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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 8, 2007 2:56 AM. The previous post in this blog was Survivor Portland Bureaucracy: Day 6. The next post in this blog is What is the best restaurant in Portland?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Amanda's a-twitter

Blogger and Portland City Council wannabe Amanda Fritz is mightily steamed that, while city voters puzzle over whether to grant the council budget control over the Portland Development Commission, there's a bill working its way through the state Legislature that would give the council that authority -- regardless of how the voters go on Measure 26-92. According to Fritz's post, the bill is pretty sure to pass, and so the whole ballot measure on the subject is highly likely to become a moot point -- in other words, a waste of everyone's time. (Oh, there are a few other things in that measure besides budget control, but they don't amount to a hill of beans.)

If Fritz is right (and she usually is), I'm not surprised. Politicians use public votes to provide an appearance of participatory democracy, when the reality is that the votes often don't matter. If the voters agree with the politicians' position, all the better. If they don't, the politicians just dismiss the vote or ignore it, and do what they want to do anyway.

The most prominent folks behind council control over the PDC budget are Commissioner Erik Sten and his newfound second vote on just about everything, Commissioner Randy Leonard. This issue arose during the height of the squabble between the PDC on the one hand and Sten and Leonard's union buddies on the other, about whether contractors on PDC-backed construction projects had to pay state-set "prevailing wages" to their workers. If I am recalling this correctly, Sten and Leonard were talking last fall and winter about taking the budget control matter to the Legislature, but the story that went around then was that they agreed with the mayor to put the question up for a public vote, and live with the consequences.

Maybe not. Maybe there's some sort of double-cross going on here. Or maybe I'm mixing this issue up with some other.

In any case, Amanda's angst is all part of the ugliest little election we've seen in the Rose City in many, many years. Thank goodness it will be over next Tuesday night.

Comments (24)

Regardless of these hijinx in
Salem, I am voting "yes" on this measure. The elected governing body should be the budget committee for urban renewal, rather than a board of Mayor-appointees. If they want to make a positive change to oregon budget law, they should eliminate the loophole that allows Portland (and Multnomah County) to escape the State Law that requires an equal number of citizens sit on the City budget committee - each having an equal vote, along with the City Councilors. That may restore some sanity to City finances.

So, let's see . . . through the vote we can reject the council's role in approving the PDC budget, leaving it to the mayor's appointees, but the legislature can override that by putting it with the council, but then we can, through the vote on the charter change, transfer all the council's responsibilities to the mayor? Can I lie down for a minute or two?

I dont think that will help, Allan. It will still be confusing when you get up.

Whats going on with these people we elected? Did they all have a meeting and decide to hose the public?

I hate to break it to you, but this is what you get when you have one party rule in a state for long enough. Eventually they realize they can just do whatever they want without fear of consequences. It is strange that the same people who supported Measure 37 and Measure 36 would turn around and vote for candidates that they knew would overturn those decisions if they could. For it is the doom of men that they forget.

My understanding is that for City Council to become the PDC's budget committee, BOTH (charter ammendment and legislative change) have to pass. Neither has any impact without the other.

City Council put this change on their legislative agenda earlier in the year, tasking their lobbyist with getting it done.

DOes it matter if PDC or Erik/Randy et al blow the $300M a year PDC gets?

That's what this boils down to is a big pot of money, so that if Erik has control, he can go tilt after his windmills, Sam can build more trollies, Randy can provide cover for PFDR, etc.

Now if you had a vote disbanding PDC and returning the money to taxpayers, I am interested.

I wrote about this after interviewing Leonard and Sten for my column in Brainstorm NW's January 2007 issue. They have not been silent about their interest in taking this to the legislature. The negative bazillion dollar appraisal of the Oak Street property was the straw that broke the camel's back on these PDC ripoffs.

Thank you for clarifying the need for the legislation in Salem, Chris. You are absolutely correct.

The city attorney advised that since the PDC is empowered from both a state statute and the city charter, both the statute and the charter would need to be amended to give the council oversight of their budget.

Sorry...I have to go now...Erik is calling.

The bill in Salem says the Council IS the budget committee. Not "may be the budget committee if approved in the city's Charter".

26-92 says "If authorized by state law, the City Council shall be the budget committee for the Commission and shall have the duties and responsibilities of a budget committee as provided by state law."

So it's true the State law has to pass before 26-92 changes can be enacted, but not the reverse. I don't see any wiggle room in HB 3104. How can the Council say, "Ok, well, we're just not going to implement that State law", if HB 3104 passes and 26-92 fails?

HB 3104 says the Council is the budget committee. Read the bill, Chris and Randy, and please tell me how you interpret it to be permissive rather than mandatory.

My understanding is that for City Council to become the PDC's budget committee, BOTH (charter ammendment and legislative change) have to pass. Neither has any impact without the other.

Posted by Chris Smith

Nope - if 26-92 fails and the State passes the bill - the State trumps our lovely Charter.

Now if 26-92 passes - it does need the State pass the bill in order for it to be effective.

