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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Homer Williams scam script played to perfection

The absolutely insane proposal to run a streetcar from Portland to Lake Oswego got the green light from the Lake O. City Council last night. There was a list of conditions attached, but that's the same ploy that developers Homer Williams and Dike Dame used to get the aerial tram [rim shot] built to their utterly failed SoWhat development about a decade ago in Portland. They'll find some way to make it look as though the conditions have been satisfied, and if they don't, the conditions will be changed or waived.

The same machinations, or something similar, will get the dopey transit toy approved by the Portland City Council today, or sometime soon. The developers' puppets on the Portland council will give it a go. They always do.

It's classic Williams-Dame. You get your call girl politicians to keep voting yes, all the while saying "It's just for further analysis -- we can always say no later." One morning the song is suddenly switched to "It's too late to turn back now." That's what Tri-Met has done with the mystery train to Milwaukie, and that's what a slim majority of city council members are doing in Lake Oswego. Whether they realize it or not.

That Williams and Dame are still operating, indeed expanding their empire, is testament to how far Portland has fallen. It's wrecked, people. If your kids show promise, take them to other parts of the country, because there's a good chance they're not going to want, or be able, to live here.

Comments (30)

Well, now we know where to focus energy on defeating these streetcar crazies. From the hugely-conflicted mayor, to the elite spenders, Jordan, Tierney, and Moncrief. All of them should be recalled.

It would be great if somebody like Nigel Jayquiss could dig up some the dirt around these creeps. It drips off them in their smarmy ways. I'm sure there is smoldering corruption.

Welcome to Portland, friend.

You get your call girl politicians to keep voting yes, all the while saying "It's just for further analysis -- we can always say no later." One morning the song is suddenly switched to "It's too late to turn back now."

Eureka! You have broken the code!

I can't wait for the referral campaign. When the Lake Oswego voters get to vote on this, it won't even be close.

I was wandering in downtown Portland the other day, a place I try to avoid, and I was watching all these lumbering behemoth's lumbering by, going this way and that way.

It has this truly bizarre look to it, completely out of place these behemoths, and so many of them, going up and down, right and left, truly strange.

It's like some kid went wild and built a toy train track and stocked it with as many trains as he could pack in there!

Feels like a Fellini movie.

On a somewhat-related note, up in Seattle they are proposing to brainwash kids in their classrooms about transit:

"Sound Transit hopes to fill its buses and trains by heading into the classroom. The agency is exploring how to potentially supply curriculum and materials for teachers to use as part of a plan to 'demystify transit' and turn children into transit users."

Anybody else find this REALLY creepy? Read it here:


Interestingly, despite overwhelming public opposition, the city council members in favor never publicly addressed the concerns of those opposed. Not "mentioned"--*addressed*.

I wonder why that is? It's well-documented how well-connected the Mayor of Lake Oswego and others involved are with developers and Tri-Met contractors. It's also well documented how disingenuine Ellie McPeak has been in her public efforts to portray herself as (until recently) "on the fence" about the streetcar.

When faced with unassailable, hard evidence that the claimed streetcar benefits are false, that cheaper alternatives accomplish the same goals, and that developers have close ties to City Council in both cities, proponents awkwardly shrug it off.

It must be nice to get to play with other people's money.

Why isn't there a Constitutional Amendment to the State Constitution that requires voter approval for these kinds of projects - and in some cases, there should be multiple votes?

If an infrastructure project costs more than $15 million there ought to be a vote.

If it costs more than $100 million, there ought to be at least two votes (one to plan it and one to build it)

If there are options available (i.e. in this case there is bus), then voters should have a vote to choose which is the preferred option.

Of course, the "Democratic" party that likes to complain that big corporate money is the problem...would rather that us little people shut up, stay out of politics, and let the corporate folks like Williams-Dame, Gerding-Edlin, Portland Streetcar Inc., United Streetcar, and all the other big businesses spend freely to wine and dine our "elected" officials behind closed doors.

The only difference between Republicans and Democrats is which special interests and which "big business" they support. Other than that - the ordinary citizen gets screwed in the rear every single time.

This project is supremely illustrative of the mindset that is swirling our entire country down the fiscal toilet.

The main attraction of the project to the Portland and LO councils? We get something that someone else (largely) pays for, in this case the federal government. If Portland and LO had to pay the entire cost of the project out of their own budget, there is no way this would ever happen. Multiply the LO tram and Milwaukie light rail by hundreds (for all the cities playing this game) and you see one reason the federal budget is out of control.

Want another example? Measure 66. The proponents' argument was basically that the state can keep getting services and "the rich" will pay for it. "Hey, I'm not rich and we need the services, so of course I'll vote yes."

Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya (and all the other "little wars" that will come up over the next few years) feature the same mindset. We won't make any budgetary sacrifices on other matters; we'll just do these things on top of everything else we're doing (not to mention that most of us aren't in harm's way anyway).

