Monday, December 31, 2007

Back to work

I've taken a break from blogging over the Christmas season. A new year is about to begin, and I'll be getting back to more regular posting.

For the last post of the year, I just have to give a reaction the the completely idiotic editorial in The Funny Paper yesterday about South Waterfront and the Tram. Hat tip to Steve Schopp, who sent an e-mail out yesterday that I have adapted for this post. Steve knows much more about the whole fiasco than I do, and so I have pasted significant portions of his e-mail below.

The Funny Paper says: Bring on the bridge! The Tram is such a success, we just HAVE to add a pedestrian/light rail bridge over the Willamette!

They Tram is a success? By what measure?

We are told the city had to pay "only $8.5 million" for its share of the Tram cost overruns. While negotaitons and politicking by City Commissioners to finish the tram proceeded, millions of dollars in cash payments to OHSU and developers miraculously appeared in SoWa budgets. Those cash payments, under various line items such as jobs accelerator, econominc development and biotech research, have grown to over $50 million to OHSU and many millions more to the developers in SoWa.

So much for the city's small Tram share.

The Funny Paper is still propagandizing that the Tram triggered the $2 billion development in SoWa, which echoes the past lie that 10,000 biotech jobs would be created by the public investment in the district.

Here's complete fabrication: the editorial says "Oregon Health & Science University has completed one research building on the South Waterfront". Anyone who has been paying attention to SoWa knows that first OHSU building in SoWa is not a research building at all. It is an OHSU doctor's owned, tax exempt, clinic, doctors offices, administration offices, a lavish health club with some token components to accomodate some future research if ever needed.

So disconnected from reality is this piece that it never so much as makes a passing reference to the fact that OHSU recently announced that 1) they are losing upwards of $50 million a year, requiring that they scale back research spending, and 2) they are $60 million short of equipping and staffing the big research building recently completed on pill hill. That building was funded with a $200 million bond.

The bottom line? The Tram did not trigger anything but a park and ride lot in SoWa and an extensive cover up of the real public costs.

OHSU has placed a huge bet (at public expense) on the SoWa district, and in the process put fiscal stability at risk. The 10,000 biotech jobs were a scam, a sexy rationale that never had any basis in anything resembling reality, but which The Funny Paper endlessly touted.

Instead we got doctors offices and a high rise condo jungle, scheduled to be completed just in time for the biggest condo glut since the 1970's.

And The Funny Paper says we should spend hundreds of millions more on toy projects, because "money miraculously seems to be attracted to worthwhile projects effectively presented". There is nothing miraculous about elected officials directing funding towards boondoggles while basic infrastructure crumbles and our road system turnss to gridlock. It's irresponsible.

This is in the face of huge cost overruns for the existing SoWa build out, along with hundreds of millions in unfunded road infrastructure needs including, (but among many others) the $60 million unfunded greenway along the river, $200 million unfunded Sellwood Bridge replacement, $50 million I-5 ramp and the $650 million unfunded street maintenance backlog.

The Funny Paper editorial board has lost any pretense at credibility.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Funny Paper hit piece

For years we’ve been reading “Monday Profiles” in The Funny Paper, where they publish a fluff piece on some certified interesting person around the town. The person they choose is almost always some cultural or political liberal, and the treatment they receive is uniformly positive.

But today, The Funny Paper did one of their Monday profiles on a conservative. Randal O’Toole, who just published a book that is scathingly critical of Portland’s planning class. Did he get their famous Monday profile fluff piece? HA!

No, that treatment is reserved for people The Funny Paper wants you to like. People such as New-Urbanism activist Chris Smith, bike advocates, school activists – you know, people who have the “correct” views – they get the kid gloves.

Critics of land use policies? Well, The Funny Paper uses its Monday Profile to let everyone know in no uncertain terms that we should not take them seriously.

Consider the opening of the article, the set-up, where writer Anna Griffen so evenly and without bias provides a glimpse into Randal O’Toole’s persona:

“Slap a Bible in his hand and O'Toole could easily pass for a frontier preacher. He has the look, if not the Good Book: a stern, tight-lipped expression, an impressive display of graying facial hair, a wardrobe that tends toward simple black suits and looping Western-style bow ties.

He has quite the homily to tell with his slides, a story of righteousness vs. sin, of good guys and bad guys and the long-term consequences of bad judgment and poor choices. Bashing Portland has become a cottage industry, and O'Toole is its leading figure.”

Oh, thanks for the neutral introduction, Anna. Thanks for the heads up that nothing this frontier preacher has to say needs to be taken seriously. She hurries to tell us that O’Toole has it all wrong:

“Times are flush in Portland. Planners and civic leaders from around the world come to see how we do it. The New York Times can't stop writing about how great we have it, whether we're sipping tea, buying big vacation homes or biking to work. Although the housing market has cooled, Portland hasn't suffered the same steep decline as the rest of the country. “

Times are flush? I thought Sam Adams wanted a tax increase to pay for the huge backlog of street maintenance? If the NYT likes Portland’s planning culture, well, then what could Randal O’Toole possibly have to say?

Nothing that needs to be listened, to, she so very carefully points out:

"Yet the people in power say they don't take this would-be shadow government very seriously. Homer Williams, one of the city's most prominent developers, called O'Toole "an idiot" in the Daily Journal of Commerce. Ethan Seltzer, head of Portland State University's urban planning department, wonders why anyone would waste time writing about O'Toole -- or even listening to what he has to say. "

Can you imagine any such quote about one of The Funny Paper’s liberal activists finding its way into the story?

And how about this:

"He's crafted a complicated narrative to explain the Portland region's evolution into a national smart-growth darling: Once upon a time…”

Oh I get it, he is just telling fairy tales about how Goldschmidt started the whole light rail thing going in Portland. Again, no reason to take him seriously. He doesn’t analyze what happened, he “crafts complicated narratives.”

Then she so evenly presents the two competing visions for Portland (in a batant example of the liberal’s favorite logical fallacy, the fallacy of the false alternative:

"Vancouver [BC] is, of course, the urban planner's dream city, sleek and sophisticated, laid out as carefully and creatively as blown glass. Houston is the planner's nightmare, a sprawling monster of a town with no zoning code and a love affair with the automobile."

No bias in these two descriptions! Then she says:

Judging from recent elections, most Portlanders would rather trade in their Keens, give up their microbrews and swear off fleece than live in Houston. Portland's annual survey of residents suggests that most like where the city is headed, even if they might prefer a quicker commute or cheaper real estate."

Oh really, Anna? Is that why Portlanders twice voted down light rail lines, but got them shoved down their throat anyway? Is that why Measure 37 passed overwhelmingly?

Nowhere in this article did the writer so much as pretend to consider any of O’Toole’s substantive critiques of the effects of planning on Portland. The high housing costs, the congestion, the pollution. What could have been an interesting profile of a very interesting person with well researched and well considered conclusions was instead just another dismissive hit piece, intended to silence the contrarian view rather than present it so people can consider it.

Typical Funny Paper.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Interesting article in The Funny Paper today about the efforts to engage Hispanic students at Centennial High School.

The pathetic dropout rate and achievement levels of Hispanic kids in Oregon has been well documented, and Centennial is trying to figure out ways to get these kids engaged, both socially and academically.

The good news is that an increasing number of Centennial Hispanic kids seem to be engaging, according to the article. If Hispanics are this century’s immigrant story, like the Irish and Germans of the 20th century, it is essential that they assimilate into our culture, and become Americans in both thought and deed.

But guess what? The article explains that the primary motivating factor and social organizing point for these kids is the MEChA Club, whose membership has tripled, making it the second largest student club at the school.

What’s wrong with that? Far from encouraging assimilation, the ideology around which MEChA was formed in 1969, which is has quite unconvincingly distanced itself from nowadays, is overtly racist, separatist, and anti-American.

Quoting “FrontPage Magazine:”

MEChA is an acronym for "Movimiento Estudiantíl Chicano de Aztlán" - Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan. The goal of Aztlan is the secession of the Southwest U.S.A., which it calls Aztlan. The MEChA Constitution clearly calls for "the struggle for the self-determination of the Chicano people for the purpose of liberating Aztlán".

Another key document , "El Plan de Aztlan", states that "Aztlan belongs to those who plant the seeds, water the fields, and gather the crops and not to the foreign Europeans. We do not recognize capricious frontiers on the bronze continent....We declare the independence of our mestizo nation...Nationalism as the key to organization transcends all religious, political, class, and economic factions or boundaries.

Nationalism is the common denominator that all members of La Raza agree upon." The MEChA slogan "Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada" (Everything for the Race - Nothing oustside the Race) -what is that if not racism? According to Miguel Perez , mechista of Cal State Northridge, "The ultimate ideology is the liberation of Aztlan....Non-Chicanos would have to be expelled....opposition groups would have to be quashed because you have to keep the power." "National revolution" was the theme for the 1997 MEChA conference, which called for becoming " a nation within a nation with a national plan of action as new soldiers in our struggle for national independence and an emerging XICANO nation."

Simply judging from its own documents and statements, MEChA is a racist, anti-American separatist hate group, and actually shares much in common with such groups as Aryan Nations, and the White Aryan Resistance, another California-based organization."

The Funny Paper article somehow neglected to so much as breathe a whisper of this information, oddly enough. I wonder if a bunch of rural white kids were re-energized by school due to a growing membership in a White Aryan Nation club, The Funny Paper would studiously avoid mentioning the club’s ideology?

