Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Dark webs and shiny objects

Just curious.  
Do you have a 30-year contract with Comcast?  

Heard on the street:  "I'm all in favor of private enterprise, but even if I can afford it, I hate feeling like I'm getting gouged every time I open my Comcast bill."

Subtext:  I want the government to make me feel better.  We can do a better job as a city, it will be cheaper, and I won't have to pay money to Comcast every month.   It isn't hubris if you're right.  We're smart, and we can do a better job than the private market any day.  Especially Comcast!

Sub-Subtext:   If I convince myself public internet isn't a market commodity and it's a "utility" instead, I feel better that what I want is good for everyone else too.

Not a problem:  
  • The city won't actually own the internet service, they will lease it for 30 years.    
  • The system will be funded with Revenue Bonds that don't require a public vote.  The creation of a new utility with a dedicated revenue stream is a City Council-only decision.
  • There will be a minimum amount the City will owe Symetrical Networks / Sunstone Business Finance each month.  If the number of users falls below the number needed to pay the bill, taxpayers will take the hit, and users may see their rates go up to boot.  (This endeavor is not risk-free.)  
  • If new technology comes along in a decade or two or three that does not fit the fiber wire model, how will customers respond?  If price is the concern,  existing services will compete on price.  Thirty years ago we were all using dial-up modems - who has a crystal ball?    
  • For much (all?) of the city the new fiber service will go overhead on existing or new utility poles, even though city code require all utilities be placed underground.  The shiny new service will be no more secure than what we have today., and may be even more unsightly and vulnerable to outages.   
On Tuesday night, the City Council voted 6-to-1
to go forward with a plan to install a municipal

broadband network in LO.  Acting as a fiduciary for the taxpayers, Jeff Gudman voted no.  The other six members of the Council seem to be blinded by shiny objects, so another public utility is now in the works.

Food for thought:  If internet service is a necessity like electricity and natural gas, perhaps the issue of monopoly pricing could be solved through a Public Utility Commission regulatory system that verifies the need for price increases, and limits increases so prices remain affordable.  Small, isolated towns may still need to go it alone, just as they do now with other utilities.

Internet Speed: How Fast is Fast Enough?

Oregonlive, April 1, 2015 By Mike Rogoway
Google who?  Oregon cities want their own fiber networks

In Oregon, municipal telecom has a troubled history dating to Ashland's difficult foray into the market in the late 1990s. The Ashland Fiber Network didn't come close to covering the city's costs and was undercut by Charter Communications' cable TV business. The service still operates but it has split off its TV service.

Sherwood tried a municipal fiber network several years later, but it also generated significant losses.

Sandy issued a $7 million, 20-year bond to bury 43 miles of fiber connecting 3,500 homes in the city, 20 miles southeast of downtown Portland. It began offering Internet service last October.

USC NOTE:  Sandy's population of 10,000 people and it's more isolated location made it unattractive for large Internet companies to service.  Urban communities have multiple choices for Internet service.  

In the Portland area, Comcast, Frontier and CenturyLink have all boosted their Internet speeds in the past year and would surely fight to hold their markets. On Friday, Comcast said it plans to eventually upgrade nearly its entire service territory to gigabit service - and bring 2 gigs to many customers.

Smaller cities, though, think they might be able to recruit a private company to build and operate a local network that would be much less costly than building out a big urban footprint. Hillsboro will pay a Colorado company, Uptown Services, $44,000 to study its options.

USC NOTE:  To our knowledge, Lake Oswego did not engage a consultant to guage the feasibility and generate options for municipal broadband which is typically a first, crucial step to this size endeavor.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2016 City Council goals

What does the City Council want for 
Lake Oswego in 2016? 
What about you?  What does the city need, and what can you live without?

Since the list of 2016 Council Goals has not been finalized, it remains an open question as to how meaningful their final draft will be.  Following the goal-setting workshop last week, the list looks more like a grocery shopping list or Christmas wish list.  Instead of 10 or 12 focused goals, there are currently 33 - a mind-numbing prospect for any town.  The Council looks like a snake that swallowed a porcupine.

