Candidate wants to take government to the people
County Commission hopeful Dan Holladay favors citizen initiative
Dan Holladay will tell you he's a down-to-basics man. As a government leader, he has only five priorities: police, fire, water, sewer and streets.
'All the rest is secondary,' he said, 'because we gotta live within our means.'
Holladay spoke recently to the Boring Community Planning Organization (CPO), and is on the May 15, 2012, primary ballot for Position 4 on the Clackamas County Commission.
Holladay was candid with CPO members, describing himself as straightforward, transparent and practical.
If he is chosen from a field of four by voters, it will not be Holladay's first elected or appointed office.
He has been a member of the Oregon City Commission, South Fork Water Board, Oregon City School Board, Oregon City Urban Renewal Agency and a founding member of the Clackamas County C-4 Committee.
Active in government affairs since 1988 when he was a 20-something just out of the military, Holladay says he favors term limits on the county commission and geographical districts for four of its positions.
He describes himself as coming from a working-class background, and he is an electrician by trade.
His connection with a large number of voters he says served him well when he was involved in initiative issues.
Some of those issues include curtailing the Oregon City Commission from nearly doubling water rates to pay for unnecessary water infrastructure, opposing the county vehicle registration fee (he was the chief petitioner) to pay for the Sellwood Bridge replacement and contesting the county's proposal to limit voting on urban renewal districts only to voters who live within the proposed district.
Holladay says he has had enough varied experience and contacts that he can hit the ground running, if he is elected.
'I'm the only candidate for Position 4 that has any local (government) experience,' he said.
He expressed a bit of concern that county voters had to be asked to approve a local option tax to pay for adequate law-enforcement service.
He also disagrees with the county's stand to support Milwaukie light rail by giving TriMet $25 million to help pay the costs.
'I disagree fundamentally because light rail doesn't work for Clackamas County,' he said. 'And the reason it doesn't work is population density. You need to have 100,000 people per square mile to fiscally fund a light rail system, and I'm guessing we're not going to get that many people between Park Avenue and Gladstone.'
Stating that customer service must be a priority, Holladay says he will personally answer his phone when anyone calls.
The job of a county commissioner, according to Holladay, is to set priorities on where it will allow county staff to spend the $565 million budget that is under its control. The commission sends another $400 million to other agencies but does not have direct control over them.
Holladay complained that county administrators and commissioners often do too much project planning, but not enough looking ahead on how to pay for the projects.
'I believe we need to get back to some fiscal sanity,' he said, 'and the county commission needs to start listening to everybody in the county - not just a few in the north end.
'If we're going to have a certain amount of dollars, we ought to plan what we could buy for that many dollars.'
Holladay says he doesn't like the idea of professional politicians, and would like the commission to have some meetings in cities around the county and some of the Oregon City meetings at 7 p.m., instead of 10 a.m.