Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.

For old times' sake
The bojack bumper sticker -- only $1.50!

To order, click here.

Excellent tunes -- free! And on your browser right now. Just click on Radio Bojack!

E-mail us here.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 1, 2007 4:26 AM. The previous post in this blog was Yes? Maybe. The next post in this blog is Quotation of the Day. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



Law and Taxation
How Appealing
TaxProf Blog
Mauled Again
Tax Appellate Blog
A Taxing Matter
Josh Marquis
Native America, Discovered and Conquered
The Yin Blog
Ernie the Attorney
Above the Law
The Volokh Conspiracy
Going Concern
Bag and Baggage
Wealth Strategies Journal
Jim Hamilton's World of Securities Regulation
World of Work
The Faculty Lounge
Lowering the Bar
OrCon Law

Hap'nin' Guys
Tony Pierce
Parkway Rest Stop
Along the Gradyent
Dwight Jaynes
Bob Borden
Dingleberry Gazette
The Red Electric
Iced Borscht
Jeremy Blachman
Dean's Rhetorical Flourish
Straight White Guy
As Time Goes By
Dave Wagner
Jeff Selis
Alas, a Blog
Scott Hendison
The View Through the Windshield
Appliance Blog
The Bleat

Hap'nin' Gals
My Whim is Law
Lelo in Nopo
Attorney at Large
Linda Kruschke
The Non-Consumer Advocate
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place
A Pig of Success
Attorney at Large
Margaret and Helen
Kimberlee Jaynes
Cornelia Seigneur
And Sew It Goes
Mile 73
Rainy Day Thoughts
That Black Girl
Posie Gets Cozy
Cat Eyes
Rhi in Pink
Ragwaters, Bitters, and Blue Ruin
Rose City Journal
Type Like the Wind

Portland and Oregon
Isaac Laquedem
Rantings of a [Censored] Bus Driver
Jeff Mapes
Vintage Portland
The Portlander
South Waterfront
Amanda Fritz
O City Hall Reporters
Guilty Carnivore
Old Town by Larry Norton
The Alaunt
Bend Blogs
Lost Oregon
Cafe Unknown
Tin Zeroes
David's Oregon Picayune
Mark Nelsen's Weather Blog
Travel Oregon Blog
Portland Daily Photo
Portland Building Ads
Portland Food and
Dave Knows Portland
Idaho's Portugal
Alameda Old House History
MLK in Motion

Retired from Blogging
Various Observations...
The Daily E-Mail
Saving James
Portland Freelancer
Furious Nads (b!X)
Izzle Pfaff
The Grich
Kevin Allman
AboutItAll - Oregon
Lost in the Details
Worldwide Pablo
Tales from the Stump
Whitman Boys
Two Pennies
This Stony Planet
1221 SW 4th
I am a Fish
Here Today
What If...?
Superinky Fixations
The Rural Bus Route
Another Blogger
Mikeyman's Computer Treehouse
Portland Housing Blog

Wonderfully Wacky
Dave Barry
Borowitz Report
Stuff White People Like
Worst of the Web

Valuable Time-Wasters
My Gallery of Jacks
Litterbox, On the Prowl
Litterbox, Bag of Bones
Litterbox, Scratch
Ride That Donkey
Singin' Horses
Rally Monkey
Simon Swears
Strong Bad's E-mail

Oregon News
The Oregonian
Portland Tribune
Willamette Week
The Sentinel
Southeast Examiner
Northwest Examiner
Sellwood Bee
Mid-County Memo
Vancouver Voice
Eugene Register-Guard
OPB - Portland
Salem Statesman-Journal
Oregon Capitol News
Portland Business Journal
Daily Journal of Commerce
Oregon Business
Portland Info Net
McMinnville News Register
Lake Oswego Review
The Daily Astorian
Bend Bulletin
Corvallis Gazette-Times
Roseburg News-Review
Medford Mail-Tribune
Ashland Daily Tidings
Newport News-Times
Albany Democrat-Herald
The Eugene Weekly
Portland IndyMedia
The Columbian

The Beatles
Bruce Springsteen
Joni Mitchell
Ella Fitzgerald
Steve Earle
Joe Ely
Stevie Wonder
Lou Rawls

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Monday, October 1, 2007

Grampy's payday loan

Remember last year, when we Portlanders voted to increase our property taxes in order to begin making a dent in the $1.8 billion (and growing) unfunded liability known as the city police and fire pension and disability fund? If you've forgotten, you'll be reminded soon. The annual property tax statements are due out within a couple of weeks. This is the first year we'll be paying the increased tax.

But did you know that the city's already spent that money? Our little examination of the city's finances last week revealed that the city ran out this past July and borrowed $23.7 million to "fund cash flow deficits" in the police and fire pension fund, with the newly-voted-in property taxes being designated to pay off the debt. Although tons of property tax cash will be flowing into the city's coffers in November, the bonds will remain outstanding until late June of next year. The interest rate (tax-exempt) is 4.25 percent. On $23.7 million, a year's worth of interest at 4.25 percent comes to $1,066,500. That's more than a million bucks in interest, because the city can't seem to manage its cash flow.

Portland, it appears, can't stop borrowing money. It's running out to the bond markets a half dozen times a year or more. There's another $15 million in bonds getting ready to be issued for emergency facilities, and new lines of credit totalling a whopping $277 million are about to be opened up for more "urban renewal." Every time Portland borrows money, a certain law firm is involved, no doubt earning a nice fee, and there are probably underwriters or other go-betweens who pick up a sizable commission on the placement of the debt. Portland's like a desperate family that can't pay its bills, and the payday lenders are making a pretty penny on the resulting mess.

