Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.

For old times' sake
The bojack bumper sticker -- only $1.50!

To order, click here.

Excellent tunes -- free! And on your browser right now. Just click on Radio Bojack!

E-mail us here.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 12, 2011 12:00 PM. The previous post in this blog was Portland's solar economic future gets dimmer. The next post in this blog is They were part of our religion. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



Law and Taxation
How Appealing
TaxProf Blog
Mauled Again
Tax Appellate Blog
A Taxing Matter
Josh Marquis
Native America, Discovered and Conquered
The Yin Blog
Ernie the Attorney
Above the Law
The Volokh Conspiracy
Going Concern
Bag and Baggage
Wealth Strategies Journal
Jim Hamilton's World of Securities Regulation
World of Work
The Faculty Lounge
Lowering the Bar
OrCon Law

Hap'nin' Guys
Tony Pierce
Parkway Rest Stop
Along the Gradyent
Dwight Jaynes
Bob Borden
Dingleberry Gazette
The Red Electric
Iced Borscht
Jeremy Blachman
Dean's Rhetorical Flourish
Straight White Guy
As Time Goes By
Dave Wagner
Jeff Selis
Alas, a Blog
Scott Hendison
The View Through the Windshield
Appliance Blog
The Bleat

Hap'nin' Gals
My Whim is Law
Lelo in Nopo
Attorney at Large
Linda Kruschke
The Non-Consumer Advocate
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place
A Pig of Success
Attorney at Large
Margaret and Helen
Kimberlee Jaynes
Cornelia Seigneur
And Sew It Goes
Mile 73
Rainy Day Thoughts
That Black Girl
Posie Gets Cozy
Cat Eyes
Rhi in Pink
Ragwaters, Bitters, and Blue Ruin
Rose City Journal
Type Like the Wind

Portland and Oregon
Isaac Laquedem
Rantings of a [Censored] Bus Driver
Jeff Mapes
Vintage Portland
The Portlander
South Waterfront
Amanda Fritz
O City Hall Reporters
Guilty Carnivore
Old Town by Larry Norton
The Alaunt
Bend Blogs
Lost Oregon
Cafe Unknown
Tin Zeroes
David's Oregon Picayune
Mark Nelsen's Weather Blog
Travel Oregon Blog
Portland Daily Photo
Portland Building Ads
Portland Food and
Dave Knows Portland
Idaho's Portugal
Alameda Old House History
MLK in Motion

Retired from Blogging
Various Observations...
The Daily E-Mail
Saving James
Portland Freelancer
Furious Nads (b!X)
Izzle Pfaff
The Grich
Kevin Allman
AboutItAll - Oregon
Lost in the Details
Worldwide Pablo
Tales from the Stump
Whitman Boys
Two Pennies
This Stony Planet
1221 SW 4th
I am a Fish
Here Today
What If...?
Superinky Fixations
The Rural Bus Route
Another Blogger
Mikeyman's Computer Treehouse
Portland Housing Blog

Wonderfully Wacky
Dave Barry
Borowitz Report
Stuff White People Like
Worst of the Web

Valuable Time-Wasters
My Gallery of Jacks
Litterbox, On the Prowl
Litterbox, Bag of Bones
Litterbox, Scratch
Ride That Donkey
Singin' Horses
Rally Monkey
Simon Swears
Strong Bad's E-mail

Oregon News
The Oregonian
Portland Tribune
Willamette Week
The Sentinel
Southeast Examiner
Northwest Examiner
Sellwood Bee
Mid-County Memo
Vancouver Voice
Eugene Register-Guard
OPB - Portland
Salem Statesman-Journal
Oregon Capitol News
Portland Business Journal
Daily Journal of Commerce
Oregon Business
Portland Info Net
McMinnville News Register
Lake Oswego Review
The Daily Astorian
Bend Bulletin
Corvallis Gazette-Times
Roseburg News-Review
Medford Mail-Tribune
Ashland Daily Tidings
Newport News-Times
Albany Democrat-Herald
The Eugene Weekly
Portland IndyMedia
The Columbian

