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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 25, 2007 4:42 AM. The previous post in this blog was Welcome to New Jersey. The next post in this blog is Another voice. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Sam the Tram jerks your chain

Have you heard? There's a major ongoing crisis in the condition of the streets, bridges, and traffic signals of Portland, Oregon.

Well, if you live here, of course you've heard. How can you not have heard, when the city's transportation bureaucrats have begun harping on this issue at every turn, as of a few weeks ago? Here's a mailer that's been sent out to every postal customer in the city. Our copy of this 8½-by-5½-inch two-color document arrived on Friday:

As if that weren't enough, on Saturday we got a robo-call telling us we needed to attend the meeting on this emergency, Tuesday night in our part of town. A robo-call! Even though we are on the official government no-call list, and even though we pay the phone company a pretty penny to play a recorded announcement to all callers telling them we don't accept solicitations.

All this nattering about the city's transportation "trouble" has the hallmarks of a single politician -- Commissioner Sam "the Tram" Adams -- and it's infuriating on so many different levels that one has to stop and get out a clipboard to count them all.

First and foremost, the nature of the city's fiscal irresponsibility when it comes to transportation is obvious. We're spending entirely too much money on shiny condo marketing toys like streetcars and the aerial tram, and the basics of street, bridge, and traffic light maintenance have been neglected. It's been going on for years, and the cumulative weight of all the toys is starting to make itself felt.

I got a kick out of the Tram-meister's spin on this, as reported by blogger Amanda Fritz last week. "Only $1.6m of City funding goes annually to subsidize Streetcar operations." ONLY! And that's up $600,000 in the last two years. A million six a year would fix a lot of potholes. As would the hundreds of thousands -- we never got a straight answer as to how many, but lets say $300,000 a year -- which make up the city's share of operating the lovely OHSU aerial tram [rim shot]. There's $2 million down the condo developer rat hole. Every year. Forever.

And even if it's too late to stop paying for that now -- we're not going to rip up the streetcars we have or tear down the tram -- we continue to talk about adding more. Streetcars up and down MLK (Joe Weston's already got the accompanying towers lined up), streetcars all along Burnside in the wasteful traffic "couplet" -- streetcars, streetcars, streetcars. Every single extension will cost the city a quarter million a year, forever, once it's built. If we've got so much "trouble," maybe we ought to think twice about making it worse.

Second, the emergency tone of these crisis pronouncements is absurd. The deterioration of Portland's streets has been, and continues to be, gradual. The roads, bridges, and traffic signals have been neglected on a serious basis for around a decade -- back to when then-Mayor Vera Katz agreed with Homer Williams and Neil Goldschmidt that the city needed to invest all its money in promoting condominium tower development. There is simply nothing new in this story that warrants the breathless robo-calls and scary direct mail.

Third, it's outrageous that Sam the Tram is making a big deal out of this issue. He is a prime cause of the problem. The legacy of neglect dates back to Katz, Adams's political godmother, who employed him as her chief of staff for many years. And since his friend Opie pulled the strings and got him elected to the council, Adams has devotedly carried water for the developer moneybags -- the only real beneficiaries of the shiny toy transit that sucks up all the transportation money Portland ever has to spend.

If the system is "in trouble," it's Adams's fault as much as anyone's, and for him to start grandstanding on the sorry state of our streets is the ultimate in gall. He's such a smooth talker, I hear -- he must be, not to be pelted with the rotten tomatoes he deserves at his "town hall" meetings on the subject. (Which, I might add, are conveniently called on short notice in the summer, when no one's around -- a classic Portland City Hall tactic.)

Next, the Adams methodology for raising taxes is nauseatingly cute. "With your help we can save lives." Come on, man, do we look that stupid? You frame the "conversation" you're asking for in terms of choosing among alternatives for new taxes -- gas tax, property tax, car registration tax, whatever. But of course, the word "tax" appears nowhere in any of the red-hot crisis literature. It's all about "transportation priorities and funding options." Uh huh.

Moreover, the timing of this publicity campaign is highly suspicious. It's pretty clear that Tom Potter's going to step down as mayor after one term -- officially, he's playing coy until September, but I'm sure he's already tipped his hand to his colleagues on the council -- and it's no secret that Adams and his supporters think he's going to be the next mayor. Never mind that he lost the primary last time -- he's emboldened enough by his upset win in the general election that he thinks he can become the new Vera.

