Daily Archives: January 3, 2011

Senator Maria Cantwell Slights Fallen Hero’s Family

Washington’s junior senator, Maria Cantwell, has once again showed her lack of concern for not only constituents in our state, but America in general. In yet another show of her poor attitude towards those she was elected to represent, she has left the family of fallen soldier, Sgt. Sean Collins feeling slighted.

Sgt. Collins was one of six soldiers killed in a suicide attack December 12, 2010 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was laid to rest December 29 in Tahoma National Cemetery, Kent, Washington. His family received an outpouring of empathy from friends and complete strangers and received a letter from Senator Cantwell that they felt expressed condolences too, until they opened it and read it.

Family of fallen soldier warmed by letters, stung by politicians

Sgt. Collins’ father, retired Lt. Col. Patrick Collins said the outpouring and condolences was “overwhelming,” in regards to those received from friends and strangers. He cannot say that in regards to the letter received from Senator Cantwell’s office.

Sgt. Collins mother, Linda Collins, received the letter from Senator Cantwell’s office December 20. Reading it, they were shocked to read the last paragraph,

“Again, please accept my warmest condolences. May your memories of Bryn and the knowledge that he made a positive impact on the lives of so many serve as a source of comfort to you during this time of sorrow.”

Sgt. Collins’ name is Sean, not Bryn. Obviously, the letter of condolence was little more than a form letter sent from an aide and apparently not even proofread.

Sean’s mother said of the letters,

“They couldn’t even proofread it. I’m sure if her son had died, she would’ve at least wanted his name spelled correctly.”

His father, a retired Lt. Col. Undoubtedly familiar with proper protocol in such tragic incidences said,

“That’s just sloppy staff work, that’s an embarrassment.”

Senator Cantwell’s office had been short-staffed for the holidays, but it is inexcusable for such a slip-up to occur. How hard can it be, especially considering our so-called representatives use form letters for most of their correspondence with us, to get the right name on it?

Cantwell’s staffers have said they are looking into the “mistake.” But what of Senator Cantwell? What effort is she making to correct this slight from her office to the family of a fallen soldier?

Senator Cantwell, identified as “other woman” in a lobbyists divorce a few years ago, has created a reputation for herself for placing more prurient interests above others, is a liberal Democrat who votes almost lock-step with a progressive agenda. Her support of our Troops in war seems to shift along with who is in the White House.

Regardless, how much effort does it really take to ensure her office at least gets the name right on a letter of condolence?

Sgt. Collins’ family also feels slighted by hearing Obama could call Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie to thank him for giving convicted dog abuser Michael Vick another chance with a dog, but couldn’t even have a White House staffer call the family of a fallen soldier to express condolences.

Senator Cantwell is supposed to be closer to Washington State families, though. The soldiers give their all for our freedoms and their families pay a high price, especially for those who killed in the service of our country.

We elect these people to represent us and pay them handsomely with an overly generous benefit package.

Is it too much to expect the families of fallen soldiers at least receive a personal note of condolence or a call from them?

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

Mr Why: War On Cars Waged With Phony Numbers; Distortions

Coming Soon to the Sellwood Bridge

The story goes that it was mostly Clackamas County residents who used the notoriously dangerous Sellwood Bridge. In fact, Clackamas County Chair Lyn Peterson should have known the numbers being discussed in public were phony since she was the one who did the original calculations in HER JOB AS A TRAVEL PLANNER FOR METRO.
But the story is worse than all that. It’s just the beginning of the conniving and corrupting of the process to get what the light rail mafia wants at the expense of motorists. 





Taxpayers in Clackamas County came out by the hundreds and sent a flurry of emails to stop the recently approved Clackamas car tax. Citing emails supporting their decision (see previous post here and here), Clackamas County Commissioners ignored the hundreds of opponents citing, A) support for the plan (the emails of which have never been produced) and, B) Declaring that Clackamas County residents were the biggest users of the bridge. 
In fact, it’s been stated many times in public that Clackamas County residents accounted for a total of 70% of all trips made on the bridge. Considering the bridge resides solely in Multnomah County that number was met with skepticism. And now we know why. It was wrong. 
Chairman Peterson never corrected the mistake. She continued to allow the mistaken impression that Clackamas County residents comprised the highest number of the bridge’s users.
However, according to a City Club report early in 2010 as reported in the Oregonian (here):

According to the report, the proposed funding structure for a new Sellwood Bridge would require the residents of Multnomah County and the city of Portland to pay more than 10 times as much as the residents of Clackamas County, even though Clackamas County accounted for three times as many trips across the bridge.

