Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Could Leonard Move Kill Street Fee Referral Effort?

Posted by on February 1st, 2008 at 9:09 am


Commissioner Randy Leonard
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

The maneuvering on both sides of the landmark “Safe, Sound, and Green Streets” transportation funding proposal has just taken another turn.

Amy Ruiz of the Portland Mercury just reported that City Commissioner Randy Leonard has filed an objection to the recently passed proposal based on a section of the City Charter (Sec. 2-124) that allows any member of Council to object to a passed ordinance. The section states in part:

“…If a majority shall vote to sustain such objections, the ordinance shall be deemed repealed and shall not take effect.”

This leads Ruiz to report:

“The objection has been filed against agenda items 178 and 179—one establishes the fee, and the other an oversight committee—by Randy Leonard, citing concerns that “that these two items may be in forms that may not be in the public’s best interest.”

By my read, that means the items are back on next Wednesday’s agenda, where the council could repeal them, paving the way to approve a three-part street fee that’s difficult—if not impossible—for opponents to refer.”

Read more on the Portland Mercury and stay tuned for further coverage.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • nuovorecord February 1, 2008 at 9:16 am

    Go Randy! Go Sam!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • DJ Hurricane February 1, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Send the greedy carpetbaggers back to the suburbs where they belong!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jessica Roberts February 1, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Looks like the entire council is behind this effort…another sign that it\’s good policy backed by good process. I hope Randy\’s strategy is successful.

    I would love to see this passed and behind us so we can start building our 100+ miles of bicycle boulevards…not to mention repave our crumbling streets, fix dangerous intersections, expand Safe Routes to Schools to every elementary school in the city, install more crosswalks, increase enforcement against drunk and reckless driving, build green streets…seriously, this package funds so many good and important things, it would be such a shame for it to be blocked by the big oil lobby.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Darren February 1, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Another example of politics and sausage making being similar endeavors, unpleasant to watch, and not for the faint of heart.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • jeff s February 1, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Darren (#4): amen that! unpalatable in the making, but such tasty goodness in the (potential) result!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Resident February 1, 2008 at 10:19 am

    Yep, Randy has never seen a dollar sign that he didn\’t like! This is the WRONG way to run a democracy. Bullying tax legislation through without objective oversight on current spending? Using your power to prevent an oposing viewpoint from being discussed in the public voting forum. I\’m embarrased today to be a part of the cycling community!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Peddle Head February 1, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Go Randy! It is kind of like the G-Force thing where the ships can link up together and then separate when necessary… umm, nevermind.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • BeerdedOne February 1, 2008 at 10:28 am

    \”Resident\”, the commissioners are elected officials- part of a our system of representative democracy. Asking for any decision that you disagree with to become a voter referendum would be both extremely costly and ineffective. Exercise your displeasure with the commissioners in the proper forum- at re-election time.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Opus the Poet February 1, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Hey, I like making sausage, it\’s a messy tasty good time food-science partay. Legislation on the other hand… that\’s just a pain in the grommet. I like the way this is happening, what it means for cyclists. Instead of just saying \”We need more money for streets\” and raising taxes to cover that, they are actually separating the streets budget out into a separate tax that everybody pays, and can see on their tax bill at the end of the year. So, you guys get streets, you know how much you spend on streets, and you can say when some gas-head retard accuses cyclists of getting a free ride that cyclists subsidise cars, not the other way around and have the facts and figures to back it up, on the tax bill everybody gets.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • wsbob February 1, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Resident, your objections to the Safe, Sound, and Green Streets Proposal or the means by which it was presented and approved by city council, are hysterical and not based in reality.

    \”Bullying…\”, is exactly the tactic that Paul Romain and the coalition he\’s heading up is employing to keep this local government proposal from moving forward even after it has been approved by city council.

    This approval followed lengthy discussion and negotiation in the public forum with all parties, including those that opposed the proposal. It\’s very aggravating that elected officials have to go to extra effort, spending extra time, and wasting additional taxpayer money to divert attacks by the Paul Romain crowd upon responsible efforts to make Portland a safer, more enjoyable place to be.

    There\’s a word for you \’Resident\’, that we have agreed not to use on this weblog. I believe you\’re sufficiently intelligent to know what that word is.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • cary February 1, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Another response to \”Resident\” (#6): Before you leap to the conclusion that the Council appears to be \”bullying tax legislation through\”… \”to prevent an opposing viewpoint from being discussed in the public voting forum\”, please look at Jonathan\’s succinct summary of the extensive public process that this proposal went through in Jonathan\’s other article today concerning Sho Dozono.

