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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 20, 2008 4:36 AM. The previous post in this blog was Nice. The next post in this blog is The ultimate outsiders. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Realists need not apply

We have a good one for you this morning. The folks who manage the City of Portland's ballooning debt -- the long-term liabilities of the city currently stand about $4.7 billion -- need some help figuring out how to juggle it all. Here's an ad they've currently got out for "financial advisory services," which are going to set the taxpayers back a cool $500,000 or so over the next three years.

Based on the spendthrift ways of the City Council over the most recent decade or so, one would suspect that the key qualifications for this gig are the ability to tell people what they want to hear, and to resist applying common sense. The city fathers want to be told that they should borrow, borrow, borrow, all they want, for just about any goofball pet project that comes their way -- or the county's way, or some school board's way out on the edge of town -- and don't worry about paying it back. When the bonds come due, just refinance them and keep going. There's no end to the money. Let's go fly a kite!

Comments (31)

This is similar to the "executive coaching" contract in BDS. There is already an army of overpaid financial people that work for the city. Collectively their salaries are many multiples of $500K. If the financial advice provided by present staff isn't up to snuff, why not fire them and hire someome competent to do the job. That approach would be too sane for the city that works. Instead lets pay someone competent to come in and do the job that our incompetent staff cannot. Life is easy when you're spending other people's money.

"The successful Proposer shall also assist on special projects of the City, such as the development of new or innovative financing approaches;"

Oh boy, let the games begin.

It is pretty amazing, especially since the obvious solution is to live with in a budget and not have to rely on "innovative financing approaches" to keep the overburdened ship afloat. The irony is that if you read guiding City policy this is what the City is supposed to be doing. Not building new stuff when they can't fund the money to take care of what they have. All more borrowing is going to do is make things worse not better as any credit card junkie can attest.

If we could only elect the same kind of people to run he country.
Oh, that's what's happening?

But it doesn't matter because it won't be Bush.

... the development of new or innovative financing approaches ...

Remember folks, financing is different from funding. And no matter how "creative" you are, you can't get the financing if you don't have the funding.

"Look, Capt. Smith, an iceberg. Where would you like this deckchair?"

You're right, life *IS* easy when you're spending other people's money. While we're at it, why don't we string up a ton of streetcars everywhere? Oh, wait, you don't want to clog Portland's all ready retarded street system? Too bad. Let's see if we can run Portland into the ground faster than the feds!!!

The approach Sam Adams et al have used over and over again was demonstrated thoroughly with the Sauvie Island Bridge/I-405 ped bike bridge proposal.

In case you didn't know the $5.5 million estimate was fabricated without any basis. PDOT had nothing to support that figure. Sam Adams knew this.
Sam Adams also knew that the promised ped bike bridge over I-5 at SoWa had swelled to an estimated $12.5 million with the actual bids coming in much higher.
So when Adams was pushing for the Sauvie Island Bridge idea he simply did not care how much it ultimately cost. And that is the city hall punchline folks.

When Sam pulled the plug it was only because of his election and certainty that the Sauvie Island bridge idea was going to cost twice what he touted.
It wasn't looking good with that lining up with other fiscal messes all around.

As it stands now if Adams faces a run off by mid summer much of the mess will boil over any all at the same time.

I heard Commissioner Adams on the Victoria Taft show last week say the unfunded Police and Fire pension liability was solved by the voters approving a property tax bond measure to pay it over some long period of time...I think it was the 2006 general election. He was bewildered by why Bojack's blog still cites it in the debt tally. Maybe because Portlanders are still on the hook for the bonds. Funded with Debt or unfunded, it still seems like debt to me.

Carl, Sam's financial abilities are well demonstrated by the Sauvie Island and SW Gibb St. bike/ped bridges.

Your outline continues:
Just recently Sam's PDOT scrapped the $1.5M spent on the Gibbs Bridge for planning with Zimmer, Gunsel, Frasca. Reason, the initial $1.8M budget went to $12.5M last year, then with further estimating increased a few million more. So PDOT hired new architects and engineers and are restarting the whole process over with public meetings to redesign the bridge once again. SoWhat that the bridge was to be built by 2006.

Does Sam know what he is doing?

"Carl said: In case you didn't know the $5.5 million estimate was fabricated without any basis. PDOT had nothing to support that figure."

