Daily Archives: July 22, 2011

No More Money To C-Tran

It seems every time we turn around, some government related entity is demanding we in the struggling middle class cough up more of what few dollars we have and give it to them. We are being asked to approve more tax to C-Tran, so they can maintain services we are told, pay a 5% entertainment tax so a marginal Class A baseball team will move to Vancouver and a have a shiny new stadium 70% paid for by taxpayers.

Soon we will be asked for yet another tax increase to fund Loot Rail maintenance and operation once they shove that down our throats, face tolls to cross the I-5 bridge, even before construction begins if they get their way and if Leavitt’s cartel gets their way, pay an additional $20 to register our cars to also fund Columbia River Crossing cronies.

Even though we have been mired in deep recession with double digit unemployment for over 2 years now, it seems there is no stopping of the picking our pockets by the elected ruling class. Feeding our families or keeping our homes is our problem, not theirs, apparently.

But, that sales tax increase to fund C-Tran is one I have long called for to be rejected, mostly to send a message to the ruling class over being lied to and denied the vote we were promised on funding Loot Rail maintenance and operation. While I maintain that notion, seeing the July 12, 2011 C-Tran Financial Update, I question why they need another penny.

View the report here.

While they claim to be under budget on sales tax revenues by some $257,000, they also claim to be over budget on fares by $294,000 and seem to have received a state operating grant of $348,000.

Their “Cash at May 31, 2011” is listed as $45,000,000. After budgeting expenses, including a “Special Needs Grant” of $952,000, they project “Remaining Cash Not Committed at end 2012” as $4,657,000.

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like a struggling entity to me. They seem to be well in the black and nowhere near an austerity budget like you and I are struggling with.

As I have said before and even invited city council members to spend the day outside my home to verify for themselves, I live right on a bus route, a bus stop right outside my kitchen window. All day long I see empty or near empty buses rolling passed my house, occasionally stopping to let off one of the 2 or 3 passengers that might be inside a full-sized bus.

Why are we subsidizing running full sized buses all day long and into the night with little or no passenger use?

Granted, buses on other routes are not running as empty as those on this route are, but still, why do we need to give C-Tran more of our tax dollars to run any empty buses while we wonder where our kids’ next meal might be coming from?

The report also shows it cost an average of a little over $100 to operate the buses. How much higher is the actual cost to run full-size buses with few if any passengers paying fares?

I once jokingly said to Battle Ground city council member and C-Tran board member Bill Ganley that they could sell off many buses, lease a fleet of used Prius’ and still not fill those up on the route running by my house.

Given many of the questions raised recently about CRC and C-Tran, deeply embroiled with CRC, I cannot see any reason we should cough up another dime to this bus venture at this time.

If they need to trim service or employee benefits, or better yet reorganize to be a more efficient transportation entity, then let them do that before asking for another dime.

From Tim Leavitt’s cartel council to Steve Stuart and Marc Boldt on the county commission, it’s time they actually do the job they were elected to do.

It’s easy to be a leader during good times when money flows easily.

But, during lean times as we remain locked into, it take real leaders to stand up and do what is really needed, instead of further picking the pockets of the struggling middle class taxpayer.

I’m voting NO on C-Tran’s sales tax increase.

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

Benefit Concert for Yashanee

Tonight, Friday, July 22nd
Benefit Concert for Yashanee
Calvary Christian Center (126 NE Alberta St., Portland)
http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/283478_2112137335587_1610253478_2159982_5075369_n.jpg
 
Saturday, July 23rd
For those that may not be able to attend the funeral next Saturday, come join us this Saturday for all you can eat
Mongolian BBQ and get your car wash too all to help support the Yashanee Vaughn Funeral!
 
Yummy Mongolian BBQ (Proceeds this Saturday benefit Yashanee Fund)
Restaurant owner available for interviews – her name is Angela
Come in Saturday, July 23rd from 11am-4pm
7339 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Portland, Oregon 97211
(503) 256-2468
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Dog Poop Bags Banned Next by Portland Oppressives?

