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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bureaucrats can't change the way we drive ... but they keep trying

POLL SAYS NO TO TALKING BUSES

Online poll reveals TriMet riders are skeptical about experiment with audible ...

A POSTER BOY FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY...This guy is a real jerk

ATU International President Larry Hanley Interviewed by Mike Papantonio, Ring of Fire Program

JEFF ACKERSON ATTEMPTING TO CHANGE TRIMET'S 'OPEN DOOR' POLICY


Due to several incidents, the last being the dog poop incident, Merlo’s 757 representative has petitioned through the grievance process to have all buses close their doors at layovers.

In a past incident, there was a pipe bomb discovered on the bus and the driver was written up for not performing a bus inspection! (Trimet true to form always blames the operators)

In another incident, the driver returned to his open bus to find someone rummaging through some personal property which then lead to a physical attack on the operator. The operator ended up in the hospital.

With all the interest in security nowadays, the open door policy when the bus is at layovers without the operators present is completely self defeating to the concept of security.

It’s too bad that the few rotten apples among us ruin things for the majority of us!

I SEND OFFICIAL COMMUNICATION TO JAY JACKSON-HEARINGS OFFICER-STEP 2 GRIEVANCE

Mr Jackson;

I have been informed that you will be the hearings officer for my step two grievance petition.

I request you subpoena Josh Collins for this meeting or verify that I had a conversation with him at a Trimet board meeting about my recording dispatch communications and that he did not inform me it was against Trimet policy to do so.

I further request that you are familiar with the response that was sent to all the management staff about this.

If those documents are not available to you you can review them here:

http://rantingsofatrimetbusdriver.blogspot.com/2011/02/letter-to-robert-romo-hayden-talbot.html

I plan to call several witnesses in my defense.

Al Margulies

END OF SHIFT RANT

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NofbvHRpK0Q

THERE IS A METHOD TO MY MADNESS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q9HKjNKxSw

THE DOG SHIT CRIMINAL'S PICTURE SHOULD BE ON ALL THE BUSES!

BAD NEWS AT PIERCE TRANSIT

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH4XDcGAepI

JOSH COLLINS LEAVING TRIMET!

JOSH COLLINS TO LEAVE TRIMET from al m on Vimeo.

Right-Wing Media Ignore The Facts To Bash Mass Transit

http://mediamatters.org/research/201103020022

PUNKRAWKER CHRONICLES MY VISIT TO SEATTLE

Seattle and Portland are so different it is hard to compare them.

JEFF WELCH WRITES NOVELLA ABOUT HIS LIFE

Confessions of an Accidental Bus Driver Part 1: From Drifter to Divorcé
Confessions of An Accidental Bus Driver Part II: Veteran to Veteran
(PART 3 TO FOLLOW)

JEFF POSNER

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5SrLKdKkOE

BUS IS TURNING YOU MORONS!

Chris Day drove one of these buses recently and he pointed out that these  "buses for moron's" actually talk inside to the moron (driver) something completely different than what is being said to the moron's outside!

In the inside above drivers head “Caution look both ways” (this is said only once)
On the outside “Pedestrians, bus is turning
only the outside will say first in English then in Spanish then again in English.

http://betrueunion.blogspot.com/2011/02/caution-look-both-ways.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a71zZ0qs040

RANT ON THE WAY TO WORK

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4LVMJYm1C8

OH MY GOD, CAN THIS BE TRUE? MINISTRY IS NOT COMMENTING?


The latest performance statistics are out!
And if you look at the chart, it appears that BUS RIDERSHIP IS INCREASING FASTER THAN RAIL RIDERSHIP!
The Ministry of Propaganda is strangely quiet this month?

NOT SURE WHERE THIS COMES FROM BUT IT SURE IS INTERESTING!

TRIMET 17

Top 10 Other Things Tri-Met Buses Should Say

BOJACK.ORG

PORTLAND A FOOT'S MICHAEL ANDERSON RESEARCHED THE US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT RANKINGS

Michael is one of the best transit related investigative reporters.
He is not beholden to any corporate structure so he has independence that most of our more familiar news people do not have.

