Daily Archives: June 6, 2012

After failing to report the Sheriff letter and presentation to the county the O delivers the county message in living color. 

Without even bothering to contact the Measure backers or attorney for input.

Clackamas County releases memo outlining possible legal options for anti-light rail initiative on September ballot

Published: Tuesday, June 05, 2012, 12:42 PM     Updated: Tuesday, June 05, 2012, 1:14 PM
Yuxing Zheng, The Oregonian By Yuxing Zheng, The Oregonian 
orange line bridge construction 5.22.12.JPGView full sizeDoug Beghtel/The Oregonian/May 2012Work continues on the new Portland-Milwaukie light rail bridge across the Willamette River. Construction started July 2011.

OREGON CITY — Clackamas County commissioners this morning released a memo outlining a number of legal options the county could pursue regarding the anti-light rail initiative measure on the Sept. 18 ballot, including challenging the measure prior to the special election or asking the measure be declared unconstitutional if passed. 

The initiative, if approved, would require Clackamas County voter approval before the county pays $25 million to TriMet for the $1.5 billion Portland-Milwaukie light rail project. It would also require countywide voter approval before officials can spend money to finance, design, construct or operate any rail lines in the county.

County and TriMet officials argue the initiative, if approved, would only apply to future projects and does not affect the county’s legally binding $25 million contract for Portland-Milwaukie light rail, an agreement that was signed in February 2010.

One option would be to challenge Measure 3-401 prior to the election, according to the June 4 legal memo written by County Counsel Stephen Madkour and Assistant County Counsel Alexander Gordon. The initiative process is intended for legislative acts, not administrative acts concerning the daily administration of municipal affairs, the pair write.

“The Ballot Measure goes beyond mere legislation and impermissibly intrudes into the general administrative and executive functions of County governance,” according to the memo.

More

The Oregonian’s continuing coverage of the planning and construction of TriMet’s Portland-Milwaukie light rail and the orange line bridge.

If the measure passes, it could still be challenged as an unlawful impairment of a contract. Both the U.S. and Oregon constitutions prohibit governments from passing laws that allow them to escape previously agreed upon contractual obligations, the memo says. Such a challenge would likely be initiated by TriMet as the aggrieved party. If that argument succeeds, it would result in the measure being declared unconstitutional, according to the memo.

County commissioners are scheduled to discuss their options at a 10 a.m. work session tomorrow.

Even if the measure passes, the county would still need to pay TriMet because the wording of the initiative states it would become effective upon passage, meaning it would only apply to prospective projects, not retroactively to previously approved contracts, the memo says.

No “cancellation fee” exists in the county’s agreement with TriMet, the memo says. If the county fails to pay the $25 million, it “would be a material breach” of the agreement. “TriMet could sue the County for money damages,” the memo says.

The legal memo also supports concerns voiced by commissioners that the measure is too broad and would likely hamper public safety and maintenance and affect other rail lines in the county, such as the MAX Green Line, Amtrak and Westside Express Service commuter rail.

“Arguably, these limitations could range from restricting CCOM (dispatchers) from taking a call concerning an Amtrak rail incident, to dispatching emergency responders to a situation on the Green Line, to striping a rail crossing on WES, to the Sheriff’s Office responding to a motor vehicle accident at a rail crossing,” the memo says. “Were the measure to pass, these situations would prove problematic.”

Federal and local transit officials signed off May 22 on the $1.5 billion funding package. Clackamas County’s contract with TriMet requires it pay the money by Sept. 3 or pay 5 percent interest to extend the deadline by a year. The Clackamas County Budget Committee last week approved a spending plan for the next fiscal year that includes a $250,000 “placeholder” for the Portland-Milwaukie light rail project.

