Daily Archives: October 11, 2011

Vancouver City Council Slights County on Biomass Plant, But Expects Forgiveness of $4.4 Million Debt

I can’t say that I’m a fan of building a Biomass Power Plant west of downtown Vancouver, but watching this scenario unfold is almost comical.

At Mondays City Council meeting, Leavitt and the council passed a 6-month moratorium “on development in the downtown zone where the county and its private partner, Schneider Electric, want to locate a biomass electricity generating plant.”

The moratorium caught everybody by surprise as it is the first anybody had heard of it in the back and forth over the county wanting to build the plant in Vancouver and city officials opposing it. Such a move effectively shuts down the idea of the plant.

Leavitt is quoted, “It’s my understanding that our city center vision is to transition away from industrial uses.”

Strangely enough, Tuesday evening we read, Vancouver wants county to forgive $4.4 million Hilton debt.

Although “no formal debt relief proposal exists for commissioners to consider,” according to Clark County Administrator Bill Barron, Commissioner Tom Mielke said “Vancouver city officials want the county to forgive $4.4 million in debt related to the Hilton [in downtown] Vancouver.” The revelation came as Commissioner Mielke was expressing his disappointment with the city passing the moratorium to kill the county’s biomass project.

According to the Columbian,

“At issue is a growing debt linked to an agreement made when plans for the city-owned, privately operated hotel and convention center at Sixth and Columbia streets were first formed.”

“Under terms of legislation signed into law in 1999, the state gives Vancouver and Clark County a tiny piece of sales taxes collected inside their borders to help pay for convention centers and other large projects. The county formed a public facility district to build the Clark County Events Center at the Fairgrounds; the city formed a public facility district to build the Hilton.”

“The county, in 2003, voted to give most of its sales tax credits to the convention center, with the understanding that the city would eventually pay the county back.”

“As of Sept. 30, the city’s public facilities district owed the county $4.4 million. That amount accumulates at a rate of $45,000 to $60,000 a month, with an interest rate of 5.64 percent, Vancouver Chief Financial Officer Lloyd Tyler said.”

The Hilton has been a money pit for taxpayers since its inception, leaving us on the hook for paying for it while the economy continues to decline and as the union representing workers at the Hilton are now demanding wage and benefit increases as well.

Commissioner Stuart remain in New Orleans at a transportation convention, looking over the latest in electric trains and seeing new creative ways to soak taxpayers some more for light rail, but both commissioners Mielke and Boldt have indicated the city can forget any debt forgiveness.

I can’t help but wonder if this was Leavitt’s plan all along. Pass the moratorium, approach the county for a forgiveness of the debt, then when commissioner’s balk, as they have, wait a short bit and offer to repeal the moratorium in exchange for the debt forgiveness.

Regardless of that thought, as both the Hilton Convention Center and the Amphitheater at the Clark County Fairgrounds continue to be a drain on taxes, why would any of the elected people even consider putting taxpayers on the hook for a new baseball stadium to house the Yakima Bears?

Once again we see the results of starry eyed elected officer holders who continue to thumb their noses at taxpayers as they wheel and deal with our tax dollars, wasting Millions of Dollars and having to request federal grants just to keep a firehouse open, not to mention pouring Millions of Dollars into a waterfront project, granting a $1 Million property tax abatement to a Millionaire developer, and preparing to leave us stuck owing Billions in taxes and tolls to pay for a new I-5 bridge to extend Portland’s Light Rail to Vancouver, even though voters have 3 times indicated we do not want it.

No county commissioners are up for reelection and I don’t have a vote in the city council races, living outside the city limits, but those of you who do, well, I hope you know what you should do.

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

Part-Time Occupiers to Descend on Vancouver, Washington

I guess better late than never, an “Occupy Vancouver” event is planned to be held in Esther Short Park this Saturday, October 15, 2011. Unlike other “Occupations” around the country, supposedly showing their disdain for something, passing out free condoms, not bathing and being a general nuisance, “Occupy Vancouver” is slated to be held from noon to 3PM.

The facebook page for this part-time protest states, “Join together with your fellow citizens to show this nation that we are aware of the injustices, and that we will peacefully assemble in solidarity with the International Day of Occupation on October 15th.”

“This is NOT a movement against authority, this is NOT a movement against police, this IS a peaceful movement of awareness!”

“Thanks for your support! Come voice your ideas, we have three proposed general assembly meetings over the coming days to talk about the event next weekend, and to listen to the public before the event. Saturday the 8th and Sunday the 9th, both at 2pm at Esther Short Park near the center band-shell. And also, Wednesday the 12th at 6pm, same location.”

