Editor's note: In last week's Review, a paragraph in John Surrett's letter to the editor was printed incorrectly. The next-to-the-last paragraph should read as follows:
'A building name change was also contemplated at the meeting. Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the mayor quipped that the Safeco property could always be called: 'The Judie Hammerstad Vanity Project'! That figures. After all, Safeco/Community Center was the top council goal (adopted Feb. 21, 2006) for 2006-2007. Resolving the lake interceptor (sewer) issue was 10th - third from bottom.
The Review regrets the error.
Jordan appreciative of her supporters
To the Editor:
The election results have not been certified, but it would appear that I will be serving on the Lake Oswego City Council in 2007. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family, friends and neighbors for their motivation, counsel and support during a short, but intense, campaign.
I feel privileged to serve in a community where people take an active and educated interest in city government. I appreciate the forums conducted by LONAC, the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce, and several neighborhood associations. These public meetings provided venues where interested citizens could learn more about each of the candidates and the candidates could learn more about the issues of concern to our citizens. This open exchange of ideas and information is very important to me as I plan for the future; I hope as a councilor to have frequent dialogues with community members by visiting neighborhood meetings, sitting in on committee workshops, and seeing people around town.
Special thanks go to Rose Rummel-Eury and the several friends and community members who wrote letters in support of my candidacy. Your words of praise were encouraging and greatly appreciated. I will do my best to live up to the expectations raised by your belief in my abilities. I also want to thank Barbara Zeller, Doug and Judy Cushing, Daniel Work, Sid Smithers, Chuck O'Leary and Mike Buck for their efforts on my behalf. This campaign was a grassroots effort and depended a lot on friends and neighbors spreading the word.
Finally, I want to thank my fellow candidates for a great campaign - open and positive in every respect.
Thank you all for allowing me to serve you and our city. Together we can address the questions that will improve the livability of our community and enhance our quality of life for many years to come.
Newly elected Lake Oswego City Councilor
Thanks for support for Booktique
To the Editor:
Thank you so much for your story in The Lake Oswego Review celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Booktique Used Bookstore. It was a great success, bringing in both old and new customers and your participation was so important for us.
In 15 years, the Booktique used bookstore has contributed over $900,000 to our library and your continued support is deeply appreciated by the Friends of the Lake Oswego Public Library and all in our community.
Board member, Friends of the Lake Oswego Public Library
Sewage spill is a serious problem
To the Editor:
The Lake Oswego Review article (Nov. 9): 'LO Sewage Spills into Tryon Creek' sends an alarm to residents of Lake Oswego that, once again, a serious public health problem incident has occurred. If ignored, significant civil penalties will be imposed by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Penalties that must be paid by the taxpayers of Lake Oswego. This is a repeat offense. Earlier this year the city (that's the residents) was fined by DEQ for multiple violations and it also had to pay the bills of homeowners who suffered from the sewage spills.
I am very concerned that the funding for sewer repairs has been diverted and may not be immediately available. Funding may no longer be available because of questionable actions on the part of the Lake Oswego City Council. According to Richard Seals, Lake Oswego finance director, part of the $20 million used to buy Safeco came from sewer account surpluses accumulated through utility bill assessments and earmarked for repair or replacement (including the interceptor) of our sewers. The Lake Oswego City Council pledged these surplus funds and others as security to a bank loan for the Safeco purchase.
According to Chapter XI, article 50, of the Lake Oswego City Charter, the 'sole' use of these funds is for projects directly related to those specific utilities for which the assessments were derived. What is going on?
The Lake Oswego City Council has been spending a lot of money (hiring architects, etc.) for a community center project on the Safeco property. The property purchase was not authorized by voters and should not siphon one dime away from Lake Oswego sewers. The Safeco property should be sold.
The council must be held accountable to its legal and ethical obligations in answering to the residents of Lake Oswego on both important problems of public health and the management of public funds.
I welcome the opportunity to discuss the issues in person. Failing an opportunity, I still require the council to formally explain the charges in this letter.
Editor's note: Josh Thomas, citizen information coordinator for the city of Lake Oswego responds: 'The incident last week was separate and distinct from the type of event experienced last winter and was not related to capacity. The cause involved 10 secured manhole lids that were not locked back into place after a private contractor cleaned the pipeline. The cleanouts were aimed at removing obstructions and increasing capacity to avoid the type of problem experienced last year. While unfortunate and avoidable, it was a misstep by the contractor - not a failure of the system - that caused the spill.