Thank you, Andy from Beaverton

Now that the City of Portland Rainbow City Council is in the business of banning more products, what will be next? Remember Mayor Sam Adams has said–threatened?–that this bag ban from large grocery stores “is just the beginning.”
What form will the rest of this story take?
Those thin film bags well loved and used at the grocery stores have been demonized and banned. But that same ethylene is used to make dog poop bags that the CITY ITSELF gives out at taxpayer expense at local parks!
The Victoria Taft Show key grip, Nick, set out to Portland dog parks this week to lure dog walkers into using paper to pick up their dog droppings. They were having none of it. 
Furthermore, why exempt any other purveyors of ethylene or regular plastic bags? I mean, these bags are found in the stomachs of fish and stuff, right Mayor Adams (see debunked claim in my post here)? They’re inherently evil, right?
So why not ban these:

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

Pete the Banker: Crony Wall Street Capitalists Return the Favor to Obama’s Campaign Coffers

www.conservativethinkers.net
Excerpt,
“ Does Wall street have a problem with President Barack Obama?
Not so you’d notice where it counts—in his reelection effort.
In fact, the Center found that one-third of the money Obama’s elite fund-raising corps has raised on behalf of his re-election has come from the financial sector.
“Individuals who work in the finance, insurance and real estate sector are responsible for raising at least $11.3 million for Obama’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee,” the Center reported.”

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

No More Money To C-Tran

It seems every time we turn around, some government related entity is demanding we in the struggling middle class cough up more of what few dollars we have and give it to them. We are being asked to approve more tax to C-Tran, so they can maintain services we are told, pay a 5% entertainment tax so a marginal Class A baseball team will move to Vancouver and a have a shiny new stadium 70% paid for by taxpayers.

Soon we will be asked for yet another tax increase to fund Loot Rail maintenance and operation once they shove that down our throats, face tolls to cross the I-5 bridge, even before construction begins if they get their way and if Leavitt’s cartel gets their way, pay an additional $20 to register our cars to also fund Columbia River Crossing cronies.

Even though we have been mired in deep recession with double digit unemployment for over 2 years now, it seems there is no stopping of the picking our pockets by the elected ruling class. Feeding our families or keeping our homes is our problem, not theirs, apparently.

But, that sales tax increase to fund C-Tran is one I have long called for to be rejected, mostly to send a message to the ruling class over being lied to and denied the vote we were promised on funding Loot Rail maintenance and operation. While I maintain that notion, seeing the July 12, 2011 C-Tran Financial Update, I question why they need another penny.

View the report here.

While they claim to be under budget on sales tax revenues by some $257,000, they also claim to be over budget on fares by $294,000 and seem to have received a state operating grant of $348,000.

Their “Cash at May 31, 2011” is listed as $45,000,000. After budgeting expenses, including a “Special Needs Grant” of $952,000, they project “Remaining Cash Not Committed at end 2012” as $4,657,000.

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like a struggling entity to me. They seem to be well in the black and nowhere near an austerity budget like you and I are struggling with.

As I have said before and even invited city council members to spend the day outside my home to verify for themselves, I live right on a bus route, a bus stop right outside my kitchen window. All day long I see empty or near empty buses rolling passed my house, occasionally stopping to let off one of the 2 or 3 passengers that might be inside a full-sized bus.

Why are we subsidizing running full sized buses all day long and into the night with little or no passenger use?

Granted, buses on other routes are not running as empty as those on this route are, but still, why do we need to give C-Tran more of our tax dollars to run any empty buses while we wonder where our kids’ next meal might be coming from?

The report also shows it cost an average of a little over $100 to operate the buses. How much higher is the actual cost to run full-size buses with few if any passengers paying fares?

I once jokingly said to Battle Ground city council member and C-Tran board member Bill Ganley that they could sell off many buses, lease a fleet of used Prius’ and still not fill those up on the route running by my house.

Given many of the questions raised recently about CRC and C-Tran, deeply embroiled with CRC, I cannot see any reason we should cough up another dime to this bus venture at this time.

If they need to trim service or employee benefits, or better yet reorganize to be a more efficient transportation entity, then let them do that before asking for another dime.