Friday, November 30, 2007

The cap and trade scam

I've been intending to talk about this issue for quite a while, and today is a good day to post it because of the idiotic op-ed Piece in The Funny Paper today.

The “cap and trade” plan for carbon dioxide credits. It is corporate welfare of monumental proportions.

The government decides on the state’s CO2 emissions target that it says is needed to meet its CO2 reduction goals. That is the “cap,” in the “cap and trade.”

Then the government grants CO2 “credits” to companies for the sum amount of the target CO2 emissions. Think of them as rationing coupons. Companies must have coupons sufficient for the amount of CO2 they emit from their operations, which is based mostly on how much energy they use. If they want to use more energy than they have coupons for, they can go buy coupons from some company that has more than they need.

Thus, the “trade” in the cap and trade.

From an economics standpoint, if you want to limit some pollutant, and you can identify everyone who might create that pollutant, this is a very efficient way to do it. Why? Because the system “internalizes” the social cost of that pollutant by imposing a cost on the production of it. Assuming the government is smart enough to set the limit at the socially optimal level (a huge assumption, but let’s go with it,) then the cap and trade system creates the correct incentives. Companies have the incentive to reduce their emission of the pollutant, and they get to sell their credits.

But this assumes there are finite and identifiable sources of the pollutant, and they can all be brought under the system. And it also assumes the government can be trusted to allocate the “credits” in a reasonable, fair way.

For CO2 and other greenhouse gasses, nothing could be further from the truth. First, pretty much EVERYTHING (except young plants) emit CO2. It’s not just energy consumption that emits CO2 – livestock, insects, decay of biomass, and yes, breathing – it all creates carbon dioxide and other GHG's.

So a cap and trade system might start out just using energy consumption as a proxy for CO2 emissions, but that is only a small part of where the CO2 comes from, not to mention other greenhouse gasses like methane and nitrous oxide. The production of meat from livestock actually creates far more greenhouse gasses than all the cars on the road and planes in the sky today.

But a cap and trade system does nothing about these other sources of GHG's. So why do they still push for it? Because this isn’t about solving the phony global warming problem.

It is about 1) government rationing of energy consumption; and 2) big corporate payoffs in the form of energy credits to companies that know they are already under their quota, who would be handed tens of millions of dollars in carbon credits.

That's right – it is a big corporate payoff. Companies that have already invested heavily in low CO2 (read: less efficient) energy sources will finally get bailed out of their bad investments. They will get CO2 credits above and beyond what they need, and they get to sell them.

Guess who was one of the earliest and most vigorous proponents of Kyoto, and lobbied congress to give the EPA regulatory control over CO2 emissions? Enron. They knew that capping CO2 emissions would cripple coal-fired energy plants, and Enron was a big natural gas supplier. So they were simply rent seekers, trying to get the government to enrich them by hurting their competitors.

Plus, Enron would also get the CO2 credits, which they could sell and make a market in. A lovely double-whammy!

The Funny Paper today has an op-ed piece that makes one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard about a cap and trade system. I’m sure this idiot believes what he wrote, illiterate as he obviously is about economics. He wrote:

“By capping its gas emissions, Oregon will essentially be creating a new form of wealth out of what had been part of common ownership -- our air.”

Oh, my, it is worse than I thought. He actually believes that issuing rationing coupons creates wealth. If the government issued sugar coupons like it did in WWII, and you didn’t need yours, so you sold them, that certainly would have created wealth for you.

But it came at the expense of others. It is simply a wealth transfer; it doesn’t create a damn dime.

Yet we have people such as this, with no understanding of wealth creation, gracing the editorial pages of a once-great newspaper, making such idiotic statements. We are really in trouble.

Make no mistake, as Oregon goes trippingly down this path with “sustainable energy” mandates, and state based CO2 cap and trade systems, we will do it at an immense cost to ourselves.

You will see politicians of all stripes genuflect to this lunacy, and claim that it creates jobs and grows the economy. They are wrong. It doesn’t.

It is nothing but a huge cost for zero benefit, and a huge financial boon to big corporations who have been trying to build this trough they will feed from for more than a decade.

Oh - and don't forget - also a HUGE increase in government control over the economy.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I thought it was a joke, but he is dead serious!

Over at BlueOregon, some guy named Albert Kaufmann, a regular B.O. columnist, has a post titled: "It's time for a US Societal Re-education Campaign."

When I read the title I thought surely, this must be a lampoon of some sort. Who in their right mind would actually write a title like that? Certainly no one who knew anything about the shameful history of totalitarian socialist regimes like Mao China and the USSR could sincerely suggest that the US government do the same thing.


Right off the bat, this guy acknowledges that similar efforts in the past weren't really all that kosher, but says it is necessary to "save our asses," so we should do it anyway, just call it something other than "re-education."

So, he actually calls for annual week-long mandatory classes in which every citizen would be taught a laundry list of (in his view) essential learnings. He scripts a daily syllabus for what he wants to 'teach' us all. Predictably, what follows is a litany of liberal dreams: global warming, local buying, recycling, anti-capitalism, living without a car, sharing resources, and on and on ad nauseum.

The list itself is hysterical - one after another totalitarian-liberal platform is tossed in as if it is just obvious that all these things are unquestionably desirable things, with which no reasonable person could object. Eat more vegetables. Organic farming. Bicycle riding classes. The ins and outs of hitchhiking! How to play well with others. How to have a romantic relationship!

You simply have to read it - it is that laughable. But also very, very sad, and more than a little bit scary.

Scary because this is a person who simply sees no limitation at all on the power of government to control our lives. The sweeping purview of the items he wants the government to train the entire population about is breathtaking. He seems to have no reticence about his certitude that all the things he lists are such obvious positives that we should use the coercive power of government to make sure we all agree.

Ok, sure he's a kook. I know. But he is not so much a kook that the leading liberal blog in Oregon doesn't give him space to display his idiotic views for all to see, nor does his post generate much opposing views from his fellow BO bloggers.

The sad truth is, this guy isn't really all that far out of the political mainstream here in Oregon. And that should scare us very, very much.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Training Losers

This is a very interesting, and troubling, issue.

Front page Funny Paper today:

The Jefferson High School football team likes to perform the “Haka Dance” before the game to get themselves and their fans motivated. The dance comes from the New Zealand Maori people, and it is all the rage among rugby teams over there, and was performed on an episode of Friday Night Lights.

So the Jefferson High Football team has adopted the dance pre-game. But the problem is they do it near the opposing team’s sideline, facing their opponents, and the dance itself is full of all sorts of moves and gestures of a taunting nature.

The OSAA told them to stop doing the dance in front of the opposing team, but the Jefferson coach allowed the team to vote on it, and they voted to keep doing the dance and accept the 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

This is disturbing on a number of levels. First, they are trying to turn this into a cultural issue, since some of the students on the team are from Tongo, an island country near New Zealand. But it is no more cultural than if a few kids of native American heritage imported a war dance to Tigard High School and the team did it before the games.

They are simply trying to cloak the issue in cultural terms as a way to intimidate people from saying it is wrong. The problem is not with the ritual (as stupid as it is) but with the fact they do it in front of the opposing team. That is clearly, no question about it, taunting. It is not only really bad form, it is a penalty.

But the worst part of this is the Jefferson coach is allowing them to continue with the ritual and just take the 15 yard penalty, which is imposed on the opening kickoff.

What kind of a message does this send to these kids? The wrong one, I’ll tell you that.
The message is sends is that it is OK to defy the behavioral standards set by society if you think it helps you, gives you extra motivation, or, especially, if you claim that your cultural standards are different.

That is just terrific. That is precisely the opposite of what these kids need to be taught. I’m sorry to put this indelicately, but kids at Jefferson High School have hard enough time as it is joining productive society without being implicitly told by their football coach that they can break rules by majority vote.

One of the huge benefits of team sports in high school – especially football, with its “cog-in-the-wheel” mentality, is that conforming and rule-following can bring great achievements to a team. Football, first among team sports, requires all the moving parts to perform specific, and for the most part thankless, roles.

There is a name for teams with players who want to defy the rules for their roles: losers.

The coach at Jefferson High School, by literally encouraging his entire team to defy the rules about appropriate conduct, is training an entire team of young men to be losers.

This is a crying shame. The OSAA should step in and act as the adult that Jefferson’s coach obviously isn’t. They should let the team and its fans know that any player or fan who performs the Haka ritual in front of the opposing bench in their playoff game Friday will be ejected.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's official: The Governor is a proven liar

Funny Paper columnist Steve Duin proved it today: Governor Kulongoski lied to the public about Fred Leonhardt.

Kulongoski has been trying to distance himself from Leonhardt, for obvious reasons, portraying him as a disgruntled employee who was left on the dock when the Kulongoski ship of state left the harbor.

After Leonhardt went public with his accusation that Teddy knew all about Neil because he himself told him, the Governor told The Funny Paper that he and Leonhardt "lost most contact" after Kulongoski was elected to the Supreme Court in 1996.

Oops. One problem with getting away with lies for years and years with no accountability is that when all of a sudden the media decides to do its job and check out your story, you get caught.

It turns out that Leonhardt saved evidence of all sorts of very warm personal connections from Kulongoski from as recently as 2001. Things like notes from Kulongoski to Leonhart's mother, a photograph of Kulongoski at a party at Leonhardt's house, and a personal note on a birthday banner.

