Daily Archives: December 27, 2011

City Managers Should Thank Struggling Taxpayers for Their Wage Increases

That our national economy remains strained in this “Great Recession” is evident almost everywhere we look. Private sector jobs remain hard to find and we see median wages falling or remaining low.

According to a chart released by Washington State, Clark County’s median wage dropped over $3,000 a year between 2008 and 2009. 2010 showed an estimated increase in median wages in the county of a paltry $200 per year with a further estimate for 2011 of just $400 for the year, hoping to see a median wage of $54,951, still $3,000 below what was seen in 2008.

Many in the county, who are lucky enough to still have a job, have seen no wage increase at all and some have actually seen a significant drop in wages while at the same time we see taxes, rates and fees increasing across the board from city and county government.

However, not all of us have to sacrifice during these dire economic times. The Columbian tells us in November, “131 OPEIU members will get a 1.5 percent raise next year and another in 2013, followed by a 2 percent wage increase in 2014” as the city and the union reached their contract agreement. A small increase, but an increase just the same.

Earlier we saw settlements in contract disputes that also granted slight increases to city public union workers with an agreement for many to begin paying for a small portion of their health insurance premiums.

Last December taxpayers expressed their opposition to our 3 county commissioners receiving a wage increase that they wisely chose not to accept.

With such slight increases, while median income remains $3,000 lower throughout the county, little wonder even the Columbian questioned city manager Eric Holmes receiving nearly double a wage increase as did other city employees who avoided being laid off during this recession.

The slight outrage they expressed last week seems to be gone today as they report City managers’ pay rises across county, informing readers, “Four out of five [city managers] in Camas, Washougal, B.G., Vancouver, will receive increases in 2012.”

Chart from the Columbian

As seen in the chart above, appointed city managers are doing quite well in this recession while many middle class taxpayers continue unemployed, underemployed or with stagnant wages. Each city manager earns at least twice the current median income of taxpayers in the county.

The Columbian quotes Mark Stephan, a political science professor at Washington State University Vancouver, “Awarding pay raises to public leaders is important because it lessens the chance of a more affluent city or private company poaching them and, symbolically, makes the employees feel more appreciated.”

Stephan also rightly notes struggling middle class taxpayers will not receive the news of appointed city employees receiving these increases very well.

How nice to also read these wage increases do not include cost of living allowances that remain frozen “in order to save money.”

It cannot be forgotten that the governor wishes to increase the sales tax and public unions and members of the Democrat controlled legislature have filed a lawsuit against citizen initiatives to keep a high threshold for them to impose new taxes on us.

Locally, we continue to see our voices ignored as supporters of C-Tran, who is also giving wage increases to public union members engage in fearmongering to win a sales tax increase and working on yet another sales tax increase in 2012.

The CRC continues to suck up tax dollars with little accountability and working to keep taxpayers from voting on how we may want the project to go.

A searchable online database reveals over 250 public salaries in Clark County in excess of $100,000. Of the 661 salaries listed, over 600 are above the median income in Clark County.

We should also remember that shortly after lying his way into the mayor’s seat, Tim ‘the liar’ Leavitt floated the notion of making the job full time, presumably also with a six-figure salary while bombastic council member, Jeanne ‘gavel down’ Harris supported making city council positions full time that I have to believe would carry generous salaries.

It matters not whether or not these city managers deserve wage increases. Struggling middle class workers also deserve much, but we are not receiving increases, other than in what we must pay out in taxes, rates and fees.

Considering too that elected federal officials also receive $174,000 in base wage, plus extremely generous benefits that we struggling middle class taxpayers fund, it appears that being a public “servant” pays much better than those they allegedly serve receive.

It would seem the main incentive any of them have is devising ways to keep us paying for their lifestyles.

I’d say how nice it would be to at least receive a nice Thank You card from our public servants, but that too would probably come out of our pockets.

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

Mr. Why: LO Street Car: Dead?

Congratulations Oregonian editorial board for your Johnny-Come-Lately arrival at the obvious and inevitable outcome on the efficacy of the Lake Oswego Street Car Boondoggle.  
Instead of advancing the Lake Oswego Streetcar or letting it keep wobbling forward, leaders of the metro region should just acknowledge what’s increasingly clear to everyone now. It’s time to slam on the brakes. 
 You did, however, avoid three very germane points:
 
1. Mayor Hoffman and the other city councilor proponents have been misrepresenting every conceivable element in their push to impose their agenda.
 
