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Letters

Kristin Johnson is an

impressive candidate

To the Editor:

Re: Kristin Johnson:

I have lived in Lake Oswego since 1959, participated in city commissions and served two terms on the Lake Oswego School District Board of Directors. I believe it is refreshing to have a young person anxious to participate in public service.

Willingness to serve is not enough, however. Kristin Johnson has the maturity, education and city knowledge to be a valuable and long term asset to our city. Kristin's age should not be a negative consideration. Just as voters should not disqualify an otherwise qualified older candidate based on age, voters should not vote based on Kristin's youth. In fact, our city government should embrace all points of view and Kristin's perspective will be fresh, contemporary and not tainted by inappropriate biases.

I have talked with Kristin about her qualifications and views. She is impressive and has strong and intelligently formed opinions. I urge voters to vote for Kristin Johnson.

Jonathan T. Harnish

Lake Oswego

Lake Oswego fire department, police crews do a great job

To the Editor:

Thanks to the Lake Oswego Fire Department.

At 3:35 a.m. Sunday morning, Oct. 22, I awakened sensing something was terribly wrong. I quickly noticed flashing lights from outside and looking out a bedroom window discovered that my immediate neighbor's house was on fire and that there were fire trucks and personnel already in action.

The sundeck and the back of the house immediately above it were blazing. The fire was immediately below one of three huge fir trees. With the strong east winds that night, if one of those trees had caught fire, red hot embers would have been scattered over numerous homes, goodness knows how far.

There were five trucks , the chief's car and several police cars. As I watched the situation for two hours, I was very impressed with the team actions and the efficiency of the men and also their courteous consideration of the owners, who could only standby and watch and pray.

We in Lake Oswego need to thank our fire department for their tremendous support. To this I add our police department as well. I feel our well being here in Lake Oswego is in good hands.

Donald R. Burns

Lake Oswego

Join judges in voting against Measure 40

To the Editor:

We, the undersigned judges of the Clackamas County Circuit Court, urge the members of our community to vote no on Ballot Measure 40. This measure is an ill-advised effort, driven by out-of-state special interest groups, to change Oregon's Constitution and to politicize the administration of justice in Oregon. This amendment would require that judges on our appellate courts be elected to 'represent' legislatively created geographic districts. The first problem with this is that it disenfranchises Oregon voters as to the election of 14 of their 17 appellate judges, by limiting their voting rights to the three judges 'representing' their district.

Secondly, the idea that judges 'represent' the interests of constituents corrupts the core values upon which a separate, coequal and nonpolitical Judicial Branch of Government was created.

In addition to this distortion of the proper role of a judge, this ballot measure would establish a cumbersome, inefficient and costly appellate court system. Perhaps this is why there is only one appellate court in the entire United States structured in a similar way: The Arkansas Court of Appeals, an intermediate appellate court in a state half the size of Oregon. The fiscal impact of implementing this measure-conveniently ignored by its out-of-state financial supporters - is conservatively estimated at $1.5 million each biennium, paid for by Oregon taxpayers.

Even with that enormous price tag, the greater cost, for all Oregonians, would be the damage done to the fair and impartial administration of justice in Oregon. The election and recall provisions of this measure are clearly intended to pressure judges into weighing the political preferences of powerful interest groups within their districts when deciding cases of statewide importance. Oregonians need judges to decide cases based on the law, not on politics. The real cost of implementing this 'judge as political representative' scheme is the hard-earned integrity of a judicial system that has faithfully served Oregonians for nearly a century. We hope you will join us in voting no on Ballot Measure 40.

Steven L. Maurer, Presiding Judge

John K. Lowe, Circuit Judge

Robert Selander, Circuit Judge

Deanne Darling, Circuit Judge

Eve L. Miller, Circuit Judge

Robert D. Herndon, Circuit Judge

Ronald D. Thom, Circuit Judge

Thomas Rastetter, Circuit Judge

Jeffrey S. Jones, Circuit Judge

Kenneth B. Stewart, Referee

Maybe the wrong question is asked

To the Editor:

Thank you so much for printing John Surrett's letter 'Wonder where the money came from?' I did wonder and I can honestly say I am disgusted by the waste and arrogance displayed by the city council and mayor. Why would they purchase such an expensive property without taxpayer approval? What authority did they have in doing so and in borrowing the money to do so? I can understand borrowing money for normal operating requirements, but making a major capital expenditure for a property for a new library, senior center, swimming pool, tennis courts (and need we add possible new city hall?) without taxpayer approval is wasteful and arrogant. While this will come up for taxpayer approval sometime in the future, in the meantime we taxpayers must pay $1.2 million a year in interest to service a loan funding an extremely questionable purchase.

