Letters to the Editor
Judicial budget may fall short
To the Editor:
I am an attorney with Jordan Schrader, the largest law firm in Clackamas County, located in Lake Oswego. I am concerned about the budget recommendation made by the Co-Chairs of the Ways and Means Committee. This budget falls far short of what is needed to keep our public safety and justice systems operating, and our community strong.
The governor's recommended budget for the Oregon Judicial Department was $329 million. That amount is needed to maintain our current levels of service and to begin to repair damage from years of neglect of our court system. In contrast, the Co-Chairs' recommended budget is $304 million, $24 million less than the governor recommended. That is not adequate to handle current workload levels and address long neglected needs.
A $24 million reduction will result in many problems for our business community, reducing the courts' capacity to hear civil cases. Courts are the mechanism for civilized societies to resolve business and commercial disputes. These matters are at the bottom of the courts' priority list. As a result, disputes can languish without resolution. The effect on business vitality and economic development could be severe.
The budget reduction also keeps Oregon's judges the lowest-paid in the nation and impairs our ability to attract lawyers with experience in complex civil litigation to the bench. We are very fortunate in Clackamas County that we have a strong and dedicated judiciary, but that is likely to change if we do not pay our judges fairly.
Failure to adequately fund all components of the judicial branch affects all of us: our public safety, our business climate and the routine workings of our courthouses. We, as citizens, must recognize the important contribution of the justice system. I ask our Legislative Assembly to do the same.
Young LO lacrosse players show class in recent game
To the Editor:
Having grown up in Lake Oswego along with my eight brothers and sisters, I have heard it all about what kind of people live there. Stuck up, snooty, poor sports, it seemed other communities loved to hate Lake Oswego.
One of my sons plays on the Sherwood lacrosse 5th/6th grade team, the team has a 50-50 mix of those who never played before and those who have played a year or more. Up to Saturday, we had won one and lost one. Then we played a LO team that was incredibly good, after the first half it was 12-0, LO. But it is the second half that impressed me. Sherwood came out a little more aggressive but clearly out matched, LO came out and worked on its passing game, five passes as least before they would attempt to score. The score, I think, ended up 12-1. LO could have won 25 - 0 had it continued the attack. My boy, new to Lacrosse, walked off the field and the first thing he said, was 'they were really good and nice.'
It was the 'and nice' comment that impressed me. He knew they could have rubbed it in, he knew they could have taunted the Sherwood boys, but there was none of that. To the coach and parents of Lake Oswego who played Sherwood at Westridge at 9 a.m. on April 21: You have a good group of boys that shows the class of great young men.
Lobsters are in the pot and 'the burner is lit'
To the Editor:
Our country's founders said their impetus to revolution was 'taxation without representation.' Much later a wry wag said, 'Those old guys are spared the experience of today's taxes with representation.'
Our city leaders are proceeding without restraint to build a $100 million community center. Already they are in for $20 million property cost, $313,000 professional fees, unknown staff expenses and they are moving city departments into the building. They call it the 'West End Building.' The clear intent is a fait accompli. Will there ever be a point where our disapproval can stop it?
This train is gathering momentum on its way to a big wreck. Where is the rumored petition for the ballot measure to negate the Safeco property purchase? Many of us want to sign it. We want a vote of the people.
The city's obligations are growing: $100 million for the center. The latest estimates are up to $120 million for the lake interceptor sewer. Unpredictable millions for a new city hall. These are only the major items that we know about. Then there are chump change items like landscape medians in Lake Grove and Country Club roads plus swales the length of Tenth Street. We didn't ask for these small items, but we're getting them.
Mayor (Judie) Hammerstad has said, 'I would be uncomfortable with just getting a single recommendation.' That was in reference to Community Center Development Director Brant Williams' report on public response to the minimal revelations so far. City government wants a series of small slices. It's an old technique. They realistically fear a ballot measure that hints at eventual total costs. But no matter how thin you slice it, it's still baloney.
The council can count on voter approval of necessities such as the lake sewer and new city hall. Apparently their objective is to push the optional community center beyond public ability to stop it and then present us with the necessities later.
We're the potted lobsters, and the burner is lit.
George E. Edens
A defibrillator with
your water bill?
