December 2012 Open Thread

Time once again to pass out the candy and coal.

  • Relations between TriMet and the ATU aren’t getting any better. As the current contract (finally finalized just a few months ago by the ERB) expires at the end of November–most likely by the time you read this–it’s now time to negotiate the next contract; and the ATU boycotted a work session scheduled for today. TriMet calls this a delay tactic. At issue is to what level negotiations shall be conducted openly–the ATU wants a public process (with the public able to attend), and TriMet wishes to limit outside attendance to certain members of the press. The agency and union have been issuing a series of duelling press releases on the topic (most of which I won’t dignify with a link), and it appears that even this issue will be decided in arbitration, after which work on the actual contract can begin. TriMet has released publicly an initial offer, which requests further concessions from union members, primarily around health care benefits. Joseph Rose has more.
  • A bit more progress on the SW Corridor: A new draft of the Barbur Concept Plan summary report is available, and Metro has released a public outreach tool on the SW Corridor.
  • December is the last month to use old TriMet tickets without the foil strip; starting in 2013 they will no longer be accepted as valid fare on TriMet.
  • A survey reveals that if the new CRC is built and is tolled, 2/3 of motorists who presently use the Interstate Bridge would use the new crossing less often; with many of those trips shifting to the Glenn Jackson Bridge (and less than 10% expressing a willingness to shift to transit).
  • Jarrett Walker will be offering a course on transit network design, with sessions being held here in Portland, as well as in Washington DC.
28 Comments

28 Responses to December 2012 Open Thread

  1. al m
    December 1, 2012 at 10:07 am Link

    Very proud of our union right now. They have taken the lead in fighting government corruption and secrecy. I know that people like John Charles has been fighting for years to open up these ‘secret’ negotiations.

    So what is it that Trimet executives are so scared of I ask you?

    They wanted their security to check everyone before entering. That’s something Stephen Colbert would cover. Maybe I should send it to him.

    Trimet is in pure panic at the thought of the public being witness to their process.

    LONG LIVE THE UNION!

    They have exposed TRIMET management for the liars and secrecy advocates that they are in one swoop!

    And if somehow the fat cats gorging themselves on the public teat somehow convince a corrupt judge that they are allowed to have secrecy, its too late for them.

    They are outed for who they really are.

    A gang of liars and thieves who operate in the shadows.

  2. ws
    December 1, 2012 at 10:24 am Link

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: TriMet has some generous benefits. I’ve never been more outraged than being a thrice unemployed (counting post college graduation) person since 2009 after seeing how much they make and seeing how few people TriMet can hire in the first place because the pay and benefits are so high as stipulated by the union.

    And yes, they have some overpaid managers as well and they need to rethink their capital expenditures heavily.

    I ask this simple question though:

    Can a potential or current employee opt out of the union? And why not?

  3. al m
    December 1, 2012 at 10:51 am Link

    TriMet has some generous benefits.

    I am so sick of hearing this I need a bucket right now.

    I know I know, Americans are not entitled to decent health benefits and the race to the bottom is real and the citizens that don’t have decent health care resent anyone who does and can’t wait to drag them down with them. I know all that.

    But generous benefits? Ya like the HOSTESS CEO who gave himself $1,000,000 before going bankrupt?

    Or maybe you mean that sports guy that is drawing $400k a year PERS, we have as good as that?

    Or maybe you mean every single member of congress that retires even after one term, WE HAVE AS GOOD AS THAT?

    Or maybe you mean FORMER GM FRED HANSEN, who is getting $15,500 a month retirement from TRIMET while making god knows how much as a ‘thinker in residence’ in Australia? All of us who retire from Trimet get that huh?

    We have just as good benefits as them huh?

  4. EngineerScotty
    December 1, 2012 at 10:54 am Link

    ws,

    Oregon is not a “right-to-work” state, so in general–no. An employee can refuse to participate in union activities, but since any operator who does so would still be covered under the contract (TriMet cannot hire non-union drivers at lower pay/benefits so long as a valid contract is in place), he would still have to pay “fair share” dues to the union to cover the “costs” of negotiating the benefits he enjoys.

    And since Al likes to sing the praises of John Charles, I should point out that the Cascade Policy Institute has long advocated making Oregon a right-to-work state. While Steve Buckstein and not Charles is the lead lobbyist at CPI for labor issues, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Al: Cascade Policy Institute is not your friend. You may have a common adversary in TriMet, but the US and the Taliban were once allied against the Soviets, and we all know how that turned out.

  5. al m
    December 1, 2012 at 11:08 am Link

    I never said Cascade was my pal, I just said they wanted to open these ‘secret’ negotiations.

