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Thursday, January 24, 2008

My sentiments exactly

And I do mean exactly.

Comments (35)

I read somewhere in the paper over the last few days that the budget cuts won't just be here in Portland but more importantly in small towns where OHSU has clinics. OHSU will supposedly close them removing needed local health care.
But keep that tram running......argh.

Governmental agencies are bad enough when it comes to handling money. Even worse are quasi-governmental agencies, entities that masquerade as governmental agencies when that's to their advantage, or as private business when that helps them. The economic laws which operate to keep businesses honest and efficient don't apply to them, and they hide behind their supposed "private" status to keep themselves just beyond the reach of the usual oversight and accountability of public agencies. Lose-lose.

What's a real hoot is watching them balance their budget on the backs of medical, dental, and nursing students by raising their tuition. As if students in any way contribute to their financial problems, or can in any way fix them.

Wow, I think that is my first agreement with Duin. He nailed it. Im just surprised the O's editor let this one in.


As a former columnist at the Tribune, I usually give columnists a break, but not this week with Steve Duin. I'm still annoyed by Steve's last column. Yes, last Tuesday when you were posting about OHSU, Steve had a column about an Amtrak conductor who tells jokes on the train from Seattle. It included this paragraph:

"No one knows better than I do that there are limits to Amtrak's sense of humor. We were returning from a Mariners' game last summer when the beer finally got the best of us and Amtrak booted us off the train in Tacoma. We ended up riding Greyhound into the dead of night. I don't remember anyone smiling."

Yes, most of us did things like this when we were young and stupid, but for someone Steve's age to be so drunk that he was thrown off of public transportation, doesn't work for me. Plus, putting this in a lighthearted piece about humor, harkens back to the Rat Pack view of alcohol circa 1958. These stories always sound much better than they actually were. As a former banquet waiter, I guarantee you the Amtrak employees did not enjoy Steve's company that night, and they didn't deserve it. If this had happened in an airplane, where they couldn't toss him off, he could have been arrested upon landing. I leave you with the image of the Oregonian's star columnist stinking of beer riding Greyhound through the night. Really classy. Maybe it would make sense if he was 23, but this happened last summer? Disgusting behavior for someone of his stature in the print media, and as far from funny as Tacoma is from Portland.

Right now the City of Portland is in the process of handing over millions of dollars in general fund property taxes diverted to SoWa Urban Renewal, then paid to OHSU.
OHSU, which pays not property taxes themselves, no TriMet taxes and no business taxes. Because they are a "public agency".

But they won't open their books because they are a private corporation.

With their nifty and shifty structure we'll never see any documentation for the $30 million scapegoat claim.
In fact OHSU can spend any amount they want making any claim they want and they cannot be compelled to document it.

But we can audit the PDC and discover much about the shady operations they both are. With millions more in city property tax dollars about to be slipped over to OHSU the audit is an urgent need.

And regardless of Duin's spot on piece there is an editorial coming that OHSU is co-authoring.

Bill McDonald is right on the money. I worked for a man who used to go to every Seahawk football game back in the early 80's and he said the drunken craziness on Amtrak was not fun to be around. He said almost every Sunday night enroute back to Portland some people were booted off the train for their outrageous drunken behavior. If there is a more smug, arrogant, judgemental, holier-than-thou opinion writer at The O than Duin....er uh, er uh, well, no, there isn't. I was stunned at his decision to blithely mention an incident he should be ashamed of. Didn't he also embarass his employer?

If there is a more smug, arrogant, judgemental, holier-than-thou opinion writer at The O than Duin....er uh, er uh, well, no, there isn't.

Correct, but that doesn't keep him from being on the mark from time to time, and boy is he ever on the mark with this item about OHSU.

OHSU is Portland's largest employer, and is abysmally managed. Is it possible for the legislature or governor to revoke it's quasi-private status and bring it back into the state system of higher education? At least that would allow taxpayers to exercise some oversight.

The other option would be to totally severe the state's ties to the institution and stop giving it any money, stop collecting its debts and stop any other state services. If that happens, however, OHSU will immediate stop providing services to the poor. Although that seems to be already happening in the rural counties.

