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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 18, 2011 3:47 PM. The previous post in this blog was Remember the Bill of Rights?. The next post in this blog is Not to be outdone. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

To all the bummed-out Portland public school parents

O.k., so it looks like the school tax construction bond measure went down in flames, despite the gajillion dollars and countless volunteer hours that were spent pushing it. You brought your kids onto our front porches and had them ring our doorbells, even. But it was too much money to ask the public for, and at a bad time, and it appears to have failed.

The condition of the schools really is a disgrace. The facilities are getting more rundown by the year, and they need work. So what's to be done?

Here is what we suggest: Open your eyes and see that there already are tens of millions of tax dollars sloshing around Portland for all sorts of public make-work projects. We're about to build a billion-dollar mystery train to Milwaukie and a wildly extravagant streetcar to Lake Oswego, all with tax dollars. The funds come from every level of government -- federal, state, and local. The local dough usually comes through "urban renewal," which robs from schools and public safety to promote condominium projects.

If you really want to fix the schools, tell your elected representatives that you want the money that's being earmarked for trains and streetcars spent on schools instead. Call Earl Blumenauer, Mr. Bike and Rail, and tell him that you want federal stimulus money spent on school upgrades, not real estate scams. Call your Jefferson Smith or Jackie Dingfelder-type rep in Salem and tell them you don't want to spend a quarter-billion of lottery money on Milwaukie MAX when your local school is crumbling. (Call the governor, too, although getting his attention may be difficult.) Call your Portland city commissioner and tell them that their priorities are all wrong -- that they need to stop with the "urban renewal" which is diverting revenue from the schools. Call county chair Jeff Cogen and tell him and his colleagues you don't want a Convention Center hotel, you want basic repairs in your schools.

They'll tell you it's impossible, that there are different colors of money, that light rail money can't be spent on schools, yada yada. Hey -- it's all taxes. The colors of money game was invented by the politicians, and it can be undone by the politicians. And if they don't want to do it, then you need to pay attention come the next election and vote them out of office.

If you're unwilling to do that, then all the work you put in over the last few weeks really was a waste of time. It's up to you to decide what becomes of it.

Comments (35)

Amen brother. Amen.

Hear hear. Out here, the Texas Legislature decided that it's high time to finance Formula One racing at a time when the schools are in worse shape than ever. The response so far has been swift and terrible, and it's a discussion that's joined left and right against the bums. I don't know what's going to happen, but it's going to be FUN.

Jack, that is a very good piece. You need to write an op/ed and publish it in the Oregonian so the audience that needs to hear this can; you're mostly preaching to the choir here.

Another Amen!
I am doubtful the O would publish Jack Bog. He tells the truth and with eloquence, something the O has never done in my lifetime.

"The local dough usually comes through "urban renewal," which robs from schools and public safety to promote condominium projects."

I'd love to see one of the local papers see how much CoP skims off property taxes in URDs that should be going to Mult County/Schools. Also, how much extra they generate beyond debt service for the city.

I'd also love to see how many (my guess = 0) of these URDs ever die.

Between water, fees and URDs CoP is robbing us blind.

An excellent encapsulation of the issue at hand. As an aside, it is important to know that one year from today we will have the opportunity to vote against one of the primary thieves of school funding on the local level, Mr. Sam "Mayor Creepy"/"Mayor IOU" Adams. If any of his future opponents are willing to come out against the robbery that is urban renewal, vote for that person.

Jack still under the misguided idea that tax revenue should actually go to help the citizens that paid those taxes!
That concept has long been sent packing, now only special interests possess the right to pocket our tax dollars and the citizens are left fending for themselves, and that includes the kids in schools.
Just make sure you don't photograph the police as they haul you away for protesting against the hijacking of our government!

Pickey, Pickey, Pickey

They ONLY diverted $96 MILLION to urban renewal last year (2010-11). That money would have gone to schools (pps $6.6 million; pcc $1.9 million; Parkrose $½ million; David Douglas $1.9 million), county services ($20.5 million), fire & police, but, of course, the condo construction cartel gives more in campaign contributions and therefore is more deserving of the money than the schools. We have the finest government that money can buy!

See pdf page 56-75 of this:
http://www.co.multnomah.or.us/orgs/tscc/graphics/10-11annualreport.pdf

(quoted numbers are from pdf page 64)

Thanks
JK

Calling elected officials is not going to do parents any good their ears are shut. If we can't even get paved roads in Portland why do people presume modern and safe schools is a reality.

