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Monday, May 21, 2012

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.

Comments (21)

The State's round about logic is about as head-up-your-pooper as you can get.

And another sad chapter in the sellout of the public assets. The only assessment you can make is absolute corruption on all levels of city and state government.

And yet the voters keep giving these crooks a seat at the table.

Wow, being one of the watch dog groups... I feel beaten and kicked and well tied up for artificial insemination...

Do you realize all you home owners.. that everybody's rent went up... yep over the last 6 months, all of us renters received a $25 dollar rent increase for "water rates" that means that me, one person who uses quarters for laundry, no dishwasher and a philosophy of "if it's yellow then it's mellow, if it's brown flush it down." I do not water anything but a few inside plants... And we are now paying $75.00 a quarter for water and sewer... Who's capitalizing on this one? Fu(kers

I traveled to Washington DC in April to testify at the EPA hearing on open reservoirs. EPA's Administrator Lisa Jackson says "science will drive our ultimate decision". The science is clear. My testimony outlined the many public health benefits of open reservoirs as opposed to the many well defined negative effects of covered reservoirs. New York has done excellent work in supporting benefits. Yet for many years our Portland City Council has ignored the science, truth, and the public decision to keep our reservoirs open.

Jack is right about the Willamette as a drinking water source.It's known as the "Regional Transmission and Storage Strategy" from 2000, that I successfully fought against and its relation to privatization of our Bull Run system. Written by the same people involved with the open reservoir decisions. These issues influenced my decsion to run for mayor because it takes historical and scientific experience to truthfully address the reservoir covering and privatization of our drinking water system. We do not need to add any drinking water treatment, cover our reservoirs or privatize any part of our Bull Run drinking water system.

forgot to say The City said last wednesday that a single family went up to $26. something... two people sharing space in an apartment are paying $40 month... is that not single family? Also, you, yes you, will get an online discount if you pay our water bill online... once again victimizing the vulnerable who have to go an pay for a money order to pay a utility (not a commodity)that PWB will now charge a surcharge for paper processing. And the fast track?... Nick Fish ... Randy has to fill those very expensive highly technical possessions with a staff that would normally be contracted out... is now IN HOUSE projects... under the supervision of a Lawyer farther along than 60% now! and low, and behold, the City Auditor changed the working status of our Auspicious Permitting Officer Kenneth Helm... to run their projects under the Auspicious Salmon runs that have not proven feasible for the past 8 failed years... hummm I do go on!!!!

The PWB's request for an extension was one of those wink, wink, we're being forced to submit this request, but we really want you to support our fast-tracked build projects " type requests. After all it was the Bureau who unnecessarily fast-tracked the projects in the first place as "part of a strategy".

EPA, both PWB Region 10 buddies and D.C.staff (Stig Regli) who are linked to the PWB cozy consultant Glicker, are pulling the strings on the OHA decisions, but one reason OHA goes along so easily is because they know the PWB engineers/consultants have been otherwise been unable to "convince the public" to support these unnecessary projects.

I participated in the April 24, 2012 open reservoir meeting in Washington D.C., a meeting that would not have been held if not for the ongoing great work of NY's DEP and Senator Schumer. This meeting was just the start of what is likely to be a long process related to Obama's Executive order to revise and repeal burdensome regulations. If this EPA review follows the course of EPA's Coliform rule 6-year review process now in its 9th year, the process will not be completed any time soon.

EPA is resistant to revising or repealing this poorly-crafted LT2 reservoir Crypto requirement, but there were a number of rational science-based alternatives presented by other utilities and researchers at the meeting. Even utilities EPA recruited to say covering reservoirs is good, could only say that the public health risk is low with open and covered storage facilities. As evidence has shown all along EPA did not present ANY scientific data supportive of "treating or covering" open reservoirs.

This Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. is the 2nd City Council water rate hearing. It is being held at the Portland Building 2nd floor, not in Council chambers.

Randy intends on bringing the Kelly Butte construction contract ordinance to Council ASAP. They've already selected the contractor with everything ready to go before New York came through to prove Randy wrong.

Historically, the Water Bureau likes to bring their big controversial items to Council on holidays as "emergency" ordinances or otherwise schedule them the week after opponents have attended a Council session, thus limiting transparency and public participation.

Someday there will be a full chapter on Water Bureau tactics and strategies and many chapters on this PWB Chinatown story.