2. There is well founded overwhelming public opposition to both the Streetcar & Foothills development plan.
 
3. The public outrage was going to stop this project. It has become inevitable.
 
However, with the exact same battle underway across the Willamette the same argument can also easily be applied to the similar Milwaukie Light Rail & McLoughlin development plans where there is even bigger public opposition. Possibly as high as 3 to 1, or more, against it all.
 
In addition to cancelling the LO Streetcar the PMLR should be rolled back to the new transit bridge only. Saving another $1.2 billion from a variety of sources that cannot afford it. Including $100 million at TriMet and $200 million in Metro federal gas tax flex funds needed for infrastructure elsewhere throughout the tri-county region.
 
Cancelling the CRC/Light Rail is also a no brainer. It’s foolish on a grand scale and also unwanted.
 
The obvious is screaming in all directions.
 
Lake Oswego, Clackamas County, Clark County and even the communities along Barbur/99 want nothing the Portland agencies of TriMet & Metro are trying to force upon them. 
 
Public officials pretending otherwise while insulting the public will only delay the inevitable and needlessly waste countless millions.
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

BANNED BY OMSI: Man Made Global Warming Skeptics Get Their Meeting

 After being booted out by the flat earthers at OMSI, the folks who want to present a skeptic’s view of man made global warming have found a new venue. See Gordon Fulks’  previous post about it here.

The Tribune has an update on the story here. 

The new meeting will take place from 7 to 9 p.m., Jan. 25, at the Portland Airport Shilo Inn Convention Center Ballroom, 11707 N.E. Airport Way.

As the Tribune describes the event:

The gathering will discuss the question of whether science supports the idea that humans caused global warming. Guest speakers are former state climatologist George Taylor, meteorologist Chuck Wiese and physicist Gordon Fulks. Taylor, Wiese and Fulks will talk about what they consider to be problems with the theory of human-caused climate change. They will also present climate forecasts for the next decade, century and beyond.

Imagine that: OMSI not wanting to have a scientific discourse to present another side to the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming. Is OMSI a science outfit or what?

But wait. See what the Vice President of OMSI, Mark Patel, says about putting OMSI’s imprimatur on events at the facility:

“When we host something, people naturally assume we endorse it, so we want to make sure that it’s a balanced presentation,” Patel said. “We want to see more of a conversation than a one-sided presentation.”

Guess that goes for weddings and parties, too. 

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

GOP Tout Obama’s New Year’s Resolutions

Following the Democrats’ plan to send “Conservative relatives” Obama love missives, the GOP has decided to turn the tables and encourage Republicans to send Obama’s “New Year’s Resolutions” to independents and Democrats in their lives. It’s pretty entertaining. Send one to a friend (here).

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

City Managers Should Thank Struggling Taxpayers for Their Wage Increases

That our national economy remains strained in this “Great Recession” is evident almost everywhere we look. Private sector jobs remain hard to find and we see median wages falling or remaining low.

According to a chart released by Washington State, Clark County’s median wage dropped over $3,000 a year between 2008 and 2009. 2010 showed an estimated increase in median wages in the county of a paltry $200 per year with a further estimate for 2011 of just $400 for the year, hoping to see a median wage of $54,951, still $3,000 below what was seen in 2008.

Many in the county, who are lucky enough to still have a job, have seen no wage increase at all and some have actually seen a significant drop in wages while at the same time we see taxes, rates and fees increasing across the board from city and county government.

However, not all of us have to sacrifice during these dire economic times. The Columbian tells us in November, “131 OPEIU members will get a 1.5 percent raise next year and another in 2013, followed by a 2 percent wage increase in 2014” as the city and the union reached their contract agreement. A small increase, but an increase just the same.

Earlier we saw settlements in contract disputes that also granted slight increases to city public union workers with an agreement for many to begin paying for a small portion of their health insurance premiums.

Last December taxpayers expressed their opposition to our 3 county commissioners receiving a wage increase that they wisely chose not to accept.

With such slight increases, while median income remains $3,000 lower throughout the county, little wonder even the Columbian questioned city manager Eric Holmes receiving nearly double a wage increase as did other city employees who avoided being laid off during this recession.