I'm sure he's figured out, though, that basic transportation needs are a negative for him. Many Portlanders are fed up with the sorry condition of our roads, bridges, and traffic signals, and if any politician is to take the blame for those problems, it's the transportation commissioner -- Sam the Tram. And so the sudden urgency is all a push to make it look as though he's equally outraged, and that somehow he had nothing to do with it. Heck, he might even convince the OSPIRG and Bus Kid sheep that he's the one who discovered there was a problem. And then he'll make hay out of acting as though he's the champion of the public good. (Not to mention that as soon as you say "new taxes," you pick up several thousand public employee votes.)

At the risk of demonstrating what a paranoid old kook I have become, I smell old Mark Wiener here -- the political guru who decides winners and losers around Portland. I'll bet that part of what he and Sam are hoping for is that the tighty righties in town take a break from cleaning their guns and limp up the mike to scream about the tax increase. That way, when Adams comes around with his "progressive, green, sustainable, bike-friendly, labor-friendly, immigrant-friendly, gay (and anyone else I've left out)" thing as part of his mayoral campaign in a few months, he'll have all the Larsies cussing him out. The way will then be clear for him to dismiss anyone who opposes him as part of the Don McIntire crowd.

Finally, there's the issue of blowing quite a chunk of basic transportation budget money for the current publicity blitz -- including the spendy direct mail campaign and robo-calls. The city commissioners get an early start on to their campaign literature, in the guise of carrying out their official duties. Dan Saltzman did it with the glossy Big Pipe project brochure in November of 2004, and Adams is doing it now with the "trouble" mailer. The robo-calls on the bureau budget, though -- wow. Those appear to be a Sam the Tram innovation.

It's difficult for me not to tell the good commissioner to take his phony crisis and stick it where the aerial gondola don't go. When he's cancelled all the proposed streetcar extensions, then maybe he can come see us about a tax increase for roads. But not until then. And when he does, he'd better call it what it is -- none of this "priorities and funding options" double-talk.

Meanwhile, if he'd like to use public funds to run for mayor, he should stop draining the city's transportation budget for it. Rather, he should start collecting his $5 contributions for his "clean money" campaign handout. I'm sure Williams and Weston are dying to spend a big hundred bucks to be the first on his seed money list. It's likely the cheapest paid gratification either of them has had in a long time.

Comments (42)

What obviously Portland needs is some new councilpersons.Sam, the Scam, Adams is an example of Spend and Tax elitists. With no sense of shame he goes from one folly to the next. But if Portlanders are DUM enough to vote him in again they deserve what he gives them. I'm hard-pressed to think of any Portland councilmen that should be kept in office. Can 'em all!

Sounds like you're shooting the messenger. The truth is that the roads, bridges, etc. are in horrible condition, and something needs to be done to fix em. The gas tax has been a woefully inadequate way to pay for transportation maintenance, and as gas prices put the crimp on consumption, that will become more-so the case. I agree that lots of money gets p&^^ed away on stuff like "emergency" mailers, "voter-owned elections" etc., but the sum total of all that spending would not come close to solving the roads maintenance problem. Sam Adams may not be the best person to deliver this message - but there is truth in his message nevertheless.

Frank,

Your comments are far too reasonable and therefore not entertaining. Plus, and this may be more important, none of us blog commenters like to look in the mirror.

The roads were unmaintained for years/decades. Why all of a sudden is it an emergency? Why wasn't this part of Sam's campaign message BEFORE he was elected? Surely he didn't just notice this. Maybe Homer has branched into paving, since the condo market has pulled back.

Also, what about Sam's $23M per year number? That doesn't buy anything.

Maybe Homer has branched into paving, since the condo market has pulled back.

If he wasn't, he is now!

I don't know what roads Sam has been riding on, but we've been riding the ruts and dodging the pot(ter) holes for years now.
Seems to me there is a total lack of respect for the tax paying citizens of PDX-does Sam think we're all engrossed in our lattes/Pelligrinos and NOT paying attention to how the money is spent?
How does Sam spell PRIORITIZE??? As Bugs Bunny would say "What a moroon"

The roads were unmaintained for years/decades

I think this statement is a bit of a stretch...unless setting up all those orange signs and cones citywide was considerd the "Flagger Full Employment Bill".

You folks all seem to forget that Sam's Gas Tax is a Gallon Tax not a Dollar Tax.

So what's the Issue (problem)?

Now, if you want to see some really bad pavement try most any part of Hwy 101. The stretch from Seaside to Garibaldi will loosen your lug nuts.

Man this is sickening.

Get real some of you.
Adams is NOT a "road" advocate. He is a road hater.
He has no intention of picking up the pace and spending on roads. New, old, maintenance or pot holes.

