Soon election season ends; the drumbeat of political ads, coffees, talk show host rants and raves, and lawn signs are finished. We will be left with the consequences of our vote. Your vote counts. In a small town like Lake Oswego, many of you have had an opportunity to meet and hear from your five candidates for city council. All bring something to the table.
Lake Oswego is at a crossroads. Think about us as you would a young growing family. We want a new house, new car or two and wardrobe. It would be great to have a swimming pool (covered, of course), spa, and how about that tennis court? And then there's all the new furniture. Don't forget the family vacation in Hawaii. Problem is, we can't afford it all. Oh well, charge it. Have you noticed how hard it is to pay off high-balance credit cards?
The city of Lake Oswego has hundreds of millions of dollars in projected expenditures planned. If spent, you and I will pay for it for through our property tax bills, or debt, which we will have to pay later, with interest. It's a huge number.
We elect city councilors as our representatives, to listen to our views, and in the end make decisions that are in the best interests of the community at large. On the part of elected officials, this requires experience, wisdom, debate when necessary and consensus when required. It also requires principles. Doing what's right, not what is politically expedient or politically correct. Not simple or easy. There are countless competing interests and needs in our community. This is made crystal clear to anyone running for public office.
As a management consultant for 30 years, I have worked with teams of managers and business owners weaving our way through complex problems. We have had great successes, and some failures. Through it all, I have learned much.
The role of city councilor is no different. Except when it comes to money. The public sector enjoys a never-ending stream of our money. Elected officials are the taxpayer's only real tool of restraint. It is difficult to spend responsibly when there is little consequence for your spending habits. In business, we call it OPM: Other People's Money. Trust me, it's much easier to spend. And a lot more fun, too.
The community center is a hot topic that is on everyone's mind. There are many of you who support and many are opposed to the community center. Your vote on the upcoming ballot measure will determine if the project will go ahead. If the measure passes, I suggest a public/private partnership to fund it. Consider:
n Microsoft or Intel computer center
n Nike Exercise Room
n Providence Rehabilitation Center
n PGE Conference Center
This is an example of how I would approach problems and issues as your city councilor. It is one thing to talk about vision, creative problem solving and thinking outside the box. Results are what count.
As an outsider to the political structure in Lake Oswego, I bring an independent point of view to city council and government. As a seasoned management consultant, I bring a problem-solving skill set to the council, and issues facing our community in the coming years. These are unique qualities in the political arena. In this regard, my candidacy is separate from the other candidates. I would appreciate your vote. Thank you for taking the time to read this Citizen's View.
Douglas Reiter is a Lake Oswego resident who is running for an open spot on the Lake Oswego City Council.