In any scientific study the results must be able to be duplicated by other people to be valid.
Michael is unable to duplicate US News results using their exact same  criteria.

Something stinks. It turns out Portland is #7, not #1.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/a/portlandafoot.org/ccc?key=0AtsiMKlWupv0dFZSV1N0cmlULUpodU5jY2lRQUdIUkE&hl=en&ndplr=1#gid=0

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Take our poll: Are TriMet's 'talking buses' a good idea?

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2011/03/take_our_poll_are_trimets_talk.html

Another Trimet blog

http://one-third.feedle.net/

PALM TREES IN WISCONSIN?? FOX LIES!!

WISCONSIN HAS ELECTED THEIR VERY OWN COL. GHADDAFI

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has cracked down on protesters in the state’s Capitol building while issuing a new ultimatum to Democratic lawmakers. On Monday, demonstrators were barred from re-entering the Capitol, the site of 24-hour protests over the past week. Thousands of people have demonstrated and slept inside the building since Walker unveiled his plan to remove the collective bargaining rights of public workers. The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin has protested the move, calling the barring of protesters during business hours unconstitutional. The Wisconsin State Employees Union and the Wisconsin Employer Relations Commission also filed an unfair labor practices complaint against Walker yesterday, alleging he failed to negotiate in good faith. While the Capitol building remained in lockdown, Walker issued another statement threatening to send layoff notices to 1,500 state workers unless Wisconsin Senate Democrats return to vote.
 According to the New York Times and CBS News, Americans oppose curbs on public employees’ collective bargaining rights by a margin of 60 to 33 percent. A majority of both Republican and Democratic respondents said public employees are currently paid appropriately or not enough, a rebuke of ongoing attempts to slash their salaries and benefits. A new poll in Wisconsin meanwhile shows Gov. Scott Walker would not be elected if the 2010 gubernatorial race were held again today. According to Public Policy Polling, 52 percent of Wisconsin voters say they would vote for Walker’s opponent if they could re-do the election.

MEETING UP WITH THE TRANSIT BEER FOLKS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c__9YTFc9VQ

END OF SHIFT RANT

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gX9MDcwztoY

A LOOK AT THE NEW MERLO BUS ENTRY POINT

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5CtvMd0BAY
Gas prices push commuters to public transit

HOW STUPID IS THIS?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAreGAQzsjk

GREAT COMMENTS

Regarding the talking bus announcements:

Why not an internal announcement, "Driver, there are pedestrians in the crosswalk"...? 

http://www.kptv.com/news/27039571/detail.html

Report from the 9th Annual Faith/Labor Breakfast 03/1/11

CLICK HERE

This morning ATU representatives attended the annual Faith/Labor breakfast. There were about 120 attendees, half labor, half religious leaders. The topic was “Reclaiming the American Dream for the Common Good.”  The topic of discussion in the small table groups was how American community values differed from the prevailing global corporate values. A short film on the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire was also screened. The factory employed 166 women. To make sure, the women stayed at their machines, the employer locked the exit doors. A fire broke out and only 20 women escaped with their lives. The owners ended up having to pay only $75 per dead worker. In 2008, a fire broke out at a Thailand toy factory where U.S. sold toys are made and 188 workers died. The factory’s exit doors were locked. Currently there are 11,000 sweatshops operating in the U.S. and U.S.-based global corporations are moving factories to countries that outlaw unions.
            Some interesting facts and statements were made at the breakfast:
·         One out of every six American workers is currently unemployed. CEO wages increased 17% last year. In the last few years, 80% of all income growth went into the pockets of 1% of the people.
·         “Whatever you do to the least of us, you do to me.” Jesus C. (Spiritual Leader)
·         “When I rise, it will not be from the ranks, it will be with the ranks.” Eugene D. (Labor Leader)
·         “We need a shift in our common conscience, we need to become more selfless.” Fernando H (Portland, Unemployed Worker )

NEXT IMP0RTANT LABOR EVENTS

1.     March 7, 2011, in Salem, Jobs Rally
2.     March 11, 2011, in Salem, Single Payer Rally
3.     March 19, 2011, End the War Economy Peace Rally
4.     April 16, 2011, in Portland, Jobs/No Cut in Benefits Rally.

