Daily Archives: March 1, 2011

Jeanne ‘Gavel Down’ Harris Casts Blame

After the now famous ‘Gavel Down’ incident of Vancouver City Council Member went viral and Ms. Harris faced ethics violation allegations, upheld by council, efforts at changing and limiting citizen communication before council, primarily those opposed to the $4 Billion boondoggle I-5 Bridge and Portland’s Loot Rail, a more reasoned but still limiting proposal was put forth.

David Madore, requesting council retain openness and expressing appreciation that a more reasoned approach is now being discussed, over the “cut open mic” proposal from last week, had the blame for the meltdown placed on his shoulders at last evening, February 28, 2011 council meeting.

Sorry Jeanne, it’s there forever.

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

You Need To Work On That Sarcasm, Bart

Apparently feeling left out of city council brouhaha’s seen in the past months in Vancouver, Washington, and not getting what he feels is his share of the attention, our newest and youngest member of city council, Bart Hansen decided to chime in on the ongoing exchange between citizens who oppose the boondoggle Columbia River Crossing and extending Portland, Oregon’s financially troubled Loot Rail a short distance into our state, and city council.

Although his condescension towards citizens comes across crystal clear, he could use a little work on his sarcasm, which fell flat last evening at the council meeting.

Bart, m’boy, I’ll tell you the same thing I said to Tonya Rulli. If you really wish to know about insults and intimidation, talk to a Vietnam Veteran and listen to what we heard, saw and had to deal with coming home from a war few understood in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. If you re so bothered by hearing “follow the money” and “follow the power,” I doubt you could have handled coming back to America back then after experiencing the hell of Vietnam.

I’ll leave you with one thought, Bart and something you really ought to consider. As you say to citizens, “think how you look on TV.” Imagine what you look like now with this juvenile little rant of yours.

Work on the sarcasm, Bart, you haven’t quite honed it very well just yet. If you need help mastering sarcasm, call me, let’s do lunch.

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

Oregon AFSCME (State Workers) Demands 18% Raise and a Pink Unicorn

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, friend of unions–particularly this one, is asking AFSCME (and SEIU) workers to take a 3% raise. He’s giving them a raise so, as a Salem reporter puts it, “the union could use that increase to “buy back” some of the concessions that the state is asking for in its opening round. Here”
Isn’t that amazing? The Governor spots the union a 3% increase (you’re getting 6% over the next two years, right?) so they can use this imaginary increase to negotiate for concessions from the governor. That’s like playing Monopoly with your opponent spotting you Boardwalk, Park Place and Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues.  
Here’s the breakdown of what the Governor is suggesting: 
  


  • -Seven unpaid furlough days each year, equivalent to a 3 percent cut in salary.
  • -Seven unpaid furlough days each year, equivalent to a 3 percent cut in salary.
  • -No [automatic] step pay increases.
  • -A cap on health insurance contributions, with employees expected to pay the cost of future increases in premiums.
  • -An end to the 6 percent pickup, a longstanding practice under which state agencies cover employees’ legally mandated contributions to the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System.
The union chief, Ken Allen says he’s stunned by the offer,
“It’s the most draconian proposal we’ve seen in 20 years,” Allen told the state team, later adding, “We’re going to have a lot of ground to plow to get to an agreement from where you’ve started. 
 Considering that the state rolls over every time these people come to the, ahem, “bargaining” table, I can see why he characterizes the governor’s offer as “draconian.”
Here’s what he wants for his 6,000 workers according to Oregon Transformation:
  • -Cost of living plus 2%
  • -Continuation of taxpayers paying the 6% PERS contribution for each employee.
  • -Fully paid health premiums [Oregon is the only state to pay 100% for insurance]
  • -Step increases [longevity raises]
  • -More vacation days 
  • -Increased bereavement leave
  • -Another paid holiday (day after Thanksgiving)
All tolled that’s an 18% increase they’re asking for. In a recession. When the number of state employees has gone up while private sector jobs have gone down (+4300:-150,000).

