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Friday, September 9, 2011

Clackamas commissioners flip public the double bird

The county commissioners down Clackamas way are terrified that their future "urban renewal" schemes -- which would turn their towns into planner theme parks like Portland -- might actually be subjected to public votes. Oh, the horror! And now they have formally gone through with their threat to put their own "urban renewal" ballot measure before the voters in November, to compete with, and confuse people about, the measure that's already been placed on the ballot by citizens' petition. (The bone of contention is who will get to vote on "urban renewal" expansion -- the whole county, as the petitioners want, or just the people who will benefit from the "urban renewal" plan.)

If both measures pass, the commissioners' version will prevail. So to win, the petitioners now have to convince voters to vote yes on one measure, and no on the other. [See update below.]

There oughta be a law against shinola like that.

And then, as if that weren't insult enough, the commissioners throw out another announcement: They're going to pay beaucoup property tax dollars to bring MAX trains from Portland to Milwaukie even if the citizens' measure passes. The way they broke this news was to pass a resolution (which is not legally binding on them) that they won't pay for MAX out of "urban renewal" funds -- MAX having been the spark that set off the current "urban renewal" furor.

But the politicians are committed to pay the county's share of the train pork (eight figures) from somewhere -- apparently, out of the general fund. By boldly declaring that the "urban renewal" votes won't matter as far as light rail is concerned, the commishes seem to be telling the many, many train-not-wanters down that way that they might as well sit out the election, because they aren't going to prevail, no matter what.

Regardless of what the voters in Clackamas County decide to do about the ballot measures in November, they need to work on finding themselves some new political leaders -- people with greater intelligence and less arrogance. The current crop down there is starting to make the Mean Girls of Multnomah County look mature and accomplished by comparison.

UPDATE, 9/10, 10:00 p.m.: As readers have pointed out in comments to this post, the final version of county commissioners' measure provides that if both measures pass, the one with the lesser number of yes votes loses. That's somewhat fairer than their original proposal, in which the commissioners' version automatically trumped the citizens' version. But they're still a bunch of connivers.

Comments (15)

Remember- anyone who wants a say in how their tax dollars are spent is automatically branded a "teabagger".

Looks like the Railiban (yeah yeah play on Taliban) have inflitrated the Clackistani commission but good.

Why is it that politics around here keep sounding more and more like some PoliSci course called "Politics in the Deep South During the 1920's"?

The commission by a 4-1 vote passed that resolution their measure on the ballot that if passed would allow only voters inside a new unincorporated area county Urban Renewal District to approve the plan. A plan that would create massive debt and adversely effect county wide services for decades.

The 4 "Sisters of Red Soils" commissioners are calling this "local control" but it is anything but that. Allowing only a district vote would disenfranchise neighbors next door or across the street if they are just outside of the UR district. No county or municipal UR plan has ever restricted voter involvement to such limited participation. Then there is the emerging plan itself that will produce very litttle NW property tax revenue. What will happen it the pilfering of the routine 3% increase that happens every year ushered along with false claims the UR makes it happen.

The other resolution that the $25 million Milwaukie Light Rail would not be funded with a new Urban Renewal plan is non binding and can be changed over and over again at the whim of commissioners.
This appears to be a ploy to take heat off their UR plans heading into the November vote on the initiative petition measure that if passed will require county wide voter approval for any county UR plan.
The other part of that resolution was a statement that the BCC would not extend or expand the Clackamas Town Center UR district due to close down in 2013. That surfaced as potential source of funding for MLR some months ago. Once closed down the county could then borrow against their general fund share of the returned increment . The problem there is it would be another broken promise of returning UR increment to basic services.
What good is returning it if you turn right around and commit it to a new debt? With the continued sour economy and fiscal crisis

Any of you who would like to provide a voter pamphlet statement by Monday at 5:00 pm can email one of the chief petitioners Democrat former Mayor of Oregon City, John Williams

You can also go here for form and instructions.

The deadline is 5:00 PM Monday, each statement costs $400.00 and they must be signed hard copies submitted.

Joint signatories make it easier and the campaign apparentlyhas some money to pay some fees for statements.

