Shame on You Mayor Katz 12/29/03

There are very few members of the press, politicos or HAP watchers in the state of Oregon who did not know that Richard Ellmyer twice requested an opportunity to testify (See below) before the Portland City Council regarding the appointment of a new board member to the Housing Authority of Portland. It is undemocratic and an insult to me that all of you have ignored my legitimate request and attempted to deny my basic right as a citizen to testify on a public matter. Shame on all of you.

HAP VP FISH FAILS First Candidacy Credibility Test 12/15/03

The city of Portland does not need a dishonest slippery tongued lawyer/politician on its council. Portlanders, like everybody else, want women and men to lead our community who will honestly tell us what they believe before we decide to vote for them. There are many many more legitimate inquires to be made about Nick Fish's behavior as a HAP board member. We hope his answers to those questions bare a greater resemblance to the truth. So far Nick Fish doesn't make the grade.

Neighborhood ECONOMIC Diversity Is The Goal 12/4/03

I welcome to become new neighbors in my Portsmouth neighborhood every race, every ethnic minority, every sexual orientation, every gender, every person with or without a religious belief - including Arab Muslims, every height, every weight, even Republicans, in fact, absolutely any person or family, natural or extended, that can comfortably afford to buy a $200,000 and up house. The diversity I support at the Villa and throughout my neighborhood is ECONOMIC DIVERSITY.

HAP Board HEARS The Case For Neighborhood Maps 11/19/03

At a public Board meeting on November 18, 2003 from 6:15 PM to 6:18 PM the entire Housing Authority of Portland Board HEARD the following testimony:

I look forward to a public motion by HAP Commissioner Nick Fish to direct the HAP staff to construct a neighborhood based map of HAP client locations which will be placed on the HAP web site and updated quarterly and letters from HAP Commissioner Nick Fish to the Portland city council and the PDC board requesting similar actions.

Some Of My Best Friends Are Porcupines 11/3/03

Renee Mitchell, Oregonian columnist, continues to renew our american faith in the value of a free press. Mitchell does her homework, gets the facts right, shows insight, demonstrates a genuine commitment to the well being of our community and tempers a sharp style with humor. Her recent column regarding Richard Ellmyer's role in bringing the issue of public housing policy to the public agenda, If you dismiss messenger, you miss the point, is an excellent example.

Leonard Wants Light For Planning, Shadows For HAP 10/20/03

In a move to bring cameras to commissions* that will certainly add "hypocrite" to "bully"* and other pejorative descriptors used by some to define a certain Portland City Commissioner, Randy Leonard has just "awakened" to the notion that public Boards and Commissions need more public access. Hallelujah Brother Randy, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

Oregonian Wants More Housing $$ - But Doesn't Say WHERE 10/13/03

Homelessness is a disgrace upon America. It should be the first priority for every housing authority or related agency in Oregon. The Oregonian is right to call attention to this tragic yet fixable problem. However, before any more federal or any other kind of public housing dollars are spent in Multnomah county our community needs to have a public discussion entitled, "Where Do We Put Them."

David Austin-Budget for homes plan needs OK 10/9/03

Several people have asked me recently how a $150,000 million project that loses $6.4 million results in a $135 million project.

Letter to Willamette Week 10-4-03

Over a sixteen month period I requested and presumably got thirteen minutes of staff time to forward email messages to HAP's board of directors ... On the BS meter, with 10 = Whopping Pile of S..., HAP's complaint about taking "too much employee time" ranks 11.

HAP Wins Coveted Rogue Oscar Award 10/2/03

On October 1, 2003 Willamette Week bestowed its "prestigious" Rogue of the Week award upon the Housing Authority of Portland, (http://wweek.com/editorial/2948/4382/ ). Their point, democracy is a messy business.

HAP Boss Crown's Himself Chief Censor 9/18/03

In an email dated September 17th*, HAP Chair, Howard Shapiro, announced a new HAP policy that will prohibit certain citizens from communicating directly with the Housing Authority of Portland's government appointed Board of Directors. These "chosen" ones must funnel all their messages intended for the HAP board through Howard Shapiro.