So Kulongoski lied when he tried to convince the Oregonian that he and Leonhardt were estranged friends back in 1996.

Which sounds like a wierd thing to get caught lying about. But if you are trying to make a case for some kind of vendetta on the part of Leonhardt, to explain why he would make up the story about telling him about Goldschmidt, then it makes some sense.

Bottom line, Kulongoski's credibility is pretty much shot. He got caught in a lie, red-handed, and now he wants us to believe that he is telling the truth about the central claim Leonhardt is making - that he told Kulongoski about Goldschmidt at Bernie Guisto's party in 1994.

The best part is that Lars Larson's bar complaint against Kulongoski might now have a little more teeth, since it is now provable that Kulongoski has misled the public on a material matter pertaining to the Leonhardt accusation.

Could this be the beginning of the end for Teddy K?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Taxpayer Association, Oregon Style

This is really rich. Only in Oregon.

There's a new task force, just appointed by the Governor, called the "Task Force on Comprehensive Revenue Restructuring." It's the result of a bill from last session, which told the Governor to create the task force to look into a new tax structure for Oregon.

Nothing particularly interesting about this. They've been appointing blue ribbon committees like this for years. And the process for this one is very typical - the enabling legislation proscribes the makeup of the committee by calling for appointees from different categories - labor, small business, big business, etc.

Here's the good part: there is a category for two seats on the committee called: "Taxpayer Association Representatives." Sounds reasonable. After all, if you are discussing options for restructuring the tax system, the taxpayer ought to be at the table.

But guess who was appointed to one of the Taxpayer Association seats?

Chuck Sheketov, from the Oregon Center for Public Policy!

Calling the OCPP a taxpayer association representative is roughly the equivalent of calling Planned Parenthood an "Embryo Advocacy Organization."

It has obviously gotten to the point where there is no real need to even pretend that any other voices should even be at the table when our one-party state decides things. Look at the makeup of the rest of the committee, for a good laugh:

There are two entire categories for unions - One called "Organized Labor Representatives" and the other called "Labor Association Representatives." What the heck is the difference? Then, under the category "General Public Representatives," guess who is the appointed member: a person from "Stand for Children," who I always refer to as their more accurate moniker, "Stand for Unions."

You know it is really bad here when the Governor's office cares so little about keeping up the appearance of engaging diverse viewpoints that they appoint Chuck Sheketov in the Taxpayer Repesentative seat.

A one-party state, and their grip tightens.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Their self-congratulations only cost us $60K

The Funny Paper today absolutely GUSHED over Portland’s newfound fame as the epicenter of sustainability. The city spent $60,000 congratulating itself at the “Greenbuild” conference in Chicago, and according to The Funny Paper, it’s money well spent.

A lavish reception area where all the greenies could come and pay homage Dan Saltzman, along with an entourage of 15 city bureaucrats, complete with hotel rooms and airline flights. But we were the toast of the town:

"The world watches Portland, believe it or not," said Kath Williams, immediate past president of the World Green Building Council. "Portland's got to stand up and take its rightful place as the future."

And get this fawning description of one of the Portland presenters, talking about water conservation in the OHSU building at South Waterfront:

"The water bills in the building have been running less than $100 a month," he said.

The audience gasped.

"That's for a 400,000-square-foot office building -- so match that!"

Applause erupted.

Let me get this straight. This guy tells his audience that a 400,000 square foot building uses $100 a month in water, and the reporter just buys it? No questions, please.

And later in the article:

"At PDX Lounge, meanwhile, Portland worked a separate magic. Dance music pulsed from the PDX Lounge sound system, while Full Sail beer and Medoyeff Vodka flowed from its two bars."

Glad you are paying for their little gathering?

The funny thing is that these folks actually believe their own press. They actually believe that layering on carbon taxes and mandating all sorts of inefficient energy saving systems will actually result in economic activity. Their reasoning goes something like this:

“If Portland establishes a leadership position by taxing the “wrong” kind of construction practices and subsidizing the “right” kind, we will develop expertise here that people from all over the world will come to pay us to learn. Green building construction companies will thrive, and they will get projects all over the world as other cities follow Portland’s lead and taxes carbon emissions in construction just like we do.”

The flaw in this thinking, of course, is that none of these supposed “green” building practices actually make any economic sense. The only way people actually build that way is when mandates force them to. They cost a lot compared to the energy they save.

For decades we have been promised that solar, wind and other “renewable” sources of energy would pencil out if we just gave them a kick start in the form of subsidy. But to this day, the only way anybody will build this stuff is if they are subsidized or coerced.

Of course, subsidy and coercion is the liberal environmentalist’s stock in trade. Hence Dan Saltzman’s carbon tax program, the Kyoto Treaty, the Governor’s “25 by 25” initiative, etc.

All this stuff does is consume more resources to produce the same energy that other sources produce more cheaply. And that makes all of us poorer.

And who gets hit the hardest? The low income, that is who.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Here it comes - the Carbon Tax

It is just perfect. It couldn't have been a better example of the problem. For years, I have said here and elsewhere that the Portland planning elites are motivated by all the accolades and awards they get from all their like-minded comrades back east.

Today, the front page of the Oregonian makes my point.

Dan Saltzman goes to the "Greenbuild International Conference" in Chicago, and at his swanky, invitation-only reception last evening, he unviels his latest, greatest program to win another sustainability award from his chums.

He wants to tax homebuilders who don't use enough carbon-reduction practices, and subsidize those who do. That of course requires "carbon inspectors," along with who knows how much associated bureaucracy.

And oh my, his fellow conferees were nearly orgasmic in their accolades: "It's bold," said Suzanne Malec-McKenna, Commissioner of the Environment for the city of Chicago. "I think it's great. It's definitely the direction our cities need to be going."

So Commissioner Dan is the toast of the sustainability crowd meeting in Chicago. And there was a perfect visual on the back page of the story: Saltzman, Tom Potter, and the lady who runs the city's Office of Sustainable Development, cocktail glasses clinking in mid-toast, huge smiles of accomplishment on their cheery faces.

Meanwhile, back at home, not everybody was smiling. Local builders are ready to go to battle. Saltzman didn’t bother to consult them, and they know exactly what this really means: higher housing costs, as so-called “sustainability” measures are mandated through tax incentives that drive up costs.

The builders know what a farce this stuff is. “Sustainability” apparently means spending a lot of money on energy saving systems that save only a fraction of the energy that would be required for it to be cost effective. Otherwise you wouldn’t have to mandate it –people would WANT to install the stuff without the tax incentive.

But Saltzman types don’t understand this, or they pretend not to. They think it is a good trade to spend $5,000 on some system to save $100 a year in energy cost, because, hey – it isn’t their money. I’ll bet if you offered Saltzman a similar return on his public pensions account he would politely decline.

But not every builder objects. We learn in the article that the program was designed with the help of local builder Gerdling Edlen, who is a “leader” in using these “sustainable” construction practices. Wow, what great, responsible people these builders are! They have made big investments in using all these money-losing techniques, so now they want the government to mandate them so their investment isn’t down the drain! What humanitarians!

The sad part of all this is it will just make housing that much more expensive in Portland, and hurt the low income and the young family that much more.

And that is the legacy of the “progressives:” harm the poor

Thursday, November 01, 2007

More government dysfunction

Reported in the Statesman Journal today: Dan Gardner at BOLI sued the City of Salem because a hotel construction project in an urban renewal area wasn't paying prevailing wage. They lost the suit, because it wasn't a public project. Just getting some kind of subsidy doesn't make it a public project.

The State sued Salem for $1.5 million plus maxiumum penalties, and apparently BOLI did everything it could to drag out the litigation and make it as expensive as possible for Salem. But they forgot one thing: to have a rational legal theory for the lawsuit.

Judge Mary Merten James rebuked BOLI, saying: "At no stage in the proceedings was BOLI able to articulate the factual or legal basis for its claim."

That is actually pretty hard to do. Sue someone and not be able to explain a factual or legal basis for the lawsuit?

It just goes to show what a puppet Dan Gardner is for the unions (as if that distinguishes him from every other highly-placed Democrat in the state.)

Salem sued to make the state pay the legal fees, more than $700K, and Judge James agreed. So, this little dalliance in union-shilling will cost the state more than $700K in legal fees that it must pay Salem.

Terrific. One government harassing another government with a spurious lawsuit. This state is so screwed.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Funny Paper: OHSU Apologist

Right on cue, The Funny Paper provides cover for the OHSU swindlers. They wrote a kid-glove editorial, saying, essentially, "things are on the right track now."

The Funny Paper was complicit in the swindle. They failed to scrutinize the ridiculous claims of 10,000 biotech jobs, and cheerled as OHSU borrowed (then wasted) $200 million in "Oregon Opportunity Funds," and built their shrine to Peter Kohler.

It was all based not just on lies, but on easily detected lies. Only because The Funny Paper ran interference could they have perpetrated this swindle.

And now we get the editorial, saying all will be OK. Nobody held accountable, again.

Dr. Peter Kohler drove the institution toward an ambitious vision as an economic development dynamo that would power an emergent biotech sector in Portland, but Robertson must focus on tying up some of Kohler's loose ends.

LOOSE ENDS? That's how they characterize it? Kohler sold a bill of goods, and they are losing $50 million a year, and The Funny Paper acts as if it is just a couple of details that aren't quite tied down to complete his vision.

Then we are treated to the apologia:
Even if OHSU never becomes quite the biotech dynamo that some proclaimed, it can strengthen its role as an anchor in the city's economy and the region's medical infrastructure. The region has a lot invested in its success.