Just like Brian Newman leading the money hunt at Metro, Adams is looking for more money for more of the same non-road crap we've seen over the past 20 years. Portland/Metro's gas tax share has been disproportionately spent on rail, ped, bike and density for decades.
That wasn't enough of course.
Adams/Metro having been involved in much of the skimming of property taxes, through Urban Renewal schemes, made sure countless millions never made it to all the basic services and infrastructure.
Moreover those schemes spent borrowed money which property taxes will pay back for decades to come.
All the while voters will NEVER get a full disclosure and reporting on the extent of those reckless, long term commitments and misappropriations.
Which allows Adams et al. hide behind the "Sounds like you're shooting the messenger" cover.
Yeah some road and bridge things need fixing and congestion is worsening at a pace which demands authentic attention.
But there is nothing authentic about Sam.
He's as phony as it gets. "How does Sam spell PRIORITIZE?"
Streetcars, light rail, ped and bike facilities.
Just as the 205/Transit Mall is funded ahead of this new road & bridge emergency, Milwaukee light rail and more street cars are getting funded ahead of the crumbling Sellwood bridge, congestion, and this new emergency.
The legislature just passed a bill committing $250 million in lottery backed bonds for Milwaukee light rail. Just as Portland (100s of millions) and Clackamas County ($25 million) added many millions in Urban Renewal property tax spending, Milwaukee will now follow suit diverting millions from their basic services to light rail stations and transit oriented development.

The "road and bridge emergency"?
Laugh Out Load.

Sam? He's not funny.

Wow! This "Sam the Tram" editorial captures the real essence of current PDX politics. I'm thinking if its o.k. with the author of printing a copy and delivering it to one of the transportation meetings (stapling it to the comment sheets they usually ask for). Because it says everything I want to tell the commissioner about his call for more taxes. Well done, "Crustie!"

The truth is that the roads, bridges, etc. are in horrible condition, and something needs to be done to fix em. The gas tax has been a woefully inadequate way to pay for transportation maintenance, and as gas prices put the crimp on consumption, that will become more-so the case. I agree that lots of money gets p&^^ed away on stuff like "emergency" mailers, "voter-owned elections" etc., but the sum total of all that spending would not come close to solving the roads maintenance problem.

The roads are in horrible condition because the gas tax money has been "pissed away" on things other than roads, like the Tram and MAX.

The roads are in horrible condition because the gas tax money has been "pissed away" on things other than roads, like the Tram and MAX

State law does not allow the 24 cent state gas tax money to be spent on MAX or tram, but does provise for 1% for bicycle related improvements. However, at the federal level the 18.3 cent portion is more subject to congressional finagling...

It's good to agree with you once in a while Jack.

The more I see the direction of Portland politics the more I think we need to get a fiscal *flame suit on* conservative on the council, such as Mr. Lister.

i have a modest proposal:

fewer roads.

i know, crazy, right?

Five years have not yet passed since the February 2006 events to ratify illegally spent money on the tram, where criminal personal liability would have already attached to the conduct of many public and private co-conspirators -- for which the subsequent city council approval/ratification (for their own interest in avoiding personal liability) sort of glossed over.

There is one feature of the two track campaign funding scheme that looks tasty. Demand that it be one-track-only, using an overbreadth argument. Someone could get their signatures and then demand no public money at all. They could demand only that all candidates -- publicly funded or not -- meet the same threshold of public support for placement on the ballot. Think of the present submission/filing of a name on the ballot as merely a tentative placement, to obtain pre-approval to gather the higher number of signatures now applicable only to folks seeking public money to complete the filing.

Could anyone argue with a straight face that trust to spend public funding for a campaign in conformance with specified campaign rules is LESS important or significant (or LESS actionable) than how the candidate would spend money once in office?

The rules on spending of the campaign money, if less than the "potential" public funding amount, should be precisely the same too, with no less rigorous review for that of the spending of non-publicly funded campaign receipts. (The present rules prohibit any solicitation of donations to repay in baby steps the publicly obtained money; and one must implicitly assume the absence of the option to reject the public money all together. The rules assume that the candidate would take the money and thereby assume the risk that the Auditor would arbitrarily demand subsequent return -- necessitating the tactic of not accepting any money at all and instead insisting that all candidates must get the higher number of signatures.)

That is, the agreement not to spend more than X (alone) is not sufficiently narrowly tailored to the reason for the heightened constraints on spending choices. Or rather it is not a reason to allow someone that has big-private-bucks to be granted an exception (I say an invalid exception) . . . a less stringent set of parameters for review of their spending choices for their campaign than that for the intended beneficiary, the poor-slob arguably-non-corrupt time-on-their-hands candidate. (Do big ideas still count? At least in relation to a myopic stoned-out view of a single-issue-campaign of enhancing restraint on the poor. Stevens -- from the June 21st Tennesssee Secondary School Athletic Association v. Brentwood Academy decision -- would agree that my insistence on a one-track signature scheme is within my First Amendment rights just as much as Sten's support/vision for a two-track separate-but-unequal scheme.)