From Tim Leavitt’s cartel council to Steve Stuart and Marc Boldt on the county commission, it’s time they actually do the job they were elected to do.

It’s easy to be a leader during good times when money flows easily.

But, during lean times as we remain locked into, it take real leaders to stand up and do what is really needed, instead of further picking the pockets of the struggling middle class taxpayer.

I’m voting NO on C-Tran’s sales tax increase.

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

Benefit Concert for Yashanee

Tonight, Friday, July 22nd
Benefit Concert for Yashanee
Calvary Christian Center (126 NE Alberta St., Portland)
http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/283478_2112137335587_1610253478_2159982_5075369_n.jpg
 
Saturday, July 23rd
For those that may not be able to attend the funeral next Saturday, come join us this Saturday for all you can eat
Mongolian BBQ and get your car wash too all to help support the Yashanee Vaughn Funeral!
 
Yummy Mongolian BBQ (Proceeds this Saturday benefit Yashanee Fund)
Restaurant owner available for interviews – her name is Angela
Come in Saturday, July 23rd from 11am-4pm
7339 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Portland, Oregon 97211
(503) 256-2468
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Dog Poop Bags Banned Next by Portland Oppressives?

Thank you, Andy from Beaverton

Now that the City of Portland Rainbow City Council is in the business of banning more products, what will be next? Remember Mayor Sam Adams has said–threatened?–that this bag ban from large grocery stores “is just the beginning.”
What form will the rest of this story take?
Those thin film bags well loved and used at the grocery stores have been demonized and banned. But that same ethylene is used to make dog poop bags that the CITY ITSELF gives out at taxpayer expense at local parks!
The Victoria Taft Show key grip, Nick, set out to Portland dog parks this week to lure dog walkers into using paper to pick up their dog droppings. They were having none of it. 
Furthermore, why exempt any other purveyors of ethylene or regular plastic bags? I mean, these bags are found in the stomachs of fish and stuff, right Mayor Adams (see debunked claim in my post here)? They’re inherently evil, right?
So why not ban these:

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

Pete the Banker: Crony Wall Street Capitalists Return the Favor to Obama’s Campaign Coffers

www.conservativethinkers.net
Excerpt,
“ Does Wall street have a problem with President Barack Obama?
Not so you’d notice where it counts—in his reelection effort.
In fact, the Center found that one-third of the money Obama’s elite fund-raising corps has raised on behalf of his re-election has come from the financial sector.
“Individuals who work in the finance, insurance and real estate sector are responsible for raising at least $11.3 million for Obama’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee,” the Center reported.”

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

It Appears Those “Ankle Biting Hounds From Whinerville” Were Right

Oh those “Ankle biting hounds from Whinerville” as the Columbian’s editorial page editor John Laird so eloquently described those who have spoken out in opposition of the Columbia River crossing project. They’ve been ridiculed, demeaned, shouted down, gaveled down, marginalized and mostly ignored. Speaking out against the CRC, especially the loot rail component of the project has been treated as blasphemy by supporters such as John Laird and others at the Columbian.

But they didn’t stop, they kept speaking out, writing letters, holding meetings, scheduling seminars inviting experts from all walks knowledgeable about such projects. Seeing that some $130 Million was spent with nothing to show for it, cronyism in people hired and paid quite handsomely for producing very little and questions continually ignored, Vancouver Businessman David Madore, at his expense, hired a forensic auditor to go through the mountains of documents finally given under a FOIA request.

It’s an old tactic to flood a ton of documents, many unrelated when trying to hide what is really there. The concept is the one seeking information will get bored with pouring over frivolous papers and either give up or miss what is right before their eyes.

It didn’t work.

Irregularities were discovered and made public by Mr. Madore, Josephine Wentzel, candidate for city council and the auditor, Tiffany Couch.

Lo and behold, after weeks of still ignoring the ABHFW (Ankle Biting Hounds from Whinerville), Oregon news outlets began looking a little closer. In fact, a lot closer than our friends at the Columbian, who claim they are “Serving Clark County”, have.

