Daily Archives: July 12, 2011

Kayaking on the Willamette

A lovely time had by all kayaking on the Willamette last week. We toured around Ross Island lagoon and along the downtown west bank. I saw Not. One. Plastic. Bag.
Just making a note of it since the ethylene bag hatas keep moving the old goal posts on what the “problem” with these things are.
First it was that the bags were evil and corporaty. This is still their main objection but they can’t say it out loud because it sounds hysterical, emotional and unscientific. And it is.
Then they lied about the “swirling mass of garbage twice the size of Texas off the Oregon coast.”

Then they it was a litter problem but didn’t bother to ask for a ban on cups, containers and fast food which comprise most of the road side litter.
Then Washington State Senator Maralyn Chase said she was hit by a (I’m not making this up) “plastic bag storm” on a freeway in the Olympia area. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that if it’s storming, raining and there are plastic bags, they’re not ‘flying’ around as she put it. 
Then they said it was a recycling problem.
Then they said it was a littering problem but just not the kind you could easily see–such as on the embankments of Oregon rivers.
I’ve no doubt some people toss out these bags on the sides of …of…anywhere. It just doesn’t rise to the level of needing a ban. 
Please people, give it up.

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

Kayaking on the Willamette

A lovely time had by all kayaking on the Willamette last week. We toured around Ross Island lagoon and along the downtown west bank. I saw Not. One. Plastic. Bag.
Just making a note of it since the ethylene bag hatas keep moving the old goal posts on what the “problem” with these things are.
First it was that the bags were evil and corporaty. This is still their main objection but they can’t say it out loud because it sounds hysterical, emotional and unscientific. And it is.
Then they lied about the “swirling mass of garbage twice the size of Texas off the Oregon coast.”

Then they it was a litter problem but didn’t bother to ask for a ban on cups, containers and fast food which comprise most of the road side litter.
Then Washington State Senator Maralyn Chase said she was hit by a (I’m not making this up) “plastic bag storm” on a freeway in the Olympia area. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that if it’s storming, raining and there are plastic bags, they’re not ‘flying’ around as she put it. 
Then they said it was a recycling problem.
Then they said it was a littering problem but just not the kind you could easily see–such as on the embankments of Oregon rivers.
I’ve no doubt some people toss out these bags on the sides of …of…anywhere. It just doesn’t rise to the level of needing a ban. 
Please people, give it up.

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

Pete the Banker: Is Washington Irrelevant?

First there was Bernanke saying he didn’t check to see how new banking regulations would affect the economy because I can’t pretend that anybody really has. You know, it’s just too complicated.”

 Now Geithner “The recovery is not going fast enough”.  “”We don’t have the ability because of the housing inventory and problems in the financial sector to engineer artificially a stronger recovery,” Geithner said.  While he pointed out many economists forecast a renewed recovery in the back half of 2011 and into 2012, he braced the American people of more struggles to come.”
 
Geithner citing a litany of reasons is silent about the uncertainty created by the Administration’s equivocal taxation policy, regulations/rules imposed by Washington DC or intransigence of Obama on in his approach to the pending debt ceiling. Is Washington, DC irrelevant????
 

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

Cronies Get BIG PAY INCREASES For Work on CRC

After Vancouver businessman, David Madore, hired his own forensic accountant (see previous post here and interview here) to make sure somebody was keeping tabs on the Columbia River Crossing tab, it appears the CRC may begin  internally auditing its own books. Fox meet hen house.

One of the few elected officials asking questions about the project is Oregon State Representative and Certified Public Accountant, Katie Eyre Brewer. She told me on the program today


that this should be an external audit, but because it’s a federal program, she’s unaware of any controlling authority to do it. (Find the Taftcast of this interview here).

After you read the story about the CRC burning through $60,000.00 of taxpayer dollars per day –or at least $130,000,000.00 on the project so far– it seems that somebody had better find the controlling authority–and fast.

In one of the nuggets found in the Zero’s article we find this odd habit of people giving themselves raises:

A longtime aide to Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., [Tom] Markgraf developed a specialty in transit. In 2005, he hung his own shingle as a political consultant. He’d been doing some consulting work on the side and had charged $100 an hour. When the CRC came calling, Markgraf upped his rate to $165 an hour. 

And this:

ODOT paid Brandman $195,000 a year, a 25 percent raise from his Metro compensation. Brandman was suddenly making significantly more money than Doug Ficco, the WSDOT leader on the project, who by all accounts carried the load on the technical work.

And this:

Hopf and two co-workers got nearly $83,000 for the equivalent of eight weeks of work. He traveled from Stuttgart to Portland three times in three months last fall and winter, at more than $7,000 a pop, on the CRC’s dime.

And this:

The CRC has at various times covered travel and lodging expenses for as many as five out-of-town consultants. David Parisi, a Bay Area traffic consultant, got a particularly sweet deal. He rented an apartment on Northwest 13th Street in the heart of Portland’s swanky Pearl District and persuaded the CRC to cover $800 a month in rent. The CRC says the estimated $19,200 it paid over two years toward Parisi’s rent was cheaper than a hotel.
On top of covering most of his rent, the CRC paid Parisi’s firm more than $1.4 million.

And of course we told you what Madore’s accountant uncovered the $36,000.00 per month rent for the CRC. But what in the heck are taxpayers doing reimbursing employees for parking?

The CRC also covers parking for the approximately 70 employees: $42,000 a year for 53 monthly passes. It also reimburses street parking for others workers. 

Didn’t they get in a building that has free parking? Is there no free parking in Vancouver?

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

Pete the Banker: Santelli Rant: ‘If Not [Cuts] Now, Then When?"

Rick Santelli, emphatically suggests the United States has a spending problem and needs to change its spending habits.  And now is the time to face that problem.  As he suggests, “If not now, when?”

But then we need a “serious” President as suggested by Charles Krauthammer,   

“Obama has run disastrous annual deficits of around $1.5 trillion while insisting for months on a “clean” debt-ceiling increase, i.e., with no budget cuts at all. Yet suddenly he now rises to champion major long-term debt reduction, scorning any suggestions of a short-term debt-limit deal as can-kicking.”   This is Obama’s typical “clever strategy” — “Do nothing (see above); invite the Republicans to propose real debt reduction first; and when they do — voting for the Ryan budget and its now infamous and courageous Medicare reform — demagogue them to death.”
And when is the Democrat Senate going to act on a budget?  Any time in the next decade?
Historically, the argument invariably focuses on taxes and deficits. Yet even with higher taxes and higher inflation levels attempting to mitigate the impact of deficits, the real problem is never really addressed in Washington DC; the federal government’s addiction to ever increasing spending levels. 

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