- West Linn Tidings - Opinion
To the Editor:
I have had the opportunity to know Mayor Norm King since 2001. Mayor King has consistently shown support for local businesses; while at the same time supporting improvements and expansions of West Linn parks and opposing development of the Stafford Triangle. I served with Mayor King on the Oregon Solutions team that brought more than $400,000 in transportation enhancement funds to keep the Willamette Falls Locks operational for two years. King is actively seeking additional sources of revenue for planning and enhancement of the I-205 and Highway 34 corridors. Mayor King's commitment to preserving West Linn's heritage has been matched by his actions. King is responsible for gaining the status of Certified Local Government from the National Park Service which allows cultural groups such as the Lower Columbia Floods Chapter of the Ice Age Floods Institute and the Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation to apply and receive matching grants. In addition to initiating the work on the historic master plan, Mayor King has been an active partner with regional cultural heritage tourism interests working on developing a master plan for the West Linn - Oregon City historic corridor.
Norm King is the sensible choice for Mayor. To continue the positive momentum that began in 2004 and move past the dividing rhetoric that has plagued West Linn in the past, your choice on the November 7th ballot should be to re-elect Mayor King.
Peterson is a problem solver
To the Editor:
I am writing this letter in support of Lynn Peterson for Clackamas County Commissioner. This is a position that I held for eight years. It has been sorely neglected by the current incumbent, and Lynn has the background and the competence to provide the leadership that this position requires.
Lynn is a civil engineer by education. She is a remarkable problem solver, strategic thinker and knows how to work with people to accomplish goals.
She has served on the Lake Oswego City Council with me for the past four years and has done a remarkable job.
I urge a vote for Lynn Peterson. She can take her style of leadership and communication to Clackamas County for the benefit of us all.
Mayor of City of Lake Oswego
Tripp says no to interview
To The Editor:
I recently received the call I'd been expecting from the Tidings, asking to set an appointment for an 'Endorsement Interview.' I know that drill well: where I spend hours of my time driving to the Tidings offices and sitting through an interview with their editorial staff that results in an endorsement decision for my opponent in whatever race I happen to be in.
I've gone through this process twice before when I ran for city councilor, and was elected each time. The Tidings endorsed whoever was running against me. I'd made the decision this time as a mayoral candidate that I wasn't going to indulge in a process where I believed an endorsement decision had already been made before the 'interview.'
My positions as a mayoral candidate for the City of West Linn are essentially the same as when I ran for councilor. These core positions being: Keep Stafford triangle out of the urban growth boundary; Shelve the current council's mass annexation policy; Hire a CPA auditor reporting directly to the council and city manager. No more Wilderness Park fiascoes!
Find a sponsor to introduce legislation requiring new development to pay for new schools, public safety and library needs.
I realize the Tidings depends upon advertising for the majority of their revenue, and longs for the day when Stafford becomes a frenzied mass of high density residential and commercial development, fueling their coffers with vast sums of additional advertising revenues. Why would I think they would endorse my candidacy? Why would I care?
While I give no credence to an endorsement by the Tidings, I wouldn't want it.
Sommer wants nothing to do with Tidings
To the Editor:
I have respectfully declined the invitation of the West Linn Tidings to do an endorsement interview for the West Linn City Council election. I have done so because the interview process with the Tidings is essentially a fait accompli.
I have not made this decision lightly because I recognize the importance of communication with the voters. However, the Tidings editorial staff will go through the motions of interviewing the candidates, and then endorse the pro-developer cartel. In this case, that is Councilors Mike Gates and Scott Burgess. I don't have the time to spend on something that is nothing more than a meaningless exercise in the first place. I'm sorry, I'm not interested in exchanging feel-good platitudes about 'civility.' Even if it were offered to me, I would still decline the endorsement of the Tidings.