ON MY LORD! SOMEBODY MADE ONE OF THESE?

Police: Pa. bank robber tried taxi, bus in getaway
Pedestrian jogged alongside bus before falling under wheels, police say

PROTESTER IN WISCONSIN HOLDS THE SACRED FLAG OF FREEDOM

ROAD RAGE AGAINST BICYCLISTS!
LANDING BOS
TAKE OFF PDX

STEVE FUNG'S WEEK IN PICTURES

RANT

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAmufLx7gEg
C-Tran drivers work without contract | The Columbian
TriMet buses will begin to politely warn Portlanders, 'Pedestrians, bus is turning'

I HAVE TO SIGN FOR YET ANOTHER OFFICIAL LETTER

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwAfdzBFoy4

Monday, February 28, 2011

Why are low floor buses being run on low volume routes?


There are routes on the west side that desperately need low floor equipment and yet I see this kind of inequitable bus distribution everyday.

23 Facts Which Prove That Globalism Is Pushing The Standard Of Living Of The Middle Class Down To Third World Levels

From now on, whenever you hear the term "the global economy" you should immediately equate it with the destruction of the U.S. middle class. Over the past several decades, the American economy has been slowly but surely merged into the emerging one world economic system. Unfortunately for the middle class, much of the rest of the world does not have the same minimum wage laws and worker protections that we do. Therefore, the massive global corporations that now dominate our economy are able to pay workers in other countries slave labor wages and import the products that they make into the United States to compete with products made by "expensive" American workers. This has resulted in a mass exodus of manufacturing facilities and jobs from the United States

the rest of the story:
http://http//theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/global-economy-23-facts-which-prove-that-globalism-is-pushing-the-standard-of-living-of-the-middle-class-down-to-third-world-levels


#5 Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.
TRAFFIC FORECASTING?

ARRIVING IN SEATTLE-PART 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcHAUGLMfYc

MAX TELLS A STORY ABOUT 'FELONY FLATS'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkZjtA5wqQA

TRANSIT BLOGGERS INVADE HOTEL MAX IN SEATTLE- 3 PARTS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04CKkPKaMxo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmhsgFiBgqA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzA0r9OQwBA
TriMet misses the bus on social media | OregonLive.com

DO NOT CHASE TRANSIT BUSES IN MOTION!

A female pedestrian was struck and killed by a bus Sunday at Linwood Boulevard and Main Street.
Police said the incident occurred about 2:20 p.m. and involved a Kansas City Area Transportation Authority bus. Police said a witness reported the woman was running alongside the bus and pounding on it when she fell and was run over.
ATA spokeswoman Cindy Baker said investigators would check the bus for mechanical problems and give the driver a drug test, both standard procedures.
The Columbia River System Subway Map Style - Dave Knows: Portland

This is interesting! Apply to Trimet?

Honesty in Transit Marketing: Deliver on Your Promises
Police thuggery in Portland -- the latest chapter (Jack Bog's Blog)

This will be interesting

Going Back to TRUE Union Values

WORKERS LEFT WITH THE CRUMBS



A unionized public employee, a teabagger, and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, then looks at the teabagger and says "watch out for that union guy-- he wants a piece of your cookie"

MAX ADMITS HE'S A BIT OF AN ODD DUCK

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjC2k0HkGUU

Jeff Welch gives some good advice regarding a situation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnnXbQJiyDg

ADRON HALL (transit slueth) GIVES TRIMET PROPS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNlJH4NWWzc

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sun pillar


As seen from a 48 heading to Hillsboro Transit Center last week.

TRIP IS OVER-THANK GOODNESS

Max and I had a fairly pleasant ride home, however it was pouring rain and people drove like idiots.

The worst drivers as usual were the ones driving the SUV’s.
We made pretty good time but just missed a red line so we had some coffee which distracted us so we had to run to catch the next red line. We made it by about 2 minutes.

It turned out that I had left my script sunglasses in the rental car so I drove back to the airport to get them.
Unfortunately the car rental place was not actually at the airport so somehow I got turned around and ended up on Marine Drive, heading to St John’s.  There is nothing on Marine Drive so after driving into the abyss for about 10 minutes I called someone who was able to direct me in the right direction. Finally found the highway and made it home.