Not all hope is lost, however, given the overwhelming organizational support for reservoir relief. Relief from the reservoir "treat or cover" Crypto reg. supposedly is the City's #1 Federal priority. Senator Merkley's office has been working on an alternative strategy, one that does not require waiting years for the LT2 rule revision. The Congressional delegation will need to greatly speed up the process now though to avoid further unnecessary waste- Randy's fast-track Kelly Butte buried tank project.

Senator Wyden is holding a town hall in a week or so.

For what its worth, I voted Scott Fernandez for mayor, and I would again.Also, just LOOKING at the Willamette up close, let alone drinking it, makes me think about vomiting.Its disgusting....

If you're expecting something different from Randy in his final days, dream on.

He's just the fluffer so that Novick can take over when he steps in with his own little pet projects. BOHICA Portland.

Two thoughts:

• These are not the "final days" of Hero Randy. Jefferson Smith will be elected as will Steve Novick. Both will be puppets to Hero Randy who will continue to run the city from behind the curtain.

• Shaff is not quite the undead. But, he is the unindicted.

Absolutely nauseating, which is what we will be if they put the water in crypts, never mind the sporidium. Drama queens and their emergencies are going to have Portland selling off assets to pay bills at some point, like Greece, or Harrisburg, PA. What a legacy these guys will leave, but I guess they will have enough dough to drink away the embarrassment, not with water I presume.

The decision made last week by the Oregon Health Authority illustrates the failed strategy of the "variance" process. It is arbitrary, inconsistant, and can be withdrawn at any time. Informed community stakeholders have been demanding a "waiver" from the EPA LT2 regulation for a decade. The EPA LT2 regulation remains scientifically unsound. The waiver is the only answer and can be achieved through the Safe Drinking Water Act.

You know these clowns have left paper trails of their plans and deals everywhere. Are there no moles in City Hall willing to dump some e-mail files and show the machinations behind the curtain? C'mon, send some incriminating evidence to Wikileaks! Ya' 'fraid Randy will go all Abner Louima on you? This is Portland -- they are third class-class carpetbaggers in a second rate town. Yeah, OK, the DA won't grant you Whistleblower protection, even if you have video of a murder. But live a little -- it'll feel good to do the right thing! Do it for Old Portland, the town when we had good developers like Bill Naito. And real public servants like Bud and Mildred.

This latest news is based on what? There is documentation that shows that the closed storage tanks have caused problems. This looks like a yo-yo play decided by politics and those who evidently have this grand plan here to change/take our water so badly that it has turned into the most absurd yet silent topic across our community.

We need the Waiver that Scott Fernandez and others have requested. The Council has deaf ears to that word. We have been betrayed by our elected officials, not only in Council but across the board. Is there even one, ONE who has said they would do everything they could to save our water? Instead we have been given the run around so that when the dirty deed has been done, no one can be really be held accountable.

Senator Merkley, a great disappointment. It looks like he wanted the problem off of his back so turned it over to the state. Wouldn't he know what the likely outcome would be? We have a club here, an insider game and a choke-hold not only on our elections, but on the information even reaching the people. Thankfully Jack has brought out news that seems forbidden elsewhere. This is our water, the common’s water and it just looks like our officials are all laying down and letting global interests in, such as the decision regarding Nestle in the gorge.

NY Senator Schumer told EPA that the LT2 regulation was too financially burdensome for their community. They got a reprieve until 2028 and are asking for another until 2034. Where are our Senators? Do they think we can afford higher and higher rates here for a problem that doesn’t exist?

As if the financial aspects weren't enough of a burden, what about the callous crossing the line making our community literally swallow this too and shoving this down our throats? In my opinion, this is near criminal, to facilitate and do so with "the run around game” finally landing in state's hands, to force us to give up our healthy drinking water, for corporate designed water and god forbid they get Willamette River ready for us to drink!!! Think of the children who have no say here, adults are to be responsible for stewardship on this matter. The people pushing this ought to be ashamed. Quite frankly, after all the heartache the watchdogs have had to endure over this, it would do my heart some good to see a few fired or even put in jail!

Who at the state level made this decision? Was it one person, a committee? Who then makes this decision for a huge community who essentially has been left in the dark on important details? One of the most important being the water necessary we must all drink every day.