I am also running on the record of the council, but I'm running in the opposite direction...as fast as I can. I am one of three candidates for city council (including Ken Pryor and Julie O'Connell), who is committed to protecting the Stafford Triangle, and our quality of life. I also propose a resolution to require a vote on any proposal to diminish our equity in the South Fork Water Board. Be sure to ask each of the candidates where they stand on those issues, but don't expect specifics unless you're speaking to myself, Ken Pryor or Julie O'Connell.
Those who wish to learn more about my campaign may do so by visiting my Web site at www.curtsommer.org or by contacting me.
Lastly, I encourage everyone to vote. Democracy is not a spectator sport.
Candidate for West Linn
Editor's Note: Sommer incorrectly predicted the Tidings endorsement. Please see the editorial board's endorsement decision on page A7.
Backa is smart, experienced
To the Editor:
I believe it is a time for change in Oregon. We need legislators who will address the issues facing our state head-on: education, health care, our environment and tax reform. For those wanting to address these important issues before our state entirely loses the infrastructure it needs to be robust, vibrant and a player in the 21st Century, I encourage you to vote for Bev Backa, democrat for State Representative here in District 37.
The Oregon House Republicans have had their chance as the majority, and instead of tackling these difficult problems, they chose to spend their time and energy blocking bipartisan legislation. The result is that Oregonians are no better off today than we were two years ago. We cannot afford to continue to lose time if we want to maintain a viable, attractive, healthy state and economy.
What impresses me about Bev is her lack of posturing, and giving out easy answers that sound appealing to voters but are without substance.
Bev is an authentic, smart individual, and she knows how to build consensus. She has a history of building programs from the ground up. She listens and she cares about the people in our community and state as demonstrated by her volunteer and work history. I think we are lucky a person of her caliber is running for State Representative; let's give her a chance. Vote for Bev Backa.
Mayor, council represent West Linn well
To the Editor:
For fanaticism to prevail it takes the moderate/balanced to do nothing.
Mayor King and the incumbent council majority came forward two years ago to save the city from what to us seemed the radical approach of the prior governing body.
Fortunately, the good have come forward again to offer residents the opportunity to be served in a reasoned, balanced approach, safe from draconian actions.
The general city populace in vote after vote has overwhelmingly supported the common sense issues placed on the ballot by this city council.
Some would have removed the pipe in Wilderness Park and torn up a major transportation route at great inconvenience and cost to city residents. It has been claimed that a larger voter turn out would have supported this unnecessary destruction.
Just the opposite - more awareness by the silent majority would have even more supported the common sense and balanced approach of the current mayor and council.
Most residents we talked to are not even aware of the 'pipe' issue and were astounded at the destruction the opposition proposed.
This council represents that balanced common sense approach of the majority of the every day residents who are not more involved because they have families and jobs that absorb their energy and time.
We urge vigilance in electing representatives that do not take extreme intolerant positions undermining livability.
Vote for even treatment under city law
To the Editor:
The residents are very fortunate that the present mayor and city council have chosen to re-up in spite of an opposing, intimidating vendetta.
As a body they have looked to the right thing in face of hostile personal attacks week in and week out.
This council is neither anti-development nor pro-development, but it has sought to do the right thing in applying state, Metro and city law.
Claims that the council is pro-development are unfounded. Residents need to be concerned that such claims are not a smoke screen for confiscating property by using zoning to prohibit reasonable economic use. City governance needs to be based on the rule of law rather than affecting 'not in my back yard' illegal moratoriums forcing the wrongfully affected to seek redress of their constitutional legal rights in the courts and the Land Use Board of Appeals.
Equity, even treatment under the law is urged. Remember 'that those who do it for you, will do it to you.'
Bruun keeps promises
To the Editor:
I've never written a letter in support of a politician before, but am doing so today in support of Scott Bruun.
Two years ago he came to my door and told me what he planned to do. His ideas were great, and his promises bold, but the most impressive thing is that he kept his promises and made a difference for our district!
Representative Scott Bruun worked successfully on economic development, transportation, education, and Jessica's Law. We must send him back to do more for us!