It was a good trip, nice to see Chad, Dave and Adron again, and a couple of new people.

But the highlight of the Trip was getting to meet Jeff Welch, who highly underestimates his public appearance qualities.

Articulate and witty, this man really portrays the best of us bus drivers!

Thanks to the Seattle folks, and special thanks to Adron Hall who generously picked up the tab for the dinner!

"A DECENT GUY" 
LIBRARY OF TRIMET RELATED VIDEOS

PULLING SOME STRINGS

Mystery of the Universe


AMTRAK LEAVES US STRANDED IN SEATTLE!

Oregonian Article on the Save the American Dream Rally in Salem

Read it here!

Seattle Transit beer conference (clips are out of order)

Seattle-part 1
MAX EXPLAINS HIS TRANSIT APPLICATION
Seattle-part 3
Adron Hall
Seattle Part 4
Seatlle Part 5

Saturday, February 26, 2011

KEITH OLBERMANN'S NEW BLOG

FOKNEWSCHANNEL

Statesman Journal coverage of the Save the American Dream Rally in Salem

Read the story here!

KGW story on Save the American Dream Rally in Salem

Since when are ordinary working people considered "Protesters"?

Salem Oregon Solidarity Rally






Commute Joe is whining about MAX...but could give a shit about bus riders

Full story here...

So, how many TriMet employees does it take to send out a Twitter message about MAX melting down?

Probably just one. But the 16-ton bureaucracy of Oregon's largest transit agency can turn something as simple as sending out a 140-character message into roadkill.

In fact, many of the 5,000 commuters who follow TriMet's Twitter feed expecting timely service alerts will tell you that the agency's use of social media is a joke.


Of course, Commuter Joe has probably never ridden a bus to know what it's like to deal with when the bus doesn't show up...TriMet at least makes an effort with MAX disruptions. All those "Rider Guides" that get dispatched to help MAX riders - you'll never see them around a bus disruption. Transit Tracker signs...good luck finding one at a bus stop (outside of the Transit Mall or the few stops off, but adjacent to, the mall). And a lot of bus riders don't have cell phones...so Twitter is utterly useless to them.

February 25

Untitled from al m on Vimeo.

The unsinkable Mary Fetsch-photo by Robert Whitaker

http://i1118.photobucket.com/albums/k612/RoberWhitaker/Screenshot2011-02-26at122410AM.png

Friday, February 25, 2011

Remember this chart the next time John Charles of the Cascade Policy Institute attends our meetings




He receives funding from them.






Grevience hearing scheduled for 4:30 next Tuesday! This will b my first grevience since working at Trimet!

HELP CATCH THE DOG SHIT VANDAL!

http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2011/02/friday_commuting_roundup_trime.html

TRIMET NOT 'TRANSPARENT'

Another set of data that is not available on the state transparency website is the spending by Oregon’s “quasi public” agencies. Quasis are agencies that are not directly accountable to the voters or to legislators but were created by government to perform public services. They have the power to raise revenues, but outside of the normal budget process of state government, and they are run by appointed – not elected – boards. They include such agencies as TriMet, the Port of Portland, OHSU and the Portland Development Commission. I recently published a report about quasis, noting that while none of them have their budget data at the state transparency website, many of them have very little budget information on their own website, and none of them provide “checkbook-level” spending information.

http://www.blueoregon.com/2011/02/major-advances-oregon-transparency-and-many-challenges-too/ 

Watts, diversity leader, to retire from TriMet

Ohio State grad Steve!

http://www.topix.com/colleges/ohio-state-university/2011/02/watts-diversity-leader-to-retire-from-trimet

SNOWPOCALYPSE REALITY RADIO

(Members only viewing)

SNOWPOCALYPSE-PART 1
SNOWPOCALYPSE-PART 2
SNOWPOCALYPSE-PART 3
SNOWPOCALYPSE-PART 4
A BOARD OF DIRECTORS THAT IS NOT SOCK PUPPETS

BUS DRIVING ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS OCCUPATIONS IN AMERICA

Woman arrest after bus driver attack caught on tape

PHOENIX BUS DRIVERS SICK OUT!

