Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 6th, 2008 at 3:51 pm
morning’s City Council meeting.
(Photo © Jonathan Maus)
Mayor Potter has issued a statement in response to the BTA’s action alert that explains his current stance on the Safe, Sound and Green Streets proposal.
According to Mayor Potter’s public advocate Jeremy Van Keuren, their office has received
186 222 emails from concerned cyclists since late last night.
Here is Potter’s response:
“I, too, support Safe, Sound and Green Streets. The proposal will permit the City to address critical transportation infrastructure needs, reduce our unacceptable maintenance backlog and ensure greater safety for all who share our roads. I’ve told Sam I respect the hard work and extensive public involvement he and the Office of Transportation have put into this important issue.
Safe, Sound and Green Streets first came to City Council on January 9 as a single ordinance, which I supported. After opposition to it surfaced, a decision was made to divide the ordinance into three ordinances, in effect making it difficult, if not impossible, for any citizen opposed to the proposal to effectively exercise their right to refer it to a citywide vote.
At that time, I told Sam I could never support any change that would hurt community participation. Since then, the need for Safe, Sound and Green Streets has been lost in a debate about personalities and election-year politics. Worse, that debate fuels the momentum needed to drive a referendum that could eliminate this much needed fee completely.
On Tuesday, I asked Sam to place Safe, Sound and Green Streets on the May ballot, which may be done at the City Council’s initiative. I believe doing so will end the arguments about politics and refocus the debate on streets. Given the extensive community outreach and education that Sam has said is already completed – including 20 public meetings – there would be no need to wait until a November election. Delaying until November might also inadvertently jeopardize other local initiatives already planned for that ballot.
I know that some folks will say that any referendum must be the work of “Big Oil” or some other vested interest. Frankly, I’ve never met anyone from Big Oil, or ever talked to any lobbyist about this issue. Other than Sam, who negotiated a compromise over his proposal with representatives from the Oregon Petroleum Association and others, I don’t know anyone on Council who has.
There is still time to place Safe, Sound and Green Streets as a single ordinance on the May ballot. I hope you will join me in urging the Council to do so.”
I have two immediate thoughts about this.
First, I don’t quite understand Potter’s “I’ve never met anyone from Big Oil” comment. The concern is that these folks are unknowns and will only show themselves as financiers for the street fee opposition. They’re not hanging around City Hall and I haven’t heard anyone accuse Potter (or anyone else) of being coddled by them yet.
Also, the last sentence of Potter’s statement confirms that the next big decision in this matter is whether the vote happens in May or November. Adams has already drawn a line in the sand by saying this morning that “anyone who is for a May vote, is simply against safe streets in Portland.”
Get ready for a showdown.