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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 5, 2012 3:56 AM. The previous post in this blog was A voice of authority. The next post in this blog is The Swedish meatball of housing. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

He doesn't get it -- he never will

Portland’s daft mayor gave his annual "State of the City" speech on Friday. Can you say "nervous breakdown"? Everything was so rosy, the City Club faithful gave him a standing ovation at the end. Or maybe they were applauding the fact that they are now done having to listen to him.

One of the fine announcements he made was that he’s going to spend tens of millions of dollars in sewer funds to build some private company a "biogas" plant in the northeast part of town. Is he kidding? Maybe he didn’t notice, but the city is currently being sued, quite capably, for its frittering away of water and sewer revenues on projects that have little or nothing to do with providing water or sewer service.

Tone deafness is such an awful thing.

In the mayor’s "unique" mind, there’s enough of a connection between the biogas plant, which would run on Portlanders’ reeking bins of food scraps, and sewer service to justify blowing eight figures in sewer revenues on the thing. One can only hope, desperately, that the brains of the judges of this state are wired at least somewhat differently from his. If the City Council passes this, somebody needs to go to court and get an injunction against it. It’s not only bad policy, but also illegal.

Comments (20)

No, not tone deaf...just deaf and blind. Unfortunately he can still speak.

Again, this is one of those "Sam's head is in the concrete, not in the abstract" stories. On a theoretical basis, I can't help but laud the concept of biogas processing, especially when talking about capturing the methane being produced by landfills. The damning quote, though, was that Colombia BioGas can't get standard financing because they would get their food scraps and agricultural waste from too many sources. Oh, really? In other words, this has to be financed with city funds, with precious little review of how the funds are to be used, because every bank loan officer who saw Columbia BioGas's business statement nearly crapped his/her pants in laughter.

I took a bio-walk through the bio-city yesterday, and thought about the good old days. It was sunny and nice and there were a lot of bio-people on Mt Tabor bio-walking their bio-dogs.

I have no doubt it is illegal. I also have no doubt it is a bad idea. Doing a bit of research into the history of how the industrial powers have developed (namely Germany, Russia, Japan, China and the US) I see a constant cooperation between 'private' enterprise and the government.

It is historical fiction to assume that government and industry have not always been in cahoots. Private industry has never stood on it's own. Big money has always pulled the levers of power to their benefit. Which in some ways makes industry answerable to government, and by extension, the people.

No industrial power has developed without this relationship. A relationship that has been squashed in developing nations as anti-freemarket. Which helps the 3rd world remain the 3rd world.

The issue comes when your government is so out of touch and corrupt that they throw their weight behind the wrong industries. They begin to pick winners in an unwise manner. This seems to be happening in Portland. The evidence can be seen on the side panel listing Portland's debts.

It will be interesting to see how it all pans out. Maybe the great Portland experiment works? Doubtful but if it does I will be the first to stand up and admit I was wrong.

-Jo

God I sound like Chomsky.

I think the one who doesn't get it is you. Our City Fathers can't raise taxes to finance their hobbies, so they focus (pun intended) on fees instead.

Sam can't be out of money; there are still checks in his city checkbook.

I'm with TTR - it's one thing to harvest and use landfill methane, as is currently done at the Park Place and St. John's landfills (if I recall correctly). Funding a biogas facility that banks won't commit to is stupid - unless the facility is sited at Portland City Hall.

"there’s enough of a connection between the biogas plant, which would run on Portlanders’ reeking bins of food scraps, and sewer service to justify blowing eight figures in sewer revenues"

You know he's jealous of the deal Ken Rust got with Columbia BioMass and he's trying to audition for his next job.

You know, I seem to remember watching a movie with a similar concept. My question, though, is where Sam and Randy figure in on its operation. In other words, which one will be Master and which one will be Blaster?

Straight outta "Duck Soup" -- Long Live Portlandia!

Sam the Sham and the Gasbags.

Again, another company that has no means to make a profit unless the public funds their investment.

Is this the kind of company we want to support- one that has technology/processes that are not cost effective and can't compete in the energy market?

Unfortunately he can still speak.

I've noticed there's actually a slight "Valspeak" edge to the way he speaks. He also says "umm" and forces coughs a lot while speaking. It all screams "dishonest hipster".

Who runs Rip City? Master Blaster Sam-Rand runs Rip City!


Bah, Texas you beat me to the reference. :)

JS: so does that mean, in the "Portlandia" skit, that Tina Turner plays Vera Katz?

When did it become acceptable for the city to dabble, partner and speculate? And when did it become OK to get into the Loo and Streetcar development and patenting business in the hope that future revenues could be realized? That's gambling and it is in no way fiscally responsible.

"dabble, partner and speculate?", it's also a violation of the City Charter. Add it to the on-going lawsuit against the City.

I may be mistaken, but can't the city council change the City Charter to suit its agenda?

Well obviously they can.

Anyone know someplace that has tar on sale ?
I already have some nice feather pillows...

He doesn't get it -- he never will

Worse yet, he does get it and doesn't care!
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