The major gap in this list is how the City Council plans to economize and lessen the tax, fee and debt burden on citizens.  The majority of the city budget is spent on employee salaries, benefits, and PERS retirement contributions.  Even I f nothing is done - no new hires and no staff cuts - in one year the additional rate increases for PERS will be equivilant to 11 FTE.  Succeeding years will only add to that number.  It is nice that PERS made the list, though there is no mention of cutting staff.  To be fair, a lot of items on this list were voted down by a majority of Council members.  A hot button issue for residents is lowering the height limit for downtown development; The goal did not receive any votes from Council.

A side note: As more money pours into urban renewal districts from what should be our biggest source of general fund revenue (commercial development), our ability to keep up with even essential city spending is negatively impacted.  Tax Increment Funding (TIF) may be sold as a painless way to fund development (think North Anchor, improving the appearance of downtown alleys, a new parking lot for the Trolly, etc.), the cost is at the expense of current and future city services.

The City Council will finalize their list at their next meeting.

"Government spending is taxation."
-- Arthur Laffer

Mean 2016 POSSIBLE COUNCIL GOALS (for discussion purposes only) 
5.0 Complete North Anchor Development Agreement
4.9 Complete Final Design for Boones Ferry Project
4.9 New Home for Arts Council (and Gallery)

4.6 Break Ground on Operations Center
4.6 Reduce Unfunded Streets Backlog
4.3 Break Ground on Police/LOCOM Building
4.3 Continue "Dig Once" Policy
4.3 Strategy for Dealing with PERS increase
4.0 Development Code Streamlining
4.0 Adopt Tree Code Amendments
3.6 Explore Possible Incentives to Encourage Remodeling and Discourage Tear-downs
3.4 Complete Major Repairs on the Exterior Walls and Windows of City Hall
3.4 Provide Funding for Ped/Bike Connections
3.4 Improve Downtown Alleys (LORA)
3.3 Explore LIDs for Sidewalk/Path Projects, with Possible Matching Funds from City

3.3 Work with LOSD on Permanent Home for Parks and Rec
3.3 Proceed More Quickly on Urban Renewal Projects
3.1 Explore Opportunities for Mountain Bike Trails
3.1 Accelerate Surface Water Improvements
3.1 Upgrade ACC
3.0 Consider Fiber Broadband Utility (Subject to Feasibility)
3.0 Create Youth Advisory Council
3.0 Work with LOSD on Community Pool Options
2.9 Make Community Forums More Broadly Accessible (Child Care, Access by Transit)
2.7 Community Facility (Library Services, Rec Programming & Meeting Rooms, Police Office) in Lake Grove 

2.7 Make Progress on Willamette Shoreline Trail
2.7 Make Things Easier to Find on the City Website
2.7 Develop Visitor/Tourism Strategy
2.6 Consider Annexation Strategies
2.4 Fully Fund Position of Sustainability Coordinator/Director
2.1 Consider Options for Dealing with Nuisances - Leaf Blowers, Security Lights, Train Whistles
2.0 Consider (Future) Council Compensation
1.0 Consider Reducing Height Limit Downtown 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Save Lake Oswego - again!

How rattled are the masses?

How disrespected, ignored, disenfranchised, delegitimized, and 
marginalized are average citizens?

You heard about it with the streetcar that only a developer could love, until citizens rose up and the Council put it on hold (but not yet forgotten) in 2012.

Ten percent or more of the population were outraged about unwarranted limits on their land use because of Sensitive Lands regulations (that no City Councilor or Mayor has had to deal with).

The Wizer Megablock development pit the background and experience of the DRC against the City Council and the neighbors went to court.

Average citizens have been fighting various land use plans, changing city codes, density and urbanization, city debt and the remarkable insensitivity of City Hall for some time, with no end in sight.

What's next?  Plenty.  2016 will be another watershed year for changes to the city.  Don't expect to see new building just yet - the city is currently laying the groundwork for the development they expect (and want) to come.
One of the most recent dominoes to fall is in the Rosewood neighborhood.  Residents have taken a stand against plans for increased development in the SW Employment Area that does not protect the livability of their neighborhood.  Their new website, 
presents their case about increasing semi-truck traffic on residential roads.  Increasing development has also brought major issues of stormwater flooding their hards, basements and septic systems.