Clinamen, I concur with you -- but has it been that long since you watched Polanski's Chinatown? We're all too young to have experienced being "railroaded" but the the etymology tells the truth about the less savory members of our society. Was railroads, then highways, then water and communications infrastructure. The only surprising part is how many dupes keep falling for it. There is no shortage of useful idiots who can be played into become tools.

Old Zeb,
I need to see it again, but then again, we have had our own movie going on here.

A few months ago, Chinatown was shown large screen at the Academy Theater and I missed it. I do not like financial corruption, but am especially galled by having to drink questionable water since we have great water right now, a gift given to us by past generations, our water system that is truly sustainable.

People ought to fill the hearing room this coming Wednesday at 2:00 held now at the Portland Building, 2nd floor, to get a first hand look at this and let them know what you think.

What about the serious radon issue we have in our area? The elected betrayers aren’t even addressing that. Covering those reservoirs leaves no place for the radon which is in our area to vent, so it will come up into our homes, and especially while showering, running water. The watchdogs know the seriousness of it, so we can weep some more for the way this is being foisted upon the people, as they know not about what a horrendous matter this is.

Now regarding our drinking water. This is what we can look forward to if we cannot stop the plans. I saw a chart recently that illustrated the following:
Added Treatment = Silent Killers

BULL RUN– Chlorine, Ammonia

UV, OZONE, FILTRATION – formaldehyde, Alum, Aldehyde, Acrylamide Unknowns

WILLAMETTE RIVER, COLUMBIA RIVER, COLUMBIA RIVER SOUTH SHORE WELL FIELD - PCB, Dioxin, Oil, Nuclear, Metals, Hormones, PAH Pesticides, Insect, Unknowns

City Hall won't be covering the reservoirs in Washington and Mt. Tabor Parks. That was too unpopular, In fact the City Hall line has been just the opposite. "We're not covering the reservoirs in Washington and Mt. Tabor Park." All the while quietly going about their business of building covered reservoirs on the periphery of the city. Out of sight of mind.

Here's a likely scenario: Water Bureau will abandon the reservoirs in Washington and Mt. Tabor Parks. The property the reservoirs are built on does not "belong" to the Parks bureau. Never mind it's public property. It's revenue generating land that was purchased separately well over 100 years ago by the water committee. (Talk about City Hall corruption...now there's quite a story for another time...)

Regardless, when the time comes, Parks, of course, never has any money and won't be able to buy or protect the open space unless they can develop an amusement park and charge admission.

Eventually, the land will be sold to private developers (already decided). Acres and acres of view condos, cascading down the western slope of Mt. Tabor. Who needs open space anyway? Stay on your green box, and access the outdoors through your computer and virtual tools. Cool!

Might have to break out the ole "Save Bull Run" bumper sticker from the 70's and update the slogan. Save our pure Bull Run water. No mixing! It takes a long time to wear an Oregonian down, and I am weary.

Weary and heart broken for our lovely city and it's children. The bits and pieces we are leaving them. Crowding people together, developing the open space, polluting our pure water. Where is the youth voice advocating for clean water? Do they all work for or at City Hall and drink the Kool-Aid?

Eventually, the land will be sold to private developers (already decided). Acres and acres of view condos, cascading down the western slope of Mt. Tabor.

That view from Mt. Tabor is priceless. It belongs to the public, it would be awful if it were slipped away from us. As I said before, it would cut the heart right out of our city. There is no heart transplant available. But the elected betrayers don't care. They have been chipping away at the City of Roses and our livability for years.

This may be old news, but I cringed on reading this on the Water Bureau's website today:

"This website will be under construction for the next few months. We are a pilot bureau for a brand new citywide website layout. You'll be seeing lots of changes soon, and we think you'll like the 'refreshed' site. Thank you for your patience."


Maybe Qatar Holdings (the Qatari National Investment Fund) will buy the Portland Water Bureau when they can't sell more bonds.

They've been buying up Greek islands, gold mines, and resorts on the cheap.

Memo to Randy Leonard: increasing your debt load only works so long as people are willing to buy your bonds (or pay the sky-high water rates).

The largest industrial users can vote with their feet.

You've got your tin foil hat on there again Jack. ;)

Fireman responded to Lars Larson last Friday about you with descriptions of tin foil hats and house insulation.

And Randy didn't lose that weight sniffing house insulation.

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