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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why Portland and Multnomah County are broke

How much did this thing cost to produce?

I'm all for cutting down air pollution, and maybe local government can help the situation somewhat, but are we really going to spend this kind of money, every year, patting ourselves on the back about it? A colossal waste of time and money.

We've come to expect this sort of thing from City Hall, but Jeff Cogen, you ought to be ashamed.

Comments (21)

I agree that money could be better spent on other things, but a glossy 40 page document probably doesn't cost *that* much, especially if it's consolidating information that exists in other places.

I guess my question is where do you draw the line between patting yourself on the back and explaining to the public the results of public policy?

Is a report like this used to gain funding for these types of programs from state or federal sources?

No, it's a complete and total waste of money. And when you add up true staff time wasted on this, the number will be huge.

I'll just wait for the movie version. That should be out in another six months, with Sam Adams recreated with the help of Pixar and Weta Digital. (Hey, it takes effort to look that stilted and artificial.)

The "pat on the back" might be taking credit for the decline in economic activity since our wealth is still tied to the use of energy (non-renewable) for production. "Renewables" provide 1-2%. So the gloss is spin without content.

I like the stuff on Food and Agriculture. Removing barriers to urban food production or something like that. We're talking about gardens, people. Not sure what the barriers to gardening were or what the city did to remove them or what it really has to do with climate change but it sure sounds nice.

Add the arrogance of these folks really believing their efforts may a difference in climate change globally. It really is like pissing in the ocean, and very expensive too.

Hmmm...so how much do you think it cost to produce? $1,000? $10,000? I think the government has an obligation to communicate with the public about public policy outcomes. At what cost does it become a waste of money?

I helped produce 10-15 page versions of reports like this at a non-profit I worked at 6-7 years ago. With the right software, stock photos, etc. I don't recall it being too expensive or requiring excessive manpower. And I would assume the software is much improved since then.

"How much did this thing cost to produce?"

You're missing it. It helped Sam/Cogen hire a bunch more staff to do more PowerPoints and re-cast information that already exists.

It'd be sorta like hiring a bunch of staff to say that we need to beat cancer and the action items are to ban smoking in county bldgs. Been there, done that.

Then I am sure after severl thousand man-hours we kinda came to some action items that we are going to do.

The biggest energy loss is just the manpower to do this crap instead of trying to put it to classrooms, the Sellwood bridge or reducing water rates.

I once read a book, I can't remember what it was called, where stupid destructive things kept happening and nutty antagonists were everywhere and at the end of the story the main character finally finds out that he's actually dead.

Portland keeps feeling more and more like that.

$1,000? $10,000?


It's city government, pal. Add another zero, minimum.

Not sure what the barriers to gardening were or what the city did to remove them or what it really has to do with climate change but it sure sounds nice.

Actually, the city does put up a huge barrier to community gardens, at least, in the form of systems-development charges and utility connection fees. Those fees can add up to tens of thousands of dollars. That may not sound like much, and many of the better-off neighborhoods can collect donations, write grants, and canvass local businesses to raise that kind of money because they have volunteers with the skills and time to do so. But that's harder to do in the benighted outer neighborhoods, where working-class people are too tired after grueling days on the job to attend meetings, and minority and immigrant families lack the connections needed to work the bureaucracy.

There's clearly a need for the gardens, as demonstrated by the long wait-lists for open plots. The city could facilitate the creation of more if it really wanted to by reducing or eliminating those fees, or by spearheading a city-wide fundraising effort and providing more extensive technical assistance to garden projects to help them succeed.

One more example of the city and county producing a feel-good report. Not that the substance is necessarily upbeat, but the product itself is the message: that "we're letting the people know." The sheer profusion of print matter from nearly every public agency, as well as the cost of polls that serve to guide their messages, is simply overwhelming. Neither the city or county auditor has the guts to conduct a serious communications audit of this situation, including any actual impact on public policy and performance that can be ascribed to their publication. In short, where are the cost-benefits considered? (And let's include the manpower costs too, not only production and printing.)

As the others have noted indirectly, the printing costs are not the big hit to budgets. It's the staffers' time, as well as any outside contractors who may have been involved. Photographers, graphics layout people, copywriters, analysts, etc.

Factor in salaries, overhead, and meetings to discuss and review what actually gets printed that eats up the money.

And yet, these well meaning folks ignore that one little burp from Mount St. Helens or any of the other sleeping giants lays waste to any plans to deal with climate change.

Imagine if just a fraction of this effort was directed towards actions that could really solve problems in P-town.

Joey: . . but a glossy 40 page document probably doesn't cost *that* much, especially if it's consolidating information that exists in other places.

A glossy 40 page document does cost “that” much, especially if it is filled with fluff and not with integrity.

