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Peterson will be a great local commissioner

Sandy Post endorsement

Business as usual or a change for the better?

That's the question Clackamas County voters are faced with in the three-way race for Clackamas County Commissioner, pitting incumbent Republican Larry Sowa against current Lake Oswego City Councilor Lynn Peterson, a Democrat, and former West Linn Mayor David Dodds, an Independent.

Let's make one thing clear before saying anything else: A vote for Dodds would be a horrible, horrible mistake. To understand why, simply look at the damaged legacy he left behind in West Linn, his inability to work with citizens and the media and his brisk, micro-management style. There are two legitimate candidates in this race and Dodds is not one of them.

Incumbent Sowa switched party alliance in September 2005, just as Peterson was announcing her intent to enter the race. Was it to avoid a confrontation in the primary? Perhaps.

Regardless, in this race between Sowa and Peterson, the decision comes down to who will get the most done? Who has the greatest vision? Who will work best with fellow commissioners, county staff members and residents? In our view, the answers are Peterson, Peterson and Peterson.

During the candidates' forum at the Boring-Damascus Grange last month, the would-be commissioners had their different leadership styles on display. Sowa praised the county's status quo, saying that the majority of county residents approve of the commission's job. He also said that the county is 'No. 1' in supplying new jobs to citizens, and is a pioneer county in that it was the first to develop a hazard mitigation program and the hamlet/village ordinance.

Sowa didn't touch on many of the issues that are dear to the residents of the county, including the public safety crisis - Clackamas County is 'No. 1' for releasing inmates early - and the underfunded, struggling library system.

Instead, he assures that all is well in Clackamas County and, just wait, it's going to get better.

Sowa has been a dedicated public servant for years and has undoubtedly contributed to the good of his home district and Clackamas County.

But it's time for some impassioned, active leadership. Peterson wants to see changes in our library, public safety, transportation and other general livability issues.

We have not been all that impressed with the current state of county government. The price tag on Damascus is escalating rapidly, transportation needs are overwhelming, the population is booming and county services are scattered and hard to track down.

Peterson has attainable visions for the county and understands the need to make it more of a regional player. Clackamas County needs new leadership and more governance if it's going to prepare for the growth, transportation and other challenges it faces.

Peterson has shown that she is interested and engaged in the Sandy area by attending various meetings, forums and community events. Clackamas County is a big county. She could have spent her time anywhere else in the county's 1,800 square miles, but on an almost weekly basis we see Peterson somewhere in the Sandy area. Sowa hasn't showed quite the same interest.

And what's more, Peterson's able to carry on a conversation about the issues our area faces because she's paying attention. Although she's from Lake Oswego, we feel comfortable saying that she will represent our interests better than her challenger. Even Sandy's mayor, Linda Malone, thinks so.

The choice this Nov. 7 is between a reactive leader and a proactive leader. We're confident that it's time for a change in county government. In the Nov. 7 election, vote Lynn Peterson to make that change happen.