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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 11, 2012 8:46 AM. The previous post in this blog was One out of six. The next post in this blog is Rah rah siss boom blah. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Taking the bull by the horns

The rebels of Clackistan, who are fighting tooth and nail to stop construction of Tri-Met's Mystery Train to Milwaukie (pop. 21,000), have really done it this time. Having foiled the county's ability to use "urban renewal" slush funds to pay for construction, now they're pushing a new ballot measure that would flat-out forbid the county from working on the project unless future voters approve it first.

The proposition now has an official ballot title and everything, and given the anger shown by the Clacka-voters in recent elections, it's got a pretty good chance of passage. So much so that the train pushers on the county commission (they're also apartment bunker pushers, which is what this train is about) are trying to figure out how to fight it.

They'll start with the obvious tactics, of course. Try to discourage people from signing the petitions, look the other way when trolls and fraudsters try to sabotage the signature collection process, and then challenge every signature collected. If that fails, wheel out a parade of horrible, horrible things that will happen if the measure passes. Already they're working on that -- the county won't be able to do maintenance work at existing railroad crossings, the sheriff won't be able to respond to derailed Amtrak trains, one distortion after another, probably written up by a big-bucks Portland real estate law firm.

And in that package, this time there'll be the threat of a lawsuit. "But we've already signed a contract with Tri-Met," the county commissioners will say. "We've already promised to pay $25 million toward the MAX. If we don't pay it, Tri-Met will sue us. It's too late to turn back now."

Now, that would be one of the funniest lawsuits seen in these parts in years, wouldn't it? Maybe after many years in court, Tri-Met could get some money, but it doesn't stand a snowball's chance of getting a judge to order county officials to perform acts prohibited by a voter-approved county ordinance. In any event, there would be years of expensive litigation for Tri-Met. Good luck selling bonds for a boondoggle in that kind of atmosphere.

There will be other arguments made against the ballot measure as well. Some of the commissioners who are pushing MAX are now, comically, wrapping themselves in the constitution. One thing we'd worry about if we were the ballot measure proponents is that there's some state, or even federal, law that somehow pre-empts what the measure sets out to do. But that surely wouldn't stop us from trying.

Last night we learned that the Lake Oswego streetcar may have died a sudden death. If the Clackistanis also stop the Mystery Train at the county line, it will be truly remarkable. And a sign of hope for our region.

We have some advice for the Clackamas County commissioners: Wise up, like the Lake Oswego City Council has. Let this ballot measure pass, and then let the whole thing go. Tell the Goldschmidt people that you did what you could, but the rebels won. After that, your life will get a lot easier. You might even get re-elected.

Comments (12)

Some commissioners might be going along with the agenda in hopes of scoring points in order to move on to bigger schemes and could care less about being re-elected to Clackamas County.

If the measure passes and TriMet sues Clackamas County for the $25 million, TriMet might win and get the $25 million. However, TriMet would have some problems building the line, as the measure would prohibit the County from letting TriMet use any public right-of-way unless the voters of Clackamas County approve it first.

I grew up in Oak Grove, but in taste and temperament I have little in common with the rebels. That being said, I have to cheer them on as they strike blow after blow for the not-quite-so-revolutionary idea that citizens should get to vote on how their money is spent. That such a vigorous voter backlash is needed to defend such a straightforward concept reflects poorly on the state of local leadership in this region.

As for TriMet suing, of course they're entitled to, but I predict after some threats and sabre-rattling a face-saving measure will be quietly hammered out that will let Clackamas County off the hook. TriMet is reeling: it's cutting service, fighting with its union, facing rebellion from businesses that pay its payroll tax, and suffering one public embarrassment after another. They also get a not-insignificant amount of payroll tax revenue from Clackamas County businesses. They have little to gain and much to lose by playing the heavy with the county; in fact, given the recent opting-out of Boring from the TriMet service district, it's not hard to imagine ClackCo citizens trying to kick TriMet out of their county entirely.

"The rebels of Clackistan" need to think bigger. They need a measure that forbids tri-met from spending any money except the money obtained from the fare box. No tax money, no bond money, no grants from uncle sam, just money from the riders. That would really slow them down.

