Do not gag WL citizens

I had an eye-opening experience June 11 when I went to my first-ever West Linn City Council meeting. Expecting a douse of participatory democracy, I got just the opposite.

Apparently West Linn's legal counsel has confused the concept of persuasive argument with that of unfair bias. During the public comment portion of the proceedings, one person after another was cut off from delivering their prepared remarks relating to the LOT water plant and 48-inch pipeline on the grounds that they were attempting to bias the council members.

It's outrageous that WL citizens are effectively shut out of discussing a topic of such importance in a council meeting. And further, it is an insult to the city council's integrity that the legal team thinks that, by merely hearing opposing viewpoints, the council can be unfairly biased. When we elected the council, as constituents we were endorsing their ability to evaluate arguments and decide an issue based on its merits.

Gagging West Linn citizens deprives the council of its opportunity to make informed decisions for the betterment of our community. And, in this case, it also creates the perception that the LOT project is a done deal, no citizen involvement necessary.

Yvonne Davis

West Linn

(Editor's note: This is a response from West Linn city attorney Tim Ramis: The Lake Oswego project is a land use case, and state law requires council to set a date and time to hear the case and give advance notice of this hearing date. This gives supporters and opponents of a project advance notice of when they can be heard by council and an equal opportunity to hear what each other has to say. Were council to receive testimony on a land use case without public notice that the subject will be addressed, it is possible that people testifying on the proper date could feel ambushed; they would have a concern that councilors may have made up their minds without the benefit of hearing from everyone. Based on our advice, the council has requested that citizens wait to provide commentary until the appointed hearing, in order to promote equal access to council.)

Neighbors of West Linn should look out for each other

As time moves on, more well-heeled young people are moving into West Linn replacing the newly retired baby boomers. Unlike my generation, in order to live in West Linn, you now pay a deep pocket price tag.

So, most of the young people work long hours in order to afford this signature neighborhood address. As you know, the medium salary to live here is $90,000 a year, which is steep compared to the past generations.

It is now up to the present West Linn mayor/city council and social services to be the watchdog for all 2012 West Linn residents while at work everyday to afford this present signature lifestyle.

Norm Fetzer

West Linn

Residents have spent time and effort on water plant

The Tidings was too quick to judge some West Linn residents in last week's paper. While this writer agrees that more West Linn residents should become involved in and be more knowledgeable about their governmental processes, the Tidings jumped to the conclusion that residents working on the Lake Oswego-Tigard (LOT) Water Partnership treatment plant expansion opposition are ill-informed, under-informed or not interested in learning about the process. This is quite inaccurate.

Many residents have put countless unpaid hours into researching this complex issue, contacting representatives and staff and working with and asking questions of LOT. Many meetings have been attended and held in the neighborhood and beyond.

Faulting the many citizens who have already taken a large chunk of time out of their daily lives over the past two years to work on this issue seems unfair. Trying to use personal time effectively by not sitting through one more city council meeting seems prudent. Remember the meeting may also be viewed on cable. It appears the Tidings has little knowledge of how much time and effort West Linn citizens have spent on this multifaceted issue.

Remember that we have dealt with the Beery memo stating that councilors could talk to citizens if an application had not been filed, only to have the city manager deny us access. This leaves some feeling like they have no voice in the process. Yet we have all continued to stay engaged with the city and LOT.

Eric Jones

West Linn

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