Daily Archives: April 7, 2013

CRC Funding Decision Tuesday in Olympia. Gown Up.

Pl.bridge01.jpgFrom Larry Patella:

On Tuesday the 8th, your representative in Olympia will be voting on whether or not the the CRC should receive any additional funding.  They should not.  Below is information asking you to reach out to those who will vote on our financial future.  Please call them tonight, tomorrow and tomorrow night. Let your voice be heard. We need to stop the CRC and Light Rail until we have a viable project.

And so it goes,

Larry Patella
CDR USN (ret)

Here is the information you need to make your call.

Please Reach out to Washington Legislators – Today 4-6-13
We need you to call over this weekend, today and tomorrow,
And leave a message on the phone!

Your help is needed and will make a big difference.  We need you to make phone calls and make a commitment to contact at least 5 or 10 of your friend and ask them to make phone calls.  Right now TODAY  

Phone Script (delivered firmly, but politely)

Hello, My name is ________ I am calling from_________
Concerning funding for the Columbia River Crossing transportation project.

I am asking that you provide no new funding for the CRC project and remove any and all funding currently budgeted for the CRC project.

Any future funding of the Columbia River Crossing must require alternatives to current project with only new administrators and contractors , involved in the process.  

State if you own a business or not

Lists key concerns you have about the CRC. 
  (Here are a few thoughts…. )

• The current bridge has 60 yrs of life left no need to replace it. 
• We need additional crossings
• The I-5 freeway is Full and the bridge is fine
• Costs are out of line for project deliverables  
• Will not relieve congestion, help move freight, or enhance highway system
• We have not been shown a range of alternatives to chose from have you? 
• We must have a range of alternatives to chose from… 
• Up to 300 hundred homes are fully are partly affected
• 6-9 yrs construction on the I-5 freeway with I-205 the only other bridge for dozens of miles.  Who thinks that safe? Or smart?
• Tremendous loss of permanent job  
• Vancouver has voted down light rail more than once … 
• Tolling amounts are unknown, at least $4 each direction, draining $100 million out of the regional economy. 
• Very little local support with 

Thank them and leave your contact information. Ask them to add your comments to (what)

(repeat request)  I am asking that you provide no new funding for the CRC project and remove any and all funding currently budgeted for the CRC project.

Minimum Goal:  We need each of you to call each official on the list below,  so that each official receives at least 100 phone calls.
We need you to call over this weekend, today and tomorrow, and leave a message on the phone!  This can be done at anytime over the weekend.  The list is in order of importance. If you get a short little speech going you can get all done in 3 hours…. Less time than drive up to Olympia and back.

Governor Jay Inslee 
Call 360-902-4111

House Bill 1864 Transportation funding 

Committee Members Transportation

32 Representative            Room        Phone
Clibborn, Judy (D) Chair        JLOB 415    (360) 786-7926
Fey, Jake (D) Vice Chair        JLOB 330    (360) 786-7974
Liias, Marko (D) Vice Chair        JLOB 414    (360) 786-7972
Moscoso, Luis (D) Vice Chair    JLOB 332    (360) 786-7900  
Bergquist, Steve (D)            JLOB 322    (360) 786-7862
Farrell, Jessyn (D)            JLOB 370    (360) 786-7818
Fitzgibbon, Joe (D)            JLOB 305    (360) 786-7952
Freeman, Roger (D)            JLOB 331    (360) 786-7830
Habib, Cyrus (D)            LEG 132D    (360) 786-7848
Moeller, Jim (D)            LEG 430    (360) 786-7872
Morris, Jeff (D)            LEG 436A    (360) 786-7970
Riccelli, Marcus (D)            JLOB 419    (360) 786-7888
Ryu, Cindy (D)            JLOB 324    (360) 786-7880
Sells, Mike (D)            LEG 132B    (360) 786-7840
Takko, Dean (D)            JLOB 336    (360) 786-7806  
Tarleton, Gael (D)            JLOB 334    (360) 786-7860
Upthegrove, Dave (D)        JLOB 304    (360) 786-7868
Monica Stonier –  (D)                        (360) 786-7994
Annette Cleveland- (D)                            (360) 786-7696
Sharon Wylie  (D)                                  (360) 786-7924
**(no need to call)  Orcutt, Ed (R) *    JLOB 408    (360) 786-7990
Hargrove, Mark (R) **        JLOB 409    (360) 786-7918
Overstreet, Jason (R) **        JLOB 422    (360) 786-7980
Angel, Jan (R)            JLOB 434    (360) 786-7964
Hayes, Dave (R)            JLOB 467    (360) 786-7914
Johnson, Norm (R)            JLOB 425    (360) 786-7810
Klippert, Brad (R)            JLOB 410    (360) 786-7882
Kochmar, Linda (R)            LEG 122F    (360) 786-7898
Kretz, Joel (R)            LEG 335A    (360) 786-7988
O’Ban, Steve (R)            JLOB 424    (360) 786-7890
Rodne, Jay (R)            JLOB 430    (360) 786-7852
Shea, Matt (R)            JLOB 437    (360) 786-7984
Zeiger, Hans (R)            JLOB 468    (360) 786-7968
Kristiansen, Dan (R)            LEG 425A    (360) 786-7967
Senate Committee on Transportation members and contact information