STORY HERE!

HUGE CRASH IN TUNNEL

Chain-reaction Lincoln Tunnel bus crash critically injures motorcyclist, injures 52 others - NYPOST.com

VIDEO HERE

SUPPORT WISCONSIN

Dear Al,
The tens of thousands of people gathered at the Wisconsin statehouse have not gone home in nearly two weeks. We've watched them march, chant, sing, and camp out in the statehouse.
Now, what will you do to help them and defend the rights of American workers?
Join the nationwide day of solidarity rallies this Saturday, Feb. 26 at 12 Noon.  Rallies are planned in all 50 states and will bring thousands of people to every statehouse and major city to say NO to the assault on the middle-class.
We will be turning OR into Madison on Saturday as workers, community members, clergy and everyday Americans take a stand for justice.
Sign up for the rally in OR.
Hundreds of TWU members have already sent their messages of support and signed our petition.  If you haven't yet, send your message of solidarity.
Wisconsin is ground zero in the battle to protect the basic right of workers to have a union.  Americans must take a united stand against the anti-worker politicians in states like Ohio and Indiana that are proposing similar legislation that would take away collective bargaining for public workers and eventually all workers.
We might not have the billions of dollars that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's billionaire supporters have, such as the Koch brothers, but we do have people power and know how to mobilize for equality and justice.The voice of working people is starting to win. In Indiana, workers have pressured the state legislature to withdraw some of the most draconian anti-worker legislation and the Democratic State Senators in Wisconsin continue to stay away from the statehouse in order to block the bill.
Join in the movement. Get details on the rally in OR.

It appears the Commissioner Amanda Fritz actually read my letter against joining the Federal Task Force

Thank you for taking the time to send me your own reasoned thoughts in relation to this issue.  I received over 200 emails yesterday in response to the ACLU's Action Alert.  Almost all of them simply copy the same sentences with no added thoughts.  Yours is refreshing.  Thank you for caring enough to send me your own words rather than the 168th copy of the ACLU's.

See also:

 http://www.portlandonline.com/fritz/index.cfm?a=338830&c=49233

Thank you for participating in this discussion.

Sincerely,

Amanda


Amanda Fritz

Unbelievable!

All buses are starting service this morning without chains. MAX and WES are operating on regular schedules.

Operators are being poisoned by Trimet equipment!

 An  Operator was transported today at the Tigard Transit Center. She was poisoned by CO2. She is a Powell Operator. The mechanic found a one inch break in the 4" flex tube from the exhaust manifold to the stack. The poor Operator had a head splitting headache, burning eyes and threw up twice. It appears this is happening more and more with our Operators.
A 'spit' of snow, video of TriMet's auto chains in action, and why it was the easiest morning commute of 2011 | OregonLive.com

FINALLY...SOME REALLY IMPORTANT NEWS

DEFIANT LIBYANS REJOICE OVER JUSTIN BIEBER HAIRCUT

IT'S TIME FOR A TRIP TO MADISON MR. PRESIDENT

February Board of Sock Puppets Meeting

Trimet February Board Meeting from al m on Vimeo.

A 2LonleyGuys Production

Thursday, February 24, 2011

ODE TO TRIMET JUNKERS

Crazy Trimet notices-(67)

Guess who?

I'll be meeting with this gentleman next week

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0Adqr3lXyg

As is apparent, I am very disappointed with Trimet management over my latest warning letter.
Hopefully Hayden will see the errors that are so prominent and authorize the necessary changes.
It is my hope that fairness and facts will prevail!
(this is not my video!)
Light Rail Crashes!

Is this the future of bus service in Portland ?

Click here!

And here!

Where would we be without the union?

ANOTHER EXHAUST VICTIM

It has been reported that another Trimet driver was poisoned by toxic fumes from the bus last night at the Tigard Transit Center. Apparently some passengers were affected also.

The bus fleet is falling to pieces and makes a mockery of the safety initiative that Macfarlane keeps talking about!
Carolyn Young, big bucks executive

And here is why there is no money for anything, THE RICH HAVE IT ALL!