Apparently they already started their occupation and since we all missed it, they plan to do it again.

Odd how it isn’t a “movement against anything,” but “awareness.” Awareness of what? Your guess is as good as mine.

Curious to find the comment below from the Columbian’s Cami Joner, interested in covering the event and reaching out to the part-time malcontents.

How many Tea Party events and other conservative rallies have just been ignored by the Columbian? Oh sure, they have covered a couple, but by and large, they like to bury their heads in their collective print and ignore such things, just as they did for the Bridging the Gaps II event this past weekend.

Many participating in the various “ocuppy’s” around the country don’t have a clue just what it is they want, they just protest, following along blindly with whoever steps and begins speaking, as long as they speak against conservatism and private enterprise.

It’s little wonder the socialist Democrats from D.C. have come out in support of these malcontents, while each of them rests comfortably in their luxurious mansions, fly around the globe on our money, ride in chauffer driven limousines and SUV’s all while complaining about corporate CEO’s being greedy.

“I support the message to the establishment, whether it’s Wall Street or the political establishment and the rest, that change has to happen,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who recently increased her wealth by 63%.

“We realize that Occupy Wall Street is calling for systemic change. We are honored to join you in this call to take back our nation and democracy,” said Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream founders, Ben Greenfield and Jerry Cohen who sold their interests in the company for $326 Million.

Unlike other areas where protesters have opted for illegally camping out, defying laws and not bathing, Vancouver’s quasi-malcontents will assemble in Esther Short Park, listen to whoever steps up to tell them how wrong it all is in America, while they use corporate made iPads, iPods and cell phones, subscribed through corporate wireless services, will drive to the town center in their corporate made vehicles, even in a corporate made bus, many wearing corporate made designer clothes to hear someone badmouth corporations.

Then, they will climb back in their corporate made vehicles, drive back to their corporate made homes filled with corporate made furniture, corporate made furnaces for warmth, take a nice warm shower in a corporate made shower heated by a corporate made water heater, sign on to their corporate made computers linked to the internet through corporate internet services to boast to all of the facebook buddies that they made a difference for a couple hours by chanting “hey hey, ho ho, blah, blah, blah.”

In the meantime, they raise the blinders to Major Leavitt and city council, the county commissioners and the C-Tran board ramming corporate made light rail down their throats, ignoring past votes against it and not even allowing another vote of the people to determine if we even want it.

Some people just have their priorities all fouled up!

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

**UPDATED** Portland Area Students Take Field Trip to OccupaidPortland

Don’t worry, parents, there was only one REPORTED sexual assault down there. What a wonderful lesson to give the students: a trip to a smelly encampment by law breakers. Nice. H/T Laughing at Liberals
UPDATED ** A parent from the school and who was on the field trip told me after this was posted that the kids were doing a scavenger hunt throughout downtown Portland. Occupy Portland was not on the list of things to find, I’m told, but I think you can see from the video that the teacher was quite alright with being there. **

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

Anarchist Crowd Populates Occupaid Portland

When They’re Not Vandalizing OPP, They’re “Loving” Anarchists. Good to Know.

As you can read in the nearby post, I strolled through Occupy Portland tonight. Popular among the signs is this one. See that circle surrounding the A? That A stands for “Anarchy.” Black block is living off the grid (helped by taxpayers, ugh…) at Occupy Portland.
Will the last laugh be on Portland taxpayers? Again?

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

PDX Mayor Adams Has Block on What To Do About Protesters

MAIN ST BETWEEN 3rd & 4th STILL ILLEGALLY BLOCKED BY ILLEGALLY CAMPING PROTESTERS
I went by Occupy Portland again tonight. Smells of tobacco, cart food, and sounds of a drum circle filled the air. A spotlight jury rigged onto a street lamp illuminated the blocked Main street between third and fourth where dozens of protesters awaited a message from the non-leader-leader of the general assembly who spoke through a microphone powered by–uh, something. KOIN 6 previously had reported that our our anti-greed protesters had been greedily and illegally consuming stolen electricity from electric car charging stations until supposedly the city cut them off. Nobody had shut off anything that I could see. The microphone and spot light were powered by something. And the street they were filling was supposed to have been emptied of protesters and opened to the commuters by today sometime. 
Which brings us to the problem: Sam. He can’t say no to the left. He just doesn’t know what to do when dreadlocked, tatted, pierced anarchists (see nearby 

