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Citizen input must not be criticized

In the middle of his opinion piece, 'Transparency needed in political process,' West Linn City Council candidate Mark Buser cautions that those who value citizen involvement in our government are not going to like what he has to say.

He then warns that a group of people (he does not tell us who they are) 'infiltrated' some neighborhood associations (he does not say which ones), rose to leadership positions and then twisted these unnamed associations into political action committees. Mark not only fails to provide the names of the people involved and the associations 'infiltrated,' but he does not tell us what a neighborhood association/political action committee looks like, nor just what is it that they do that should concern a reasonable citizen.

He then urges us to take our city back from these 'citizen parasites,' these 'supposed citizen activists' and give West Linn to 'informed citizen advocates.'

But he does not reveal the difference between 'supposed citizen activists' and 'informed citizen advocates.' And just when did these parasites take over West Linn? Aren't the mayor and city council still in charge? Do they know that parasites have taken over the city?

Some years ago our city government set up neighborhood associations to provide input to the city and to formulate neighborhood plans. The associations elected leaders and worked among themselves, with city paid consultants and with city staff. We may or may not like the results, but all parties that have put forth efforts deserve to be heard and deserve respect. Yes, this is citizen involvement in our government and yes, Mark, those who value such involvement probably do not appreciate your rant against those who have worked on this project.

The folks of West Linn often do not agree, but we do have a collaborative process to debate our differences and we have elected decision-makers. The system seems to work best when all sides can participate in a meaningful way and feel they will be heard and respected. It would seem that electing to the city council a person who denigrates citizen participation would increase the rancor in the city and not enhance the collaborative process.

John Kovash is a West Linn resident.