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State of the City coverage generates some concerns

In her State of the City address, Mayor Hammerstad calls the charter amendment measure of 2007 'a disruption of a planning process that should have placed the bond measure on the ballot in November.' ('State of the City' takes upbeat look,' The Oregonian, Jan. 24.)

To claim that the charter amendment measure caused or even contributed to the delay of the bond measure is a departure from the truth of such magnificent proportions that it demands to be challenged.

The public record shows that the city council's decision to postpone the bond measure to 2008 came in March of 2006, almost a year before the formation of the citizen group whose measure the mayor now blames for the delay. Unless the mayor has discovered how to bend time, it is quite impossible for the charter amendment measure to have caused or even influenced the bond measure's delay.

Proof that the decision was based on quite different concerns is to be found in the following excerpt from the minutes of the March 21, 2006 Council Regular Meeting, at which the decision was made: http://www.ci.oswego.or.us./calen

dar/councilmtgs/documents/032106.pdf .

'Mayor Hammerstad reported on the March 21, 2006, morning study session discussion about the community center. The City hired a consulting team to help with the community center project, and they made certain comments that resulted in the Council looking at the process in a different light. The team suggested that the process be slowed to provide more time for public involvement and to establish a citizen steering committee that would have oversight of the concept design process and offer input on the public involvement plan. The Council felt this was a very good suggestion because it did not want it to appear that the community center was simply a Council project.

The Council also felt it was important to have more information on funding options which might include private sector partnerships. Slowing the process would allow the City to examine compatible development options to measurably decrease costs and to keep some of the property on the tax rolls. While a worthwhile effort, it would be impossible to accomplish all of that for the November 2006 ballot.'

Two days later, on March 23, 2006, the Review reported, 'City hits the brakes on Safeco,' quoting Councilor (John) Turchi as saying: 'We don't think we have enough time to do the kind of evaluation work that the community would want us to do.'

Project Manager Brant Williams explained that since 2007 was a double majority year, '… the council could opt to delay a vote until the general election in November 2008 for a simple majority.'

Mayor Hammerstad's reluctance to allow a 2007 vote is well-documented. She even opposed the November 2007 advisory vote and tried in vain to kill it (with the help of Debbie Craig) even after the council had voted 4-3 in its favor.

It is an established fact that the decision to postpone the bond measure predated the charter amendment measure of 2007 by a year and occurred at a time when the grassroots citizens group was not yet in existence. To blame the charter amendment issue for the Council's decision to delay is an outrageous and intolerable deception that insults our intelligence.

Of course, blaming the citizens group is easier than explaining to the taxpayers why, two years after the purchase of Safeco, we are still passively observing the systematic draining of the tax reserves while waiting for a bond measure.

Jacqueline Heydenrych is a resident of Lake Oswego.

Editor's note: Mayor Judie Hammerstad respnds: 'The passage referred to was not a part of my speech.  It was in the draft that I gave to The Oregonian, but I didn't include it as I felt it would be misconstrued.'