More Evidence That Portland Is Nuts

TriMet, Portland’s transit agency, has made the largest cuts in its history, including reductions in bus service, fare increases, and elimination of free rail rides in downtown Portland (the free bus rides were eliminated last year). Meanwhile, it is using nearly $10 million of money supposedly dedicated to the Milwaukie light-rail line to remodel its offices.

Portland’s mayor and alleged pedophile Sam Adams considers TriMet’s subsidized passes for “youths” to be one of his “favorite program,” so he has proposed to fund it by charging TriMet $2 million for using city property for its bus shelters and benches. What an innovative financial tool!

Apparently, all that broke government entities need to do is requisition funds from other broke government entities. TriMet can build its next light-rail line by charging the state rent for taking cars off the road. The state can fund its k-12 educational programs by charging the universities for the future college students it is providing. The federal government can eliminate the national debt by charging water districts for the clean water that runs off of federal lands. Pretty soon everyone can own money to everyone else and we can all pretend that they cancel out (ignoring, of course, the original investors who will lose their shirts, but they’re probably part of the 1 percent so they deserve it).

Of course, this isn’t exactly a completely new technique. Back in the soviet days, the USSR had rigorous pollution regulations. Whenever a factory violated the rules, it was fined by Moscow planners. When the factory paid the fines, it simply added them to its operational budget, effectively requisitioning the funds from Moscow. So now, whenever an American city or transit agency runs out of money, they can simply call it a collective action problem and requisition funds from some other agency.

Meanwhile, when Portland-area residents democratically use initiative petitions to stop the waste of money on light rail, local officials claim that “They are taking away the voting rights of citizens.” How does giving people a chance to vote take away their rights to vote? According to the mayor of one of Portland’s suburbs, “People elected us to run the city as we see fit, and now they want to take that away from us.” So it is somehow undemocratic to democratically overrule decisions made by officials who you may have elected to office based on entirely different reasons.

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20 thoughts on “More Evidence That Portland Is Nuts

  1. JimKarlock

    “charging TriMet $2 million for using city property for its bus shelters and benches.”

    Portland should be charging Trimet for road damage too.
    And for bus bypass lanes.
    And for bus pull out lanes
    And for “transit extended curbs”.
    And for traffic signal priority ($5 per use???)
    And for congestion created by buses blocking traffic.
    And the state should charge Trimet for those two lanes of road space they stole from Interstate ave to build a toy train line.

    thanks
    JK

  2. sprawl

    I have a problem with Tri-Met’s subsidizing passes for “youths”.

    I work nears a bus stop where the youths trash the bus stop daily, are loud and full of colorful language and try to intimidate the businesses if the youths are asked not to do it.

    But the businesses are subsidizing the tickets of these kids.

  3. bennett

    “Portland’s mayor and alleged pedophile…”

    Is sex with an 18 year old pedophilia now? He may be a dirty old man, but pedophilia has an actual definition that you may want to look up.

    “…he has proposed to fund it by charging TriMet $2 million for using city property for its bus shelters and benches.”

    Hmmmm. I agree this doesn’t make much sense. It’s hard enough for transit systems to coordinate with human service agencies, major employment centers and other private sector institutions. Why the mayor would put up barriers to intra-governmental coordination is beyond me. Maybe TriMet should call his bluff and tell him they are going to remove the benches and shelters.

    “Meanwhile, when Portland-area residents democratically use initiative petitions to stop the waste of money on light rail, local officials claim that ‘They are taking away the voting rights of citizens.'”

    I read the linked article and can honestly say that the King City mayor’s response to the petition embodies everything that is wrong with politics. He is frustrated by the petition because the citizens didn’t express themselves earlier?!?!?! As a wise man once said “don’t hate the playa, hate the game.” If he can’t handle disagreement on civic issues he might not be the man for the job.

    Frank Reply:

    “Is sex with an 18 year old pedophilia now? He may be a dirty old man, but pedophilia has an actual definition that you may want to look up.”

    He was 17 when the mayor met him, and there were rumors their relationship started soon after they met. If they indeed had a sexual relationship at 17, that is illegal. I think it’s a stupid law, though.

    But you’re right about the term pedophilia; it’s specific to pre-pubescent children, and it is here used as a morally-loaded bomb to disparage the mayor.

    The correct term is ephebophilia, “the sexual preference of adults for mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19″.

  4. Frank

    But wait! There’s more:

    TriMet driver gives crying family the boot

    And on an unrelated note, WTF?:

    Portland City Council approves plan for video surveillance on private property

    PDX truly is The People’s Republik, comrades.

    bennett Reply:

    I’m not sure about TriMet’s vehicle operator procedures but my guess is this driver will be disciplined.

