Our furnace was doing its thing just fine last night, when I went to bed. Not so much, this morning: it was 50 degrees in here at 6 a.m. Sunny Beaches! Went down and checked, and yep, it was deader than last years' flowers. Well, it was still 30 degrees warmer indoors than out. So there's that.
Fortunately, having received a tip two years ago that Portland was planning a new fee thing in which they'd charge you $35 for a permit to cut down any tree on your own property (to "preserve the city canopy") AND require you to purchase and plant a new tree of their choosing for each one you cut, I have spent the intervening time chainsawing leaning alders in the side yard, and splitting chunks into firewood. Alder burns hot, and doesn't leave a bunch of creosote behind, like fir does.
Had the temperature up to 72 degrees in no time.
Furnace controller board died, so I can spend $500 for a new one, or just replace the unit for $1500 more. I went with the latter, since the furnace is 20 years old. It's been a trooper, but all things must end. I was just glad that we have a fireplace, and that I cut and split eight alders when I did. It would've been darned uncomfortable without that wood. Backups are great.
Even the folks on the editorial board at The Oregonian don't buy the idea that "Novice Novick's" proposed "tiered street fee" is anything other than a poorly disguised income tax. He's simply calling it a "fee" so that he can take money from PERS and Social Security recipients, because the law doesn't allow him to do that if it's a tax.
And The Little General is now resorting to threatening if people don't go along with his cunning plan:
Novick warns that if City Council or voters reject that plan, he'll return with an income tax that places a heavy burden on the rich.
Come Hell or high water, he is by God determined to raid the wallets of Portland businesses and residents (while exempting the transit agency and commercial trucks and buses that actually cause much of the road damage). And of cource, "Novice Novick" doesn't elaborate upon his concept of who happens to qualify as "rich". Moreover, under his plan, Portland residents will be obliged to submit their financial data to the city, so that they can determine which "tier" the various residents occupy.
It doesn't really matter which plan pushed by The Little General eventually passes at Porkland City Council; opponents vow to force a public vote.
Mayor Charlie Hales and CommissionerSteve Novick’s ever-shifting plan would raise $46 million a year to pay for road repairs and maintenance. Hales and Novick say the city is way behind in keeping up the city's streets and needs to raise additional revenue catch up. Both have been looking for ways to avoid putting the plan before voters.
Nobody suggests that the roads don't need fixing in Porkland, but many residents realize that the reason they're in disrepair is because the city has, for over a quarter of a century, deferred maintenance; instead diverting road funds toward political pet projects, largely in an effort to burnish the "green" credentials of the politicians.
Given their history of diversion and waste, many resent the efforts of Novick and Hales to raid their wallets yet again. Hales, after all, campaigned on a promise to fix the roads without raising taxes, yet after being elected, he developed a case of amnesia and a sudden love of more taxes and fees.
Washington governor Jay Inslee wants to require out-of-staters to pay sales tax on any purchases they make, but if they pay $25 or more, they can fill out some paperwork and get their money back. He's banking on the idea that most people won't bother, and so their nickels and dimes can then remain in the state's general fund.
Presently, non-residents don't have to pay sales tax on non-consumables if they display a state identification card such as a drivers license, although they do have to pay at, say, restaurants. Inslee wants to change that up by throwing some paperwork and postage into the mix.
Some Oregonians and Idahoans may be mildly inconvenienced, though most of us won't be.
Authorities in Texas were investigating Walter in connection with a series of hair-cutting and hair-gluing incidents when he showed up in Oregon, continuing his fetish. A Multnomah County judge sentenced Walter in 2010 to 2½ years in prison after he was convicted of cutting clumps from three women's hair and putting glue in another's.
The following year, Walter was sentenced to more than two years in prison after he was convicted in Clackamas County of similar hair-cutting and gluing.
Within weeks of his release from prison in 2013, he was tormenting women again -- only this time he ejaculated into or fondled the hair of at least three different women in Multnomah County, authorities say.
And there's been a bit of tumult in Seattle following the ejection Sunday of two blind people from a Metro bus; the driver told them that the ADA section on his bus was full, so they'd have to get off and wait for another bus. Difficulty:
Metro said blind passengers are not required to ride in any one section on the bus.
King County's Metro Transit has issued an apology, noting that they have identified the operator and promise that "appropriate action" will be taken.
Meanwhile, over in that other Washington known as D.C., it appears that another perve has been shooting upskirt videos on their Metro train, and posting them to a porn site.
Surely, we can all agree that transit is not only the "smart" way to travel; you can also meet interesting people.
They've been banned in the Netherlands, India, and Thailand, and now Spain's ordered them to quit. Spain went a bit further, however, in that they also ordered banks and telecommunications companies to cease supporting Uber.
Meanwhile, their CEO has been indicted in South Korea, there are two suits against them in their home state, and Illinois has passed legislation to heavily regulate the company's operations. The French government has told them they can't operate in their country, as have governments in Belgium and Germany, but as they did in Portland, Uber continues to operate as it awaits the outcome of litigation.
In Portland, they have agreed to "temporarily" cease operations.
In what has become their trademark rejoinder, Uber pledged to "work with" Spain to resolve their differences, because Uber is "modern" and an important part of "the sharing economy".
“We will also collaborate with Spanish politicians to develop the modern framework needed to create a permanent home for Uber and the sharing economy,” the company said in a blog post.
Smarmy. It can't be illegal or otherwise wrong, because they don't think it should be. So they'll just do what they want, wherever they want.
Working from the assumption that people with higher incomes use Portland roads more than their less well-off counterparts, The Little General has come up with the following "street fee" payment chart, which Streetcar thinks is wonderful:
Portland Residential User Fee: How much would you owe?
Annual Income Range
Average Annual Gas Spending
>$13K - $27K
>$27K - $46K
>$46K - $82K
So, according to the reckoning of The Little General, we spend $4k+ each year on gasoline. Funny, but I filled the tank on my Honda Fit with nine gallons of gas every five weeks during the past year - and over an eight-year period, I put 28,000 miles on the car (including annual trips to the central Oregon coast). His numbers seem to be a little off, as at even peak prices, it's never been anywhere near $4k a year for gas.
And I know of people in NE and SE Portland's flatlands who ride bicycles to work, and people who are able to take light rail to get between home and work. Somehow, I don't think The Little General's cunning "fee" plan is going to go unchallenged; after all, since he bases payment on income, it's an income tax - not a fee.
As we already have a Library Tax, a Children's Tax, an Arts Tax (although that's still in litigation), a Sellwood Bridge Tax, along with property and income taxes, I don't see another income tax gaining much traction - particularly since most of the road damage is down to commercial trucks and buses, both of which The Little General wants to exempt from payment. There's also the little matter of fact: the City of Portland has consistently deferred road maintenance for over a quarter of a century in order to fund pet projects. Some people have a problem with that.
They also spend several million in taxpayer funds each year to support their "Bureau of Equity", "diversity training", and other things that are completely unrelated to core city government functions. Some people have a problem with that, too. There's a growing realization that the city could maintain its streets by diverting funds from the pork, but they're unwilling to take that basic step.
It's really pretty simple: you use your money to take care of what's needed, and then if there's any left over, you put it toward stuff that you'd like. Portland runs in the opposite direction.