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letters - Dec. 8, 2011

Kidney donor's mother is relieved and amazed

To the Editor:

Re. the Dec. 1 Lake Oswego Review story: 'Donating a kidney turns into a true joy for Bambie Brown:'

I am so glad to see my daughter this happy. Bambie sent me a photo of her scar but not of her. She didn't want me to worry so I found out after the fact that she was having the surgery, but as luck would have it, her note arrived the day of the surgery so I was able to pray for her and the recipient.

I live in Philadelphia, so getting to be with her physically was not going to happen. Her boyfriend called us after she was in the recovery room to let us know she was OK. I could then have a sigh of relief.

I did speak to her at length a few days later and she was so happy that she will be able to volunteer with other donors in spreading the word for donations and still be apart of the process.

She convalesced at her best friend's home so I knew she was in great hands and her critters were also well taken care of. My job was just to send positive thoughts to my amazing, loving and caring daughter. What a Thanksgiving we all had. Bravo!

Margarete A. Noesner

Philadelphia, PA

Kidney donation was very inspiring

To the Editor:

Re. the Dec. 1 Lake Oswego Review story: 'Donating a kidney turns into a true joy for Bambie Brown:'

Bambie, it takes a special person to do what you did, and you sure are. God bless you!

PS: I just signed up to donate my kidney, also - you have inspired me … so (that) I am an organ donor.

I hope I am healthy enough to do it.

Louis Rizzo

Plymouth, MA

Language immersion is the right way to go

To the Editor:

Recently a school-related trip to scrutinize the way that a Minneapolis suburban community is innovating language immersion took place. Your recent article is encouraging.

We cannot cut ourselves out of a recession and we must be open to ways to build upon excellence within the district's programming. This is a very positive step that may lead to desired outcomes of attracting families to the school district and maintaining enrollment.

I know many families that have chosen language immersion schools for their children, as they are then able to learn at the ideal age a second language.

My sons had private elementary ed that included Spanish and then have both attended high school here at Lakeridge. Both are continuing with their Spanish. When they transferred in several years ago as freshmen, one thing that was lacking here in the Lake Oswego School District - or sub par - was the language arts that are started too late here.

My sons had started several years before their peers. Excellent idea to change that policy. I believe that school may benefit from this option in multiple ways. I applaud the forward thinking demonstrated here by the board and parents to seriously examine the benefits and value this would offer to our community. It would help us to retain our market differentiation in a global economy and likely attract new students to the program even those already within our district.

The value of using both hemispheres of the mind is linked to the growth capacities that we learn as children in gifts of art, music and language.

Kate Miller

Lake Oswego

Council's actions on Foothills appreciated

To the Editor:

Thanks to the Lake Oswego City Council for adopting the Foothills framework plan. Even if this plan is not acted upon immediately, just having an official plan provides important protection for the public's interest.

If the city leaves this property to private development, it loses control over how it will turn out. That means the public has no voice in what happens to the property that is right across the street from our downtown core. The current plan has had extensive public input, and more innovative ideas were expressed at the public hearing on Nov. 29. No private developer will go through that process; they will most likely build what is expedient and profitable for themselves. The result might be nice or it might be terrible, but it won't be what the public wants.

Developers also don't typically pay for changes to intersections. The city can make these changes to infrastructure by using the tax increment financing and system development charges that come with an urban renewal district, which leverages public money to produce a more complete project that will give the city a return of $30 for each $1 spent on infrastructure.

A 1:30 return on investment for a plan that reflects the citizens' wishes is a far better deal than letting private money develop this valuable land in a piecemeal way. I appreciate the city council's foresight in approving this plan.

Linda Kerl

Lake Oswego

Member of Keep Lake Oswego Great

Let private firms 'open their piggy banks'

To the Editor:

Last Sunday evening, while surfing through Comcast's infinite TV wasteland, I happened upon a government/public access channel that was presenting the so-called public hearing on the … Foothill redevelopment … plan and its baggage car, the Toonerville Trolley.

Right after the meeting opening, one conscientious councilman excused himself in disagreement with the director of the Oval Table, straying from standing city policy of individual members of the public presenting pros and cons, prior to those of appointed and/or elected public aagencies, commissions, associations, etc. Our school district representative (was) given two statement presentations. This went on ad nauseum until I turned off the set in utter disgust.

As this Foothills plan has been orchestrated and trumpeted as the economic windfall of the century, then, let the private land owners/developers break open their piggy banks and get on with it in the entrepreneurial spirit of down-to-earth can-do private development. Should there still be insistence on a public-private shotgun marriage through urban renewal, then put the issue to a vote of all citizens of the city of Lake Oswego. Remember, every redcent of public dollars comes from the tax-paying citizens, either by direct taxation, regulatory squeeze or the backdoor from state and federal revenue sharing.

My 2011-2012 real property tax statement presented me with an urban renewal Lake Oswego bill of $106.01 or 5.75 percent over last year's taking, plus $20.89 for our county. Here I am in the shopping urban renewal mecca of the city of Lake Oswego and I can't buy a decent pair of trousers nor shoes.

Meanwhile, the 2006 boondoggle purchase of the Safeco building for an undefined purpose is eating away taxpayers' dollars at around $1 million per year or 25 percent of the puchase value to date. Then, out in the wishing well is the new library, city hall replacement, police improvements, public works facilities, Lake Grove redevelopment plan and we could sure use some paving repair on Monroe Parkway above the intersection with Boones Ferry Road.

Yes, this is yer sitty guvmint at werk.

Bob Furrer

Lake Oswego

How many ways can people say 'no?'