— Yuxing Zheng

Tracking Rail Funding

Kitzhaber Energy Plan: Fewer Cars, More Expensive Fuel

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has laid out histen year plan for Oregon’s energy future and there won’t be much room for individual freedom er, your car.
http://oregon.gov/energy/AnalyticsReports/Ten_Year_Energy_Action_Plan.pdf

Bureau data, fuel costs average Oregonians nearly seven percent of disposable income; nearly double the cost ten years ago. Moreover, gasoline prices are projected to rise, so this trend is expected to continue unless the transportation system and habits are reformed.
To reach Oregon’s 2020 goals, the state will need approximately a 30 percent reduction from 2010 greenhouse gas (GHG) levels, which roughly translates to a 30 percent fossil fuel use reduction.28 ver the next ten years, we will reduce dependence on fossil fuels by converting 20 percent of large fleets to alternative fuel vehicles, including, but not limited to, electric, compressed natural gas (“CNG”), and liquefied natural gas (“LNG”). Converting 20 percent of large fleets over the next ten years will accelerate the market for newer, cleaner-burning vehicles that are less expensive to operate over the life of the vehicle, which will help the state and businesses save money on operations and
fuel.

Scott St. Clair: Wisconsin’s Walker KO’s Unions With Recall Punch in the Nose

It was an old-fashioned butt kicking in Wisconsin last night. Gov. Scott Walker, the target of a recall effort by unions and progressives after he successfully steer headed reforms stripping government-sector unions of their collective-bargaining and mandatory-membership rights, blew out his opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, by near-landslide numbers.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Walker had a seven point edgeover Barrett, up from the six point margin he had over the Milwaukee mayor when they faced each other two years ago.

Walker KO’d the unions who were last seen flat on their backs on the political canvas. Wisconsin, the first state to allow government-sector unions the right to negotiate, became the first state to give them the heave-ho. They came after Gov. Walker with a vengeance, but in a three-strikes-you’re-out scenario they failed to recall senators they targeted last year, they failed to dump a Wisconsin Supreme Court judge in an election and now they’ve failed to oust Walker.
If you’re going to assassinate the king, you better not miss. They missed big time.
Now they’re out of ammunition. After Walker’s reforms made union membership in Wisconsin a matter of personal choice, not a compulsory obligation in order to keep a job, members bolted for the door in land-rush numbers. Some unions saw membership numbers drop more than 50 percent. When that happens, the cash spigot gets turned off, something I predictedwould happen in Wisconsin and eventually nation-wide. No dues in the door, no campaign donations out the door.
If I were a union official anywhere in America this morning, I’d be drunk or crying or looking for the tallest building possible off of which to jump. Or all of the above.
 Labor put it all on the line, but voters pulled the plug. This is bigger than the 1981 firing of air traffic controllers by President Ronald Reagan after they illegally struck the federal government, which ushered in years of push backs against unions by businesses large and small. Now government-sector unions can squirm and suffer.
A scant 11.8 percent of American workers belong to unions, down from nearly one-third in the early post-World War II era. More telling, however, is the breakdown between private-sector workers and government-sector workers. A measly 6.9 of the former are union members, while 37 percent of government-sector workers are union members.
More bureaucrats, agency workers and others belong to unions than factory hands, construction workers or truck drivers.
But after yesterday, that’s going to change. Wisconsin proved states can take on the vested special interests that unions have become as part of an overall package to restrain government spending and hold the line on taxes.
And they’ll have to given the continued abysmal balance sheets most states have that are driven largely by profligate government-sector wage and benefit packages and unsustainable pensions. Now the wind blowing out of Wisconsin is at the back of reformers.
But it will take work and toughness. In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich spearheaded reforms similar to Wisconsin’s only to see them repealed by voters. In New Hampshire, a right-to-work law was vetoed by the Democratic governor with an override failing by one vote in the state Senate.
And progressives and their pals in labor won’t give up. If anything, they’ll become more hysterical. Twitter is flooded today with death threats against Gov. Walker. MSNBC’s always nasty Ed Schultz claimshe may soon be indicted for undisclosed-by-him sins. Foaming at the mouth isn’t far behind.
In the campaign bunkers of candidates like former Congressman Jay Inslee, a lefty’s lefty who never saw a union boss’ derriere he wasn’t willing to kiss and who thinks he’ll be Washington state’s next governor, there should be pause. The legs have been kicked out from underneath a principle tenet of progressive thinking and strategy: Government-sector unions are no longer untouchable and a guaranteed source of contributions and manpower.                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Kitzhaber Energy Plan: Fewer Cars, More Expensive Fuel

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has laid out histen year plan for Oregon’s energy future and there won’t be much room for individual freedom er, your car.
http://oregon.gov/energy/AnalyticsReports/Ten_Year_Energy_Action_Plan.pdf