    RE: the surveillance article. It’s a little confusing. It’s unclear if they are putting cameras on private property without the consent of the property owners (if they have consent what’s the big deal?).

    Also, if they don’t have consent, I’m pretty sure that constitutes a taking and would not hold up in a court of law.

    Frank Reply:

    “(if they have consent what’s the big deal?)”

    Really? This is the big deal.

    The justification for the cameras is to crack down on drug deals (to prevent market anarchy–freedom). Using the war on drugs as an excuse to violate privacy rights highlights Stumptown’s morally deficient government.

    It’s certainly a slippery slope argument, but the tendency is for those in power to abuse it, and the potential for abuse is great.

    I lived in Old Town, and I wouldn’t want to live there knowing the police watch my every move outside, and perhaps inside as well.

    Frank Reply:

    Here’s the direct link to the big deal.

    bennett Reply:

    In essence I agree with you. I suppose I’m confused on why there is no public infrastructure where the cameras can be attached. While somewhat disturbing, I resigned to the use of surveillance cameras as they already seem to be everywhere. In a way, I hope big brother is watching me. He might learn something.

    I do find it bazaar that a lot of the most dubious spying efforts of our government focus on secular liberal pacifist groups, yet the (non-brown) fundamentalist with the most violent rhetoric seem to get a free pass. A bunch of people at a Tea Party rally show up with fully automatic machine guns, no big whoop. A bunch of hippies camp out in a park, bring out the tear gas.

    Iced Borscht Reply:

    Maybe because Tea Partyers, whatever their faults may be (and I agree that they have a few), don’t often do sh*t like this:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2011/11/police_arrest_man_at_occupy_po.htmls

    Sandy Teal Reply:

    Yep, a racist Tea Party guy showed up to an Obama rally in Phoenix with what looks like an assault rifle on his back. That was reported on MSNBC like 10,000 times.

    But you had to wonder why the Secret Service let that guy near Obama. MSNBC didn’t tell you that rally was miles away, so the Secret Service didn’t care and it was perfectly legal.

    Oh, and you wouldn’t know it from the odd camera angles on MSNBC, but the guy with the AR 15 was black.

    So no laws were broken. No racism. Just citizens lawfully assembling and protesting the President. Damn that First Amendment.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcJmtZWb3hs

    bennett Reply:

    First off, this has happened waaaaaay more than one time. Second, one has to wonder what would happen if the riot police showed up at a Tea Party rally and told those protesting the President to bug off. Finally, violence begets violence. When the cops show up at occupy protests, armed to the teeth and start barking out orders, that’s when the violence starts, not before. I’ve seen this at Cinco De Mayo and Superbowl celebrations in Denver as well. Sure, minor laws were violated but once the tear gas starts flying, all hell breaks loose. I got caught in the ’98 Superbowl riots in downtown Denver and can tell you that there was no riot until the first tear gas canister was fired.

    Also, regarding violence begets violence, a logical person would understand the connection between violent rhetoric and actual violence. Websites reading “LOCK & LOAD” with cross hairs on, let’s say Gabrielle Giffords, are more cause for alarm, to me, then anarchists and hippies camping in a park protesting the President (and others). And while civil disobedience is part of their plan, I stand by my assertion that violence would be much less of an issue if the group was allowed assemble without the police state waiting to pounce.

    bennett Reply:

    p.s. Wouldn’t know what’s reported on MSNBC. Don’t have cable. Best decision my family has ever made.

  5. C. P. Zilliacus

    The Antiplanner wrote:

    TriMet, Portland’s transit agency, has made the largest cuts in its history, including reductions in bus service, fare increases, and elimination of free rail rides in downtown Portland (the free bus rides were eliminated last year). Meanwhile, it is using nearly $10 million of money supposedly dedicated to the Milwaukie light-rail line to remodel its offices.

    [Sarcasm]

    Is this an example of the “dedicated” funding that so many transit agencies say that they need?

    [/Sarcasm]

  6. Sandy Teal

    I keep thinking the Antiplanner should make this a bigger part of his arguments. Light rail and commuter rail inevitably decimates the bus systems. The city planners inevitably want to want funnel all collective buses to feed the rail, and that adds one or two transfers to a commute, which could double travel time.

    bennett Reply:

    As a transit planner I agree (and disagree with your mixing up planners and other political decision makers). Bus service should never be sacrificed (unless traveling along the exact same corridor as the new rail service), to build new shiny light rail lines. That said, if rail is built (or any new transit services are implemented) they need to be integrated with the existing services. Connections have to be made.

    the highwayman Reply:

    Bus operations have higher costs, than rail operations in high traffic areas.

    Also in a lot of areas rail operations are not new so much as restored.

    Portland OR once had close to 200 miles of tram line till the government took them away.

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