Boondoggle: Is Safeco that?
- Robert S. Furrer
- Lake Oswego Review - Opinion
Is it 'politically correct' to label the city of Lake Oswego's $20 million purchase of the Safeco building a 'boondoggle?'
'Boondoggle' (def.) - ornamental leather strap; modern sense from c. 1935 - a trifling or pointless project, expenditure, etc., now esp., one financed by public funds - Webster's New World Dictionary of American English, 3rd College Ed., Prentice Hall, 1994.
Let's see now:
1) City officials have abused and out-right refuted their own policy of taking more than 25 percent of city reserve funds for the $20 million Safeco purchase.
2) City of Lake Oswego demographics are demonstrating an increasing elderly population cohort, suggesting more of the city population is retired and living on fixed incomes.
3) Decreasing enrollment in the city public school system is suggesting a lack of affordable housing and a cost of living outside the reach of young working families.
4) In launching a very significant major capital project to be funded with public funds, prudent leadership and management would conduct a well-constructed market analysis to determine specific market demands for project component/functions. This in turn would be factored with long-range operation/maintenance costs and a cost-to-benefit analysis performed to answer the question, 'Is this a good, prudent well-thought-out idea (project) and if so, where is its proper priority in city long-range financial planning?'
However, why bother with the foregoing considerations when the facility has been as an 'open market' service to include non-residents of the city of Lake Oswego. Can you envision a very costly bond issue going out to Lake Oswego residents captioned: 'Please cast your vote for a $$?? percent increase in your property taxes to serve not only the citizens of Lake Oswego, but those in commuting distance throughout the state of Oregon?'
This seems to give credence to an old saying about 'smoke and mirrors' and makes one wonder if city hall is really a 'smoke-free environment.'
In addition, Lake Oswego tax payers are also looking down both barrels of a loaded shot gun: Barrel No. 1 - 'more than $90 million to repair the aging lake interceptor sewer pipe and Barrel No. 2 - a still floating and undefined $??? million water system improvement and/or upgrade. There has also been identification of potential 'third' barrel for this shot gun, city hall upgrade, improvement and/or expansion.
It certainly does not take a rocket scientist to determine the overall cost-to-benefit of water and sewer service to all tax-paying citizens in Lake Oswego vs. limited population service of community center functions.
Well now, you be the judge of a 'boondoggle' tag.
Robert S. Furrer is a resident of Lake Oswego.