This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 20, 2006 8:03 AM. The previous post in this blog was Paper or plastic?. The next post in this blog is Cha-ching. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, January 20, 2006

The special today is pork

Lunch at the Benson yesterday: Homer Williams, Dike Dame, Mayor Tom Potter, Nancy Hamilton. The topic? How to pay for the aerial tram [rim shot].

They might have needed some Rolaids after that one.

Comments (28)

Interesting - Mike Lindbergh has never been thrown under the bus yet, I guess he is safe?

I guess that leaves little doubt about who pulls the strings at City Hall. Someone in a previous string mentioned about the Tram architect being fined, how about good old Vic, shouldn't the State Board of Engineering Examiners be asking him about a couple of provisions, like 820-0020 Rules of professional conduct.

Silly little provisions like holding the Paramont the Public interest, Issueing public statements only in an objective and truthful manner, avoiding impropoer solicittttation of Professional employment.

I watched my mentor put professional ethics over politics and watched that professional get the bums rush and not a cush job from a developer.

Homer and Dike had sold (or had a deal to sell) Trammel Crow Residential the land the Alexan Apartment Tower is or was to be built on.

Just imagine the conversations Homer had in reassuring TCR that the 10 year property tax exemption (abatement) was a piece of cake.

Homer was there giving testimony at the abatement hearing in favor of the mindless $10 million gift.
I imagine he had some choice words after the denial.

Of course the PDC had a pitch man there also making TCR's case for approval.
This is how it works around here.

We have the developers and ALL of the public agency staffers with our money arguing against the citizenry opposition.

In this rare case the bad and costly policy was rejected by a narrow 3 to 2 vote with Potter and Sten voting to give away the property taxes from this new tower for ten years.
With the public to get literally nothing in exchange for exemption this was one of the dumbest votes I can recall.

Throughout the entire Tram[rimshopt]-SoWhat process the city leadership, agency staff and developers have worked closely (public-private partnerships) to neutralize every single red flag and fatal flaw raised by neighborhood groups and individual taxpayers. (Public involvement)
While at the same time enjoying the Oregonian's endless promotion and support for the entire snow job.
Without blog's, (such as BoJack's) and the occasional piercing by WW's Nigel Jaquiss the run amok conflict of interest around here would have had PDC's Mazziotti and Hennessy joining Potter and Homer at the Benson.
Along with Vic Rhodes and Matt Brown of course, and the public side of the "public-private partnership" picking up the tab.

Who picked up the tab?

"Who picked up the tab?"

Bob Caldwell

Jack, I posted this in your other Post "Bring March Madness to Portland: (appropriate here)

"Jack, I think we will have "March Madness". I can't wait for the Pioneer Courthouse Celebration when SSSTOP the TTTRAMMM efforts succeed. CTLH (with their $789.67 in its financial kitty) and Homestead (don't know their kitty amount, but since a few more Doctors live up the hill from us in CTLH, it must be higher) will throw a hell-of-a-PARTY. Can you contribute?

March 15th is the date. "BEWARE the HIDES of MARCH!"

Jerry, as I've said before, there will be no cause for celebration regardless of whether the tram is built (waste of money, blight on neighborhood) or not (years of costly litigation). It's a sad chapter that I hope will never be repeated by the city government.

PDC advocates only for their special projects and urban renewal districts.

Portland's Bureau of Planning advocates on behalf of the project developer.

When neighborhood representatives advocate on behalf of their neighborhood, Mayor Potter characterizes them as "crybabies." (January 26, 2005, City Council Hearing on the SoWa Height Bonus Issue)

Too bad a CTLH rep wasn't at the lunch. They're picking up the tab anyway.

Jack, Sorry again about the triple comment disaster yesterday.
I'll make it up to you with a Portland Freelancer tip: Check out the editorial in the Oregonian about clean-money elections and think tram. Priceless and I hope you enjoy how I worked them over about it.
Bill McDonald

I wish all the back room log rolling between one project and another where likewise reduced to writing. At some point it would become as unmanageable as say the stories that a play boy (girl) was making to each of his (her) play things.

-- You lied to me . . .

-- No I didn't . . .

-- I said I loved you (. . . too).

-- So, where are my diamonds so that I know you are sincere?

(Is this a Petticoat Junction spinoff?)

Clean money belongs on the ballot. But if The O bigwigs hate it so much, it's starting to sound more appealing to me.

