to provide new prop tax to fund the pension contributions for the safety officers coming in on PERS and the current FPD&R line item will remain the same initially. Over a very long time it will start to go down. Short term we pay more to elminate the long term debt. I describe it as "Taking our medicine" in my column in the October Brainstorm which is just coming out.

The other aspect of the reform package is a new review process for disability claims... that part is definitely needed.

Correction,
The current FPD&R line item will go up as more officers retire under the old system and then begin to go down as retirees pass away. Kind of a bell curve, actually. Compression will come into play more and more as we approach the top of the bell.

The last I heard, Warner-Pacific College was wholly-owned by Japanese interests. Is that still true?

Talk about poor management, I see that the Multnomah County Library is coming back to the trough for more money. We voters regularly give them more cash and they regularly waste it. Puleeeeeze let's stop this merry-go-round.

I have an idea. Let's pass a new bond levy that would unlock all the restrooms in the Portland Parks year round, and pay a roving band of jolly janitors to clean the restrooms every day.

Then we can stay longer than our kid's bladders can hold.

There is no reason that public restrooms in city parks should be filthier than a truck stop. Not with tens of millions of dollars being spent on NEW ACQUISITIONS.

I'm having a hard time figuring out how I'll vote on the bond levy too. I'd like a clean bathroom too that isn't locked up.

At Willamette Park, the Parks Bureau charges for parking in the park (not cheap) and all the money was to go to the Park only. Guess what, it doesn't. We have tennis courts that are in poor condition, ripped nets, full trash cans, infrequent lawn mowing, poor drainage, two years to replace the play equipment, etc. Willamette Park is our only "neighborhood park" serving 5000 people in our neighborhood' plus it is a regional park. For us neighborhood locals, we still pay for the parking.

If we can't maintain our existing parks, how can we consider more parks? Most of the "open space/parks" of the last bond measure are closed to public use because of no money for improvements, or to make them accessible to the public.

Dave,

The City didn't "take its medicine," though. They ignored more of the recommendations of the City Club and their own citizen's committee.

Why bail them out again for incompetence?


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