It was a startling statistic, played up prominently in The Oregonian story and editorial about the report.
 
Unfortunately, it was wrong. [emph added]

According to the story the numbers were never put in perspective against the actual usage of the bridge. These are reportedly the correct numbers:

What Metro projections [by then Metro employee Lynn Peterson] actually show is that by 2030, 79 percent of trips across the bridge will start or end in Multnomah County and 76 percent of trips will begin or end in Clackamas County. This totals more that 100 percent because trips can begin or end in either county. [emph added]

In other words, Multnomah County residents use the bridge more than Clackamas County residents. Taken by itself you might think it was just a simple mistake, but with the manipulation of meetings (see previous post here) and behind the scenes dealing (see quotes below), one is left with the unmistakable (and based on history, accurate) impression that the Sellwood Bridge is a convenient device to excuse millions more spending on light rail and bike paths with motorists picking up the local tab. 
Even the real study numbers by Peterson can’t be trusted because she crafted it to gin up the claim that four bridge lanes on a new Sellwood would increase traffic 15% and that Milwaukie Light Rail was needed in the corridor. It’s there in the same study. All by her as Metro’s “Travel forecaster”.  


Though government ratings put the bridge at close to failing, money is instead being spent to build bike paths on Highway 43 (probably resulting in the loss of a lane of traffic) (here), a light rail and pedestrian bridge across the Willamette, light rail plans from Portland to Sherwood (here), and the Milwaukie light rail extension at $250,000,000.00 a mile. 

The diverting of bridge money joins a lengthy and growing display of deceit and conniving politicians who can’t be trusted. So why would Clackamas residents want to give them a new fee and revenue stream to do the same with?  

As current Oregon State Treasurer and former Multnomah County Chair, Ted Wheeler has said,  

“Why on Earth would (they) [Clackamas and Washington Counties] invest in Multnomah County’s decades of neglect?”

Why, indeed? Especially when the plan includes so much more expense for street cars and bike paths. From a previous story in the Zero we see:

Local and state officials nailed down most of a plan for the bridge’s replacement last winter, except for the west side. The two-lane bridge will be replaced with a crossing that has two lanes — totaling 24 feet wide — for cars and 37 feet for bicycles and pedestrians.

But they have added other elements.

For example, to mitigate taking a few acres of city parkland, the county will build an 18-foot bike-pedestrian path from Willamette Park to the bridge, allowing a smoother, handicapped-accessible alternative to a narrow path that encroaches on salmon habitat.

It also will replace some culverts with more salmon-friendly bridges over area creeks.

The bridge has always been planned structurally to carry a streetcar line, but in recent months city officials have insisted that tracks be built from the start.

That has added $5 million, but the county says the city’s $100 million will compensate for the change. A bridge/Tacoma Street streetcar line was recently included in a citywide streetcar master plan.
 

A recent poll done of Clackamas County residents, which included more democrats than republicans, shows the Milwaukie light rail extension, car tax, and Sellwood Bridge payments are wildly unpopular. 

 



See part of the bridge/bike plan/light rail plan for yourself here.
In the meantime, plans are being made to make it even more difficult for cars to commute along Highway 43 where the ‘new and improved’ bridge will connect here:

Clackamas County is accepting bids from engineering consultants interested in brainstorming ways to add bike lanes on Highway 43 between Portland to Lake Oswego. With the highway constrained by hills on one side and the Willamette River on the other, the consultant selected won’t have an easy job.

Buehrig didn’t want to guess whether reducing travel lanes in some areas might emerge as a possible solution, but she said re-striping could be an option.

Meantime lightrail is being planned for a Portland to Sherwood route. See it here.

And, of course, Portland wants to use money for the bridge to use as it sees fits. Mayor Sam Adams wants Clackamas County taxpayers to pony up more because he wants to use Portland’s money for light rail and other planning projects:

Portland Mayor Sam Adams has hired an engineering consultant to find potential cost savings on Multnomah County’s $330 million Sellwood Bridge project — savings that Adams wants to shift to help fill the sizable funding gap that’s tripping up TriMet’s light rail project to Milwaukie.