Mayor Sam Adams and the Commissioners all have pretty much promised road improvements but instead we get musical bridges and special bike lanes.

Thank you, sir, well said.

"They'll tell you it's impossible, that there are different colors of money"

Sorry, Vera started that fiction and Earl has picked on the earmarks of money for streetcars - Like he gives rats a$$ about schools here. And you know Wyden doesn't have clue one about schools in OR.

I read the report from Mr Karlock:

"over $22b has been returned to taxing districts"

Did this guy just let that BS fly? AFAIK, unless that URD is cancelled that money goes right back to CoP in perpetuity.

So none of that goes to Mult COunty or schools.

HI Steve,
Could you clarify what you are saying and provide a citation?

It appears that you are confusing value with the tax.

If you look at pdf pg 74, you'll see "Excess value used" and "Excess value Not Used" The used value is about double the NOT used. And that is property value, not the tax on said property.

You will also see that over the years all PDC UR areas took $1.1 BILLION out of vital services. (Actual Taxes Imposed column)

BTW, do you happen to work for a government agency or some entity involved in urban renewal? (I don't!)

Thanks
JK

I'm sorry but there is a future 20-year-old hipster named Jed being born today. And he is going to move here in 2031.

It is most important that we current residents sacrifice our own needs and pay dearly so that the urban planning vision will be in place before Jed arrives. For reasons I can't quite understand, just one Jed is worth 1000 current Portladn residents.

"The Million are coming! We can't disappoint The Million!"

Well stated, Jack. One point that you missed, but I'm sure you know, is that PPS should immediately budget 12% minimum for property maintenance/upkeep and building systems replacement. That is the norm in property management. That should be a top priority. I will still be voting "No" if that is not done, when expectantly PPS comes back at us with another Bond.

The property maintenance budget has been absurdly reduced by this and prior Superintendents and Boards to reallocate those dollars to administrators, teachers and other school personnel pay increases, PERS, and other benefits. They created the so-called property deterioration (suspect) and not the taxpayers. Many of us live in homes that are 30, 60, 100 years old, and we don't purposely let them deteriorate to have our neighbors pay for rebuilding or major remodeling.

Like you wrote, we shouldn't be played with the "color of money" arguments. That is what this bond issue is all about. It's a means of keeping the status quo of the other side of the coin-the increasing personnel benefits with a 50% graduation rate.

Cogen and Adams were the masters behind the Superintendent and school board I believe. Both are political opportunists, looking to spend big pots of public monies and get construction industry campaign dollars in return. This isn't going to change soon what with School Board incumbents getting re-elected last night. No the real path to better economy in and quality of education k-12 is School Choice. We can't afford to continue on supporting the current public school monopoly. As long as this is the structure, it would be throwing more money after bad money.

"It appears that you are confusing value with the tax."

What I am saying is that excess value is a measure of how much schools don't get. Taxes are based on value and for them to trot out this canard as justification for some slight-of-hand financing scheme is pathetic.

Snards:It is most important that we current residents sacrifice our own needs and pay dearly so that the urban planning vision will be in place before Jed arrives. For reasons I can't quite understand, just one Jed is worth 1000 current Portladn residents.

"The Million are coming! We can't disappoint The Million!"

Irony - the rate they are going with projects and debt around here, throwing money around like no tomorrow, the scene will more likely become "the million are leaving" and now any new ones have decided not to even come after the "smart ones" have wrecked our city.

You put the picture well, yes we residents are supposed to sacrifice our city, money and quality of life for whom?
Don't think it ever really was for the millions coming.

Jack,
You have said it so well that I add nothing more. My hope now is that PPS hears this message loud and clear. It is all the same color of money and it's only coming out of the pockets of the taxpayers.

I just think their priorities were whacked. The largest chunks of the money were to raze/rebuild Jefferson and do a massive workover of Roosevelt. Those schools need help, for sure, but the problem is much deeper than the buildings there. Do they really think kids don't go to Jeff because of the building?

If PPS were responsible and ethical about this, they would start by making all of the schools safe, period. Adding the rest of the garbage was a poison pill for what they really need to do--and they should be ashamed about mixing the needs with their screwy wants.