The question should not be asked, 'What would we like to see in the newly purchased Safeco property?' but 'Why did we buy it in the first place, Under what authority was it purchased, and how do we get this authority changed to taxpayer approval?' Spending and borrowing limits as Mr. Surrett suggests certainly is worthy of consideration.

I am very interested in how much the bond levy is projected to cost us in our property taxes for this $70 million-plus proposed monstrosity.

P.S. This is not about objecting to increased taxes. I support investments in education, reasonable infrastructure and our library, but not the wasteful, frivolous expenditure begun by our city council and mayor.

Gordon Umaki

Lake Oswego

Linder is the right choice for high court

To the Editor:

The voters are about to make an important decision about the Oregon Supreme Court. As Circuit Court Judges for Clackamas County, we are writing to express our support for Judge Virginia Linder.

Judge Linder is the only candidate with the knowledge and experience necessary to fill this important position. She has served as a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals since 1997, and as Solicitor General she distinguishes herself representing Oregonians before the Oregon Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court. Her decisions are soundly based on the law, common sense and reason. She is decisive, practical and fair.

In judicial races voters often have little information on which to base their decision. As judges we know how important it is to have experienced, knowledgeable, and practical appellate judges with common sense and reason. We know there is a clear choice for the position. Please join us in supporting Judge Virginia Linder for Oregon Supreme Court.

Judge Thomas J. Rastetter

Judge Deanne Darling

Judge Robert Selander

Judge Eve Miller

Judge John Lowe

Judge Douglas Van Dyk

Judge Steven Maurer

Judge Jeffrey Jones

How much will all these projects cost? …

To the Editor:

This is an open letter to Lake Oswego Mayor Judie Hammerstad:

It is Thursday, Oct. 26, and two weeks have passed since my letter to the mayor and the city council appeared in the Review. In brief, I asked that perhaps it is time for the mayor and the city council to outline in one place for the review of the citizens what lies on the horizon rather than to reply through the public information office.

I asked that they respond to my letter, as they frequently do, listing below each major capital project, its estimated cost, the proposed source of the funding, the estimated cost to each Lake Oswego household per year (cost per $1,000) and the proposed time schedule for each project.

Since that time I have heard nothing nor have I seen anything in the print media to answer or attempt to answer my reasonable questions. What do you have in store for us? Why are you unwilling to tell us?

We elect you to be the custodians of our city and our assets. Anything that you are doing on our behalf you should share with us. Anything that you are not willing to share probably represents your agenda and not that of the citizen taxpayers of Lake Oswego.

Please respond.

Kevin Poling

Lake Oswego

… It's too early to know the projected costs

To the Editor:

The following is an open letter back to Kevin Poling:

Thank you for your letter, which I am forwarding on to the Lake Oswego City Council, along with this reply.

First of all, I appreciate your concern regarding major capital projects that will be addressed by the city in the future. Had your letter come directly to me or to the council, it would have been immediately addressed. When a communication comes to us through the newspaper, we usually regard it as an individual's opinion that is being expressed; and we have no way of knowing if the request is genuine or rhetorical.

Your follow-up letter clarified your request.

The difficulty with complying with your request has nothing to do with our 'agenda.' It has to do with the fact that the projects are not yet approved - by the council, or, in the case of the Community Center, by that steering committee and then the council. And, assuming that this council, or one in the future, is going forward with a particular project, there is not yet a reliable forecast of the associated costs as the scope of the projects are yet to be determined.

We will be working on getting more information, for example, on the sewer interceptor. Due to the condition of the bot-tom of the lake, we (or a future council) may decide that it should be built on land. That will affect the cost. As more reliable information is generated, projects that are approved by the council will be placed in our Capital Improvements Plan.

We would be happy to share the financial information with the public as soon as we have it. Most of the capital projects that must be planned are years away. At least one or two would need to be approved by the voters at the appropriate time. At the very earliest, the community center vote would take place in November of 2008. Others would be farther into the future.

As we receive more concrete information, it will be discussed at future council meetings. We invite you to attend or watch these meetings on cable TV.

Thank you for your interest.

Judie Hammerstad

Lake Oswego Mayor