Adams also wants the first $20 million in potential savings to go exclusively to Portland, with any money thereafter divided among participating governments.

Adams acknowledged feeling pinched financially, as the city of Portland is being pressed to nearly double its $30 million contribution to $55 million to help fill the shortfall for a proposed light-rail line to Milwaukie.

“I need to get both projects done,” he said.

No wonder Clackamas County taxpayers feels used. They’re being sold the Portland version of the Brooklyn Bridge. And their safety is being sold out. As a recent Oregonian commenter put it:

qashqai says:
“The Sellwood Bridge is a COLLAPSE HAZARD. It’s not just inconvenient, it’s DANGEROUS. In a decent-sized earthquake, everyone on it might die. That’s why we’re replacing it. By playing political games, Sam is risking hundreds of lives. Every time you cross it, cross your fingers, glance at the water, and think about Sam. This is an excellent example of why we urgently need a mayor who solves practical problems instead of promoting a private agenda. We need a new bridge ASAP, before people end up dead in the river.”

But, of course, Adams has used the bridge as a leverage for other pet projects:

[Wheeler] also said that Adams, in a private meeting, said he would support city funding for the bridge if Wheeler agreed to support a government-owned hotel next to the Oregon Convention Center, a project Adams supported. “To sit on it for six weeks and trade a vote on a completely unrelated project is unacceptable to me,” Wheeler said at the time.[emph added]

Clackamas County should not be partnering with Multnomah County on anything. 
Everything they do is so politically guided that it becomes dysfunctional, wasteful and a handicap.
A case in point is the Wapato Jail. It sits empty and aging because Multnomah County affixed so many conditions to it’s operation that when Sheriff Roberts looked at partnering with  Mult Co to open it the Clackamas County Sheriff concluded it would be a costly nightmare.

These conniving public officials cannot be trusted with anything, must be stopped and the rebellion in Clackamas County is the first real opportunity to do so.

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

Senator Maria Cantwell Slights Fallen Hero’s Family

Washington’s junior senator, Maria Cantwell, has once again showed her lack of concern for not only constituents in our state, but America in general. In yet another show of her poor attitude towards those she was elected to represent, she has left the family of fallen soldier, Sgt. Sean Collins feeling slighted.

Sgt. Collins was one of six soldiers killed in a suicide attack December 12, 2010 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was laid to rest December 29 in Tahoma National Cemetery, Kent, Washington. His family received an outpouring of empathy from friends and complete strangers and received a letter from Senator Cantwell that they felt expressed condolences too, until they opened it and read it.

Family of fallen soldier warmed by letters, stung by politicians

Sgt. Collins’ father, retired Lt. Col. Patrick Collins said the outpouring and condolences was “overwhelming,” in regards to those received from friends and strangers. He cannot say that in regards to the letter received from Senator Cantwell’s office.

Sgt. Collins mother, Linda Collins, received the letter from Senator Cantwell’s office December 20. Reading it, they were shocked to read the last paragraph,

“Again, please accept my warmest condolences. May your memories of Bryn and the knowledge that he made a positive impact on the lives of so many serve as a source of comfort to you during this time of sorrow.”

Sgt. Collins’ name is Sean, not Bryn. Obviously, the letter of condolence was little more than a form letter sent from an aide and apparently not even proofread.

Sean’s mother said of the letters,

“They couldn’t even proofread it. I’m sure if her son had died, she would’ve at least wanted his name spelled correctly.”

His father, a retired Lt. Col. Undoubtedly familiar with proper protocol in such tragic incidences said,

“That’s just sloppy staff work, that’s an embarrassment.”

Senator Cantwell’s office had been short-staffed for the holidays, but it is inexcusable for such a slip-up to occur. How hard can it be, especially considering our so-called representatives use form letters for most of their correspondence with us, to get the right name on it?

Cantwell’s staffers have said they are looking into the “mistake.” But what of Senator Cantwell? What effort is she making to correct this slight from her office to the family of a fallen soldier?