Actually, Max Kuney invested a substantial amount on their own nickel to come up with the $3.9 million figure for moving, painting and placing the bridge, detailed down to the number of power lines to be hand raised during the move. The "to be bid separately" foundation design costs were estimated since no sample borings had yet been taken.

In the end, the more pertinent question had to do with whether it was worth spending MORE money than the narrower bridge as originally proposed, as well as the political ramifications of the project.

"Does Sam know what he is doing?" Sam lives in a world of make believe and no amount of facts are going to bring him into reality...maybe a trouncing by the voters might help.

Charles Wesley Rhodes Jr would be a good fit for the position.

Where are the ads from Sho illustrating all these points about Sam Adams? Is he betting on a runoff, then going to unleash the big guns? If I were him my tactic would be to spread the word of the city budget crisis as far and wide as possible via all forms of media, as well as who's responsible, then show himself to be a successful, fiscally responsible business man who knows how to manage money. In all honesty, I haven't seen much from Sho at all.

the voters approving a property tax bond measure to pay it over some long period of time...I think it was the 2006 general election.

The measure approved by voters may slow the growth rate somewhat, but it isn't going to pay off the unfunded liability listed.

I don't think anyone on the council understands the money, at all.

show himself to be a successful, fiscally responsible business man who knows how to manage money

Oops. Never mind.

"Does Sam know what he is doing?" Sam lives in a world of make believe and no amount of facts are going to bring him into reality...maybe a trouncing by the voters might help.

Sam said on the radio today that the city is viewed around the country as a system to follow. No kidding. Oh, and apparently the pension problems will be solved in 15 years.

"show himself to be a successful, fiscally responsible business man who knows how to manage money

Oops. Never mind."

If that's not the case, please correct me. I admit I should have done my homework before posting that, as I assumed that much was true considering the business as been around since 1949.

All the LIARS toadies pulled by their ears could be hopping into this one -- LIARS read the Post, on the air ! ! !!! oh my, oh my, that oxygen contaminator takes my breath away. On the air ! ! !!! who'd a'thunk it?

Except, he mis-attributed credit to "Jack Bogdanski, the Law Professor at Lewis & Clark," instead of proper attribution to Bojack dot ORG. So probably the thirteen little LIARS listeners can't find the way here.

On topic, PDXers need to come up with $4 billion, ignoring the additional federal tab ("a USA TODAY analysis found ... nearly $500,000 per household"), on the same folks, right? And at least $800 billion is cluster-bombing into Iraq, and more to go, right? Here's the deal: Governor Kulongoski calls the Oregon Guards home, so USA saves those deployment expenses, and federal taxpayers can just pass-through our share of the invasion cost to us. If Oregon's usual 1% in federal affairs applies, we get $8 billion out of the $800 billion -- then PDX splits it with the rest of the State, fifty/fifty, and voila, there's the $4 billion, retire the debt.

On the other hand, the 'supplied side,' most likely there are cost savings which PDXers (on a finder's-share basis) could earn by identifying. Such as, September 10, 2001: Rumsfeld Announces Defense Department Cannot Track $2.3 Trillion -- In a speech to the Department of Defense, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld announces that the Department of Defense “cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.” CBS later calculates that 25 percent of the yearly defense budget is unaccounted for, and quotes a long-time defense budget analyst: “[Their] numbers are pie in the sky. The books are cooked routinely year after year.” Coverage of this rather shocking story is nearly nonexistent given the events of the next day.

LIARS buried the coverage of militaristic madmen, too, (where PDXers could find recompense), when LIARS read this Post on the air ! ! !!!, can you believe it? It was read right(wacko) after LIARS went phony outrage balderdash ballistic over reading the favoritism of the Oregon Land Watchers Dept refusing to tax Wahkiakum County, Washington.

And right(wacko) before LIARS went to hatetalking himself Shocked! Shocked! to discover the audience of his CNN appearance last night, wrote to the station saying they see LIARS to be "a liar." Well, y'know, like they say, the camera don't lie.

Gosh, Jack, with 'friends' like LIARS doing copyright defrauding of Bojack -- on the air ! ! !!, you could sue so much it'd cover your household share of PDX bonds grossness.

And right(wacko) before LIARS went to hatetalking...

As an obvious expert on the subject, you should know.

Jon said: "Sam said on the radio today," referring to listening to LIARS.