The Beatles
Bruce Springsteen
Joni Mitchell
Ella Fitzgerald
Steve Earle
Joe Ely
Stevie Wonder
Lou Rawls

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Monday, December 12, 2011

Water, sewer lawsuit hits City Hall where it hurts

The long-awaited lawsuit by angry water and sewer ratepayers against the City of Portland must be driving the spendthrifts of city government bananas. They have now had to amend their sales pitch for new city bonds to acknowledge the lawsuit. About the only thing City Hall does consistently these days is borrow money, and so having to interrupt the steady flow of IOUs to Bank of America and other Wall Street overlords must really stick in the bureaucrats' craw.

One big revelation is that the bureaucrats and politicians estimate the potential damages at $50 million or more -- that's how much water and sewer revenue the city may have spent illegally on unrelated pet projects like "voter-owed elections," the Rose Festival headquarters, and the "green" construction demonstration house.

But even better is this passage in the revised disclosure:

The City will vigorously defend the lawsuit and believes that it is unlikely that the plaintiffs will prevail on the majority of the claims alleged.

Notice: Not all of the claims are meritless -- just "the majority." Meaning, we suppose, that the city's already conceding partial defeat. It's hard to read that sentence any other way.

Comments (21)


1) With multiple claims oftentimes a minority of them -- or even just one -- still gets a plaintiff to 100% relief. Could that be the case here?

2) In the end, if the lawsuit is successful in obtaining a final judgment ordering reimbursement, and assuming those former funds have been expended, can the City raise the intra-departmental reimbursement funds by just doing another "successful" bond offering?

sure would like to see their itemized list totaling $50 million.

The notice says "repayments from misspent monies could exceed $50 million based on a list of highlighted projects." That sort of sounds like they think $50 million is a starting point...

So they think the projects listed in the document misspent at least $50 million. Given that there are surely other projects/expenditures that a full audit would turn up it is likely to be much higher than $50 million.

It is about damn time. And if this one is successful I hope they can clone the case and go after other misspending.

The ratepayers will never see the money of course. You can't get blood from a stone. The City creeps spent the money on all their not so little projects. However anything that makes these crooked bureaucrats squirm makes my day!

Sad that you have to sue the city to get them to be fiscally responsible.

Does anybody know how the current crop of mayoral candidates are siding on this lawsuit?

Is Linda Meng retiring so she won't get disbarred once they find out she was giving bad legal advice?

Has anyone figured out if/how a normal citizen can support this legal effort?

I don't care one bit about the legal expense to the city, or the fact that they won't be able to pay any of it back. Elected officials and city staff need to be smacked upside the head. This city has been run like the mafia for as long as I've been here.

I read the complaint and compared the allegations to the applicable provisions of the city charter. It looks to me as if the plaintiffs win.

One side effect of the plaintiffs winning is that the city will not be able to pledge water and sewer revenues to secure bonds unless the city's outside attorneys are willing to give an opinion, backed up by malpractice insurance, that the bond money is going to be spent only on the water and sewer system.

Interesting that the lead plaintiff is a former City Council member:

Lloyd was a good council member...not perfect, no one is, but honest and straight. Reassuring to know he's involved in this case. But my fear is that this being Oregon, something will go sideways. After all Portland's a city where the DA doesn't prosecute cops hardly ever (no matter what) and this is a state where the AG and others blithely allow state bureaucrats to steer 60-thou sub-contracts to the guv's uh, I mean the first lady. Then there's the developer crowd that got rid of an Oregon City councilor in a recall who had the audacity to challenge their latest ripoff scam. Okay so maybe ripoff scam is redundant...

Another interesting thing is the diversions were done when one could plausibly maintain that the council should have been aware that a reckoning could have come.

This is mis-serving rate-payers, but after years of testifying, we know how The Water Bureau has traditionally treated even very sophisticated rate-payers, not to mention regular folk.

