Two stories might help explain each other
To the Editor:
Did anyone else notice the correlation between the two front-page articles in the Lake Oswego Review last week 'Marketing the District' and 'Beneath the Surface?'
To me it seems that one explains the other. I have lived here in Lake Oswego since 1974, and have always loved our city. However, I am concerned that our city officials are making decisions for 'improvements' that are outrageously costly and not in the best interest of the majority. Why is it that Lake Oswego needs a state-of-the-art, only one-in-the-world, floating gravity system for our sewage? At the cost of $65 million! (We all know that figure is not the final cost and will most likely increase.)
Who really cares that when they flush their toilet the waste is going through something so hi-tech? I know that my family just wants to make sure it gets out of the house quickly!
As a result of the outrageous spending, residents are (or will be ) taxed out of the community. The proposals for the sewage pipe alone would be to raise property taxes $150 for the next 20 years or triple the sewage fees. And this is just for the sewage system! What about the taxes for Safeco, the Lake Grove 'improvements,' etc.?
And now the possibility of marketing the school district would surely mean another tax of some sort. We all know that Lake Oswego is one of the costliest communities to live in, but also one of the best! It is a shame that this great city we live in is becoming so costly that young families, whose kids would fill up our schools, are being priced out of the community.
Maybe one day surrounding schools will have field trips to Lake Oswego to see the state of the art sewer system … just one of the costly decisions that eventually closed down all the Lake Oswego schools.
This could be seen as
the 'tip of the iceberg'
To the Editor:
I applaud the Lake Oswego Review and Lee van der Voo for their 'Beneath The Surface' article.
Because I fear that many readers may not have carefully read through the entire article I will quote the last 3 paragraphs
'Internal e-mails show city officials have considered a confidentiality agreement with the Lake Corp. to keep water quality data private. City attorney David Powell said the idea was rejected and no such agreement exists today. Other city officials have confirmed that statement.'
'(Bill) Wiley, president of the Lake Corp., denied any knowledge of such agreements.'
'But, internal city documents show Wiley himself drafted the agreement after a Lake Corp. shareholder sought data on water quality through the city. He crafted it to be retroactive, which would have forced the city to reject the records request from the shareholder had city officials signed it.'
Is this the kind of leadership we want for Oswego Lake?
In my opinion this is just the tip of the iceberg - a perfect example of the kind of roadblocks that the Concerned Shareholders have had to deal with over the last two years.
Time after time the Board of Directors of the Lake Oswego Corporation have made it impossible to obtain complete, factual, monthly information about the health of our lake, in particular areas where water quality is questionable - city runoff, the Tualatin River (at our dam), West Bay and the Main and Blue Heron canals.
I encourage all who support the idea of full water quality disclosure to support the efforts of the Concerned Shareholders to earn three or more seats on the Lake Oswego Corporation's Board of Directors. The time for change is long past due.
Restaurant no longer linked to Joseph Pham
To the Editor:
There are many regular customers who have asked me why I do not collect charity money at the Lavang Restaurant in Lake Oswego.
In between the years of 2001 and 2005, I was the owner of this restaurant. I did not only own the business but also raised money to take care of my clinic and 500 orphaned children of the Montagnard people in Central Highland in Vietnam. Everything was going so well because the money was sent back there to help people.
This restaurant is under new management, and is not contributing money for the poor. I am no longer the owner of this restaurant and I do not do any charity (work) at this restaurant. Thank you for your generosity.
Your money can (still) support the poor of Vietnam. Please send contributions to Highlands Love and Hope (tax id # 120331-97), in care of Stacey Stahl, who is the director of the non-profit organization of my works. The phone is 503-892-8833 or 503-697-5817.
Thank you very much for your support.
Joseph H. Pham
'Citizens' input needs to be respected'
To the Editor:
We read with great interest and considerable dismay the letter of Nov. 9 written by John Surrett regarding the Safeco building purchase. If Mr. Surrett has his facts right, the citizens of Lake Oswego have just been monumentally scammed by our own elected city officials.
Mr. Surrett claims that the $25 million in 'reserves' miraculously found by our city in order to buy the Safeco building was really earmarked for other projects such as our looming sewer crisis. But now that the funds are held as security against the Safeco loan from Wells Fargo (costing the taxpayers $1.2 million in annual interest costs), the city must come up with the estimated $65 million for the sewer project.
Since the mayor and the council seem determined to build a recreation center whether the citizens want it or not, that will be another huge chunk of money added to our property taxes. The process the city is going through to justify the recreation center is so phony and arrogant that there is no doubt they will have what they want. Never mind the citizens who have repeated over and over that first, the library is just fine where it is, the adult community center ditto, the swimmers of Lake Oswego could use the Mountain Park pool, the health concious can get gym time in the many private facilities in the area, and the day-care for mommies using the facilities should not be the taxpayers' job.
If the city wants to attract families to live here, hiking the property taxes with unnecessary and expensive projects is not the way to do it. We are already seeing a reduction in our school population, which does not bode well if we want to remain an active and desirable family community. Citizens' input needs to be respected even when it does not support the mayor's and the council's wish lists. After all it is our money.
Wally and Marilyn Helm
Timing question raised on article about Oswego Lake
To the Editor:
The Review is to be commended on its recent article about the serious sewer and water quality issues facing the city and the lake. Bringing to light the efforts of the city and the Lake Oswego Corporation to keep these critical issues from public view is responsible journalism and is certainly appreciated. Your editorial advocacy for conducting public business in public and not behind closed doors with the LOC is right on the mark.
I question, however, the timing of this significant article and editorial. The sewer and water problems and the secrecy surrounding them were not late-breaking news stories. They are troubling issues that many in the community have been red flagging for some time. Why then did the article and editorial run a week after the (Lake Oswego) City Council elections, rather than before when the public could have factored them into their voting decisions?
The public deserves full and timely information from its news media as well as the City and the LOC on issues that affect us all.
Shelley A. Lorenzen
Editor's note: Last week's story was worked on right up to our news deadline on Wednesday, Nov. 15. There was never any plan to run the story prior to the city elections. The city of Lake Oswego waited 89 days before completely responding to our public records request and providing us with the documentation that we sought. That, more than anything else, helped set the table for when the story could be completed. To conjecture anything to the contrary would be wrong. The public does deserve full and timely information from its news media and, fortunately in this case, that's exactly what it got.
'There is something called the First Amendment'
To the Editor:
As I read Dennis McNish's diatribe in the Nov. 16 edition of the Review ('Larson's comments hateful and divisive'), I wasn't sure if I should laugh or cry. I ended up just shaking my head. In reaction to a single comment attributed to Lars Larson, McNish has concluded that (1) the statement was 'contemptible', (2) Lars' has a 'distorted ideology,' (3) that Lars is 'hateful' and a 'negative influence,' and that Lars 'impedes the positive efforts.' For good measure, McNish includes Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity in the last two points.
I never stop being bemused that liberals preach tolerance when it comes to various illegal activities and perversions, but are totally intolerant of people with political views different from their own. There is something called the First Amendment - and it applies to Lars Larson's right to express his views. It also applies to talk radio featured on 'Air America.'
Apparently McNish does not have a problem with the vitriol coming over the airways from that station - perhaps because of the far-left leanings of the talk show hosts. While I chose to listen to Lars (and Rush), I recognize the right of liberal talk shows to state their positions.