Daily Archives: December 15, 2010

Clark County Commissioners to Turn Down Wage and Car Allowance Increase

No doubt reacting to a public outrage rarely seen today, all 3 County Commissioners, Steve Stuart, Marc Boldt and Tom Mielke have announced today that they will not accept the scheduled wage and car allowance increase mentioned HERE

The Columbian has the announcement HERE

Of note, after the increase was announced yesterday, over 100 comments have been posted on the papers website. Not one in support of the increase.

Citizens from all over the political spectrum, usually disagreeing on everything, came together in opposition and from what I hear, the county commissioners phone lines were lit up all day.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Washington Governor Gregoire, "Cancel the 2012 Presidential Primary Election"

In her ongoing quest to slash costs to the state, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire is calling for the 2012 presidential primary election to be canceled. Delegates to national conventions would instead be selected via caucuses.

Secretary of State Sam Reed, a Republican said, “I join Governor Gregoire in reluctantly asking the Legislature to suspend the 2012 Presidential Primary in Washington. Ever since the Legislature approved the presidential primary in 1989 as a people’s initiative to the Legislature, the primary has been a very popular way to engage average citizens, not just party activists, in the process of helping nominate candidates for President of the United States. But at the same time, we acknowledge that Washington faces a grave budget shortfall and that many important public services must be suspended or eliminated. Suspending this election will save taxpayers more than $10 million. Ordinarily, I would be the last to propose suspending an election, but these are not ordinary times and we all are looking for ways to tighten our belts and live within our means. I look forward to Washington resuming the presidential primary in 2016.”

Washington State Republican Party Chair Luke Esser disagrees saying, “Eliminating the presidential primary directly contradicts the will of the people as expressed by Initiative 99 in 1989, and it disenfranchises military voters serving overseas and many other voters.”

In 2008, State Democrats bypassed the primary election, choosing their delegates and nominating Barack Obama during their caucus. Caucuses are open to any interested, but are mostly attended by those most connected to their individual parties.

Read more at Seattle PI

See Secretary Reed’s full statement at Tri-City Herald

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Mr. Why: The Zero Should Pay Attention to its NEW Editorial

I read this editorial…

“Emergency radio network must be put on hold”

...and felt it needed editting.  The same reasons for a halt to OWIN are greater when aimed at halting MLR.

So I changed a few things.
 

Milwaukie Light Rail must be put on hold

Published: Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 4:01 PM     Updated: Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 4:06 PM
 
Yes, rail transit expansion will be compromised, but the responsibility lies with Transit leaders who turned the MLR project into a $1.6 Billion mess of a deceitful financing plan, reckless hurry and a cost they cannot afford. 

Lawmakers should not allow any more money to fall down the rathole that is the Portland to Milwaukie Light Rail project, or TriMet.

Call a halt to MLR, even though Oregon needs projects and jobs. Call off the planned sale of $100s of millions in bonds to pay for part of the project. And here’s the last call: A state struggling to pay for its basic services has no business proceeding with a public works project this tainted by deliberate deceit, inadequate funding and still no fed funding approval. 

Read all about it in the many stories and reports on how TriMet has pitched the project including misrepresenting the costs of the project to lawmakers, the governor and the public, understating the total cost and the federal match by more than $150 million.  TriMet officials circulated inaccurate and deceptive plans to convince legislators and the public they  were solvent and made more progress on funding than they really had. And when a Sheriff, Fire Chief and members of the public raised concerns, they were ignored.

Given all these revelations, not to mention the state’s financial crisis, it’s time to stop building MLR, a project we and many others have consistently supported over the years. Yes, agency and the state have already spent tens of millions of dollars on the project. Yes, there are gaps in the region’s MAX transit system that leave citizens without service every day. Yes, the federal government match would be lost. And yes, TriMet seems to have it heading to construction. 

Still, it is unthinkable that Gov.-elect John Kitzhaber, the 2011 Legislature or the public would respond to being flat-out deceived about critical aspects of TriMet and MLR by shrugging and handing over hundreds of millions of dollars more to the project.

When Kitzhaber and legislators consider their options, none will look especially appealing. The state can’t entirely abandon transit because of the need for service.

Our advice is to go ahead with the purchase of new buses — the cost for them is a few million dollars — but halt planning, building and spending on the Milwaukie Light Rail expansion to reconsider all the available options, and review what’s been done, and not done, so far.

In a state with clearly limited resources, we’ve never been fully persuaded that Oregon has no choice but to build another MAX line costing more than $1.6 billion dollars to ensure that transit users can use light rail instead of buses in another corridor in the region. There’s no doubt that a full MAX network would be nice. However, is it absolutely necessary?

We’d like to see lawmakers hold hearings to further explore that question and many, many others about TriMet and MLR. The Legislature should not release additional Lottery funding for MLR until lawmakers are sure, really sure, they have a handle on the project, and that it will be planned, built, operated and paid for in an affordable way.

 
You’re certain to hear that any delay in MLR will put Oregonian’s jobs at risk. But if anyone is hurt by a decision to delay the project — to start clean, as it were — the responsibility lies not with those who now demand accountability, but with those who broke the public trust.
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

$932,000 for Oregon State Investment Officers’ Bonuses?

