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Monday, August 6, 2012

Speaking of a bad garbage smell...

... a reader sends along this troubling missive from Lake Oswego:

Observations after viewing of the LO City Council Meeting on TV on Friday night. Your post on the summertime odor of the compost cans in Portland reminded me of this. Every time I think we aren't in as deep as Portland, something comes along to shake me up -- again. This is one of those times.

At the July 31 LO City Council meeting, a representative from our garbage franchisee, Allied Waste spoke to the council about renewal of their 10-year contract with the city. However, the current contract doesn't expire until 2014. Councilor Mary Olson questioned why the topic was coming up now, two years early? Why not next year sometime? After all, what was the rush?

Allied Waste of Lake Oswego (a subsidiary of Republic Services) at first explained that they needed to know the business would be there before they ordered expensive, new trucks. But when pressed, the rep said she wanted to deal with the current council rather than start a new relationship with a new council next year when four out of seven positions will be new members to the council.

The council discussed the timing of the request for a while, with the usual suspects wanting to move ahead and entertain talks of a renewed contract that could be completed by year's end. The term is 10 years and is worth about $70 million over the life of the contract. Mayor Hoffman and Councilor Donna Jordan and some young smirky "staff" member were quite giddy about the prospect of new, "cutting edge" waste disposal and composting. LO already has food waste recycling for restaurants in the city, so it is no stretch to see what they want to do to the rest of us while they still have the majority.

This is a win-win for Allied Waste and the stack-em-and-pack-em, streetcar, Williams & Dame, sustainability and urban renewal members of the council. AW gets ten more years of business without going through a sticky bid process, and the politicians get to push their agenda onto an unsuspecting and unwilling populace. What a deal! What a down-right rotten deal, that is. It stinks even before the first piece of chicken flesh hits the inside of a big green can.

Hmmmm... small town... garbage contract... irregular procedures... Is the reader right in being concerned?

Comments (14)

What's worse, a no bid contract or a contract given after latent price fixing, contractor collusion and lack of competition?

That's what you get for not jumping into the idea of a trolley to LO. If you had you'd most likely be stench free. As an example one only look at Lents not wanting a kickball stadium they now have a composting center.

Actually, they didn't want a baseball stadium. But you're right -- it's another instance of Randy's revenge.

Makes me wonder about regional meetings and plans deciding what to do about the garbage issue ahead of any public input or involvement.
A food waste plant of sorts has been approved by a hearing officer to be put on the Stafford Road area next to a school. I believe there is a movement by the people to appeal this.
In my opinion, people are kept so busy reacting to the problems brought about by city/political policies that there is little time or energy left to focus on visioning positive for our community. That then leaves the "visioning" for the planners and it isn't always positive thus the vicious circle of reacting continues. We need a moratorium on plans made for us and time for true engagement of the people, by the people, for the people.
A good place to start would be meetings without policy makers and staff there controlling the conversation.

It's an ancient military doctrine published formally in 1996 known as "shock and awe".

Am I missing something? I thought that Councilor Donna Jordan was behind the no-streetcar for LO and the pro-voter loot rail measure in Clackamas County?

LO Councilor Donna Jordan is a clone of the Sam Adams-Vera Katz breed of electeds and a big tyrannical supporter of all things rail and urban renewal.
She should not be in any elected office or participating in any public policy making,

Max - Donna Jordan is an ardent supporter of rail transit and all smart growth planning ideas. The link below is to a My Turn column she wrote for the Oregonian last June titled, "Lake Oswego streetcar proposal has more support than you think". As far Ms. Jordan is concerned, the majority of LO citizens are just malcontents who don't know what is best for them, so she has to substitute her judgement for ours, and she doesn't mind letting you know in the most shrill, unpleasant way. In the 2010 election, she was supported by Lynn Peterson, then Clack. Co. Chair (see voters' pamphlet). Jordan is also the Clack Co. Rep for JPACT at Metro - need I say more? As part of the Gang of 4 who are subjecting this town to a boatload of debt and development on steroids (Foothills, the LO's Next Great Neighborhood!), she is part of the program to rush any and all unpopular decisions before the council while they still have 4 votes locked in.

