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Thursday, February 28, 2013

SoloPower implodes

Another economic development fiasco for the Portland City Council: SoloPower, whose heavily subsidized factory in north Portland was supposed to create 500 jobs, is officially on the rocks:

Now it is looking to sell millions of dollars worth of equipment from its San Jose, Calif., headquarters. An online advertisement lists at least $5 million in surplus equipment from SoloPower. Silicon Valley Disposition, a San Mateo liquidator, is waiting for the final go-ahead from SoloPower, a company representative said.

A liquidator? Wow, that was quick.

The company, which state business recruiters won over in 2011, already has received a $10 million state energy loan backed in part by Portland funding and a $20 million manufacturing Business Energy Tax Credit that will pay $13.5 million in cash.

How did Portland taxpayers get into this mess? It was mostly the Sam Rand Twins' doing, but the Nurse, the Legend, and the Jellyfish all bobbled along:

A complete and total bust. Mayor Char-Lie, it's time to clean house at the Portland Development Commission. What's taking you so long?

And of course, the shadowy Oregon state energy department is in this up to its eyeballs. The people who brought you the Cylviagate scam were front and center pitching it all along. There's no hope for the governor ever scouring that place out, for obvious reasons, but it's too bad that we don't have any federal prosecutors in this state with the guts to start turning over rocks down there.

And finally, it's important to note who stopped the city of Wilsonville from getting sucked into this terrible deal: John Ludlow, currently the Clackistan county chair who's trying to fight off the Mystery Train to Milwaukie. The guy knows waste when he sees it.

UPDATE, 8:37 a.m.: This video from May 2011 is must-see TV (after the 15-second ad). But swallow all beverages before hitting play:

Comments (33)

Put another way, gov't employees such as city councilors and the PDC should NOT be acting as wanna be venture capitalists with taxpayer money.

VC is an EXTREMELY risky business.

The bureacrats should be focusing on CORE services. If the education system and basic infrastructure and well funded and maintained, businesses will be interested in starting, moving, and growing here.

If the education system and basic infrastructure and well funded and maintained

Knock it off! You're making my sides hurt, I'm laughing so hard. That will never happen in Portland. Never. It's all about the next real estate development.

Yet not even a mention of Solopower's problems in the local Willyville paper, or nod of thanks to the outspoken few who sent this crew packing. The O also seems reluctant to cover this angle.

Seems that even when the town's people prove the king has no clothes, our local news outlets shy away from reporting it.

Portland has turned into a kind of endurance test, where officials seek to determine how long the residents are willing to bend over and hold the position.

Nice line up picture. The only thing missing is the height chart in the background and the one way mirror for the witnesses.

"Number two... step forward... turn to your left..."

The hands tell the story.
The speaker here is giving the universal sign for, "That's right, I'm jerking you off."
Sam really is jerking off.
But the other 3 all have the exact same hand position. The same political body language. Their hands are saying, "We're not taking your money for a scam. No way!"

The guy on the right was laughing his butt off. He couldn't believe how stupid the Sam Rands were.

Here's a funny headline from less than two years ago: "Portland wins SoloPower." It's like winning gonorrhea.

Pay attention to what is going on down in Salem right now.
Looks like Hales wants to "redo" property tax. The city doesn't have as I recall 7 to 8 lobbyists down there for nothing.
Just what we need, more nails in coffin.
They must think the people here have an endless supply to give.

Repeal Measure 5? Let them try. It ain't gonna happen.

But it was "green" so no price is too high!

It's like the story about lavish tax credits for wind farms. Companies look at Oregon from the outside and think one thing: "Rubes."

But Jack, to quote Adams, "it is CUTTING EDGE gonorrhea"!!!!!!!!!!!

SUSTAINABLE gonorrhea!

Oh wait, that's herpes.

old slogan: The City That Works

new slogan: The City That Provides Welfare to Corporations and Increases Fees/Taxes on Current Residents

I see you've posted some pictures of people I'd like to invite to a "friendly" poker game. I might even send a cab for them.

Green OREgonorrea!!! An infection with seemingly no vaccine or cure

I need a couple of more panels for my off the grid cabin.
Maybe I will check out the Solo power going out of business sale.

One additional cost of these ventures is the harm they do to the pursuit of the next big idea. They reenforce a pervasive attitude that anything new is just junk science and that viewpoint is a trap as well. We should all be on the lookout for new science and applications - even just to invest in them. By the way, have you been reading about graphene? Here's a taste of the article:

Researchers at the University of California are developing graphene supercapacitors that can charge and discharge in a couple of minutes. The ability to discharge in a couple of minutes means that they are extremely powerful. More importantly though, these researchers developed a technique for printing graphene supercapacitors using a DVD burner.
The researchers dissolved graphite oxide in water and heated it with a laser from a standard DVD burner to obtain flexible graphene sheets. These graphene sheets are one-atom thick, yet can hold a remarkable amount of energy, while being charged or discharged in very little time compared to standard batteries.
Ultracapacitors have tremendous advantages over typical lithium-ion batteries, some of which are of paramount importance to the adoption of electric cars, such as their ability to charge in as little as 1 second, and last 20 years (easily, and with very heavy usage). While this technology could mean ever-smaller handheld electronic devices, the real beneficiaries could be electric cars. If supercapactiors replace batteries as the primary energy storage method on EVs, it could mean much faster charge times, and much longer range. This graphene sheet method could also make EVs a lot more affordable, thanks to this cost-effective method.
Will supercapacitors save the electric car?

What I think we should guard against is using these clunky solar panel failures to mock all new scientific breakthroughs in energy. What if this is like the early days of the automobile industry where there were dozens of companies before a few broke through?