Carson asks to be re-elected
To the Editor:
I feel fortunate to live in West Linn, where we're blessed with a wonderful environment and a fascinating history. And it's great to see the volunteer spirit and concern for our community that's prompted 10 people to run for City Council. In some of our neighboring cities, the number of candidates barely equals the number of open positions.
With this abundance of choice comes responsibility. I know all the candidates care deeply about West Linn's future, and share many areas of agreement. However, that doesn't mean it won't matter who is elected to the Council.
Each person running has his or her own experience, vision, and priorities. I urge you to take the time to study the voters' pamphlet, the Tidings interviews, and each candidate's Web site and written materials to understand how we all compare.
West Linn faces a number of complex challenges - from putting our fiscal house in order to solving transportation problems to dealing with pressures for growth, both inside and outside our city limits.
We need Council members who are well rounded with varied experiences. We need them to be willing and able to collaborate - with each other and with other cities and agencies. And we need them to be good listeners - to understand the needs and values of each neighborhood.
I believe my 15 years of experience serving West Linn, as well as my 30 years as a healthcare administrator, have prepared me to address our city's challenges. I believe my vision for the future, based on a celebration of our heritage and environment and informed by a focus on neighborhoods and listening to all our citizens, will best support our quality of life.
And I feel that my record of working collaboratively and proactively to address problems early, rather than moving from crisis to crisis, is what our city needs at this time.
I invite you to visit my Web site at, where I talk in detail about my experience and my vision. And I hope you'll decide to support me by voting to return me to the City Council.
Bruun follows through on
To the Editor:
Scott Bruun made a commitment to District 37 on transportation funding. The only good thing to come out of last session was a bi-partisan effort to improve our transportation infrastructure called 'Connect Oregon.' Our own Representative Bruun was one of the key sponsors and that's why we should vote for him again. He kept his word, and now with some experience under his belt, he can get more done.
Backa stands for right to choose
To the Editor:
Voting for pro-choice candidates is more important than ever. We live in a time when rights like habeas corpus and our right to privacy are under attack. A woman's right to reproductive choice is under similar attack and we must remain vigilant.
Ron Saxton has gone on record that he will sign any anti-choice bill that the legislature will send to him. This is an open invitation to anti-choice activists and representatives to begin drafting bills that will infringe on a woman's right to choose. Whether Saxton is able to make good on this threat or not - it is a call to action - on both sides of the issue.
Our current representative here in District 37, Scott Bruun, has gone on record as being 'humbly anti-abortion' - The Oregonian, August 10, 2006. Unlike Ron Saxton, he has been consistent in this assertion. Our other candidate, Bev Backa, has been equally consistent in her support for a woman's right to choose.
Bev has been a supporter of Planned Parenthood for more than 25 years. As a trained marriage and family therapist, Backa has counseled hundreds of young men and women on issues regarding sexuality and reproductive choice and health. Pro-choice groups like the Women's Investment Network, a group that actively works to help elect pro-choice women to the Oregon State House of Representatives supports Bev. Bev Backa is standing up for our right to choose even when other candidates may not be talking about it.
With a Supreme Court that has been stacked with Bush anti-choice members, it is more important than ever to protect Roe v. Wade at the state level - we cannot count on it at the federal level. We need to use our collective voice and send a message to our candidates and our legislature. Choice is an important issue and women and men of conscience will continue to elect representatives who support it. That is why I am supporting Bev Backa in this election for State Representative, District 37.
Y. Sherry Sheng
King does his homework
To the Editor:
I had the pleasure of serving with Norm King on the West Linn Planning Commission before he was elected to the Council four years ago. While we did not agree on every issue, he always came prepared to discuss the critical issues by diligently doing his homework (and believe me, the paperwork to review can be mind numbing).
Norm never failed to be courteous to citizens, fellow commissioners, and staff alike in his interactions with us. I have seen that as Mayor, he displays the same qualities.
