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Thoughts on how voters should approach their decisions

Next Tuesday is election day. Lake Oswego voters have just a few more days to mark the ballots they received in the mail recently.

In a citizen’s view published two weeks ago, I set out the goals of my campaign for mayor of Lake Oswego: restore civility to our civic life; strengthen our schools; help local businesses thrive; protect our parks and open spaces; and keep our neighborhoods safe.

In the final days of a political campaign voters are bombarded by messages from candidates and their supporters. Rather than go over my goals again, I will offer some thoughts about how voters should approach their decision.Greg Macpherson

Follow a positive vision. Some candidates are more energetic about saying what they’re against than what they’re for. I have a positive vision for Lake Oswego. We should maintain the high quality schools and beautiful landscape that attracted most of us here. At the same time we should continue to renew and improve our community. The city should promote walkable neighborhoods and bicycle paths so we can access great businesses close to home.

Look for relevant experience. Choosing among candidates for public office is a little like selecting someone to handle a home improvement project. A wise consumer looks to see what work that person has done before. I served Lake Oswego in the Legislature for three terms. I presided over floor sessions and committee meetings in the Capitol. I’m well prepared to conduct the meetings of city council and to connect with citizens who come to voice their views.

Don’t be taken in by negative ads. Some candidates try to win by attacking their opponents. These attacks often appear to come from outside groups so the candidates themselves don’t seem to be negative. But make no mistake - negative ads are coordinated with the candidates being promoted. My campaign for mayor of Lake Oswego has been entirely positive and I have urged the groups supporting me to refrain from negative ads. Our politics suffer from too much negativism.

Value independence. As I wrote in a citizen’s view in September, city offices are nonpartisan and should stay that way. In Congress, the two parties sit on opposite sides of an aisle. We should have no aisle in Lake Oswego’s City Council. This encourages councilors to apply their independent judgment to each issue. Voters should be wary of candidates who have tied themselves tightly to groups pursuing narrow agendas.

Take the longer term view. Some candidates try to score points by focusing on immediate concerns, like the recent increase in water rates. It is certainly true that Lake Oswego households, including mine, are feeling pinched by our utility bills. But elections should be about the longer term. At stake in this election is what Lake Oswego will be like in 5, 10 or 20 years. If we abandon the work of renewing and improving our community, we will no longer attract the kind of educated and productive residents we have today.

I thank the Lake Oswego Review for endorsing my candidacy for mayor and the citizens of the community for giving careful attention to their ballots.

Greg Macpherson is a former state representative for District 38 and candidate for mayor of Lake Oswego.