HAP Denies Public Access To Its Board 9/16/03

In a disturbingly undemocratic and unprofessional action, HAP's Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Shelley Marchesi, choose to personally censor an email communication intended for HAP Board members.* Ms. Marchesi deliberately deceived the sender into thinking the messages had been delivered to the intended audience then, when the misdeed was discovered, refused to acknowledge it. This type of behavior is dishonest, unethical, and a gross dereliction of duty.

The HAP Board Must Answer This Question 9/5/03

You may remember the great umbrage taken by Howard Shapiro when HAP was challenged in an Op-Ed piece in the Oregonian. Howard was very quick to demand equal time from the Oregonian and yet he never offered nor allowed anyone equal time to rebut the tens of thousands of dollars HAP spent and continues to spend on its print propaganda in my neighborhood. It is totally disingenuous, indeed ludicrous for HAP to say that it doesn't have nor will it spend a few thousand dollars to provide important public information.

Tilting at Windmills - Defining Business 8/19/03

Most businesses choose to move or establish themselves in a certain location for a myriad of reasons very few of them having anything to do with a city public relation's fund or the ease of getting a building permit.

Kulongoski Gets HAP Map 8/13/03

It turns out that the ONLY elected official or member of the Press in the entire state of Oregon interested or even curious enough to ask the Housing Authority of Portland WHERE it puts its clients is the governor of the state, Ted Kulongoski. Way to go Ted! Bravo! Unfortunately, the format of HAP's client maps are politically useless.

Is There No End To This? 7/22/03

Earl Blumenauer has been asking people around town what they want for their neighborhoods and their city. Well, here is some advice for Portland's next mayor. Put a conversation about population growth and public housing on the agenda. Then make sure that the city and its handmaiden's HAP and PDC stop crowding all the low-income housing into the same few neighborhoods.

Missing Methane? - Don't Ask Me. It's Not My Job 7/21/03

During the Watergate era the predominant question was, "what did you know and when did you know it?" The query has resurfaced today with regard to real, imagined or manipulated preemptive war justifying "intelligence", WMDs and major presidential speeches. To be sure, the issue of the missing methane project at Columbia Villa does not raise to the level of presidential malfeasance. However, this story does add yet another example to the volume of evidence for regime change in both leadership and structure of Portland city government.

The Buck Doesn't Stop At BES 7/2/03

All five members of Portland's city council voted to support HAP's Villa remodel project with $20 million**. Four of the five members and their staffs have all known about HAP's support of the methane and water distribution proposals and Commissioner Saltzman's $2 million contribution for more than TWO YEARS***. So what happened? That is the question. It is not your question to answer. An explanation is required from each member of the city council that voted to spend $20 million of taxpayer's money on HAP's Villa remodel project. A similar explanation from HAP's board would also be welcomed, but not expected. They are not accountable to the voters or taxpayers. Neither are you. Katz, Saltzman, Sten, Francesconi and Leonard are responsible. It is they, each individually, who must explain their actions on this matter.

Environmental Commitment and Credibility 6/27/03

Several friends of mine who are environmental activists have recently started to ask me about the project to convert the 30% excess methane at the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant into a usable energy source for Columbia Villa. These folks may have some interest in public housing issues but their primary focus is on environmental and conservation issues. They, as I, have been bewildered by the unexplained apparent dismissal of this plan to turn a wasted natural resource into a valuable and usable source of energy.

On Being Impressed 6/22/03

I would have been impressed with Commissioner Francesconi if he had said, "You know folks, I'm running for mayor and I don't think our city should support a policy of concentrating all our low-income clients into certain neighborhoods. As a lawyer I need the support of evidence I could take to court. Guesswork and blank slates do not qualify. So today I'm going to ask HAP to make a map like Ellmyer's but one that is not an estimate but relies on real accounting data so that I can have an authentic defensible foundation on which to base my public housing policy recommendations during my mayoral campaign. "

The Term "Institutional Arrogance" Comes To Mind 6/12/03

In a mood approaching jubilation the Portland Development Commission was about to proceed to vote to award the Housing Authority of Portland seven million dollars. The joyousness of this institutional public love feast was shattered when a voice in the back of the room shouted, "excuse me, but there are citizens who would like to be heard on this matter." Dead silence.