One additional posited public purpose for the signatures is to encourage face-to-face personal contact -- rather than via mailers or use of any agents. If the next public funding campaigner repeats the mailer-Sten scam to obtain signatures to get public money I could contend that they are not qualified to even be placed on the ballot, and not by reason of the delivery of public money. I'll tactically wait until I can get my own signatures so that I can also have an as applied claim as a backup to an on-its-face count. I would be demanding that all candidates must get all the signatures in face-to-face encounters. Either that or the lower number must apply equally to placement on the ballot AND to delivery of public funds. (The conduct, getting any signatures, associated with the criminal case that is going on today would be rendered unessential either to placement on the ballot or to obtaining public funds if the one-tack-only challenge was resolved in favor of the lower number rather than the higher number of signatures. We can't have that now can we; so it must be the higher number that is the appropriate choice FOR ALL, face-to-face-only -- either that or the litigation against Boyles and Golovan could be construed as actionably-malicious, but-for the claim by officials of being ignorant. The present Auditor is personally liable for the money delivered to Boyles, but he used his official capacity to lash out to rationalize ANYTHING other than personal responsibility. This too is subject to a five year statute of limitations. It follows the pattern of his support of the KiwiWit pro-payment outside audit.)

When the Auditor slot becomes prematurely vacant I can immediately start getting my signatures, for my as applied challenge. Review my IRS- EO Classification challenge yourself and make your own judgment about whether a vacancy is imminent (sans supporting documentation). (I am sure someone could edit it for a better presentation.) I would construe any delay in making the Auditor position vacant as an illegal effort to try to toll the five year look-back time of auditable criminal conduct, so that I could look back further than five years, at least against the responsible officials that held positions of trust. This Auditor/City Attorney can't even mitigate their personal exposure to a libel action (I have one year from any date he/she perpetuates the lie) by admitting publicly that I did file for the Auditor slot.

I'd really like to see the City Auditor argue that by reason of HIS First Amendment rights that the Institute of Internal Auditors cannot expel him from their organization -- so that he can stay in office. His position would be analogous, sort of, to the coach that was sanctioned by a private organization in the recent Tennessee case noted above.

(Ah, and let them pretend that they don't read this blog, and don't even know of [its] existence. Hah!)

"Will the real Auditor please stand up." The pretender has put on a good show in his membership drive to recruit more folks to be just like him, beyond the reach of any ethical objection -- by extension of special electoral status to fellow members of the club.

"fewer roads.i know, crazy, right?"

Crazy and fraud by the Sierra Club.
That's one of the most worn out BSs that the Sams like to use to justify ignoring the bulk of our transportation needs.

You might as well claim that building more schools causes school congestion. .
Or expanding sewer or water infrastructure causes shortages of both.

But then if anyone wonders, just ask Sam to explain it, right?

Mike Burton, former head of Metro said it best.
"Traffic congestion is bad and getting worse.
It is a nightmare for commuters and it is choking freight mobility.
There is no more clear illustration of our inability to meet growth needs than our failure to address our transportation needs.
Within the transportation arena we are facing utter chaos."
from then Metro Executive, Mike Burton's State of the Region Speech, 2000

Sam and the Sierra Club would have everyone believe Portland/Metro is a success story and we need much more of the same.

I'm thinking if its o.k. with the author of printing a copy and delivering it to one of the transportation meetings (stapling it to the comment sheets they usually ask for).

Fine with me. I'm sure the City Hall types will have read it by then, but it would be nice to have the ordinary folks in attendance find it. Tell them it's at bojack.org.

The hard, inescaple fact is that the gas tax hasn't increased in 14 years. This means, in real terms, it has decreased substantially over that period of time. Taking inflation into account, we are now generating little more than half the revenue for transportation, measured by vehicle-miles driven in Oregon, as we did when the gas tax was increased to 24 cents per gallon in 1993.

Given this fact, it is entirely unsurprising that our transportation infrastructure is in such poor condition. And it is ridiculous to blame Sam Adams for the problem.

I suspect that most of you who decry Adams for his "wasteful" ways would have a hard time living on the same amount of income (not adjusted for inflation) now as you earned 14 years ago. The basic problem with trasportation funding in the Portland area is too little money, not too much waste.