How do we stack up to Wisconsin? Unfortunately we’re looking at the same kind of problems. State Representative Dennis Richardson lays out these comparisons:
Consider the following facts:
–Wisconsin has a population of 5.7 million.
–Oregon has a population of 3.8 million.
–Wisconsin has a budget shortfall of at least $3.6 billion over the next two years.
–Oregon has a budget shortfall of at least $3.5 billion over the next two years.
–Wisconsin State workers currently pay 6% of their health benefit costs and are being asked to increase the employee’s portion and pay 12% of their health care premiums. (Kaiser Family Foundation states the national average contribution toward healthcare policies among government and private workers is nearly 30%.)
–Oregon State workers currently pay nothing (0%) toward their health benefits. (Oregon is the only state in the USA that pays 100% of its employee health benefit and PERS costs.)
–Wisconsin State workers currently pay 1% of their retirement plan costs and they are being asked to increase employee contributions to 5.8%. (The national average for government worker contributions toward retirement plans is 6.3%.)
–Oregon State workers currently pay nothing (0%) toward their retirement plan (PERS) costs. (Click here.)
–Wisconsin’s proposal includes prohibiting most government workers from (1.) collectively bargaining for anything other than their salaries, and (2.) demanding pay increases above the Consumer Price Index measure of inflation. To bypass the salary cap would require voter approval. Additionally, Wisconsin’s proposal would stop unions from requiring public employees to pay union dues.

–Oregon has no limitations on public employee unions or their ability to collectively bargain, and Oregon collects union dues from state employee paychecks. (Oregon’s public employee unions are free to continue negotiating for the State to pay 100% of both health and PERS retirement benefits for all State workers. [Wisconsin information source—Click here.]


How bad are Oregon’s budget problems? State Rep Bill Richardson lays it out for you here:
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Consumer Reports: Goverment Motors’ Chevy Volt "Doesn’t Make Sense"

The Chevy Volt may have been Motor Trend’s Car of the Year (or else) but when it comes to dollars, sense, and logic, Government Motors’ hybrid “electric” car is an epic fail. Here.

“When you are looking at purely dollars and cents, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. The Volt isn’t particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and it’s not particularly good as a gas vehicle either in terms of fuel economy,” said David Champion, the senior director of Consumer Reports auto testing center at a meeting with reporters here. “This is going to be a tough sell to the average consumer.”

Pete the Banker saw this one coming. See his previous posts here, here and here.

Consumer Reports also faulted all the hybrids for low distance range in cold weather. If you don’t mind getting caught in a snow storm it’s probably just fine.  Oh, and CR called the five hour period of time it takes to recharge the battery “annoying.”

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

Jeanne ‘Gavel Down’ Harris Casts Blame

After the now famous ‘Gavel Down’ incident of Vancouver City Council Member went viral and Ms. Harris faced ethics violation allegations, upheld by council, efforts at changing and limiting citizen communication before council, primarily those opposed to the $4 Billion boondoggle I-5 Bridge and Portland’s Loot Rail, a more reasoned but still limiting proposal was put forth.

David Madore, requesting council retain openness and expressing appreciation that a more reasoned approach is now being discussed, over the “cut open mic” proposal from last week, had the blame for the meltdown placed on his shoulders at last evening, February 28, 2011 council meeting.

Sorry Jeanne, it’s there forever.

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

Oregon AFSCME (State Workers) Demands 18% Raise and a Pink Unicorn

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, friend of unions–particularly this one, is asking AFSCME (and SEIU) workers to take a 3% raise. He’s giving them a raise so, as a Salem reporter puts it, “the union could use that increase to “buy back” some of the concessions that the state is asking for in its opening round. Here”
Isn’t that amazing? The Governor spots the union a 3% increase (you’re getting 6% over the next two years, right?) so they can use this imaginary increase to negotiate for concessions from the governor. That’s like playing Monopoly with your opponent spotting you Boardwalk, Park Place and Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues.  
Here’s the breakdown of what the Governor is suggesting: 
  


