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

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

Parasitic redwood tree moved 150 yards in Cotati for $150,000.

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Poems are made by fools like me, but bigger fools want to save this tree

Poems are made by fools like me, but guess who wants to save this tree.

A thriving redwood tree is one of nature’s most majestic creations. It can grow over 300 feet tall, with a trunk that can be more than 15 feet in diameter. One tree inspires awe by itself, and when gathered in groves, they create a deeply shaded cathedral that touches even non-believers like me.

The redwood in this story possesses none of those qualities. Continue reading

Ghost of Eva Peron haunts New York City

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New York City's newest policymaker, who received exactly as many votes as I did

New York City’s newest policymaker, who received exactly as many votes as I did.

Quick, name a bitter woman who muscled her way into power by rushing in to fill the moral vacuum created by her husband. No, not Eva Peron, Imelda Marcos, Hillary Clinton, or Michelle Obama; they’re yesterday’s news. Today’s self-appointed dictatorette is Chirlane McCray, the wife of recently inaugurated New York Mayor Bill De Blasio. Continue reading

“A 14.5% raise? And only 90% of our healthcare paid for? We’re going on strike.”

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Will County, Illinois might not be a household word, but its county seat is Joliet, which was made famous by the Blues Brothers. The official county website says it’s one of the fastest growing counties in the United States, and offers “fantastic business opportunities and a remarkable environment to all who live, work and play here.” Continue reading

Become a City Manager, pay yourself $1.5 million a year, go to jail for six years, keep your pension.

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Richard Rizzo, the City Manager of Bell, CA, who paid himself $1.5 million a year.

Robert Rizzo, the man who made Boss Tweed look like an amateur.

In 2010, Robert Rizzo, the Chief Administrative Officer of Bell, CA became the poster boy for corrupt politicians who rob taxpayers blind and get away with it because local news is the least-read section of the paper. Continue reading

Plug in, dream on, opt out: the scam of government energy greenwashing

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SCP_Logo_RGBIf you think the Federal government has no business managing your healthcare, here’s another takeover you won’t love: Community Choice Aggregation, or greenwashing, as it’s called by its many critics.  In either case, it means that local politicians will force you to buy electricity from an unproven new utility company run by… local politicians. Continue reading

Detroit’s response to bankruptcy: Sell no assets; build new $450 million hockey rink

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detroit hockey

Worth every penny.

For decades, Detroit’s Democrat politicians have steered the city towards an inevitable crash that finally arrived in June 2013, when the city officially declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy and Kevyn Orr was federally appointed as an emergency manager, an act that turned Detroit Mayor Dave Bing into a figurehead as politically powerful as Queen Elizabeth.
Continue reading

Richmond, CA wants to seize 624 houses through eminent domain to make way for… 624 houses

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A lot of Americans were miffed when the Federal government decided to take over the healthcare industry and the auto industry, and even less happy when the failures of both takeovers bubbled to the surface.But the latest government attempt to seize a chunk of private industry is coming from an unexpected source: This time, it’s Richmond CA Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, a retired schoolteacher. She has been elected mayor of this value-deflated city of 103,000 twice, but the job has clearly gone to her head, since she now thinks she outranks the CEOs of Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Fannie Mae, just to name a few. Continue reading