Here in Portlandia, we get an endless cycle of beer, arts, and music festivals accompanied by feel-good P/R flyers to keep the populace distracted and complacent.

I must have confused her with somebody else, there. Thanks.

Uh-oh. I was afraid something like this was in the works for LO, back when I mysteriously got a copy of that Portland "composting" newsletter in the mail several months ago.

Actually, Phil, if the streetcar plan had not been "suspended" (for now), thereby forcing the Foothills development plans to be scaled back (for now), we'd be facing even more housing density (bunkers) in that area which would provide even more garbage (& composting!) pickup customers for Allied Waste.

Re: the link posted by Nolo, see below for my response to Donna Jordan's 2011 My Turn piece, which she also published in the LO Review. Unfortunately, archived comments in the Oregonian are now cut off (they must have a word limit now) and archived LO Review comments are now unavailable, so here are my entire comments under her piece as they appeared in both papers. It's rather lengthy, but says all you need to know about the loud-mouthed, condescending Donna Jordan. It's interesting to note that not one person came to her defense (in either paper) after I posted these comments.

We missed, by 500 votes, getting her off the Council in 2010, and hopefully will have better luck next time around.

"Oh, pooooor Donna Jordan. I understand completely how you must feel, Donna. Remember the days of yore when there were no sensible, rational, intellectually honest voices of reason and fiscal responsibility or independent thinkers on the City Council? How you must long for those bygone years when there were no Council members asking annoying, probing questions, or offering any alternative suggestions or opposing opinions, or demonstrating sound fiscal judgment! Those were such pleasant, stress-free days!

Those silly (I believe is the word you like to bellow, Donna), contrary opinions and voices just muck up the works and now delay your rubber stamping of whatever fiscally irresponsible idea, project, or real estate purchase proposed by the Mayor or your fellow stampers. Now you’re forced to actually read your packets and justify your votes and that’s sooooo unfair because, after all, Council actions taken by you should not be questioned by these icky new people who were elected by those pesky, malcontented citizens! That’s not “representative government”! Why don’t they just buzz off and let you do what’s best for, you know, you?!

And it must be so much more difficult for the Mayor because he now has to spend more time colluding with you three remaining sycophants as well as writing the motions for, um, shall we say, one of the more “limited” Councilors, to present. Can’t these annoying new Councilors understand that meetings moved along much faster when former City Councils were in sync and all voted unanimously regardless of what the majority of Lake Oswegans wanted, or even how it negatively affected a minority of citizens?

How dare these malcontents elect new Council members that question and counter the self-serving, half-baked ideas of those who have been running this town for over ten years. I mean, City management decisions have been extraordinarily responsible and competent, and financially you’ve done a jam-up job, right? Everything was going along just swimmingly until these three interlopers came along. They clearly just represent all the unimportant people in town who you used to regularly dismiss with impunity! Now there’s all this, you know, tension and disharmony on the Council! Waaaaahh, waaaahh, waaaaahh!!

Unbelievable. Donna Jordan, you have colossal gall. To set the record straight, you, Jack, Bill and Sally are just as much to blame for any “disharmony” on the Council. In fact, even more so, because of your patronizing, arrogant, dismissive attitude. If any person has raised the decibel level at City Council meetings, it’s you, Donna. Next to Jack Hoffman, you are the most obnoxious and rudest person on the Council and by far the loudest and most strident. Mary Olson has simply had to step up her game in order to defend herself and her positions from constant sarcastic remarks and snarky attacks from you and Jack Hoffman, which she has every right to do. Furthermore, who appointed you the arbiter of Council behavior?

As for your dishonest and condescending opinion piece, lady, you are truly a piece of work. First off, you seem to think that just because “for 15 years, surveyed citizens of Lake Oswego have voiced their support for a streetcar between our city and Portland” that they are somehow obligated, in the economic mess “our city” now finds itself and with the full knowledge of what your little pet project is likely to cost, to just blithely go along with the program. I’d suggest you take a Logic 101 class at the local community college.