What a laugh! Even if it doesn't "quite" create 10,000 jobs! How about ONE?

The fact is, the whole OHSU/South Waterfront swindle was basically the Neil Goldschmidt Mafia's capstone boondoggle, and The Funny Paper should be held accountable for its role in allowing it to happen.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Blue Oregon BlueBlockers

How could it be that the political earthquake that threatens the governing authority of Ted Kulongoski has gone without comment at the leading Oregon liberal political blog,

Everyone saw the news. Fred Leonhardt's story was corroborated by about 15 different sources. There is only one holdout - only one person who Leonhardt says he told who denies it: Governor Kulongoski.

But over at BlueOregon, not a single post or comment when it becomes ever more apparent that the Governor protected a child molester. Not even a rebuttal. No, the release of the Guisto report was the occasion only for a BlueOregon thread on Senator Wyden's new twins and a post lamenting that Keith Olberman might not be so easy to watch on Comcast.

Go ahead, BlueOregon. Ignore the story. That worked out great for the Oregonian.

OHSU - Oregon Hospital Scam Unreported

This is so typical.

Dr. Peter Kohler, former head of OHSU, sold this city a bill of goods. He talked of 10,000 new biotech jobs if the city went through with plans to build the tram and the shrine at South Waterfront, and if Oregonians approved the $200 million bond to finance OHSU's research expansion.

Lots of us knew it was total BS. BrainstormNW Magazine even wrote a cover story exposing the fraud. But the Funny Paper cheerled as usual, and barely even noticed when not a single actual biotech job ever surfaced.

Now, four years later, we read in the Funny Paper that OHSU is losing money fast, and that the Chief Financial officer has been warning for years that a "financial meltdown" was likely. Yet during this entire time, OHSU continued to push ahead on a $60 million tram, a new office building at SoWhat, the $200 million bond, and a new research center on the Schnitzer property.

Kohler, of course, is long gone. He knew when to get out. They papered over their cash flow losses by selling the Oregon Graduate Institute propery - a great way to make ends meet. Kohler escapes after running the place into the ground, but not before accepting all his awards and getting a building named after him.

Where was the Funny Paper when Kohler predicted that he could goose up research grants enough to cover his profligate spending? OHSU was in the red for years, and they kept the pedal to the metal on spending, cannibalizing their capital assets to cover the losses.

Go read that Brainstorm story. Every single element of the OHSU scam was debunked. Local venture capitalist Ralph Shaw is quoted extensively in the article, challenging the specifics of what OHSU was claiming. He was summarily dismissed, by all the OHSU brass, the PDC brass, and all the polticians. "Too negative." "Skunk at the party."

No one actually addressed his very specific criticisms, of course. He knows so much more about all this stuff than those idiots that they would never take him on on specifics. You get quotes like Jim Francesconi: "Ralph’s defining the problem, but I need some solutions.” That doesn't mean anything - the "solution" is to not spend a billion public dollars on a foolish investment!

And all along the way, from the Funny Paper, not a whisper. It's not as if it was hard to figure out. Brainstorm had the story in 2003. It was common knowledge that they were out of money. Just another scam, covered up by the Funny Paper of record.

So very typically Portland.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Closing in on the Governor

So the Guisto report is out, and it is not good news for Ted Kulongoski.

Guisto admitted to investigators that he told Fred Leonhardt about Neil Goldschmidt's sexual abuse of the girl. Leonhardt's story on this important piece of the puzzle - previously denied by Guisto - has been confirmed.

Why is this bad for Ted? Leonhardt was on of Kulongoski's close friends and confidants. This was early 1990's, after Goldschmidt was no longer governor, and Kulongoski was planning a run for Attorney General, and Goldschmidt was his primary political patron.

Wouldn't it strain credulity to for Leonhardt to know about Goldschmidt's secret and NOT tell Kulongioski? Your very close friend is planning a run for statewide office, using the influence of the former Governor. You know the former governor is a child molester, and the story could get out, and you wouldn't tell your friend?

Of course you would. Of course Leonhardt told Kulongoski.

Which means that Ted Kulongoski knew the story, but used Goldschmidt's influence to further his career anyway. And when he became governor, he appointed Goldschmidt to the State Board of Higher Education!

(I'm sure Neil was pissed - he likes younger girls. He probably wanted to be on the K-12 State Board!)

It will be interesting to see what moral and mental gymnastics the BlueOregon crowd does on this now.

Face it: Our Honorable Governor protected a child molester for his own career advancement.

Wonderful, wonderful people who run our government.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Should we let Iran get the bomb?

There's an interesting thread over at, in which Jack Bogdanski laments Dick Cheney's increasingly definitive statements that we will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear bomb. He predicts we will be bombing them by Christmas.

I asked if we should just allow Iran to get the bomb. I think it's a pretty reasonable question. I sure don't relish the thought of another armed conflict, but seriously - we are just going to sit back and let that madman have a nuclear weapon? The guy who has made it very clear that he wants to wipe Israel off the face of the map?

I was surprised by some of the responses to my question. They said, basically: Of course!

Iran is a sovereign nation, they say, and we have no right to dictate to them that they can't have the bomb.

I especially like this comment:

"Who the hell died and made us God. What would we do if France told us "no more war without UN approval." We would tell them to kiss off. Iran is a sovereign nation that has the right to do what it wants to do. If the international community deems their actions inappropriate, then the international community can take action."

On the one hand he says we would tell France to kiss off if they told us we needed UN approval to go to war, but he then says basically that the only way we could intervene in Iran is with the "international community" agrees! Which is it?

It is pretty frightening to me that this kind of thinking is apparently widespread. Rogue states like Iran have the right to get nuclear weapons? I am afraid that every Democrat candidate for President would actually let it happen.

Seems to me that when Ahmadinejad says he wants to wipe out Israel, we ought to take him seriously. And that means we can't let him have the means to fulfill his plans.

I wonder what these folks would say if Ahmadinejad got a nuke and lobbed it over to Tel-Aviv? So sorry!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Did Gordon sell the bottom?

On the trading floors that I used to work on in the investment banking industries, one of the worst sins was to "sell the bottom."

That's when a trader has a "long" position in something - he buys a treasury bond future, currency, option, or whatever - and the market moves against it. The pain starts, and grows with every tick the position moves down. The trader hangs on, hoping the market will come back. The pain intensifies. He still believes in his position, but the market seems to say otherwise, and he starts to question his own judgment.

The market moves further, and the pain gets excruciating. The trader now has lost his compass: the position seemed so correct at the start, but now, all he can see is reasons why he was wrong. He talks to other traders, asks their opinion, substitutes their opinion for his own.

The market moves further against him, and he can stand the pain no longer. He sells.

But he doesn't just sell his position. He wants to make up for what he lost, so he takes a short position, hoping the market will keep going down so he can cover the short position at a profit, and make back some or all of what he lost.

But guess what happens? As soon as he "goes short," the market recovers, and goes up all the way past the level where he took the "long" position in the first place.

It's the cardinal sin on the trading floors - the classic "Sell-the-bottom-whipsaw."

Did Gordon Smith sell the bottom of the Iraq war?

It sure is starting to look like it. It is starting to appear as if you can mark the low point in the war in Iraq as the date that Gordon Smith made is infamous speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate. It seems that virtually since that moment, the news has gotten better from Iraq. The surge seems to be working, casualties are way, way down, and Al Qaeda is on the run.

And Gordon didn’t just “sell” his long position on the war and take his losses. He went “short” big time. He basically called the President a criminal, and even said we should “cut and run.”

So he lost on the way down, and now is losing on the way up – a classic “Sell-the-Bottom-Whipsaw.”

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Interesting exchange by a Funny Paper editor

On (Jeff) Dan apes' political blog, there was an interesting and revealing exchange between some well known conservatives and Dan Hortsch, an (retired) editor at the Funny Paper.

The blog post was about the Oregon Catalyst blog criticising the Oregon Farm Bureau for its support of Measure 49. The Oregon Catalyst post pointed out that the Farm Bureau's support of 49 was simply for economic reasons - if people can't build on rural land, farm land prices will remain low.

Dan Hortsch, in the comments section, said:

"So, in the view of Tim Lyman on The Oregon Catalyst blog, farmers, nurserymen and women and vintners cannot look out for their own economic interests. What part of "conservative" does not include business people's right to look out for their own economic interests? "

Bill Sizemore and Steve Buckstein added comments pointing out the obvious: that conservatism involves respect for property rights, and the Farm Bureau position is essentially that they want to use government regulation to restrict their neighbor's property rights, to enrich themselves.

But Dan Hortsch just didn't get it. He responds with:

"... I still don't see how in protecting their interests farmers are doing anything out of bounds. It's free market, libertarian, capitalistic political/financial maneuvering. Everyone for himself."

Very interesting and revealing. It obviously is Mr. Hortsch's mindset that it is OK to use political influence to basically steal what is not your own, and that this is part of the "free market." Just another exercise of competition in a capitalist framework.

I guess, if you believed this, you would indeed support Oregon's land use system. If I want to lock down major tracts of Oregon lands because I think they are pretty, and I have the political power to do it, that is A-OK.

But what is strange is that he misunderstands conservatism so completely that he actually thinks it is not a violation of conservative principles to use government power to steal.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

You have GOT to be kidding me!