Senator Nick Harper (D) (360) 786-7674
Nick.Harper@leg.wa.gov

Senator Andy Billig (D) (360) 786-7604  
Andy.Billig@leg.wa.gov

Senator Steve Hobbs (D) (360) 786-7686
Steve.Hobbs@leg.wa.gov

Senator Mark Mullet (D) (360) 786-7608
Mark.Mullet@leg.wa.gov

Senator Christine Rolfes (D) (360) 786-7644
Christine.Rolfes@leg.wa.gov

Senator Nathan Schlicher (D) (360) 786-7650
Nathan.Schlicher@leg.wa.gov

Senator Tim Sheldon (D)  (360) 786-7668
Timothy.Sheldon@leg.wa.gov

Senator Tracey Eide (D) (360) 786-7658  *** Chair
Tracey.Eide@leg.wa.gov

Senator Doug Ericksen (R) (360) 786-7682
Doug.Ericksen@leg.wa.gov
  
Senator Joe Fain (R) (360) 786-7692
Joe.Fain@leg.wa.gov

Senator Sharon Brown (R) (360) 786-7614                                                    Sharon.Brown@leg.wa.gov

Senator Mike Carrell (R) (360) 786-7654 
Michael.Carrell@leg.wa.gov

Senator Curtis King (R)  (360) 786-7626  **Co-Chair  thank him 
Curtis.King@leg.wa.gov

Senator Steve Litzow (R) (360) 786-7641
Steve.Litzow@leg.wa.gov

Senator Don Benton (R)  (360) 786-7632 Thank him 
Don.Benton@leg.wa.gov

Senator John Smith (R) (360) 786-7612
John.Smith@leg.wa.gov

700 Retired Special Military Operators Demand Benghazi Investigation

The story comes via Breitbart here. See the letter embedded below and here at the www.specialoperationsspeaks.com website.

Here’s the money quote:

As veterans from all aspects of Special Operations, we have no doubt that there’s a lot more to what happened in Benghazi than President Obama and his Administration are letting on. From the very beginning, he has attempted to mislead and outright lied to the American people about why the attack on September 11th, 2012 happened, how it happened, and what our government did or did not do to save the lives of our patriots abroad,” 

The letter is signed by General Leroy Manor, a Vietnam War pilot who commanded the raid on Son Tay, an operation to rescue American POW’s; General Jerry Boykin, a wounded combat vet and Delta Force member; and two Medal of Honor winners, Navy SEALS Thomas Thornton and Thomas Norris along with 700 others. See the list below. 

SOF 700 Letter 4713 (1)

Pants on Fire Alert! Bruce McCain: Metro’s Ballot Measure 26-152 Lies!