The slight outrage they expressed last week seems to be gone today as they report City managers’ pay rises across county, informing readers, “Four out of five [city managers] in Camas, Washougal, B.G., Vancouver, will receive increases in 2012.”

Chart from the Columbian

As seen in the chart above, appointed city managers are doing quite well in this recession while many middle class taxpayers continue unemployed, underemployed or with stagnant wages. Each city manager earns at least twice the current median income of taxpayers in the county.

The Columbian quotes Mark Stephan, a political science professor at Washington State University Vancouver, “Awarding pay raises to public leaders is important because it lessens the chance of a more affluent city or private company poaching them and, symbolically, makes the employees feel more appreciated.”

Stephan also rightly notes struggling middle class taxpayers will not receive the news of appointed city employees receiving these increases very well.

How nice to also read these wage increases do not include cost of living allowances that remain frozen “in order to save money.”

It cannot be forgotten that the governor wishes to increase the sales tax and public unions and members of the Democrat controlled legislature have filed a lawsuit against citizen initiatives to keep a high threshold for them to impose new taxes on us.

Locally, we continue to see our voices ignored as supporters of C-Tran, who is also giving wage increases to public union members engage in fearmongering to win a sales tax increase and working on yet another sales tax increase in 2012.

The CRC continues to suck up tax dollars with little accountability and working to keep taxpayers from voting on how we may want the project to go.

A searchable online database reveals over 250 public salaries in Clark County in excess of $100,000. Of the 661 salaries listed, over 600 are above the median income in Clark County.

We should also remember that shortly after lying his way into the mayor’s seat, Tim ‘the liar’ Leavitt floated the notion of making the job full time, presumably also with a six-figure salary while bombastic council member, Jeanne ‘gavel down’ Harris supported making city council positions full time that I have to believe would carry generous salaries.

It matters not whether or not these city managers deserve wage increases. Struggling middle class workers also deserve much, but we are not receiving increases, other than in what we must pay out in taxes, rates and fees.

Considering too that elected federal officials also receive $174,000 in base wage, plus extremely generous benefits that we struggling middle class taxpayers fund, it appears that being a public “servant” pays much better than those they allegedly serve receive.

It would seem the main incentive any of them have is devising ways to keep us paying for their lifestyles.

I’d say how nice it would be to at least receive a nice Thank You card from our public servants, but that too would probably come out of our pockets.

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

Kim Kardashian: It’s Your Time for Choosing

The Left Extorts Kim Kardashian

When President Obama isn’t stoking the flames of class warfare to divide the country (even more) to reassure his re election, his friends in big labor are doing it through their “Occupy” political campaign, ACORN like “community organizing” and now this: Public Shaming.

As in so called “progressive” campaigns before them (the pro gay marriage campaign Know Thy Neighbor for instance), they have now begun a campaign to “out” individuals for being so distastefully–ew—rich.

Enter Kim Kardashian.

As the Wall Street Journal has pointed out in an Op Ed today, this ain’t about economics. Obviously, they wouldn’t have a leg to stand on if they did that. This is all about calling out someone for being too rich, for having too much. 

They will not be swayed because they are not being driven by their economics. They are being driven by their conception of immorality: the idea that millionaires have more than they should—and that any wealth they have is not something they have earned but something the state has allowed them to keep. It says much about the progressive Puritanism of our age that what these folks really find most sleazy about Ms. Kardashian is not her sex tape or her marriage, but that she’s unembarrassed about making money.


In his watershed speech of 1964, “A Time for Choosing,” Ronald Reagan famously noted that the liberals and socialists of the day couldn’t see “a fat man standing next to a thin man without concluding that the fat man had had gotten that way by taking advantage of the thin one!”

Kim Kardashian didn’t get a fat bank account because she robbed the bank. She didn’t take from someone else to get what she’s earned. She just went out there and earned it.

But Kim, here’s something else Ronald Reagan said that you may wish to think about as this political campaign tries to extort your support by “outing” you as a “rich” person who has “too much:”

The Founding Fathers knew a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.

To Kim K: it won’t matter if you give them all of the money you’ve earned, they’ll just hit up the next guy. They believe the government and its employees–the unions–deserve it more than you do. But know this: the bigger the government the more enslaved to it we become. In other words, the bigger the government the smaller the citizen.

These people who presume to tell you how much you should earn and attempt to embarrass you into giving into their extortion won’t stop with you. They won’t be happy until nearly every private dollar is hijacked for the use of government and in enriching THEIR union base. 