Bureau data, fuel costs average Oregonians nearly seven percent of disposable income; nearly double the cost ten years ago. Moreover, gasoline prices are projected to rise, so this trend is expected to continue unless the transportation system and habits are reformed.
To reach Oregon’s 2020 goals, the state will need approximately a 30 percent reduction from 2010 greenhouse gas (GHG) levels, which roughly translates to a 30 percent fossil fuel use reduction.28 ver the next ten years, we will reduce dependence on fossil fuels by converting 20 percent of large fleets to alternative fuel vehicles, including, but not limited to, electric, compressed natural gas (“CNG”), and liquefied natural gas (“LNG”). Converting 20 percent of large fleets over the next ten years will accelerate the market for newer, cleaner-burning vehicles that are less expensive to operate over the life of the vehicle, which will help the state and businesses save money on operations and
fuel.

Scott St. Clair: Wisconsin’s Walker KO’s Unions With Recall Punch in the Nose

It was an old-fashioned butt kicking in Wisconsin last night. Gov. Scott Walker, the target of a recall effort by unions and progressives after he successfully steer headed reforms stripping government-sector unions of their collective-bargaining and mandatory-membership rights, blew out his opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, by near-landslide numbers.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Walker had a seven point edgeover Barrett, up from the six point margin he had over the Milwaukee mayor when they faced each other two years ago.

Walker KO’d the unions who were last seen flat on their backs on the political canvas. Wisconsin, the first state to allow government-sector unions the right to negotiate, became the first state to give them the heave-ho. They came after Gov. Walker with a vengeance, but in a three-strikes-you’re-out scenario they failed to recall senators they targeted last year, they failed to dump a Wisconsin Supreme Court judge in an election and now they’ve failed to oust Walker.
If you’re going to assassinate the king, you better not miss. They missed big time.
Now they’re out of ammunition. After Walker’s reforms made union membership in Wisconsin a matter of personal choice, not a compulsory obligation in order to keep a job, members bolted for the door in land-rush numbers. Some unions saw membership numbers drop more than 50 percent. When that happens, the cash spigot gets turned off, something I predictedwould happen in Wisconsin and eventually nation-wide. No dues in the door, no campaign donations out the door.
If I were a union official anywhere in America this morning, I’d be drunk or crying or looking for the tallest building possible off of which to jump. Or all of the above.
 Labor put it all on the line, but voters pulled the plug. This is bigger than the 1981 firing of air traffic controllers by President Ronald Reagan after they illegally struck the federal government, which ushered in years of push backs against unions by businesses large and small. Now government-sector unions can squirm and suffer.
A scant 11.8 percent of American workers belong to unions, down from nearly one-third in the early post-World War II era. More telling, however, is the breakdown between private-sector workers and government-sector workers. A measly 6.9 of the former are union members, while 37 percent of government-sector workers are union members.
More bureaucrats, agency workers and others belong to unions than factory hands, construction workers or truck drivers.
But after yesterday, that’s going to change. Wisconsin proved states can take on the vested special interests that unions have become as part of an overall package to restrain government spending and hold the line on taxes.
And they’ll have to given the continued abysmal balance sheets most states have that are driven largely by profligate government-sector wage and benefit packages and unsustainable pensions. Now the wind blowing out of Wisconsin is at the back of reformers.
But it will take work and toughness. In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich spearheaded reforms similar to Wisconsin’s only to see them repealed by voters. In New Hampshire, a right-to-work law was vetoed by the Democratic governor with an override failing by one vote in the state Senate.
And progressives and their pals in labor won’t give up. If anything, they’ll become more hysterical. Twitter is flooded today with death threats against Gov. Walker. MSNBC’s always nasty Ed Schultz claimshe may soon be indicted for undisclosed-by-him sins. Foaming at the mouth isn’t far behind.
In the campaign bunkers of candidates like former Congressman Jay Inslee, a lefty’s lefty who never saw a union boss’ derriere he wasn’t willing to kiss and who thinks he’ll be Washington state’s next governor, there should be pause. The legs have been kicked out from underneath a principle tenet of progressive thinking and strategy: Government-sector unions are no longer untouchable and a guaranteed source of contributions and manpower.                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com