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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Two bad ideas (one dead)

The Portland City Council decided yesterday that it's not going to delay until September the special election for the seat being vacated by Commissioner Erik Sten. The election will take place as part of the May 20 primary, as was originally announced the other day.

That's a relief. But Sam the Tram and the boys seem determined to spend taxpayer money to finance candidates' junk mail and dinner hour phone calls in that special election, despite the facts that current city rules don't allow it and the race has already begun. They're hoping that the munchkins on the "voter owed elections" committee can still come up with some wiki-wiki way to blow a few hundred thou of city money to finance the politicians' campaigns in that contest. All over a seat that will be occupied for only around two years before it has to be filled all over again.

We already spent a bunch of tax dollars on that seat back when Sten was coasting to re-election two years ago. Not only did the taxpayers foot the bill for Sten, but they also financed the living expenses of one of his opponents, who obtained the "clean money" based on fraudulent documents and then spent a bunch of it illegally.

Haven't we burned enough six figures for now? Is there really a pressing need to microwave up a quick "system" to blow more? The bad smell alone is reason enough to make that idea a nonstarter. As Fireman Randy noted:

...Leonard said it was "beyond repugnant" to consider changing rules during an election period, a time he called "sacrosanct." The committee should draft special election financing rules only after the election has passed, he said. Otherwise, Leonard said, "it looks to the general public that we are somehow putting our finger in the elections process."
No kidding.

For heaven's sake, let's give the city treasury a rest on the Opie seat until 2010. Use the 300 or 400 grand toward fixing a few potholes.

Comments (10)

Apparently 300 or 400 grand isn't needed to fix potholes. If Sam the sham get his way the new fee attached to sewer bills will cover all costs of road repair.

plus, according to the article, continue wasting money for more of the same pet projects.

-- "would also pay for improvements to nearly 30 high-crash intersections, installation of 20 miles of sidewalks and 50 pedestrian islands, creation of 114 miles of walking and biking boulevards, and synchronizing of traffic signals on 26 corridors.

Jack, (300 or 400 grand) Can the city even fill one pothole with that little amount in Portland any more?

This is all about giving Brendan Finn (Saltzman's staffer) a fighting chance against Fish.

But no hard feelings, right?

The business community in Portland seems like a bunch of lackeys. First they protest this new street fee, threatening to put it on a ballot, and now they are singing its praises according to paper and television reports. As for me, I might be able offset some or all of this new fee by taking advantage of the storm water discounts like trees and downspouts. Maybe there's other free city services that can be had to counter this cityhall move. Jack be nimble, Jack be quick. There's the Couv and Washington at large as a lower tax abode as a longer term plan. Heck Washingtonians just successfuly turned back, and then some, recent property tax increases. Northwest Pipe saw the light and is moving from PDX to the Couv. Then there's Freight Liner fading away from PDX.

Can Leonard even say the word "sacrosanct" with his sanctimonious tongue so far in his cheek?

Actually, both the Portland Business Alliance and the city's Small Business Advisory Council have been on board with Adams on the street fee the whole time. The outfit that is in opposition are the gas station and convenience store folks.

That being said, I don't think we need the street fee. They need to revisit the use of the cable and franchise revenue stream... currently 65 million per year.

They need to revisit the use of the cable and franchise revenue stream... currently 65 million per year.

Heretical, reactionary and radical (and whatever other adjectives you'd like) as it sounds, what "they" need to revisit (or, more accurately, discover) is prioritization of spending.

The shell game won't last forever.

The notion that basic reform is impossible or unrealistic gets a warm reception from any bureaucracy - it's just depressing to hear you in the bleachers, Dave.

...unless I misconstrue your comment.

I thought I remembered something in the Admin Rules about Special Elections. For what it's worth, City Admin Rule ADM-2.20 says:

2. Special Elections and Vacancies.

a. If a vacancy occurs in the office of Mayor, Commissioner or Auditor a special election shall be called following the provisions of City Charter Section 2-206 and City Code Section 2.08.160.

b. After the special election date has been set, the Auditor will establish a schedule for the administration of the Campaign Finance Fund program during the special election including:

1) Exploratory Period;

2) Qualifying Period;

3) Fund Distribution Schedule; and

4) Reporting Schedule for Non-Participating Candidates and Independent Expenditures.

c. The Auditor shall publish the schedule to the City Elections Website and notify all candidates of the opportunity to participate in the Campaign Finance Fund and the procedures for compliance during the special election.

I sure hope Randy gets his duct tape out and secures the "voter owned elections" committee and spray paints their meeting room with a "SACROSANCT NO!"

"beyond repugnant"

What the hell is that supposed to mean? What is beyond repugnant, anyway?

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