Kehoe breached the public trust by leaving meeting early


Consider me one of the not very involved, trusting of elected officials to thoughtfully and considerately fulfill the responsibilities each assumes voluntarily.

When I attended my first Lake Oswego City Council meeting in many years on Nov. 29, I fully expected to learn more about the Foothills project and hear my fellow citizens' thoughts.

In that I was not disappointed. However, I was extremely disappointed in the actions of one city council member, Mike Kehoe.

Councilor Kehoe simply and abruptly walked out of the meeting at its beginning. He made a comment I am still trying to understand.

But it was a comment, that seemed to me, dismissive of the coming testimony of a certain group and individuals. His comment and his actions were unsuitable for a person elected to serve the public trust.

If councilor Kehoe had already made up his mind on the matter, well so be it. That is what elected offices are charged with doing.

However, if that was the case, he should have announced that he had made his decision and given the citizens who came to participate in the process the respect of his continuing presence. Who knows, he might have learned something. I did.

Councilor Kehoe apparently assumes that testimony at hearings is just for the council. He also, apparently, assumes that he does not need to listen to citizen input if he decides, in advance of hearing it, that it is not beneficial to him. This is very troubling to me and it should be to others.

I do not expect elected officials to agree with my positions, accept my ideas (however, rarely I share them) or even dress well.

What I do expect of elected public officials is that each listens to the input of all groups and citizens.

What I do expect is that each will come to table and thoughtfully consider issues before them.

What I do expect of public officials is that when there is a hearing on a matter before a council on which they serve, that absent a truly pressing matter, each will attend and be fully engaged in the process. That is one of the very real ways elected officials serve the broad public trust.

Councilor Kehoe, regardless of his leanings in the matter before the Lake Oswego City Council on the evening of Nov. 29, significantly breached the public trust by leaving the meeting for the reasons and in the manner he did.

For the record, I am not proud that I am not more involved in the process of shaping our community. It will probably be years before I attend a Lake Oswego City Council meeting again.

To those elected officials and citizens who stayed the entire time, and it was a long meeting, regardless of your positions with respect to the Foothills development, thank you.

Chuck Fisher is a resident of Lake Oswego.