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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 15, 2012 10:43 AM. The previous post in this blog was Portland food slop program reaches fiasco stage. The next post in this blog is Big night ahead. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Who wrecked Tri-Met?

There's really no question about it. It was the Goldschmidt people.

Comments (27)

The problem is that when the contraction comes, it will only be the 'rank and file' employees, union and non-union, who will suffer. It will NOT be those who brought us to this pass...they will walk away not only 'scot-free' but with their pockets bulging with those excessive administrative salary and benefit packages and, should they be canned for their transgressions, a hefty severance.

Why is it that it is never those who created the problem who suffer for its creation? It is only those who never had any say at all.

There is only one place you can lay blame for Trimet problems:

BAD MANAGEMENT

Those are the people totally responsible for its failures, nobody else.

Goldie, the gift that keeps on giving and giving and ......

Question: Is Tri-Met being deliberately wrecked in an attempt to shake off the union contracts?

And, if so, would it succeed and still leave some kind of transit authority intact to reorganize, or if not, is Portland readying to pounce and take complete control over local transportation?

I put nothing, no matter how devious, beyond the scope of the way things seem to be orchestrated around here.

Just askin'...

Every single red flag and fatal flaw was raised and screamed at all the powers that be for decades. They ignore everything just as the identical cabal is doing so today with the worst boondoggle in Oregon history approaching the scheduled signing of the PMLR Full Funding Grant Agreement next Tuesday.

The Goldenschmidt children thought they could do no wrong. Their motto, "Keep the building machine going and damn the torpedoes!"

But the healthcare crime syndicate really messed things up for them.

And the sell-out American worker movement didn't help either as the payroll tax dwindled over the decades.

Now all these greedy bastards want to point fingers at each other.

You messed up my nice little scam!

Tom Walsh retired and walked away; now his construction company is picking up City contract work all over town. Gee, I'm sure he's sorry.

At the start of the day it's light rail empire building and at the end of the day it's light rail empire building.

Blaming the unions is a ruse to cover up the real story.

If TriMet really wanted to go after the unions, it could do so very quickly and easily: file Chapter 9. It'd be done with the union contracts and the healthcare expense and the pensions. Quickly.

Of course TriMet won't do that because of one issue - it's ability to issue bonds for future light rail projects would be devastated.

Since TriMet wants to continue building rail lines, it wants to sell bonds...so it can't declare Chapter 9. While TriMet currently has little concern about its bus system, most people don't complain that the buses are old and broken down and worn out...they just care that there's a bus route near their home - and will speak up for that. Plus, TriMet's ability to collect taxes is based upon whether TriMet actually serves an area - so cutting bus routes cuts into TriMet's tax base. And McFarlane and his cronies certainly won't take a pay cut...so...what's left?

Blame the union employees.

In all fairness, I just noticed a posting by columnist Joseph Rose saying: "Records show that Tom Walsh doesnt receive a pension from TriMet." Apparently only Fred Hansen does.

Maybe Tri-Met should be forced into admitting bankruptcy?

Then METRO could go scoop it up after the union commitments are ditched, and the bond pirates could resume their merry ways.

is Portland readying to pounce and take complete control over local transportation?

They can't, technically. Only Metro can take over Tri-Met.

Much as I dislike unions, this isn't something that can be laid on them - they took a good deal when it was offered.

Nope, the problem is the Goldie cabal, and their cynical devotion to rail and other construction. That includes Barbie Roberts and her BFF, Vera.

It was the Goldschmidt people

More accurately, it's a direct and logical result of electing liberal Democrats to every CoP office, to every MultCo office, and to every state-wide office. These are politicians who unabashedly pander to public employee groups in exchange for votes. We see variations of this problem all over the place, all manner of public employees, not just TriMet.

It's only the kind of health care coverage that every person in the United States should have, just as virtually every person in virtually every other developed country has. The problem at Tri-Met, as in so many other places in this dysfunctional country, is a health care system that is broken beyond repair and that will eventually crowd out most every other kind of pubic and private investment/expenditure. Shame on Walsh and Tri-Met's management for not anticipating this thirty years ago.

Meanwhile ole Fred is down in Adelaide Australia sipping Australian wine, telling anyone and everyone what's great job he did, and getting paid to shill down there. "Resident thinker" my Aunt Fanny! His ass should be in a jail some place.

It's only the kind of health care coverage that every person in the United States should have, just as virtually every person in virtually every other developed country has.

When you get to Greece or Spain, give us a call and let us know how it's all working out for you.

"When you get to Greece or Spain, give us a call and let us know how it's all working out for you."

If you have a presentable argument to make, go right ahead. Knock yourself out.

It's only the kind of health care coverage that every person in the United States should have, just as virtually every person in virtually every other developed country has.

