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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 7, 2012 8:09 PM. The previous post in this blog was There's nothing so relaxing.... The next post in this blog is The end of the O, as told by Willy Week. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Portland school construction bond -- the new other white meat

The folks who are pushing a major property tax increase to rebuild a few Portland public schools are going through the same odd motions regarding campaign finance limits as the city's two awful mayoral candidates. Somehow this is supposed to make harried taxpayers lose sight of the pork barrel aspect of the whole thing. Good luck with that. Most people who can wrap their minds around the latest gyrations are smart enough to understand what "for the children" really means in Portland.

Comments (7)

It's easy to take the high road when the low road is washed out.

My guess is that the money bags who saw Liz Kaufman blow their money in the last campaign were not so willing to open their wallets for this one.

Question: if this thing were to pass, what percentage of it will be siphoned off for unrelated urban renewal projects, i.e, for purposes other than what people thought they were approving?

"...what percentage of it will be siphoned off..."

Well, given that these are always sold as "For the children", and then it all goes to the teachers salary, benefits and PERS, I'd say: 100%!!

I think the City's head-like arts tax is the absolute worst of the tax measures before Portlanders this November. About half the funding goes to the Regional Arts and Cultural Council (RACC) which already receives robust funding. The last IRS filing for RACC (2010) shows RACC's revenues have been climbing at a yearly rate of nearly 6% per year going back to '06. And the head tax would double its funding nearly over-night. The other half may be ineffective because the next time the School District puts itself in a budget bind, it and the Mayor can simply change what's funded, cutting arts and music once more.

I oppose the Library District but Portlanders (like my wife) love the library so much it isn't worth putting up a fight against this tax measure. Besides, the beauty of current constitutional limits on property tax rates means the library district will shift some existing government monies to the library district, reducing the cost to property taxpayers of this measure in the process.

I also oppose the new School Bond, but I don't plan to vigorously oppose it as I did the last one that failed by a few hundred votes in May 2011. I don't plan to write an Argument Against in the voter pamphlet like last time. I started out in December 2010 with the goal of cutting the property tax increase for the bond in half from $2 per $1k tax assessed value down to $1; and the new school bond measure comes pretty close to this goal.

But the Arts head tax-like measure has my entire political energy focus. It is a seemingly small amount but it establishes a beach head using "the children," from which this new regressive tax form can be greatly expanded later to include other city programs; in a city where the auditor continually tells cityhall it is overspending against revenues by significant margin, all the while the city fails to adequately spend to maintain existing city assets.

I've been hoping to get the Oregon Taxpayer Association to print yard signs saying: "No to the head tax"; but it doesn't sound promising getting any significant funding (we're talking $2k to $3k to persuade a margin of folks to vote No; enough maybe to defeat the head tax just as we did the last oversized school bond measure). (Actually there may be a good chance the head tax might be struck down as unconstitutional if voters were to pass it.)

Moving out of Portland is probably the only long term solution for those tired of frequent new government intrusions by city hall. A year ago, the city partially began enslaving its citizens by requiring them to spend a few hours each month separating out food scraps from their garbage all in an effort to save less than $1 per month in garbage bills and tout how green Sam Adams and crew are. Now it's city hall placing a head tax on most of us plebs so city hall and its close friends can have more court jesters, Trumpters, graffiti painters, etc.

Just returned from my dog walk around Bridlemile Elementary School. Workers are busy excavating an area in front of the school for a new concrete walkway leading from the street to the front door...which is exactly 15 feet from another walkway leading from the street to the front door.

No end to the way PPS can squander your tax dollars. I will be voting 'Hell, No!" on whatever measure they put in front of me.

Could it be that they are preparing the concrete for the children to park their bikes they "should" be taking to school now? Neighborhoods are being asked why aren't the children waking and biking to school and parents I talked to said because it isn't safe.
I suppose some of this has to do with obesity.
In my view, living in dense housing without yards to play in is part of the problem.
Children can play in a backyard all day and until dark
where parents can keep an eye on them.

What has Portland done with it's last three high schools that were built; Jackson, Adams and Madison? What exactly are we getting for $90 million to rebuild Grant? This is more than double what it cost to complete Corvallis High in 2003 when construction costs were comparable if not higher than they are today. PPS has a dollar figure in mind but where are the plans and what exactly are the finish items to include?

Portland has a proven track record of failure. Throwing money into buildings appears not to be the answer. http://schools.oregonlive.com/performance/Portland/

In looking at the $18 million that was spent(just from the school district--this does not include other "partnerships") at Rosa Parks for a LEED certified Gold building it is hard to see that there has been a like return when this school ranks in the bottom tier for achievement. Since it was completed in 2006 it would seem that 5 years should be ample time to create some sort of positive learning environment. Too bad Gold Buildings continue to have Tarnished Achievements.


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