Right Oregon Basic Operating Principles

Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman’s recent Sustainable Industries/Clean Energy Initiative will:

  1. Use public funds to juice the investment returns of investments available to a small, select class of elite investors.
  2. Legislate an artificial market into existence and manipulate energy market demand at public expense.
  3. Reward unproven organizations with public subsidies.

Use public funds to juice the investment returns of investments available to a small, select class of elite investors.

Commissioner Saltzman’s initiative acknowledges that the investment returns of these projects will not be attractive to private investors unless public funds subsidize private investment dollars:

In order to engage their investment we need …[to match] … private investment to accomplish … an acceptable [Investment Return]”.

Furthermore, these investments will only be available to a small, elite group of investors via venture capital (In order to invest in venture capital, a restricted offering, an investor must meet certain prejudicial criteria such as: net worth greater than $1,000,000; individual income in excess of $200,000).
Legislate an artificial market into existence and manipulate energy market demand at public expense:

Throughpractice [(conversion of city’s diesel fleets to biodiesel and contract 100% of the city’s electricity to wind power)]… policy[,] and programmatic initiativesPortlandcanredirectdollars from fossil fuel … toward clean, regionally produced products and services.”

The conversion of city’s diesel fleet to biodiesel is a procurement subsidy. Biodiesel (B100) currently costs about 19% more than regular diesel and is about 8% less fuel efficient; summing the two, a switch to biodiesel would thus cost citizens about 27% more.

Reward unproven organizations with public subsidies:

Commissioner Saltzman’s initiative rewards organizations based on sales volume, not profitability

[The] … Biofuels Investment … Fund will be awarded … to … organizations that can deliver … increases in:

  1. the number of gallons of bio-based fuels produced and sold in Portland;
  2. the number of gallons of bio-based fuels produced from Oregon feed stocks; and
  3. the number of jobs in the bio-based fuels sector in Portland, and secondarily in Oregon. ($450,000)”

I have been researching the “Sustainable Industries/Clean Energy Initiative” submittal by Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman.

After reviewing the “Background” section of the document, I have serious questions with regards to:

  • Government policy favoring one segment of the market (aka Corporate Welfare).
  • The larger question of state economic diversification
  • the stated intention of the proposal to “enhance demand” for “energy efficient and green building technologies” — at first glance, this sounds suspiciously like “subsidizing” but before making that accusation, I’d like to examine the document thoroughly.

If a business (such as a restaurant, tavern, bowling-alley, or bingo-hall) chooses to cater to smoker and non-smoker alike, what moral justification does the State have to interject?

If Sen. Ginny Burdick (D) and Rep. Carolyn Tomei (D) have their way, business’ exempted from the 2001 ban on smoking in the workplace will no longer have this choice.

Proponents would like to frame the issue as one of public health. Tomei states:

Secondhand smoke contributes to asthma, ear infections, pneumonia and bronchitis … Our young workers are concentrated in the food service industry and teens are a very vulnerable population.”

Tomei’s predictable concern for our vulnerable young workers is at best misguided; dare I say that the sour stench of political self-interest, while subtle, is beginning to show through the incessant beating of this dead horse.

Those vulnerable young workers are free to decide not to work at establishments that permit smoking, as are the establishment’s potential patrons.

It’s all so disingenuous, how this crowd purports to be in defense of our sacred rights to choose yet at the same time makes our decisions for us.