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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

About that "public input"...

Here's a typical, and sad, phenomenon. The Portland Business Journal, in covering today's city hearing on the proposed immigration jail in Portland's SoWhat District, recounted one witness' testimony as follows:

Pat Prendergast, a prominent developer and South Waterfront resident, said the GBD-designed building will be a "handsome" addition to the neighborhood.

What they don't mention is that Prendergast has been identified as a paid consultant to the developer on the project. He isn't exactly speaking as a typical neighbor, as he's making money off the deal.

Sending in shills to muddy the voice of the real neighbors is classic corporate-government mindscrew. It's a universal practice, it appears. Over in Japan, one of the knuckleheads running nuclear reactors pulled the same stunt recently:

'"It is really outrageous behavior," Edano said at a news conference. He called on Kyushu Electric Power Co. to work harder at restoring public trust in its operations of nuclear facilities.

The remarks were made a day after Kyushu Electric admitted that one of its executives sent e-mails in late last month to other employees and the operator's subsidiaries, requesting them to post comments supportive of the resumption of the reactors on the website of a local television program.

The nukes are notorious for this sort of stuff. We remember 25 years ago, when the feds would come to town with their latest snake oil pitch about nuclear waste dumping at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Portlanders would sign up to speak their two minutes' peace, and then have to wait an hour while Hanford employees and their cousins from Tri-Cities would clutter up the record talking about how wonderful nuclear garbage was.

All of these public involvement shows are a bit of a joke, but the least the media could do is call the shills out for what they are.

Comments (19)

Jack we're seeing the same down here on the south coast as the Commissioners shill for golf course developers. http://bit.ly/oGl4xB

We can kid all we want about this week, but it's been a little unsettling too, so I was glad to read this post. In fact, I'd like to send this next song out to Jack. It's a little number by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers:

Well I won't back down
No I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down
No I'll stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin me down
gonna stand my ground
... and I won't back down

(I won't back down...)
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
(and I won't back down...)
hey I will stand my ground
and I won't back down

Sending in shills to muddy the voice of the real neighbors is classic corporate-government mindscrew.

And as Walter stated they are seeing the same down on the south coast.....

I think we have had enough of this game. Things are too serious for the continuation of essentially leaving the citizens out of the equation other than to just sit there waiting for their "2 minute" comment period. No real dialogue allowed, no significant question and answer period allowed, no putting all out on the table honestly about what is going on here. After all who is paying for this?

Wonder how the shills feel doing this to people? Is the justification "if I don't do it somebody else will" or more like "I'm in the game, I get the perks, and too bad for the rest of you?"

Clackamas County has been having work sessions on how to hand over $25 million to TriMet for MLR. No pulbic input is allowed.
But TriMet GM Neil McFarlane was invited and contributed what amounted to a pep rally for Light Rail and county staff added more.
The entire process allows no opposing information or refuting challenges.
Those have been audio recorded.

Today there is a work session on Urban Renewal that will not be recorded. No public input will be allowed while "staff" provides their version of everything.
Staff who's jobs are dependent upon perpetuating these development schemes.

The majority of commissioners eagerly allow and embellish any supportive claims
in pursuit of their objective.

Their effort is to conspire a way to get around an imminent public vote on County use of Urban Renewal and cut a check to TriMet for $25 million.

Against the clear overwhelming opposition to Milwaukie Light Rail and any county schemes to fund it.

The 63%-37% defeat of their last scheme to use a vehicle registration fee to hand over another $22 million has not deterred the conniving commissioners.

A citizen wull be recording today's session.

The local media seems to like a good dog and pony show. It gives them something to publish without working too hard.

Much like when the Portland bike community flooded the Clackamas County Board with email comments endorsing new fees for the Sellwood Bridge project.

They were not the real voice of Clackamas county residents. Rather, they were prompted for their input by those in favor of the fees, to give a false appearance of having a cross section of both support and opposition. The public vote that followed proved there was never real support for the fees.

A good ol' boy trick for sure, that has worked well for years. Maybe some folks are getting wiser, but the result could be to force many more issues into an expensive balloting process. A time consuming high price to pay just to keep things honest.

I know the objective is different, but aren't these the same tactics that Jim Crow laws once used?

This is all SO sad. The fix is already in on most everything and the tax paying public is just not part of any process at all anymore. If you protest you are vilified or worse.

Gibby, I don't see the balloting process as a "high price" when compared to what our pols and special interests have been dumping on those who really pay the costly bills. Yes, it is time comsuming. But we need to have some of these voting reality checks. For example, having almost two decades passing without a vote on any mass transit project is ridicoulus.

Prendergast was one of those who testified a few times back in the late 1990's, early 2000 advocating for SoWhat. Again, he had direct financial benefits. As always, the concerns of many average citizens who testified were brushed over by Council, limited to the strict 3 minutes, no followup questions. But when those like Pat testified, testimony usually extended beyond 3 minutes with followup Council questions and followup. Many times Council members would even have planning staff comment on the "Pat" kind of testimony to elaborate the pure joy of their comments-a dialogue. But for others it was, "Thank you and now shut up".


Portland Native,
This is sad but the real sadness is that politicians are selling large chunks of America for money upfront - often just to plug one year holes in these doomed budgets after shaky ideas like South Waterfront or the Mystery Train really unravel. Oh, and one of the firms that has graciously waltzed in to help them do it is Goldman Sachs, the same firm formerly under our Timbers co-owner that helped create the financial crisis to begin with.
How's this for a bumper sticker idea? "America: A Distressed Asset."

But, but, but....

The public is so well informed these days- you know with all the test scores trending up.

In fact with the high math scores, most folks can see the benefit of a "handsome addition"


Great comment. Please keep us posted.

With a complicit lapdog media, locally and nationally, the takeover is complete and there are now two classes in America.

The government who votes themselves everyone else's earnings, and the earners.

And they will be shocked when they find there is nothing left to vote themselves, and a destitute kingdom is not one they wish to rule over any longer.

Absolutely Bill!


Clackamas Board of County Commissioners were suprised with a dozen or so citizens in the "citizens communication" segment of this morining's board meeting.

They were all demanding a public vote on the Clackamas county share of Milwaukie Light Rail project and the funding for it.

Commissioner Savas then made a motion to both on the ballot and the other 4 commissioners refused to second it, stammering out excuses about needing more information and discussions.

Damon again claimed she was too short on the job.

The 4, Bernard, Lehan, Lininger and Damon looked pretty bad.

The video should be up on the county web site soon.

Isn't it always more time needed when the citizens close in on them?
More meetings, more time, more information, more discussions, more this and that, more citizen involvement, more committees yada yada yada.
Better yet, come up with more pressing problems to keep those citizens more busy and more distracted.
Enough already.

The caption of a cartoon in the July 4th New Yorker:

"We want to include you in this decision without letting you affect it."

The caption of a cartoon in the July 4th New Yorker:

"We want to include you in this decision without letting you affect it."

Posted by Gardiner Menefree | July 7, 2011 6:25 PM


"What they don't mention is that Prendergast has been identified as a paid consultant to the developer on the project. He isn't exactly speaking as a typical neighbor, as he's making money off the deal."

Name sounded familiar. Checked my Eric Sten contributor list and found Pendergast (listed as real estate developer) gave Sten $500 in 1996 and $950 in 2002. The kind of contributor (Fat Cat) that Sten's gushing progressive followers never mentioned.

Bob T

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