The Willamette Week treated us to exposes’ in June HERE and HERE by Pulitzer Prize Winner Nigel Jaquiss.

The Oregonian, finally opening their eyes followed suit with Columbia River Crossing has spent $130 million, without lifting a shovel, In the Columbia River Crossing bridge game, we’re the dummies and Traffic estimates on Columbia River Crossing further muddy the financial picture.

While the Willamette Week and the Oregonian were digging and discovering questionable procedures and accounting of the CRC, the Columbian lauds CRC Director Nancy Boyd with New Crossing chief orders internal audit, which, given what was pointed out both by Oregon media and Mr. Madore for so many months is totally unacceptable. An internal audit at this time would be little more than the fox guarding the hen house.

In late June, we read in the Columbian how a majority of the Vancouver City Council accepted the Columbia River Crossing’s draft Final Environmental Impact Statement, even as Oregon media was beginning to publish problems they were discovering with the CRC.

Even earlier in June the Columbian made an effort to discredit a Willamette Week claim as it began circulation around the county.

I was a bit surprised yesterday afternoon, about a half hour after Victoria Taft and I discussed some of the questionable findings on her AM 860 afternoon radio program, that the Columbian apparently rushed to publish an initial article, Bridge tolls may fall $598M short Report challenges CRC’s assumptions, suggests pre-tolling still trying to paint a positive picture of this boondoggle.

That was followed Thursday with, Oregon treasurer questions traffic, toll revenue for new I-5 bridge but still trying to paint a gilded edge on this monstrosity.

Ignored by the Columbian but reported by the Oregonian, in CRC Director Nancy Boyd’s claims of seeing “no red flags” in CRC accounting,

“Because the CRC could not find a qualified “traffic consultant” in the Portland metro area, the empire builders hired David Parisi of Mill Valley, Calif., and paid $19,200 to help cover rent on his Pearl District apartment. Parisi’s consulting company — which doesn’t have a working website — has billed CRC more than $1.4 million.”

“Shortly after EnviroIssues hired communications director Linda Mullen away from the Washington State Department of Transportation in 2006, EnviroIssues was graced with a PR contract for the bridge project. The firm’s billings for this public-relations disaster now top $5 million.”

“At the behest of the Oregon Department of Transportation, the CRC hired Tom Markgraf, a former aide for Rep. Earl Blumenauer, and paid him more than $1 million to chaperone public hearings and schmooze the body politic over four years. Eventually, lo and behold, Markgraf’s son, Peter, was also drawing a CRC paycheck.”

Would you trust the above to be clarified by an internal audit?

Washington 49th legislative district representative Jim Moeller, representing the district that will be affected the most by the CRC chimed in with a comment,

“Pre-tolling is a common process considered in the rest of the state and it should be considered for this project,” and unbelievably also says, “I, along with the rest of my constituents would rather walk into this project with our financial eyes open. Transparency is the key to understanding this complicated project.”

If anything, he and other elected members of the ruling class have tightened their financial blinders and raced ahead with a full head of steam, ignoring, gaveling down and shouting down any request for transparency by citizens and Mr. Madore.

If we had had transparency all along, perhaps we wouldn’t have wasted over $130 Million and not have even a shovel full of dirt turned for it.

No, instead we see acerbic editorial page editor for the Columbian slurring us with childish names like Ankle Biters and Hounds from Whinerville.

I also have little doubt he will pen yet another editorial addressing the issues discovered.

I also have little doubt it will go something like, “will have little or no effect blah, blah, blah ankle biters, blah, blah, blah, hounds from whinerville, blah, blah, blah, stopping progress, blah, blah, blah Republicans, blah, blah, blah tea party, blah, blah, blah but Texas does, blah, blah, blah racism, blah, blah, blah, it’s all Bush’s fault.”

Personally, I’m very thankful that we do have “Ankle Biting Hounds from Whinerville.”

Someone has to have the best interests of taxpayers and citizens in mind.

It sure hasn’t been the Columbian, the Vancouver City Council, the Columbia River Crossing, the Governor’s Office or most of the State Legislature.

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