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#21 Calabrese

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 08:32 PM

I am tired of government handouts er welfare to businesses. So I am not happy about the Rose Quarter or PGE Park or the tram or the taxes to the Port of Portland (with no elected representation into how the Port is run) which primarily benefit businesses or a lot of other things that bring benefits to business when the city cannot even take care of the streets in my part of the city. And I do feel the pain of property and other taxes. So while a PDX Public Market would be wonderful, the developers can fund it without tax $$. Why should anyone have their risk of loss minimized and get to reap all the rewards (as in not pay back the govt money with interest)?

I also think it's crazy to see this as threat to Farmer's Markets. What seems to be their problem is how overcrowded and zoo like they can be some days. Even though the downtown market has a lot more options, Hillsdale is a lot closer and not as insane with crowds.

#22 chefken

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 09:11 PM

I think it's potentially a big boondoggle and shoud be approached pretty cautiously. I've yet to see any projections on who will be selling there, what the projected costs and revenues are, what the financial impact might be on the farmer's markets, local purveyors, etc. I don't think that it has to make a lot of money, but if the public is paying for it, it shouldn't be a big loser. I worked for Ron Paul for 2 years, and I'm not sure he has the business saavy to make this into a money maker. At least i haven't seen the figures to back this up.

The thing is, I think the comparisons to SF and Seattle may be a bit faulty. They're much bigger cities with much more established markets that have a lot more attracting people than just the produce and fish. They have long established restaurants and businesses that are integral parts of the market, whereas at the train station everything will have to be imported to the space, which I think is a difficult one, at best. Who are the shops and restaurants that will locate there, and is there going to be enough traffic and business to sustain them in the long and short run. Again, plans so far are rather sketchy. Paul has been on this thing for like 7 or 8 years. How about some more details?

A lot is being made of the fact that the train station will be a MAX stop, and people will stop at the market to buy stuff on their way to or from work. I don't know if this will be true - I think most people are in a hurry to get to work and get home and might not want to stop for a trout.

And as a tourist attraction? Tourists don't buy fruits and veggies and raw fish and raw steaks to bring back to their hotel rooms. Again, Pikes Place is right on the waterfron and is almost a city unto itself. Will tourists flock to the train station with a few stalls and a couple of cafes. Depends, but it's no sure thing.

I think a lot depends on the make-up of the vendors and the associated businesses. What farmers will be there? The ones at the farmer's markets don't grow much in the winter, so I'm guessing the produce in those months will be all coming from produce dealers out of the area, not local. So are these guys just going to want to leave in the warmer months to make room for the locals? I doubt it. Who is going to sell meat and fish? It's going to take some guys with deep pockets to be able to stay the course.

All very iffy without knowing who has committed to being there and what the projections and revenues are like. All things being equal, do we really need this. I like going to the farmers market for my produce, lamb sometimes, some cheese, to Cacao and Pix for dessert, Pearl Bakery or GC for bread, Citymarket for fish and some meat, New Seasons for everything else. Why go to a Public Market when all that is MAXable, though not under one roof? I need the walking and I don't really relish fighting the tourists anyway.
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#23 EvaB

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 10:33 PM

Good points Ken. This idea of a year round public market has been around for a lot of the years I've lived in Portland. I do know that at one time there was a design and economic study done to assess a number of different siting alternatives. More locations have been suggested since that time, this being only the most recent. Assumptions, criteria, and numbers exist somewhere and I'm guessing that if it was a super viable idea, we'd see it in existence by now. I think Pike Place works for the reasons Ken notes, and because it is in a location that is well situated in terms of other activities that both tourists and locals seek out. Portland's train station is a nice old building but I don't think the location has enough draw.
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#24 polloelastico

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 10:50 PM

It seems that overwhelmingly the "pure" consumers participating in this thread wholeheartedly invite such a market.

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#25 mczlaw

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 10:58 PM

Just a few final clarifying points from me before yielding to Scott Dolich who will face-off with Ron Paul before the City Club at the end of September. (I would suggest that everyone tuning into this discussion attend, if possible.)

1. I spent 6 years as a volunteer member of the Portland Farmers Market board of directors, from 1999 to 2005. Alas, I was never the top dog and, thankfully, never the ED. Dianne Stefani-Ruff has filled that role--with incomparable grace and panache, I might add--soon to yield to someone new. I paid to be a vendor there a few times--a little bagel gig. This year, I book and host all the chef's demos. It's a lot of fun, but the pay is nonexistent (literally). Oh, and I'm helping to plan our first ever cheese festival--The Wedge--which will happen on 10/6.