Did you read in the Funny paper today that the State Department of Education actually forced a charter bus taking the Pendleton High School soccer team to a game in Redmond to pull over and wait for a yellow school bus to come get them and take them to the game.


Well, it seems, those big, comfortable charter coaches don’t meet the “standards” the state has for busses carrying schoolkids. Much better, for a three hour trip, to have the athletes sit in those horribly uncomfortable school bus seats. Never mind that millions of people are driven all over the country in coaches. They don’t comply with some bureaucrat’s regulation as to “window retention, roof strength, joint strength and durable seating.”

So now, when Sheldon has to travel down to South Medford for a football game, it has to endure the 2 ½ hour one way trip it in a yellow school bus. Great way to get loose for a ball game.

And here is what the state transportation bureaucrat said about it: "There's no legal authority to use those buses," said Deborah Lincoln, the director of pupil transportation for the Department of Education.

Wow. Do they take workshops in officiousness? Notice how she stated that – it reveals the perfect command and control bureaucrat mindset. It is the district that doesn’t have the legal authority to do something unless the state says it is OK. In a free society, the relationship is exactly the reverse – we are free to act as we wish unless there is some enumerated restriction on that action.

So now our local school officials are not competent to decide how to get kids to ballgames. If that is really true, why would we trust them with far more important tasks, such as teaching our kids?

It gets even better. The rules say that a district that is out of compliance with these rules has twelve months to get a plan in place to get back in compliance! A PLAN??

Bureaucrats love this kind of stuff because for them, it is job security. They monitor the plan’s development, offer assistance, then review and approve the plan, then monitor its execution. Can you imagine what a plan to stop using non-compliant busses would look like?

And of course, what would an issue like this be without the other tried and true tactic of bureaucrats everywhere: a committee. The state has appointed a 15-member “work group” to look into these bus regulations and propose “solutions,” that can be presented to the State Board of Education.

How about this: get rid of the stupid rules. That’s my plan.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Creative Capacity

No big surprise - Sam Adams is running for mayor, and barring some kind of political earthquake, the campaign will be more like a coronation.

You know what? In an odd sort of way, I actually look forward to a Sam Adams administration in Portland. I mean, sure, I am on the other side of virually every single issue that Sam believes in: global warming, peak oil, streetcars, urban renewal, density, you name it. But that fact doesn't distinguish Sam Adams from any other candidate who could possibly win the race.

I like Sam Adams. He's intelligent, not afraid to engage in debate, energetic, and he, unlike most Portland liberals, doesn't act as if it is a crime against humanity to be a conservative. He'll actually go on Lars' show and defend his views. He'll actually sub for Marc Abrams and banter with me for two hours on a Sunday morning.

Sam Adams promises to be an activist mayor - pushing all sorts of left/liberal causes and being effective in implementing his agenda. That kind of energy will be a refreshing change from the morose and moribund tone of the Potter administration.

So what if everything he'll push is wrongheaded? What do we think - that some social and economic conservative would win the race and turn Portland into Indianapolis?

Let's face it, fellow Portland-area conservatives. The lefties control this place. Might as well have a lefty leader who at least is a good guy, and makes it interesting!

So, the first "interesting" thing Sam has proposed is a major "infrastructure" investment in what he calls "Creative Capacity." He was all over the place today talking about the importance of the arts and how he will boost arts-related spending on every level.

The Creative Capacity Initiative. It's brilliant. What a great campaign theme! Who could be against that? He's gunna have a cakewalk, and he doesn't even have to talk about anything controversial!

Just what is the Creative Capacity Initiative? Here it is in Sam's words, from some Seattle on-line magazine called "Crosscut Seattle."

"Money. I want more money for science and creative efforts, organizations ... more arts and music education, especially in the elementary schools, more public support for nonprofit arts organizations, more business assistance for for-profit arts companies, and more services for artists, helping them market themselves, sell their wares, not just in Portland but outside of Portland, and assistance with affordable live/work space."

So here is my question, Mr. Mayor" You want to invest in your "creative capacity initiative." OK fine.

There is lots of government investment in infrastructure, and virtually all of it has an end product that can be measured. Road capacity. Water capacity. Sewage treatment capacity. Each and every government infrastructure investment can be measured in terms of what we spend on it and how much it yields in terms of some throughput metric.

But "creative capacity?" No way to measure it. How much money will be spent, and what increase in "creative units" will we get? How much creative throughput will there be, and what will it do for us?

Obviously, there are no answers to this question. So you, Mr. Future Mayor, are proposing, as your central campaign theme, a huge government infrastructure investment that you have no clue how or if it will yield anything whatsoever. There is no way to measure the effects or results of your proposed investment, nor is there any way to tie it back to any measurable benefit to the people of Portland.

Actually, for a liberal, it is the PERFECT issue!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Measure 49: how I would run the campaign

I have the utmost respect for Oregonians In Action, Dave Hunnicutt, Bill Moshofsky, Ross Day and the work Larry George did for years. They have accomplished more in the last few years, against great odds, than most conservative activist groups have accomplished in decades.

Their problem is that their opponents cheat, and they have the power of the government to prevent the cheaters from being held accountable. They have gotten away with it, and they are about to again, unless we win this campaign.

Here's the history:

Measure 7, the "father" of M37, passed in the year 2000. The Democrats were freaked. They got caught sleeping - M7 was one of Bill Sizemore's seven ballot initiatives he qualified for that election cycle. It had a truly beautiful ballot title: Amends Constitution: Requires Payment To Landowner If Government Regulation Reduces Property Value.

When Sizemore filed the petition and got the draft ballot title back, 1000 Friends of Oregon screwed up, and failed to submit comments on the title. Only if you submit comments on the draft title do you have standing to force the draft title to be taken up by the Supreme Court. I talked to Roberty Liberty on my radio show durng the campaign, and he admitted that he was on vacation when the draft title was issued, and so did not get comments filed by the deadline.

Sizemore knew he had a winnable title, which is more than critical - he says 60% of voters make up their mind based solely on the ballot title. Just read that title - most of people probably think that it is already the law that the government would have to pay if its regulations decreased their property value.

And sure enough, it passed. Sizemore handed the campaign over to Oregonians In Action (OIA), where Larry George did a brilliant job of maximizing the ad buy with the resources he had available. (I've worked with Larry on this kind of thing, and I can tell you that he gets about three times more exposure out of a dollar than the campaigns run by the other side.)

So Measure 7 passed, and the Democrats were furious. It was the only one of the seven Sizemore initiatives that passed, and the D's clearly thought that the result was somehow invalid. The Oregonian was beside itself - it had done its usual hatchet job on the measure, but couldn't overcome the strength of that ballot title.

So, the Democrats cheated. They conspired to throw the court case and get the measure tossed. This has been documented, by both Willamette Week and BrainstormNW Magazine.

When the lawsuit came, the state was, of course, the defendant. The measure was now law, and a lawsuit to throw it out on some basis is a lawsuit against the governor.

But guess what our governor, Kitzhaber, did? He met with his lawyers (the AG's office) and the plaintiff, to script how the lawsuit would be handled how to get the judge they wanted, when to file the various motions, and which Assistant AG would handle the case for the government!

This should be a criminal offense. Yet, the Oregonian and other state newspapers were completely disinterested, because they thought Measure 7 was somehow invalid, and so I guess it was OK to cheat to get it tossed.

The AG who handled the case, David Schumer, put up an entirely feckless defense, failing to introduce material evidence, and failing to object to obviously invalid evidence from the plaintiffs. He got rewarded for doin Kitzhaber's bidding - shortly after Measure 7 was tossed, he got appointed a plum judgeship.

So, they cheated to throw out Measure 7.

So OIA did it again, with Measure 37 in 2004. This time with a statutory measure that was not vulnerable on the grounds Measure 7 was tossed. They again ran a great campaign, and again were treated to an hysterical Oregonian onslaught - and won by a 60% - 40% landslide.

The only question was: how will they cheat to throw it out this time?

Well, they found a judge - Mary Merten James. She tossed it, but her "legal reasoning" (called "brilliant" by the Oregonian) was so incredibly stupid and flawed - truly laughble - that even the Oregon Supreme Court couldn't stomach the farce, and they overturned it on a unanimous vote!

That was an incredible rebuke to a sitting judge. A unanimous vote to overturn a decision on a high profile case such as this is akin to accusing her of corruption. But this is Oregon. Such corruption gets rewarded, not punished.

So it looked like Measure 37 would survive, but then the Democrats took over both houses of the legislature, giving them the opportunity to cheat once again. And that is why we are voting on this issue for yet a third time.

The Democrats have referred to voters a measure that repeals Measure 37 and replaces it with a scheme that appears on its face to allow some people the right to build some houses on their property, but that actually would be so bureaucratic and litigous that it would allow the government to steal our property value just as before Measure 37 passed.

This time, they cheated by circumventing the usual process for determining the ballot title. Instead of going through the usual process: draft ballot title issued by the AG, comment period, certified title, and appeal to the Supreme Court - the Democrats poll tested the wording for the title that would have the best chance of passing, and wrote that title right into the enabling legislation!

Here is the title:

Modifies Measure 37; Clarifies Right To Build Homes; Limits Large Developments; Protects Farms, Forests, Groundwater

Guess what the AG's draft ballot title said for the exact same measure when OIA subitted it, in order to make the point that the Democrats were cheating:

Modifies Measure 37 (2004); Limits Number Of Homesites Permitted By Waivers; Requirements For New Claims

OK, so where does that leave us? I headlined this post "How I would run the campaign" and then I spent a couple thousand words giving background. I did that because I think this background is necessary to understand my strategy for winning this thing.

