Crocodile tears from Shaff and Randy
Another Friday afternoon surprise this past week was the news that the State of Oregon health bureaucrats have denied the City of Portland's request to slow down or stop construction of underground tanks to replace the city's open air reservoirs.
This sordid little soap opera goes back quite a ways. The city has said for many years that the federal government absolutely required that Portland's open-air reservoirs be covered. The city bureaucrats swore that they had exhausted every avenue to get an exception, but gosh darn it, those sticklers in Washington, D.C. just wouldn't go for it. Then suddenly came the news that New York City was getting a huge extension of time to cover its reservoirs, and outraged Portland water users, whose rates have nearly doubled in recent years, reasonably asked, "Why not us?"
Then it suddenly dawned on everyone that in Oregon, the ultimate decision makers are in the state government, since the federal regulators have delegated authority on such matters to the folks in Salem. Friday's news was that the Salem bureaucrats have denied the city's most recent request because the city didn't raise any new issues, other than the New York loophole. It's essentially the equivalent of the all-purpose Portland boondoggle rationale: "It's too late to turn back now."
The Portland Water Bureau’s request "does not identify any specific circumstances not previously known" by city officials when they proposed the original schedule in 2009 or modifications in 2010, Dave Leland, the Oregon Health Authority’s drinking water manager, wrote to Portland.
"Further," Leland wrote, "the proposed timing appears to reflect a suspension of effort to comply with mandated regulation, rather than continuing, steady progress toward regulatory compliance."
Could the state have ruled the other way? Of course it could have. But there are massive hunks of construction pork at play here, and no doubt the fix is in, in Salem as well as in Portland.
The most sickening part of the whole episode are the fake expressions of disappointment by the city's water director and theme park tour guide, David Shaff, and by his boss, Admiral Randy Leonard. These guys have been hellbent for nearly a decade now on funneling hundreds of millions of water revenues to their consultant and construction pals to build tank after tank. They've put the water system deep into hock over it, are pricing senior citizens out of their homes with their water bills, and are laying the groundwork (wittingly or unwittingly) for the eventual takeover of the city's water system by Pepsi or Nestle or some other corporate thieves.
Some say the ultimate plan is to start mixing Willamette River water in with the Bull Run water that Portlanders currently drink. Bull Run output can then be sold to somebody like Dasani. Surely the City Hall types would express their disappointment that day, too.
There's a hearing of some kind at Wednesday's City Council meeting, and the usual water bureau watchdogs will be there screaming and moaning. But let's face it -- they're just another sincere citizens' group being roughed up by the Sam Rand regime. The Fireman, just 222 days away from his triple public pension, could care less what they think of him. Like the SoWhat immigration jail for his developer buddies, and the assassination of the charter revision commission, and the endless water bureau mission creep, and the crippling municipal debt load, and the Little Lord Paulson stadium subsidies, and the luxury tour bus, and "urban renewal" galore -- the list goes on and on -- he gets his way. "It's how I do it."
Ah, but the history books will get the last word. And by that we mean the real history books -- not the one he spent ratepayers' money to have his buddies write for him.
UPDATE, 7:17 p.m.: Bad link fixed. Readers, please don't be afraid to speak up about that sort of thing.