On the heels of the outrageous news of Clark County Commissioners set to receive wage increases and car allowance increases, we see the Oregon Treasury “seeking $932,000 from the Legislature’s Emergency Board to cover bonuses for 14 investment officers who oversee the state’s pension fund assets.”

Oregon is hovering near 10% unemployment and other state workers face layoffs, furloughs and benefit cuts.

The investment officers wages currently range from “$114,000 to $258,000, averaging $163,000.” The performance-based bonuses averaged $45,000.

Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls expressed concern “that the pension fund has lost billions during the past three years but the state is still handing out bonuses based on five-year returns.”

Most outrageous, “Treasury officials insist the incentive pay is a critical piece of compensation for investment officers, necessary to attract and retain specialized staff who manage some $60 billion in pension and common school fund assets and to align the investment managers’ interests with the pension system’s beneficiaries,” yet the pension fund has lost billions during the past three years.

Citizen outrage reversed the scheduled wage increase for Clark County Commissioners. Will Oregonians follow suit?

Read more at the Zero

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

?Spell Check My Help Writing: Part Deux

Moron the story of spell check Oregon used school being help to writing tests:

“We are not letting a student’s keyboarding skills get in the way of being able to judge their writing ability,” said state Superintendent Susan Castillo. “As we’re using technology to improve what we’re doing with assessments as a nation, we believe that spell check will be one of those tools.”

Here. 

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Clark County Commissioners to Turn Down Wage and Car Allowance Increase

No doubt reacting to a public outrage rarely seen today, all 3 County Commissioners, Steve Stuart, Marc Boldt and Tom Mielke have announced today that they will not accept the scheduled wage and car allowance increase mentioned HERE

The Columbian has the announcement HERE

Of note, after the increase was announced yesterday, over 100 comments have been posted on the papers website. Not one in support of the increase.

Citizens from all over the political spectrum, usually disagreeing on everything, came together in opposition and from what I hear, the county commissioners phone lines were lit up all day.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Mr. Why: The Zero Should Pay Attention to its NEW Editorial

I read this editorial…

“Emergency radio network must be put on hold”

...and felt it needed editting.  The same reasons for a halt to OWIN are greater when aimed at halting MLR.

So I changed a few things.
 

Milwaukie Light Rail must be put on hold

Published: Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 4:01 PM     Updated: Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 4:06 PM
 
Yes, rail transit expansion will be compromised, but the responsibility lies with Transit leaders who turned the MLR project into a $1.6 Billion mess of a deceitful financing plan, reckless hurry and a cost they cannot afford. 

Lawmakers should not allow any more money to fall down the rathole that is the Portland to Milwaukie Light Rail project, or TriMet.

Call a halt to MLR, even though Oregon needs projects and jobs. Call off the planned sale of $100s of millions in bonds to pay for part of the project. And here’s the last call: A state struggling to pay for its basic services has no business proceeding with a public works project this tainted by deliberate deceit, inadequate funding and still no fed funding approval. 

Read all about it in the many stories and reports on how TriMet has pitched the project including misrepresenting the costs of the project to lawmakers, the governor and the public, understating the total cost and the federal match by more than $150 million.  TriMet officials circulated inaccurate and deceptive plans to convince legislators and the public they  were solvent and made more progress on funding than they really had. And when a Sheriff, Fire Chief and members of the public raised concerns, they were ignored.

Given all these revelations, not to mention the state’s financial crisis, it’s time to stop building MLR, a project we and many others have consistently supported over the years. Yes, agency and the state have already spent tens of millions of dollars on the project. Yes, there are gaps in the region’s MAX transit system that leave citizens without service every day. Yes, the federal government match would be lost. And yes, TriMet seems to have it heading to construction. 

Still, it is unthinkable that Gov.-elect John Kitzhaber, the 2011 Legislature or the public would respond to being flat-out deceived about critical aspects of TriMet and MLR by shrugging and handing over hundreds of millions of dollars more to the project.

When Kitzhaber and legislators consider their options, none will look especially appealing. The state can’t entirely abandon transit because of the need for service.

Our advice is to go ahead with the purchase of new buses — the cost for them is a few million dollars — but halt planning, building and spending on the Milwaukie Light Rail expansion to reconsider all the available options, and review what’s been done, and not done, so far.

In a state with clearly limited resources, we’ve never been fully persuaded that Oregon has no choice but to build another MAX line costing more than $1.6 billion dollars to ensure that transit users can use light rail instead of buses in another corridor in the region. There’s no doubt that a full MAX network would be nice. However, is it absolutely necessary?

We’d like to see lawmakers hold hearings to further explore that question and many, many others about TriMet and MLR. The Legislature should not release additional Lottery funding for MLR until lawmakers are sure, really sure, they have a handle on the project, and that it will be planned, built, operated and paid for in an affordable way.

 
You’re certain to hear that any delay in MLR will put Oregonian’s jobs at risk. But if anyone is hurt by a decision to delay the project — to start clean, as it were — the responsibility lies not with those who now demand accountability, but with those who broke the public trust.
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

?Spell Check My Help Writing: Part Deux

Moron the story of spell check Oregon used school being help to writing tests:

“We are not letting a student’s keyboarding skills get in the way of being able to judge their writing ability,” said state Superintendent Susan Castillo. “As we’re using technology to improve what we’re doing with assessments as a nation, we believe that spell check will be one of those tools.”

Here. 

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com