How about we do this. Add up all of the monies from government agencies now dedicated to MLR. Drop the plan to build it, and spend the combined monies instead to open Wapato as a regional mental illness treatment center.

Reportedly, as much as 33% of the current inmate population sufffers from mental illness. They may need temporary incarceration, but not in a jail where treatment is limited. This would free up beds for gang members and bad guys, create jobs, decrease violent encounters with the mentally ill, and increase our overall livibility. Maybe even more so than new train tracks.

Believe me, with so many troops coming home from war we should really be making a plan to treat those having problems.

...it's not hard to imagine ClackCo citizens trying to kick TriMet out of their county entirely.

I've often wondered if that's even possible since Clack Co. already has the green line extending across county lines, which is pretty much "permanent" transit service that can't easily be terminated. At least I could see TrainMet arguing in a court case along those lines if CC tried to pull out.

Nonetheless, getting PMLR on the ballot would be huge victory seeing as light-rail hasn't faced a vote in nearly 15 years (ever since the Interstate line was voted down, then built anyway with UR money).

I know many involved and the expanding Clackistani rebellion is NOT slowing, pausing or stopping until there is a complete eradication of political parasite that invaded their county.

The result will be a county run by responsible adults similar to Bojack with all sorts of historical progress that will serve as a model and leading edge to a statewide recovery.

As for all of the interim pandemonium by the defeated establishment?

Cry me a river.

The whole frikkin state is sick of you.

One way of looking at this -
The surrounding areas have seen what Portland has turned into, having had the benefit of viewing our scene and negative results, has helped them to say NO and learn from our mistakes for being laid back until too late.
Now, hopefully Portlanders can learn from the "Rebels of Clakistan" and take the bull by horns here and become engaged during the next council election.
We have the opportunity to work for three new candidates who will represent the public interest.

Ben,
Here is a theme song.
Bobby "Blue" Bland:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNrxz-A19WY

In many ways I hope that TriMet sues Clackamas Co when the Measure passes. It would open a legal-can-of-worms of major misinformation, inflated ridership estimates, property values inflated/deflated to TriMet's benefit, etc. It would all be seriously evaluated to show how Clackamas Co. and others have been illegally duped. We need a cleansing with a forensic auditing.

Clackmas Co. Commissioners, TriMet officials, Attorney Janik, and others formulating all the so-called legal flak is hilarious. They can call them "Clackastian Rebels, or TeaBaggers as one TriMet PR official called testifiers on MLR, but it is just citizens asking for a vote that has been asked for over a decade.

I'd like to know why:

1. Clackamas County's Commission approved an expenditure that might be overturned...but the public - not the Commission - will be forced to deal with the consequences of their rash decision.

2. TriMet embarked on a project without financing set in stone. If they can't complete the project - the public, not the Board, will be forced to deal with the consequences.

Why are certain people allowed to make huge decisions, and then walk away when the heat gets cranked up? Why are us little people (formerly known as citizens) forced to be slaves to this shit? This is outrageous...the "Occupy Portland" folks should be having a crapfest over this sort of stuff going on... Who is "the 99%"? Clearly not those in office (and in the case of TriMet - UNELECTED office).

I now propose not just one but TWO state constitutional amendments:

1. All expenditures over $10 million, or involve new infrastructure, must be approved by the voters who would have to pay for it.

2. Any public official that is empowered to enter into financial contracts or binding agreements is personally liable for said contract in the event that the agreement or contract is later overturned by voters.

And heck, here's a third:

3. No government body shall consider a contract with another government body as binding. Any government body can terminate any agreement, at any time, without further obligation.

Each government is an independent body...especially in the case of TriMet and Metro. They should not have some superpower over the little governments (formerly known as cities and counties). If anything, their powers should be limited and not general.

Gibby - The military industrial complex that benefits from wars and oil companies should pick up the bill for troops that come back as mental cases. Sorry but taxpayers already enriched them once and now we are expected to clean up the messes that have come from their war profiteering. Really? I don't think so.


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