Heres an open letter to LOs Gordon Umaki


The following is an open letter to Lake Oswego resident Gordon Umaki:

I have read nearly every article you have submitted to the Review over the past few years and have never felt the need to respond to your interesting perspective until your latest publication printed on Nov. 13. I have three points I would like you to consider.

We have a wonderful tradition in this country that after an election we follow the collective will of the people and allow the newly elected representatives to lead us in the way they campaigned. It is inappropriate for you or me to second-guess the collective will of the voters of Lake Oswego. Mayor-elect Jack Hoffman received just over 60 percent of the vote. Mr. Hoffman ran a very open campaign and had a very capable opponent in Mr. Surrett with very different views. The campaign was transparent and fairly fought and therefore we should trust the collective judgment of the people and allow Mr. Hoffman and the council to lead without rancor or divisiveness. Mr. Umaki, if you are unsatisfied you have all the opportunity in the world to run yourself for one of these offices in the next few years.

We had three positions filled on the city council, only one was tightly contested. Ms. Moncrief, Ms. Olson and Mr. Tierney after walking door-to-door, campaigning day in and day out have a very clear sense of where they and the citizens want this city to move. We need to trust them.

My second point I would like you to consider is your constant and relentless position that the key driving perspective in this city should be 'affordability.' I find that quite curious as we have various priced homes and apartments within the four corners of our city. We moved to Lake Oswego in 1986, and paid $399 for a two-bedroom apartment. At that time we could not afford to buy a home. We moved here not because it was 'affordable' but because we were looking for a community that had great schools, parks, neighborhoods, churches, restaurants, a sense of community, diversity, great civic involvement, centrally located to downtown Portland, a quiet apartment close to the freeway system and mostly a place that seemed like it was fun. We were looking for a town with an old-fashioned movie theatre; a cool lake to swim in. We found that place in Lake Oswego.

This town has always been and will always stay affordable, Mr. Umaki. You can rent, own or lease a home in any price range from $275,000 to over $20 million. Taxes are low and capped by Measure 5. Where else, Mr. Umaki, can our children and neighbors mingle and be accepted and also flourish in a community with diverse economic and ethnic backgrounds?

We are grateful our children are receiving a first-class education from Lake Oswego Schools. Thank goodness our fellow citizens have voted repeatedly to invest extra dollars so my children receive a world-class education. Thank you, Lake Oswego.

My third and final point is I used to believe there were all kinds of waste in schools and city government until I actually got involved. I have volunteered at Palisades Elementary School and was stunned to find what a lean machine your and my neighborhood school is. Palisades has one janitor, one principal, 1½ office personnel and the rest are classroom teachers with a ton of parent and community volunteers. I'm the president of the PTO at Waluga this year and if someone can find any fat or duplication at Waluga you are one incredibly talented individual.

I have found the same at city hall. My point, Mr. Umaki, is let's trust our mayor, city council, teachers and community leaders to lead and make this wonderful town a better place for our families and future generations.

Bob Barman is a resident of Lake Oswego.