Disaster Movie Cost Fun, Too Lit Up Maybe, and Other Miscellany

stateturnssymbolPoltergeist V or Jaws VII or Cover Oregon
Just when you thought it was safe to read “As the State Turns”… I have more to say about Cover Oregon. Though the corporation that runs the failed hack job of a health care exchange is being dissolved in a vat of acid as we speak, it’ll be leaving a snail trail of debt behind it—to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. And just to pour salt in the wound, millions of that are tied to legal costs and other random nonsense.

If you recall, $300 million alone was borrowed from the feds to fire the damn thing up, not to mention another $26 million in state money. And we can’t forget that $3 million of that went to those awful hipster commercials, as well as the billboards (but I won’t pick on those because I liked them… media bias at work!).

So where did other chunks of the money go?
• $240 million went to Oracle, the company that developed the exchange website.
• $9.1 million was spent hiring a ton of people to process paper applications by hand when the exchange wasn’t working.
• $1 million was paid to First Data’s useless assessment of the system and Clyde Hamstreet’s Super Ultra Turnaround Team that, coincidentally, was also useless.
• $1.9 million paid attorneys to threaten Oracle’s attorneys.
• $6.6 million was spent on an assessment of the broken exchange and suggestions about how to get the horizontal mambo with the federal exchange going.
• $23 million went to some other failed stuff that’s too depressing to talk about.

And let’s not forget, that’s the snail, not the trail. What’s to come has a lot of unknowns attached to it, but will undoubtedly total in the tens of millions. If the state goes for the jugular in court against Oracle, the financial burdens might go poof in an explosion of smoke and the $5.5 billion they’re asking for… but I’m not planning on holding my breath.

Weed vs. Electricity: The Battle of Ashland
Indoor pot operations threaten to jack electricity prices up in Ashland, which has some residents feeling a little… stoned. Okay, that didn’t work. I just really wanted to use a pun.

Oregon’s favorite little “I’ve heard of it but I’ve never been” attraction, Ashland is on a system where the city purchases power from the Bonneville Power Administration. With extremely power-hungry grow houses poised to crop up as soon as pot legalization is given the full green light, citizens and officials are afraid that the increased consumption will bump them up from a Tier 1 consumer to a Tier 2 consumer with the power administration, which would come action-packed with rate hikes.

City administrator Dave Kanner has informed the city that he will be presenting them with proposals to help meet the issue head on, but no direct plan has been detailed as of yet. One possible solution, even if it is just partial, likely lies within standards for lighting, heating, ventilation, and the like, forcing growers to use power-saving equipment.

When asked for comment, one anonymous grower merely said, “Gnarly.” Good lord, I am not funny today at all.

Tidbits, Anyone?
The snow depth at Crater Lake has hit a record low, despite being at 104% of its normal precipitation. The reason? It has been warmer out. Please, please, take a moment to step back and calm your nerves. I know this was shocking.

Multnomah County reports a total of 240 cases of syphilis in 2013, which is several times more than was reported just a few years earlier. In fact, the disease was almost completely wiped out on a national scale before 2000. Now that it’s making a big comeback, we can only imagine that it has something to do with the millennials’ obsession with everything “retro.”

Portland city leaders are about to get a face full of “Ban the Box,” a movement that has been campaigning to remove the “Have you been convicted of a felony?” question from all job applications in the city. Considering our country’s entire penal philosophy is that of rehabilitation, it might be nice for those who have served their time to actually stand a chance at finding a job. There is, of course, bickering about minutiae on both sides (okay, only the opposition’s side), but c’est la vie. I’ve personally seen a few people get completely boned by the system and suffer for it for many years after their release, so I can only imagine how often this goes on across the country. Hell, I’ve had huge difficulty finding part-time work and I’m squeaky clean. And charming as hell.

Bill Currier was selected to be the new chairman of the Oregon Republican Party. And that’s literally the extent of how much anyone cares about that.

By Johnny Beaver