Yeah. When I read that column, I was struck by how much it was like your post. I mean - same works, etc.

And you didn't even get credit. (you know - like a disclaimer in the column that said:

Large parts of this column were stolen from Jack Bog's Blog)

jeeze. WORKS should be WORDS

Re the Amtrak incident: come on, Bill McDonald and Paul, Steve was just blowing off a little steam, which we’re all guilty of now and then- only he has a platform to write about it. Agree, Steve’s tone can be annoying at times but on balance his columns have been right on the mark.

When Duin wants to write or allowed to write his column can be eye-opening and serious. It's tough to write as often as he does and expect every column to be a home-run.
Sometimes I want to smack him on his head for such mediocre frivolity.
This column certainly is that home-run. If the horriblegonian was anything but fish-wrap; this should be an on-going series with Duin and some stringers at hand for investigative work, and demanding answers from the legislatures and Super K.
About his drinking comment? Who cares, we all have our demons to deal with.

Geez, Bill.

So Steve Duin gets drunk - that's not exactly breaking news - or a big secret around Portland. Shooting the messenger when he's already working on his own destruction seems gratuitous and obfuscatory.

There's plenty of other hypocrisy and phony sanctimony to target in his columns without zeroing in on his admitted failings.

Save your moral outrage for OHSU.

Not that you've got a shortage or anything.

I believe people should only be thrown off Amtrak the traditional way: By a derailment.

Zeb's observations are right on the mark. The worst form of organization is the quasi-governmental entity, such as OHSU or MERC. There's virtually no accountability or transparency, and they tend to drift into activities that are inconsistent with their core missions. They also tend to be arrogant and deaf to the needs, wants and pocketbooks of the general public.

Quasi-governmental entities shouldn't exist at all.

Steve Duin should start paying Jack royalties for his articles, they're pretty similar.

And regarding Duin's drinking problem, a recent study found that people who drink are more successful than people who don't drink: http://tinyurl.com/yoj42y

So, you know, at least he's got that going for him...

Quasi-governmental entities shouldn't exist at all.

The same goes for "not-for-profits" - what a joke!

Having defended Steve in my first post here, I couldn’t resist addressing cc’s comments about Steve's alleged drinking problem. This is the first time I’ve heard about it and I’ve lived here for 18 years-shows how little I know the man(Steve, not cc).

If true, it’s a bit ironic, having grown up being compared unfavorably with Steve and his sister. And subsequently fulfilled my parents dire predictions with a spell in the Haight, three years traveling between Europe, Nepal and points in between, and capped it all off with seven years in the Santa Cruz Mountains during the 70s(Jack-used to see Neil playing at small bars around town when he was with the Ducks((no, not the U of O team))-really far out!).

And I managed to emerge from it all w/out a drug or alcohol problem, I think.

Steve, we need to talk, I can help you! And thank you Justin for providing an answer here to a question that’s long troubled me.

With so much of what little the public knows about the PDC/OHSU/SoWa "partnership" being outrageous, imagine what an aduit would reap.

Too bad we don't have city commissioners demanding a full audit of the whole mess.

Of course OHSU is in a cut and slash mode. They will send a pack of lobbyist to the legislature to beg for more of that tobacco settlement money. They are demonstrating need and desparation by cutting off the clinics and raising tuition to prove they are more needy than anyone else and therefore deserve a state bailout.

Our damned fool legisltors will fall for it hoo, line & sinker, so look for more cuts in other things so OHSU can keep on keeping on.

Seems like there must be a photo op for "I'm in charge!" VeraSam with a snow covered Mt. Hood in the background.

Hell, I've been complaining about all this for years now and most people just ignore it.

Yes, OHSU is probably using the rural health initiatives as hostage in negotiations with the Legislature. I personally have no problem with the state supporting the continuation of the rural outreach programs, but

ONLY AT THE PRICE OF ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY OF OHSU.

OHSU should be advanced funding ONLY upon submitting to a regular and open audit of operations.

Also, I note that Steve Duin failed to mention that OHSU was also disciplined by the federal government for charging Medicaid and regular patients for procedures not done and the doctor of record not being in the surgical theater when they were listed as being so. Instead, one surgeon was in Mexico, playing golf, when he was listed as the surgeon of record and collected his multiple thousands of dollars for the surgery.

