This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 21, 2011 10:46 AM. The previous post in this blog was Adams and Fritz: We created 1,900 jobs in Portland. The next post in this blog is Oregon government "ethics" on parade, cont'd. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The charter change comedy club

As noted here before, Portland currently has a charter revision commission in session, and it has the power to refer changes in the city's government directly to voters, without having to go through the five overlords on the City Council. One of the things the charter group is considering is a utility ratemaking board, which would have a say in the city's outrageous (and often outrageously misspent) sewer and water rates.

Now the City Council is debating setting up just such a utility board, apparently to try to pre-empt what the charter revision commission is doing. No doubt the council's version of the ratemaking board will be toothless.

If we were on the charter panel, we'd laugh and ignore the council's antics. But since the charter commissioners are council appointees, some of whom are probably looking for some sort of paying gig out of this, they'll probably allow themselves to be led around by the nose. Too bad.

Comments (5)

Utility Board have you reached your conclusion about water/sewer rates this year?

Yes we have.

Thank you. Please place them in the round file over there and our custodial staff will get right on it.

Truly hilarious. You'd only see this stuff in a satire film.

OMG did you see this yet Jack? http://schumer.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=333556&

Isn't this the guy that helped to bail out Goldman Sacs? And isn't it Goldman Sacs that hold the Water Bonds here?

Get rid of the commissioner form of government! Go to 15 small districts. Small enough for candidates to walk.

Howz that fer a start?

Evergreen Libertarian: Howz that fer a start?
JK: A good start.

Then we should require:
1. All city land sales to be as a result of sealed bids.
2. All city land acquisitions to be at a cost of not more than the lowest of three independent appraisals. Appraisers selected by lots from all registered appraisers in the city.
3. Prohibit city providing infrastructure for new development – that is the developer’s job. The city can take them over in exchange for property taxes when development is complete.
4. No one gets property tax abatement/lower rate for any reason except charitable organizations.
5. No one gets streamlined permitting process, fee wavers or special treatment of any kind..
6. No city loans to anyone.
7. No city resources of any kind to encourage development, or any other crackpot scheme.
8. Anyone who (or who’s close relative, business associate etc.) donates more than $50 to a city political candidate cannot do business with the city.
9. All city dealings with non-government entities shall be sealed bid for amounts over $10,000.
10. If there is only one (or less than 3 or 4??) bidders on a project, procurement, or for sale item, the bid terms must be adjusted until there are enough bidders.
11. The city shall NEVER “partner” with business.

Then we can define the scope of city government:
1. Keep roads up to modern standards. Allow transit company to use roads at city’s actual cost.
2. Provide police and fire protection through competitive bids, with independently elected department head..
3. Provide municipal court??
4. Provide low cost water and sewer, with independently elected department head.
5. Provide system of putting residents in charge of zoning and land use planning their own neighborhoods. Must have secret ballot of all affected residents. Bill of rights for property owners. NO CITY PLANNERS ALLOWED.
6. Permitting process shall ONLY consider safety and item 5 above.
(Schools are not on this list because there are separate entities for this - PPS, David Douglas, Parkrose, etc.. But maybe government should not be in the schools business anyway.)

(Some may notice that there is no provision for city planners to do their mayhem.)

Here is list of current city goodies to developers: http://www.portlandfacts.com/developersubsidies.htm

Anyone want to add to this list?
Jack - start a financial reform page or topic?


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