  • -Seven unpaid furlough days each year, equivalent to a 3 percent cut in salary.
  • -Seven unpaid furlough days each year, equivalent to a 3 percent cut in salary.
  • -No [automatic] step pay increases.
  • -A cap on health insurance contributions, with employees expected to pay the cost of future increases in premiums.
  • -An end to the 6 percent pickup, a longstanding practice under which state agencies cover employees’ legally mandated contributions to the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System.
The union chief, Ken Allen says he’s stunned by the offer,
“It’s the most draconian proposal we’ve seen in 20 years,” Allen told the state team, later adding, “We’re going to have a lot of ground to plow to get to an agreement from where you’ve started. 
 Considering that the state rolls over every time these people come to the, ahem, “bargaining” table, I can see why he characterizes the governor’s offer as “draconian.”
Here’s what he wants for his 6,000 workers according to Oregon Transformation:
  • -Cost of living plus 2%
  • -Continuation of taxpayers paying the 6% PERS contribution for each employee.
  • -Fully paid health premiums [Oregon is the only state to pay 100% for insurance]
  • -Step increases [longevity raises]
  • -More vacation days 
  • -Increased bereavement leave
  • -Another paid holiday (day after Thanksgiving)
All tolled that’s an 18% increase they’re asking for. In a recession. When the number of state employees has gone up while private sector jobs have gone down (+4300:-150,000).

How do we stack up to Wisconsin? Unfortunately we’re looking at the same kind of problems. State Representative Dennis Richardson lays out these comparisons:
Consider the following facts:
–Wisconsin has a population of 5.7 million.
–Oregon has a population of 3.8 million.
–Wisconsin has a budget shortfall of at least $3.6 billion over the next two years.
–Oregon has a budget shortfall of at least $3.5 billion over the next two years.
–Wisconsin State workers currently pay 6% of their health benefit costs and are being asked to increase the employee’s portion and pay 12% of their health care premiums. (Kaiser Family Foundation states the national average contribution toward healthcare policies among government and private workers is nearly 30%.)
–Oregon State workers currently pay nothing (0%) toward their health benefits. (Oregon is the only state in the USA that pays 100% of its employee health benefit and PERS costs.)
–Wisconsin State workers currently pay 1% of their retirement plan costs and they are being asked to increase employee contributions to 5.8%. (The national average for government worker contributions toward retirement plans is 6.3%.)
–Oregon State workers currently pay nothing (0%) toward their retirement plan (PERS) costs. (Click here.)
–Wisconsin’s proposal includes prohibiting most government workers from (1.) collectively bargaining for anything other than their salaries, and (2.) demanding pay increases above the Consumer Price Index measure of inflation. To bypass the salary cap would require voter approval. Additionally, Wisconsin’s proposal would stop unions from requiring public employees to pay union dues.

–Oregon has no limitations on public employee unions or their ability to collectively bargain, and Oregon collects union dues from state employee paychecks. (Oregon’s public employee unions are free to continue negotiating for the State to pay 100% of both health and PERS retirement benefits for all State workers. [Wisconsin information source—Click here.]


How bad are Oregon’s budget problems? State Rep Bill Richardson lays it out for you here:
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Consumer Reports: Goverment Motors’ Chevy Volt "Doesn’t Make Sense"

The Chevy Volt may have been Motor Trend’s Car of the Year (or else) but when it comes to dollars, sense, and logic, Government Motors’ hybrid “electric” car is an epic fail. Here.

“When you are looking at purely dollars and cents, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. The Volt isn’t particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and it’s not particularly good as a gas vehicle either in terms of fuel economy,” said David Champion, the senior director of Consumer Reports auto testing center at a meeting with reporters here. “This is going to be a tough sell to the average consumer.”

Pete the Banker saw this one coming. See his previous posts here, here and here.

Consumer Reports also faulted all the hybrids for low distance range in cold weather. If you don’t mind getting caught in a snow storm it’s probably just fine.  Oh, and CR called the five hour period of time it takes to recharge the battery “annoying.”

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