A REAL SNOWPOCALYPSE

Service Suspension of Rt15, with 7 trolleys stuck in 4 blocks
The patience of a TriMet driver 
(you see joe rose getting on the bus)
TriMet training supervisor David Reis

Meet Mr Safety

http://www.thoughts.com/HR202/harry-saporta

Seoul's colorful buses & logical route system

In South Korea, buses are color-coded to let travelers know what kind of bus it is (long distance, feeder route, express, circular). On top of that, they divided the city into 8 zones, and number the buses based on how they travel between zones with the bus's ID as the last digit. So for example, bus 048 travels from zone 0 to zone 4 and is ID# 8. Very simple system for people to get around, especially if they don't speak Korean.

Could TriMet do something like that here?

SNOWPOCALYPSE WITH SUNSET BOB

SNOWPOCALYPSE WITH SUNSET BOB-THE MOVIE from al m on Vimeo.

HERE'S WHAT'S GOING ON IN MONTANA

NUTJOBS EVERYWHERE
STREETCARS, BICYCLES AND LIGHT RAIL MAKE FOR A BETTER COUNTRY (i guess)

Hell Freezes Over-Fox Gnus host gets it right

Shep Smith: Wisconsin Fight Has Nothing Do With Budget, All About Busting Unions
On Wednesday's "Studio B," Shepard Smith said the battle over union rights in Wisconsin was all about busting unions and securing Republican political power, not about the state's budget deficit.
It was a take that placed Smith squarely in agreement with people such as Rachel Maddow, who has repeatedly argued essentially the same thing on her show.
Speaking to a mostly-in-agreement Juan Williams, Smith said the fight was "100 percent politics."
"There is no budget crisis in Wisconsin," he said, adding that the unions "[have] given concessions." The real point of the fight, Smith said, could be found in the list of the top ten donors to political campaigns. Seven out of the ten donated to Republicans; the other three were unions donating to Democrats.
"Bust the unions, and it's over," Smith said. He then brought up the Koch brothers, the billionaires who have bankrolled much of the anti-union pushback in Wisconsin. The fight, Smith said, "started" with the Kochs, who he said were trying to get a return on the money they donated to Walker's campaign.
"I'm not taking a side on this, I'm just telling you what's going on...to pretend this is about a fiscal crisis in the state of Wisconsin is malarkey," Smith said.

ESTATE OF AUSTIN MILLER GETS $400,000 DUE TO LAW WHICH LIMITS LIABILITY

Will David Sale run into this problem? Trimet has made settlements in excess of the $200,000 limit before, so how and when this law applies is not clear.

http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A142393.htm

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

HARRY SAPORTA NEW SAFETY DIRECTOR

JEFF WELCH OF PUGET SOUND OPERATORS BLOG

NEIL MACFARLANE SAYS NO TO CONVERSATION ABOUT TYPE 4 CRASHES

WHY WON'T TRIMET UPHOLD IT'S RESPONSIBILITIES AND ALLOW THE PUBLIC TO SEE WHAT GOES ON?

It's pretty sad when a minor blogger like me has to provide the public with a way to watch the Trimet board proceedings. This is a responsibility of Trimet!

SEATTLE can do it, why can't Portland?

CAT COMMITTEE IS A WASTE

WHAT TO DO ABOUT DAVID SALE?

READERSHIP KEEPS GROWING!

                                                     This week Belize finds our blog!