'The city has not been fined for the January overflows (discussions with the Department of Environmental Quality are ongoing), nor has it been fined for last week's spill. In fact, if the city does incur any penalties from the DEQ for this incident, the city will require the contractor who failed to bolt the lids back down to pay, even if it is through a reimbursement to the City.
'Planning continues for the replacement of the city's main sewer line, and proposals should be presented for public review in spring 2007. Work on determining the best long-term approach has been under way, and it is taking a significant amount of time and resources to develop. The infrastructure involved is complex, as are the potential solutions aimed at long term improvements to the system.
'No utility funds were diverted, borrowed against, or siphoned to purchase the Safeco property or to develop a community center. Previous information (in previous letters to the editor) about the city using sewer reserves to help fund the Safeco acquisition was misrepresented and is not accurate. Initial funding for acquisition came from property tax funds and the community development fund, which were fully reimbursed through the line of credit after a three-day period.
'Work is being conducted concurrently to examine and plan for both projects, and one does not have to advance at the expense of the other.'
Watch out for term 'regionalization'
To the Editor:
As the election results sink in to the public consciousness and new leaders evolve in Lake Oswego, it will come time in January to consider the biennial or two-year city budget.
In broad terms there are two sides to a budget: Income and outlays. Income / revenue for the city budget comes from taxes and fees. Outlays are the must-do items, followed by dreams, and schemes of elected officials and staff.
As in a household budget -brought up over the kitchen table, outlays / expenditures should be less than income / revenue. Otherwise there will be trouble brewing. The problem boils down to dreams and schemes rather than the must-do items.
In Lake Oswego there are plenty of schemes afoot that are attempting to morph into must-do items. Included in this set are the pair: Foothills urban renewal and an extension of the Portland Streetcar to Lake Oswego.
To get one or the other requires you do both plus decommission an existing sewer plant. On this item watch out for the term 'regionalization.' And be prepared to pay in Lake Oswego utility fees.
I hope but do not expect citizens involved in the budget process within Lake Oswego, Clackamas County and Metro to monitor or attempt to model some of the revenue documents I have for the Birdshill area since 2003.
This is to answer the questions: 'What are the elements of the deal?,' 'How are the elements outlined or ordered?,' 'What are the dimensions of the deal that require an outline?,' 'Who pays what, how, and when for the elements?' Documents include:
1. Assessor maps.
Shows tax code areas.
Available at: http://www.gis.state.or.us/data/ormap/disclaimer.htm
2. Clackamas County 'Rate Book' or 'Statement of Taxes Levied in Clackamas County for Year Ending June 30, Fiscal Year,' shows tax rates.
Available at the assessor's office, about $7.
3. Lake Oswego schedule of fees
Available at: http://www.ci.oswego.or.us/
It's your money and revenue for the region. Part with your contributions judiciously, request performance, and demand return on investments (or) taxes and fees (may) force you to move from Lake Oswego and the Metro region.
Charles 'Skip' Ormsby
Larson's comments hateful and divisive
To the Editor:
Saturday's (11/11/06) Oregonian features a front-page story about winners and losers in last week's midterm elections. Among the alleged winners was Lars Larson, local Rush Limbaugh clone. Lars' only apparent reaction was that he looked forward to 'four years of raw meat.'
The result of this election should mean far more to any American than just 'four years of raw meat.' To many of us it means a chance for the country to try to work out some very serious problems, both here and abroad, caused by a proven incompetent administration, Congress and those who have supported their abhorrent policies.
Contemptible statements like those of Larson indicate that he and his ilk care nothing for this state, this country or this world; they care only for their distorted ideology; an ideology that has driven us to a state of corruption and disunity at home and disgrace, impotence and loss of dignity on the world stage.
There are good people on both sides of the aisle who are willing to thrash out solutions to these problems if they are given the chance. But negative influences such as those represented by hateful people like Larson, Limbaugh, Hannity and others both in and out of government, who place ideology above all else, will only serve to impede the positive efforts and in time may stymie them entirely.