Personally, I'd be happy to pay a higher gas or other tax to be used for transportation system repair and maintenance. Even doubling the amount of the gas tax--which is far more than what Adams has proposed so far--would cost the average driver (10,000 miles per year; 25 miles per gallon) only about $100 per year. That's not an unreasonable amount to spend in order to get the benefits of a well-mainained transportation system. And if some people were discouraged by higher prices from doing some unneccesary driving, so much better for the environment.

ecohuman.com i have a modest proposal:

fewer roads.

i know, crazy, right?
JK:
Right - it is crazy.

The reality is that high density causes congestion. For proof based on a Sierra club chart, see:
DebunkingPortland.com/Smart/DensityCongestion.htm

The interesting thing is that driving per person reduces SLIGHTLY as population density increases, but the increased number of people totally swamps the slight decrease in driving per person. The result is severe congestion in most high density areas.

The statement that new roads “in many cases actually make things worse” is simply wrong. New roads do frequently fill quickly – by attracting drivers off of slower roads. That reduces congestion and improves safety on the slower roads and neighborhood streets, but the Sierra Club is against that.

Thanks
JK

Hey! I got an invitation to go to Sam's bling thing here in SW Potholeland. Only problem: it arrived, for some reason, two days after the event had taken place.

Why doesn't it surprise me?

The hard, inescaple fact is that the gas tax hasn't increased in 14 years.

Blaming the lack of increased gas taxes for the way Adams & Co. have spent what transportation dough there is like blaming the welfare system for not increasing your benefits enough to cover the increase in cigarette prices - causing you "food anxiety".

THAT'S what's inescaple.

Richard's comment about the gas tax would be valid if there had been no increase in the volume of gasoline sales subject to the tax in those 14 years. I doubt that's the case. More cars, more driving, and more fuel consumption -- all of which seem to have been recent trends -- lead to more gallons and thus more tax revenue even if the tax rate per gallon doesn't change.

Allan:
"More cars, more driving and more fuel consumption" would certainly led to increased gas tax revenue in absolute terms, but those factors also lead to a commensurate increase in the need for more revenue, as the wear and tear on transportation infrastructure increases with use. But revenue is dropping relative to need because the gas tax is not pegged to inflation. The tax is a simple per-gallon amount that has not increased over the past 14 years. It's a weird, obviously short-sighted way of calculating a tax, and the current degraded state of our transportation infrastructure was inevitable because of it.

rr:
I'm not exactly sure what you're trying to say with your welfare and cigarette analogy. Basically I guess you're just claiming that transportation funds are being wasted. But can you identify wasted amounts that, if properly spent, would even come close to making up for the real decline in gas tax revenue?

An honest assessment of this whole issue requires looking at both spending and revenue. Revenue is down, in real terms, about 75 percent from 14 years ago. Are you claiming, as your remark seems to imply, that by eliminating what you regard as waste the 75-percent reduction in revenue would somehow be cancelled out?

That strikes me as the wishful thinking of someone who just habitually resents paying taxes of any kind.

Yes, but I love it when the creeps who are p***ing away the tax dollars we do pay are the ones coming around shaming us into paying more. When you start doing your job, Trammy, I'll start paying you more.

Richard the Other: Yes, "gas taxes haven't increased in 14 years", BUT gas tax revenue has increased 160% in the past five years; that is far exceeding inflation for the same period and the road mileage increase.

PMG: what the law says where gas tax can be spent and how Sam and the Council "co-mingles" dollars, gas taxes do help pay for mass transit. Example-$6.5M of PDOT's general dollars helped pay for two trolley extensions in SoWhat-many more examples can be given.

It is best to look at the recent ODOT STIP (Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (at highway.odot.state.or.us/cf/STIPS) to see how our gas taxes go to mass transit:

$2,148,000 11421 Morrison Bridge Ped-Bike Access

$3,310,000 11463 SE20th Hawthorne Blvd. Bike/Ped Improvements.Signal Work

$6,799,000 12461 NE 102nd:NE Weidler Street Improvements, Sidewalks, and Bike Lanes

$2,223,000 12468 SE 190th Bike, Ped & Transit Improvements

$1,829,000 12478 NW Lovejoy Reconstruct Roadway, Sidewalks,Bike Lanes

$1,155,000 13261 Union Station Facility Improvements

$3,529,000 13489 Garvee Bond Debt Service Highway, LRT, Commuter Rail & Bus Purchase

$1,533,000 13490 Bus Stop Development (Frequent Bus Program) Increase Access to Transit

