“Change it had to come. We knew it all along... Don’t get fooled again.”

— The Who

In a second consecutive election, newcomers achieved a stunning upset in our city council race. Karen Bowerman gained enormous support from our voters, while Jon Gustafson came in slightly behind Skip O’Neill. Kent Studebaker was elected mayor over a solid candidate who was well financed with substantial outside partisan support. Dave Berg

This is real change and it’s the second time in the past two years voters chose a majority of fiscal conservatives to represent them on our council. Why? Residents are sending a clear message to local government, “make some substantive changes in fiscal matters and address your predecessors self-inflicted wounds on our taxpayer dollar.” Voters will likely change representatives until they get it right.

Yet residents were unwilling to elect a complete slate of fiscal conservatives to the council. Why? They are effectively hedging their bets with “checks and balances” by electing some council members that maintain a different philosophy. Let’s all agree that’s a healthy exercise in local democracy.

Lake Oswego is a community that prefers a sense of balance around its common values. It’s realized that balance has been missing as councils had an “irrational exuberance” with a “tax and spend” mentality. This direction clearly wasted valuable taxpayer funds and consecutive elections have proven LOwve had enough of this philosophy.

Now it’s time we all encourage our council to work together in establishing a positive direction that’s not only healthy for our community but also embraces the core long term concerns of our maturing population. This council is a different group of people partly because residents have voted out a majority of the incumbents in the past two elections. So hopefully the new council can work together on not only improving the efficiency of the city but also on maintaining the character of our community. That’s what LO residents expect.

The results of elections in 2010 and 2012 were a clear mandate to return to good governance. The message is clearly establish a fiscally responsible direction, get projects under control and stop wasting our tax dollars, all of which are essential to preserving our community character. Citizens do not elect the council to tell us where we should live, how we should live or how much of our property we can use. We elect this council to make prudent management decisions by exercising their fiduciary duty as elected representatives. When they deviate from this authority, citizens will vote accordingly.

The candidates actively engaged the community in this election and received their feedback. Voters wanted representatives that would actually represent their needs as they struggle with the challenges of the economy, fixed incomes, increasing fees/utility rates and the demands of a maturing community. They didn’t want council members who actually represented special interest groups or outside agendas. That’s why a majority of incumbents have been ousted in the past two elections. Our new council should be mindful of this consistent trend.

Our community has taken action, the message is conclusive and now it’s time for the council to continue its return to good governance. That is the measure by which they will be held accountable. Feel free to visit COLA at our blog,

Dave Berg is a 21-year resident of Lake Oswego and a board member of COLA LO.

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