His connections to big business are OBVIOUS and DISTURBING , the 'power elite' 1%'s of the Portland cabal of legalized robbers who have profited from our transit system and continue to do so. Fred Hansen retired a MILLIONAIRE with a FAT PENSION OF $15,700 A MONTH.
Who knows how much Macfarlane has taken in so far as TRIMET'S TOP criminal for over 20 years.
His pension will probably be $20,000 a month.
BUT HERE THEY ARE, THE PORTLAND FAT CATS, TELLING THE WORLD THAT ITS ALL THE UNIONS FAULT THAT THIS TRANSIT SYSTEM IS IN SUCH A MESS.
WE HAVE HEARD IT AT GENERAL MOTORS, WE ARE HEARING IT IN EUROPE (see what happened to the Greeks) AND NOW WE ARE HEARING IT HERE.
MAKE NO MISTAKE, THIS IS THE RISE OF FASCISM IN AMERICA...DO NOT TAKE IT LIGHTLY OR WE WILL END UP LIKE GREECE
Now read the sickening speech given by one of MACFARLANES BUSINESS CRONIES
(WITH MY VERY INSIGHTFUL COMMENTS, MAKE SURE TO CLICK ON THE LINKS INSIDE THE COMMENTARY)
City Club 2-24-2012
Good afternoon. Thank you Neil--and thank you to Leslie Johnson of our Program Committee for developing this program.
My role here is a brief one-- provide some additional context and observations from both a professional and civic perspective—professionally as a Transit Planner working with transit agencies in many other communities; and in a civic capacity as a frequent bus commuter and as the Chair of the Portland Business Alliance Transportation Committee.
TriMet is a national model for how to create a transit system that moves people and builds community. (imaginary, Portland's ridership is only 12% of commuters) The expansion of the MAX system and the construction of the Portland Streetcar have helped revitalize neighborhoods, strengthen our downtown and convert car drivers into transit riders all over the region.(12%, hardly a conversion to transit)
There is broad recognition of this success. I recently convened a group of business people in Portland to ask what this City has done well-- and what it should do differently. Number one on the list of what it has done well—and should continue doing—is investing in transit.(build more light rail and more fat contracts)
The Oregonian’s Kristi Turnquist recently noted that Portland is experiencing an extended “cool moment”.(cool moment? Gawd help us) The transit system is no small part of that. MAX trains are in the background of shows like Portlandia(a show that mocks portland)—and light rail and streetcars are part of a progressive and vital Portland that attracts tourists, conventioneers, urban planners, foodies, artists and 19 year olds seeking an early retirement. (a visit to Portland's transit mall will shows you the amount of 19 year old 'grungers' who panhandle at the MAX stops)
TriMet, like almost all Transit Agencies across the country is really two organizations. Part of the organization has responsibility for capital programs, light rail, commuter rail, the transit mall and so on. The other part of the organization—the much larger part as measured by employees and operating budget—is responsible for operating TriMet’s busses and trains. This part of the organization is hurting big time.
The problem is not unique to TriMet. Transit agencies across the country have experienced a dramatic decline in their revenues. Most transit agencies depend on sales tax revenues to support their operations. Without a sales tax in Oregon, TriMet relies upon a payroll tax imposed on employers. Other transit agencies have responded to reduced revenues by cutting costs—mostly through reduced service. Many have offset some of their lost revenue by seeking sales tax increases. Clark County and King County in Washington recently took this approach .
In Oregon, the amount of the payroll tax is determined by the Legislature. It is also directly connected to jobs and job creation. So, as a practical matter, the political will doesn’t exist to raise payroll taxes in a down economy. That leaves TriMet—and all of us in an ironic position. TriMet is central to our growth management policies in this region—but without enough growth to manage, TriMet is struggling to deliver the transit service that is so important to maintaining the livability of the region.
So what should TriMet do? (how about stop building useless light rail lines) Well, it’s pretty simple to say, if not to do. TriMet needs to reduce costs and increase fare box revenues. How, exactly, do they pull that off? I think it comes down to this: it’s time for TriMet’s operations to adopt to the economic and technological realities of the transit business in 2012.
It’s striking that the capital program, which Neil led is entrepreneurial and innovative (this is so disgusting I actually wretched after reading this)while the operations part of the business has been mired in past practices that are sapping its financial energy. I’m not sure why that has happened, but change is needed.
Neil mentioned a number of actions—I want to emphasize three.