Don’t fall for it. Stand up for economic freedom. This is your time for choosing. They have made it so.

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

ICYMI: Oregon & Washington Get Serious Cheese From Feds

Senator Tom Coburn is out with his list of wasteful federal spending and Oregon’s nose is right there in the trough. You’ll recall that Coburn called attention to Portland’s redundant bike signs last year–a claim that Politi”fact” tried to take issue with him–and me–on. See the story here.

But this time Coburn has in his sites Oregon’s fabulous cheese industry. Who doesn’t love Tillamook cheese for goodness’ sake? Well, Coburn probably loves it, but doesn’t think the federal government needs to give over $50,000 to fund 24 videos on the history of cheese.
Says Coburn,

“It is unclear whether the promotion is necessary. Some of the state‘s smaller operations are still grappling with how to accommodate the growing interest in the small farms that are designed for goats or cows.”

Wow, imagine that. The Oregon Cheese industry has gotten word out about all of these artisinal cheeses without those videos. Imagine that…

Photo Credit: Oregonian

Another program in Coburn’s crosshairs is the $8.3 million from the Department of Transportation for the Covered Bridge Preservation Program. Covered bridges are pretty to look at. Take Oregon’s Larwood Covered Bridge for instance:

” While the original town is gone, federal funds are being used to rehabilitate the Larwood Covered Bridge as a ―reminder of the area‘s previous activities”

Paying homage to what ‘used to be’ is nice but that’s a pretty expensive memento. And why is the FEDERAL government paying for it again?

In Washington State the pigs are in the trough. The feds have picked up $2 million of the tab for a $6.3 million “Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center.”

Wow, if it weren’t for this grant I’ll bet you would never have heard of Washington wines. But wait–this facility has an added benefit: you’ll be able to have taxpayer subsidized meetings and weddings in it!

The center, owned by the Port of Benton, hopes to educate the
public about Washington State‘s diverse wine and food industry.
―The Clore Center is expected to be a destination for wine and food education, featuring a tasting room, kitchen, exhibits, teaching vineyards, gardens, classrooms and conference rooms, notes a recent press report. The center‘s website also notes how the ―Vineyard Pavilion is adaptable for meetings, events and weddings.

 Oink.

Never one to be put in a corner,  the food industry is elbowing for some money, too. Washington’s fruit industry has received a $100,000 federal grant to underwrite the:

Celebrity Chef Fruit Promotion Road Show in Indonesia.‖ The event is designed to raise ―consumer awareness through promoting our fruit in cooking recipes and demonstrations done by Celebrity Chefs.‘‖ Indonesia was selected because it is seen as ―an emerging market with immediate potential of increased sales opportunities‖ for cherries, apples, and pears.

This may be a tough market to penetrate though–even when you DO send celebrity chefs to do the sales pitch because as Coburn reveals:

According to the Center for Tropical Fruit Studies at  Bogor Agricultural University, however, Indonesia produces twice the amount of fruit the country  consumes. Further, the fruit-of-choice of most Indonesians is the banana.

Your tax dollars at work. Who needs a defense department?

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

Mr. Why: LO Street Car: Dead?

Congratulations Oregonian editorial board for your Johnny-Come-Lately arrival at the obvious and inevitable outcome on the efficacy of the Lake Oswego Street Car Boondoggle.  
Instead of advancing the Lake Oswego Streetcar or letting it keep wobbling forward, leaders of the metro region should just acknowledge what’s increasingly clear to everyone now. It’s time to slam on the brakes. 
 You did, however, avoid three very germane points:
 
1. Mayor Hoffman and the other city councilor proponents have been misrepresenting every conceivable element in their push to impose their agenda.
 
2. There is well founded overwhelming public opposition to both the Streetcar & Foothills development plan.
 
3. The public outrage was going to stop this project. It has become inevitable.
 
However, with the exact same battle underway across the Willamette the same argument can also easily be applied to the similar Milwaukie Light Rail & McLoughlin development plans where there is even bigger public opposition. Possibly as high as 3 to 1, or more, against it all.
 
In addition to cancelling the LO Streetcar the PMLR should be rolled back to the new transit bridge only. Saving another $1.2 billion from a variety of sources that cannot afford it. Including $100 million at TriMet and $200 million in Metro federal gas tax flex funds needed for infrastructure elsewhere throughout the tri-county region.
 