One ray of sunshine in the paper was Mayor Potter's tacit admission that big, publicly funded projects are wasteful. The editorial states:
The consensus on the City Council, led by the mayor, seems to be that Portland should rethink the kinds of projects that receive public help. Big, glitzy development efforts are out. Smaller public-private partnerships that smack of do-gooderism are in.

At least we won't be buying another baseball stadium or convention center hotel. I hope.

Don Smith

Nice shot by The Oregonian.

I was just going back in time, trying to get a handle on Sam Adam's confidence in his "shake up" of City Hall. Maybe somebody could help me out on this one. Unlike the other commissioners on PortlandOnline, Sam diverts traffic to his own site (would this have anything to do with keeping correspondence off the city server, where the public can request the records?). Unlike the city's website, Sam doesn't go into too much detail on his credentials, apart from his time as Vera's Boy.

So, let's look back at his campaign literature from 2004... He has a "Portland State; University of Oregon BA." Okay... Which school awarded the degree? What did he major in?

His "occupational background" was his 11 years as Vera's Chief of Katz, Director of Oregon Democratic Campaign Committee (?), "assistant" to Rep. DeFazio (which could be interpreted as something other than being an undergrad intern), and his time as a dishwasher at Mr. Steak. He should have just presented himself as "career politician."

No wonder Adams is so motivated to blame somebody on the Portland Aerial SHAM board. He can't very well blame the staff without pointing himself out.

Y'know, Jack, initially I was agreeable, but I've changed my mind.

If there is a major change in the tram *rimshot* project, I think there will be cause for celebration. Not for dodging the costs involved, but for the electorate of the city taking action and getting its elected officials to change their course, _based_on_the_interests_of_the_citizens_of_the_city_.

I personally think it would be tangible evidence from the council members that they had made a mistake and would act to remedy that mistake, while holding to a new standard of expectations about how the city might best spend its monies on public/private ventures.

I think that there needs to be an open discussion on what it is, and to what fiscal level we will support, tools like abatements and projects like the tram *rimshot*.

I think that the City of Portland has far more pressing problems than throwing money at a transport system that will never pay for itself.
Our existing public assets are eroding at an alarming rate. We need to focus on what we have, and construct a system to maintain and improve our existing infrastructure before we start adding new, and lately very expensive, drains on the overall system. I understand opportunity, but I don't understand taking misgiven opportunity and then willingly flogging ourselves with permanent penances for so doing.

Lastly, I think some level of government, outside the city, should be investigating the whole staff/contractor relationships in this and other city dealings. I wonder if there is not something criminal transpiring? What agency would be appropriate for an investigation of city corruption? The Oregon Attorney General's Office?

That's what I think should be happening. I think the withdrawal of the city from the tram project would be an excellent first step. I think it would be cause for celebration. It would show that everything that is done behind closed doors is not above public censure.

y'know, Weishapt, what was described sounded to me like a very angry man who's just had a vision sold him shown to be tarnished and false. A hallucination. A bad one. It's the sign of frustration. It shows he acted rashly, probably as a result of having a dream shattered. Hey, I'd be really pissed off if I finally realized that I'd been sold the "sizzle" and been played the patsy.

Thinking he could act to force the resignation of the PATI staffer.... That's dumb. Homer made concessions, but it was like he was slapping him and telling him to snap out of it. There's supposed to be time for an orderly retreat. Figure out....together...who's going to be the fall guy.

Everybody should be watching all the players. Has anybody thought back to that announcement that Brownie had gotten a job, in Arizona and California, with the Williams & Dame developers outfit? That happened just before the bOregonian put out the tram *rimshot* story.

I'm still holding my inPortland pull-out section from last week. It's got a cast of characters.

"outside the city, should be investigating the whole staff/contractor relationships in this and other city dealings. I wonder if there is not something criminal transpiring? What agency would be appropriate for an investigation of city corruption?"

That would be the Multnomah County Tax Supervising and Conservation Commission. All local government claims to property taxes must be approved by them. And a petition with ten Portland property owner signatures is enough for them to review a petition to deny a particular expenditure and potentially refer folks to the DA for prosecution, perhaps even denying the DA the option use to his prosecutorial discretion to not bring charges that are more than amply provable beyond a reasonable doubt.

Good luck getting them to take the bait. Their own inaction though leaves them, and all of Multnomah County, on the hook just as much as is the City of Portland.

One ray of sunshine in the paper was Mayor Potter's tacit admission that big, publicly funded projects are wasteful.

Yet next month they start tearing up more downtown streets for public transit.

Yet next month they start tearing up more downtown streets for public transit.