My premise is that the Democrats have cheated, and if the vote is based on this ballot title, they will win. It has already been poll tested, and even our side's polls have it above 60%.

To me, that means we cannot win this thing based on the merits of the phony ballot title. No matter how much we try to tell everybody that it doesn't do what is says it does, we can't reach enough voters with this rather involved argument.

We need something simpler, a message that we CAN reach enough voters with; something that is conducive to a short, repeated message that will turn them against the measure.

What would that be? We know voters in Oregon HATE it when the legislature asks them if they "really meant it." When Oregonians pass something by the ballot, and the refers the same question back to them, it usually is reaffirmed by a larger margin. It happened with Death With Dignity (Measure 50 in 1998.)

So I think the only hope for victory is to run a "How Dare They!" campaign.

For instance:

Narrator: "Back in the year 2000, voters were asked if the government should be able to regulate away their property value. You answered:" [Sound of a large group of people, in unison, shouting "NOOOOOOOOO!"]

Narrator: "But the enemies of property rights got the courts to overturn your will. So, in 2004, you were asked again. Did you really mean it? Do you think the government should be able to regulate away your property value? You answered even louder: [Sound of an even larger mob of people, in unison, higher volume, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!]

Narrator: "But they refuse to listen to you! Now they have the gall to ask you again! Measure 49 asks you for a third time whether you really, really, really meant it. You really don't think the government should be able to regulate away your property value?

How dare they ask you again! Why won't they listen to you?

Well, I guess we are going to have to tell them, once again, louder than before. Will you vote for Measure 49, so the government can once again regulate away your property value?"

[Sound of an even larger mob - a huge crowd - yelling "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!]

That is the type of campaign and ad that I think might have a chance to overcome that ballot title. We have won this issue on its merits twice already, so the Democrat simply drafted a ballot title that makes it hard to argue the issue on its merits.

So we have to define the question, in a way that stirs the passions of the voters. I think the "How Dare They" campaign is the best way to do it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Funny Paper

I've been feeling left out. All my talk show comrades have a clever name for the Oregonian. Lars calls it the "Fishwrapper." Victoria calls it the "Zero.' I felt left out because I wanted my own nickname for the paper! Something that is both clever and as dismissive as an Ohman cartoon to a conservative.

Today, reading the paper, I kept laughing at what I read. The darn thing is so often actually funny because of how transparently agenda-driven their news reporting has become. So it struck me:

The "Funny Paper!" That's it! So from now on, that is my nickname for the Oregonian.

Well, there were a couple of terrific belly laughs in the "Funny Paper" today.

First, front page Metro, we read about a new "Report" that lauds the "new idea" that is Measure 49. Wow! Now there are objective outside onlookers researching this issue and giving us their findings! And they say M49 is terrific!

Duh. More made up news in support of the Funny Paper's agenda. The "report" comes from Henry Richmond, a long time land use gadfly in these parts. This guy actually founded the 1000 Friends of Oregon! Hardly an objective source. That his opinion on M49 should warrant front page above the fold Metro story is further proof of the shocking and shameful deterioration in their journalistic judgment and integrity.

I mean, come on. Do you think for one second if the Cascade Policy Institute had released a report by John Charles critical of M49 that it would warrant coverage by the Funny Paper? Not a chance. Yet a concocted report by a known supporter of Oregon's land use system is splashed across the pages as if it is some kind of surprising result.

Or, another equivalent: Imagine a report published by an Oregonians In Action non-profit spinoff, say, the Family Farm Association, that pointed out all the deceptions of M49. Do you think for one New Jersey second that The Funny Paper would tout it on the front page as a "report" critical of a "new idea?"

The fact is, The Funny Paper just unblinkingly re-prints press releases from organizations with a like agenda, And today, the press release was helped along by a companion editorial telling us all how "fair" M49 is to everyone. (They didn't mention how fair it was to tell 7500 M37 claimants that all their time and money was for naught, and they would have to start over from scratch.)

The Funny Paper. I'm starting to like the moniker.

Next, I flip to the editorial pages, which is always an excursion is Funny Paper mirth. We read a wonderful op-ed piece from Robert Everhart, some former dean at PSU, on how global warming requires not just minor changes in our behavior, but a "revolution."

Now, maybe it is just me, but I get a little bit nervous when 1960's era Marxists who spent their careers cloistered away in higher education find some new cause that they say requires a revolution. Their radical impulses, it seems, don't disappear - they just go dormant and resurface whenever they find some excuse to trot out their totalitarianism.

Everhart whines about how much trash we generate, blames our unbridled consumption for the melting glaciers, and then likens the green revolution to the American Revolution. What unbelieveable hubris!

And then the money line. I read his piece and kept waiting for it. At some point, I knew, he'd reveal himself. Sure enough:

"Each of us must look within ourselves [sic] and change our personal paradigms regarding consumption. And we need also to demand that governments at all levels change the way they approach the issue of climate change -- including forcing us, if need be, to act is if our future depends upon it."

There you have it. He wants government to force us to live the way he wants us to live. It's for our own good, you see.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

State to citizens: "Don't prosper!"

The worst thing we, as citizens of Oregon, can do to our government masters, is to prosper. You see, prosperity brings with it all sorts of inconvenient problems for those who have "goals" for how we live.

Prosperity means people buy large houses and have nice yards. Prosperity means people buy all sorts of consumer products that result in waste that must be dispensed with. And worst of all, prosperity means people use their cars to come and go as they please.

Our state government has all sorts of targets and goals for how they WISH we would live, and our prosperity is running headlong into those goals. For years, they have had targets for per-capita vehicle miles travelled, for recycling percentage, for average tonnage of waste per capita, and now they have even added carbon dioxide emissions targets.

We are oh-so-ungratefully failing to meet their expectations.

You see, to the regulators' dismay, Oregon citizens don't generally share their priorities. Most people don't see the big deal in buying a consumer product, and putting the resulting trash in the garbage, which they then pay to get hauled away. Most people don't think driving their daughter to her soccer game on a rainy Saturday morning is a sin.

But for DEQ, this is a problem. You see, the more prosperous we are, the more consumer products we buy, and hence the more trash we create. We keep missing the goals our regulators have set for us in how much trash we generate.

Now, why this is such a problem, they never seem to be able to explain. What is the big deal with putting trash in a landfill in Arlington? Our garbage fees pay the cost of trucking it all out there, so what is the big deal?

But they have these targets, you see, and we are not cooperating. In fact, far from reducing our trash generation as the DEQ wants, we have actually increased it by 43% since 1995! And that is so very embarrassing when the regulators attend their conference, where they are so used to getting awards for Oregon's famed sustainability! We are ruining their professional reputations!

So, DEQ has figured it out. They have found the culprit, and they are going to take care of it. We read all about it in the Oregonian today. The villian: consumption.

If we just wouldn't consume all those products, we wouldn't make so much trash, and our regulators could meet their targets and get the awards they are due from their comrades back east.

So DEQ has a plan to induce Oregonians to decrease their consumption. We haven't seen the whole plan yet, but apparently it involves "education" and maybe at some point "taxes."

They want us to consume less, and they seem perfectly willing to use the blunt instrument of the state to bludgeon us into submission. Of course, totally lost on these numbskulls is the fact that every little thing that is consumed must first be produced, so saying you want to cut consumption means you want to cut production.

That, last I looked, means fewer jobs - not just manufacturing and packaging jobs, but sales jobs, management jobs, transportation jobs, accounting jobs, and on and on and on.

But our regulators went to a different economics school. David Allaway, who is DEQ's chief "waste prevention" guy, uttered perhaps the stupidest thing I have read in a major newspaper this decade. He actually said: "Where are the businesses who have a financial interest in telling people to buy less stuff?"

Uh, buddy, that isn't really a very good business model.

Of course, if YOU spent 17 years working for DEQ, you probably would be as clueless as Allaway about how the real world works.

The problem is that Allaway and his ideological allies are running this joint, and they have the power to really screw things up. When their "education" efforts fall short of convincing us all to live like they want us to, you can bet your last dollar (which will be all you have left by the time they are through) that more coercive tactics will follow. You think they will stop at 30 second public service announcements stressing the importance of recycling?

No, of course not. Coercion is their currency. They know we don't want to live the way they wish, and they won't be at all shy about using a little, shall we say, "persuasion." Recycled content mandates. Renewable energy percentage regulations. Carbon taxes.

You see, it is necessary for them to meet their targets - carbon emissions goals, trash tonnage, miles travelled, you name it. If your prosperity has to suffer for them to take their bows in Boston at their annual "Sustainable Practices Conference," well, that is your duty to the collective.

After all: the planners just know that Oregon's new economy will be based on our leadership in sustainability. Heck, maybe DEQ's Allaway has it right! Maybe telling people not to consume IS a successful business model!

That is, if your business is government.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Oregonian caught red handed in biased reporting

When I read it for the first time I did a mental double take. It certainly didn’t sound like something Dave Hunnicutt would say to a reporter at the Oregonian. He’s far too experienced and savvy to say something like this, which would play into their hands as they try to marginalize him and anyone who cares about property rights.

It was in yesterday's Oregonian -the story about how the “Big Look” committee was being disbanded. The real reason, of course, is obvious: now that the Dems are in control, they don’t need any Big Look committee out there that they don’t control, which might actually call into question the D’s power plays such as gutting Measure 37. So they de-funded it.

