Two letters in the Sept. 27 edition of the Lake Oswego Review evoke a new aphorism in local political discourse: “elite civility.”

First from 2012 Lake Oswego Mayoral candidate, former Oregon representative from District 38, and current member of the state Land Conservation and Development Commission, Greg Macpherson; who wrote: “A candidate who gains a group’s endorsement by promising action on a narrow set of issues will not necessarily act in the broader interests of the community.” Fine words from a person of the elite leadership class within Lake Oswego. 

Simple questions in response of not only candidate Macpherson but all other candidates for office on the 2013 - 2014 Lake Oswego City Council are: 1. What are your rules, boundaries and limitations as to when citizens can individually vote upon monetary debt instruments backed by the clause, “ ... full faith and credit ...”. And, 2: When will neighborhoods get individual briefings and ability to ratify statistics, notably recently released population figures used in all planning endeavors along with policies that affect their area prior to council consideration, approval and subsequent bonding with Metro and Oregon policies?

Second the letter of Chris Schetky, a director of Keep Lake Oswego Great (KLOG), “Two views of Lake Oswego.”  The succinct civil response is first to read the June 25 New York Times article titled “With no vote, taxpayers stuck with tab on bonds.” Delve into the hyperlinks and cross-referenced material.  Note especially the phrase “Harrisburge” and results.

Apply that pattern locally to the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership. Then as a follow on task, a bit more arduous, get pages that list citizen advisory committee members from final reports on projects in the past decade of Lake Oswego, Clackamas County, and Metro that apply to spaces, infrastructure and transportation directly affecting Lake Oswego and environs. Phrase and consider the following question in your mind: “What effects physical and financial upon your wallet and neighborhood have been and might have occurred had citizen testimony and input been respected, in the final recommendations of CAC(s) and subsequent decisions of the Lake Oswego City Council?”

“Elite civility” aphorism distills these citizen concerns with issues; notably with regulations and public services that are disproportionably paid for by most and benefit a select cadre.

Consider as a final current example two Albertsons grocery stores. One on the east side of Lake Oswego in “downtown” and one in Lake Grove village.  Both stores pay the same TriMet payroll tax rate.

Yet why is it the “downtown” store receives roughly 18 hours of TriMet service per day; whilst the Lake Grove store and adjoining community are barely limited to 12 hours and no Saturday or Sunday TriMet service? TriMet service includes scheduled bus lines 35, 36, 37, 38 and 78 along with dial-a-ride or para-transit LIFT service for the elderly and disabled. Desire evidence? See the TriMet LIFT webpage, header “Download,” document labeled “LIFT Service Boundary Change.”

Maybe when elites are subjected to regulations and are required to use existing public transport like many must, they will behave in a civil manner and effect immediate change in the current methods of public disclosure, discourse, deliberation and decision-making.

Charles “Skip” Ormsby is a resident of Birdshill and serves as that CPO/NA’s chair.

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