It also goes to the personal: I want that house and some idiot will lend me the money even though there is little reason to believe my income and wealth will support repayment. I get the house and I believe that someone else is paying for it. If I can't pay my monthly mortgage payment, I walk away from the house, or complain that it isn't fair to displace me from "my" house.

Kudos to Kehoe, Gudman and Olson on the LO council. They looked at the project as if they were spending their own money, and concluded it made no sense. And they were right.

Look at the ties between L.O. & Portland.

Brant Williams, Economic & Capital Development Director
Director of Transportation
City of Portland

Oh NO!!!!!

Right down the line, Congress and local elected officials too!! Not on the citizen's side or interests.

This is so pervasive, we are being debt swamped from one end of this country to another. Livability going down.

I lament the change of the lovely character of Lake Oswego, even though I don't live there.

Don't let them wreck your area too!

Is there going to be a vote?

"The same machinations, or something similar, will get the dopey transit toy approved by the Portland City Council today"

At this point, I really don't think it takes machinations to get the Portland City Council to vote for choo choo projects. You're almost giving them too much credit.

I was there last week and last night.

The Lake Oswego Mayor Jack Hoffman's law firm represents Gerding-Edlen, Dike Dames and the Streetcar manufacturing company, among other benefactors and beneficiaries of this racket.
He declared the "potential" conflict of interest last week and it was raised again by Councilor Kehoe last night just prior to Mayor Hoffman making the deciding vote.

Councilor Bill Tierney works for PGE who's biggest clients may be the streetcar and light rail operators.

It was a heated at times adversarial debate prior to the vote.

The 3 councilors who are opposed had done much due diligence and thoroughly dismantled every element of the plan.
The high cost, lack of funding, other higher priority needs and projects, the environmental aspects, the ODOT reported declining traffic and no demonstrated congestion problem to the many problems of paying for and crowding high density-8 story buildings into the Foothills was made crystal clear.

The proponents avoided such study and instead parroted the usual mantras heard during every prior rail transit/development scheme while also insulting the public at large who are opposed to the entire plan.

Repeatedly the proponents lectured that the public doesn't have an adequate understanding and that we need to provide our children with livable & walkable communities.

It was exceedingly obvious that Jordon, Moncrieff, Tierney, and Hoffman had not studied the issues, had done no homework and were deliberately attempting to marginalize everything that exposed the empty rhetoric they were using.

Neither the Streetcar or the Foothills high density are wanted, funded or affordable. There is no future funding source for any of it including the operation of the Streetcar once it is built. Quite the contrary Gudman pointed out the city has a lengthy list of needed projects that already far exceed projected revenues. He asked the proponents "which of these projects are you intending on sacrificing for the Steeetcar and Foothills?"
Hoffman declared that was a false choice and Jordon said, "We always find a way to fund things".

Gudman pointed out that all of the other projects would be sacrificed.

The proponent councilors were dishonest and dismissive of every fatal flaw no matter how crystal clear they were demonstrated.

At one point after Gudman presented the ODOT numbers that showed traffic had declined in recent years and that congestion was not a problem in need of a streetcar remedy Donna Jordon fessed up that she "did not know if congestion was or will be a problem" but declared that "the streetcar allows them to get out in front of it".
That's the kind of substance proponents provided.

If this current step in the process proceeds the region plans on spending another $25 million on more planning with the proponents claiming it is needed to better know what is being decided. That only then will they and the public understand what is at stake. That only then will the decision be made to proceed or not.

Make no mistake about it these 4 proponents (Sam Adams all) are coolaid drinkers who have and will line up behind every single cockamamie stunt and their vote last night was to push it forward.

The conflicts of interest, dishonesty and reckless behavior have finally ignited the long needed battle.

It was very encouraging and real progress to see 3 honest and responsible councilors take off the gloves and battle them in such a public manner.

Removing the other four from office and a petition to require the Public vote they disallowed last night should be moving quickly forward.

Perhaps we can learn from these folks:


"Don't let them wreck your area too". That sentiment is why there will be LUBA appeals on several aspects if the trolley continues to go forward. Johns Landing, Macadam, all four Portland Parks along the trolley line opens the door to several legal challenges in regards to the Greenway zoning and Macadam Plan District. For LO there will be challenges for the Foothills since it is in a flood zone and Greenway zone.

Then I hope there are legal challenges to the "conflict of interest" of LO Commissioners. In Arizona there is now a legal challenge regarding "conflict of interest" where just the campaign manager of an elected official has direct financial benefit from a vote in regards to a urban renewal scenario. LO's situation is even more clear than AZ's conflict. The legal appeal is now before the US Supremes.

I'm beginning to strongly think that all the hearings, efforts are a waste of time around here. Take legal action, zoning action, and more.

Lake Oswego is being assimilated by the Portland planner borg. Resistance is futile.

The "conflict of interest" abuse has become ridiculous. Officials seem to think that all you do is admit to a "possible" conflict at the beginning of some meeting, and then you're in the clear to participate in the vote.