While many annexations have taken place over the years as development closes in on the few remaining large lots in the UGB, most of the Rosewood area is still part of the County.  Lakeview Blvd. is in the city, but the residential land to the south is not.  If it is difficult for other neighborhoods to get respect from the city, it is impossible for Rosewood to get attention for what must be major code and environmental violations.  Semi-trucks and sewage in the streets?  More intense development coming?  More auto traffic taking shortcuts through quiet neighborhood streets?  Parking for employees? Noise?

Hey!  Maybe the developers and politicians want to build some ised use and move in.  I know of a real estate broker in the area who will entertain offers for his land ... (he no longer lives in LO, he moved to Camas).

Visit the website - sign the petition.  "Speak out now and help us block this love fest between the city and developers.  Lake Oswego is our home and only we can protect it."

Sunday, January 17, 2016


This series from the WSJ presents a fascinating look into the future.  You may be surprised at the information - it will definitely make you think.

These are the thoughts that keep me up at night:
  • In preparation for a narrow vision of the future, will we toss our national identity - our liberties and individualism - to require people to conform to a common (communal) society?  Will we accept tyranny as necessary in a piece-by-piece erosion of our rights?  

Demographic Destiny

The year 2050 is right around the corner, 
and yet it is hard to imagine the sweeping 
changes the world will confront by then.  In 
a multimedia series, The Wall Street 
Journal helps readers envision how we will 
work, how we will age, and how we will live.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Streamlining the land development process

What is the city's "Code Streamlining" project all about?

To answer that question, you have to go back at least 15 years.  Where were you and what were you doing in 2010-2012?   Were you aware of what was going on in the city back then?  Many of us do, but many more do not.  If you weren't around back then, or if you weren't paying attention to the minitue of code development, it is important to understand that Code Streamlining was originally called: Removing Barriers to Mixed Use.  Perhaps that term was too descriptive and made the public uneasy, but the project is now called renamed Code Streamlining.  Same project, same outcome, just new name. Let's make mixed use easier for the developer to build!  ;-)

Code Streamlining is being presented as an effort to "clean up" the codes and make them "clear."  I have nothing against organization and clarification, it's what and how that I am interested in.   Code changes are often called "housekeeping amendments," so it's a constant guessing game as to which ones apply to increased density and mixed use.   Why do we want mixed use so bad anyway?  (That's another story.)   Here is what to look for:
  • Changes to land uses within zones relating to commercial development and residential infill
  • Increasing density (up-zoning) by any means - by creating new housing types and calling it something other than multi-family like "multi-dwelling development" 
  • Reduction of setbacks and landscaping, increasing lot coverage, and reducing parking - sometimes offered as bonuses for adding dense housing to a mixed use project. 
  • Reduction or elimination of buffered areas that separate commercial and residential uses
  • Increasing building dimensions to maximize volume
  • Decreasing required facade breaks that cost the developer more 
  • Separating the requirement to build sidewalks and street improvements from the development
  • Lessening the requirement for open space to just a landscape strip along the street
  • The city might build a new park, parking lot or garage, recreation facilities, public space, or even an internet service to add amenities to entice new development - especially those things that make it less expensive to build here
  • Land speculation when there is no perceived demand
  • Holding public hearings on land use issues (arcane code changes) without adequate involvement by the public beforehand
  • A new area plan or urban renewal area is being considered, consultants are hired, etc. 
  • You feel it in your gut - something is amiss, but no one is talking about it and you can't get a straight answer.  Officials can't describe the city's planning goals, and no one in the planning department will describe their end game plan.  
All of the above have, or are in the midst of being done.

In case you forgot (I blogged about this before), there is a sequence to bringing mixed use to a city.
1.  Start with a land use study for an area
2.  Start to implement the plan by changing codes, changing land uses within zones, etc. to make it easier, less expensive, faster and less risky to develop the land.
3.  Create a funding mechanism - usually an urban renewal area- to give incentives to developers (corporate welfare)

To review the purpose and plans for Code Streamlining / Removing Barriers to Mixed Use Development, read the documents on this city webpage: 


On December 13, 2012, the City hosted a public open house to provide information about draft code concepts for streamlining commercial zoning land use standards and removing barriers to mixed use development in these zones.  The materials that were presented at the open house are posted below.

Lake Oswego is referenced in a legal research library --
Pace Law School Library: Research Guides

Land Use, Planning, and Zoning Legal Research Guide:           Streamlining the Land Development Process

This research guide contains links to primary and secondary sources useful in the study of land use, planning, and zoning law. Also included are pages focused on special topics in land use law.

