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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 5, 2009 9:12 PM. The previous post in this blog was Hooray for Hazel. The next post in this blog is The latest from Wasilla. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

More fun and games with the Paulsons

Here's another startling revelation out of Wednesday's WW cover story on the City of Portland's insane minor league baseball and "major league" soccer stadiums project:

The rough agreement the city approved last month includes... additional changes to the way the city services its debt.
It will be amusing when somebody finally explains what that is supposed to mean.

Wouldn't it be great if some day the City of Portland started actually paying off debt instead of racking up more?

Meanwhile, the stadium hits just keep on comin'.

Comments (14)

Still not close to the truth yet. We won't find that out until the last minute.

Everything is working out the way they wanted with CoP and Paulson getting everyone in a rush for little time to protest.

I am still amazed at how Sellwoood bridge is falling down and schools are crappy. Yet they can find money to rebuild a staidu they just rebuilt and to buy up a neon sign.

If I can make a plea to Randy and every other person reading this blog, it would be to check out Bill Moyers' interview with William K. Black, a regulator during the S and L crisis, who describes our current economic disaster in criminal terms.

According to Mr. Black, the triple-A rating on these security swaps built of liars loans amounted to deliberate fraud, and the bankers are now involved in a big cover-up to protect themselves from possible prosecution.

Randy has got to wake up and see whose kid he's dealing with here. And find out more about Goldman Sachs. Randy thinks he's being slick but he's entangled with some of the principal players in the biggest rip-off in history - if Mr. Black is right.

My guess is Portland is going to get burned on this deal, just as the country got burned on TARP.

Maybe we need to change the big neon sign to read, "Won't Get Fooled Again."

Part of me wonders if Randy Leonard's enthusiasm for the Made in Oregon sign is to distract the public from the lack of public process regarding MLS. First, they stacked the committee with pro-MLS people and told them not to discuss finances and now they create a furor over a stupid sign, all the while slipping MLS through without a fight. How convenient.

I do hope that those who post here also take the effort to contact your city councilors to tell them you are opposed to these projects. Currently the majority of people making the effort to contact the city are those who are in support, which only justifies the City's actions.

My friend's dad is in assisted living, and my friend keeps getting calls from the people there warning that Dad is asking for a ride to the bank so he can send money to some new set of scammers. Same syndrome. Dad always thinks he's in on a special deal that the rest of us are just to pedestrian and closed-minded to understand.

I was living in San Diego when they got taken for $300 million for a stadium. Turns out that isn't working very well either:

http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/apr/06/1n6ballpark013615-ballpark-catalyst-batting-500/?zIndex=78136

If you Google "proposed MLS/AAA transaction terms" you will get a link to a copy of the draft proposal that went before the city council last month. The "Funding Plan" is on page 2. (At least one copy has a typo: a "5" instead of a "$" after "Other Funds(3)").

Footnote 3 on page 3 includes as a possible funding source "a refinancing of existing PGE Park bonds, thereby increasing funds available for debt service for the Spectator Facilities Fund bonds and increasing the amount of these bonds".

Perhaps this is what the WWeek article was referring to.

We are all going to suffer from Fireman Randy/Pele's actions. He may actually think he's smarter and more clever than the boyz from Wall Street who have been scamming all of us for decades and that is pretty scary.
Wake up Randy! Please, watch Bill Moyers!
Then admit the error of your ways and act in a fiscally responsible way and send 'LLP' packing back to the Hamptons.

Thanks for the heads up about the William Black interview, Bill M and portland native.

Even though it's off-topic, I'll add that The Sunday O carried a piece by Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz titled "Banks win, taxpayers lose" which indicates that Geithner's plan for toxic assets is merely another scheme to recapitalize insolvent banks.

"Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me."
-F. Scott Fitzgerald in "The Great Gatsby"

It had to be heady times for Randy and Sam. Suddenly they were hobnobbing with one of the truly wealthy families in America.
Not just wealthy - Henry Paulson was historic. An assistant to John Ehrlichman during the Nixon administration, he went on to run Goldman Sachs and then the Treasury Department. These people were powerful, wealthy and connected.

While Randy and Sam were bumbling around spending millions we didn't have, this bunch was gambling with trillions nobody had. When Randy and Sam schemed it just turned into another debt for the Portland taxpayers to pay. When Henry Paulson schemed, it brought down the economy of the world.

Randy and Sam were impressed. Hell, they were dazzled. They could partner up with these people on a deal and that would put them in the club. They'd be associates for God's sake.

What they still don't get is that Merritt Paulson asking them for a stadium is like asking the valet to bring the car around. Randy and Sam think they're partners in a deal - they're just the servants in a Grey Poupon commercial.

The best example I ever saw of this was when Bob Pamplin, Jr would come into the Tribune office and give us a pep talk. Naturally, the big bosses at the paper would strut around like titans of industry.

Then, when Bob was done, he'd hand out a $50 bill to everyone like he was tipping his caddy. You had to see it. Executives getting tipped like they just mowed the lawn.

It was an education.
The very rich are different from you and me.

Folks, remember the magic words/beans:

"This time it's different."

@ Steve: Amen, brother, amen. JK Galbraith said that those are the four most expensive words in the English language.

They're called Limited Liability Partnerships for a reason.

Maybe the legislature could dedicate all the state income taxes from Portland residents/workers to cover City of Portland debt. (The logical challenge is the same as with a partial dedication.)

I'm not saying the state can't do it. But I do think that the state would have to follow the rules as to appropriations and include it in the state budget. If they don't know the precise amount of collections or distribution then they can try to do as they do with so many other items, have a continuing appropriation thing (until such time as they change their mind).

It is the state that would be legally on the hook to cover this category of expenditure and not the city. And it is properly a state bond thing and not be part of Portland's budget.

Craft an Intergovernmental Agreement.


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