Steve Duin incorrectly referenced the number of biotech jobs that Vera Katz assured us would be down there.

Vera promised 10,000 jobs in SoWa. Not 6,000.

Isn't it just a little bit peculiar that not a single elected official in sight has anything critical to say about this?
Not one.
We often hear about having a representative government.
So where's the politician representing the countless people who have been criticizing this whole mess.
There appears to be a significant spectrum of citizens harshly criticizing the shady deals involving large sums of tax money.
But not a single voice of an elected official.


I seem to remember Fireman Randy having some cogent critiques on "the whole mess".

I seem to remember his making an empty boast about having a tow truck pulling up the footings for the lower tower.

I'm still waiting for the legal cases against the city engineer who floated all the miserably low construction costs and, when it was found he'd lied to council, was dismissed and is now working for Williams & Dame Developers (the prime movers in the SoWhat debacle)in California. He's in deep and if pressed with criminal charges and revocation of his professional licenses, would probably cough up other co-conspirators' names and crimes.

Where is the state attorney general, or the FBI, for that matter?

There recently has been a formal citizen request for a Tram Audit. It has been sent to Drummond Kahn, City of Portland's Director of Audit Services and to Linda Meng, City Attorney. Mayor Potter requested the Council for a $50,000 review/audit of the tram many months ago. But apparently there has been no action according to his latest office staff email.

This same audit request citing fraud is being forwarded to the Portland FBI.

I think in light of OHSU's and Portland's City Council tram debacle, and OHSU's latest debacles and several cases of internal paybacks to OHSU within the North Macadam Agreements that an inquiry is justified.

yeah Randy leonard's been a real champion.

Leonard,
"Most of the opposition to SoWa is the Lar Larson types. The same people trying to destroy our public schools"

That's was about as helpful as Randy Gragg of the O writing,
"Most of the oppostion to the Tram amounts to no more than anti-Tram extremism".

AUDITS NOW

Does the FBI charge $50K for an audit/review??

"I'm still waiting for the legal cases against the city engineer who floated all the miserably low construction costs and, when it was found he'd lied to council, was dismissed and is now working for Williams & Dame Developers (the prime movers in the SoWhat debacle)in California."

First I have heard about this. Do you have a name to give us?

Greg C

You must be asking about Matt Brown.

http://www.wddcorp.com/who/mbrown.asp

Williams & Dame Development

Mr. Brown brings 16 years of experience in urban design and development to the company. Prior to joining WDD, Mr. Brown was a senior project manager with the City of Portland, Oregon's Office of Transportation, and helped spearhead a number of major projects for the City. Among his responsibilities was the development of the Portland Aerial Tram, a cornerstone of the South Waterfront development project and the country's first urban aerial tram in 30 years. Additionally, Mr. Brown developed a comprehensive transportation and community improvement strategy in the neighborhoods adjoining South Waterfront which garnered the full support of a previously divided constituency.

Greg C. asks: First I have heard about this. Do you have a name to give us?

Matt Brown is culpable, all right, but I was actually thinking of former City Engineer and PATI staff, Vic Rhodes.

Ok I got confused with the lying and dissmissed stuff because that didn't sound like anyone I knew at the City. And IMHO Matt Brown was too low on the totem pole to be responsible for much more than peddling the party line. Vic was up to his ears on the tram but I didn't think he worked WDD anymore.

Thanks.

Greg C

The mayor's office staff latest email has stated that the $50T Potter requested audit was rejected by the rest of the city council.

Matt Brown not "low on the totem pole". He was the senior PDOT staff that several times in public stated at City Council, neighborhood meetings,and at URAC meetings, that the tram budget at $15.5M was feasible. At those times, there is evidence that the tram costs were known to be higher.

$50,000 is not too much to ask for transparency and accountability. Not when you're looking into $50,000,000 of "cost overruns".

I think we can safely assume that transparency and accountability is not what Tram Boy had in mind when he decided to run for Mayor of Portland.

As for the similarities between the Duin column and Jack's essay: great minds do think alike.


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