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Monday, April 25, 2011

Fireman Randy has an answer for everything

So just do things his way, o.k.?

Comments (42)

"In the last 10 years $40 million dollars have been spent on reservoir maintenance"

I'd like to see that accounting.

I can only inmagine what is stuffed in there and attributed to "reservoir maintenance".

Simple rule, if Leonard is involved it's shady.

There are a number of options available to the City of Portland which would provide relief from these mandates, none of which involve breaking the law.
Mr. Shaff's assertion that our choices are two--build these projects as the Water Bureau proposes or break the law--is totally specious and intended to prevent ratepayers and the City Council from understanding the true number of options at hand.
Specifically, the City Council has four options:
1. Seek a permanent waiver from these Cryptosporidium mandates, which could either be granted by Congress or the EPA itself through executive action.
2. Pursue a variance from the rule, using the 17,000 liters of testing in Bull Run and at our open drinking water reservoirs as proof that we already meet the objectives of the Cryptosporidium rule.
It is important to note that federal regulators are no longer the decision-makers on a variance from the rule, the State of Oregon has been delegated primacy for rule implementation and therefore the state will decide whether Portland is eligible for a variance. This is a critical development, as we expect the state to be much more sympathetic to Portland's unique situation than the EPA.
3. Pursue treatment at the outlet of the reservoirs as Rochester, New York has done. While Mr. Shaff is correct that this would cost much more in Portland than it did in Rochester (approximately $200 million), that is still far less than the Water Bureau is proposing to spend--$500 million. Has the Water Bureau allowed the City Council the opportunity to consider or debate an alternative compliance program that could save ratepayers $300 million? And if not, why not?
4. Seek a delayed compliance timeline as Dr. Thomas Ward, an infectious disease specialist at OHSU, has recommended the City pursue. Again, the decision on a delayed compliance time frame is not up to the EPA, it is up to the State of Oregon.
Mr. Shaff speciously asserts that Portland must have a legal or technical basis for requesting a delay for reservoir replacement. Says who? Where is that written? He refers to Congress' original direction to the EPA in authorizing promulgation of this rule, but that has nothing to do with implementation of the rule, especially when authority for that implementation has been turned over to the State of Oregon. The Water Bureau is counting on ratepayers and the City Council to take their word for it. Don't.
Portland can seek a delay for any reason. The worst that would happen is the state refuses. We will never know unless we ask. The City Council must request a delay so as to pursue other options (listed above) and prevent a half-billion dollar waste of money at a time when Portland residents and businesses are struggling.
Kent Craford
Portland Water Users Coalition

This document is a steaming pile of dung, composed of lies, misdirection and blatant cronyism, whose only goal is to provide a financial pipeline to those entities who will profit from the implementation of these "rules' rules whose existence is the result of these same entities participating in it's crafting.

Mr. Leonard, your job and the Council's is to protect the population from excessive burdens such as this. A Billion dollars in costs and interest for a non-existent problem? A billion dollars that doesn't even address basic maintenance? A billion dollars to significantly decrease the water quality? To introduce additional chemicals to offset the problems that covered reservoirs introduce? And increase the possibility of ionizing radiation entering our homes? A billion dollars for all that?

I watched you, Mr Leonard, on TV last Friday, while you and Mr. Fernandez were involved in an exchange over these problems. All you could say is "Not true" to Fernandez assertions on the chemical and biological complexities and you could not look him in the eye while stating your "Not True" You could not look the camera in the eye while stating "Not true", over and over. You could not look at my camera while stating "not true", even as I had my camera pointing right at your face. And I am supposed to be "comforted' by this "rebuttal"? You lie, Mr. Leonard, and are not even convincing at it.

No, Mr. Leonard, this is all about you, and Council is supporting "You", not us.

Friday's rally was in support of the science and a denial of the politics which eschews the science. To you, the water bureau and Council, science has the same values as thistles, which are to be eschewed.

Portland must eschew the politicians supporting proceeding with this egregious affront to our sensibilities and our pocketbooks. Science and common sense unite at this juncture, politics is rotting at the shrine of avarice.