Senator Cantwell, identified as “other woman” in a lobbyists divorce a few years ago, has created a reputation for herself for placing more prurient interests above others, is a liberal Democrat who votes almost lock-step with a progressive agenda. Her support of our Troops in war seems to shift along with who is in the White House.

Regardless, how much effort does it really take to ensure her office at least gets the name right on a letter of condolence?

Sgt. Collins’ family also feels slighted by hearing Obama could call Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie to thank him for giving convicted dog abuser Michael Vick another chance with a dog, but couldn’t even have a White House staffer call the family of a fallen soldier to express condolences.

Senator Cantwell is supposed to be closer to Washington State families, though. The soldiers give their all for our freedoms and their families pay a high price, especially for those who killed in the service of our country.

We elect these people to represent us and pay them handsomely with an overly generous benefit package.

Is it too much to expect the families of fallen soldiers at least receive a personal note of condolence or a call from them?

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

Mr Why: War On Cars Waged With Phony Numbers; Distortions

Coming Soon to the Sellwood Bridge

The story goes that it was mostly Clackamas County residents who used the notoriously dangerous Sellwood Bridge. In fact, Clackamas County Chair Lyn Peterson should have known the numbers being discussed in public were phony since she was the one who did the original calculations in HER JOB AS A TRAVEL PLANNER FOR METRO.
But the story is worse than all that. It’s just the beginning of the conniving and corrupting of the process to get what the light rail mafia wants at the expense of motorists. 





Taxpayers in Clackamas County came out by the hundreds and sent a flurry of emails to stop the recently approved Clackamas car tax. Citing emails supporting their decision (see previous post here and here), Clackamas County Commissioners ignored the hundreds of opponents citing, A) support for the plan (the emails of which have never been produced) and, B) Declaring that Clackamas County residents were the biggest users of the bridge. 
In fact, it’s been stated many times in public that Clackamas County residents accounted for a total of 70% of all trips made on the bridge. Considering the bridge resides solely in Multnomah County that number was met with skepticism. And now we know why. It was wrong. 
Chairman Peterson never corrected the mistake. She continued to allow the mistaken impression that Clackamas County residents comprised the highest number of the bridge’s users.
However, according to a City Club report early in 2010 as reported in the Oregonian (here):

According to the report, the proposed funding structure for a new Sellwood Bridge would require the residents of Multnomah County and the city of Portland to pay more than 10 times as much as the residents of Clackamas County, even though Clackamas County accounted for three times as many trips across the bridge.

It was a startling statistic, played up prominently in The Oregonian story and editorial about the report.
 
Unfortunately, it was wrong. [emph added]

According to the story the numbers were never put in perspective against the actual usage of the bridge. These are reportedly the correct numbers:

What Metro projections [by then Metro employee Lynn Peterson] actually show is that by 2030, 79 percent of trips across the bridge will start or end in Multnomah County and 76 percent of trips will begin or end in Clackamas County. This totals more that 100 percent because trips can begin or end in either county. [emph added]

In other words, Multnomah County residents use the bridge more than Clackamas County residents. Taken by itself you might think it was just a simple mistake, but with the manipulation of meetings (see previous post here) and behind the scenes dealing (see quotes below), one is left with the unmistakable (and based on history, accurate) impression that the Sellwood Bridge is a convenient device to excuse millions more spending on light rail and bike paths with motorists picking up the local tab. 
Even the real study numbers by Peterson can’t be trusted because she crafted it to gin up the claim that four bridge lanes on a new Sellwood would increase traffic 15% and that Milwaukie Light Rail was needed in the corridor. It’s there in the same study. All by her as Metro’s “Travel forecaster”.  


Though government ratings put the bridge at close to failing, money is instead being spent to build bike paths on Highway 43 (probably resulting in the loss of a lane of traffic) (here), a light rail and pedestrian bridge across the Willamette, light rail plans from Portland to Sherwood (here), and the Milwaukie light rail extension at $250,000,000.00 a mile. 

The diverting of bridge money joins a lengthy and growing display of deceit and conniving politicians who can’t be trusted. So why would Clackamas residents want to give them a new fee and revenue stream to do the same with?  

As current Oregon State Treasurer and former Multnomah County Chair, Ted Wheeler has said,  

“Why on Earth would (they) [Clackamas and Washington Counties] invest in Multnomah County’s decades of neglect?”

