TriMet should find a way around old oak
On Tuesday, Jan. 3, the City Council of Milwaukie will hear citizen concerns during an appeal regarding the proposed removal of an Oregon White Oak tree in Kronberg Park. The meeting starts at 7 p.m., at City Hall and is open to the public.
This 150-year-old tree has been declared diseased and dangerous by a city's arborist and indeed it has even been encircled with 'danger' tape to protect all who might go near. However, other arborists' reports indicate that the tree simply needs some good pruning, and otherwise is a healthy tree. These reports cannot be entered into the record due to the legal process that's being followed.
The real problem with the tree is it's in the way of TriMet, who wants to use that spot for staging for their upcoming construction project. Hence the hysteria.
Oregon White Oaks of this size are now rare and valuable for their ecosystem services they provide us all for free, especially this close to Kellogg Creek. Let's talk about this together as adults, and see if we can find an acceptable solution for TriMet that does not lead to the unnecessary destruction of yet another one of these ancient wonders. Any process that prohibits real solutions from being discussed is not useful and leads to more anger towards government.
I'm confident that Milwaukie can find a way, but it will require truly listening to additional reports and ideas, not just caving to TriMet's wishes.
Disappointed in allegations
A recent opinion piece by Clackamas River Water Commissioner Patricia Holloway (Dec. 14) contains numerous inaccuracies that we feel must be corrected. While there are far too many misstatements to be corrected in a brief letter, here are the major ones:
1. There has never been a grand jury directive by the FBI to investigate CRW or its business practices. There was one subpoena from the U.S. Attorney's Office asking for documents due to a complaint by Commissioner Holloway's spouse, David Blair, regarding allegations that she has made that have already been investigated and deemed false by our auditors.
2. Monthly payrolls do not bulge between 13 and 19 percent due to bonuses as asserted- most, if not all of these differences are due to months with five weeks instead of four, and differences in staff size due to long-tenured (20 years plus) retiring employees or new hires. This was explained publicly to Commissioner Holloway by CRW staff.
3. Our insurance carrier is reducing coverage and increasing liability not for CRW as an agency, but only for insurance provided to the Board. The insurance change is due to our insurance carrier's ongoing concern that the false allegations of Commissioner Holloway directed toward staff along with her possession of sensitive personnel and confidential data places the agency at extreme and on-going financial risk. The ratepayers are not responsible for covering the cost of the deductible for Commissioners, if the Board does not approve payment. In addition, our insurance agency gives CRW a credit towards our bill as long as we continue to employ the agency's current management team-a clear sign that they recognize the excellence of the team in place.
4. Our legal counsel did bill us for approximately $250,000 last year for his services. During the prior fiscal year his billings were approximately $104,000. These additional charges were for other contracted legal services that were paid by him on behalf of CRW for activities related to these complaints. These payments are public information and are disclosed as such monthly at CRW's regular meetings.
5. There is no rate increase on the agenda of the CRW Board. Per our board's policy, we are going to conduct our usual, annual review of rates and charges. And, for the first time in three years, we are forming a Rate Committee made up of Clackamas citizens to participate in the review and make a recommendation to the board.
Commissioner Holloway's unsubstantiated and false allegations are a distraction to the important work that we do as an agency. It's a shame that these accusations have cost ratepayers $214,833 to date and distract us from the important work of providing clean, affordable drinking water to residents and businesses.
Mike Cardwell, Kami Kehoe and Barbara Kemper
Clackamas River Water Commissioners
City distorts library survey results
Gladstone officials are distorting the results of a 2010 opinion survey on city services.
The city hired Moore Information last year to do a telephone survey on the opinions of 300 Gladstone voters. The survey report was completed in August 2010.
The results of the phone survey are the opposite of what city officials say. The truth is the majority of Gladstone voters do not favor a new $10 million library. On page four of the phone survey, the numbers show 76 percent said they were satisfied with the existing library!
The city's distortion of the results is evidenced by leading questions put to the survey respondents. Not one question mentions the dollar cost to build and finance a new library. The answers are invalid because voters were not given vital information to consider.
If you look at question 18 on page 21-it is impossible to answer the question intelligently: 'Knowing this, are you for or against Gladstone using Urban Renewal funds and a 20 percent contribution from Clackamas County to fund a new library for the Gladstone Community that would merge the Gladstone library service area with the Oak Grove library service
Why do our city officials continue to mention the 65 percent in favor on question 18 as a reason for going ahead with a new $10 million library? They know 76 percent were satisfied with the existing library. Ninety-two percent were satisfied with their library experiences. The conflicting statistics cast doubt on the validity of the survey.
By the way, based on the 2011-12 Gladstone budget, a realistic estimate of the new library project cost is closer to $18 million!
There will be two measures on the Gladstone ballot in May 2012-to place a maximum spending limit of $1 million on both construction and financing.
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