Well, well, well. We must really be getting somewhere now. Instead of ignoring us, they now have to make up a bunch of weasel words- leaving out little facts such as the fact that former employees of the water bureau helped write LT2 and are now working for the firms that will get millions of dollars to implement it.

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."

Mahatma Gandhi

I'm so thrilled that after upteen years on the council, Randy suddenly cares about my pocket book. I totally believe it.

"In the last 10 years $40 million dollars have been spent on reservoir maintenance"

The city should post online the entire accounting for this $40 million, detailing every single expenditure, with copies of every allocation.

I'll wager Lazy Leonard has never seen any of it himself.

Instead he glances over staff reports and pretends he's proving oversight.

Like the TriMet board and many other phony flaks.

If Randy Leonard punted this to the state, it would make it harder for ordinary citizens to lobby down there, where the professional lobbyists school in bigger swarms.

The professional lobbyists are likely down there already whispering in ears as fast as they can, against the interests of ordinary ratepayers.

Everyday citizens have an even harder time with the feds because our reps do not even live here any more.

They will not have to pay these bills that they can afford anyway, given that they decide how much to pay themselves.

It may take five or more years for the full story of this corruption to surface. I wonder where the key players will be living then. At least we will still have lots of video of everyday people asking for attention to mercy and real science.

Isn't this the guy who said we would all have voted for Sam no matter what, even if he had been truthful about that "relationship", involving, among other things, a city hall bathroom tryst with a 17-year-old? (ie, instead of him telling us that he was mentoring a sensitive confused teen to help prepare him for a successful life in politics?)

Isn't this the guy who said Sam's only fault was lying about the affair; the guy who conveniently avoided addressing the fact that Sam also persuaded the kid to lie about it publicly? While also conveniently ignoring the fact that Sam subsequently allowed his lawyers to protect him by implying the kid was the liar and the fraud?

I somehow have this difficulty with trusting a word out of this guy's mouth.
Score another one for public trust.

What was the final outcome of the Washington Park Hypalon Floating cover? Didn't a consortium of workers "win" it on Ebay for $18K and then have it renigged on by the City?

dhughes609, I think you mean to say "renege", not renigged.

These Reservoirs have been placed on the National Historic Register.

Mount Tabor Park Reservoirs Historic District

The reservoirs in Mount Tabor Park were nominated and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in January, 2004. Volunteers of the Friends of the Reservoirs with assistance from other members of the public, prepared the nominations not only for the three Mount Tabor Park reservoirs but also the two located in Washington Park. The names of the nominations are: Mount Tabor Park Reservoirs Historic District and the Washington Park Reservoirs Historic District. The National Register of Historic Places is administered by the National Park Service. They may be reached at: http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/index.htm

Leonard and Council care not about saving these wonderful reservoirs for future generations. What is wrong with these people? Leonard and Council have turned their backs on this community.

They have turned their backs against
any respect for the National Register of Historic Places.

They have turned their backs against the people,which is especially egregious to the children who have no say.

They have turned their backs on science.

They have turned their backs on fiduciary responsibility.

The adults of this community must demand accountability and that these reservoirs be saved.


Commissar Leonard's info letter might actually be an argument for splitting off the water and sewer bureaus into a separate government agency from the city of Portland. If the water and sewer bureau were separate, the EPA and federal government would lose ability to practically enforce it rules on Portland water and sewer operations. Think of it. Do you think the federal government would cut off water supply to a million people? Hardly. It would be reverse shell game. City of Portland would tell EPA we have no control over water and sewer in Portland... so keep giving us the federal subsidies.

Why does Randy always tend to favor high cost construction projects. Might have something to do with his political career being financed largely by union monies.

Please come testify or just show up at Portland City Hall Council Chambers for water rate hearing.
May 18 at 10:15 am
Stop this trainwreck!

15) How much is it going to cost?
The current average residential water bill is $25 per month. This cost will rise by about $21 per month (or less than a dollar a day) over the next 5 years.

does this mean.. for example July 2011 my bill is $25...then on Aug 2011 it will be $46 and then on Sep 2011 it will be $67 with every month for the next five years adding another $21? That can't be right, can it?

