This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 1, 2010 5:35 AM. The previous post in this blog was The pennies project. The next post in this blog is Multnomah County gets into the ramrod act on Paulson stadium deal. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Monday, March 1, 2010

Guess what else is being paid for out of your Portland water bill

Did you know that the Portland Water Bureau is now enforcing the city's mandatory biodiesel law? What else can Fireman Randy think of to pay for out of water revenues? Unless the voters wake up and stop him, that is. Mission Creep City!

Meanwhile, those pesky folks who don't want the city's open reservoirs covered or disconnected are howling about the steady increase in what they call "cozy consultant contracts" in recent years at the bureau. Floy Jones, a gangleader of the reservoir set, pulled some juicy numbers out of the sales document for the city's recent round of water bonds. She writes:

During Randy's reign consultant spending increases -- $9 million spent on consultants in 2005 increasing to $19 million in 2009, $67 million in 5 years to consultants! A few years back when budget committee members balked at the hiring of 14 additional engineers we were told that doing so would result in fewer dollars spent on consultants. The engineering group received a big upward classification this year. Tons of money is being spent on consultants.
Professional services9,203,88513,448,99611,783,04912,606,40419,163,084
Salaries and wages24,467,68623,516,40228,640,78234,693,06935,779,508

Comments (10)

"Tracy said that BES is still formulating its budget. They have new cost drivers including Tri-Met work that should be paid by Tri-Met but BES is asked to pay for it. The rates will increase 33% over the next five years."


So what the heck does this mean exactly?

It sounds like Randy's telling every group in the city that can't get funding to come over and take out of the ratepayers. Doesn't anyone represent the ratepayers on PURB (not that it matters, Randy doesn't give a rats a$$ what they say.)

Thank god he and Opie didn't take over PGE.

When does it end? When beloved Portland becomes the New Jersey of the west?

20 million dollars would sure help out the schools and fill the pot holes...but gee whiz! we couldn't possibly use the money for that stuff!

Let's see:
"Unless the voters wake up and stop him, that is. Mission Creep City!"

"Floy Jones, a gangleader of the reservoir set,... "

Gangleader, 'eh? Damning with faint praise, I call it. She should be classified as a Golden citizen, and if it wasn't for her efforts and those who back her as well as those who have taken up the cause, what has been published here in the past few months most likely would not have happened, and if it had anyway, in a much abbreviated form.

You make her and her supporters seem one step away from being thugs. The thugs are the ones running city council.

Those of us opposing the unnecessary, (from public health standpoints), treatment of Bull Run drinking water, unnecessary covering of the reservoirs, and the unnecessary Water Bureau spending arms race of Leonard and Shaff, only want to bring transparency to a system driven by cozy unscrupulous business practices. We are trying to bring common sense to these issues, without having to set up a separate IRA to pay future water and sewer bills.
We can create jobs from the(now)+25,000 hours of deferred maintenance at the Water Bureau. Maybe Randy should have those employees doing something more than seeing if downspouts are disconnected, a job for BES.

"Unless the voters wake up and stop him"

We cannot wait for an election.
Leaders of our community must stop Leonard and council.
Citizens of our community must pressure Leonard and our council.

Your Bull Run water rate increase information.
Portland water bureau rate increases:
FY 2009-10 17.9%
FY 2010-11 18.9%
FY 2011-12 19.0%
FY 2012-13 18.8%
FY 2013-14 19.0%
In addition to the above proposed water usage charge, the Base Charge will also be increased.

Water Bills will Double in Less than 5 yrs.

Citizens and businesses cannot keep paying.
How many businesses will leave our area and
how many will not come in with these increased rates?

Thankfully, there are citizens who have been watchdogs. They are trying to reach the rest of the community before it is too late. Our media is not doing a complete investigation. Our community will be indebted for over a billion dollars for a public health problem that does not exist.

Meanwhile, Leonard and water bureau are attempting to bit by bit dismantle our Bull Run water system. A few weeks ago they initiated a process to "land swap" up at Bull Run. It appears they prefer to move forward with more debt and expensive projects rather than focus on saving our system.

So, what's the next step, folks? Does anyone have a meaningful idea to make an effective statement against such abuse?

Testifying before Council seems, well, pointless. Unless perhaps 100 people testify at the same meeting...

I'm game for a lot.
Testify? Gimme a date, and I'll be there.
Protest? Um, it's a little odd for a water issue, but it's certainly the Portland way.
Petition? Petition for what, exactly? Jack has proposed a Measure 5 for water, and I would give $$ for that ballot measure.
Vote Randy out? Well, humble citizens have tried before, but Randy seems to have his base locked up with giveaways, so I think we're stuck with him.

Whatcha got? Let's get the ideas rolling... Jack, maybe a poll?

The consultant contract racket can be a double whammy. Political compatriots can line their pockets with consulting fees while the elected/appointed officials get a report that prefaces their pet projects with "Experts Say", "Study Finds" or "Research Shows" cover.

Consulting contracts are not subject to the same scrutiny as in-house work and employment via the contractor route evades normal civil service merit processes and protections against favoritism in hiring (and pays better to boot). All too often the implicit quid pro quo is when government officials disappear into the consulting sunset for their post public sector employment. Nice work if you can get it. It pays to take note and guard against abuse.

PURB Public hearing on these issues tomorrow evening at City Hall:


Well, the "feeding frenzy" can go on until the terms of the bonds are violated and then it might go into default....only guaranteed by revenue from all of us little drinking water folks. The wholesale people have their contracts, so they don't have to worry. A default is looking more and more doable by 2015 or so. Then, what would they do? Most of City Council will be in tears over having to sell the rights to the system to pay the bills...just what they tried to do in 2003 but the wholesale people didn't want to pay. So, guess what? We get to pay. Aren't they clever?

Clicky Web Analytics