I didn't listen to Sam, I only heard LIARS tease-promo Sam was LIARS 'get' "coming up later in the programming."

So it might be not a total waste of airtime, after all. Appearing close to LIARS could be just Sam's 'Judas-pointed' boxcar to gassed oblivion. Gee, that'd be too bad if Sam popped up toast out of the radio.

^ and that's why they call it dope.

I think they've gotten rid of anyone who would say "no" to them, and they bank on someone else being in the hot seat when the piper finally has to be paid, if they can even grasp the concept of the piper eventually having to be paid.

They don't even realize that the big empires they are trying to live up to were 90% federally funded. And the devils who buy them dinners and whisper in their ears say it will all be fine because perpetual double digit future growth will solve everything. I think they have no personal BS detectors whatsoever, are actually sincere in every loony thing they say, and have no idea they are being played.

Tensk, how are a an expert on Lars if you never listen to him?


Oh please, that was obvious. We all know the 3.9 million figure for moving, painting and placing the bridge.

It's the rest of the $5.5 million that is as lame as it gets. And Sam knows it.

There was nothing behind the ridiculously lowballed balance for the site work.
It was pulled out of thin air. It was not simply a lack of borings.
Who told you that?
Either you or someone else made that up.

IMO Sam had full knowledge it wasn't close to being enough.

In the end the more pertinent question had to do with whether it could be advanced without regard for cost on top of everything else.

The narrower bridge as originally proposed was also lowballed beyond belief.

The danger statistics for this crossing were also cooked up by including the broader area incidents that have no relationship to this plan and would not be effected at all.

"Sam lives in a world of make believe"

Uh, I believe its called Sim City and the taxpayers paid for the game station.

I agree on the timing, though, as soon as he wins either at the primary or in a runoff, the Flanders bridge is a done deal. The bike lobby has his ear louder than even Homer and John Ashforth.

Bob Clark: "[Sam] was bewildered by why Bojack's blog still cites it in the debt tally. Maybe because Portlanders are still on the hook for the bonds."

That actually explains a lot. He doesn't understand that bonds are debt.

Sam should attend one of his PDC annual introductory meetings that define Urban Renewal. TIF (tax increment financing) is a debt. Some textbooks call Urban Renewal and TIF as "borrowing money based on future tax revenues". So his claim today on Lars that there is NO borrowing to do his pet projects like the Flander Bridge is false. He proposed using TIF dollars from the Pearl District URA.

Is he lying, is he dumb, or does he think we are?


Dumb. And surrounded by flatterers.


Personally, I don't believe in the concept of "hate speech". If I did, I'd probably be inclined to consider your endless rants about a local radio talk guy to fall into that category.

In any event, it adds nothing to the discussion.

I did get to hear a part of the program this morning in which Sam Adams appeared, and I was underwhelmed both by his tenor and his faulty logic.

Among other things, he claimed essentially sole responsibility for getting the PPFD pension fund on track to be fully solvent within 15 years; a claim to which Larson had no reply.

That alone was worth the airtime, as the "fix" doesn't address the liability, and Sam's later explanation that using funds from the Pearl to finance an eastside school was also full of holes.

Schools are not a function of CoPo government; physical infrastructure is.

You should listen sometime, Tensk, rather than rant about what you don't hear.

Tensk is a strong competitor for the most useless posts on any blog. His or her irrational obsession with "Liars" while never actually posting the lies is the stuff of perpetual immaturity as well.

Add that to the congested verbiage, excessive expression and seething arrogance,,,, if there was a button to halt all further contributions from that superior intelligence I'd be pushing it.

With Tensk also having zero entertainment value he or she is the only one I can imagine using the button on.

Other than that I'm sure he or she is swell.

All I can say to you Portlanders who voted for Sam: You got your wish! A new Mayor who has no regard for city finances with a wish list of wackadoodle projects that are labeled "progressive".

Fix the roads? NAH! That's too expensive! Homeless solutions? Nah, they're fine. The pension problems? No worries, the people can just ay more taxes for it! Let's work on the "fun stuff" like recycled pedestrian bridges, trams, and shiny streetcars. That's so much more glamorous, and yes, progressive. Right on!

How the people of Portland tolerate this is beyond me.


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
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Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
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Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
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Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
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Conundrum, White 2013
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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
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John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
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David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
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Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
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Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
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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
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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

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