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Overruns abound in city

by: Rob Harriman,

In response to More potholes in paving program (Oct. 6), we have many cost overruns: the tram, water billing, PGE Park.

We also have a Portland Development Commission that's looking out for developers first. And our streets are falling apart and the city can't purchase the right asphalt.

If I were a city worker, I'd be embarrassed to drive a city vehicle displaying the catch phrase, 'The City That Works.'

Steve Baker

Southeast Portland

Private contractors are more economical

All my adult life, it has puzzled me as to why the city of Portland (or any governmental body for that matter) needs to have a road paving and repair department when there are many private contractors who are eager to submit bids to do these jobs more efficiently, economically and on schedule.

Ric Zittenfield

Southeast Portland

Adams needs to rein in department

Two weeks in a row, the Portland Tribune has had front-page stories about the audit of the Office of Transportation, which is overseen by Commissioner Sam Adams (City's paving efforts fail to make grade, Oct. 3, and More potholes in paving program, Oct. 6).

I would like to know where the outrage from the citizens of Portland is! Adams states in this story: 'We need to address this issue.' Who is the 'we' Adams is talking about?

Am I under the wrong assumption that the commissioner who is in charge of the Office of Transportation - Adams - should take the time to check up on what's going on?

Drummond Kahn, the auditor, seems to think that there has been plenty of time to take care of a problem that has existed since 1988.

Might I suggest that Adams forsake one of his many photo ops and spend a little more time actually doing his job, which in part includes the running of the Office of Transportation?

Wal-Mart seems to be Adams' focus. I always thought the reason Wal-Mart's parking lots were always full was because they offered good service and low prices - I don't see that as a detriment to any community.

Robert Cameron

Northeast Portland

City paving priorities have been wrong

I knew this was going to be a nightmare. No way could Adams or any of his crew work in construction.

We can't blame the guys doing the work - they're just going where the city of Portland sends them.

I watched 'The City That Works' repave Overton Street west of 23rd Avenue when nothing was wrong with it, while the suspension in my car was rattled to the ground on busy thoroughfares like Front Avenue, East Burnside Street and Northwest 23rd Avenue.

Civil Engineering 101: Repair the busiest and most damagedstreets first (preferably at night), then work your way down. How hard is that?

Now, after we've paid for a bunch of 'audits,' Adams is going to appoint a 'task force' to audit the auditors' audits?How much is that going to cost?And who's going to audit the task force?

What a bunch of Keystone Kops. Somebody call Donald Trump.

John Porter

Northwest Portland

Benson changes not for the best

It's not surprising that Benson Tech is struggling with issues under the federal No Child Life Behind act and the Portland Public Schools transfer policy (Benson goes to bat, Oct. 6).

What else could we expect, when Portland Public Schools dumps struggling students from failing schools to Benson, ignoring the lottery system?

Why do parents and students - and people in general - think that just because a school has high test scores and a student is enrolled there, that the student will also receive high test scores?

You have to work for those scores and earn them.

The standard application process has changed - essays are no longer required and academic requirements have been lowered. Thus, students are not at the same academic level in comparison to past years.

Benson's academic program was designed to challenge students, to push them to excel. Benson has been nationally recognized as a unique program that is not available in other cities.

I am not saying that a struggling student is unable to excel - but a unique program has changed, and there are losses. The transition process takes time, and all of the staff members are doing their best with this new situation.

If the idea was to make Benson just like all the other schools, the program is succeeding. But students who excel are probably deciding against Benson as an option for transfer.

Karen Clarke

Northeast Portland

Saxton should come clean with voters

Your piece (Saxton school switch turns heads, Sept. 26) makes it clear that Ron Saxton did what many of us would do in helping our child have access to a better education.

Perhaps it also is understandable that he would use his permanent address to run for school board, particularly if he was advised authoritatively, as he claims, that this was legal and otherwise in compliance with district standards.

While all of this is somewhat controversial and troubling to me, as well as others, he should receive some benefit of the doubt in light of his public service contributions.

However, it is clear that Saxton has been evasive and, in fact, misleading in his public responses. Further, his statement, 'Everybody who applied got in' … is demonstrably untrue, showing an apparent lack of honesty that needs careful consideration.

Now there are reports of very serious conflict-of-interest issues related to his law firm's representation of the city of Portland while approaching its adversary for legal business.

The former case seems to be based on political ambition; the latter seems to simply be about money. In both cases, Saxton appears to be at least less than forthcoming, and possibly downright dishonest, and unwilling to come completely clean.

How honest should a candidate be? That seems to me to be the question we should be considering very carefully as Ron Saxton aspires to be our governor.

Richard McQueen

Brightwood