To the Editor:

Reading The Oregonian Nov. 29 I was astonished to see that Mr. Doug Obletz, consultant to the streetcar, has found $250 million in savings to give the 38 percent of Lake Oswego residents who favor the streetcar a 55 percent discount bargain they cannot refuse.

Are we to believe that the new version of the plan is simply smarter than the dumb one they proposed initially?

How many ways can the 52 percent of LO voters who do not favor the streetcar say no to a mayor and his three councilors who are driven to give us something we do not want?

It will be a crying shame if this woefully exorbitant expenditure is shackled to senior fixed income property owners who are already crushed with rising property tax, water, electric, food and medical costs, with no end in sight.

Is it too much to ask for an alternative low cost bike path to connect Portland and Lake Oswego?

Charles M. Collins

Lake Oswego

'Test your conclusions against facts' on Foothills

To the Editor:

In this age of busy lives where even those in Congress do not listen to one another, it is great to see a group of citizens commit to a year of meetings to study and help design a development plan for Foothills. The framework plan allows for economic viability for the developer while reflecting Lake Oswego values for a 'sustainable village.'

According to the 10,000 hour rule, made famous by Malcomb Gladwell, expertise is achieved with diligence above all else. The Lake Oswego citizens on the Foothills Citizen's Advisory Committee originally shared significant concerns about the viability and appearance of the Foothills plan but applied diligence and passion to comprehending all facets of the proposed project, including leveraging the streetcar to alleviate economic impacts of site facilitization and parking allocation. The nearly year-long effort took scores of hours of analysis and design concept deliberation, facilitated by teams of area-specific experts.

This plan overcame serious structural and systemic viability concerns with ingenuity and aesthetic care. Face-to-face discussion among smart and diligent citizens developed understanding of the economic survival needs of the community and Lake Oswego family finances. The CAC produced a unified and revenue-generating plan to put Lake Oswego on a credible track for additional critical projects such as a seismically strong police station, infrastructure maintenance to postpone city expenditures and school financing without further compression of home values. Phone surveys and guesses without participant discussion or understanding of the economics, feasibility or legal considerations leads to skepticism and suspicion of ulterior motives.

We greatly appreciate the diligence of citizens that served on the Foothills CAC and suggest other citizens discuss the plan with them. Listen to learn what they learned and test your conclusions against facts, not self-assuring rhetoric.

Craig and Rosie Stephens

Lake Oswego

Mayor, councilors need education

To the Editor:

It occurs to me that Mayor Hoffman and councilors Jordan, Moncrieff and Tierney need to be 'educated' rather than the majority of Lake Oswego voters, who have at least, serious doubts about the streetcar.

This arrogance, being falsely touted as vision, needs to stop, but probably won't until the next election.

Can't happen soon enough.

KD Swails

Lake Oswego

Democratic process in evidence

To the Editor:

The democratic process was a success at the Nov. 29 Lake Oswego City Council meeting. The six members - the mayor and (five) councilors (Mike Kehoe left before the testimony was presented) - were calm, receptive and organized. What a delight it was to have very respectful and intelligent testimony. Some previous public testimony at council meetings was marred by hecklers, harsh insults and threats spewed at councilors; people yelling out from the audience. The civility was a wonderful.

The testimony was held in a smart way. Per signup indications, three people were seated to speak - 1 for, 1 against and 1 neutral. The testimony was balanced and clear. Many who testified supported the approval of the Foothills plan. The reasons supporters gave fell into a few key categories:

n Providing housing choices that we currently lack for young people moving into the community.

n Providing housing choices for seniors who want to downsize and stay in Lake Oswego.

n Benefit our schools through providing more affordable housing choices for younger families.

n Benefit our schools through revenue sharing in an urban renewal district.

n Benefit our schools through construction excise tax that is now available to them.

n Provide financial stability for our city into the future.

I look forward to downsizing and moving to a new Foothills' address.

Thank you councilors and citizens,

Deborah Lopardo

Lake Oswego

Supporter of Keep Lake Oswego Great

Kehoe called upon to apologize

To the Editor:

Councilor Mike Kehoe left at the beginning of a public hearing conducted by the Lake Oswego City Council on Nov. 30.

Dozens of Lake Oswego citizens came to give their thoughts but Councilor Kehoe didn't like the order in which the testimony was to be given. So he walked out. Neither his manner nor motivation for doing so is an appropriate excuse. Like all elected officials, he was elected with the expectation that he will attend meetings, listen to the public and participate in the process, even if the process doesn't suit him. His action demonstrated a disregard for the citizens, his fellow councilors, and city staff and put into question his temperament to be an elected official.

The people of Lake Oswego expect their elected officials to behave in a mature and civil manner and who will diligently exercise their responsibilities to serve the public. Councilor Kehoe owes the city of Lake Oswego, the citizens present at the meeting, the staff of the city and the other members of the council an apology for his failure to faithfully carry out the duties for which he was elected.

David L. Jorling

Lake Oswego

Today's 'rancor' seems like that of the 90s

To the Editor:

I have been a resident of Lake Oswego for 31 years and have seen our city grow into a vibrant and caring community, willing to take the necessary steps to meet the needs for future growth. I served on the city council when the rail line was purchased with the intent the line be reserved for future transportation needs. That time in now.

As a Realtor for the past 25 years and serving on the Task Force for Infill Development and the Task Force for Affordable Housing, I strongly feel the opportunity to address the needs for the younger members of our community, as well as the senior residents, can best be met by the development of the Foothills area enhanced by the streetcar.

The rancor occurring over this development reminds me of the naysayers during the 90s over improving our downtown. Thank goodness reason and determination prevailed.

Emogene Waggoner

Member of Keep Lake Oswego Great

Lake Oswego