I joined the board because I was (and remain) keenly interested in local food policy issues. During my tenure, I also served as the liaison to the Public Market board, and attended numerous meetings with that group over about a year and a half--most of which were self-congratulatory affairs lacking in any substance whatsoever.

Most of us on the PFM board (myself included) initially backed the public market, and I even helped prepare a Memorandum of Understanding that established a relationship between the two organizations. PFM eventually withdrew from the relationship after it became clear that the public market had no idea how it was going to serve local agriculture. Indeed, the public market took on decidedly different looks every time its leaders found a new potential site for it. At this point, it has been through at least five incarnations. To this day, I don't believe Ron Paul has ever been completely upfront about what the public market will be because I don't think he knows. Instead, what it will be has always taken a back seat to where it will be located--an unfortunately opportunistic approach, in my opinion.

2. I have no quarrel with vendors who might wish to locate at the public market, if it happens. I love SuDan and Newmans. My skepticism--a minor point in the overall mix, however--is that many of those leading the public market effort stand to receive personal benefit if the market comes to fruition. Not that big a deal, but certainly something to consider. (On the other hand, I have nothing to gain personally if the public market effort goes tubular--or lose if it comes to pass. Same with Dolich and all the other opponents of the public market I know.)

3. Paying taxes is not my favorite activity, but I don't really mind that much. Unlike my conservative friends and colleagues, I feel there is a fair--if often intangible--return on what I pay. What vexes me about the public market is that if the farmers markets had the benefit of even a percentage of the federal money Ron Paul has obtained from David Wu (figure $400,000 plus) and has been seeking from PDC and the City (millions), they wouldn't have to be struggling to make their budgets year after year; they could hire and pay the staff they need; and in the case of the big market @ PSU, could probably be running year round under some kind of shelter.

4. No quarrel that the public market may be "cool" at first. For it to be a worthwhile project, however, it really needs to transcend cool. It would be a lot more satisfying if this putative tourist magnet also added significant value to what the farmers markets already provide at no cost to locals. That's the baseline for me--and the promoters of the public market have yet to satisfy that concern.

Portland doesn't need a public market to be cool. This town is cool already. As far as I'm concerned, it's the coolest goddam town anywhere. We are unique in having stocks of farmland within a short driving distance from downtown and the far reaching network of farmers markets that work in symbiosis with these and even more distant farms. Let's work with what we are blessed to have instead of spending lots of money to try to be like San Francisco, Vancouver B.C. or (ick) Seattle.

5. Finally, for those who have not really dug in to study this issue, I urge you to do so. And for those who are adamant in their support for the public market, all I can admonish is to be careful what you wish for.

--mcz

#26 polloelastico

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 11:26 PM

Nothing is probably what it seems. I will take your advice and investigate, though selfishly it seems like a fun idea. A human zoo.

Any links to further pertinent info?
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#27 Calabrese

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 05:06 AM

To clarify, I don't mind paying taxes that actually benefit the public (e.g. schools, libraries, and public safety). I do mind paying taxes, directly and indirectly, that subsidize private developers (this includes the city giving land to developers at less than fair market value, paying for any portion of the tram let alone making up budget fiascoes for a miserablely managed failure (it may have been built but not according to the original budget so it qualifies as a partially failed project) of a tram project that benefits very few citizens (all that money could have gone to TriMet to vastly improve its miserable service to some parts of the city). And I also mind paying taxes for things that are bureaucratic wet dreams but not wanted by citizens (the Gabriel Park fiasco comes to mind here).

#28 chefken

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 05:36 AM

To clarify, I don't mind paying taxes that actually benefit the public (e.g. schools, libraries, and public safety). I do mind paying taxes, directly and indirectly, that subsidize private developers (this includes the city giving land to developers at less than fair market value, paying for any portion of the tram let alone making up budget fiascoes for a miserablely managed failure (it may have been built but not according to the original budget so it qualifies as a partially failed project) of a tram project that benefits very few citizens (all that money could have gone to TriMet to vastly improve its miserable service to some parts of the city). And I also mind paying taxes for things that are bureaucratic wet dreams but not wanted by citizens (the Gabriel Park fiasco comes to mind here).


Well put! :shifty:
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#29 Amanda

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 06:17 AM

Lots of well thought out and articulate explanations on the cons of this project by ChefKen, EvaB and mczlaw, I must admit. And, unlike the Farmer's Markets, there has always been a LOT of high profile politics, press, and controversy over this public market issue for many years. I admit I'm not well studied on the subject at all. I just think it's cool, like you said, Michael.