post) are vewy, vewy unhappy with him. But, Sam, seriously we need to have someone take a firm hand here. Trust me, these guys don’t think you’re “the man.” Honestly. They think you’re a eunuch. We want you to man-up and get these yippies outta here. 
However that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. I mean, listen to their logic. My producer Eric asked this question yesterday based on Rees Lloyd’s piece on the blog yesterday which you can find (here). 
Amy, I was asked to forward this question to you: Did the city open up a legal can of worms by allowing the Occupy Portland group to march in street, camp overnight in parks etc without the proper permits? If another group wanted to do the same thing but had a different political platform than the Mayor and they weren’t allowed to march or camp without permits could it be considered discrimination? Thanks 
The CITY ATTORNEY had no answer and lateraled it over to Sam’s office! He’s not an attorney in case anyone hasn’t noticed. So Eric gamely sent the same email over to Sam’s spokeswoman, Amy Ruiz. She responded:

We’re not getting into “what ifs” as it relates to Occupy Portland or other protests. The Mayor is monitoring the situation, and making day to day decisions based on current information. His goals are to respect people’s right to peacefully protest, while also keeping the city working.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Amy Ruiz Communications Director Office of Mayor Sam Adams City of Portland 1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 340 Portland, OR 97204 Phone: 503-823-4799

Here’s Rees’ reaction to that response:

I am at once appalled and amused at the cavalier, to-hell-with-you-peasants response that you and Eric Peterson received from the City to your inquiry of how the City can do for the latter-day hippies, yippies, and self-righteous narcissists purporting to “Occupy Portland,” what it manifestly has not done in regard to the Tea Party patriots or others. It is fundamental First Amendment law that a city can regulate time, place, and manner of demonstrations and other First Amendment expressive acts. But it must apply the law equally. It cannot under any circumstance based its actions on the “content” of the expressive activity. 


All the talk about the “peaceful” nature of the self-proclaimed “Occupiers” is naught but dross: The law was broken when the Occupiers of Portland publicly refused to even seek a permit. Period. 


The constitutional reality the liberal “progressive” Mayor Sam Adams and members of the Portland Commission have established a dangerous precedent, and have done so knowingly. What they do for Occupied Portland liberal progressive totalitarians, including allowing them to act at all, peacefully or otherwise, without a permit, establishes a precedent and policy which must be equally applied under the Equal Protection. Clause  to the KKK, New Black Panther Party, the Islamist  jihadists, etc., et al.


The attempt of the city’s agents to dodge and evade answering your direct questions, i.e., “we don’t address hypotheticals,”  is proof of their knowledge of the dangerous precedent they have established,  proof of their lack of integrity, and evidence of the  of totalitarian streak at the essence of liberal “progressivism.”  

Rees

Oh, Portland, I’ve got more bad news. The protest camp site has grown. Now it’s two blocks long. Good job, Sam. 

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

Rees Lloyd: Sam Adams’ Dangerous Precedent With Occupy Portland Should Be Repudiated



While there is much that is lamentable as well as ludicrous concerning the  politically pathetic  “Occupied Portland,” a protest of  self-righteous, narcissists suffering from prolonged adolescence who are  in search of a cause which they just can’t quite articulate,  which does not prevent them from holding themselves above the law and identifying themselves as “representing the 99%,” the fact is that a serious precedent has been set by Mayor Sam Adams in according special privileges to this group of protesters in Portland. The unintended consequences of the Sam Adams precedent are serious, and should not be minimized.

As an activist in the civil rights movement, and in the labor movement,  I have participated in and served as an attorney for literally hundreds of protest marches and demonstrations. As a civil rights attorney for some thirty years, I have represented numerous 






individuals and organizations in civil litigation regarding issuance or denial of permits, injunctive actions, and criminal prosecutions for violations of permit ordinances or other laws pertaining to the conduct of demonstrations.


I am very familiar with the well-established body of law holding that it is constitutional under the First Amendment for governmental bodies to impose reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions, including requiring demonstrators to obtain a permit if marches are going to utilize public streets, or to occupy public areas, depriving others of the use thereof.  However, governmental bodies cannot exercise “standardless discretion” in issuing permits, and must apply its standards in a non-discriminatory, equal manner, to all, regardless of the content of the speech or expressive activity at issue. 