Why, indeed? Especially when the plan includes so much more expense for street cars and bike paths. From a previous story in the Zero we see:

Local and state officials nailed down most of a plan for the bridge’s replacement last winter, except for the west side. The two-lane bridge will be replaced with a crossing that has two lanes — totaling 24 feet wide — for cars and 37 feet for bicycles and pedestrians.

But they have added other elements.

For example, to mitigate taking a few acres of city parkland, the county will build an 18-foot bike-pedestrian path from Willamette Park to the bridge, allowing a smoother, handicapped-accessible alternative to a narrow path that encroaches on salmon habitat.

It also will replace some culverts with more salmon-friendly bridges over area creeks.

The bridge has always been planned structurally to carry a streetcar line, but in recent months city officials have insisted that tracks be built from the start.

That has added $5 million, but the county says the city’s $100 million will compensate for the change. A bridge/Tacoma Street streetcar line was recently included in a citywide streetcar master plan.
 

A recent poll done of Clackamas County residents, which included more democrats than republicans, shows the Milwaukie light rail extension, car tax, and Sellwood Bridge payments are wildly unpopular. 

 



See part of the bridge/bike plan/light rail plan for yourself here.
In the meantime, plans are being made to make it even more difficult for cars to commute along Highway 43 where the ‘new and improved’ bridge will connect here:

Clackamas County is accepting bids from engineering consultants interested in brainstorming ways to add bike lanes on Highway 43 between Portland to Lake Oswego. With the highway constrained by hills on one side and the Willamette River on the other, the consultant selected won’t have an easy job.

Buehrig didn’t want to guess whether reducing travel lanes in some areas might emerge as a possible solution, but she said re-striping could be an option.

Meantime lightrail is being planned for a Portland to Sherwood route. See it here.

And, of course, Portland wants to use money for the bridge to use as it sees fits. Mayor Sam Adams wants Clackamas County taxpayers to pony up more because he wants to use Portland’s money for light rail and other planning projects:

Portland Mayor Sam Adams has hired an engineering consultant to find potential cost savings on Multnomah County’s $330 million Sellwood Bridge project — savings that Adams wants to shift to help fill the sizable funding gap that’s tripping up TriMet’s light rail project to Milwaukie.

Adams also wants the first $20 million in potential savings to go exclusively to Portland, with any money thereafter divided among participating governments.

Adams acknowledged feeling pinched financially, as the city of Portland is being pressed to nearly double its $30 million contribution to $55 million to help fill the shortfall for a proposed light-rail line to Milwaukie.

“I need to get both projects done,” he said.

No wonder Clackamas County taxpayers feels used. They’re being sold the Portland version of the Brooklyn Bridge. And their safety is being sold out. As a recent Oregonian commenter put it:

qashqai says:
“The Sellwood Bridge is a COLLAPSE HAZARD. It’s not just inconvenient, it’s DANGEROUS. In a decent-sized earthquake, everyone on it might die. That’s why we’re replacing it. By playing political games, Sam is risking hundreds of lives. Every time you cross it, cross your fingers, glance at the water, and think about Sam. This is an excellent example of why we urgently need a mayor who solves practical problems instead of promoting a private agenda. We need a new bridge ASAP, before people end up dead in the river.”

But, of course, Adams has used the bridge as a leverage for other pet projects:

[Wheeler] also said that Adams, in a private meeting, said he would support city funding for the bridge if Wheeler agreed to support a government-owned hotel next to the Oregon Convention Center, a project Adams supported. “To sit on it for six weeks and trade a vote on a completely unrelated project is unacceptable to me,” Wheeler said at the time.[emph added]

Clackamas County should not be partnering with Multnomah County on anything. 
Everything they do is so politically guided that it becomes dysfunctional, wasteful and a handicap.
A case in point is the Wapato Jail. It sits empty and aging because Multnomah County affixed so many conditions to it’s operation that when Sheriff Roberts looked at partnering with  Mult Co to open it the Clackamas County Sheriff concluded it would be a costly nightmare.

These conniving public officials cannot be trusted with anything, must be stopped and the rebellion in Clackamas County is the first real opportunity to do so.

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