Renee Mitchell Reveals Randy Leonard's Flaw 6/2/03

When Randy Leonard left my home a few weeks before the election for city council he opposed the Villa remodel project. He got my public endorsement. The minute he arrived at city hall the so-called "mountain" Leonard said that HAP would have to climb to change his mind became something closer to a "bumpy" in the road.

Fiscally Responsible Democrats - First Answers Then Funding 6/1/03

Democrats lose credibility and therefore jeopardize those in need of help when they blindly support social service institutions without demanding fiscal accountability. In the late 70's I served on the board of a multimillion dollar Community Action Agency, The Portland Metropolitan Steering Committee. It had a so-called blue ribbon board. I was among the leadership that persuaded a majority of the board to close the place down because it was corrupt beyond repair. There was a great public fuss and most Democrats ran for cover. The director went to federal prison.

Fiscally Responsible Republicans - First Answers Then Funding 6/1/03

Your party controls the House. It is obviously essential to have its support. Please contact your colleagues and persuade them to demand fiscal accountability and provide the legal tools for housing authorities in Oregon to balance the placement of taxpayer funded low-income clients throughout their jurisdictions.

The Math Makes The Map 5/30/03

Once again Housing Authority of Portland's chair, Howard Shapiro, wearing his "we help the needy" band on his white hat, proclaims HAP can do no wrong. Shapiro was quick to demand equal time from the Oregonian* but not so fast to offer or allow equal time to a different view in publications where Shapiro wears the publisher's hat, namely HAP's newspaper and HAP's newsletter which have been spewing unchallenged propaganda in my neighborhood for two years.

Like Enron, HAP flunks public duty 5/28/03

Shielded from accountability to taxpayers by mayoral appointment rather than election, board members of the Housing Authority of Portland have steadfastly refused to answer the most fundamental questions relating to how HAP does business with taxpayers' money.

$20 Million Testimony 5/23/03

In June of 2001, without fanfare or serious public discussion, the Portland City Council, without identifying the funding sources, committed $20 million of scarce public resources to a highly controversial project in social engineering at Columbia Villa. Two years latter we can identify the sources:

Media Mediocrity? 4/28/03

No government budget or policy, from the military to public housing, is sacrosanct.

If you don't ask the right questions then it doesn't matter what the answers are

Yet another newspaper, The Portland Tribune, and another reporter, Janine Robben, have tried to play catch up and tell today's version of the Housing Authority of Portland's Columbia Villa remodel story, http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=17765 . HAP says this, some opponents say that, blah, blah, blah, same old, same old. If you just want to state the party line send your readers to HAP's Internet site, http://www.hapdx.org/inititives/hope6.html or an alternative view, http://www.goodgrowthnw.org

Mow Your Own Backyard First 4/21/03

In June of 2001 you signed a letter to the Director of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development supporting a $35 million grant of taxpayers' money to the Housing Authority of Portland to remodel the Columbia Villa. You persuaded others in our Oregon congressional delegation to support a project in a place, North Portland, which most of them had never heard of much less set foot in. Since that time you have not been involved nor have you persuaded any of your colleagues to follow up and see if what they signed on to was good public housing policy. All of you have been AWOL for almost two years. There is often a penalty for such behavior.

County Tax Plan Hit By Friendly Fire 4/7/03

Despite the success of a looming election measure being based on financial trust and without regard for the label of fiscally irresponsible, Multnomah County has recklessly decided to spend some of its scarce money, staff time and credibility to plan for a new library when there is no money to build it and the community it should serve overwhelmingly opposes it.

No Audit, No Debate, No Money 3/31/03

In the middle of a war the Pentagon is more willing to tell the citizens of America and the world where its troops are than the Housing Authority of Portland, at any time, has been willing to divulge information about where its clients are located.

Should the City of Portland, Multnomah County, the state of Oregon and the United States of America give taxpayer's money to a quasi-government institution that steadfastly refuses to release basic information about its operations to the public or the press?

Oregonian Editors Fail Credibility Test 3/29/03

Because HAP's Villa remodel project is supported by millions of tax dollars promised but not yet paid by the Portland City Council, the Multnomah County Commission, the Oregon legislature and the Federal Government it should have ignited a public discussion throughout our state on what makes good public housing policy and does this project fit into our definition of good public policy. The Oregonian Editorial Board could and should have encouraged such a debate. Instead of rising to the occasion you failed your profession, your readers and the citizens of our great state.