Other Communities:

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Get out your megaphone


I think I am one of those "loud voices" City Councilor Joe Buck referred to on Monday when the Council met with the Planning Commission to discuss their 2016 goals.  He wanted to make sure the  Planning Commission was listening to all citizens, not just the "loud voices".  I wondered if that was me - along with many others.   We put hours and hours of research and thought into our testimony, and contribute to discussions on important topics.  I hope he values what we have to offer.

Where are all the other citizens?  Where are all of the movers and shakers who come out at election time to support their candidates, and then fade away?  And the others who are home, working hard, raising kids, trying to juggle multiple demands, paying the bills...  If the City is interested in hearing from the public they can figure out a way to make it happen.  Who's fault is it if the political scene is complicated, arcane, overwhelming, intimidating, time consuming, and not very welcoming.  My neighbors and friends are not eager to get involved in the chaos unless there's an immediate problem, so they are happy that I speak for them.

Loud?  If being loud means willing to speak up, that's me - but I prefer to call it being an "engaged" citizen.  Now is your chance to be engaged.  If you have never been to a Council or Planning Commission meeting or it's been awhile, bring a friend.  If the meeting is dull or ends early, go out with your friend after, then read all about it in the paper on Thursday!  It could be fun.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Data-driven decisions smarter

The high cost of stupidity

Econ 101: Prices are controlled by supply and demand.  When supply is low and demand is high, prices go up.  When there is abundant supply but little demand, prices go down.

Everyone agrees that the cost of housing in Portland is high and going higher.  Portland is a popular place to live.  The number of people moving into the region increases the demand for housing, and at the same time, the urban growth boundary restricts supply.  It's a perfect storm of escalating unaffordability.  Most politicians and the public refuse to acknowledge that the UGB is the number one cause of high housing prices throughout the country. The UGB stops sprawl and is a good thing, right?

And now there is a housing crisis that has politicians stumped.  The quick and easy government "solutions" (rent control, inclusionary zoning, increased density, etc.) that have been tried here and in other cities have not produced reliable solutions, and most have made things worse.

For a clear-eyed look at the state of housing costs and land use policies in the Metro area, read the following report by  Gerard Mildner PhD., Academic Director of The Center for Real Estate at Portland State University.  The report was published in the Center for Real Estate Quarterly, Fall 2015, titled: "The Gentrification Plan for Metro Portland".   This is not the political propaganda Metro "experts" put out - it is a well-researched set of metrics every citizen should read and know.  Politicians especially should have a working knowledge of the facts that drive the policies and decisions they make.  The report may change beliefs about our housing affordability and what can be done, or not done, to make things better.

On the same Center for Real Estate Quarterly, see two of Gerald Mildner's other reports:  "Density at 
Any Cost", November 2014; and "Density at Any Cost, Revisited", February 2015.

"Public housing authorities would serve their clients better by issuing housing vouchers that would allow their clients to shop for existing homes and apartments closer to their preferred location."

Precisely what I have been saying!  Will public housing authorities do good for their constituency, or will they continue to do well for themselves?   

"An important conclusion from the urban economics and the housing economics literature is that high density development is more costly to build and provides fewer consumer amenities."

When planners and politicians talk about high density apartments being the solution to housing affordability, it is clear they don't understand anything at all about real-world economics.  It's as if they heard something somewhere and accepted it as fact, even though it is exactly wrong.  

Educate yourself, then vote accordingly.

Friday, January 8, 2016

City Council goals for 2016

I was not able to get to the City Council's Open House last night to tell council members what I thought they ought to be focusing on in 2016.  The Council will meet Saturday at Marylhurst to hash out their list of goals for the year.  The workshop is open to the public, but only for observation - no public comments will be allowed.