$4,458,000 13500 Bus Purchase

$862,000 13506 NE Prescott Add Bike Lanes & Sidewalks

$4,803,000 13510 Garvee Bond Debt Highways Funds for LRT,Commuter Rail & Bus Purchase

$2,157,000 13514 N.Richmond Ped Improvements, New Signals, Curb Extensions

$8,359,000 13718 I-205 Mall LRT Unit 1 LightRailTransit (LRT)

$11,702,000 I-205 Mall LRT Unit 2

$5,573,000 I-205 Mall LRT Unit 3

$11,310,000 14060 Columbia Corridor Rail Intermodal Connector

$12,259,000 14065 SW Gibbs St Ped Bridge over I-5, Part of SoWa

$5,573,000 14066 Regional Trails Program

$3,472,000 14272 92nd Ave SE Powell Sidewalk & Bike Lane, Curb/Drainage, Landscaping, Lighting

$1,310,000 14273 Waud Bluff Trail: N Basin Ave Willamette Blvd.

$1,378,000 14407 Springwater Trail

$1,075,000 14409 Marine Dr Bike/Trail

$346,000 144111 Springwater Trailhead

$992,000 14413 Cleveland Station-Ruby Jct Max Trail-Path

$591,000 14440 SW Capitol Hwy, SW Taylors Ferry Replace Existing Roadway & Add Bike Lanes and Sidewalks

$2,006,000 14441 2008 Metro Regional Travel Options Program

$2,006,000 14442 2009 Metro Regional Travel Options Program

$557,000 14443 2008 Travel Smart Program Educate Citizens About Alt. Modes of Trans

$8,169,000 14482 Regional Rail Debt for LRT Commuter Rail & Bus Purchases

$8,515,000 14483 Regional Rail Debt for LRT Commuter Rail & Bus Purchases

$1,039,000 14567 Metro RTO Program-Encourage Modes to Drive Alone

$984,000 14568 Metro RTO

$1,875,000 14569 Portland Streetcar Analysis for Extension of System

$1,875,000 14570 Portland Streetcar Analysis for Extension of System

$827,000 14572 Trolley Trail SE Arista-Multi-Use Path

$930,000 14573 Debt Service Costs Interstate Max Beaverton Commuter

$4,532,000 14574 Debt Service Costs Interstate Mx-I-205 LRT, Wilsonville Beaverton Commuter Rail/Bus Purch

$2,196,000 14575 Regional Rail Debt Service Interstate Max, I-205 LRT Wilsonville Beaverton Commuter Rail/Bus

$1,850,000 14576 See Above

$276,000 15494 Metro Van Pool

$136,383,000 GRAND TOTAL $136.383MILLION DOLLARS of GAS TAX ODOT DOLLARS GOING FOR PORTLAND (ONLY) MASS TRANSIT/BIKE LANES/PEDESTRIANS/MASS TRANSIT EDUCATION

It is difficult for people like PMG to argue gas taxes only benefit vehicles. From the partial list above it is easy to reason that Sam and the Council has not set transportation priorities that reflects that only 3% of the metro intermodal spit is mass transit/bikes, etc. Let's start being fair and responsible in setting our priorties. Sam has been at City Hall for 14 years, he should recognize this disparity and stop being surprised that we have a "transportation problem". He may be the problem.


Allan:
"More cars, more driving and more fuel consumption" would certainly led to increased gas tax revenue in absolute terms, but those factors also lead to a commensurate increase in the need for more revenue, as the wear and tear on transportation infrastructure increases with use.
JK:
Actually cars (except studded tires) do little harm - it is the heavier vehicles that do most of the damage.
The single biggest damager of roads is trimet buses (Notice those concrete pads springing up around bus stops?)

Thanks
JK

Jack'

You forgot to list the most important spending issue Sam had on his list of emergency items which needed fixing, renaming Portland Blvd to Rosa Parks Ave. some 10 Grand. Plus if all the recently added speed bumps throughout just the north Portland area, home of the most famous Sam the tram, would be uninstalled, the city would have enough asphalt to fill most pot holes in the city. If you are a large special interest contributor to Sam's war chest, you can get what you want.

Perhaps the citizens of Portland ought to try what Lake Oswego citizens are doing?
A little revolution for starters....
http://www.asklakeo.com/

Jim Karlock,
Just to keep things straight: the quote you attribute to me above actually came from Richard. (Though, I suppose, from your perspective I COULD have said it. Still, I didn't.)
Allan

In addition to the above list of Portland mass transit dollars from ODOT gas tax dollars, I forgot to add in $430,000 13527 Multi-Use Trail.