Blasting The Ghetto 3/17/03

Our city prides itself on its neighborhoods just as we used to do with our school system. Candidates for public office orate endlessly on the importance of and their support for neighborhoods. Yet neither press not politicians start from the question, Is this Villa remodel project in the best interests of the people that already live or own businesses in North Portland neighborhoods? Will this Villa remodel project enhance the quality of life for those families that own property, vote or send their children to public schools in North Portland neighborhoods? Will this Villa remodel project enhance the quality of businesses in North Portland neighborhoods?

This issue is primarily and fundamentally about NEIGHBORHOOD stability and community balance NOT HAP's institutional housing agenda.

HAP's Institutional Credibility 2/25/03

Dear Reporter:
To accurately and fairly report to the public on HAP's institutional credibility regarding the Columbia Villa remodel project a journalist must include HAP's behavior over the past two years of their project. In our recent phone conversation I told you that HAP has NO INSTITUTIONAL CREDIBILITY when it comes to the Columbia Villa remodel project.

Library, School, Now State Funding - UNcommitted 2/17/03

Qualified Applicant Does NOT Mean The Check Is In The Mail
Attachment 16 page 57 of the Housing Authority of Portland's Hope VI grant application lists a commitment by the state of Oregon to HAP's Columbia Villa remodel project for:
Private Activity Bonds - $20,500,000
Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) $44,792,656
Neither of these funding sources has been applied for much less authorized by anyone in the state of Oregon.

The Cruz Connection 2/12/03

Multnomah County Commissioner Serena Cruz's family is about to be awarded a $58 million government contract .

Introducing HAP The Prestidigitator 2/10/03

You will all remember the phantom $4 million dollar contribution from Multnomah County for a branch library at Columbia Villa which has never been funded or sited*, yet to this day remains an apparitious entity within the Housing Authority of Portland's plans arousing not so much as an "Oh Really!" from any member of the Multnomah County Commission or Library Board. Exceedingly curious. But that's old news. For its next magic act HAP has included in its official Hope VI grant revision of December 20, 2002 a set aside of 4 acres and a rudimentary proposal for a new elementary school at Columbia Villa without commitment or funding from the Portland Public Schools.

Not So Fast, Please 2/3/03

"Portland and Multnomah County leaders say they will temporarily increase business taxes to keep schools afloat next school year if the state Legislature or a potential regional tax fail to provide enough money."*

Before you folks decide to ratchet up taxes you need to have a serious talk with some public school principals and administrators about the role of tax-payers' rights to participate in the education of our young people.

Katz and Company NOT Taking Care of Business 1/27/03

On June 9, 2001 the North Portland Business Association REFUSED to endorse the Housing Authority of Portland's Hope VI plan*. Since that time HAP, Mayor Vera Katz and the Portland City Council have ignored and buried the letter of rejection by the organization that represents the business community of North Portland.

Showdown At The Public Housing Policy Corral 1/21/03

If you pay taxes in the city of Portland or Multnomah County or the state of Oregon or the United States of America you have a right to express your opinion on a public housing policy supported by your tax dollars.

Is there anyone in the state of Oregon who believes that improving the quality of life in their neighborhood is achieved by OVERLOADING their own neighborhood with low-income housing?

But WHERE Do We Put Them? 1/15/03

Janet Christ reported in today's Oregonian, Affordable housing added to city's goal* 01/15/03, that "The Portland Development Commission has raised the city's goal for building affordable housing from 10,000 to 13,550." What the Oregonian did NOT report and what the PDC did NOT address is WHERE THEY PLAN TO PUT ALL THIS ADDITIONAL LOW-INCOME HOUSING?

HAP Breaks Sixty Year Commitment 1/13/03

On December 20, 2002, in a startling and disturbing new development, the Housing Authority of Portland sent a revised Hope VI grant to HUD announcing that it would SELL perhaps as much at 25 acres of the 70 acre Columbia Villa to developers. This is the first time since the Villa's creation as war time housing in 1942 that HAP has chosen to sell portions of this publicly owned property.