Some things at session were disturbing
Last night (Tuesday, Nov. 29,) I attended the Lake Oswego City Council meeting. The topic to be discussed was regarding the Foothills development and the streetcar as the two are strongly connected.
There were many people testifying on both sides of the issue - some in favor, some against. There were many suggestions for additions/improvements in the plan. All of this was good. However, there were a number of things that I found to be disturbing:
First, was the finger pointing and name calling by some of those testifying. To call a city councilor or city mayor a liar, or belittle them for their opinions, is unjustified at any level. It resolves nothing. It polarizes those listening and those being harangued. However, the councilors and the mayor took the abuse very well - (except for) one council member who did not get his way at the beginning of the meeting and left in a huff with no regard to the people who elected him and expected some sort of leadership from him.
Second, while I am basically in favor of the streetcar and proceeding on the Foothills development at this time, several people who spoke out against either or both, provided cogent, logical, presentations which stated their opinions in a professional manner. I can't remember all that did, but a few who made presentations that were professional were John Surrett, Jim Boland and Dan Williams, and there were others. Some others seemed to have nothing to add to the discussion and just wanted, or so it seemed, to let everyone know that they could get up in public and be critical of the mayor and some council members in the most demeaning way. Other than placating their own egos, I don't think they accomplished anything beyond that.
Third, there were some in the audience that clapped when they heard something they liked and laughed and jeered when they heard an opinion they did not like. This was great activity for someone in the fourth or fifth grade, but adults should understand that there are opinions that others have that are often superior or as good as their own - and if nothing else deserve respect.
I guess I should be happy that the Foothills project is moving forward on a four to two vote of our elected representatives.
Terry Harty is a resident of Lake Oswego.