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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 30, 2012 12:49 PM. The previous post in this blog was Lunch in Portlandia. The next post in this blog is Ellis McCoy pleads -- crazed gunman, acting alone. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Clacky commissioners: Bonds can't be referred to voters

The rogue county commissioners in Clackistan have released the official pitch for their rush-rush light rail bond issue -- the one they're racing to get closed before the special election on light rail on September 18. It's here. In it, the county says that it can issue the bonds without giving the public the opportunity for a referendum on the bond issue:

On August 28, 2012 a citizen filed a petition to refer the Order to county voters. The Order authorizes the Financing Agreement and the Obligations. The Order is not an ordinance and is not County legislation and is therefore not the kind of action that Oregon law authorizes to be referred to voters. Further, if despite this limitation the Order is placed on the ballot, it likely would not appear on the ballot until March of 2013, and in no event before the closing of the Obligations. If the Order appears on the ballot and the voters do not approve the Order, it would not adversely affect the County’s obligations under the Financing Agreement and the Obligations.

That's an interesting theory. Chapter 287A of the Oregon Revised Statutes lays out the procedures for issuing a "bond." In that statute, "bond" is defined quite broadly. The paper that is being sold here clearly constitutes "bonds." But somehow it's not subject to the bond issuance procedures required by state law? Because the county put the word "obligations" on the cover? We're no municipal law expert, but that sounds like somebody going out on a limb.

The county says it is selling the bonds next Thursday. We would expect the issue to land before a judge between now and then.

Comments (19)

Gotta railroad this puppy in the next couple of weeks. No one is stopping this debt train!

Oh for a state attorney general with some cojones...

Lots of railroading going on in our area now, the vibes must be shaky. 123 days left for the Sam/Rand agenda and shudder to think of their fast track! In pdx anyway, they usually can get that third vote, Fish is a handy one to step in line.

2012 Aug 29 Thursday 13:50 U (1:50 PM PT)

At the Birdshill CPO / NA community joint neighborhood meeting
on 2012 August 22 Wed 18:30 U (6:30 PM PT), we discussed
the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners (CCBC) hearing
occurring at the same time as our meeting. I later that evening
testified against the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail (PMLR)
agreement by presenting 10 resolutions in “gist” format expressing
concerns and actions with respect to the actions of the CCBC.

We are disturbed at two aspects: First the rapidity of the evolution
of bond instrument documents. Secondly and more so the frightening
capabilities demonstrated by the local government’s ability to
encumber the tax and fee base thereby place debt upon citizens.
By the clause “… full faith and credit …” without our knowledge,
direct voting participation on project committees and ultimate citizen
financial authorization expressed by measures at the ballot box.

Financial impact evidence is by the New York Times article published
on 2012 Jun 25 Monday, “With No Vote, Taxpayers Stuck With Tab
on Bonds”. If courts cannot be engaged in time then it is up to
citizens to take proactive action to inhibit the bond sale scheduled
for 2012 Sep 06 Thursday.

Thus the following actions are suggested, to publicly shame
rating agencies, bond sellers, and prospective bond buyers of the
“Clackamas County, Oregon Full Faith and Credit Obligations,
Series 2012” much as the South African Krugerrand became a
toxic financial instrument in the 1970’s and 1980’s:
1. Call Moody’s 212-553-0376 (Journalist Number).
Inform POLITELY of the risk to their reputation, remind them
US Congressional hearings can be called to “regulate” their entity
For debt encumbrances placed upon citizens without expression
by voted upon ballot measures.
2. Call Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP, 503.402.1320
Remind them POLITELY that a new Clackamas County Board
will more than likely hold public hearings on this matter in 2013.
3. Call Seattle-Northwest Securities Corporation, 503.275.8300.
Remind them POLITELY that a new Clackamas County Board
will more than likely hold public hearings on this matter in 2013.
4. Call Bank of NY Mellon Trust Company, N.A., 213.630.6408
Remind them POLITELY that a new Clackamas County Board
will more than likely hold public hearings on this matter in 2013.
5. Demonstrate at the “Trolley Trail” tree cutting by TriMet
north of US 99 E (McLoughlin Blvd) / Park Ave circa
2012 Sep 04 Tuesday (Details developing - Email).