No Mike, I think it saying that your bill would be $25 this month, and $46 in 2016.

The PWB is being directed by engineers and engineering firms. Engineers like to tear things down and build shiny new stuff in place of oh, structures on the National Register. They do NOT like to be tasked with such mundane things as deferred maintenance on existing infrastructure.

The EPA's unfunded mandate to treat unfiltered water and cover open reservoirs was also written in part by engineers....not scientists who specialize in drinking water. So a bunch of engineers get on this study panel at the EPA and craft a rule that ensures they will be tearing infrastructure up and building "better" stuff to replace something that has been working just fine for over 100 years. And, most importantly, making billions of dollars courtesy of the ratepayers.

Despite massive amounts of testing, ordered by the EPA, the PWB cannot come up with one single oocyst of this infectious cryptosporidium from our federally protected Bull Run. But the engineers and the politicians who get money from the engineers and the bureaucrats who are neighbors with the engineers just yell louder about how they are just protecting the ratepayers from fines from the EPA for non-compliance. The ONLY truth coming from the PWB is this: there is no infectious cryptosporidium in our water system. The rest of the truth is coming from the opponents: ordinary hardworking citizens who are sick and tired of the liars and cheats on our city council and in the water bureau trying to shove an unnecessary gargantuan engineering project down our throats (via our checkbooks).

If Randy Leonard would concentrate on getting a waiver from this EPA rule instead of lying and deceiving the ratepayers with propoganda, I am absolutely certain he would be successful.

Radon Randy Leonard...the Boomer Generation's "Napleon Dynamite, He's out to prove he's got nothing to prove. Boasting of internet chats with 'babes', and training to be a cage fighter." That's our Randy.

"Engineers like to tear things down and build shiny new stuff...

horse pucky. You obviously do not know engineers or are one yourself. We would rather build without tearing down, unless a structure is documented as dangerous. Politicians like to go for the shiny new stuff, and if hired to do so, we will do it. But to lay the blame at the engineer's or the engineering profession's feet is woefully misdirected.

Leonard and Water Bureau look so bad trying to justify their wrong actions. Guess they thought they could just skate through and the citizen watchdogs would eventually slink away like dogs with tail between legs.

Well these watchdogs are more like bull dogs, fighting like bulls for their Bull Run Water!!

This is like a David and Goliath story, citizens fighting for the health of their water and pocketbooks as they do not want to drink corrupted water and pay a billion dollars for unnecessary stuff. "Goliath" here are the consultants/corporations who lobbied for this EPA Rule and the "Goliaths" are using the puppeteers like Leonard to sell us out!

Amazing, he really has no problem playing the little big man with the FBI and the JTTF.

Yet standing up to the EPA on behalf of ratepayers - WOn't happen. He stands to lose too much revenue.


Excellent read on the background/history of how this LT2 rule came about.

This laying down like a lamb for the EPA doesn't fit his personality, wonder what is really going on??

"dhughes609, I think you mean to say "renege", not renigged. "

Thanks Lawrence, As always I feel overwhelmed with Bojacks bloggers help to not destroy the English language. I was not a product of PPS. My incompetence came from Chicago suburbs. I still wonder if the rubber met the road.

Chicago suburbs, 'eh?

So am I, Cicero then Lyons, then Hillside before moving here.

It is a travisty that the citizens of Portland have such an egotistical bully serving on our council. There are avenues that should be pursued by the council. It is time for the other council members to stand up and hold Leonard accountable, as the citizens have been doing. This ground swell will continue to grow as long as our water rates continue to climb. ACCOUNTABILITY should be demanded of all the members of the city council.

Leonard and Council have turned their backs on this community.

May 18th @ 10:15 city council hearing?

As I have mentioned before, don't know how the royal five can sit on their perches up there facing us when they have turned their backs on us.

Only those who have no empathy and have no conscience could turn their backs on the community on this very basic issue, their drinking water!!!

Lawrence,Deborah is completely correct.No horse stuff there.

Ah yes, the Portland City Council, sitting above the masses on their raised platform, gazing down...
kinda like birds on a wire, balancing and pooping on everything below, before flying away to parts unknown.
Watch out!

