Portland City Council Testimony - 4/21/10

As a candidate for the North Portland House seat I have proposed that $30,000 be set as the maximum income allowed for a one person household to enter and remain a public housing client in Oregon.

When I asked the Housing Authority of Washington County to provide me with statistical data it provided the files within 48 hours, without fuss and fee.

When I asked the Housing Authority of Portland four times for the same statistical data it ignored my requests for 100 days.

The Multnomah county district attorney assured HAP that as long as it didn’t respond to my requests he was not required to get involved. He also wrote to me that, “the records you seek do not exist” because they were stored electronically on a computer database program. DA Mike Schrunk’s ignorance on this subject is frightening.

Almost immediately after the DA’s pronouncement that HAP’s public records didn’t exist HAP embarrassed Schrunk by announcing that the public records I requested, like the ones from Washington county, did in fact exist and that I could have electronic reports that would take only seconds to produce for a fee of $125.

Yardi Voyager is the browser-accessible, database software used by HAP. Yardi tech support told me that the program can be configured to show as many or as few fields on screen as the program owner chooses. Its screen layouts and report capabilities are extensive, easy to use and fast. It has sophisticated security that can restrict access by screen or user or class of users. And, Yardi Voyager can be accessed on the Internet.

I urge the only government body that confirms HAP’s board and the mayor of Portland, the only elected official with the statutory authority to nominate and dismiss HAP’s board, to accept your inherent, commensurate responsibilities of oversight and accountability over those unelected, unvetted citizens who YOU have given the power to make public policy affecting the lives of 700,000 citizens of Multnomah county and annually spend more the 80 million dollars of taxpayer money.

I particularly request Commissioner Fritz, who owes her job and allegiance to the taxpayers of Portland to start acting like she respects those that helped put her in office and demand accountability in the name of Portland taxpayers from the Housing Authority of Portland.

Attorney General Kroger is to be commended for his efforts to put as many public documents under his control online to avoid the time consuming and practically useless Oregon Public Records Law.

The HAP board CAN put its Public Housing Statistical Data online. The Portland city council MUST make sure that they do.

Richard Ellmyer

Candidate for the North Portland House seat in the May 18, 2010 Democratic primary


Oregonian Voter Guide, http://thevoterguide.oregonlive.com/race-detail.do?id=193097205&party=D