The voters of Clackamas County really do need to sit up and take action on this. As next door neighbors they've been in the perfect position to observe Portland and Multnomah County fall apart due to its residents blindly trusting their elected officials to make "arrangements in their best interest" with big corporations, while in fact enabling a swindle of historic proporations. It's like finding out your guardian has just sold you into indentured servitude.

Proof the “alternative” measure is disingenuous can be found in the timing of its presentation.

No one on the board was talking about letting affected neighbors having local control, until it was clear the commissioners would not be able to charge forward unobstructed with their idea of progress.

Then the panic set in upon realization that voters were actually going to have a say, and would probably reject any new debt for MLR.

I don’t think the new “Portland Style Board” realizes that Clackamas County citizens have been much smarter than this when it comes to making decisions of tremendous financial impact. This proposal to give "local control" say to a few, for something that will impact everyone in the county will fail because it is not fair or genuine.

Time for a Revolution- break out Madame Guillotine. These folks have gone too far.

Kathe W -

The machine it self was the invention of a Paris doctor,Joseph-Ignace Guillotin. 'Tweren't no "Madam" Giloitin involved.

You are thinking about Madame Dufarge ( a descendent of a bunch of noble families, not peasant or communard families( who knitted beside the machine as the Reign of Terror transpired.

Damn guilotin blades need to be resharpened every twenty heads or so. Rope s for hanging don't wear out near as fast, and are much cheaper initially.

Think about keeping the costs down.

The nasty, almost violent, revolt in Bell California wasn't just about the salaries.

Time for an amendment to the State Constitution. Usurp the power of the County Commissioners and force them into public votes for anything that creates URAs, new taxing districts, any tax increase...

Measure 5 didn't shut down government; it just created a bunch of whiners who run government. "We'll shut down your police department so I can pay my developer buddy off by building him a Streetcar line!"

Where to move next? It's time to plan my move out of Milwaukie and Clackistan.

I'm curious about this:

If both measures pass, the commissioners' version will prevail. So to win, the petitioners now have to convince voters to vote yes on one measure, and no on the other.

In the comments on the O article Jack linked to above, someone wrote that the measure from the county says that the One with the most wins if both of them pass.

So I looked at the commissioners' measure. It says:

3.03.020 Conflict
In the case of conflict between the provisions of this chapter and any alternative provisions of the Clackamas County Code, the provisions having received the lessor number of votes in any referral of the measure to an election shall be void.

Was the O commenter correct then? I'm confused.

For the record, I'm against the commissioners' measure, just want to get all the facts straight.

Bartender, good question. Is it the number of yes votes for each measure that wins? Or is it the total yes and no votes for either measure that wins? Or is it Secretary of State Brown determining how it's all counted and what votes are valid?

Or will it be the courts determining that the County Commissioners measure is unconstitutional before or after the election. It may be legally challenged, as it should be when the Commissioner's Measure taxes everyone in the county but restricts the vote to a proposed URA.

And there are even constitutional questions of even who can legally vote in a proposed area. Can a renter of a residential or commercial property in a proposed area vote when they are registered to vote outside the county or state? Or can institutional employees or directors vote? Just who in the heck can vote under the Clackamas Co. Commissioners suspect measure....that is legal?

Jack, the residents of Clackamas County are not quite as docile as those in Multnomah. If the Commission thinks that they can steamroll the voters, they are in for a very nasty wakeup call.

They should consider the Sellwood Bridge vote, and consider thinigs very carefully. If they go against the will of the voters they be shown the door.

According to the Sec. Of State's office, one must register to voTe in the jurisdiction where they reside (sleep). Homeless People must describe the physical place where they sleep but may use the Co. Elections office as a mailing address.

I owm a small office building in Wa. Co. Neither my tenants nor I live there, and I can only vote once at my home address in Clack. Co. Even though I pay property taxes in Tigard and Wa. Co., other city & county voters will make decisions that will affect my bisomers. One reason I will never own property in Mult. Co.

Perhaps Clack. Commissioners are overly optimistic about getting votes in a restricted area. Makes me wonder though where Ron Wyden is registered to vote - does he consider himself homeEEss or temporarily living out of state?

Clackistan voters would be even more angry if we knew everything they were up to in OrCity. Clack. tran


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