Lawrence/Deborah, design engineers are not the problem here -- the ones who traded in their stamp for an MBA and a cut of the kickback are.

I didn't sell my PE to whore myself and my profession to get a green card or a partnership in a multinational company.

The people of not treated like citizens or customers or even clients -- we're cattle to them.

Council sitting on perches or on raised platforms purchased?

Can these people sleep well whoring on something so basic as ruining good drinking water for our children?

Old Zeb, you nailed it.

I never sold out either.

4) Why can’t we just ignore the rule?
Ignoring the rule would put Portland in violation of federal law, which would result in large fines
from the state and federal government. In that event, not only would Portland's ratepayers ultimately
be forced to comply with the rule, but they would be required to also bear the costs of expensive and
unnecessary fines. This would also potentially impact Portland's bond rating, which would raise
borrowing costs, and thus impact rates even more.


1. EPA often declines to intervene in polluted water systems


In the last five years alone, chemical factories, manufacturing plants and other workplaces have violated water pollution laws more than half a million times. The violations range from failing to report emissions to dumping toxins at concentrations regulators say might contribute to cancer, birth defects and other illnesses.
However, the vast majority of those polluters have escaped punishment. State officials have repeatedly ignored obvious illegal dumping, and the Environmental Protection Agency, which can prosecute polluters when states fail to act, has often declined to intervene.

2. EPA is reluctant to fine municipalities.


“There is significant reluctance within the E.P.A. and Justice Department to bring actions against municipalities, because there’s a view that they are often cash-strapped, and fines would ultimately be paid by local taxpayers,” said David Uhlmann, who headed the environmental crimes division at the Justice Department until 2007.

3. Hundreds of EPA Scientists report that they were politically interfered with.


Survey: Half of EPA Scientists Complain of Political Interference, Waxman to Investigate
By Paul Kiel - April 23, 2008, 12:40PM
The Union of Concerned Scientists said that more than half of the nearly 1,600 EPA staff scientists who responded online to a detailed questionnaire reported they had experienced incidents of political interference in their work....
Nearly 400 scientists said they had witnessed EPA officials misrepresenting scientific findings, 284 said they had witness the "selective or incomplete use of data to justify a specific regulatory outcome" and 224 scientists said they had been directed to "inappropriately exclude or alter technical information" in an EPA document.

We can and should ask for the Waiver from this rule that was based on politics, not science. Our testing has proven to be stellar for our water, yet EPA is pressing us, and does not intervene with polluted systems, is there something wrong with this picture? This looks more like Leonard and Shaff doing the pressing for this and not seriously asking for a Waiver exemption. Shaff and Leonard lamented at an April 2009 meeting that they just have to have to do this or they might go to jail!! People didn't believe it then and they still don't!!

Leonard...in jail? that would be an improvement!

Randy is about Randy and only about Randy.

He has decided, so it is written, so it is done.

And, I grew up in the NW suburbs of Chicago myself (Schaumburg), and I'd hold my education up to anything I've seen here in some cases. Not all, some

Don't know if you know the history here of the 100 year old treasure that has worked so well and provided us with good drinking water, our Bull Run Water System including the Reservoirs. It is natural, gravity fed, and very sustainable, perfect for these times, low operating costs, not an expensive corporate designed water system.
It is a model that geniuses designed, truly a gift given to our people and we cannot allow 5 people in Council to take it away from us. Leonard grew up here and should know the value of this.

Message to Leonard:

[let the record show it's spelled 'travesty']

I'm not sure what is the right thing to do concerning water. The bureaucracy (personnel) of water is excessively heels-dug-in and hide-bound. Maybe those persons' entrenched power wins out over (science) truth and justice; however, at least one 'right thing to do' is work up a plan in cooperation. Not competition; ('us' with durable City jobs competing against 'them' know-nothing residents and ratepayers who litigate any discomfort or inconvenience as if it was malevolence directed specifically at 'them' personally).