    The monied opposition to the \”Safe, Sound and Green Streets\” transportation funding proposal, has been (and continues to be) using a classic method to get what they want.

    First, when they are invited to be on some kind of advisory or steering committee, where their issues could be heard and considered (along with other points of view), they decline to participate.* Second, when the proposal/recommendations that have been hashed out in the afore mentioned public process are presented to City Council for another round of public scrutiny, they tell Council that they have been left out of the process. If they have enough clout (and these guys do!) Council will send the proposal back for more discussion/ fine tuning, etc. (In this particular case, Sam did just that, remember?)

    At this stage, they usually cut a deal to get most of what they want in exchange for not opposing the (now watered down) revised proposal when it goes back for Council action. Usually, this is where the process ends with everyone smiling and saying nice things about each other and the process as Council passes the watered down proposal. The outcome? Council is seen as \”taking action!\” and the heavy hitters have gotten most of what they wanted – certainly much more than if they had participated in the public process in the first place.

    But this time, the heavy hitters are going even further. They \’played dirty ball\’ by surprising Sam with continued opposition when he presented the revised proposal to Council. Council called their bluff by passing the revised proposal instead of sending it back for ANOTHER round of compromising.

    Again, it could have ended there – with the opposition getting most of what it wanted but not being able to kill the whole proposal.

    But no! These guys are determined! So they have decided to go with the \’refer it to the voters\’ ploy where, as mentioned elsewhere, they plan to bombard the voters with their carefully scripted, test-marketed messages.

    Now, I don\’t always agree with Council\’s votes or tactics. But in this case, it looks like they are planning to fight back. I hope they succeed. Not only because the \”Safe, Sound, and Green\” transportation proposal is a good piece of legislation, but also to discourage other deep-pockets-opposition groups-of-the future from using these kinds of maneuvers…

    Boy, I feel better having got that off my chest.

    *There are other variations on this classic oppositional approach. Sometimes the heavy hitters agree to be on the steering committee/advisory group. They then use that forum to oppose most proposals, drag out the process and refuse to accept reasonable compromises.


    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Resident February 1, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    How about a toll on the bike boulevards then….

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jessica Roberts February 1, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    I don\’t think Resident is actually a bicyclist, for the record.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Matthew February 1, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Jonathan, I don\’t suppose you still have the audio from the first council meeting when Romain said he was in favor of a 14 cent gas tax increase, and Randy called him on it? The one you mentioned here:


    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Axe February 1, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    How about a car-toll on every city street then….

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • JeremyE February 1, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    How about a toll on all the roads then… 😛


    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Former 49er.. February 2, 2008 at 1:02 am

    I would\’ve liked to see the lobbyists and anti-tax preachers spend their $$ on gathering signatures only to find Leonard and the council repeal it after they\’ve expended much of their effort. That way they could\’ve wasted their money and the public still gets safer roads. That might teach them for messing with Portland. Well, it appears that their pocketbooks are endless (ironic, considering how they don\’t like to contribute to society, but will spend it to make society think like them), so they\’ll still be around. I\’d get a kick out of it nonetheless.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Antonio Gramsci February 2, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    \”Bike boulevards\”??

    This person definitely doesn\’t ride a bike in the city of Portland.

    \”Bike boulevards\” in Portland are a fantasy. They simply don\’t exist. They are nothing more than a handful of signs and painted marks on a handful of residential streets paralleling arterials. And they are interrupted at every major intersection by crossing arterials uncontrolled by any signals, leaving any cyclists who use them at the mercy of cross traffic. The cost of \”bike boulevards\” amounts to the whopping cost of the signage and paint for the referenced handful of existing signed residential streets.

    Personally, I might not mind paying some money for an extensive network of uninterrputed bike boulevards that actually expedited travel and safety for cyclists across the city. If they existed, which as I mentioned, they don\’t.

    Anyone in Portland who resents the pathetic \”concession\” to encouraging cycling in this city that is represented by the \”bike boulevards\” as they are presently constituted is surely a maniacal anti-cycling fanatic, and surely an extremely unhappy person, having to live in a city with such a comparatively large number of bike commuters as Portland. I would advise to consider moving to Houston or Atlanta, where you will encounter far fewer of us.

    Recommended Thumb up 0