But Can We Buy A City Hall For $1?

The city sold the former EWEB steam plant for $1. That’s folksy! My grandfather sold my mother his Ford Galaxy 500 for $1. “A way to avoid taxes,” he said. “Wow!” I thought. I was 10. I also remember feeling uncomfortable. The Galaxy 500 was gold, and any fool could tell it was worth more than a dollar.

And I’d learned taxes were used to provide services to everyone. Weren’t my grandfather and mother stealing money from people? My mother was ethical, and I had a tough time understanding their collusion to defraud the government for a couple of bucks.

The steamplant sold for $1 to Mark Miksis and Mark Frohnmayer. I thought, “Wow!”

I also thought, “Hmmm.”

My grandfather didn’t sell his Ford Galaxy to just anyone for a dollar. But there is a difference between my grandfather and mother’s conspiracy to defraud and the selling of the steam plant. Both involve stealing from the public. But my grandfather owned the Galaxy. He took the major loss.

Did the city own the steam plant? All of Eugene owned the steam plant. It was our asset. When individuals defraud the government, the government holds them accountable, theoretically. When the government defrauds the people, what agency holds them accountable? If a middleman sold my grandfather’s car to his pals for a buck, my grandfather would have “learned him good.” When the city defrauds the public, how is it held accountable? How does it learn?

After the IRS audited my grandfather, he never defrauded the public again.

Otis Haschemeyer


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