Proponents of Measure 97 have consistently claimed that if the measure passes, it will generate an additional $3 billion annually for public education and other social services. Judging from the comments I’ve read in various Oregon newspapers, many people are falling for this argument.
Apparently none of the letter writers have ever watched a legislative appropriations hearing. These are the meetings where a tiny group of senior politicians sit in a back room and decide how to spend billions of dollars. I’ve watched hundreds of such hearings, and the most predictable outcome is that politicians will spend money in front of them on whatever they want.
Let’s just take a simple example. Oregon was one of 44 states that sued the tobacco industry in the mid-1990s to recover the health care costs associated with smoking. Plaintiffs claimed that the tobacco industry had long been imposing uncompensated costs on states in the form of health care for smokers who became sick from use of the product.
The suit was settled through adoption of a Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) with the four largest tobacco manufacturers. As part of the agreement, each state was to receive payments every year from 1998 through 2025. Continue reading
For a number of years, I have tried to provide our politicians or would-be politicians with solid scientific information on the climate controversy to enable them to talk about the science of climate intelligently. A few are already well-informed, like Republican State Senator Doug Whitsett, a veterinarian from Southern Oregon. Others are receptive and generally aware that the paradigm of rising atmospheric CO2 driving rapidly rising temperatures is false and being greatly misused for corrupt politics. Those who will listen are almost entirely Republicans. Democrats want nothing to do with credentialed scientists whom they call “deniers” and “flat-earthers.” Portland Commissioner Nick Fish, a Democrat, looked at me like I had some sort of disease that he might catch if he continued to talk with me after a city council meeting. His demeanor was hilarious. Continue reading
As Clackamas County Chair, I have grown increasingly disappointed with other regional government leaders prioritizing billions in light rail mass transit over fixing the traffic congestion problems that our county residents are so frustrated with. Worsening traffic congestion affects not only Clackamas County’s businesses but our residents who commute in and out of the county every day. We can no longer ignore this problem.
Clackamas County’s own 5.9 mile portion of Interstate 205 is a choke point for the region, as well as an intrastate and interstate concern. It has been declared by the Federal government to be a “High Priority Corridor,” but solutions have yet to be funded.
There are three major, regional traffic choke points that have been identified: I-205, Hwy 217, and the I-5/I-84 Rose Quarter. The preliminary estimate to fix all three of these bottlenecks is approximately $1.4 Billion. Keep this figure in mind while I tell you about Trimet’s plan for the Southwest Corridor. Continue reading
Dear NW Connection Readers,
Our team over here in Tigard have quite a battle on our hands.
“TriMet GM Neil McFarlane said regional transportation planners will stop working on the project if Tigard voters reject it in their city.”
Our hope is that more people will recognize the significance and opportunity with the Tigard vote.
This Tigard vote can stop a $3 billion boondoggle and also strike a fatal blow to the ruinous agenda that has caused our housing crisis and worsening congestion.
Clear back in 1997 a network of light rail with high density development was adopted as the regional response to SB 100 and the Urban Growth Boundary that has artificially constrained our land supply. Continue reading
Time and again we hear stories about Veterans that are not receiving the benefits that are rightfully theirs. As the general public is made aware of these people and their needs, there is always the question; What can I do?
Measure 96 presents every voting Oregonian the opportunity to help the Veterans and the Veterans Organizations that serve them.
What can I do? Vote YES on Measure 96. Continue reading
Once again, Portland led the nation this July with its home prices rising 12.4 percent year-over-year versus the national average of just 5.0 percent. As of April, Portland remained the 12th most expensive rental market in the nation. These numbers are not unrelated. Housing prices are often related to what units can be built for, whether they are single-family homes or multifamily apartment houses.
Whatever the causes of rising rents in Portland and elsewhere, the political fix bubbling to the surface not only won’t help most people afford housing, it likely will make the situation worse. That political fix goes by the name of rent control.
Last year, Willamette Week published an informative and entertaining piece entitled “The Five Myths About Portland Apartments.” In response to Myth 3, which is that rent control is the answer, Jerry Johnson of Portland real-estate consulting firm Johnson Economics noted:
“Rent control is an Econ 101-level policy disaster. If you happen to get one of the rent-controlled units, good for you. But it’s basically a lottery of who wins and who loses.” Continue reading
In accordance with House Bill 2941, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is making recommendations to the Oregon State Legislature to ensure Oregon’s solar energy incentives are equitable, efficient, and effective.
One recommendation is to modify the compensation method for solar energy, net metering. Under net metering, solar owners consume energy their panels produce. When energy produced is insufficient, solar owners purchase additional energy from traditional sources. When excess energy is produced, solar owners sell energy. Solar owners are compensated at above-market rates and are exempt from paying their portion of incurred costs. Such costs include operation and maintenance of the grid and “spinning reserves,” the alternative power source utility companies run continuously in case solar produces less energy than projected. The state’s incentive structure shifts costs from solar owners to non-solar ratepayers. As the number of solar owners increases, ratepayers bear higher costs. The PUC is recommending these costs instead be shifted to taxpayers. While the PUC proposal’s efforts to alleviate inequity are commendable, their proposed recommendations still constrain Oregonians. Continue reading
On August 22, 2016, United States District Judge Reed O’Connor issued a nationwide preliminary injunction which blocked the Obama administration’s Title IX “Guidelines.”
This federal case (U.S District Court, Northern District of Texas, Wichita Falls Division Preliminary Injunction Order: State of Texas v. United States of America et al ) included twelve other states and two school districts suing the U.S. DOE, DOJ, EEOC and DOL. Additional states have since joined, making a total of 23 states involved in this case. This Order allows school districts around the country the ability to maintain: “[T]he status quo as of the date of issuance of this Order and this preliminary injunction will remain in effect until the Court rules on the merits of this claim, or until further direction from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.” Continue reading
The Ford Explorer entered the SUV market in early 1991 and proved to be extremely popular with the driving public, and especially with families. It came in both two-door and four-door models. Fast forward to the new 2017 model year and you would hardly recognize they are the same vehicle except for the blue Ford medallion.
This is near the top of the pyramid in the Explorer family. It also puts the “Sport” in the Sport Utility Vehicle vernacular. The styling is impressive, the ride is comfortable, and it is quiet. I drove the Explorer on I-84 where the road bed is worn done to the aggregate. I was surprised at how quiet it was and I could actually hear the radio commentary without cranking up the volume. Continue reading
Democrats fight climate change with renewable pixie dust, while rest of world burns fossil fuels
“There’s been a record six straight years of job growth, and new Census numbers show incomes have increased at a record rate after years of stagnation,” NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt misinformed Americans, as he launched the first Trump-Clinton presidential debate September 26. Continue reading