Why should the government subsidize this particular project? Good question. And if it were really a good idea wouldn't it already be up and running after all this time? Another good question. Is it viable? Hmmm. Maybe, maybe not.

I remember when there was a little produce market inside the Yamhill Marketplace (down on SW 1st and Yamhill) next to where Bally's gym and Great Harvest is now. I loved having that place as an option to shop at. I loved this place in Oakland that used to be out of the way, but close to West Oakland BART station called Housewives Market that was similar in nature (but definitely not price) to that NW City Market is on NW 21st with Viande and other vendors. I guess I'm just wishing for something like that. They tried to do something similar in the Irvington/Lloyd Center area where Macheesmo Mouse used to be, with various vendors, but not produce. I guess I like those kind of places.

I LOVE the IDEA of the public market. Love it, love it, love it. But ideas only go so far. I'm learning that at some point ideas and enthusiasm need a serious business plan, capital, and some sort of prototype as a next step to make it real. Otherwise they are just dreams that can waste time and go nowhere. A lot of effort and hard work are what make the dreams come true. Even though I still really want it, I'm thinking that maybe more investment from those pushing it is necessary rather than just waiting for a public handout with a vague idea that isn't as fleshed out as it should be.

Boy, am I being the devil's advocate here or what? I'm arguing about something I claim to desire. I have to think about this more, I guess. Wish I could go to the City Club thing, but I'll be working. Maybe I'll try to catch the rerun on OPB radio at some point. This thread has given me food for thought.

Best regards,

Amanda

#30 Daaaaave

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 06:35 AM

What was the overall tax burden Portland residents had to pay for the Tram?

How much is the public paying for the tram?

The public is paying 15 percent of the $57 million cost of the tram, or $8.5 million. OHSU and its development partners are paying the rest. None of the public’s share is coming from the city’s general fund, the source of support for police, fire and other vital services. Instead, it will be collected over time from the rising property values spurred by the redevelopment of the South Waterfront.


Personally, I love the constant usage of the word "boondoggle" for any and all Public Works projects. Nothing quite as satisfying as watching "Portland progressives" mimic the language of Lars Larson. MAX? Boondoggle. Tram? Doondoggle. Streetcar? Boondoggle. Pay to get Civic Stadium/PGE Park up to seismic code? Boondoggle. Pay to get Union Station up to seismic code? Boondoggle. Rose Garden? Boondoggle.

God I wish I could go back to the days when all we had were buses clogging up traffic to use as public transit, the crumbling, tiny Memorial Coliseum was our only major league stadium and Civic Stadium was on the edge of being condemned as unsafe. Those were the days...and I'd probably have upwards of $50 extra in my pocket.

#31 chefken

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 07:01 AM

Funny you should mention the Oakland Housewive's market, Amanda. I lived in Oakland for 3 years in the eighties, and I used to love that market. It was truly a terrific amalgam of working class market with a sprinkling of artisan sausage makers, cheeseguys, etc. Alice Waters then got behind it and it just got better, but still maintained its working class roots. You could go there and buy some amazing homemade sausage and still pick up some cheap collard greens.

I could get behind something like that here, maybe on the Eastside close in. Grand Central Bowl would have been great. Burnside Bridge east would be cool.

But with the rents in the river district, and what they'd likely be if they developped Union Station, I can't see it being that type of venue. All these markets - Pike's, SF, Oakland Housewives' - grew pretty organically. They weren't some developer or politician's wet dream with possibly some other agenda in his back pocket.

I keep hearing from Paul and others that the Public Market wouldn't affect the Farmer's Markets adversely, yadda, yadda, yadda. Prove it. I think the burden of proof is on them to show us, and not keep just saying it. Same with the financials of this whole deal. I think the citizens of Portland are beyond taking things on faith, at this point. And you know that if they're saying that Union Station will take 40 million to upgrade and the market 8 million to create, you can count on the actual figures doubling, like with every other project this and every other city on the planet has undertaken. I'd bet money on it.

I agree with Michael - I like the way this city is developing. I like that there are local chefs and artisans and shopkeepers and farmers who are doing their own little things and bringing things to Portland that are new and exciting. The cumulative effect is dazzling. Why a Public Market, which seems a bit like an artificial construct by developers?
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#32 ExtraMSG

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 08:52 AM

I keep hearing from Paul and others that the Public Market wouldn't affect the Farmer's Markets adversely, yadda, yadda, yadda. Prove it.