The times of living within our means are ancient history in Portland -- that we probably will never reverse. But the size and frequency of the expensive borrowings are becoming frightening, and something ought to be done about them.

Comments (18)

Isn't that about the time the City declared a one time "surplus" and went on a $30+ million spending spree.

John, please. It was for the children... and the doulas...

Jack I just looked up the link.

The budget would have gone into effect July 1 why didn't we use that surplus to pay the bills. It is all smoke and mirrors.

It looks from this as though they've been running out and borrowing money to pay police and fire pensions every summer since 2002. That's a lot of bond counsel fees, and a lot of interest.

Amanda asked in her Blog about relative indebtedness of cities. Could you run that same Bond Report for several similar sized cities like Seattle, and Sacramento.

Wouldn't this fit within the description of job creation? A rough parallel to trumpeting the explosion of the number of Mortgage Brokers as a good thing?

The transaction cost per dollar of debt is much smaller with creation of public debt than with creation of private debt.

A student of African history would recognize that the profitable slave trade would not have been possible were it not for the complicity of blacks that had disagreements with other blacks.

The debt peddlers need the active assistance of locals.

A stream of payments not yet due until a future date, equally as to both an outstanding bond AND on a pay-as-you-go pension scheme, are just a market opportunity.

My initial challenge is still to get you to strip the word "unfunded" from characterization of Portland's safety worker pension scheme. So long as the scheme is pay-as-you-go (for tier one and tier two) the proper analysis is exclusively between sound or unsound. The instant the scheme is replaced with (or tainted with) the government acting as the designated investment banker for the private savings of private persons then it should fully flip over to an issue exclusively of who bears the risk of loss/gain on investments.

Otherwise, the ("unfunded") stream of payments due on a bond could itself serve as justification to issue bonds to invest on the hope of capturing a fraction of some presumed fact of future gain as asset hyperinflation explodes out of control in lockstep with the money supply. (In an absurd infinite repeat loop of bond issuances.)

See Perdue, Treasurer, v. Wise, Governor (No. 31749, December 1, 2004)

"The bond sale proponents envisioned that investment of the proceeds would yield income in excess of the interest payable on the bonds and thereby enable the state to reduce its future annual appropriations for the three pension systems. Opponents of the plan stressed that the investment plan contemplated by the Act necessarily includes the possibility of sustaining substantial losses due to stock and money market fluctuations."


"In challenging the constitutionality of the Act, Appellants argued below that the Act violates the debt provision of the State Constitution which, barring certain exceptions, prohibits the the state from incurring debt."

Would the referenced "certain law firm" think that the West Virginia court, or rather their reasoning, is more absurd than what I consider to be absurd?

Could our AG and State Treasurer candidates take a position similar to that asserted by the State Treasurer and Auditor in West Virginia? Could our state's outside council on such matters effectively represent them in such an assertion, consistent with rules pertaining to conflicts of interest and the principal of judicial estoppel?

Please drop "unfunded" and replace with "unsound," at least as to the old Portland safety worker pension scheme.

This is good stuff, Jack. Looks like Portland's been throwing a party with public debt, and someday, like next month the first of the bills start arriving in many of electorate's mail boxes. I'm hoping the bills might sober up the electorate, but I'm not sure. A month after the Oregon state kicker checks show up maybe offsetting the soberness of this November. May the Party continue until I've vacated this city for a more fiscally fit city/community.

I hear drug addicts steal metal to sell for scrap. How long 'til our city council's spending addiction means the end for Portlandia?

end for Portlandia

Surely there are some rails that could be pulled up and sold before it comes to that.

The most eggregious part of this story Jack raises is that it is so difficult to find this out and not a single elected official or agency tracks or raises concern for this problem.

Elected officials full of themselves, multiple agencies and 1000s of bureaucrats spending 100s of millions every year and this stuff lays around in peieces never to be collected and considered?
Exactly how bad would it have to get before someone, besides Jack, who is elected and paid to be "responsible" actually took responsibility?
This sort of management rises to the Enron form if only by reckless irresponsibily and incompetence.

And at the same timne insulting the masses with glee over a budget suplus?

Heads should roll.

Notice how the media hasn't reported anything about this debt clock of Jack's. Maybe the voters can do something about it in regards to Sam Adam and Randy Leonard's re-election hopes: vote them out.

No offense to those who are...but I'm so glad I'm not a civil servant.

About a year ago, I went out and borrowed money against the equity in my home, and spent it on things that I thought were important! Can you believe that I had the gall to do something like that?! How totally irresponsible!

The problem, Jonathan, is that people aren't aware of the extent of the borrowing and its effects on their future tax burdens, and they generally don't get to vote on the issues that led to all the debt.

In addition, we are saddling future generations with debt that they didn't create and may not want. Does this sound fair to you?

"I went out and borrowed money against the equity in my home, and spent it on things that I thought were important!"

That's nothing, my neighbor took out his home equity and raided his kid's college fund so he could buy a Porsche. You know it was important to him. He told the kid it would only take 30+ yrs to pay him back.

Speaking of borrowing for pensions, this story notes that sometime this week, the Oregon School Boards Association will be selling $110.1 million of "limited tax pension obligation bonds," through Seattle-Northwest Securities.

I went out and borrowed money against the equity in my home, and spent it on things that I thought were important

If you used the money to buy groceries, lottery tickets, and liquor, that was a bad move.

Could you run that same Bond Report for several similar sized cities like Seattle, and Sacramento

I would if I thought it would prove anything. We're running up too much debt, and I don't care whether other cities are doing the same thing. It's pure folly.


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
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
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
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
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: 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

Clicky Web Analytics