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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Your library district vote already at work -- building bike lanes

When it comes to perverting the will of the taxpayers, nobody does it better than the local politicians in Portland and vicinity. The Clackamas County commission will take the prize for this year's biggest outrages in that regard, but the Portland City Council is deserving of a lifetime achievement award. And ever since Ted Wheeler left town for Salem, the Multnomah County commission is stepping right up to join in with the egregious weasel moves.

Yesterday gave us the perfect example. In the morning we learned that the new county library district had passed -- guaranteeing that the library would have stable funding. The voters wanted it that way, even though it meant diverting funds from Portland City Hall under the byzantine feature of the Oregon property tax system known as "compression." To us, the steering of funds away from the city's pet project factory was a good idea; it might force the cartoon characters on the City Council to stop building a fantasy theme park and get back to providing basic services, which are being sorely neglected.

But by afternoon, the whole picture had changed, as county chair Jeff "Farquaad" Cogen suddenly broke the shocking news that he had decided essentially to fork over $12 million to the city to make up for the city's lost tax revenue. It's being cast as a reduction in the city's share of the cost of fixing the Sellwood Bridge, but of course that just means more money for the city's transportation bureau to blow on frivolous junk like a bicycle-gaga "road diet" for the main drag through the Lloyd District.

Is Farquaad kidding? This is the Multnomah County government, which is supposed to be doing something about the army of mentally ill people wandering the streets and making downtown unpalatable to anybody with eyes and a nose. Now that it's out from under the library, does Cogen allocate more funds to addressing that problem? Of course not. He hands over eight figures to the Portland transportation children. What a sellout. And was there any public input on this? Little or none. The arrogance is breathtaking.

Worst of all, Cogen prattled on about "cost savings" from this and that, bragging that with the county's good credit rating, it can run out and borrow more money at cheap interest rates. Borrow more money -- as if it were free. It's the same sort of mindless drivel that regularly pours from the mouth of Portland's creepy mayor. Portland's in serious trouble, and make no mistake -- Cogen, who's also sold out to "urban renewal," has become a big part of it.

Meanwhile, our vote for the library taxing district apparently just helped Portland City Hall build some more bike lanes. Quite an achievement.

Comments (24)

For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why anyone thought the Library District was a good idea. At least with the current system, we the voters have the option on voting on the bonds every few years, thus at least having some *small* measure of oversight (in theory). Now the only leverage we have is GONE.

I guess it should come as no surprise.

Bicycling like light rail are religions here. Any chance 'they' get to steal money for their cults they will jump on it.

Most of the voters are not property owners hence they don't pay property taxes. What they don't seem to realize they are voting themselves a rent increase.

Every time I raise rents in my building I run I also tell them the reason, and its always the same reason-THE CITY OF PORTLAND.

"it can run out and borrow more money at cheap interest rates. Borrow more money -- as if it were free."

Jack, clearly you have missed the latest Leftist talking point - that is **exactly** their argument.

Because interest rates are low (for now), governments can borrow infinite amounts of money, without any future consequence. After all, that it what the capital markets are there for - to borrow more money.

You didn't see this coming? This is EXACTLY what happened a decade-plus ago when they had us pass the first library levy. I voted for the district because I wanted stable funding, but I also knew what the consequence would be. I'll admit I'm surprised they moved this quickly, however.

Endemic corruption is endemic.

Cogen is just setting himself up for Earl's seat whenever he decides to step down. It's such a safe seat that the only competition will come in the Dem primary.

Is "Farquaad" a reference to some historical figure or is it just slang for "FW"?

Last night on NPRs Fresh Air, I heard Terry Gross interview a longtime political analyst who just authored a book titled "It's Worse Than It Looks", wherein he discusses how American politics have sunk so low that for the most part, only career opportunists and fanatical idealogues seek political office anymore.

It ain't just here. America's in decline.

Isn't it nice when the people vote and the political class take the appropriate single-finger salute to our choice?

Cogen seems to be a particularly proud member of the single finger club.

Mr. Grumpy

That was Norm Ornstein.

Oops. Missed the embedded link... What's "FW?"

We have it particularly bad here because idealogues are in control and opportunists will play them and the public for everything they can to further themselves.


Thanks for the link. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Farquaad there is this quote:

'The name Farquaad is thought to be a way to get away with saying "f---wad" in a children's film.'

Just think about how many more $4k Big Belly solar trash cans Sammy can buy before he leaves with the 12 millllion bucks.

Ahhhh. I see. That is funny! Thanks, "reader." I must be getting old...

I wish there were a blog somewhere that follows the money and illustrated where funding actually goes, i.e, when the public votes to support their libraries, how much goes to the library and how much to what else? Same goes for PPS funding, "arts" funding, escalating utility rates, local taxes and fees.

Of course, someone would have to have access to all that information.

A road diet costs much much more than just the paint to make those pretty lines.
The increased costs to both private citizens and business due to the congestion caused are ugnored by the planner class.
How can anyone with a straight face claim that cutting the number of traffic lanes in half will improve transportation ?

How can anyone with a straight face claim that cutting the number of traffic lanes in half will improve transportation?

Isn't that what 'newspeak' is all about?

There aren't any plans to improve congestion, only to continue to increase it.

Jack, Bean's right by saying "You didn't see this coming?"

I posted such a few times when you blogged about the Library District. With your many posts about how government blends money, I'm surprised you supported the Library District and missed your own knowledge of our local government and it's players.

I didn't miss anything. I knew the county would screw around with the money. I'm a little surprised that they were doing it behind the voters' backs during the election, however.

I still think it's a good idea that the library has stable funding. I'm tired of having it closed at 5:00 and all day Monday.

Bobo - thanks for the info. about the Big Belly trash cans, I'd never heard of them. If there is something new under the sun, Portland has to have it.

Mr. Grumpy - most of the detail on budgets is made public during the budget committee process. It is difficult to follow even then because they hide so much of the good stuff. You think employee costs are high, but then never get to know how much is spent on consultants that are doing work the city doesn't need. If the Feds and the State could cut regulations for local governments by at LEAST half, no one would ever see the difference.

Clearly the only way to keep the pols from playing the shell game with tax money is to not give them any more money. The trust is gone baby. If my child misspent his allowance, he'd get no more allowance until he made things right for the "mistakes" he made.

"I still think it's a good idea that the library has stable funding. I'm tired of having it closed at 5:00 and all day Monday."

Well, yeah...a good idea. But I shall be interested to see whether these limitations change, or the new library district just becomes another tap for those bleeding the local tax revenues, and they are diverted to future widening of the bike paths and the like.

A stable source of funding is a stable donor of funds to the corrupt.

I think you're being as naive here as you were when you supported Hughes for METRO exec.

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