Saturday, March 29, 2014

When it comes to "compromise on the bridges," what, exactly, does that mean?

"Compromise" has a wide variety of definitions when it comes to politics.  Many variations on the theme.

The standard is to give something to get something in return.


 noun \ˈkäm-prə-ˌmīz\
: a way of reaching agreement in which each person or group gives up something that was wanted in order to end an argument or dispute

In this case, we have a situation where we have been presented with, for its size, the most expensive light rail project in the history of mankind.

The CRC side wants light rail.  They were offered a new bridge on the interstate, specifically to avoid any possibility of a binding vote by the people of Clark County on the issue.  That is because those in charge knew from the beginning that the people of Clark County have never, and likely will never, support the idea of going into debt for billions of dollars and paying ever-increasing tolls for 45 years to accomplish Portland's aim: bringing light rail into Clark County to aid the financially bankrupt TriMet system.

The Oregon Supreme Court said it best:
But Chief Justice Paul De Muniz, writing for the majority, highlighted an inconvenient set of facts for CRC backers.
He wrote in the Feb. 16 opinion that most of the project—namely the 10-lane freeway bridge and new interchanges—was put forward to get Clark County to agree to the light-rail line.
De Muniz cited statements that Metro made in the land-use process and Metro’s lawyer repeated before his court.
“It was politically impossible for the light rail project to proceed without also building new interstate bridges across the Columbia River,” De Muniz wrote.
“Or as Metro later summarized it: ‘There is no light rail without the freeway bridge[s] being replaced.’”
Backers have cited traffic and safety issues as the top reasons to build the CRC. But the court ruling means those and other justifications were created after officials decided to give a sop to Clark County, now worth $2.5 billion.
Essentially, then, those who favored this project have lied to us from the very beginning.  It was never about "safety, freight mobility, congestion relief or earthquake preparedness."

It was always about light rail.  The rest of this is eyewash.

The CRC side of the issue has been inflexible in their demands, ignoring the public's oft-stated position on the issue (Bridge, maybe: light rail, never) going so far as to have Gov. Kitzhaber exclaim the phrase which likely did more to kill any hope of replacing the I-5 Bridges than any other single aspect:

"No light rail?  No Bridge."

I wrote at the time:
Babbling the EXACT wrong thing at PRECISELY the wrong time, Oregon's "just want to live with her" Governor threatens to kill the CRC Scam if there's no loot rail on it.

Gee.  What a surprise.

So, all of the OTHER alleged "reasons" to replace this bridge have just been proven to be a lie by Oregon's Governor.

Well DONE!

I guess it's not about "safety."

It looks like it's not about "earthquakes."

Doesn't seem to be about "freight mobility" (Man, I bet Fred Meyers and the trucking companies supporting this idiocy feel stupid NOW. eh?)

And it's certainly not about "congestion," is it?

So, what's it about?

Looks like it's about loot rail to me.

See, he's GOT to say that because when loot rail is taken off the scam, then the deal... the "we have to give Vancouver a new bridge as a condition to get loot rail into Clark County" deal... falls apart.

Here's the thing, gov: we don't care.

You want to kill the bridge if we're smart enough to trash loot rail?


I'm down with that.

Go ahead.  We'll live.

Politically, they'll be a bunch of folks on this side of the Big Water who are likely to be rolled over because they were instrumental in wasting the better part of $200 million... but hey, no skin off YOUR nose... right, Governor?
Because those supporting this project knew from the beginning that the only reason to replace the bridges was light rail, they refused to budge: the project is dead (For now, anyway.)

So, that begs the question: when it comes to "compromise," what does that look like?

Well, if you're a CRC supporter, there is no compromise.  "No light rail, no bridge" hasn't gone anywhere.  There is precisely zero indication that Oregon has moved an inch on this issue. 

And yet, light rail is the only thing left that Oregon can give up to get this bridge built.

Oregon is the one who wanted light rail to come into Clark County.  No one over here has confessed that they went over to TriMet on bended knee, begging them to come over here with their hated light rail.

Oregon wants this.  The people of Clark County in about every imaginable way have made it clear that we DON'T want it.

So... who moves?  How?  Where?

The suggestion by Lou Brancaccio on "compromise" today included the lines:
But what if we were able to wipe the slate clean? I like the idea (not mine) of getting Republicans and Democrats together from Washington and Oregon to come up with a plan that most of us could agree upon. What if it didn't include light rail, and we waited on that issue for a later time? What if we made compromise happen?
The responses from light rail supporters, both here under the article AND in Oregon have been uniformly opposed to removing light rail from the Bridge.

Had that compromise been viable, there's a great chance that construction might have already started.


But that the CRC supporters have commented en masse: "No light rail, no bridge" shows that Lou doesn't seem to have paid attention... much like his failure to write about the Oregon Supreme Court's decision that the entirety of this plan centered on light rail to the exclusion of all else has not been, to the best of my knowledge,  ever mentioned as part of an article in his newspaper.

So, again... what does compromise look like here?

The CRC side is not going to move.

They want what they want, period.

Those who actually care what the people want over here are not going to move: the people have made it clear that light rail is out of the question.

We have two immovable objects.  We have no irresistible force.

I suggest that the issue of safety is paramount.  I suggest that safety is an issue that can be agreed on by all sides.

I suggest then that since the bridge has been determined to be structurally sound, that efforts to design and implement retrofitting for earthquake preparedness begin as soon as possible.

There has never been any need to replace the bridge.  That does not mean, inter alia, that the bridge could not use additional re-enforcement and modification to survive an earthquake.

Imagine, for example, how much of that could have been done if the $190 million spent so far had been spent on that.

Meanwhile, he who has a cell phone and a pen has yet to be heard from.  Don't count him out just yet.

But when it comes to replacing the I-5 Bridge?

I have yet to see where any compromise of any kind can and will actually work with the people we have in place.

Perhaps, if TriMet, Identity Vancouver, the Chamber of Horrors and CRUDEC are kicked out of the room, progress can be made.  But what does progress look like?

At some point, additional bridges will be needed, a fact even the RTC recognized back in 2008.

But whenever the subject is brought up, the CRC supporters start, effectively, screaming.

One wonders: what's going to have to take?  Since neither side is willing to budge and the side north of the river cannot budge... what does compromise really look like?

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