Much talk and glitz that does not match reality.

Weary of the hypocrisy here.

Curtain Open: Look folks, we are working for sustainable development. See our words and our pictures, aren’t we great!!
Curtain Closed: We have sustainable and we are in the process of destroying it. But as long as we use the words sustainable and provide you with these documents, aren’t we great!!

We “portray” ourselves as sustainable, for what - to convince people that we in fact are?

From link above:
On p. 27 – Partner with federal agencies, including Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Transportation, on efforts like the joint Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities to apply new federal priorities around sustainable development in Portland and Multnomah Co.

If they really wanted to partner for sustainability, they would tell EPA that we need to keep this great example of a sustainable healthy water system in our country, Bull Run.

Furthermore, how sustainable is an unnecessary billion-dollar debt for this community, with double water rates coming down the pike? Is this sustainable for jobs or even people to remain here? We need to tell EPA this community cannot afford this. We need a Waiver from this LT2 rule that was based on politics, not science.

Somehow adding toxic chemicals to our drinking water, talk of blending the Willamette River water for us to drink, transforming our sustainable system into another designed system with new ongoing operating costs and then radon coming into our homes, schools and worksplaces just doesn’t match the word sustainable.

This isn’t the only example. West Hayden Island is another.
Tearing down groves of huge trees for infill and replacing with “little bush trees” is another. Spending money like mad like for the light rail at the expense of schools and all services is another. Infilling our best fertile farmland is not sustainable either.

But yes, let us just continue with how great and green and sustainable we are here!! . . and we will continue to spend the dollars we have here to convince everyone.

The sustainable aspect of this is the money from all of us to sustain the corporations.

While we are at it, to also sustain the officials who use our dollars to convince us what a good job they are doing so they get to stay in their jobs?

Don't they teach the basics of propaganda in the schools anymore? Guess we ran out of money using it for the glitz!

Getting to the substance of the report, the main decline in emissions is in the industrial category. Industrial emissions grew from 1990 to 2000, then fell. What happened?

Commercial emissions grew, transportation grew through 2007 then declined due to the recession, residential remained flat, and waste disposal declined (but was never very important in the first place). Because commercial grew by more than industrial declined, the net result is a growth in emissions through 2007, then a decline due to the recession.

After the table on page 5, the rest of the report says nothing about industrial but focuses on "urban form," energy-efficient buildings, waste disposal, forests, and farms. Note one goal is to reduce per-capita driving by 30 percent.

This is Multnomah County only, so any industry that moved from Multnomah to Washington, Clackamas, Clark, or anywhere else is still contributing emissions. Anyone know what factories or power plants in Multnomah shut down or cleaned up their act?

Photographers, graphics layout people, copywriters, analysts, etc.

Exactly! These reports seem like public-works projects for the "creative class." Check out the web and print materials for the Portland Plan; it's a virtual WPA for young creatives. Wonder how much was spent on the "Portland Plan Game."

Dec 2010 Climate Action Plan has much misinformation in it. A puff piece.

Page 30: Milwaukie Light Rail "is planned for and funded." Totally false. Funding isn't even close to being acquired. Two urban renewal areas need to be formed, and still over $60 Million underfunded if that is successful.

If I was in Cogan's or Sam's position, I'd throw this photo album out based on the several outright false claims.

What else can we expect from a county that sends a jury summons to a person who died a year ago?
I just got one for my now dead parent who would be 99 years old and not elegible for service anyway.

Uh oh, from the tone of this comment thread, it sounds like the creepy one, Mayor Sam Adams, ought to commission another happiness study!

For some reason, liberals often insist on using force to "present choices". Regulations and policies always entail enforcement measures. Does this seem like a choice to you?

I personally loved the hidden agenda to present the eating of meat as a "high carbon output food". Um, really. has anyone bought pineapple, star fruit, lychee, ANYTHING at Uwaijamaya, H Mart, or the thousands of ethnic food groceries? You can't even begin to say that a slow growing, tropical food product costs more in "carbon footprint" than beef in the United States.

These policies reek of more flatulence than that produced by the cattle used to make a tasty burger. Take that liberal condiment nonsense elsewhere My vegetable is ketchup.

Jack:. . . We've come to expect this sort of thing from City Hall, but Jeff Cogen, you ought to be ashamed.

. . Jeff was named chief of staff to City Commissioner Dan Saltzman in 2003. Jeff played key roles in creating the Portland Children’s Levy, building the new Rosa Parks Elementary School in North Portland and positioning Portland as the international leader of the green building movement. . .

We need to remember these people coming out of city, county, etc., offices, - training and agenda the same apparently.
Also, don't know what happens, if they are taught in workshops or what, but there seems to be either a lack of respect or concern for public interests.

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