He is effective as the leader of a council of strong-minded and capable individuals. In spite of often long hours of hearings, meetings, conferences with other government officials and public events - having at times to endure vitriolic and unfounded assertions from some who have not learned how to be civil or factual when disagreeing with a policy or proposed action under discussion - he keeps an even-handed, open-minded, calm and courteous demeanor on the wheels of city government.
He is committed to supporting what the city charter calls for in a city manager form of government and seeing to the cleaning up of the mess caused by the failures of the previous administration to both honor the charter form of government and good municipal practices (like having audits regularly performed).
We should thank Norm for his tireless and often thankless work on our behalf and, since he is willing to serve more, elect him as our mayor for another two-year term!
What's the rub, Mr. Tripp?
To The Editor:
Mayoral challenger David Tripp spent a good deal of time during the recent election forum, facilitated by the West Linn Chamber of Commerce, pointedly criticizing Mayor King and the current council for their aggressive 'mass annexation policy.' To make his point, Tripp told of a homeowner who reported he had never thought about annexation until someone from the city knocked on his door. Tripp felt things like this should never happen and that each annexation proposal should be carefully studied to reveal the true impact on our city and taxpayers.
So, let's do that.
We have a residential lot, complete with house and inhabitants, located in the county but completely surrounded by the city of West Linn. I think it would be safe to presume the residents of this house drive on city streets every day, perhaps had their children practicing soccer or baseball in our parks and maybe even made a trip or two to our wonderful library. All of this without paying one dime to the city, thus contributing nothing to the maintenance and upkeep of those facilities.
Seems to me what's happened here is someone from the city simply asked these nice folks to start paying for what they had already been using every day. A surprising number agreed and asked to be annexed into our city. In most cases not one bit of extra burden was added to city services, except perhaps for police protection which transferred from the County. However, again in most cases our police were already patrolling their streets. If one of these owners does hook up to city water or sewer, they will end up paying the same system development fees as new construction does.
West Linn is a voter-approved annexation city. When these annexations were placed before the voters last May, each passed by a more than two-to-one margin.
So, what's the rub Mr. Tripp? Is it that the city doesn't need the tax money or what? Is it that we just don't want those people to be a part of our community? If you and your like-minded colleagues are elected, will you return to the old way and block any annexation requests at the city council level and deny island property owners the opportunity to become part of West Linn?
And by the way, how much unincorporated land is there left inside the city boundaries? I've been told that it is less than 2 percent of the total acreage. Therefore, I would have to say that this issue is really no issue at all.
Grant W. Oakes
To the Editor:
I ask West Linn voters to choose David Tripp for Mayor and Julie O'Connell, Ken Pryor, and Curt Sommer for city council. These candidates have impressed me with their willingness to listen to the people of West Linn. They will work hard to solve the problems currently facing our city.
Our present council has spent the past two years promoting a development-focused agenda. One of their first acts was to remove the city manager and hire a new manager (Garzini) whose primary task was to smooth the way for development. This he did, and we are only now starting to see the negative effects of this policy on our taxes and traffic. This rush to development caused the council to make serious missteps such as violating our city charter by placing a water pipe in Wilderness Park without first receiving the required vote of West Linn residents. The purpose of this pipe? To provide water to a new Renaissance Homes development.
While this development frenzy was taking place, our council was not focused on the real problems. Problems such as the failure to complete city audits, a $1.4 million embezzlement, the eviction of more than 90 senior citizens and WWII veterans from their homes, the loss of the city's high credit rating, and replacing the four department heads who have left during their tenure. Most recently, they tried to spend $191,000 on a new development-friendly water master plan, which included planning for water infrastructure outside the Urban Growth Boundary. They also attempted to take away citizens' 'de novo' right to introduce new evidence at appeal hearings on new developments.
Tripp, O'Connell, Pryor and Sommer (TOPS) will work to get our financial house in order. This will allow the city to regain its former credit rating and issue bonds at lower interest rates. We need a city council that has the best interests of West Linn's current residents at heart and not those of the development community. Please vote for the 'Common Sense' candidates: Tripp, O'Connell, Pryor and Sommer.