Maybe all the dangers of liability, (which breeds 'rules' which leads to 'enforcement' which causes 'waivers' and 'exceptions' paper-chases -- informing no one, deciding nothing, and profiting only lawyers and Court-iers), could be precluded by a public-posted sign that says, "Drink Portland water at your own risk; if you ail or die you have no recourse and hereby this Public Notice you are warned."

I think it is a good and healthy thing to meet challenges to one's immune system, such as a little bit o' contamination in the water supply. You gotta eat a peck of dirt before you die ... natural eugenics weeds out the weak links.

So I like the 'romance' of clear mountain water in pristine and uncovered Bull Run reservoir. Sixty years ago I ostentatiously drank from any and every surface water I encountered, in streams or lakes of the Cascades, especially if there were fish in the water. Including drinking Willamette and Columbia River waters. These days, not so much. I would reform the EPA but I would reform industrial-toxicity business and commerce first. I blame business dirtiness for poisoning the waters and lands and air, and I fault EPA for inaction not prosecuting poisoners.

Circumstances change. It appears that the 'new normal' is atmospheric radioactive fallout from now on. Maybe fewer people would die young(er) if the reservoirs were covered.

Many (governmental) 'plans' are predicated on population growth projections across the next 20, 40, or 75 years. In my estimation, 20 years from now Portland's population is going to be half of what it is today, (NOT more). I foresee [*] a 'moderate' die off -- not as extreme as the 'extinction' others expect is forthcoming, (disease, starvation, massacres and manufactured mayhem by power-crazed office holders such as Bush/Cheney and that fascist ilk ... 'hey, hey, Obama, how many torture murders in your Gitmo today, besides Manning'), but I foresee more population decline than the pollyanna Future Planners are betting Muni.Bonds against, for Epic Default.

[ * note: at link is discussion of informed rational management actions necessary to stablize and sustain global human population and well-being, otherwise catastrophic devastation awaits. Skipping the link, and so being uninformed, fails the 'necessary' and brings on the 'otherwise'. Probably most people skip the link.]

Radioactive fallout coming. Fewer Water Bureau customers. And, did I mention?, disconnect and detachment (euphemisms for 'secession') from the Federal Force as USA dissolves into regional sovereign self-governments somewhat as USSR did (notice: without bloodshed, without 'war', no bullets no bombs, just everyone stay where you are and get to work making your new Country in your area).

In view of such changes (harsh environment, shrinking population, locality dominion) coming to fulfillment soon, (20 years), currently in process and visible to measure, it seems reasonable to just leave the drinking water infrastructure as is, for now, and collect another few (up to 5) years of trend data. Except maintain the pipes and replace broken parts as needed. Tell the feds to eff off ... along with the ubersafety immortal-life engineers they rode in on.
And I'm not sure what is the right thing to do concerning the City water supply.

A particular sentence in The Web of Debt, by Ellen Hodgson Brown, [2007], caught my eye as the perfect description of Portland's water concern, in this excerpt of the book:

The American Tapeworm model is to simply finance the federal deficit through warfare, currency exports, Treasury and federal credit borrowing and cutbacks in domestic "discretionary" spending .... This will then place local municipalities and local leadership in a highly vulnerable position - one that will allow them to be persuaded with bogus but high-minded sounding arguments to further cut resources. Then, to "preserve bond ratings and the rights of creditors," our leaders can he persuaded to sell our water, natural resources and infrastructure assets at significant discounts of their true value to global investors .... This will be described as a plan to "save America" by recapitalizing it on a sound financial footing. In fact, this process will simply shift more capital continuously from America ....
The book reviews the process through which the Fed.Reserve was instituted, and describes the process of actions we need to dismember the Fed.Reserve and establish local currencies (money). Local currencies are founded on the local natural resource(s), including labor.

Indeed, the wealth of a City is its citizens, and
in Portland's case, the currency of that wealth is water.

... and federal politicos covet control of Portland's wealth.

