Metro's Open Spaces initiative - They want another $220 million to buy land for habitat protection. What a farce. About 96% of Oregon is open space already. The only reason we feel crowded inside the UGB is because land use laws won't let us build outside of it. So Metro wants money to mitigate a "problem" its own policies have created.
Here's what they don't tell you about the initiative:
- 5% of the total ($10 million) is set aside for "community group programs." That means Metro will dole out money each year to Audubon, Willamette Riverkeepers, and all the other greenie/socialist groups. Our tax money going to these people!
- 10% of the total will go to Metro "administration." Just what we need - keep feeding the beast.
- 10% will go to the cities inside the Metro territory. A payoff to build constituency for the bond measure.
The Oregonian had a nice fluff piece on the plan today. It read like a Metro brochure. Why do they continue pretending they are a newspaper? Why not just insert the press releases from government agencies and save themselves the transcribing.
Alito Confirmation - I was home sick in bed on Tuesday and was able to watch a lot of the hearing. It was pretty funny. Alito is not as dynamic and charming as Roberts, but equally smart. Biden was nauseating (I'll bet he spends an hour a day talking to himself in front of a mirror) and Kennedy was, as usual, offensive.
Watching the proceedings it was pretty apparent that Alito is simply much smarter than anybody on that committee. He'll be confirmed easily, and it'll be a big win for Bush.
Kitzhaber- I didn't think for one second he would run again for governor. His biggest problem is that he is an asshole, and that was nowhere more apparent than in the way he handled this whole affair. He completely screwed his buddy Ted, made him look weak and ineffectual at a time when he's trying to gear up and run for re-election. In his press conference, Kitzhaber was asked if he had told Kulongoski of his decision, and he snapped: "I just did."
Wow - he didn't even have the class to call Teddy and tell him he wasn't running.
The Kitzhaber health care "plan" is not just half baked, it's not even in the oven. Here's what it amounts to: "give me all the money and I'll figure out how to deliver great health care for everybody."
OK John. Maybe you could design something as successful as your Oregon Health Plan.
Legislative nepotism - Big brouhaha about legislators hiring family members as legislative aides ever since crackhead Kelly Wirth abused the system. The O and others are calling for rules and regs covering legislative hiring.
This is so typical - make rules creating a big hassle for everybody because one person abused the system. It is not necessary. Lots of legislators have spouses or children working for them. In most cases they are the most trusted advisors. They have been through their campaigns and have advised them all along the way. They know what is going on. I'd much rather deal with a spouse than some 22 year old who doesn't know anything.
I think abuses are very rare.
The Now Infamous Tram - I just love the fact that the Tram is blowing up in the city of Portland's face.. They richly deserve it. Vera crammed it down the throats of the neighborhood and the other council members, who were all too timid to take her on. Now, she's gone and they are left holding the bag, desperately trying to save face now that the price tag has more than tripled.
The fact is the process by which the Tram got approved is no different than dozens of other scams the city has perpetrated over the last decade. Sham public hearings, cooked numbers justifying the "investment," favored insiders getting sweetheart deals - it happened with Cascade Station, South Waterfront, the Armory remodel, the Airport spur, Cascade Station, Interstate light rail, PGE Park, the Burnside Couplet -- the list goes on and on.
My buddy Randy Leonard says that staff mislead him about the cost of the Tram. OK fine, but this goes so much deeper than one lie about one project. How about the lie about 10,000 biotech jobs coming to South Waterfront? That was the whole justification for the $500 million plus public subsidy.
The Tram is a symbol of the way Portland has done business. It has to change.
Saxton - Since I announced I was supporting Ron Saxton for governor, I've taken a lot of heat. That's OK, but I was surprised at how some people felt it necessary to really try and tear Ron Saxton down.
Let's try to live by Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment just a little bit more, shall we?