So the reporter talks to Hunnicutt, and here is the quote:

David Hunnicut, president of the property-rights organization Oregonians in Action, said the task force was a good group, with "none of the usual suspects," which to him means knee-jerk liberals.

When I read it I thought: Did Dave really say to this reporter that the usual suspects are “knee-jerk liberals?” Or was that blatant editorializing by the reporter?

I kept reading, thinking that he must have said something of the sort, because even the Oregonian wouldn’t allow such blatant bias. Wrong again.

Today the Oregonian published a short and very, very vague retraction:

“David Hunnicutt, president of the property rights group Oregonians in Action, said the membership of a "Big Look" land-use planning task force contained "none of the usual suspects." By that he meant people from both sides of the issue who usually fight about land-use planning. A Metro cover story Monday incorrectly ascribed another meaning to his statement.”

Notice how they didn’t actually print what meaning the reporter DID ascribe to his phrase “none of the usual suspects.” That would be too revealing.

What a bunch of hacks.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The "Healthy Start" program

You might have seen the front page article in the Oregonian today singing the praises of the 'Healthy Start" program. Healthy Start was first funded in the 2001-03 budget as a high priority of Gov. Kitzhaber.

In his budget proposal that session, Kitzhaber described Healthy Start as a program to "Screen every first born child in Oregon for medical and psycho-social risks." Then, when risk factors are present, Healthy Start basically becomes a partner in helping the parent bring up the child.

According to Kitzhaber, up to 60% of Oregon families have some risk factor that warrant some level of services from the Healthy Start program.

Does this sound like the appropriate role of government? The government is going to insert itself as a partner in 60% of Oregon homes because it deems the parents to be in some way deficient?

When you start digging into the details of the Healthy Start program, it gets downright scary. The roots of the philosophical underpinnings of the program are overtly totalitarian.

Here's how it works: Healthy Start workers hang out in maternity wards, and pop in on the new mothers, bearing gifts of useful things like breast pumps, baby bottles, diapers, etc. The worker conducts a "verbal screen," by asking a series of intrusive questions about the mother’s marital status and history, education, socio-economic status, family background, and the like.

If the worker identifies any "risk factors," a followup home visit is scheduled, where a more complete risk inventory is conducted based on information the worker gleans from more intrusive questions and by observing the home environment.

There are a few different instruments the workers use for this inventory. One of the most widely used is called the Kempe Family Stress Checklist (KFSC) which is a list of ten invasive, open ended questions that are asked of both parents, and is supposedly geared toward identifying parents who are predisposed to child abuse.

The KFSC, as the name implies, was created by C. Henry Kempe, who was an interesting fellow. He wrote the 1968 book "The Battered Child," which brought child abuse to national attention. He was an unabashed proponent of the view that children are the property of the state, and he proposed a universal, compulsory home visitation program to keep an eye on what parents were doing with their children.

The model he proposed back in the 1970's was endorsed wholeheartedly by Hillary Clinton in her book :"It Takes a Village," and is basically the framework for the Healthy Start program in Oregon and other states today.

Kempe believed that parents are essentially just agents of the state in the upbringing of children, and thus their custody could be ended by the state at any time. He was clearly an admirer of totalitarian societies:

"Where the state is supreme, the particular problem is easily managed; in a dictatorship each child belongs to the state and you may not damage state property. The really first-rate attention paid to the health of all children in less free societies makes you wonder whether one of our cherished democratic freedoms is the right to maim our own children."

Of course he was dead wrong about the "first-rate attention" kids got in communist countries. The orphanages in Soviet controlled Romania were horrifyingly squalid cesspools where thousands of children died of malnutrition. The Red Chinese government run orphanages had a mortality rate of at leasat 72% according to Human Rights Watch - Asia in 1989.

Dr. Sam Watson, who co-wrote a book about home visit early intervention programs, once said:

"Kempe, despite his reputation as a great humanitarian, praised totalitarian states and urged that we adopt a totalitarian child care policy. The seed of Kempe’s vision has been planted, it has been watered with taxpayer money. Whether it will grow to fruition depends upon the American public. It is vitally important that we educate families and parents about the dangers of home visitation programs, and the totalitarian nature of the vision behind those programs."

OF COURSE the Oregonian would try to help it grow by watering it with a paean of praise.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Which adversary shall we pull for?

You may have seen the news of the dust-up: The Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA) is trying to hold onto about $50 million that has accumulated in a reserve fund dedicated to defraying health care premium increases for Oregon school districts.

The money comes from the OSBA’s health care trust program, which will now disappear because of a bill pushed by the teachers union last session. The whole situation is worth explaining, because it is a case study in power politics between opposing interest groups.

The OSBA is one of the organizations in what I would describe as the “ education leviathan.” They ostensibly represent the political interests of school districts in Oregon, which they do through lobbying and through legal assistance on regulatory and contracting issues. As such, they are on the other side of the table from the teachers unions during collective bargaining contract negotiations.

On the other hand, the OSBA is often on the same side as the OEA on a host of other issues: they for years jointly fought our efforts to kill CIM/CAM; they lobby with the OEA on tax increases, school funding increases, and anything else that protects and defends the public school monopoly.

The health care trust program provides about half of the OSBA’s five or six million dollar operating budget. Basically they act as broker to about 100 school districts for health insurance, and take a skim off the top. Pretty easy money, and by most accounts, they actually save districts some dough as well. (This is disputed, but I really don’t know which side is correct.)

The OEA saw an opportunity to stick a dagger in the OSBA’s chest this session, given their newfound influence among the new Democrat majority. All they had to do was mandate that all districts had to purchase their health insurance from a similar trust run by the state, and presto! Half of their enemy’s operating budget would disappear!

True, the OSBA and the OEA are allies on lots of issues. But no issue is more important to the OEA than their collective bargaining contracts, and this is where they are always fighting OSBA-led negotiating teams. So if they could peel off half their budget, the OEA figures, it would weaken the OSBA’s ability to prevail in contract negotiations.

The Democrats in the legislature were only too willing to carry the water. The bill sailed through the legislature. It was one of several public employee union power plays we saw this session as Kulongoski and the D’s paid off their chits.

The OSBA had been accumulating the $50 million reserve fund for years and years, and now that substantial amount of money looks like a pretty good buffer for them to keep their budget whole while they figure out some other way to plug the $3 million crater the OEA blew in it. So they announced that rather than use this dough to defray premiums for their members for the next couple years (until the state trust is fully enrolled) that they would use the money themselves, to “provide services” to those same members.

The OEA is screaming about it, and will surely sue. My guess is they win – that money is for health premiums, not services.

My take: I like it when two of my adversaries fight. On charter schools, the OSBA has been a huge pain in the butt, because we constantly find ourselves on opposite sides of the table from them, and they constantly pull all sorts of shenanigans that I have chronicled in this blog and elsewhere.

The OEA is not anywhere nearly as much a pain in the butt. They hate charters, for sure, but outside of trying to kill us in the legislature, their tools are pretty limited.

So in this one, I’m pulling for the OEA!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Does Clark County want Metro?

The lead editorial in the Oregonian today is pretty funny. They want to expand Metro's territory to include Clark County, Washington.

They didn't come right out and say it that way. What they said was this: "The time has come for officials on both sides of the river to begin talking about Washington voters directly electing representatives to the Metro Council."

Why would Clark County elect representatives to Metro unless Metro's authority included them? So the Oregonian wants Oregon's regional government to actually cross the border and include yet more municipalities, in another state no less.

Are they gullible enough to actually do this?

Jeff Merkley Interview

We had Senate Candidate Jeff Merkley on Kremer & Abrams Sunday. He was booked for a full hour, but when he got there he changed it to just half an hour. By the time he left, I'm sure he was glad for that.

It wasn't so much that I came after him, but that he was so clearly unprepared to defend his statements and views when challenged. Instead of explaining his position, he got flustered and defensive.

I was astonished. Here's a guy who is not a dim bulb. He is a Stanford grad, long-time representative, Speaker, and now Senate candidate. And he acted as if nobody had ever challenged his pronouncements before.

Which got me thinking: nobody probably has! Here in our one-party state, Democrats say whatever they want and nobody ever calls them out. A certain type of mental atrophy sets in, and it clearly is advanced in the Merkley brain.

It started when he gave the usual Democrat talking point abou health care being a fundamental right. I challenged his understanding of the definition of "right," pointing out that properly understood, a right is something the government cannot do to you, not something that the government must do for you.

I told him that the notion of individual rights are a founding principle of this nation, and that he should be careful not to change the meaning of what a right actually is.

He looked at me with that haughty indignation that Democrats always have when you point out that their philosophy is essentially the opposite of what our nation was founded upon. And he went right to their default response - try to take the moral high ground by talking about children and needs.

And boy was he flustered. So much so that my co-host was shaking his head after Merkley left.

It's a long way to the election, but he better improve if he expects to impress people. Very, very weak.

Friday, August 31, 2007

How tolerant of them

The lefties are all crowing about their big victory. They pressured OPB into changing the venue for the planned lecture by Ira Glass, who has a popular talk show on OPB.

The event was scheduled for the New Hope Community Church in Clackamas, but when the lefties who would normally attend a lecture by this fellow realized they'd be sitting in an institution that actually opposed gay marraige (like 57% of Oregonians, at last vote.) they threw a blog tantrum.

