Friday, May 30, 2008

Fuel prices are at record highs and the city of Springfield is considering charging households a road maintenance fee

The Registerguard-

A committee of residents appointed earlier this year by mayor Sid Leiken with the help of the 11 member task force, has concluded that by charging everyone with a Springfield address fee for road maintenance dubbed " street preservation fee" of $1.75 per month could raise up to one million dollars annually.

According to assistant public works Director Len Goodwin, larger stores that generate a great deal of traffic could wind up paying several hundred dollars per year in road maintenance fees.
“If we do not address the issue here and now, we will address the issue in the future in a much more severe way,” committee member Neal Zoumboukos told councilors. “We must be proactive.”

Other recommendations for raising money included raising the city gas tax (yeah right), a property tax levy and studded tire fees.
“We would lose a tremendous amount of credibility if we put a gas tax (increase) out right now,” Leiken said. “The option presented by the task force is something I’m very interested in pursuing.”

The main cause of the street funding dilemma was from the loss of funds from Federal timber county payments.

So far according to the league of Oregon cities, 19 cities in the state are collecting local fees to fund road repairs.

Gosh Batman, I think I know where we can get $49,000,000… Oh I'm sorry, that money is reserved for the EmX.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lane county job cuts -lack of income or mismanagement?


For lane county, Thursday was considered D-Day for some lane county employees as the county cuts 8% of its workforce as a result of Congress not renewing the $47,000,000 annual Federal timber payments.

A short term solution was for Eugene and Springfield to swap County road funds for general fund money, keeping some county services intact however, under the new budget constraints, more jail beds will go empty and more criminals will go back on the street.
"That means that people assaulting other people, with knives for example, or have terrible criminal background -those people are going to be released. There is no way around that, says chief deputy district Atty. Alex Gardner. " that's bad. That doesn't happen in other places."
Gardner continued by saying " the system is in collapse today and is only going to get much worse."

I will have to agree with Gardner… However, let's also not forget that it is the D A's Office which continually advertises which crimes it refuses to prosecute.

So what about a long-term solution for the budget? Perhaps one place to start would be setting priorities for Eugene and where it is a community wants to go.

For example, which is more important? A multimillion dollar bus line or the protection of our citizens?

The old argument "it came out of a different budget" is flawed because no matter how you look at it, it is still " right pocket, left pocket, it is still all the same pair of pants".

With the cost of fuel skyrocketing, government and private sector budgeting is going to become much tighter and more businesses will close their doors, forcing more people will be out of work. That means that the crime rate will also increase, especially as the funds available for public safety decrease.

As the city of Eugene has already experienced with the old Sears building, if the area is not considered " safe", businesses will refuse to relocate to Eugene and banks as with the old Sears building, will refuse to give loans for construction.

And the list goes on…

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Is it just me... or has the political race been focusing on the stupid?

Chicago Tribune--

It seems like Senator Brock Obama for example has spent more time during this race for the presidency defending or more accurately apologizing for who he associated with as a child, his ministers bigmouth, and being knit picked for every stupid little thing.

Most recently, it was the word "sweetie" in response to a female reporter's question to him.

Obama remarked, ""Hold on one second, sweetie. We'll do a press avail, thanks."

The media and all the PC crowd of course threw out the red flags and commented of just how offensive the word "sweetie" was to that young lady.

The reporter who asked the question commented that she was not offended at all being called sweetie, however, she was more offended by the fact that he did not answer her question.

Shortly after the incident, Obama left a message on the reporters home answering machine apologizing for the use of the word and commented that he meant no disrespect.

I guess my thinking is what should we be more concerned about... that somebody should have to walk on egg shells as they try to express their message to the people and the possibility that their message may be misconstrued and the focus of that message is more on the error then the content of the message itself?

I personally am old tired of the "he said, she said, finger-pointing politics" which distracts from the real issues at hand.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

City of Portland donates $200,000 to day labor site

the Portland Tribune

A controversial day labor site in the city of Portland on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Everett street has been delayed from May 6 to June 16, 2008 in order to have time to organize the program, award contracts and work out a good neighbor agreement with nearby businesses.

The program led by Mayor Tom Potter and the Portland city Council awarded the nonprofit Voz: workers rights in education Project $200,000 in city funds to operate the site for two years.

Potter and other supporters believe that the workers needed shelter, protection from abuse and places to stand that doesn't disrupt nearby businesses and traffic.

Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the Los Angeles National Day Laborer Organizing Network, commented that the delay with was a wise idea after visiting the site.“I think there has to be more intensive outreach effort toward employers. The first challenge is to maintain same number of jobs you get at the corner, and have to have nicer infrastructure. If you have an empty lot, how do you expect workers to come in? What’s the difference between that and the streets?”
Not everybody is in favor of the idea of having a day labor site in their area. "Having that many people concentrated in one area, what's going to happen?", Said Richmond of Ed's Auto Lectric.

what about employment agencies? I was under the impression that is traditionally where employers would go to find workers and more importantly, why is the city funding a project like this?

Although it is easy to say that stereotypically day labor sites are used for illegals, the sign in front of the new site reinforces a certain segment of the population. The colorful hand-painted sign posted on the fence reads.... N “La Nueva Fecha Para abrirel centro es el 16 De Junio. The new opening date of the day labor center is June 16. — gracias.”