Charles Ormsby (Skip)
Birdshill CPO / NA Chair 2012 – 2013
EM: birdhillcpona@gmail.com

Where is Ted Wheeler?

No surprise, but the LO Review editorial came out against Measure 3-401. Since Pamplin has a clear and direct conflict of interest, you'd think his papers would recuse themselves from opining about any light rail issue, but, then again that would require some modicum of ethical journalism.

The light rail cabal (including Pamplin and his minions) has intentionally intertwined itself into every useful public agency and institution, non-profit, and private corporation in the Portland region that directly affects all aspects of our daily lives. Corruption prevails unless we stop it.

By the way, those "Like Traffic? Vote No on 3-401" signs are up all over LO.

That lawyer for the Clackamas County Commissioners better have a good pair of tap shoes -- he'll need them in court.

"By the way, those "Like Traffic? Vote No on 3-401" signs are up all over LO."

Those aren't signs. If they were they would be illegally placed in the public rights of way.

They are educational lessons.

Uh-huh, this bunch of clowns is to be believed for the substance of the paragraph? Hell, I don't believe any one of them could write a paragraph that long without copying.

When you're desperate you can always use the "'cause I said so" excuse. Logic or dignity be damned.

By the way, those "Like Traffic? Vote No on 3-401" signs are up all over LO.

Sellwood and the bridge, too.

"if despite this limitation the Order is placed on the ballot, it likely would not appear on the ballot until March of 2013, and in no event before the closing of the Obligations"

After re-reading that, I understand the panicked rush on the commissioners part.

I'd still like to call them on their bluff - I think they're a bunch of paper tigers.

I think maybe somebody might want to check on edumacation of the CCBC Counsel, looks like maybe KMart is handing out law degrees again. Sound familiar Mr. Kroger?

I find it curious that the rating and underwriting companies would touch this.
How will their customers react when the bonds they just sold land in court AND the sellers / rating agencies knew about it?

I fail to see how MAX on the east side of the river affects traffic in Lake Oswego and West Linn, but I am at a disadvantage because I am only looking at a map.

I fail to see how MAX on the east side of the river affects traffic in Lake Oswego and West Linn

Because MAX is a regional asset to the livability to our growing compact urban environment and provides a valuable benefit to all residents of our region, even if it isn't directly in your neighborhood. MAX creates tens of thousands of jobs and has resulted in well over one billion dollars worth of new property investment - money that help provide better schools and urban services. Those benefits serve the entire region, they don't just stop at the MAX station. And those benefits reach Lake Oswego and West Linn, allowing those communities to thrive alongside the other communities directly served by MAX.

Suppose a judge never lets it go to court?

The Order is not an ordinance and is not County legislation and is therefore not the kind of action that Oregon law authorizes to be referred to voters.

The referendum process is available for any legislative act of a county (other than an emergency ordinance). A legislative act can take the form of an "order". Siiimilarly, if a city passes a non-legislative act in the form of an "ordinance" the referendum power does not apply. A court will look at the substance of the act, not the label.

The bond counsel can argue that the order authorizing those bonds isn't really a legislative act, but the definitive ruling will come from a judge. It is anybody's guess whether the courts will be able to review that question before the September 6th bond sale.

In the meantime the referendum petition was cleared to begin circulation for the March 2013 election. If the courts allow the bond sale decision to go before the voters (and it is turned down), those bond obligations would be as legally valid as the SSM licenses that were issued by Multnomah County six years ago - (void ab initio).

"Like Traffic? Vote No on 3-401"

I'm stil not getting the grammar on this one. I don't like traffic, so I should vote YES on 3-401?

I fail to see how MAX on the east side of the river affects traffic in Lake Oswego and West Linn, but I am at a disadvantage because I am only looking at a map.

It's because all of the developers live in Lake Oswego, so not building the toy train would directly impact their ability to siphon public borrowed money into their own bank accounts.

MAX creates tens of thousands of jobs and has resulted in well over one billion dollars worth of new property investment - money that help provide better schools and urban services.

That part of the new property investment that is in urban renewal districts doesn't produce money to provide better schools and urban services.


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