And of course the ever-so-politically-correct OPB caved, and now the lefties are all celebrating their latest victory in the culture wars.

I thought the left was all about tolerance? (Well, actually, no I didn't. But don't they yammer endlessly about it?)

You see, it is simply not legitimate in Portland to be opposed to gay marraige. If you hold that view, they have no obligation to treat you with respect. And if that view is connected to a religious point of view, well, then, all the worse. Tolerance does not extend to unpopular viewpoints, or to anybody who objects to their social iconoclasism.

I know the BlueOregon types are going to enjoy this moment. I hope they shout it from the mountaintops, because their angry intolerance reveals so very much about them.

Update - 2:20 PM

Check out the venom over at BlueOregon. I baited them a bit by pointing out the inherent intolerance of their views. And wow! They proved me wrong by being VERY intolerant of anyone who sees it differently. Make no mistake (because they themselves said it over and over) if you are against same sex marraige, you are a bigot. It is that simple.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Senate Democrats block Kyoto Treaty

Yes, you read it right.

You probably thought that it was President Bush who refused to sign the Kyoto Treaty, right? And if only he would sign the thing and send it over to the Senate for ratification, we could get on with the important business of saving the planet.

That's the narrative the mainstream press wants us to believe. The Democrats would happily implement Kyoto if Bush would stop blocking the treaty.

Wrong. Bush couldn't sign the Kyoto treaty if he wanted to. It was already signed by Clinton. The Senate could vote on ratification if it so desired. But they haven't. Has Harry Reid lifted a finger to bring Kyoto to a floor vote? Nope.

Why not? There is a very strong legal argument that as soon as a treaty is signed, the Senate can take it up. No need to wait for any official "transmittal" by the President to the Senate. Something as important as Kyoto, surely the Senate Democrats would make this legal case and fight to get the treaty implemented, right?

No, Kyoto is a far better political weapon than it is a weapon against global warming, and the Democrats know it. They get to posture for their environmentalist friends, bashing Bush on global warming, and the media plays along.

They know that even Democrats won't vote for it, so they pretend they don't have the power to bring it to a vote.

From now on, every time I hear the word "Kyoto," I am going to point out that the Democrats are the obstacle.

What hypocrites.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Protecting a child molester

I got an e-mail from Fred Leonhardt yesterday. Remember him?

He's the former Goldschmidt speechwriter who says Bernie Guisto told him years ago about Neil's horrible secret. He also said that he personally told Ted Kulongoski about it, who proceeded to ignore it and make Goldschmidt his puppet master while he was Attorney General and then Governor.

Leonhardt pointed me to this document that he wrote chronicling every detail about his interactions with both Guisto and Kulongoski, which fills in a bunch of blanks in the whole sordid affair.

According to Leanhardt's account, which I find totally persuasive, Guisto was boinking Neil's wife, Neil knew about it, but since Guisto knew Neil's secret, he couldn't fire him. In fact he promoted him, even after he knew Guisto was sleeping with his wife!

As for Kulongoski, he also covered for Neil, even after knowing the secret and knowing Guisto was essentially blackmailing Goldschmidt.

It is fascinating reading.

It looks like our Sherriff and our Governor are both guilty of protecting a child molester to advance their own political careers! UNREAL!

....and then today .....

....the drumbeat continues.

On the editorial page of the Oregonian we are blessed with yet another exposition of "smart growth" philosophy, written by some woman named Constance E. Beuamont. (It isn't posted yet on their web site, so I can't link to it.)

Her very helpful column explains how we can minimize our reliance on the car if we plan our communities so that shopping and work is closer to home, so that people will walk rather than take the car for short trips. Wow, thanks! We have never heard anything about such a groundbreaking idea!

And then, over in the Living section, we get a breathless full page article with color pictures and charts touting Portland's preeminent position as a biking city, talking about how bikes are no longer just for recreation, but for transportation. A snippet:

"Moreover, many Portlanders now buy bikes to commute, run errands, and even move entire households pulling attached trailers full of belongings to new homes."

Right. I guess that's why there are ninety unused bike racks at IKEA.

"There's definitely a shift from recreation to transportation," said Mark Pickett, owner of Revolver Bikes. "Bikes used to be considered a toy, but now they are looked at as a way to get around."

So it is a good thing, in the church of Smart Growth, to encourage third world transportation methods. Hey, if nobody is engaged in productive activity in the first place, who cares if your transportation methods are inefficient?

How many of the bike commuters into downtown Portland work for government? I'll bet it is a high percentage. Just a wild guess.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Congestion makes us richer!

I feel so much better now. I thought that all the traffic congestion that limited my mobility around this town was a huge pain in the rear. Now I know that it is making me richer.

Thanks to the Oregonian for setting me straight. You see, people in Portland drive less than people in other cities of comparable size, and that translates into big dollar savings. And that money gets spent on all sorts of other local goods and services instead of going to out of state oil companies. They call it the "green dividend."

A local economist, Joe Cortright, estimates we save $2.6 billion a year because we drive less, and his report is being touted by the planning elites as evidence that their policies are working. He estimated not just the actual money saved, but also imputed a value on the time we don't spend in our cars, and added that to the total savings.

So let me get this straight. If driving less saves us money and makes us better off, then driving less still, we'd be better off still. And not driving at all, we would presumably maximize our well being.

The error these agenda driven analysts make is in the underlying assumption that driving is a negative, so minimizing it is a good thing. But driving is not a negative - it is a very useful activity for both business and for household activity. If we are driving less because the roads are so clogged up, we aren't saving anything at all - in fact, that is a net cost to us.

We are poorer, because we would have happily traded the time and money for the trip, but when the extra cost of the extra time spent on the congested roads is added, we don't make the trip. The congestion cost prices us out of trips we would normally find "profitable" to take.

Another thing the study didn't discuss is the relatively higher price of gas in Portland compared to other cities, due to the higher taxes in Oregon, and the fact that there are no refineries close by. If we drive 16% fewer miles than the national average, how much of that is due to the higher cost of gas? Half?

This study is just ridiculous. It's on the front page of the Metro section of the Oregonian, because it supports the agenda of the elites the Oregonian has spent the last 25 years cheerleading for.

Just another example of the made up news that is so prevalent at the O.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Minnesota just like Oregon

As soon as the bridge fell in Minneapolis, the liberals all yammered for a gas tax increase to fund bridge repair, and chortled about how the Republicans governor of Minnesota was to blame because he vetoed the Democrats' last attempt at raising it, which was a 37.5% hike in the tax, from 20 cents a gallon to 27.5 cents..

In Oregon, we heard the echo, as the BluOregon crowd made the same point.

The Wall Street Journal has the rest of the story. And that story in Minnesota looks a lot like Oregon's.

Yes, Minnesota has been diverting road dollars for all sorts of rail projects. Of the $1.6 billion Minnesota Department of Transportation budget last year, fully $1 billion went to rail. And their transit ridership looks a lot like Oregon's: only 2.8% of commuters use rail or transit.

So, as the roads fall apart, they funnel more and more money to rail.

Just like Oregon. the infection spreads.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

One Amazing City Commissioner

Sam Adams is going to completely eliminate unemployment in the city of Portland, solve our horrible congestion problem, and save the earth!

I'm not kidding! We are so lucky to have him.

He says that the new choo-choo he wants to build across the river and down to OMSI will create 15,000 new jobs. Portland has about 257,000 total jobs right now. Assuming 5% unemployment, that means that each and every unemployed person in Portland will be able to get a job in Sam's new urban utopia! With jobs left over!

He also says the new streetcar line will "reduce congestion and global warming."

I just LOVE the penetrating reportage of the Oregonian, which apparently just accepted these claims at face value and printed it up. No discussion of where the 15,000 jobs number came from, or whehter it is as solid an estimate as the 10,000 jobs claim the Oregonian constantly published for the South Waterfront development.

You'd think the Oregonian would be a touch more skeptical after their shilling for SoWhat was exposed as the lie it was.

But what do they care?

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Bike Nazi

Did you catch the Oregonian's article today about Mia Birk, the women who ran Portland's bike transportation office in the mid 1990's?

It reveals a lot. But heck, what do they care if they reveal a lot? What are going to do about it?

The article starts out basically laughing about how Birk got the city road crews to restripe a freshly paved street with a bike lane, reducing the car lanes, and basically blowing off the businesses that complained. "We had two mottoes that guided us in those days," she explained at a conference years later. "One was, go like hell until you can't go no more, and the other was, it was easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission."

The article chronicles how she pushed to put bike lanes on nearly every major city arterial, assisted by the Bicylce Transportation Alliance who didn't want bikers to be relegated to bike trails and low traffic streets.

She proudly admits that she is a social engineer. "My philosophy is, you treat the system how you want people to act," she says. "So we put in bike lanes because we want people to bicycle."

And then this:

"In essence," she says, "we've been involved in a grand social experiment, if you will, asking and answering the question, 'Can we transform and adapt a large, car-oriented city into one in which cycling is an integral part of daily life?' "

Maybe it' just me, but I for one get pretty nervous when liberals start talking about grand social experiments.

.....Meanwhile, over on the editorial page, the authors apologize for criticizing the Eastbank Esplanade, ask for more and more of the same, and finish with:

"Amsterdam spends about $36 per citizen a year on its bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure. Portland spends about $2 a person, per year. We have, in other words, only just begun."

They literally do want to turn Portland into a European style city. They are quickly ruining this place.