No, the conflict is supposed to prevent your participation. Lawsuits need to fly down there.

"Councilor Bill Tierney, who later voted for the streetcar. 'I personally want the streetcar to come to Lake Oswego but I don't know if we can afford it.'”

Shame on you, Bill Tierney! If you don't know if you can afford it, then the answer is NO! How effing difficult is that to understand?

Snards: I believe that Oregon ethics law specifically states that all you have to do is declare your conflict of interest, and then you are free to vote. I remember reading somewhere that the state legislative rules actually require legislators to vote on issues, even when there is a conflict. So they declare the conflict, then vote. I don't know if those same rules apply to local elected officials or not, but I think it explains why they do it this way.

It's an area that is overdue for reform. You should be required to abstain if you have a conflict of interest.


Resistance is futile!

Just substitute TRIMET for BORG.


Shame shame shame on Hoffman,Tierney,Jordon and Moncrieff.
What pitiful excuses will they come up with later when we are stuck with a ruined and bankrupt city? And all thanks to them.

As with the previous ones and highlighted with Milwaukie Ligbt Rail,
it's clear that neither the cost or what it ultimately accomplishes or causes doesn't matter to the 4 proponent councilors.
If this was a $900 million streetcar and LO's share was $150 million their rhetoric would be the same.

So the idea that they need more information is preposterous and a fraud.

Bill Tierney, lazy & full of unethical excuses like the others, says "I don't know if we can afford it.”

It was made abundantly clear to the nth degree last that they cannot afford it.

Councilor Gudman went through all of the city's needed and intended projects along with a complete picture of their costs, the city's debt limit and projected.

Bill Tierney and all of the others know the city is already far short of sufficiant revenue to fund their current priorities.

In what sort of twisted PGE world does PGE employee Bill Tierney reside where he can't figure out if their current and projected shortage for current projects would allow them to afford a streetcar and Foothills?

These people don't even bother making up a story to cover up their inept and unethical bahavior.

They just spew idiocy and mantras.

How is it they are not embarassed in the slightest?

I was in Lake Oswego 2 weekends ago for maybe the first time ever. It's a sleepy little town. The Lake Oswego Transit Center is a joke - just 2 or 3 bus stops in a row.

I didn't sense a pent-up need for streetcars. Who are they kidding with that? I saw lots of high-end automobiles. I doubt the well-off people driving them are going to park those to be a part of the mass transit experience.

Me? I took the bus down there and it was a nice, quick ride because we skipped so many stops. There was basically nobody waiting and nobody getting off.

I'm glad I got to see the place before they screw it up.

I predict that the Portland to Lake Oswego streetcar will be stopped in its tracks within two years by a financial crisis. The crisis will be fueled by the federal government's overspending on foolish and unneeded projects like the streetcar and by the huge cost of the Iraq/Afghan wars. The dollar will drop in value, and the US government will have no choice but to pay higher interest rates on its debt and slash its spending. The feds will cancel funding for the LO streetcar, and that will be the end of it.

How Homer Williams and G-E have this town in their thrall is breath-taking at a minimum.

What's fascinating is Homer won't do this special project in the Foothills without a streetcar. Meanwhile, Homer's contribution to the aesthetics of SoWa has been a 200-foot wall of condos hard on the river's edge.

Speaking of SoWa I am amazed at CoP (for stupidity) and Homer (for cupidity.) Homer had a SoWa lot he paid $1M for in 2007. In 2009, he sold it for $2M to a non-profit with PDC money. In addition, he gets another $700K up front and $50K/month for 20 months for being a silent "consultant".

This is what happens when village idiot son gets hold of daddy's wallet.

Is it really that simple, or do we have a case of planners dead determined to play SimCity with our communities and they've just made an arrangement with their favorite bulldozers to do the deed?

Jack, Dyke Dame...You're kidding with that name?
If not, it would be a make for a great episode for Portlandia!

Relax. The Portland approval yesterday was "cautious".

Relax. The Portland approval yesterday was "cautious".

If this city is "cautious" something must be terribly wrong - "trouble in River City?"
Too close for comfort to bankruptcy?
Too close for comfort on legal matters?

I imagine they were all in lock step with "cautious" approval.

"Cautious approval" for the trolley is like today's Portland Tribune saying "we understand the concerns about the PPS bond measures".....but "vote for them". Words that they think covers their rear-ends when things go bad.

"Oh, were so tuned to your concerns", "We're listening", "Oh, it failed?-well, we cautiously considered it and we were skeptical".

Cautious approval" for the trolley is like today's Portland Tribune saying "we understand the concerns about the PPS bond measures".....but "vote for them". Words that they think covers their rear-ends when things go bad.

Having Portland Tribune President, Steve Clark, in your back pocket helps.

This place is becoming like Chicago, but experience tells me we will end up more like Detroit. Home prices here are falling faster here than in Motor City right now.

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