We need more councilors like Cummings


Our ruling council majority consisting of Mayor John Kovash and councilors Jody Carson, Mike Jones and Jeni Tan practically always act against or fail to act in the best interests of West Linn residents.

Councilor Teri Cummings is the only council member who always acts and votes in the best interests of West Linn residents. Until such time (that) we get a council majority like her, West Linn city government will remain very detrimental to the best interests of West Linn.

I considered that former Councilor Scott Burgess was the absolute worst in this regard. He was city manager for eight years under Mayor Thorn and six years as a councilor beginning in 2005. After deciding not to run again at end of 2010, the Tidings gave him a big spread contending what a wonderful public servant he had been.

Additionally, he was given a drummed-up laudatory 'going away' party at a packed city hall. Both of those portrayals were a far cry from my opinion of him formed from observations and dealings with him over those 14 years.

I wasn't alone in considering Burgess to have an unwavering commitment to use various strategies to subsidize local development at the expense of West Linn tax and ratepayers.

This was not only monetarily costly for citizens, but also progressively overburdened infrastructure with related declines in livability. It's my opinion that Mayor Thorn and practically all council members serving during her terms approved of Burgess' conduct.

It would take considerable space to describe all the various strategies in detail that I observed Burgess using over the years to subsidize development.

Burgess, when city manager, participated in attempts to build two different water tanks that could have provided water for urbanized expansion of West Linn into the Stafford Triangle. Neither came to fruition.

The first was stopped by a hugh and cry from the public after a citizen, Ann Short, discovered trees being tagged for cutting in order to build a proposed 15 million gallon tank in Wilderness Park during Thorn's last term in mid 2000. The second was strictly Burgess' pursuit. In late 2000 he was preparing to condemn land above the senior center for a 3.4 million gallon tank. He continued pursuit of this in deliberate violation of the platform on which the Dodds administration had campaigned. This was one of the major reasons he was fired by the Dodds administration shortly after it took office in 2001.

A third plan having capability to supply water for expanding West Linn into the Stafford Triangle was incorporated in a new 2008 adopted Water Master Plan. Burgess was the primary instigator of that plan. That capability was partially implemented recently by designing construction for a key component, namely a hilltop booster pump station to pump water into the Rosemont zone for relaying it to the Stafford Triangle.

It's not needed for any other purpose, but a trumped up excuse for building it now was to claim it's needed to supply water to a new elementary school being built along Rosemont Road. This was approved by the council majority and opposed by Councilor Cummings. The water system already had ample capability to supply water to that new school.

This is another example why we need a council majority like Councilor Cummings.

Bob Thomas is a West Linn resident.