But isn't this also mis-serving bond-placing agencies, bond salespeople, and bond-holders, since violating the charter had the potential to impair the value of the collateral and the ability to re-pay bond principal?

Am I the only one who might think such a thing?

Rate-payers have years of experience with not being listened to, but what about the banks and all the attendant stakeholders, as we say these days? Don't they have some clout?

Is it possible someone in the bond line might want their principal back enough to close the window on ever more?

Or are individual elders holding the paper, and nobody cares once the debt is passed off?

How would one go about this kind of research?

Just wondering.

Garage -

Meng has no "disbarement " risk. Wrong advice doesn't get you disbarred. It might get you sued for malpractice, but that's all.

City self insures for malpractice by city attorney and staff, with an excess coverage. I think the city's retention is $ 1 million.
Same as the tort claim stuff as in the Chassee family claim.

It all goes round in a circle. Taxpayers would be suing themselves if the city made a claim against Meng's malpractice coverage.

I can't imagine this will go any further than the sexual-misconduct-with-a-minor claim against our mayor.

Like my friend said some 10 years ago when quitting after 5 years working at City Hall, "this place is more crooked than a box of corkscrews".

What do you expect from a city government run by Leftists ?

No Surprise Here

One good aspect of this, as far as I am concerned is that the case is making an official record, bringing forth documentation, etc., therefore, it can become clearer when these officials have not been trustworthy stewards of the finances or of our water system.
This is especially troubling when rate-payer's dollars are used for other projects while the much needed maintenance of our water system has been deferred.

Clarity and the spotlight on their behavior may if we are fortunate deter them from going further on their spending sprees.

We need to add a clawback provision to PERS so that elected officials can be held personally liable for willful violations of the law.

If Randy knew the damages were coming out of his paycheck, he'd have far more respect for O.R.S. and City Ordinances.

As it is, they have demonstrated that "piss on you" is their only pre-litigation response.

ORS (2009) 294.100 Public official expending money in excess of amount or for different purpose than provided by law unlawful; civil liability. (1) It is unlawful for any public official to expend any moneys in excess of the amounts provided by law, or for any other or different purpose than provided by law.
(2) Any public official who expends any public moneys in excess of the amounts or for any other or different purpose than authorized by law shall be civilly liable for the return of the money by suit of the district attorney of the district in which the offense is committed, or at the suit of any taxpayer of such district, if the expenditure constitutes malfeasance in office or willful or wanton neglect of duty.
(3) On the demand in writing of 10 taxpayers of any municipal corporation with a population exceeding 100,000 inhabitants, filed with the tax supervising and conservation commission in the county in which the municipal corporation is situated, which demand sets forth that a public official has unlawfully expended public moneys in excess of the amount or for any other or different purpose than provided by law and that the expenditure constitutes malfeasance in office or willful or wanton neglect of duty, the tax supervising and conservation commission shall make an investigation of the facts as to the expenditure. If the tax supervising and conservation commission finds that public moneys have been unlawfully expended and that the expenditure constitutes malfeasance in office or willful or wanton neglect of duty, the commission shall proceed at law in the courts against the public official who has unlawfully expended the moneys for the return of the moneys unlawfully expended to the treasury of the municipal corporation. A right of action hereby is granted to the tax supervising and conservation commission for the purposes of this section.

"if the expenditure constitutes malfeasance in office or willful or wanton neglect of duty"

That's the key phrase. Given all the complaining that was done in advance of the water and sewer bureaus' mission creep, it might be a valid claim in this case. But maybe not.

All they have to do is argue that all these "creative" projects are somehow related to water. Then all it takes is a judge to agree.

Citizen groups have been pointing out these improprieties for years, only to be ignored. Seems rather willful and wanton to me.

To all the legal minds here: since Sam and Randy are leaving the Council, how does that affect their legal positions if this lawsuit continues beyond their leaving?

If it gets to court after leaving how would their testimony be affected. Would they have to pay for their own legal representation? And per Eastly's quotes, would their legal nightmare expand after leaving office?


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

Clicky Web Analytics