IT'S ALL ABOUT BREAKING THE UNIONS

Some of the trickery going on here at Trimet capital projects

b) 1997 and 1998 Lease transactions
During fiscal years 1997 and 1998, the District entered into sale-leaseback transactions for 31 light rail vehicles with
a foreign investor. Additionally, in fiscal years 1997 and 1998, the District entered into a series of lease-leaseback
transactions with domestic investors for the same 31 light rail vehicles, plus an additional 41 light rail vehicles and
two rail maintenance facilities.
Equipment sales to the foreign investor resulted in original proceeds to the District of $80,600. The investor leased
all assets back to the District for a period of 18 years. The leases qualify for accounting treatment as operating
leases. Using the proceeds of the sales, the District fully funded payment agreements with American International
Group, Inc. (AIG) totaling $65,849. Under the payment agreements, AIG is obligated to make all required lease
payments. The prepayments by the District to AIG are recorded as prepaid lease expense in the accompanying
balance sheets and are expensed over the term of the lease. The payment agreements do not constitute legal
defeasance. Thus, if AIG fails to fulfill its contractual obligation to make future lease payments, the District will be
required to meet all financial obligations required under the lease transaction.
Under the foreign sale-leaseback agreement, the foreign investor has a put option which requires the District to buy
back the leased equipment if exercised. If the investor does not exercise the put option, the District may offer to
buy the equipment pursuant to the terms of the lease agreement and the lessor shall accept such offer. The District
also deposited $11,995 with AIG, which represents the present value of the options at the buy back dates. These
deposits earn interest at rates ranging from 5.3 percent to 5.9 percent and are recorded as long-term restricted
lease deposits on the District’s balance sheets. The interest earned on the restricted deposits is recorded as a
component of net leveraged lease expense on the statements of revenues, expenses and changes in net assets.
The arrangement discussed in this paragraph does not constitute legal defeasance. Thus, if AIG fails to fulfill its
contractual obligation to fund TriMet’s buy back of the vehicles, the District will be required to complete the buy
back with other funds.
In simultaneous transactions, the District leased its leasehold interest (the Head Leases) in the equipment to
domestic third party investors (the Leasehold Investors) under the 1998 and 1997 leasehold agreements for a
period of 36 and 30 years, respectively. The Head Leases qualify for accounting treatment as operating leases.
The Leasehold Investors prepaid all required lease payments totaling $175,849, which have been recorded as
unearned lease revenue on the accompanying balance sheets. The unearned revenue is recognized over the
terms of the leases.
The 1998 and 1997 Leasehold Investors sublet all assets back to the District for a period of 18 and 15 years,
respectively. The subleases also qualify as operating leases. TriMet used the proceeds of the lease transactions
to fully fund payment agreements with AIG totaling $130,562. Under the terms of the payment agreements, AIG is
required to make all sublease payments. The prepayments are recorded as prepaid lease expenses in the
accompanying balance sheets and are expensed over the terms of the leases.
In addition, the District deposited the present value of the Head Lease purchase options with AIG. The deposits
accrete interest at rates ranging from 5.8 percent to 7.1 percent and are recorded as restricted lease deposits on
the District’s balance sheets. The payment agreements and the funding of the purchase option price do not
constitute legal defeasance. Thus, if AIG fails to fulfill its contractual obligation to make future payments, the
District will be required to meet all financial obligations required under the lease transaction.
The operative documents of the 1997 and 1998 transactions were reviewed and approved by the U.S. Department
of Transportation acting through the Federal Transit Administration. In exchange for its participation in the
transactions discussed above, the District received net cash proceeds of $15,953, which were recorded as
unearned revenue and are amortized over the lease terms.
In the event AIG’s ratings are downgraded by Standard & Poors below “AA” or by Moody’s below “Aa3”, AIG is
required to pledge collateral equal to the present value of AIG’s future obligations under those agreements. In
September 2008, AIG was downgraded to A- by Standard & Poors and A2 by Moody’s, thus triggering the collateral
requirement. By November 2008, AIG had met all collateralization requirements. As of June 30, 2010 and 2009, a
third party custodian is holding securities with a market value of $40,278 and $37,411, respectively, in satisfaction
of AIG’s collateralization requirements. In addition, TriMet was required to replace three standby letters of credit
issued by AIG. In lieu of replacing the letters of credit, and with consent of the equity investors, TriMet pledged
supplemental collateral held by a third party totaling $600, which is recorded as a restricted investment on the
Balance Sheet.
As of June 30, 2010, TriMet is not aware of any default, event of default or event of loss under any of the operative
documents.
In February 2009, TriMet negotiated an early termination of four of the United States lease-leaseback transactions.
These early terminations resulted in liquidation of $20,691 in prepaid lease expenses, $32,114 in long term lease
deposits, and $58,732 in unearned lease revenue. Net of transaction expenses, the 2009 early terminations
created $5,374 in gains recorded as special items within the Statement of Revenues, Expenses and Changes in
Net Assets.