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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dear Nick Fish

I write you because you're the only one on the Portland City Council with a lick of common sense or credibility left. Nick, we read this, and we read this -- published the same day. What kind of mushrooms are they serving in City Hall?

Comments (13)

Go by streetcar!

$3,500 on a 1,300 SF pad.


Paid the same $ for double the SF in neighboring Wash county.

I wish I could sell my PDX property to get out from under these bloodsuckers.

Fire some people already.

Hopefully this means that Sam won't be able to get his hands on enough money to continue railroading Portland.

Maybe they will even have to cut off a developer or three.


Sorry JK, the left pocket (actual money from taxpayers) is the one with the fiscal emergency.

The right pocket (money we can swindle from the feds and new bond buyers) still has plenty of borrowing capacity yet.

We're not bankrupt until the credit cards are maxed out and we can no longer afford to make the minimum interest payments.

Sadly, I spoke with a Portland investigator (one of four who pursues I.D. thieves and financial fraud) last week who is concerned he may lose his job in the precint consolidation that has been proposed. Contrary to the news reports, its not just "supervisors" who will be lost if the Chief gets her way.

Interesting times indeed. How difficult is it to look at what they have and not what they do not have? Prioritize what is intrinsic and needed, and go forward.

Sensible leadership would surmise this without the aid of a study or more talk. Hiring and raise freezes, bringing management-to-line-staff ratios in line with the private sector, no more street cars, no more trains, no more trainings, no soccer stadiums, no more Chargers for the police. It does not seem too difficult as these are what common citizens are doing. Instead, the politicos use scare tactics and cut things that freak the citizenry out. Look back at what Multnomah County did what the iTax that voters foolishly approved. They expanded and spent the money, only to close the newly minted programs as part of the "sunsetting" of the tax.

I would appeal to someone specific in City Hall, but there is not a single entity there that is willing to take a stand and do what is right, irrespective of their political future.

At least there will be a bunch of empty condos to house all the out-of-work people in, that is if the federally owned "bad asset" bank purchases are allowed under TARP.

A "Confederacy of Dunces," indeed.

Let's fire about 95 percent of the city planners. Sure we'd have fewer charrettes, but this is a crisis. Right?

[BTW: I'm always tickled that "charette" and "charrette" are not in my computer's dictionary.]

The PDC should go starting at the top with Bruce Warner.

OK, I am confused now.

Last year, road repairs cost $450M and we needed a new tax to pay for it. Now we're cutting.

Then we get this quote in Jan:
"Some funding will come from the $900 million in reserves, bond funds and other financial holding the city has on hand."

Of course if it is a streetcar or stadia, no problem. When are people going to see Sammy McLiar for what he is?

Paulson said there's no deal on either site, though both are "operationally sustainable."

Too bad the city isn't....

GW:Charrette –noun a final, intensive effort to finish a project, esp. an architectural design project, before a deadline.

Nick's statement regarding Major League Soccer and AAA Baseball is pasted below:

"I’m a big soccer fan. As a proud soccer dad, I regularly attend University of Portland Pilots soccer games with my daughter. I think Major League Soccer would be a great fit for Portland.

Given the current state of the economy, however, I am concerned that Mr. Paulson’s proposal relies on substantial public investment ($85 million dollars), including revenue bonds and tax increment financing.

In these tough times, when many Portlanders are facing home foreclosures and job loss, I believe the City needs to focus on maintaining basic services and taking care of our most vulnerable citizens.

I’m also concerned about potentially negative impacts of a new stadium on the livability of the Lents neighborhood. The proposed baseball stadium would require as many as 3,000 parking spaces and displace community amenities, including sports fields for baseball, football, softball and volleyball, as well as picnic areas and a covered concert space. The current proposal does not adequately address replacement of these essential community resources.

Sports franchises have not always enjoyed a stellar track record here in Portland. Despite optimistic revenue projections, the last PGE Park owner defaulted on its payments to the City. As a result, the City is still paying off $28 million in debt on the 2001 renovations.

I am eager to find a way to bring a new business like Major League Soccer to Portland. However, I am not yet convinced that now is the right time to invest scarce public dollars in new stadiums."

Well, perhaps Council can get rid of at least 3/4 of the 50 new people Sam Adams recently hired with the title "Policy Adviser", especially all the unqualified ones like Amy Ruiz. 30 people at an average salary of $55k, with 40% FTE on top of it averaging about $25K, hmmm that would be a yearly savings of about $2,400,000.

Then, Council really should get rid of PDC. It's time. TIF can be administered in a different way, perhaps a way that is more transparent and actually makes revenue rather than costs the city revenue.

Other things? Get rid of anything with the word Sustainable in the title. Anything sustainable can, and should, just be folded into existing bureaus and job functions. I bet that would save the City a few million.

Make it mandatory that all brochures, mailers, etc. are on cheap paper and printed in black and white. I really don't need to see another wasteful glossy Open house or Charette invite. Ever.

Limit the ratio of "Managers" to other staff. When I worked for a certain bureau it was out of control - about 1 high paid close to 6-figure salary "manager" for every 8 - 10 production worker staff. That's ridiculous and dead weight, and extremely expensive for the City.

Get rid of the bench warmers, desk sleepers, out to pasture do-nothings. Just simply do a computer audit of people who play computer solitaire, chat online and surf the internet all day. I bet you could easily get rid of 30% of City Staff and no one would notice a loss of productivity.

Sell South Waterfront to the Chinese. They are lending the US money left and right right now anyway, why not get in on the action here in Portland. Also, the Chinese are used to crappy built giant high-rise tower neighborhoods. And trams.

Citywonker, while I agree with much of what you are saying, any city slackers (who have indulged in anything other than human sacrifice on the clock) will be as difficult to pluck off as ticks in high summer and harder to drop than that last 5 pounds of winter lard. They are all union members and the litigation alone would kill the city and crowd the courts.

Asking for printing mandates, however, is reasonable. I used to work in the printing industry and wince everytime I see full color, die-cut mailers arrive in my box from the city or from for-profit monopoly utilities. Postage is going up as well in May. The city should also look seriously into consolidating its mailings rather than sending them out separately and (often) in duplicate.

Unfortunately there is no "no taxpayer left behind" program for government workers . . . that's only for teachers.

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