I will email my suggestions to the Council on Friday - here is my unedited list:

Suggestions for Council Goals for 2016: 

  1. Establish a clear list of core city services and prioritize into 3 tiersThe services that are absolutely essential to the functions of the city - the items we can't do without (fire, police, water, roads, etc), are Tier 1.  Tier 2 are services related to livability (parks, library, ACC, bike paths).  Tier 3 is for the nice-to-haves (alternative energy, grants to groups to improve private property).  Tie the list to the city budget.
  2. Create a budget that covers Tier 1 and Tier 2 services.  This list would not include side agendas that cost taxpayers money but are not essential, such as the purchase of more expensive alternative energy because "it's the right thing to do."   Look for ways to simplify, reduce or eliminate functions within each category and reduce the number of public employees.   Citizens are heavily burdened with city fees; seek ways to lessen this load now.
  3. Request proposals for city services that can be outsourced.  Just about every job in the city falls into this category.  Think big!  How much money can be saved? 
  4. Preserve the livability of residential neighborhoods.  Review and revise development codes so that new development is compatible with surrounding neighborhoods.  Consider applying the building size formula used for flag lots to all new residential development, and create codes for transition areas where commercial uses abuts residential property.
  5. Prioritize citizen needs and livability above the demands of developers, Metro, city beauracracy and commercial interests.
  6. Reject municipal broadband and any plan where the city competes with private entities for business.  The City is not a business.  Creating business ventures and new "utilities" is not a core service.  It is risky, it undermines the free market, it is not needed, it will increase staff and require all citizens to pay for it, etc.  (Put Urban Renewal into this category also.)  
  7. Reform the way advisory committees are chosen.  Disallow people serving in city boards and commissions to serve on SAC or CAC committees. Members of the Planning Commission, City Council have opportunities to weigh in on land use issues and policy decisions and should not have an additional voice in SACS.  Establish a process for soliciting and selecting advisory committees members.  Get input from the Commission for Citizen Involvement and citizens at large. Too often advisory committee members have been solicited by city staff, and average citizens rightly feel left out of the process.  Example: have an ongoing, rotating list of names of citizens wanting to serve on advisory committees, and let about half the committee come from the list. The City needs new/more voices to be heard.  Staff should not solicit names for the list or choose from among them.
  8. Establish a code of ethics for the City Council, members of boards and commissions, stakeholder advisory committees and staff regarding conflicts of interest and conduct in general.  There needs to be guidelines that define what kinds of behavior and interests are not acceptable and reinforce the fiduciary responsibilities of public bodies.
  9. Understand the purpose of code streamlining and most land use plans (to facilitate smart growth, increase density and mixed-use development) and establish priorities for development independent of city staff in order to better guide them.  Note: Code streamlining will change the land use within each zone which will have the same effect as changing the zones - but just not calling it a zone change.  If we don't do Euclidian Zoning anymore, what does that mean for our city? What do citizens want for their city?
  10. Require staff to provide both pros and cons of plans and projects to the Planning Commission and City Council, and to the public.  Too often we all get a slanted picture of issues that colors our opinions and choices.  Getting all of the information is crucial to making an intelligent, informed decision.  To better inform the Council about citizen wishes, conduct an annual (professional) survey on current issues. 
I Will try to winnow this list to 1 page for the Council.  "Simplify" is my resolution for 2016!  

Monday, January 4, 2016

Behind the pitch for broadband

Three Cheers for Cheap, Municipal Broadband in 
Lake Oswego!  
How does one argue with idiots?  Let me try.

New service will bring gigabit Internet speeds to every Lake Oswego household.
Did you ever think about HOW this was going to happen?  No?  After the euphoria fades, there is the practical matter of how to get all this fiber to every homes,
up hills, down hills, all around the town - covering 10.68 square miles of land area.  A contractor can't dig up and repair all of the streets to put in new wire and be cost effective.  The only option is to put the wires above ground.  This runs counter to our city codes regarding placement of new utilities.  Even if the city gets to ignore the codes, it is a bad idea.  There is a reason for under-grounding utilities, and this project would push  progress back to pre-1960s development standards.  Has anyone calculated the repair and upkeep of poles and transmission wires over time?

READ: If Power Lines Fall, Why Don't They Go Underground?  NPR. 2/1/2012

Municipal broadband will be better and significantly cheaper than existing commercial internet options.  
Commercial service would be cheaper too if some of the administrative and personnel costs were borne by the consumer.  A city-owner broadband service would require six NEW city employees.  This will cost each household $10/month whether or not they use the Internet service, and users will pay that also, just not as part of their internet utility bill.  Here is what Scott Lazenby is suggesting:  People who buy the new service would pay more than they thought, and would be subsidized by the rest of the city since there would be a need to grow his administration at city hall.  It's a shell game of a deal, and if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Lake Oswego needs a gigabit internet system, and a survey will show this.
Wants or needs?  Depending upon how survey questions are phrased, and especially if the public does not know all of the facts (risks and real expense to everyone), respondents may be answering the questions as if the question is only what they want not need, and not what they would have the city do in the real world.  Fantasy is so much easier to say yes to than reality.