Finally, saying they were going to "study" moving Lincoln just about made me want to vomit. Are they serious? Even saying they're studying it means that Lincoln's #1 on their planned follow-up measure. Talk a walk through Lincoln, then go to Grant or Cleveland, if you haven't lately. This idea is an insult to students, parents, and taxpayers of Portland.

Don't worry, PPS says they will tweak the bond levy and have it back on the ballot by November.

They must only listen to people who agree with them.

I just think their priorities were whacked.

Don't forget the $6.4 million they wanted for freakin' Astroturf.

Steve:Sorry, Vera started that fiction...

Unfortunately, she started a lot around here and an agenda that hasn't been good for our city.

Lee:...when expectantly PPS comes back at us with another Bond...

If the nail actually does get put in this coffin, yes they will try to pry to open and inject new life with another bond. Meetings may begin next week planning for it. Meanwhile, I hope the parents will begin asking the hard questions as to why the children's needs amongst the leaders in our community were put so low on the totem pole.

Bob Clark:Cogen and Adams were the masters behind the Superintendent and school board I believe. Both are political opportunists, looking to spend big pots of public monies and get construction industry campaign dollars in return.

Now what?
What strategy will they come up with now to secure their political career?

Do tacky to resort to Facebook lingo, but "like".

Vera didn't start anything -- she was just the Vera-cle for the Goldschmidters fleecing operations: The Rape of Portlandia.

"They must only listen to people who agree with them."

Welcome to Portland.

Jack,

Jack,

Jack.

Run for mayor - it's your public duty.

No, really - it could happen!

What PPS heard was they were 5% high in dollars requested which they will have corrected by next Fall when the measure passes on the second try.

Only in government does the desire for gain out motivate the fear of loss as they can't lose.

Amazing how one's unhinged fingers can channel one's inner whatever's.

I proudly stand by my Long Hammer induced double post.

Amen.

cc.
It would really unhinge the local power brokers. If it came to pass (no pun intended), I'd help man the phones.

If you're unwilling to do that, then all the work you put in over the last few weeks really was a waste of time. It's up to you to decide what becomes of it.

Good stuff!!


Jack, RUN, do it for your own children. What an epitaph it would be: "For My Own Children".

If/when PPS sends us another Bond to consider there are several issues that will be discussed, no matter what size it is, and they are centered around the lies they have told us.

1) Magellan, the outfit that "analyzed" the conditions of schools over 1 year ago and formed the basis for the Bond requests, isn't even qualified to do so. They aren't properly registered with architects and engineers to perform the work in regards to our Oregon Board of Architect Examiners and Oregon Board of Engineering Examiners. They don't even have principals and staff that are architects and engineers. They also aren't properly licensed with the Oregon Secretary of State Corporation Division. The basis for the Bond request is very suspect when the Report is suspect.

2. The PPS media blitz of describing "problems" at schools has been found to be bogus. For example, having asbestos in a building is not an infraction if properly covered and identified as the video demonstrates. Many buildings have asbestos including many CoP buildings, our homes, and it's legal.

3. If there are building code violations why haven't Leonard's Gang of Enforcers not inspected and enforced maintenance by PPS's Maintenance department. Or why hasn't the PPS Architectural/Engineering Department reviewed their schools and specified and enforced code compliance?

4. Since we passed a major Bond in the 90's to do seismic upgrades, then why are we being asked again to do it?

5. If there are building, hazardous, handicap, etc. violations then why hasn't OSHA, federal, state, county, CoP jurisdictions not enforced compliance? There are many potential lawsuits if there are violations.

These are just a few of the issues that need to be raised for the next con job.

Well said, Jack.

I personally think that the bond was put on the ballot to distract the voters, to make it seem like it was OK to pass the levy that was only for $0.25 more. I suspect most people didn't notice that it extended the levy another 5 years because they were too worried about how they would afford the bond if it passed. Now that they have 5 more years of the levy, they will come back with a more reasonable bond and get the sheeple to pass it.

Proposed Bumper Sticker:

"Wouldn't it be great if schools had all the money they needed, and TriMet had to hold a bake sale to build a light rail line?"

(You can also replace "TriMet" with "Metro" or "the City of Portland", and replace "light rail" with "Streetcar", "Tram", "Soccer Stadium", "Bike Lane", "Bike Path", "Green Street", "Loo", "Sustainability Center"...)


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