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For city council, we suggest Gudman, Olson and Moncrieff

Three open positions.

Seven engaging people.

The math portion of the equation on endorsing three new members of the Lake Oswego City Council is easy: Pick three.

The people part of the equation is more difficult: If three are elected, then four must be turned away.

Our task of endorsing three council candidates is not easy. It's not pleasant. It's not fun. And it's not taken lightly.

We are dealing with solid citizens who are willing to take on what could be an almost overwhelming task in coming years. That they are willing to run at all is a credit to each and every one of them.

Two candidates rise to the top for us - they represent different constituencies, different points of view but share strong financial backgrounds:

n Jeff Gudman's fiscal sense was needed on the city council a long time ago. He's incredibly easy with an audience, personable and clearly able to stand on his own. He has been a key member of various city panels and even sounded an early warning about problems with the purchase of the Safeco Building.

n Mary Olson is smart, dependable and even handed. Her history as a public employee in Portland will come in handy on a council that has the potential to become too involved with the city employees. She also understands that portion of the community that has become disenfranchised in recent years.

That leaves one final slot to endorse among some very capable people.

With salutes to several of them, we suggest the third candidate should be Sally Moncrieff. She's got the outreach qualities the council has lacked for a long time and could go far in trying to heal some of the open wounds festering in the city. She does lack the experience of some of the other candidates, although she has been a strong and unifying player in the Palisades Neighborhood Association.

Two noteworthy comments to add about several of the other candidates:

Bill Tierney has a background on land use that is vastly superior to the other candidates. He's a valuable man and we hope the city can make strong use of his expertise.

Justin Luber's business ideas are very solid. Our only real concern is the relatively short time he has been a resident. But we hope the city is listening to his thoughts about a business development commission. He could be a strong leader for that body should it be developed.