Keep council, minus one
West Linn Mayor: Pick King
Our choice for mayor of West Linn is Norm King.
King strikes us as fair, patient and realistic about the challenges facing the city. And we like what we've seen so far in his first term as mayor.
Since King was elected to the position in 2005, a new, competent city manager was hired - one who is helping set the city's house in order. Financial audits three years overdue were finally begun, and the theft of about $1.4 million by a former city employee was discovered. As a result, the structure of the city's budget was overhauled and a move is being made toward simplicity in the budget and controls over the city's finances.
While the financial challenges facing the city were immense, King still oversaw a city council productive in other areas.
Open pre-application meetings are now the norm at city hall for citizens seeking to learn about projects that may come before the planning commission; important information about the city is more transparent and accessible on the city's Web site; and two neighborhood plans have been approved.
We also applaud the approach King and his council took in annexing a small percentage of land within the city's boundaries that, until recently, remained unincorporated. The move increased the city's tax base, removed inefficiencies in the provision of services, and was done with the consent of the landowners and the majority of voters in the city.
As for King's opponent, David Tripp - he didn't give us much of an opportunity to evaluate his candidacy. We had questions for him, but he refused to meet with us. That alone we find discouraging.
City officials, now more than ever, need to make communication with the public a priority.
West Linn City Council: Choose Carson, Gates, Eberle and Hughes
We believe Jody Carson, Mike Gates, and Michele Eberle should be re-elected to the West Linn City Council.
And we'd like to see Mike Hughes, a fresh face, take the fourth seat on the council.
Like King, Carson, Gates and Eberle have met the city's challenges rationally and realistically with an emphasis on what is best for city residents overall.
All three are deeply knowledgeable about government processes, and they each balance that knowledge with a healthy dose of common sense. They are articulate in their positions and ideas for the city, and each would bring a positive, collaborative tone to city politics.
Hughes, we believe, would be a smart and productive addition to the trio. In addition, we like the fact that he has hands-on experience regaining citizens' trust in government.
As a member of the board of directors of the Spokane (Wash.) School District in the 1980s, he successfully helped repair damage after a divisive teacher's strike. As a result, he has concrete and creative ideas for how West Linn officials should work with and communicate with its citizens.