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After Measure 3-401 passes ...

We are both running for positions on the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners. We believe strongly that people’s Initiative 3-401 will pass. This vote will determine whether taxpayers and voters can obtain the right to vote on if they want light-rail transit to enter Clackamas County. It is indeed disappointing that our current county commissioners have not voluntarily allowed a vote on this contentious matter.

This issue is truly non-partisan. Whether a democrat, republican, liberal or conservative, everyone should be concerned about why the Clackamas County commissioners don’t want you to vote on huge taxing measures.

Don’t we want the right to say if our hard-earned tax dollars should pay for light rail? Already, our gas taxes are being diverted away from enhancing our road system and building more vehicle lanes on existing thoroughfares. It’s time for the real public, the “marginalized majority,” to speak up.

We are the only two challengers against sitting Clackamas County Commissioners in the Nov. 6 election. We want the readers to know what we will do if elected after Measure 3-401 obtains a majority “yes” vote on Sept. 18. Since the measure requires a public vote, we would do exactly that — vote and do it quickly. One of us would move and the other would second a motion to ask voters if they approve or disapprove of light rail entering Clackamas County.

The Clackamas County Commissioners have a plan, and you’re not part of it. They didn’t want your vote on their proposal to pay $22,000,000 for the Sellwood Bridge and they didn’t want you to vote on limiting urban renewal tax debt spen ding either. They have refused to voluntarily give you the right to vote on spending up to $25,000,000 for light rail.

The commissioners announced last week a “special deal” from TriMet allowing a 10 percent “discount” if the commissioners would only obligate to pay $19,920,038 before Oct. 11 of this year and to forgive TriMet nearly 2.5 million additional dollars.

The Clackamas County “hearing” for this “special deal” occurred very quickly and unexpectedly. They were in a hurry. On Aug. 22 not only did the commission agree to pay in full the amount ... they also agreed to pay earlier than Oct. 10, and not coincidently, they are even paying before the rail vote happens on Sept. 18.

Why the big hurry? TriMet and Clackamas County legal council both say that the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) they have with TriMet trumps the upcoming vote on rail issue 3-401. They both say that the vote on rail will have no effect on Clackamas County’s “obligation” to pay for light rail. In fact, the commissioners ordered their legal staff not to investigate ways to challenge the IGA. Have the commissioners forgotten who they work for?

These people are predictable. The majority of commissioners will continue to “partner” with TriMet, Metro and other regional governances with mutual goals of countering the public will and obstructing the right to vote on multi-million dollar boondoggles.

Vote yes on Measure 3-401 on Sept. 18. It’s time to send a clear message that the majority of the commissioners do not represent you and that you’ll be voting for Ludlow and Smith to replace Lehan and Damon.

John Ludlow is a candidate for Clackamas County commission chair. Tootie Smith is a candidate for Clackamas County commission position 4.