Touche'. Yeah, that's another boondoggle in the making. EVERY expert and group who has looked at this says it's a bad idea. Downtown groups are opposed. Citizens can't figure out why we need it. Therefore, it must be a "linchpin" project for downtown. The only reason to build transportation mall [rimshot] must be to divert attention from the aerial tram [former rimshot].

I for one am looking forward to a great fight this spring...

Don Smith

Y'know, Godfrey, the problem is just as I described... Career politician Adams... Career politician Sten... City insiders, just like Potter and Leonard, who have learned to play the game as an insider. I know people who have worked for the City of Portland for many years and the politics and shennanigans they describe never cease to amaze me. There's no wonder we have the ship of fools we do in city government. They all learn the game, learn how to suck it off the public dole, and make a career of it. How can you call what Sten and Adams are doing as "public service?" This is their livelihood, their profession, and it's not about the citizens of Portland who go to work in private industry and business, paying taxes to support their community. They have shown themselves to be the first on the bandwagon and the first to jump off when it stops moving their way. Potter and Leonard are no different.

Don Smith:

Maybe they're considered "crybabies" too?

Yeah, the transit mall has been such a boon for downtown business. Just ask Meier and Frank (now Macy's). Ever since the transit mall went in, M&Fs sales dropped. The downtown store was one of their worst performers. Not to mention the transients sleeping in their display cases.

Funny, Chicago's Magnificent Mile (Michigan Ave) is loaded with high-end retailers, but it's on a standard, 6-lane road. No transit mall was needed to attract business and customers.

""""At least we won't be buying another baseball stadium or convention center hotel. I hope.Don Smith""""""""""""""

Everyone needs to understand and scream bloody murder about how massive the waste and detriment will be with the Transit Mall.

Tearing up the full length of downtown where perfectly good streets and sidwalks exist in order to put in more light rail and streetscapes is as irresposnioble as it gets.

The only way this project is approaching becasue of the same tactics of misrepresentation as the the Tram and SoWa.

Where are all the meth addicts and spanger's supposed to hang out during construction? The City that Begs certainly won't leave them weaving in and out of all that heavy equipment.

The rest of the central city better prepare themselves for the flight to higher ground.

Better yet, the city could hire them to hold up "we love the TRAM" signs at area on-ramps and intersections. Why let Homer and Company enjoy all the lucrative contracts?

So now Mr. Rhoades says we should of had an engineering study done before the tram design competition? (The Oregonian, Jan 21) How nice. Wonder why, with all his experience, he didn't suggest this back then?

Correct this if it's wrong. Former PDOT Director, Mr Rhoades has a consulting contact with the PATI Board. He tells the board, and City Council, that $15.5 million is the cost of a tram. His consulting firm is owned by Williams and Dame. Mr. Dame sits on the PATI Board. The then Commissioner Jim Fransesconi sits on the PATI Board and the City Council. Matt Brown, PDOT Tram Project Manager advises both the PATI Board and the PATI CAC insisting $15.5 million remains the tram cost. Mr. Brown now works for Williams and Dame.

In the meantime, the Discovery Center opens up, advertising $600+ per square foot condos on "The Riverblocks at South Waterfront" stating "via TRAM: Getting there is more than half the fun."

It might be time to make it even more fun. If the cost overruns continue to rise, then those increases should be the responsibility of the private stakeholders involved in the South Waterfront Central District, not the general taxpayer. And not PDC or OHSU. That involves more taxpayer money.

Furthermore, it might be time to request a State Attorney General investigation to determine if taxpayer fraud is involved,and if so, file charges.

request a State Attorney General investigation

Hardy Myers investigate a Neil Goldschmidt scam? Don't get your hopes up.

Is it Hardy Meyers or Hardly Matters? I thought he died?

Shadow is correct on the "strings" involved in the incestuous PATI Board. There are more players that can be included in the "string"-like an architect who is benefiting from NM projects, etc.

State Attorney Hardy Myers should look into this regardless of his connects to Goldschmith. Will Commissioner Adams and Leonard be calling for such action like Leonard has done with PGE?

Jack, Steve, Godfry, et al.:

OK, so if the Mall Revitalization is a massive waste, how do a humble blogger and his followers make a big stink of it? Tiananmen Square-style protest, laying in front of the bulldozers? LTE campaigns to Oregonian and Tribune? Buddhist Monk style self-combustion? Seriously, what can we do to raise the level of outrage? I'm in. I'll march, write, call, cajole, whatever.

Give me an idea, and I'll get rolling on it.

Don Smith

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