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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 18, 2009 12:16 PM. The previous post in this blog was Emerald City shakedown. The next post in this blog is Have a great weekend. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

The fire down below

What happens in California often repeats itself in Portland after a while. Yesterday readers sent us a couple of stories, here and here, that they suspect portend our future up here in the Rose City. I'd argue with them, if I didn't see the point.

Comments (19)

Sadly, you're probably right about the futility of arguing this. It seems as if the worst ideas on city, state, and federal government come from either California or Texas (and I can attest to plenty of the latter), and I figure Portland passed the point of no return on its finances resembling San Francisco's about ten years back.

Interestingly just like Portland, the more San Francisco spends on the homeless the more they get. Is there a correlation there? I don’t mean to be crass but perhaps the answer is not in more shelters and pseudo services, but instead with investment for mental health institutions. Oh my, that would involve gross violations of individual human rights according to civil libertarians. Everyone has a constitutional right to harm themselves and others whether they are capable of making rational life decisions or not.

Higher taxes for fewer services. Well-meaning but expensive and poorly audited social service programs. Increasingly unaffordable housing in the inner neighborhoods. Dominance by upper-middle class, over-educated liberals with good intentions but poor sense of how anything works on a practical level. No, we're nothing like San Fran.

That story about SF is fascinating. Portland's all-funds budget is like $2B vs. SF's $6.6B.

Feel better knowing we that much more livable?

Wow. Three of my most favorite cities have dysfunctional governments--Portland, New Orleans and now San Francisco. Maybe it's a prerequisite to urban charm. Oh wait, there's also New York, which is a well-run benign dictatorship these days.

It was troubling that the first person quoted in the SF Weekly article was the arch-crank Joel Kotkin. I'm going there for the rest of the month, so I will be able to report back my first hand experience.

Hey, but the SF city government Tweets and Facebooks! So citizens must be more informed an engaged...

If fits what Californian's proudly claim: "As Goes California, So Goes The Nation!"

Having actaully grown up in San Francisco when it was place where ordinary people could afford a home and kids could get a decent education; I can easily see that both Oregon and Portland are going down the same drain as California and San Francisco if the same people continue to run the show for the next 5-6 years.
Can anyone remember anyone in local or state government being fired for gross finacial negligence? In fact, short of being convicted of a felony, it's all but impossible to fire anyone in the public sector in Oregon. And long ago I could see the fiscal illiterates in the Democrat dominated Legislature making the same stupid financial decisions they do in California.

Didn't anyone see the comedy of Sam Adams telling Tom Brian of Washington County that he was foolish to think that growth would be in the suburbs. Everyone prefers the urban locations. This from the Mayor of a jurisdiction that lost 15,000 jobs in the last decade to the County that grew dramatically during that period.

'Interestingly just like Portland, the more San Francisco spends on the homeless the more they get. Is there a correlation there?'


The law of economics applies - when you want more of something, you subsidize it.

The rest of your post is spot on. Aside from making it very unattractive and shameful to be homeless, no one can be forced to against their will to live in a shelter and quit drinking.

Reading Wachs and Estenazi's well written article doesn't "portend" Portland's future, it's here now. In about every example they give of spending malfeasance, one can find an example of something very similar here in Portland.

Take for example the Library Bond a few years back, remember the over expenditures, the miscalculations, the decreased scope of projects completed for the bonds passed?

Like reported recently where is the accounting for Saltzman's Children Fund?

What about misspending of Parking meters/garages outside of what is required by statute?

How about confiscation of Gas Tax dollars for many things beyond what they are to be used for?

Then there's Park fees, income that is misappropriated beyond written agreements.

What about property taxes paid to PDC that are misappropriated

The list goes on. Then we can get into the dalliances in all its forms of public officials and the inability to fire them, just like the SF article points out-no accountability.

Its all here now. Sadly we don't have the media that has interconnected it all as well as SF Weekly has done. The Oregonian won't do it. Willamette Week and Nigel Jacquis does in snippets. The story is here and really easy to report.

Extrapolate the malfeasance to the national level, and one can begin to understand how out of control all levels of government are.

Too big, too controlling, too nanny.

Freedom to live, let live, and prosper is slipping away ever faster.

You can look at America history and just about every war has had some economic dislocation but all these highly educated politicians think it doesn't matter. And by the time it happens they'll have moved on to another position.

They got the mine and we got the shaft.

CALPERS run amok should be the subdheading for any story on California's budget crisis.

We would have no budget crisis and we could fund current programs at current levels in this recession IF the majority of California public employees were 2 decades younger, in better health, and not on the verge of retiring.

The other and more notorious half of the problem is fiscal mismanagement of the State Government by various Governors and state legislators who have been kicked in the teeth (The Governator included in his 2005 special election) every time they stand against the various public employee's unions who own the State of California legislature.

Considering California's term limits, an aspiring PhD in Political Science could do their dissertation on how Term Limits empowers lobbyists and special interests.

As a native Californian born in Walnut Creek and raised in Chico, CA/Pendleton, OR who was away for a decade for schooling in Oregon, I am not surprised that the State Government is collapsing and the "powers that be" are in denial.

Good, let their denial cause their downfall. Hell, they never did anything for me except put me through a crappy K-12 system that was three times worse than the K-12 education I received in little ole', podunk Pendleton, OR.

The main reason why I still comment on Oregon blogs is because California is so massive with so many blogs and none of them equivalent to the quality of Jack Bog's Blog or BlueOregon.

As for the State of California, so long as my mail arrives on time and I have police patrolling the streets of my city, then the rest of it could burn for all I care.

And a little south of Portland is Lake Oswego. The bond rating for LO just slipped from AAA to AA. Water rates are going up an additional $74 on the bimonthly bills to help defray the cost of a sewer system that should have been replaced at least 5 years ago and then would have been cheaper. Add in the nonsensical purchase a few years back of the Safeco building-which is now worth half of the original $20 plus million dollars and it still isn't being fully used because they don't know what to do with it. Plus they don't even have the building paid for nor do they know how they will pay for it. Right now they are still just paying interest on the $20 plus million purchase.
Add on top of all that the fact that the city wants to build a new indoor tennis center and put a driving range for golfers next to the Community garden space at Luscher Farm. I don't want to live in a country club- I want to live in a sustainable and smartly run community. Is that so little to ask for?
Thanks for letting me rant!

It would be worthwhile to study the policital preferences of voting populations that allow their city governments to get so out of control and removed from accountability. San Francisco's (and Portland's) problems didn't just appear overnight.

Since the politicians are in charge of such huge and life altering decisions why don't we demand that they all get the same process before letting them run for office. In other words qualify for office. Kind of like a cop qualify deal.

First thing is a long form verified birth certificate,full psycic exam, college verification if any. Criminal back ground, personal back ground nation wide.

Also make every one of them sign a contract that says "I will always follow the local and federal constitution when legislating and voting" If I violate this contract I will be removed from office without a vote.

Do you think anybody would run for office then?

Makes Creepy seem sleepy.

Perhaps the only way the voters of this city will throw off their superannuated commission form of government is if the city goes belly up even after reducing services beyond the point of livability?


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