    Ever heard the saying the enemy of my enemy is my friend

    Right now we have a common enemy, after we defeat that enemy we can deal with our differences

  6. al m
    December 1, 2012 at 11:29 am Link

    And yes I do know that John Charles is no pal to the unions but in this one case he gave the most articulate and accurate statement as to the REAL TRUTH to the Trimet financial problems. As he says, the union is 1/2 the problem, there is another problem that the liars in charge of Trimess just refuse to acknowledge:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6UUd_40w6Y

  7. R A Fontes
    December 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm Link

    Washington Post video about the cardboard bike developed by an Israeli entrepreneur:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/video/thefold/a-new-kind-of-wheels-cardboard-bikes/2012/11/28/4cd5e6d4-3996-11e2-8a97-363b0f9a0ab3_video.html

    [Yes - it's waterproofed]

  8. al m
    December 1, 2012 at 6:01 pm Link

    One of the truly great advocates for the disabled in Portland is apparently having to give up his advocacy Michael Levine

  9. Ron Swaren
    December 4, 2012 at 11:33 am Link

    If Zefwagner goes to Seattle during the holidays, how about doing a report on the Community Transit “Double Tall” express bus system while you’re up there? See how it compares to the Sounder.

  10. Jeff F
    December 5, 2012 at 9:33 am Link

    Al, I can’t find anything on your blog about Michael Levine beyond the video. Can you expand on your comment?

  11. EngineerScotty
    December 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm Link

    Bike Portland reports on a new pay-per-mileage auto insurance company operating in Oregon.

  12. Dave H
    December 5, 2012 at 10:31 pm Link

    Joe Rose tries to not offending those who hate art: OregonLive

    So, people hate art, and bikes show blink more. Are the comments on OregonLive even relevant anymore?

  13. al m
    December 6, 2012 at 10:27 pm Link

    Jeff F Says:

    Al, I can’t find anything on your blog about Michael Levine beyond the video. Can you expand on your comment?

    ~~~> Michael Levine worked like a dog to keep disability rights in the fore front of Trimet’s mind.
    I had tremendous respect for his tenacity and his dedication.
    He was also a good pal of mine and we used to get drunk together.

  14. Jeff F
    December 7, 2012 at 10:45 am Link

    Sorry, Al, my question was badly phrased. I am certainly aware of Michael and his work. Your comment makes it sound as though he had died, and this I hadn’t heard previously. Is that true?

  15. Jason McHuff
    December 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm Link

    Michael has terminal cancer

  16. al m
    December 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm Link

    NO he has not died….as jason says he has terminal cancer

  17. al m
    December 7, 2012 at 5:07 pm Link

    No American city made the SUSTAINABLE TRANSIT AWARD list.

    Not surprising of course since none of America’s transit is sustainable.

  18. Allan
    December 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm Link

    http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=50265&a=426038

    Sam’s going to put in a few more traffic signals in NW Portland before leaving office – at least 3 of these could be repurposed for the burnside/couch west side couplet in the future

  19. al m
    December 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm Link

    I know this has been mentioned here previously.
    But it is interesting in any event.
    We all live in a highly bureaucratized country, each level takes off its ‘cut’ from these projects.

    US Rail Construction Costs | Pedestrian Observations

  20. al m
    December 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm Link

    THIS is an excellent article about the rail vs bus debate!

  21. al m
    December 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm Link

    Everybody gone on vacation or something?
    Bus Lanes Catch On Across Asia — Could They Work in Your City? – Driver’s Seat – WSJ

  22. EngineerScotty
    December 26, 2012 at 7:42 pm Link

    We’ve been celebrating Xmas.

    That said, TriMet wishes to remind you to use your old tickets by the end of the year. This means any 1-2 zone tickets, or any tickets without a foil strip–neither will be accepted starting on New Year’s Day.

  23. Ron Swaren
    December 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm Link

    Seventh National Seismic Conference on Bridges and Highways May 20-22, 2013, Oakland, CA (Assuming Oakland is still there :)
    http://www.7nsc.info/

    I wonder what they would say about the CRC design. In previous California quakes the metal bridges have done pretty well—-Oakland-Bay Bridge had one roadway section that fell down. However the 1.6 mi. Cypress Viaduct in the east bay collapsed. It was concrete. I know…those were old standards, but I still wonder. What would they say about the I-5 bridges versus the new CRC design? Would be interesting to find out.

  24. Lenny Anderson
    December 29, 2012 at 3:24 pm Link

    As I recall the cost of a seismic retrofit on the existing spans is about the same as the cost of removal.

  25. al m
    December 29, 2012 at 3:56 pm Link

    This is a good article about really REALLY good transit in Korea:
    Seoul’s Transit System Serves as a Model for America
    It’s really obvious how pathetic most American cities are, especially Mikey Mouse Town.

  26. al m
    December 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm Link

    Last post was supposed to go into this folder, sorry.

    But here is another piece of news, it turns out that transit FIGHTS CRIME not cause crime.

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