Next, you falsely assert that “Councilor Mary Olson has chosen to only represent a contingent of people, privately funded and professionally organized, who do not want a streetcar.” Every Lake Oswego citizen should be seriously concerned about this statement because you are either both grossly and negligently ill-informed about local citizen opposition to the streetcar, or you are just a blatant and deliberate liar. It is my opinion that you intentionally published, with malice aforethought, a statement about a fellow Council member that you knew to be a falsehood and you should be immediately removed from office. At the very least, you should be censured by the entire Council.

As for your assertion about a “privately funded and professionally organized” contingent of people, what’s your point, Donna? Are you seriously suggesting that people in this country don’t have a right to organize a public policy organization and to seek private funding, or that there is something nefarious going on if a group of people choose to do so? Yet another reason you are unfit to hold public office and should be removed from the Council forthwith.

There may be such a group in Dunthorpe. So what? They have every right to organize to any extent they want and to fund their opposition however they wish. The streetcar proponents are well funded and professionally organized, with powerful political support, but the opponents aren’t allowed to be? The professionally organized proponents in Portland, Lake Oswego, Clackamas and Multnomah Counties, and at Metro have been working together for years on this self-serving, financially risky project, but opponents in neighboring Dunthorpe can’t talk or meet with like-minded people in Lake Oswego?

No such “professionally organized” anti-streetcar group exists in Lake Oswego and you surely know that. There is, however, a very organized, well funded pro-streetcar group in town called “Next Stop Lake Oswego.” In the weeks leading up to the public hearing, this group ran several expensive newspaper ads listing all their supporters, but somehow couldn’t get these same “supporters” to show up for the hearing. Can’t blame them; I’d also be embarrassed to be publicly affiliated with this worthless, pork-laden boondoggle. One imagines that the list of “supporters” is becoming shorter by the day.

There is a small “amateurishly” organized group of anti-streetcar Lake Oswegans, but overall opposition in town is anything but a small contingent of citizens. And those of us who exercise our right to express frustration with being routinely dismissed, ignored, and demeaned by the buffoons running City Hall are sick of being derisively characterized as the “loudest” voices. If we are eventually forced to become “professionally” organized and “privately” funded in order to “take it to the streets,” I think there are many people in Lake Oswego who are becoming frustrated enough to do just that.

This seems to be the new meme, the latest “strategy” by the streetcar proponents: make accusations and insinuations about “private funding” and “professional organizers” and “lobbyists” being used by the streetcar opposition. The despicable and nauseating Judi Hammerstad tried the same disingenuous tactic at the Country Club “streetcar debate” by trying to smear Len Bergstein for being a - gasp! - lobbyist!! It took Mary Olson to stand up and point out to those in attendance that the proponents have been paying a lobbyist, with our tax dollars, no less, for years.

You see, this is how cynical and contemptuous they are of the citizens they supposedly represent. They assume we’re ignorant and uninformed of the facts surrounding this steaming pile of pork and incapable of comprehending the complexity of the many reeking conflicts of interest and corruption.

As is typical with people like Donna Jordan, she conveniently doesn’t mention the additional $335,000 that Lake Oswego taxpayers will now be forking over to pay for the “detailed list of conditions to be explored before moving to the much more expensive and involved preliminary engineering phase.” She disingenuously states this as though the list of “conditions to be explored” has little to no cost associated with it. Also, she states that “value engineering” is “not unusual.” Well, “value engineering” is not necessarily a routine occurrence, either, Donna, if public infrastructure projects are sized and cost-estimated in an honest and responsible way to begin with.

As for all the so-called “fear-mongering opponents” (another negative, disrespectful and demeaning label for the citizens that Councilor Jordan represents), I’m sure you’ll understand, Donna, given the sad state of affairs we now have in Lake Oswego as a result of years of fiscal incompetence and lies, if we are loathe to believe or trust anything you and your Council buddies say about the proposed plans for Foothills development, your reassurances notwithstanding."




Hi Max, I think you were thinking of me, not Donna.

Mary, thanks for the clarification! I thought there was somebody sane on the Council; I apologize for mixing up the who's-who.


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