We are told by our city leaders we cannot have a vote on the streetcar until the studies are completed and the public is fully informed on the matter. Apparently that does not prevent the city (at taxpayer expense) from continuing to promote the Foothills/streetcar in 'Hello LO.'
Yes, the explanation is they are informing the public of the progress of the Foothills framework plan. The Review then repeated the material in the last issue. It is plain they are utilizing their publicity campaign to convert borderline skeptics and recruit new proponents while their opposition dwindles with passage of time. They may be successful, but that doesn't make their tactics either honest or ethical.
If the majority of the voters were opposed to the streetcar when the city council opted 4-3 to select it (known facts support that premise) and if the Foothills is dependent on the adoption of the streetcar, how much money is being spent in furtherance of the plans of a few at the expense of all of us? We continue to advance costly and possibly futile projects. How has the West End Building worked out for us for instance?
Indicators are that there will be no, or at least significantly less, federal and state participation in the funding of the streetcar. That means for it to proceed, local contributions will have to be increased greatly. The claim regarding the Foothills funding plan not coming from funds, which would not otherwise go to public services, does not apply to the streetcar. References such as 'Pie in the Sky' and 'Roll of the Dice' might be applicable to these projects. Remember the dough for the pie and the bankroll in the dice game comes from the taxpayer pocketbooks. Once removed, the money is not coming back to our savings. That seems to be the only thing 'green' about which the city is not concerned.
Does it bother anyone Clackamas County publishes (again at taxpayer expense) 'Going Beyond Green?' Isn't that a dichotomy? Yes, the inks are soy-based and the paper 25 percent recycled (leaving 75 percent that isn't recycled?), but how much of them end up (mostly unread) in landfills? It was interesting how they asserted our summers are drier and hotter. What is true in Oregon is that the summers are quite a bit shorter.
From the above county and city publications, we can see we are formulating more and more groups dedicated to sustainability. Would it be more productive if the members of these groups would stop meeting and talking about what should be done and just go out and pull ivy in the public parks? Their dedication to the public interest is acknowledged, but too often the suggestions made by such boards and commissions later become rules and regulations. We evidenced that regarding sensitive lands, perhaps the least effective and most divisive program enacted by this city.
The mayor is utilizing his bully pulpit to stack city boards and commissions with his supporters. This is evidenced by the people he selects and by the people he forces out or refuses to consider. His backers state it is his right to do so. This is incorrect. These bodies should represent us all. They do not. They will never do so while this mayor is in office.
Gary Gipson is a Lake Oswego resident and COLA-LO board member.