Cancelling the CRC/Light Rail is also a no brainer. It’s foolish on a grand scale and also unwanted.
 
The obvious is screaming in all directions.
 
Lake Oswego, Clackamas County, Clark County and even the communities along Barbur/99 want nothing the Portland agencies of TriMet & Metro are trying to force upon them. 
 
Public officials pretending otherwise while insulting the public will only delay the inevitable and needlessly waste countless millions.
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

BANNED BY OMSI: Man Made Global Warming Skeptics Get Their Meeting

 After being booted out by the flat earthers at OMSI, the folks who want to present a skeptic’s view of man made global warming have found a new venue. See Gordon Fulks’  previous post about it here.

The Tribune has an update on the story here. 

The new meeting will take place from 7 to 9 p.m., Jan. 25, at the Portland Airport Shilo Inn Convention Center Ballroom, 11707 N.E. Airport Way.

As the Tribune describes the event:

The gathering will discuss the question of whether science supports the idea that humans caused global warming. Guest speakers are former state climatologist George Taylor, meteorologist Chuck Wiese and physicist Gordon Fulks. Taylor, Wiese and Fulks will talk about what they consider to be problems with the theory of human-caused climate change. They will also present climate forecasts for the next decade, century and beyond.

Imagine that: OMSI not wanting to have a scientific discourse to present another side to the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming. Is OMSI a science outfit or what?

But wait. See what the Vice President of OMSI, Mark Patel, says about putting OMSI’s imprimatur on events at the facility:

“When we host something, people naturally assume we endorse it, so we want to make sure that it’s a balanced presentation,” Patel said. “We want to see more of a conversation than a one-sided presentation.”

Guess that goes for weddings and parties, too. 

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

GOP Tout Obama’s New Year’s Resolutions

Following the Democrats’ plan to send “Conservative relatives” Obama love missives, the GOP has decided to turn the tables and encourage Republicans to send Obama’s “New Year’s Resolutions” to independents and Democrats in their lives. It’s pretty entertaining. Send one to a friend (here).

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

Kim Kardashian: It’s Your Time for Choosing

The Left Extorts Kim Kardashian

When President Obama isn’t stoking the flames of class warfare to divide the country (even more) to reassure his re election, his friends in big labor are doing it through their “Occupy” political campaign, ACORN like “community organizing” and now this: Public Shaming.

As in so called “progressive” campaigns before them (the pro gay marriage campaign Know Thy Neighbor for instance), they have now begun a campaign to “out” individuals for being so distastefully–ew—rich.

Enter Kim Kardashian.

As the Wall Street Journal has pointed out in an Op Ed today, this ain’t about economics. Obviously, they wouldn’t have a leg to stand on if they did that. This is all about calling out someone for being too rich, for having too much. 

They will not be swayed because they are not being driven by their economics. They are being driven by their conception of immorality: the idea that millionaires have more than they should—and that any wealth they have is not something they have earned but something the state has allowed them to keep. It says much about the progressive Puritanism of our age that what these folks really find most sleazy about Ms. Kardashian is not her sex tape or her marriage, but that she’s unembarrassed about making money.


In his watershed speech of 1964, “A Time for Choosing,” Ronald Reagan famously noted that the liberals and socialists of the day couldn’t see “a fat man standing next to a thin man without concluding that the fat man had had gotten that way by taking advantage of the thin one!”

Kim Kardashian didn’t get a fat bank account because she robbed the bank. She didn’t take from someone else to get what she’s earned. She just went out there and earned it.

But Kim, here’s something else Ronald Reagan said that you may wish to think about as this political campaign tries to extort your support by “outing” you as a “rich” person who has “too much:”

The Founding Fathers knew a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.

To Kim K: it won’t matter if you give them all of the money you’ve earned, they’ll just hit up the next guy. They believe the government and its employees–the unions–deserve it more than you do. But know this: the bigger the government the more enslaved to it we become. In other words, the bigger the government the smaller the citizen.

These people who presume to tell you how much you should earn and attempt to embarrass you into giving into their extortion won’t stop with you. They won’t be happy until nearly every private dollar is hijacked for the use of government and in enriching THEIR union base. 

Don’t fall for it. Stand up for economic freedom. This is your time for choosing. They have made it so.

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