Then if you add in the recent $250 MILLION from the Oregon Lottery fund designated to the light rail line from PSU to Milwaukie (and I am sure there are other Lottery dollars that have been used and designated for Portland's intermodal empire) our GRAND TOTAL becomes $386.8 MILLION. And we haven't even analysed the federal dollars that are siphoned off into this intermodal empire like the $35M that went into Vera's and Sam's EastBank Esplanade.

If were are going to be fair and set balanced priorities like Sam and Roland (Sam's PR staff member), this 97% usage formula that many bloggers claim we should employ, then we should be spending:

$37.52 BILLION on roads compared to $386.8 MILLION for intermodal. Sam, let's be fair and balanced.

Another visit to that bizarre Jim Karlockian auto paradise. Hundreds of thousands of extra cars on the road have little or no effect; it’s those darn busses. Meanwhile cars float on air, emitting only good thoughts while small children wave at them as they pass by.

We all know that federal gas taxes barely cover the cost of the funerals or artificial limbs of those sent to ensure it looks cheap to fill-up our cars. Why would it be different on the local level?

Meanwhile, back on the original topic: I can’t recall hearing anything other than “we have a huge backlog of road maintenance” since I’ve been here. It’s never been a secret but it’s also never been something that politicians would want to talk about or touch with the proverbial barge pole. By the way this is the same, or worse, in every city in the US that is more than 30 years old. It seems odd that Sam would even go there. For someone so obviously ambitious this could easily result in all sorts of bad press.

"It seems odd that Sam would even go there. For someone so obviously ambitious this could easily result in all sorts of bad press."

Wow, that just shows us how brave Sam is.

"Then if you add in the recent $250 MILLION from the Oregon Lottery fund designated to the light rail line from PSU to Milwaukie (and I am sure there are other Lottery dollars that have been used and designated for Portland's intermodal empire) our GRAND TOTAL becomes $386.8 MILLION."

>>>> Gotta keep the "railfans" happy. Remember, the trainspotters run the transit agenda here in Metro.

Obviously, I didn't mean he way being brave. Maybe he is trying to get rid of the Sam the Tram moniker, although Sam the Taxman sounds worse.

"gas tax revenue has increased 160% in the past five years"

Jerry:

What in the world are you talking about? In what state has this been the case? In what city? Certainly not Portland, where the amount PDOT receives from state gas taxes has been essentially flat over the past five years. Your statement is simply false.

Sherwood Another visit to that bizarre Jim Karlockian auto paradise. Hundreds of thousands of extra cars on the road have little or no effect; it’s those darn busses. Meanwhile cars float on air, emitting only good thoughts while small children wave at them as they pass by.
JK: Hi Sherwood - still doing ad-homin in the absence of any logic, I see. Of course buses and trucks are the big polluters today - cars are mostly cleaned up.

Sherwood We all know that federal gas taxes barely cover the cost of the funerals or artificial limbs of those sent to ensure it looks cheap to fill-up our cars.
JK: That is a good reason to shut down the bus system and get everyone into small cars with the savings (buses use more energy than small cars per passenger-mile. Save money too!) See DebunkingPortland.com

Sherwood Meanwhile, back on the original topic: I can’t recall hearing anything other than “we have a huge backlog of road maintenance” since I’ve been here.
JK: That is because anytime the city gets money for roads, it builds bike lanes, bubble curbs, bus pads and boulevards to increase congestion in the hope that we will decide to waste time and money using transit.

Thanks
JK

Jim,

I have been to debunkingportland (I wouldn’t want you to think I’m ignoring you). Fascinating stuff, however, I quickly found myself returning to the skateboarding cats on YouTube in a desperate search for some internal logic.

SherwoodI quickly found myself returning to the skateboarding cats on YouTube in a desperate search for some internal logic.

JK: Always glad to get the ad-homins as an indicator that you have run out of rational arguments.

Thanks
JK

God, I love tuning in here to watch Karlock humiliate Sherwood and his ilk.

That strikes me as the wishful thinking of someone who just habitually resents paying taxes of any kind.

Thanks for the compliment!

I assume you just habitually love having me pay taxes of any kind.

Or is that an unfair characterization?

Just askin'...

"I assume you just habitually love having me pay taxes of any kind.

"Or is that an unfair characterization?"

rr:

Yes, it's an unfair characterization of me.

I don't "love" having you pay taxes because I don't love paying them myself, and you and I probably are subject to most of the same tax laws. From a selfish point of view, there's no doubt about it: paying taxes is a big pain.

But (obviously, no?) it's a painful necessity. I think you and I have an obligation to pay taxes for the many things that are necessary for the functioning of a decent and efficient modern society. One such thing is a transportation system, and--unless you happen to be an anarchist or libertarian of a pretty extreme brand--I'm sure you could easily name many others.

