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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

He's not there

We've long since given up trying to figure out all the shifty moves made by some of the Portland city commissioners. Guys like Erik Sten and Sam Adams are always creating false facades and manipulating people and circumstances to fit their weird political ends.

Take Sten's mysterious retirement. Somehow, we're supposed to believe that a guy who's living in a recently purchased $1-million-plus West Hills mansion (and owning another high-end house in Irvington) on a City Council salary,* with a spouse in a nonprofit job and child care to deal with, is quitting the council to contemplate his navel, with no firm commitment to or from a future employer. Yeah, right. And the sheep that pass for our local mainstream media just baaaa along.

Adams is even worse. He can't do much of anything without jerking people around. The word "trust" most definitely does not cross one's mind when watching the guy at work. A reader whom we have a greater tendency to trust sends along a recent example, involving the hare-brained (and most probably illegal) Sten scheme to use Pearl District property taxes to build a new school in the David Douglas School District:

[I]nteresting that Commissioner Adams arranged to be "absent" for the City Council vote that authorized the creation of satellite districts (he was in the council chambers mingling with the crowd, and nobody called him up to vote... just marked him "absent"). He then voted for the resolution to urge the PDC to consider a David Douglas satellite district, if the PDC does satellite districts.
If that's true, it was like his vote on the Holladay Park senior citizen project -- "I'll tell you who wins, but this doesn't set a precedent for me." Jerking people around at every turn, and reserving the right to do so for the indefinite future.

When he's mayor, he'll melt the whole town down. Go by streetcar!

* - And just to show you the kind of job our local media is doing, just try to find the Portland city commissioners' current salaries on line. Happy hunting.

UPDATE, 10:13 a.m.: A reader e-mails to suggest that "the 'satellite urban renewal' stunt is a backroom scheme to get a school built in the Pearl District." That sounds crazy, but it would be typical coming from this council.

UPDATE, 3:09 p.m.: As if they read my mind, Willy Week gave the Stenmeister's salary (rounded) today, here.

Comments (21)

Commissioner salaries can be found on-line pretty easily. Just look them up in the budget document. This is Sten's:
City Commissioner 93,348

Don't forget they get something like an automatic 4% raise each year (so they don't have to do the embarassing public vote on this.)

In addition, Randy pulls in $50K/yr and Potter is something liek $100K/yr in retirement benefits, so double-dipping still rules.

To be fair to Erik, I think he inherited a bunch of money to buy the other house.

To be fair to Adams, I agree with Mr Bog.

I am so poor.

I think he inherited a bunch of money to buy the other house.

Other readers suggest that a large mortgage was involved.

"Other readers suggest that a large mortgage was involved."

Looked it up - you're right. Then again, he works for CoP, so wouldn't you expect him to learn to leverage beyond his means?

I and a cast of others help delay the street maintenance fee with the big help of Mayor Potter but Portland Cityhall is looking like a lost cause. Now city planners have grand plans to plaster the entire eastside with streetcars, competing with or replacing a pretty good existing bus system. Why is the city not thinking instead about conserving local and state capital dollars for things like fixing roads, helping out on the Sellwood bridge which brings certain benefits to PDX, or getting high valued real estate back on the property tax roles so the School district can repair buildings and allow more school choice to give children more educational resources? But the Portland electorate just doesn't show the same skepticism towards its local and state governments as it does toward the federal government. It's hopeless in PDX.

Bob, you make a great point . . . if any of these ideas were pitched by the Bush administration, heads would be rolling in the street right next to the streetcars. Just goes to show that local, neighborhood career politicians are just as out of touch as those 3,000 miles away.

wasn't yesterday (4/1) Erik Sten's last day in office? or was that an April Fool's joke?

Sam Adams is to Portland Transportation what Browny was to FEMA.

Only less talented and a bigger liar.

wasn't yesterday (4/1) Erik Sten's last day in office?


From 2007/08 Budget (online):

Mayor $104,976
Saltzman $93,348
Leonard $93,348
Adams $88,416
Sten $93,348

Multiply by about 20-25% to get fringe benefits (educated guess).

The above is what was budgeted for salary this fiscal year. Current actual salary probably differs from the numbers above - but probably not by much.

This is interesting - Sam Adam's website lists 15 members of his team. The budget only shows 7.5 budgeted positions. I wonder if transporation dollars are paying for any of the surplus 7.5 folks? I wonder if that's legal? Gas tax revenues have restricted uses.

Why streetcar Portland?

For the developers, of course:

Charlie Hales, Portland City Commissioner: “Often, not always, often, light rail or streetcar push the community in a development direction that we want to go and buses don’t seem to add much momentum to that change. (Northwest Illustrated, KOIN-TV, Oct 7, 2001.)

Mike Burton, Metro Executive Officer: (Referring to the Interstate Ave. light rail line): ”the opportunity to develop along that line is just absolutely incredible” (Emphasis added, Northwest Illustrated, KOIN-TV, Oct 7, 2001.)

Sam Adams, Portland commissioner: “I believe we should plan to accommodate our share of projected regional growth ... 300,000 more Portlanders ... within ¼ mile of all existing and to-be-planned streetcar and light rail transit stops ... Because it will simultaneously encourage responsible, transit-supportive development. What would Portland look like .. it would look a lot like Portland circa 1920 - a time when the main means of motion were your feet, streetcars and bikes.” (City Club Speech July 20, 2007)

From “Develpoment Oriented Transit” a publication of the PDC: Development oriented transit supports improved livability for high density environments that support public goals for urban containment, sustainable living and reduced dependence on an automobile . But higher density development does not always mean a more "livable" community . In the case of development near Streetcar; however, the package includes parallel public and private efforts.

(www.portlandstreetcar.org/pdf/development.pdf, page 5)

See more at:
And the video:

PS: Did you notice that we have a goal that includes "urban containment,". Does this remind anyone of the first step towards an, East Berlin style, Portland Wall?


Looks like Opie's Fellowship with Living Cities is payback from his ol' pal Marshall Runkel, who's "One Economy" (a "Global non-profit") founder (Ben Hecht) is now the Executive Director of http://www.livingcities.org/2006%20Files/2006_about_us_ceo_bio.html

Quid pro quo? Well, maybe (maybe not), but one of Sten's last public acts was a $50k grant to Hacienda CDC, which is a One Economy "partner". Some coincidence if Sten's fellowship was $50k, doncha think?

Hellooooo: where's our Pulitzer Prize winning weekly when a little investigative journalism beckons?

"Does this remind anyone of the first step towards an, East Berlin style, Portland Wall?"


Addendum to earlier post:


Appearently Scott missed this:



JK, you can't invoke an image like the Berlin Wall without invoking the entire image . . . which in this case involves horrifying murder. Don't get cranky because someone calls you on your shoddy writing.

PDX's land-use rules comparable to the Berlin Wall? Please. That analogy is shrill and repugnant.

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