First, it is time to end Fareless Square. Fareless Square was a cool idea in the 1970s—one of the other times Portland was cool—but it is no longer needed. Fareless Square had two original purposes in the 1970s: attract so-called choice riders(the wealthy) who would ordinarily never get on a bus; and contribute to reduced auto use in the Central City as part of the region’s Air Quality program. Today, getting people on a bus or train is not the biggest problem—providing adequate service is. There is no need to continue a program that costs TriMet $3M dollars annually—a subsidy that the rest of the region is paying.
Second, TriMet should significantly reduce, if not end, the availability of special fares to certain populations of transit riders. TriMet is not a social service agency.(apparently not, who cares if the disabled have transit anymore) A transit ride costs the same whether you are young, old or in between. Special fares reduce revenues which in this environment results in service cuts—service cuts that hurt the very same transit dependent populations receiving the discount.
One special service that is justified is the LIFT service which provides on–call, door to door service to individuals with disabilities. It is important to accommodate those who cannot take other forms of transit—its the law and the right thing to do. But the actual cost of a LIFT ride is $29. TriMet charges only $1.85. The Americans with Disability Act allows Transit agencies to charge up to twice the maximum fixed route fare or $4.80. TriMet’s Board should adopt a policy of gradual increases that move towards the maximum amount.(right, why subsidize anybody for anything, Trimet is in business to make money)
I know all of this sounds heartless and I know higher fares have real impacts on folks. This is just an incredibly frustrating time for all of us who care so much about our public services.(when was the last time this guy actually used public transit) And it is such a contradiction that we are enjoying this “cool moment”(quit the stupid bullshit will ya) while at the same time we are reducing our investment in the things we value most as a community--schools, parks, transit and many other things. But the economic reality is that we must do business differently.
The final observation is about the situation with the Amalgamated Transit Union. Neil described the financial impact the contract is having on TriMet. The case for change is pretty compelling:
· 29% of all payroll tax revenues are going to health benefits for active and retired workers—headed to 50% in 8 years.(not all expenses for operators come out of payroll taxes so this is misleading and fraudulent)
· ATU members do not pay healthcare premiums. Health care benefits are provided to both active employees and retirees for life. (another lie, I pay $330/mo for the last year and $165 for the years before that and it only lasts till medicare at 65)
There is a culture of entitlement at the ATU that is completely out of step with the economic realities of 2012. Every other public employees union has had to make concessions in response to the reality of rising health care costs. (agreed) Everyone who works for a private employer has seen their benefits go down or their costs go up—and usually both.
It is true that past management decisions are to blame for these generous benefits. (we gave up raises for benefits, a fact conveniently ignored) It is also true that because of state law, today’s Board and management are unable to negotiate for change.(the management is not interested in negotiating)
State law treats transit workers the same as police or fire employees. They are not allowed to strike and management is not able to impose a contract if negotiations reach an impasse. Instead, contract differences are submitted to binding interest arbitration in which the arbitrator chooses one side or the other. This process does not work at all in a situation where one party –labor—is protecting the status quo and the other party—management—is seeking major changes in benefits and wages. The status quo wins every time. (I don't believe that, lets see proof of that)
The result: an increasingly smaller group of entitled ATU members retain free health care for life while lower seniority members loose their jobs and the rest of us get worse service. ( I see, management bungling has played no role in the financial problems here, right)
This law must be changed. It is highly unusual for no strike status to be granted to any group except first responders. It makes sense for police and fire. But nobody is going to die if the number 15 bus stops running. (That actually is not true, bus 15 goes right by a hospital and people that can't get there may indeed die and this also proves what a complete moron this guy is. If transit stopped tomorrow, people can't get to work, to medical appointments, or to anything else. THAT IS INDEED LIFE THREATENING!)
Despite the challenges ahead, TriMet as an organization has incredible strength. The agency has a strong Board of Directors and thanks to Neil’s leadership, there is a high level of competence and professionalism in both the capital development and operating segments of the business. (CLICK HERE FOR MY FEELINGS ABOUT THIS In short, the right folks are in charge for these particular challenges.(PLEASE CLICK HERE) And I can tell you from my work with transit agencies around the country, that TriMet does the best job anywhere of moving people and building a better community. (AND CLICK HERE)
I truly hope that you didn't vomit all over yourself reading this complete drivel. Talk about cronyism and back slapping, this takes the cake. WELCOME TO PORTLAND ORYGON, just as corrupt as Chicago or New Orleans but we know how to GREEN WASH IT!