Metro logo

At this May’s primary election, voters will see the usual assortment of special district elections, the most significant of which are local school board races. But for the 1.5 million Oregonians who are within the jurisdiction of Metro’s regional government, they will vote on measure 26-152, which Metro touts as a badly needed local option levy to remedy issues from its last measure in 2006. In fact, Metro claims it cannot afford to maintain and restore its own assets without this levy, despite the fact Metro’s all funds budget increased from $383,743,000 in 2011-2012 to a whopping $535,818,000 in 2012-2013

But as you will see below, Metro has flat out lied to voters in its in-house prepared ballot measure filed with county elections officials on January 28, 2013. I do not make that claim lightly. As an attorney in Oregon, I have handled many ballot title challenges, including statewide measures argued before the Oregon Supreme Court dating back to the early 1990’s. Differences of opinion do not usually rise to false statements of material fact. This is not a difference of opinion. All the evidence we need to reveal Metro’s duplicity is found in the language of Metro’s own ballot measures.

The Metro Lie

Current Metro COO Martha Bennett

Measure 26-152 is a proposed five-year local option levy that seeks to raise $10 million per year. According to the measure’s summary statement, 26-152 would create “a dedicated fund to improve water quality for salmon and native fish, remove invasive weeds that threaten the health of these natural areas, restore wetlands and provide opportunities for people from around the region to experience nature close to home.” The compelling need for this $10 million dedicated fund is explained in the summary, signed by Martha J. Bennett, Metro’s current Chief Operating Officer:

“Twice in two decades, Metro voters approved measures to acquire thousands of acres of natural areas throughout the tri-county region. Past measures could not include money for maintenance and restoration.” [emph added by editor of this blog]

Thus according to Metro, the regional behemoth with a half billion dollar budget needs this new local option levy for money in part to restore the lands Metro purchased with its GO bonds, since the previous bond measures could not include money for restoration. And here is where Ms. Bennett and the Metro Council have lied to their constituents.

Background

In May 1995 voters in the Metro region approved a $135.6 million bond measure entitled the “Open Spaces, Parks and Streams Bond Measure.”  The stated goal of the measure was to use the GO bonds to acquire land in 14 of the 57 regional natural areas identified in the 1992 Greenspaces Master Plan and six of the 34 regional trails and greenways identified in the Greenspaces Master Plan.

In 2006, Metro voters approved measure 26-80, which authorized Metro to issue $227.4 million in general obligation bonds, again to buy up land to add to Metro’s growing real estate portfolio. And Metro’s portfolio has now ballooned to more than 16,000 acres of newly acquired land, which even Metro’s own staff admit has created an unsustainable burden on the regional government’s general fund budget. According to Metro’s current ballot title summary, those general obligation bonds approved in 1995 and 2006 could not be used to restore the land purchased, hence the need for this new operating levy.

Measure 26-80

When Metro voters approved 26-80 in November 2006, what exactly did Metro say that $227.4 million would be used for? The first and best place to begin is with the ballot title facing every voter. Regardless of voter pamphlet statements or campaign materials, the ballot title is the official statement of what a measure intends to do. Here is the 175-word Summary of Measure 26-80:

Protects specific natural areas, lands near rivers and streams, wildlife and trail corridors through land acquisition and restoration. Funds specific local water quality, wildlife and park protection projects for local parks providers. Funds water quality and wildlife habitat restoration matching grant program for local communities. Requires 2 to 1 match for local community grants. Match may be met with volunteer hours. Approved bonds will:

· Preserve specified natural areas

· Protect and restore watersheds for improved water quality

· Protect streams, fish and wildlife

· Increase the presence of nature in neighborhoods

This measure directs Metro to buy and restore natural areas for the protection of water quality and preservation of fish and wildlife habitat for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations, establishes a citizens oversight committee and requires a yearly independent financial audit to be published in local newspapers. Bonds mature in not more than 20 years. Bond cost estimate is about 19 cents per $1 ,000 of assessed value per year. The average homeowner in the region pays $2.50-$2.92 per month.