Shouldn't the massive growth of the PSU market after Whole Foods be some evidence for that. There's no way you can prove such a thing except with a rather lame survey of what-people-would-do-if, but Whole Foods provides the same sort of service a public market would provide in an area similarly situated against the PSU market and the PSU market has just gone crazy nutso since Whole Foods went in. It doesn't appear to have reduced the desire for farmers markets at all. Meanwhile, New Seasons has been expanding as well. Whole Foods has opened a mega shop. And yet, the farmers markets have all been expanding and growing as well.

The thing is, all of these projects grow awareness and desire for better goods. While there may be some small percentage of people that never go to a farmers market again because a Whole Foods is nearby or there's a public market, I think even more people gain an appreciation of quality foodstuffs and so there's a net gain for the markets.

Not to mention, a good public market becomes a tourist destination. And yes, tourists do buy fresh fruit. They have salmon sent home. They buy a sandwich made with the ingredients sold right there. Go to Granville and Pike Place which are more raw ingredient driven than the Ferry Building. Tourists are buying those things along with locals who do their regular shopping there. Plus the other shops that further attract people to the market that have less perishible goods are able to sell to tourists and those tourists keep those people in business for the locals. While it would be a shame if it ever became overly crafty/artsy like 5th Street Public Market in Eugene, it could be like Granville, which has a great mix. It could combine a lot of the Saturday Market craftiness along with some more upscale galleries, etc, an outpost of Powell's for Cook's, and so on.

It seems like Ron Paul's executive skills, how it might be run and organized, choices for location, and projected tax burdens are being used to generally dismiss the concept. If those things are problems (and I agree they might be), that should be a reason to fix those -- get new people in charge of the project, come up with a less public source of financing it, create strong mission statements, etc, but not they should not be reasons to dismiss the project generally.

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#33 chefken

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 09:19 AM

I think Ron's skills are a minor reason for not doing the project, though perhaps more than that for this version.

My question is that if Whole Foods does what you say a Public Market does - do we need another Whole Foods (I'd contend we don't even need this one, but that's another thread).

I think the comparisons to Pike's Place and Granville are premature and a bit flimsy. We still haven't heard who's going to be selling at this market. It will take more than some nice fruit and a decent sandwich - hard to find anywhere in the city - to attract tourists.

I just don't see the compeling reason for it. Another tourist destination? Isn't fucking Rose Festival enough tourist crap for one town? More appreciation for local foodstuffs? I think there's plenty of that now.

But bottom line, it would be fine if they can show it will pay before committing public money and effort to the project. I haven't seen that. If they want to do it as a private business, more power to them. But I think if they could do it that way - which would mean that they'd have to show investors how they could make their money back - they would have sometime in the past 7 or 8 years. If this is to be a public project, they need to be held to similar standards. Maybe the city doesn't make money on it, but at least break even. And the vendors as well. I don't see anyone clamoring to get on board except, potentially, customers.
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#34 gal4giants

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 10:21 AM

Funny you should mention the Oakland Housewive's market, Amanda. I lived in Oakland for 3 years in the eighties, and I used to love that market. All these markets - Pike's, SF, Oakland Housewives' - grew pretty organically. They weren't some developer or politician's wet dream with possibly some other agenda in his back pocket.



I used to live across the street from Housewives during the poverty stricken era of my life...damn that place worked for my budget. I so loved that place & so sad when it was torn down. Swan Market took it's place which had MUCH to do with sweet dreams & dreams of tax credits, old Oakland is no longer old Oakland, it's too beautiful.

SF Ferry Building was talked about pretty much just like Portland Public Market has been.....for years & with much controversy. SF Port Authority (which owns the land all along the Embarcadero) is WORSE than than a developer or politician as far as greed is concerned.

You have to invest in order to benefit....OMSI is a benefit.......the tram, max, rose garden are benefits....The Rose Festival is something I will never enjoy/understand but apparently it too, is a benefit.

I'm for the Public Market..........I think of local purveyors of produce, cheeses, meats, fish, bread & also a few handpicked SMALL restaurants would be nice.

Tourists will be shopping there just as they do at the PFM's. In SF I shopped during my lunch hour & after work at the Embarcadero Market (now at the Ferry Plaza) which was about the size of Hillsdale. Many people during lunch & after work were picking up items before hopping on bart right along side tourists buying fruits, breads & chesses fr their picnics at the beach or golden gate park.

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#35 Laksa

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 09:52 PM

I think the success of a public market would depend on its execution. The Farmer's Markets are great, and as Nick points out the Saturday one just gets bigger and bigger and even the sucky parking situation doesn't seem to cramp its style. Which suggests to me that if parking were not an issue at a public market, and if it were good in other respects, it would be very viable.