What is need?  Unlike small towns in isolated regions, the Portland Metro area has multiple options of internet providers.  Some already offer gig service.  Some offer slower service at lower prices and higher prices for faster speeds, with other providers offer a variety of plans in between.  Faster?

Read:  The National Broadband Map

Lake Oswego only needs 35% of city residents to subscribe to make a new system self-sustainable.
We already know that this isn't true no matter whow many people subscribe. (Read above.)  But City Manager, Scott Lazenby, is quoted in the Lake Oswego Review as saying they might be able to get by with 30% at first.  It sounds like it is he who really wants this and will adjust his own estimates to make it work.  Plus, comparing the Lake Oswego market to Sandy's is not reasonable.  A reasonable manager would get a qualified consultant to do a market study on the feasibility of such a huge undertaking.  To date, I have not heard of such a study.  (Is there one?)  Lazenby is asking the Council to approve the project with only a shaky survey to guide them.

There is every reason to believe that LO could wind up becoming another Provo, Utah.  And Provo, is not the only city to have waded into this swamp and is now paying dearly for their foolishness.  These cities listened to the snake oil salesman, choosing fantasy over common sense.

Read: Google Paying $1 for $39 Million For Fiber Service in Utah, Huffington Post, 6/19/2013

Even when citizens have expressed no desire for it, approving municipal broadband demonstrates
According to the LO Review, this is the logic of Councilor Joe Buck.  I wonder if he would feel the same if the City Manager came to the Council with a plan to build a municipal restaurant where great meals could be had for a very low, sustainable price?  A restranteur  would provide the service  (at a profit to him), and the city would lease it - residents would pay only half the retail.  Competing with private, for-profit businesses is not the role of the city and is not a core service.  As other cities have learned, it may not even be doable.

It is not very cool to pile on costs to live in a city where people can't afford to live now.  Contrary to some peoples' beliefs,  (some in City Hall)  everyone is LO is not rich nor can they afford everything City Hall or the Council dreams up. The utility costs we have now are crushing.  Even if they could, it is not the City's right to spend our hard-earned money for us on discretionary stuff the city doesn't need.  Approving non-essential projects that aren't needed isn't leadership - it is self-indulgent folly.

Read: Survey to gauge public'sinterest in city-owned fiber network, Lake Oswego Review, 12/31/2015

A municipal broadband service will interfere with the free market, but public ownership of goods and services is best for the common good.
Actually, this is not something anyone (except Jeff Gudman) is talking about, but this is the philosophy The City Manager and City Council are buying into with discussion of a city-owned internet service. Capitalism,  competition, responds to the demands of the consumer.  After a contract is signed, what does the end consumer have to say?

This isn't capitalism.  Let's call it Command Economics.  What happens when "profit" estimates aren't what they should be?  If customers decide the municipal option isn't what they want, they will still  have to pay for the failed system.  Remember when Mayor Studabaker tried to get the city out of the LOT Water Partnership contract?  A breach of contract suit would have buried the city in more debt.  Once an agreement is signed for a broadband service, there is no way out that doesn't cost a fortune.  This is not a risk the City Council should take for something that is not necessary.  Has anyone learned from past mistakes?


Tuesday, January 26, the City Council will study the issue of a publicly-owned fiber network.  Will they get all the facts they need to make an educated decision?  Don't wait.  Let the City Council know what you think NOW! 

The Review said everyone on the council except Jeff Gudman wanted to go forward with the survey and a possible city broadband service.  Six others need persuading that the reason no one is clambering for new services, and are not engaged with the City Concil because we assume things will go along the same as they are unless there is a crisis or need for a change?.mmonly a handful follow city politics to discern what is going on before the $#*++  hits the fan.   Most citizens do not want much from the city - just for essential municipal services to work.

"Restraint in the face of temptation is a virtue."
-- Up Sucker Creek