I see waste in government and government programs I dislike, but that doesn't make me inclined to view every proposed tax increase as unnecessary. I feel like I have an obligation to try to assess how much money is being wasted and how much is being spent for things that I don't approve of. And I balance that against what I regard as wise expenditures and real revenue needs. If I see $1 of waste, I don't think that makes it okay to ignore my responsibility to help meet $10 worth of genuine revenue need.

On the state level--where, for one thing, money is not being wasted on an immoral, foolish, and ruinously expensive foreign policy--I feel that my tax money is generally pretty well spent.


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In Vino Veritas

If You See Kay, Red 2011
Turnbull, Old Bull Red 2010
Cherry Tart, Cherry Pie Pinot Noir 2012
Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Cabernet, Oakville 2012
Benton Lane, Pinot Gris 2012
Campo Viejo, Rioja, Reserva 2008
Haden Fig, Pinot Noir 2012
Pendulum Red 2011
Vina Real, Plata, Crianza Rioja 2009
Edmunds St. John, Bone/Jolly, Gamay Noir Rose 2013
Bookwalter, Subplot No. 26
Ayna, Tempranillo 2011
Pete's Mountain, Pinot Noir, Haley's Block 2010
Apaltagua, Reserva Camenere 2012
Lugana, San Benedetto 2012
Argyle Brut 2007
Wildewood Pinot Gris 2012
Anciano, Tempranillo Reserva 2007
Santa Rita, Reserva Cabernet 2009
Casone, Toscana 2008
Fonseca Porto, Bin No. 27
Louis Jadot, Pouilly-Fuissé 2011
Trader Joe's, Grower's Reserve Pinot Noir 2012
Zenato, Lugana San Benedetto 2012
Vintjs, Cabernet 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White 2012
Rainstorm, Oregon Pinot Gris 2012
Silver Palm, North Coast Cabernet 2011
Andrew Rich, Gewurtztraminer 2008
Rodney Strong, Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Canoe Ridge, Pinot Gris, Expedition 2012
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rose 2012
Dark Horse, Big Red Blend No. 01A
Elk Cove, Pinot Noir Rose 2012
Fletcher, Shiraz 2010
Picollo, Gavi 2011
Domaine Eugene Carrel, Jongieux 2012
Eyrie, Pinot Blanc 2010
Atticus, Pinot Noir 2010
Walter Scott, Pinot Noir, Holstein 2011
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
Coppola, Sofia Rose 2012
Joel Gott, 851 Cabernet 2010
Pol Roget Reserve Sparkling Wine
Mount Eden Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains 2009
Rombauer Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2011
Beringer, Chardonnay, Napa Reserve 2011
Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Schloss Vollrads, Spaetlese Rheingau 2010
Belle Glos, Pinot Noir, Clark & Telephone 2010
WillaKenzie, Pinot Noir, Estate Cuvee 2010
Blackbird Vineyards, Arise, Red 2010
Chauteau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2005
Northstar, Merlot 2008
Feather, Cabernet 2007
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Alexander Valley 2002
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2002
Trader Joe's, Chardonnay, Grower's Reserve 2012
Silver Palm, Cabernet, North Coast 2010
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
E. Guigal, Cotes du Rhone 2009
Santa Margherita, Pinot Grigio 2011
Alamos, Cabernet 2011
Cousino Macul, Cabernet, Anitguas Reservas 2009
Dreaming Tree Cabernet 2010
1967, Toscana 2009
Charamba, Douro 2008
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend No. 12
Opula Red Blend 2010
Liberte, Pinot Noir 2010
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red Blend 2010
Woodbridge, Chardonnay 2011
King Estate, Pinot Noir 2011
Famille Perrin, Cotes du Rhone Villages 2010
Columbia Crest, Les Chevaux Red 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White Blend
Familia Bianchi, Malbec 2009
Terrapin Cellars, Pinot Gris 2011
Columbia Crest, Walter Clore Private Reserve 2009
Campo Viejo, Rioja, Termpranillo 2010
Ravenswood, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Quinta das Amoras, Vinho Tinto 2010
Waterbrook, Reserve Merlot 2009
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills, Pinot Grigio 2011
Tarantas, Rose
Chateau Lajarre, Bordeaux 2009
La Vielle Ferme, Rose 2011
Benvolio, Pinot Grigio 2011
Nobilo Icon, Pinot Noir 2009

The Occasional Book

Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
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
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
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
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
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: 220
At this date last year: 67
Total run 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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