I've been to public markets in a few cities. Some, like Boston's Fanueuil Hall, are nothing more that tourist traps. Pike PLace is a combination. There's a public market in Vancouver's West End which was built in the 'seventies and doesn't seem to have any tourist clientèle. There's also Lonsdale Quay, whose vendors sell a lot of groceries to all the commuters passing through.



We couldn't find parking in "The Pearl" today so we parked at Whole Foods and bought a bottle of wine for the parking validation. Today, at the height of the season, heirloom tomatoes were six bucks a pound. Surely there's some room in numbers like that to enable a public market?

And how bad a thing would it be if public financing were involved? This is just one more way for Portland to make itself more livable, which sounds like a fine use of public money to me.

#36 Calabrese

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 06:06 AM

And how bad a thing would it be if public financing were involved? This is just one more way for Portland to make itself more livable, which sounds like a fine use of public money to me.



Livable for whom (the denizens of the Pearl who already get more than their fair share of government dollars and services)? I'd far prefer to have my taxes spent improving public transportation in the parts of the city where it sucks (including mine). I'd also like to see the streets reparied properly and in a timely fashion. And oh by the way, police response time sucks in some parts of the city.

Sorry but I will repeat subsidizing developers is not to the best public interest for most residents.

#37 SamP

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 08:56 AM

I woke up this morning thinking about how much I miss going to the Portland Saturday Farmers Market and I wish that there was somewhere that I could go during the week that would not be such a Zoo. A place that has lots of local fresh food vendors, minimal crafts, and people who are actually there to buy food. It is funny that when I decided to lurk on this board this morning I found this thread. A Public Market would seem to fit the bill at first thought but as pointed out by others it would probably not live up to my expatiations. I am surprised that no one has mentioned the so called year round farmers market in Vancouver WA. So far it is a failure unless you want some crafts, beaten up marinated meat (tumbled). There is one person who sells flowers, a few varieties of overripe fruit and a few past prime vegetables but it is far from a farmers market. It is full season and all I remember seeing is plums, a few apples (last years crop?),one varieties of tomatoes, wilted lettuce, yellow onions and sprouting potatoes. I am sure I am missing something but you getthe idea. I wonder who put up the money for that market. Is that what will happen in Portland? I know that Vancouver is not Portland but Portland is not S.F., N.Y, L.A, ect...

I do not want to get too off topic but Daaaaave what is so bad about SuDan Farms? I like their lamb and they seem like nice people to me. Is there something I should know?

#38 Jill-O

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 09:01 AM

Welcome to the site SamP!
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#39 Daaaaave

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 08:03 PM

I do not want to get too off topic but Daaaaave what is so bad about SuDan Farms? I like their lamb and they seem like nice people to me. Is there something I should know?


As listed at the top of this thread, vendors such as SuDan Farm, Newman's, Baker & Spice, Juniper Grove and Clear Creek are all donating product for a fundraising dinner. These would probably make up a good portion of some of those nefarious "developers" looking to profit by having an established market from which to sell their goods. As for SuDan in particular, they're fantastic people and I must have bought at least 50 lbs of bones from them over the last 2 years for making stock.


Selectively quoting various articles from the Big O...

The city-owned Union Station is the best proposal we've heard yet. The building is badly in need of repairs, restoration and a seismic upgrade, which could cost between $30 million and $40 million. But the city will need to do that work, no matter what happens with the market.


Union Station needs $30 million to $40 million worth of work, including seismic upgrades and repairing water damage, to prepare for new tenants. After that work was done, Paul's group would have to raise $6 million to $8 million in private funds to install the market.


The public money which would be spent on this project would have to be spent anyway if you wanted to keep the train station in service. A small fact ignored by the detractors of the market.

The money spent to install the market would be paid from private funds. Another small fact gone unnoticed.

Instead you get factoids like the "$100,000 feasibility study" which is grossly overinflated. The actual figure was $25,000 funded by HUD.

A recently finished architectural study found a way to craft more than 31,000 square feet of market space by straddling Amtrak's operations in the main hall. Paul will present that $25,000 study, funded by a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant, to his board on Monday and has gone over details with City Commissioner Dan Saltzman and staff from the Office of Sustainable Development, which Saltzman oversees.


Read up on the ins and outs and decide whether or not you want to support it, but for the love of God don't take the word of the people on this board who have a vested interest to not see this project come to fruition and take their scary catchphrases and blatantly imaginary numbers as gospel.

#40 Calabrese

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 08:52 PM

And some people probably think the tram project was properly estimated, had no cost overruns, and was a good use of public money. Then again some people believe in gremlins.