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Recall obscuring the facts

Community Soapbox by J. Kevin Hunt

The recall gang has misled people into believing that Commissioner Jim Nicita voted against The Rivers project, when in fact (as reported in the Oct. 26 Oregon City News) he abstained. Why did he do so? Because he believed it important to have an analysis of whether the project would put existing Oregon City shop owners out of business! He was unwilling to give approval to the project without that information, and likewise was not willing to kill the project when that information could be provided. Whereas some other commissioners voted 'No' on The Rivers at that time, Mr. Nicita DID NOT. Real estate baron Dan Fowler's private army calls such good guardianship of your money 'obstructionism.'

My friend Lynda Orzen (letter in same edition) claims the Nicita recall effort is simply for the good of the community and has nothing to do with the personal interests of Mr. Fowler. Is Fowler (a main organizer of the recall) simply being a good citizen? An examination of his property holdings tells a different story. Picture a Monopoly game board ('Park Place' is an amusing coincidence). It is one thing to merely have the foresight to make wise land purchases, as William Gifford unpersuasively claims is the case with Fowler. It is another, as here, to spew half-truths and attempt to intimidate elected officials into using urban renewal bonds to subsidize projects that would benefit Fowler.

Ms. Orzen does not describe how using a big-box chain store to run existing businesses into the ground advances the interests of local business people. She does not explain how building a mall on a landfill on the outskirts of town would make Oregon City 'the best city it can be.' She does not justify the expenditure of urban renewal funds to subsidize such a venture in the absence of a study on the project's local business impacts. The point is that the net effects upon local business must be considered before such colossal decisions are made.

Mr. Nicita's abstention had nothing to do with Cabela's being a possible anchor store. This did not stop recallers from falsely portraying the recall petitions as a request to 'Bring back Cabela's.' If you like paying for corporate welfare that may kill local businesses, without examining whether such a result would ensue, then by all means recall Jim Nicita. If you want commissioners who insist on having all the facts prior to approving or disapproving taxpayer subsidization of private projects, then please join me in saying NO TO RECALL.