Really? Every other country allows its employees to retire at age 55 after just 10 years on the job? Even Greece would blush at that kind of offer.

I'm generally with you but in this case your slant isn't correct. Its clearly the utterly broken US healthcare system to blame. Sure managers should have been savvy to the game--even if playing might exacerbate it--but seriously a lot of folks thought HC was going to be fixed. God knows I am shocked it hasn't.

And yes, Max and company. I am living in Spain at the moment, which even in the throes of an economic meltdown has a vastly better functioning healthcare system then the US. Much better outcomes, nearly universal coverage, at dramatically lower costs. True them bankers have just got started, their likely to get every smug Euro country down to the s***ty "i've got mine, go f yourself" level of the US soon enough. you know 1 in 6 completely without and the rest begging their bosses for s'more coverage, and more and more jumping on the broken gov system while insurers milk those with jobs. But yeah somebody's got to pay all those CEO's. After all they create value, so what if that means destroying what value means.

Essentially, we have a health care system that pits the "haves" against the "have nots". Medicine is a business in this country, and the money will always flow towards providing top notch care to those who have the best coverage. Many could argue that it is a core function of any truly civilized society to care for the sick, and nationalizing our health care system to universal coverage, although radical, is the only way to keep costs from going up to the point where your health insurance costs don't equal your mortgage payment. Do the Tri-Met drivers deserve good medical coverage? My answer is "Yes", but the bottom line is that there is no way the system is going to continue to operate with such huge cost out lays for medical insurance, and somethings gotta give somewhere. No wonder Fred Hansen fled to Australia, because it didn't take a genius to see this writing on the wall.

employees to retire at age 55

Keep changing the subject. It's a good strategy when you're left with no argument.

Nearly 20 years ago, then Governor Barbara Roberts ignored the warnings from Loren Wyss, an investment manager serving as TriMet's board president. Now hand picked to fill out a term on the Metro Council, just look at all the endorsements the former governor is handing out. These can only lead to more of the same old fiscal instability at TriMet and elsewhere.

employees to retire at age 55

Keep changing the subject. It's a good strategy when you're left with no argument.

You really don't like to let a few facts get in the way of your prejudiced view, do you? Had you bothered to read the story, you might have noticed that that's exactly what Tri-Met employees get. Try reading for comprehension; nobody cares how long it takes you.

Max, it would reflect less poorly on you if you made at least a minimal effort to grasp the point that I raised. It's not that complicated.

They can't, technically. Only Metro can take over Tri-Met.

Portland may not have actual control of Metro and TriMet, but we know Portland has effective control - the majority of Metro councilor districts cover a portion of Portland, for example; TriMet's Board is made up of political appointees who almost always have some tie to Portland politics.

That said...who is to stop the Legislature or even an initiative to re-write ORS 267.020 - or for that matter, the entire ORS Chapter 267? Frankly an initiative would be the best way to put a stop to the nonsense - it would have to voted by the entire state, not just the TriMet district. (It would also affect the Lane Transit District, the only other district incorporated under ORS 267.) Re-write it to require public votes of the Boards...uniform board member districts that must be reapportioned every 10 years. Require that districts that represent Portland cannot have more than 50% of the Board's representation. Require that any project with a cost of over $10 million require a public vote, even if it does not require new bonding authority. Allow ANY city that wants to remove itself from the District to do so (through an orderly process, of course), and allow non-participating communities to operate their own transit services from their district into the TriMet district and use District facilities. Require public participation on any route or schedule reduction; and require the General Manager and the Board to not only be present, but certify an actual public participation process under penalty of prison term. Require Board Members and the General Manager to publicly disclose any conflict of interest; ban lobbying by companies to TriMet. Require TriMet to have an fully transparent budget process; including posting of all financial documentation on the website. Require TriMet to broadcast all public hearings and meetings on the Internet and community access television. Require public input to be valid through any means including e-mail, letter, phone call - not just at the Board Meetings. Require TriMet to provide an accurate accounting of cost per transport mode, and to publish monthly statistics for every single service/route (not just "frequent service bus", "standard service bus", "MAX".) Require TriMet to conduct a study of the bottom 20% performing services as measured either by load factor, passengers carried/hour, passengers carried/day, or cost per boarding ride. Requires TriMet to maintain its fleet in a state of good repair, ensuring that vehicles are repaired and replaced within federal guidelines.

It would help, Allen, if you were actually able to raise a coherent point. Thus far, you haven't.

Erik: I agree that for all practical purposes, Portland, Metro and Tri-Met are essentially the same entity - I merely noted that, technically, the City can't take over Tri-Met, as that ability is ceded by law to Metro alone; the apparent reasoning being that they are both "regional" agencies.

Frankly, I'd love to see the law re-written as you describe, and would support such an initiative.


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