Maybe one of these companies will find the silver bullet here. Let's hope so. Oh, and I bet if they do, they won't have to ask politicians for a handout. The venture capitalists will be all over it.

Sam Adams was right. This is not your grandparents' solar power - it's the ignorant dumb-asses' solar power. You know the ones that think there is a free lunch and no price to pay for spending taxpayer money on boondoggles.

Jack - i propose you assign a new codename to the SamRand Twins. Further, you should expand the coverage to include not just those who raped, pillaged and left, but the entirety of the current City Council as well since it is maintaining the "glidepath" of the SamRand spinout and crash. I propose the new codeword be:

The Unindicted.

California has genuine science and technology, so does the Seattle area. What we have here are scammers, their political enablers, and their naive victims.

I just had a profound thought. I knew one would hit before the end of the month:

What if the new graphene supercapacitors make light rail electric trains obsolete on the pollution and electric wire front? You could have electric buses with enough range to cover a city - buses that could recharge in a short stopover no longer than the ones they take now.

There has to be a price when we commit so much investment to technology from 1938. We could be building the Northwest's first Interstate Train Museum here.

Graphene. It could be the next big thing.

Best lines:

Harris:"We're on a very strict timeline ..."

Mayor Knapp: "I am disappointed..."

Ludlow: "We didn't want to give them $ 11 million for free ..."

KATU's Dunn: "They'll be discussing this in Wilsonville for years to come..."

"already has received a $10 million state energy loan backed in part by Portland funding and a $20 million manufacturing Business Energy Tax Credit that will pay $13.5 million in cash."

So adding this all up, they got a $10M loan from PDC (or some shadow) which, safe to assume is gone.

They got $20M of tax credits they sold for $13.5M to generate bonuses, so $20M is gone.

So $30M missing, gee, I really hope they have enough left to build the streetcars and no-car bridge.

Can we ever get someone in govt who is not the Village Idiot on these deals?

With all of this Federal and State money being offered, I can't help but think of the movie "The Producers". Create a failure and pocket the cash when it closes after the first performance.

Can we ever get someone in govt who is not the Village Idiot on these deals?

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I think the problem is that being an effective politician is a thankless job if you are doing it correctly.

Unfortunately, the sort of people who are enamored with running for office have the need to be thanked on a regular basis.

"The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they know about what they imagine they can design"

--Friedrich von Hayek

Someone has replaced your video with a 1960s rendition of Wild Thing by the Trogs.

Nice to see them all holding their hands clasped where they'll do the most goood.

Yeah, y'know, but it don't smell like Enron.
Let's hope they recover some investment capital by selling off the outdated fabrication equipment, making way to work in next-generation fab.

Science News

New Fabrication Technique Could Provide Breakthrough for Solar Energy Systems

Feb. 27, 2013 — A novel fabrication technique developed by UConn engineering professor Brian Willis could provide the breakthrough technology scientists have been looking for ... that relies on incredibly small nanosized antenna arrays that are theoretically capable of harvesting more than 70 percent of the sun's electromagnetic radiation and simultaneously converting it into usable electric power.
Through atomic layer deposition, Willis has shown he is able to precisely coat the tip of the rectenna with layers of individual copper atoms until a gap of about 1.5 nanometers is achieved. The process is self-limiting and stops at 1.5 nanometer separation.

The size of the gap is critical because it creates an ultra-fast tunnel junction between the rectenna's two electrodes, allowing a maximum transfer of electricity. The nanosized gap gives energized electrons on the rectenna just enough time to tunnel to the opposite electrode before their electrical current reverses and they try to go back. The triangular tip of the rectenna makes it hard for the electrons to reverse direction, thus capturing the energy and rectifying it to a unidirectional current.

Impressively, the rectennas, because of their incredibly small and fast tunnel diodes, are capable of converting solar radiation in the infrared region through the extremely fast and short wavelengths of visible light -- something that has never been accomplished before.
Related Stories

Solar Cell Degradation Research to Have Impact On Solar Panel Industry (Oct. 11, 2012)

2012: Killer Solar Flares Are a Physical Impossibility, Experts Say (Nov. 11, 2011)

New Solar Product Captures Up to 95 Percent of Light Energy (May 17, 2011)

Engineers Give Solar Power a Boost (Jan. 13, 2011)

Natural Solar Collectors On Butterfly Wings Inspire More Powerful Solar Cells (Feb. 5, 2009)

NASA Deciphering the Mysterious Math of the Solar Wind

Well let's hope that long-running NASA boondoggle gets its tax-money collection panels folded shut, too; stop wasting all the public tax revenues on junk science and get back to world domination, invading oil countries and murdering their populations ... for 'black gold.'

The Times They Are A-Changin' by Bob Dylan
... admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
For the times they are a-changin’

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
... the loser now will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
For the times they are a-changin’

The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’
Copyright © 1963, 1964 by Warner Bros.

Can someone please calculate the number of jobs that were lost in Oregon (of course we have to include the multiplier effect) because of this boondoggle?

No jobs were LOST. Just MONEY was LOST... well maybe "LOST" is not the right word. We know exactly where it went.

But JOBS were created. Unfortunately they are all in the public sector and have job titles that include some combination of the following terms:

"sustainability, planning, concept, visioning, place-making, destination, vibrant, potential, infrastructure, community, transformational, process, inclusive, paradigm, potential, global, or reconfigure".

Jack: You do realize the Federal government is never going to prosecute any of these people don't you? That's because we have both a President and Attorney General that only go after people that break laws they feel should be enforced. And anyone doing anything "green" is off-limits for prosecution. If you think otherwise; consider the complete lack of prosecution of any of the principles in Solyndra going bankrupt.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
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Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
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Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
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Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
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Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
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Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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