At a recent city council meeting, a group of artists asked the Troutdale city council to donate $160,000 for some sort of monument to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the construction of the Columbia River Highway.
WOW. That’s my first reaction.
Maybe I want some of that government largess for myself! Let’s say I didn’t want $160,000 from the city for a statue. Let’s say I wanted the city to pay for my food, clothing, housing. Governments do pay for people’s food, clothing, housing.
IT’’S CALLED PUBLIC ASSISTANCE, OR WELFARE.
If the city pays $160,000 to some artists for a monument to the Columbia River Highway, that would be by definition public assistance for art. In other words, it would be WELFARE FOR ARTISTS.
WHO would this art benefit? The artists? Yes. 15,000 Troutdale citizens? NO.
Let me ask you, my fellow Troutdalians, a question: If the city spends $160,000 for a public art "statue" today, how willing will you be to pass a bond levy in the future for a new city hall?
Let’s face it, to build a new city hall, the city will need to ask Troutdale taxpayers for the money in the form of a bond measure. That’s a tall order.
As much as absolutely possible, I want them to stay out of my wallet. I’m glad to pay a reasonable amount of taxes for police, fire and EMS. I’m happy to pay a reasonable amount of taxes for water service, sewer service, and roads.
By my way of thinking, any public official who spends public money for such baubles such as $160,000 columbia river highway memorials should be shown the door at the next election.
The city should take the responsible step of setting aside $30-40,000 from their general fund every year and save up a down payment toward a new city hall. This would go a long way toward showing good faith to Troutdale voters that they're making a new city hall a higher priority than another unnecessary bauble.