State needs Saxton's
To the Editor:
Yesterday, in a speech in Portland, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani described the expectations for an effective governor or mayor: Deliver positive leadership for the future, curb spending by overzealous legislators and agency heads, and seek efficiencies in current services. A big job, from which Kulongoski is missing-in- action. Regardless of party affiliation, it is not hard to see that Oregon needs significant change. We rank 38th in public education (behind Arkansas) and near the bottom in public safety spending. Awareness is the first step of recovery. Now, it's time to act.
Vote for positive change and leadership in November. Vote for Ron Saxton.
Vote against Measure 40
To the Editor:
I had the privilege of serving for almost 19 years on Oregon's Court of Appeals. For the last seven years that I served, I was the Chief Judge of the court. Oregon has an outstanding court system that is admired throughout the country for its fairness and efficiency. Approval of Measure 40 would seriously harm our court system. I strongly urge you to vote against this measure.
Constitutional Amendment 40 changes how we elect our judges. At first glance, the measure seems like a good idea (especially for those outside of Portland) but dig a little deeper and you will realize that the citizens of Oregon will not benefit if we pass this measure.
Our court system works and shouldn't be tampered with by out-of-state special interest money. Constitutional Amendment 40 doesn't affect the election of our local trial judges. It only impacts the judges on the statewide Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. For nearly a century, Oregonians elected these appellate judges in non-partisan, statewide elections. The job of these appellate judges is to carry out the laws of Oregon in a neutral and consistent way. Regional politics and special interest influence should play no part in the decisions of our appellate judges.
Today, we select our judges based on their qualifications, not their address. We expect our judges to be the most qualified and fair people we can find, not just someone who lives in a specific area. Constitutional Amendment 40 changes all of that.
With regional districts, the election of judges becomes more political not less. It's much easier for a special interest group or two to fund a campaign against a judge that rules against them, especially if they don't have to run a statewide campaign.
Our initiative system is an important part of Oregon's political system. Nonetheless, Oregonians should not be asked the same thing over and over again. Four years ago, we said no to these same special interests that want to politicize our judicial elections. We should tell them no again.
Oregonians will lose out when we stop looking at the merits of a judicial candidate, and start paying attention only to where they happen to live.
Join me in voting no on Constitutional Amendment 40.
Mary J. Deits
To the Editor:
Let us first say what a wonderful community West Linn is, having lived here for more than 10 years. It is a beautiful setting with a great mix of people who have a great deal of pride for where they live.
Over the years we have made many great friends and acquaintances who share similar views about West Linn. But there are a few things that we often talk about when we get together:
Our desire to see more local service-oriented businesses (particularly restaurants) where we can spend our dollars locally, enjoying the community and not traveling to downtown Portland or Lake Oswego or other communities.
Athletic Fields for the kids of this great community. Ken Worcester and the West Linn Parks and Recreation Board have made great strides to help build new facilities for our kids but we are still lacking compared to other communities that we visit and compete against.
And finally, places to go and 'hang out' for the older kids. How many times have you seen kids 'hanging out' at Safeway because they can't yet drive and heard the comments from bored teenagers that there 'isn't anything to do around here'?
West Linn is a growing community (we get many new kids coming into the West Linn Baseball Association each year). There have been some very positive changes under our current administration and we believe there can be many more. No, we don't think this should be the next Beaverton or Lake Oswego with traffic congestion and more cement and pavement than grass, but we can certainly strike a balance that would allow us to enjoy more of this great city!
That is why we are backing Mike Hughes for city council. He has told us that he will listen to citizens, find out what they want, and then help to implement the ideas that work for all. There are many positives with our new Fields Bridge Park, the new West Linn Central Village on Willamette Drive (43) and even a new upscale Restaurant in Historic Willamette.
Mike Hughes is a business owner, has experience dealing with government and has served on the West Linn Baseball Association Board. We like his experience and his 'roll up the sleeves attitude' and we believe he will continue to make West Linn a place 'we can all be proud of'.
Rich and Kim Williams