I will pay whatever it costs to secure clean drinking water for the generations to come. (After all, it is second only to air to support life.) However, we have clean drinking water NOW. No need to pay more. My bigger concern is the future threat to this all-important commons. More and more municipalities are selling their assets (sometimes bridges but usually water and/or sewer systems) to private companies in order to balance the municipal budget. Mayor Adams told me that that would never happen. Or, as he put it: "over our collective dead bodies." It doesn't matter what they say now. As debt mounts up, Food & Water Watch has documented a growing number of privatized systems in the U.S. ...almost always bringing higher rates and poorer customer service. (See: Trends in Water Privatization
The Post-Recession Economy and the Fight for Public Water in the United States
Spending $500 million for unneeded infrastructure change adds to the debt burden of Portland. There are many private, multinational companies who are salivating over Bull Run, one of the crown jewels of U.S. water service.

Information contained in the PWB Q and A as well as Shaff’s misleading Oregonian Op-Ed is DISPUTED by PWB documents obtained via Public Records request,disputed by EPA documents, disputed by NYC'S and Portland water bond info, disputed by facts from Rochester other sources.

There is NO RESERVOIR “TREAT OR COVER “DEADLINE in the EPA LT2 “public health” regulation. The excessively costly fast-track burial schedule was of the PWB choosing. The rule requires that a negotiated schedule be submitted by April 2009, but sets no deadlines for "treating or covering". The PWB defied City Council ordinance 179979, the Reservoir Panel ordinance which called for good public process before any action. The PWB abhors good public process.

It is wholly disingenuous of the Water Bureau to in any way suggest that they have been fighting to preserve the open reservoirs. It was the PWB who hired a consultant engineer with a clear conflict of interest to assist in negotiating the EPA LT2 “public health” regulation. And since 2007 all Bureau resources have been dedicated toward burying reservoirs, NONE toward supporting community will- all to the benefit of engineers (who saw salary-level increases during the recession) and to their cozy consultants.

Note these facts:
· Rochester changed their open reservoirs compliance plan in 2010 after community opposition; they creatively came up with a $25 million ($9 million for UV installation) plan to retain their 1800 vintage open reservoirs set in parks. Their open reservoir storage volume is LARGER THAN PORTLAND’S.
· There has never been an independent analysis of "treatment at the outlet" costs. MWH who supplied costs to the 2004 reservoir panel had a clear conflict of interest; they were defending their $6 million Tabor burial design contract and had been on continuously retainer since 1995.
· The 2004 Reservoir Panel didn’t support treatment at the outlet because there was/is no water quality problem requiring “treatment” either at the outlet or by covering.
· NYC’S bond doc. confirms NYC has secured a reservoir deferral til 2028 and NYC seeking further extension til 2034. PWB files and the O’s Scott Learn document that NYC is contemplating seeking the available Safe Drinking Water Act “treatment technique” reservoir variance. EPA cannot overrule the SDWA.

The PWB is again raising both the base charge and the water rate. Check your bill it is higher than the WB says. This year the rate increase of 13.9% is for "deferred rate increases"- spending beyond their means in '07,08'09, cozy consultant spending, and other build projects.

MAY 18, 2011 10;15

Municipal debt watcher,

Municipalities selling assets to balance the municipal budget?
PWB is in debt now.
$500 Million project to deliver the crown jewel?

Good comments, Floy.

Two questions:

1)Is the NYC delay based on the open ended timeline as expressed above? If so, then it's a no brainer to do the same, and any resistance by Portland City Council is rather transparent in it's true intent...soak the water patrons (a fire hose with money coming out pointed at the consultants and such comes to mind!).

2)If there is no need, as determined by the Reservoir Panel, then I assume your investigation into UV treatment is simply to underscore that position, ie it's also too expensive, can degrade the water and therefore also unnecessary.

If you are supporting UV at any point in the delivery system, I ask, what is there for you to support UV treatment? It still costs money, it's no different then Ben Cannon saying he is saving us the cost of the treatment plant but we still have to pay for the reservoirs. You save the reservoirs, we still pay for unnecessary treatment. And the water quality still goes down.

15) How much is it going to cost?
The current average residential water bill is $25 per month. This cost will rise by about $21 per month (or less than a dollar a day) over the next 5 years.

If they're telling you it's going to go up by $21/month - you can count on $30 - $35 month more.

The Bull Run watershed isn't covered...

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