From hearing the Mayor Tom speak on this, he said that he at least wanted people to be able to vote on it and not have the decisions made in Salem without Portlanders having a voice.

OK, I will admit to being officially confused :-)

I am not certain it's true that the legislation trumps the charter, but the finality of the legislative phrasing is daunting.

The elected governing body should be the budget committee for urban renewal, rather than a board of Mayor-appointees. If they want to make a positive change to oregon budget law, they should eliminate the loophole that allows Portland (and Multnomah County) to escape the State Law that requires an equal number of citizens sit on the City budget committee - each having an equal vote, along with the City Councilors. That may restore some sanity to City finances.

Frank (not Dufay), I think this is a contradiction. If you think PDC's budget should be controlled by the elected officials, why would you then argue that a panel of unelected citizens should have a vote on how to spend taxpayer dollars?

I am totally opposed to random unelected citizens having any power over my taxpayer dollars. I already think the five citizens that Portland includes in their budget process (without voting power) lack any accountability. Who do they listen to? What do they base their recommendations on? At least elected officials can be voted out -- unelected citizens are immune from any public backlash.

I believe that if the statute passes, it would require the PDC’s budget to be overseen by the council.

However, there are others, primarily those who either work with or benefit from the PDC’s work that disagree. They believe, I have been told from reliable insiders, that Portland has “local control” over its financial affairs (arguing Portland is a “Home Rule” city) and that without a charter change any change in the state statute would be irrelevant. I have been told they are willing to go so far as to challenge the statute in court if the charter amendment fails.

Thus, there is in fact a group, led by PDC Chari Mark Rosenbaum, that has created a PAC and are raising money to defeat the PDC charter amendment ballot measure. Obviously, Mr. Rosenbaum and his fellow contributors (they include developers and former PDC members) are well aware of the state legislation. However, they are focused on stopping council oversight of their financial affairs even if it means going to court to challenge the state statute.

It is my opinion that the political will exists at the legislature and within the Portland electorate to reform how PDC does its business. Thus, to remove any doubt of the proposed budget oversight by the city council, I have advocated seeking the language change necessary in both the state statute and the city charter.

Miles - the citizen participants on local budget committees everywhere in Oregon - except here in Portland - have an equal vote with the elected body in "approving" the budget. The elected body has the sole authority to "adopt" the "approved" budget. The elected body can also change the "approved" budget prior to "adoption". Arguably the citizen members really don't have much authority in this model, but it's a model that works well everywere else in our State. Portland's efforts of late to include citizens, albeit informally, is laudable. Why not give Portland (and Multnomah County) citizens the same status they have in the budget process throughout Oregon?

PDC controls the money, or the City Council. Really, whats the difference?

The difference is that you elected the City Council, but the Mayor appointed the PDC Board. It's not a minor difference.

Sorry...I have to go now...Erik is calling.

Ain't it the truth. He just had another big idea.

I like what Randy is saying here. First, it seems to me that Mark Rosenbaum wouldn't fight this so hard if the PDC board was on the up and up. What graft is going to be uncovered if the measure passes?

Second, even if Erik Sten gets suckered into another crazy scheme to waste the PDC's budget, how would that be any worse than what's happening now? I have a little more confidence that City Council would be a better steward of taxpayer's money than the PDC board.

I'm not sure how the PDC board chair getting involved with a PAC (oh the horror) has anything to do with what's going on in Salem today.

As for graft, I see less opportunity for that at the moment than I did, say, three years ago. But if it exists, don't expect it to be uncovered, by anyone, ever. That is not how things are done in Portland, Oregon.

The quality of priority-setting isn't likely to improve much, if at all, under enhanced City Council oversight. But at least there would be one more avenue for the public to find out what's going on.

I just posted extensive new questions and analysis on my blog on this topic, too long to put in Jack's comments.

I have it on good authority that the State Senate won't be taking the bill any further until after the dust settles on the election.

Jack, I hope you're right.

Randy, you've spilled a lot of ink here, but seem to be missing the fundamental question:

If there is even a possibility that HB 3104 could trump 26-92, then why would you push for the consideration of 3104 before the election? Why should anyone give a damn what you're "confident of" regarding the electorate's opinion, when we will have a decisive answer next week?

If there's a good possibility, as you suggest, of litigation, that only compounds your apparent disregard for the process you set in motion with an apparent willingness to waste tax dollars on potentially senseless litigation.

The difference is that you elected the City Council, but the Mayor appointed the PDC Board. It's not a minor difference.

I meant that there is NO difference on what the money is spent on. Whatever it is, its not going to help Portland, and most likely the voters dont want it.

Let's see. Potter selected all the current members of the PDC, most of whom have close relationships, connections and even friendships with developers. After two years, Potter curiously has sought to give a number of developers what they want; often ignoring the pleas of neighborhood activists (and mayor Bud Clark) who helped get him elected. And developers are providing financial support to Potter's rush to change the city charter (when voter turnout is traditionally low).

Makes you curious and suspicious...


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
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Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
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Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
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Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
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Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

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

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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