Former Metro COO Michael Jordan

Despite Metro’s current position that Measure 26-80’s $227.4 million in GO bonds could not be used for restoration of the lands purchased with those monies, Metro’s former COO, Michael J. Jordan, certified with his signature that those bonds clearly would be used to “buy and restore” the lands Metro purchased. [Jordan left Metro in 2011 to become the State of Oregon’s COO under Governor Kitzhaber.] So which Metro COO is or was telling the truth? In 2006, Mr. Jordan and the Metro council sold Measure 26-80 in part on the promise that $227.4 million raised would be used not just for purchasing natural areas, but also to restore those lands for protection of water quality and preservation of fish and wildlife habitat.

Not once in 26-80′s ballot title, explanatory statement or arguments in favor in the voter’s guide was there any suggestion or statement that those bonds could not or would not be used for habitat restoration. To the contrary, restoration of habitat purchased was a major selling point, which even prompted an argument in favor statement to be jointly filed by 15 mayors within Metro’s boundaries, including five in Multnomah County.

But now in 2013, facing skyrocketing costs of maintaining that burgeoning real estate portfolio, Jordan’s replacement COO Bennett and the current Metro council are now pitching a local option levy by claiming Metro needs money to restore the land it has purchased since 2006 because Measure 26-80 “could not include money for maintenance and restoration.” Note the distinction between “maintenance” and “restoration,” because they are different issues. In Exhibit A to Metro Resolution No. 12-4398, Metro officials themselves acknowledged that “Money approved by voters for land acquisition in 1995 and 2006 cannot be legally used for operating expenses.” But “restoration” is more accurately described as a capital improvement, hence its inclusion as legitimate expense funded by bonds under 26-80.

Metro councilors know that if they go to voters with a local option levy solely to fund ongoing operating expenses, voters would surely and skeptically ask, “What are you doing with the half billion dollars we gave you this year?” So, instead the Metro council instructed Ms. Bennett to sign a ballot title with a summary that downplays the maintenance costs while repeating and overemphasizing the “restoration” theme:

Twice in two decades, Metro voters approved measures to acquire thousands of acres of natural areas throughout the tri-county region. Past measures could not include money for maintenance and restoration.

This levy creates a dedicated fund to improve water quality for salmon and native fish, remove Invasive weeds that threaten the health of these natural areas, restore wetlands and provide opportunities for people from around the region to experience nature close to home.

Cost

The estimated cost for the typical household is $20 per year for five years.

Result of a “yes” vote

• Improve water quality in local rivers and streams for salmon and other native fish including the

Clackamas, Sandy, Tualatin rivers; Fanno, Johnson creeks.

• Restore wildlife habitat and remove weeds that choke plants wildlife need for food and shelter.

• Restore wetlands and floodplains to control flooding, provide habitat for birds and amphibians.

• Construct or replace capital projects in parks, such as restrooms, picnic shelters, playgrounds.

• Provide nature education programs in natural areas to visitors and school-aged children.

The proposed rate (at $.096/$1,000) will raise approximately $10.2 million in 2013-14. $10.4 million in 2014-15, $10.6 million in 2015-16, $10.9 million in 2016-17 and $11.2 million In 2017-18. The estimated tax cost for this measure is an ESTIMATE ONLY based on the best Information available from the county assessors at the time of estimate

dollarsign.narMetro’s new ballot title has compounded its error by claiming the general obligations bonds approved by voters in the past could not be used for habitat restoration (when in fact they could and were so used), but now Metro wants to use operating cost money raised by this local option levy to not only “restore” wildlife habitat, but also to “construct or replace capital projects” in its parks. Apparently the Metro council and staff cannot tell the difference between a general obligation bond and an operating levy, nor can they distinguish between ongoing maintenance and capital construction projects. Until Metro explains itself on these issues, Metro voters in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties should just say No to Metro’s manipulative lies and demand the agency finds the $10 million it wants from voters in the $536 million it its current adopted budget.

Bruce McCain is an attorney in private practice, a retired Multnomah County Sheriff’s Captain and a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce. This post originally was published here at his blog.