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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Clackistan commissioners go total rogue

The irresponsible behavior of the Clackamas County commissioners, discussed here yesterday, got even more astounding later in the day with the news that they're planning to run out and sell bonds two weeks from tomorrow for a $20 million contribution to the Tri-Met Mystery Train to Milwaukie. They've already had Moody's rate the bonds, and the Wall Street machinery is up and running. The commissioners are rushing to get their share of the funding of the light rail boondoggle completed before the county's citizens have a chance to vote on it come the 16th 18th.

It's outrageous and juvenile behavior on the part of these politicians. We remember the Mean Girls of the Multnomah County commission playing this kind of edgy game a few years ago. They all got booted out of office -- deservedly so.

In addition to hurting the re-election chances of two incumbents on the board, the latest shenanigans by the Clacky commission shine a light on some interesting legal questions. For one thing, it just so happens that the county is selling $18 million in other bonds, today, and we can find no mention in the official sales pitch for that borrowing of the pending vote that would call into question the county's ability to keep its supposed financial commitment to Tri-Met. There's also no apparent mention of the litigation that is likely to ensue if the initiative passes, or the fact that the county's contract with Tri-Met has been the subject of a sudden renegotiation as of just last week. It's curiously thin disclosure, and one wonders whether it's adequate to inform prospective bond buyers of all the material facts surrounding the county's finances.

The other legal question that's come up is whether the commissioners are using county resources to fight the pending ballot measure, in violation of state elections laws. They've hired a p.r. firm to spin the facts surrounding the Mystery Train, which is what the ballot measure is mostly about -- is that illegal? If it is, has Oregon secretary of state Kate Brown gotten around to adopting the rules that she previously bungled so that the elections laws can be enforced? Or has she been too busy with other things, like issuing press releases and running for re-election?

In any event, it's a bare-knuckles donnybrook in Clackistan now, and if the the politics down there take an even sharper turn to the right as a result of it, we won't be surprised. The crew running the show at the moment are truly asking for it.

Comments (16)

...in violation of state elections laws...

And if true, who exactly do we have to enforce it

Another great post by bojack.

One minor correction the Sept. election is on the 18th not 16th.

FYI to all.
The commissioners have put the word out for their mystery train supporters to show up at the public hearing tonight (or email in) and pile on praises to provide cover.

Special public meeting-Light Rail borrowing resolution 6 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 22
Room 409, Public Services Building, 2051 Kaen Road in Oregon City.

The new rush to pay TriMet before the vote and November elections is despicable.

If you can't attend this evening please send your thoughts to the BCC as described here.

"People who would like to comment but are not able to attend the meeting are invited to submit written comments by 5 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 22, by email to BCCmail@clackamas.us"

"the fact that the county's contract with Tri-Met has been the subject of a sudden renegotiation as of just last week"

Don't forget, politicians can re-negotiate deals, but voters can't. You explain that one to me.

I thought the whole reason this ballot measure was doomed was that once the commissioners decide, the county was bound. However, it looks like the whole is re-negotiable anyways.

I predict a "George Banks (Father of the Bride)" hot dog bun moment coming soon to a county near us.
I hope we all don't go to jail over something trivial.

I wonder to what extent Lynn Peterson has her hand in this. she was Clackamas County Chair prior to being selected as Kitzhaber's transportation guru at the state level. Her background is in transportation engineering and she was a planner for Trimet and loves all things train (and bike) related. Of course, there are all kinds of hands in this - there's no end to these arrogant and greedy scoundrels.

Said it before, I'll say it again. Needs to be in the state constitution - any government spending greater than $10 million (or whatever amount you want), or is an expansion or new service (something that does not already exist, like maintaining an existing road, or building a new school that directly replaces an old, obsolete building), should require a vote of the public that would be responsible for paying for it. If the entire state is on the hook for the project, the entire state votes for it. If it's just a city, the city votes for it.

No more of this unlimited power by a select few. Whatever happened to "checks and balances"???

Lynn Peterson is the ring leader behind all of this. Her shady intervention with TriMet, Metro and the county is absolute.

She is the epitome of the kind of public official who relies upon the shadow government they call "regional partners" to manipulate forward an unwanted and insane agenda.

It's not just the unwanted and un-affordable light rail boondoggle that will ruin Milwaukie an Oak Lodge/Oak Grove.

At the Park Ave. Station plan open house and both of the two McLoughlin Area plan public work sessions residents, by a wide majority, rejected the plans being forced upon them.
Residents are also outraged by the county's plans to buy and demolish the Elks Lodge (fabulous community center) to build section 8 housing.

The same kind of battle is happening elsewhere in the county and the commissioners are lined up with their government partners and against the public in every arena.

LO residents do not want the Lake Oswego Streetcar and Foothills Urban Renewal development scheme and would like a vote to prove it.
Damascus Residents do not want Metro's plans for their city and have voted to stop it.
Estacada voted to require Urban Renewal voting.
Boring wants relief from the "Green" takings attacks on their property rights.

On and on it goes.

The county commissioners are against the public in every battle.

Sample story:
Residents slam plan for MAX station
Angry crowd cries foul on proposal for McLoughlin area

Here is a previous well said by Jack.K


Milwaukie Mystery Train pushers never give up

"It's insane the lengths to which the county commissioners in Clackamas County will go to bring the soul-killing, bankrupting, billion-dollar-plus Tri-Met MAX train to Milwaukie (pop. 21,000). Now that they can't create or expand any "urban renewal" district to pay their $25 million share toward the thing without a countywide public vote (which they'd probably lose), the commissioners are apparently just going to promise to pay out of property taxes, straight up, without the "urban renewal" ploy. They say they want to issue "full faith and credit" bonds , which means the county would have to pay from any available source. Translation: property taxes."

Lynn Peterson learned well from her mentor Judi Hammerstad. I am sure JH is stirring the pot well behind the scenes.

The next step is for Clackamas county to pull out of Trimet all together, pulling the light rail operating funds with it.

Clackamas County could fund a far superior, countywide bus system, for a fraction of whats paid to Trimet.

Steve brings up an extremely important point: since TriMet and Clackamas Co. Commissioners are renegotiating an Agreement, they are jeopardizing their claim that the initial Agreement can't be ameliorated by a vote of citizens.

They have used this argument to claim that the likely passage to thwart funding for MLR doesn't apply because it is changing a prior Agreement.

TriMet and Clackamas Commission are fighting themselves. Have at it. The attorneys will enjoy it if TriMet sues.

Those strange little signs are starting to pop up in the same yards that sported the similarly strange little signs supporting the Sellwood bridge fee. These are small, plain white signs that say "Like Traffic?" That's all, nothing else. Is this related to the Mystery Train vote I wonder?

It's illegal for commissioners to confer and come to agreements beyond closed doors, is it not? So who authorized the county staff to go forward with the bond sale before the commission has voted on it tonight?

What "Rail Vote 3-401" and "K.W." said. Judie Hammerstad is the female equivalent of Dick Cheney. Pure malignant evil.

You should have started a pool for tonights cage match.
Guess how many Deputies are present and or how many times does Charlotte Lehan stomp out of the room.
Going to be an interesting evening.

Former Oregon City commissioner files new recall against Clackamas County Commissioner Jim Bernard by Yuxing Zheng, The Oregonian
Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 5:34 PM

Can somebody tell me if they see an email link on the Clackamas County Commissioners web pages?
I would not surprise me if they took them down at this time, since I would be flooding them every hour with demands to resign, etc.

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