Portland municipal building showcases LEED-Certified design, goes 3X over budget, wounds and kills birds

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The new $11.5 Million office building by the sewage plant. Note the green grass on the overpriced roof. Image: Skylab Architecture

The new $11.5 Million office building by the sewage plant. Note the green grass on the overpriced roof. Image: Skylab Architecture

When a building that was budgeted to cost $3.2 million winds up costing $11.5 million, something is likely to hit the fan. But in this case, the unhappy noise is local and migratory birds smacking into its environmentally-hip, LEED-Certified wall of windows. Continue reading

Portland Mayor gives Portland businesses $10,000 tax break to hire felons

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In the second half of my term, I’m focusing on the “human equation”: the children who should be able to walk safely to a park, even if they live in East Portland; the man who should be able to find a job, even if he’s returning to society from prison; the CEO whose company should be rewarded for operating with Portland values.

“In the second half of my term, I’m focusing on the “human equation”: the children who should be able to walk safely to a park, even if they live in East Portland; the man who should be able to find a job, even if he’s returning to society from prison; the CEO whose company should be rewarded for operating with Portland values.”

Let’s say you’re a Portland citizen. You were an assistant manager of an auto parts store for almost nine years, and were laid off a few months ago. You have an excellent reference from your former employer, coach your son’s Little League team, and have had no brushes with the law, not even a speeding ticket. You hear a new auto parts store is opening, and send them your resume. Move quickly to the back of the line. Continue reading

NYC Department of Education promotion policy: fail your way to the top

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BILL DEBLASIO CARMEN FARINA

Carmen Farina, promoter of the below average, with her boss and mentor, Bill De Blasio

I have a pet theory that some of the worst damage done to our cities is inflicted by local school boards. Recently, NYC Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña tossed my pet theory a large tasty bone. Continue reading

Houston Mayor supports men using ladies’ room; city subpoenas sermons of pastors who disagree

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Mayor Annise Parker, Lesbian Democrat and ham-fisted intimidator

Mayor Annise Parker, Lesbian Democrat and ham-fisted intimidator

Clashes between evangelical Christians and the gay community are hardly news. Because I think people’s private lives should be private, nine times out of ten, I take the side of the gay community. Continue reading

Seattle banishes “evil” legacy of Columbus Day; celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day

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Christopher Columbus, favorite 15th Century villain of leftists everywhere.

Christopher Columbus, favorite 15th Century villain of leftists everywhere.

On September 28, the Seattle City Council embarrassed themselves by voting unanimously to search citizens’ garbage and fine them for food scrap violations. On October 6, they embarrassed the entire country.

Continue reading

Seattle gives you three choices: Eat all your dinner, have a smelly compost bin, or pay a fine

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Happy planet, happy composter, happy flies.

There’s a lot not to love about a compost bin: The smell. The fruit flies. The general ick factor. The Seattle City Council has a response to your concerns:  Get used to it or else. A little background: In 2009, Seattle passed an ordinance that said every resident, whether a single-family homeowner or apartment dweller, must practice mandatory composting or pay fines. The city delivered 13-gallon composting carts to every homeowner, and currently force them to pay a $5.15 a month pickup charge. They also offer a 96-gallon bin for $9.90/month. Continue reading

Arlington, VA says million dollar bus stop too expensive; will build next ones for only $539,000.

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A million dollars doesn't buy what it used to.

A million dollars doesn’t buy what it used to.

Transit Oriented Development is an innocent-sounding term that gets some critics of local government all wee-wee’d up. In a nutshell, it’s based on the belief that your Subaru is killing the planet, so we should all ride our bikes in the rain to a train that drops us at a station just a second soggy bike ride to the office. The city and county planners and regional agencies who dream up T.O.D. schemes exercise a twisted logic that says, build a light rail or streetcar line between Point A and Point B, and soon, “vibrant communities” will sprout up around the train stations and streetcar stops. Continue reading

Quote of the decade

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We have 5 1/2 years to go, but here’s the one to beat: At a city council meeting, a 20-something community task force member was asked when her group would pave a sidewalk near a school.

Her answer? “Oh, we don’t do anything. We’re just a Task Force.”

The gangbangers who couldn’t shoot straight; NYC shootings up 41%; murders down 15%

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Early in the morning of  Tuesday, July 1, two rival gangs bumped into each other in the Good Stuff Diner on West 14th Street in Manhattan. Their animosity soon tumbled into the street, where they proceeded to reenact the gunfight at the OK Corral. Continue reading

Who’s the looniest city in America? Introducing The MoonPie Award.

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First Prize. A dozen Original Marshmallow Sandwiches for you, a dozen for your favorite local politicians.

First Prize. A dozen Original Marshmallow Sandwiches for you, a dozen for your favorite local politicians.

So your city council is going to pass a resolution honoring the 71st birthday of the United Nations,  but is too busy to fix a pothole that broke three axles last month. Continue reading