As mayor Hoffman and councilors Moncrieff, Tierney and Jordan again and again turn a deaf ear to the citizens of Lake Oswego, there is growing talk about a recall effort.
Make that four recall efforts because it would have to be done individually and not as a group. Personally, I usually oppose recalls due to the tremendous work entailed and the added cost to taxpayers. The natural inclination is to allow the elected official to finish his or her term in office. That would have to be overcome in order for a successful recall.
Those who support a recall effort at this time hold strong beliefs that it will be much more costly for all of us to have another year of the rampant, reckless spending that has been the nature of the city council under Mayor Hoffman. I've been assured during the next year the outlay for the streetcar and the Foothills projects will easily exceed the added costs of a recall election, especially if timed to take place May of 2012 when an election is already scheduled.
It has been suggested a recall vote could take the place of the streetcar vote that already has been planned for that election. This aspect I definitely disagree with. Many more people will vote against the streetcar than vote for a recall. Just because the recall might fail, is no reason to advance the streetcar. Voters should have a chance of voting it down. It should not be advisory, but binding.
Why not just recall Hoffman and let the others fill out their terms? Because recalling Hoffman does not ensure the balance on the council will change. Under a fair system, the person who was runner-up in the last election, Dan Williams, would be named to the council and the council majority would change. But there is no guarantee Williams would be named. Chances are Bill Tierney would be named mayor due to his position as senior councilor and someone could be named to take his place sympathetic to the current direction the city is headed. There are many ways this manipulation could take place and don't bet for a minute that precautions won't be taken to ensure no real changes occur.
Since the prospect of the recall has grown, rumors are rampant that those in favor of the 'projects of vision' are going to jettison those running for re-election and throw support to 'replacement' candidates. Several potential candidates have appeared prominently in recent editions of the Review. Some have been above board in listing their preference for spend and growth, while others have submitted feel good pieces without taking a firm stance. The latter are keeping their names familiar without labeling themselves. All will be well vetted by the voters and their positions known by the day of election.
COLA-LO prefers to concentrate on the emerging candidates for 2012, their positions and how they would serve the community. That doesn't mean individual members will not participate in a recall process, but the organization will not direct any efforts toward recall. Our concern is over good governance and not over personal agendas.
Gary Gipson is a Lake Oswego resident and board member of COLA-LO.