Portland’s protesters, in arrogant as anarchistic defiance,  deliberately flouted the law that applies to all others by refusing even to seek a permit, publicly announcing in advance that they would not do so.  Thereafter,  among other things, they marched down city streets, including Broadway, a major thoroughfare, and occupied public property, e.g., Pioneer Square, and then parks for a prolonged squat-in. Thus, the protesters, their totalitarian-streak showing,  arrogantly infringed the rights of others for the use of those public areas. This included the Portland Marathon, which had obtained a permit for the important Portland “qualifying” marathon.

Mayor Sam Adams, a self-declared liberal “progressive” has decided not to enforce the law, nor to apply it equally to”Occupied Portland” protesters, who appear to be, it must be said, very much like Sam Adams, liberal “progressives” who believe they are above the law and should not have it applied to them equally as their motives are so pure and their intentions so good. 

Instead of enforcing the law equally, Mayor Adams chose, acting on behalf of all the citizens of Portland, who have neither elected nor otherwise agreed to be “represented” by the motley crew camping out in public parks (in which  overnight camp-ins, sleep-ins, or squat-ins are otherwise forbidden), chose not only to bend but to break the law in favor of these particular protesters. Indeed, he coddled them to the extent that purported “negotiations” took place between the protesters, the city, and the Portland Marathon, resulting in the Mayor of Portland publicly thanking and praising the ragtag self-righteous protesters for agreeing to “share” the “occupied” part of Portland with the Portland Marathon, as if they, the protesters, were a sovereign, and not arrogant liberal “progressive” lawbreakers placing themselves above all others of Portland.
Further, Adams has had these particular lawbreakers protected in their lawbreaking by Adams’ police, at great taxpayer expense. 

Thus, based upon my long experience,  I believe that the precedent set by Sam Adams in his discriminatory favoritism in regard to these particular protesters,  including  Adams’ non-enforcement of the law pertaining to them, will have to be followed generally. Simply stated, all others have the right to equal treatment in their protests or demonstrators. If others are arrested or prosecuted for failing to obtain a permit, or otherwise violating ordinances or state statutes pertaining to demonstrations, it is likely if not certain to result in litigation claiming discriminatory enforcement of law, denial of equal protection of the law, and other claims based on the Sam Adams precedent. 



Consider, for instance, the phenomenon of “flash mobs” across the country, which which mobs of people had demonstrated in streets, stopped traffic, and used the distraction of their acts to invade and commit larcenies in businesses. While they can be prosecuted for thefts, of course, how could they be prosecuted in Portland, in light of the Sam Adams precedent, for disrupting traffic and causing danger by suddenly marching in the street  in protest over anything they might dream up; how could they, or anyone, be prosecuted for setting up a sleep-in, camp-in, squat-in in any public park on any pretext, since Sam Adams has granted a “right” to do so to the favored few of “Occupied Portland”?

What if, next time, the “protesters” are not those so much like Sam Adams in their political orientation, but, for instance, the Ku Klux Klan; or the New  Black Panther thugs who were not prosecuted by the discriminatory policies of President Obama’s Attorney General Holder after waving clubs about and threatening white voters at the polls in the 2008 election;  or the Muslim Brotherhood or open supporters of Islamic terrorists, Al Quedistas, so speak? 

Will Mayor Sam Adams bend over for them, too? Will they not insist on equal treatment under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, citing  the Sam Adams Occupied Portland Precedent and demand to be treated as Portland through Sam Adams has treated the lawbreakers of Occupied Portland? 

Does anyone doubt that there are lawyers out there who will take such cases and posture about how noble they are in defending the First Amendment and Equal Protection of the Law, and then hold their hands out for court-appointed attorney fees in criminal defense representation or judge-ordered, taxpayer-paid attorney fee “awards” under the Civil Rights Attorney Fees Act of 1976 (42 USC Section 1988) in civil actions claiming rights violations? 

In short, there are many reasons to be disgusted by the arrogant antics of Occupied Portland, not the least of which are the acts of Mayor Sam Adams in settling a dangerous precedent by refusing to equally apply the law to  the Occupied Portland protesters. It should be resoundingly repudiated.


[Rees Lloyd is a longtime civil rights lawyer, and writes for the Victoria Taft Blog.]

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

**UPDATED** Portland Area Students Take Field Trip to OccupaidPortland

Don’t worry, parents, there was only one REPORTED sexual assault down there. What a wonderful lesson to give the students: a trip to a smelly encampment by law breakers. Nice. H/T Laughing at Liberals
UPDATED ** A parent from the school and who was on the field trip told me after this was posted that the kids were doing a scavenger hunt throughout downtown Portland. Occupy Portland was not on the list of things to find, I’m told, but I think you can see from the video that the teacher was quite alright with being there. **

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