To the Editor:
If the $100 million sewer repair increases the typical bi-monthly sewer charge by $71 (145 percent increase) for 40 years, then the water utility repair $73 million (Lake Oswego Review, Feb. 15) will cost the average homeowner an additional $52 bi-monthly (130 percent increase in water usage charge) for 40 years. Those increases will more than double every homeowner's water bill for 40 years. We will need a defibrillator every time we get our water bill. But these costs will be unavoidable if you want to live in Lake Oswego.
And the mayor and council are pushing for an extravagant $100 million Safeco community center, complete with swimming pools, skate board park, exercise gyms, and gathering places? The unfortunate truth is the mayor and council have lost all touch with community priorities and needs.
Editor's note: The Lake Oswego Review reported last week that the city of Lake Oswego plans to use an aggressive water conservation program to stave off repairs to the water utility. It is not clear how future repairs would be financed. Tigard's water customers could absorb some costs should the two cities decide to partner over the utility.
Interesting that the ACLU was waiting for this case
To the Editor:
One of the articles on the front page of the April 19 edition of the Review discusses the suit the ACLU has filed against the city's curfew ordinance. This action strikes me as just another example of how the ACLU 'clogs' the federal courts with suits that have very little merit. As I read the substance of the ordinance, I see nothing objectionable about it.
The suit says that the ordinance 'usurps' a parent's rights to direct and control their children. Many of the problems society faces are that it is not uncommon to find that parents have abandoned directing and controlling the actions of their children. All one has to do is to read the Lake Oswego Review's police blotter, week after week, to see that many parents do not control the actions of their children.
I know that when our son and daughter were children, I would have welcomed them being cited if they were out late, just running around on the street or as is the more common vernacular 'hanging out.'
I think this is another example of some overindulged Lake Oswego teenagers, who have taken advantage of the anti-government zealousness of the ACLU, to make an issue out of a 'non-issue.' It seems to me that it is a real stretch to say the curfew ordinance, violates the student's constitutional rights. What portion of the Constitution or Bill of Rights is being violated? Only an ACLU attorney could find fault with this ordinance. I think most reasonable people think that the ordinance is all right as it is. It is interesting that the article stated that the ACLU has been waiting for the opportunity to bring such a suit.
John W. Thompson, MD
Who invited the ACLU to
come to Lake Oswego?
To the Editor:
Last week the Review greeted residents with a front-page article alerting us that the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) has come to Lake Oswego. Our parking lot at Two Centerpointe was jammed with KOIN 6 news announcing this landmark event as the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the city (that's you and me). The earth-moving issue is whether 14 year olds should be 'hanging' out in our public and private (shopping) areas at night. Shades of 'Portland's Living Room,' 'Let's Keep it Weird,' Pioneer Square?
For a moment, put aside your concerns wondering how juveniles could obtain parental permission to pursue this activity in the first place. Put aside the value of a questionable civic lesson for our youth. Focus on the knowledge that the ACLU has been invited into our community.
Many in this country firmly believe that the ACLU is at the root of problems besieging America today. This organization pursues a bizarre far left political agenda as it represents some of the most vile individuals and organizations in the name of civil liberties (that is, unconventional values). Residents might be surprised to learn the ACLU represented such groups as NAMBLA (North America Man Boy Love Association), a seemingly indefensible position.
Founded in the 1920s by avowed communists, the ACLU seems to have a fundamental disdain for the Founding Fathers' constitutional intent. At a local civic meeting, a 'constitutional lawyer' railed against Supreme Court decisions but was very hesitant to identify himself as active in the ACLU, a fact that could have alerted the audience to the nature of his rant.
They're willing to use (abuse?) our legal system in pursuit of their political interests - not ours. Merely filing a lawsuit is intimidating enough, not to mention, expensive (remember, these are your tax dollars at work/waste). The ACLU appears to be little more than a cancer on our society. Be careful what you ask for; the cure could be more dangerous than the ailment.
Noel R. Wolfe
'It's a simple request really' - just let residents OK big purchases
To the Editor:
When our mayor gave her 'State of the City' speech on Wednesday, April 18, at the (Oswego Lake) Country Club, we were disappointed to hear her mischaracterize the initiative petition currently being circulated to amend our city charter. She stated that if this petition becomes a ballot measure and passes, the Safeco property will have to be sold. That is not true. Rather, this proposed charter amendment simply requires an election to be held for a yes or no vote on city property purchases over $2 million.
If this measure passes, the city would then ask for voter approval of the Safeco purchase at the next available election. The voters will be able to vote yes or no on the purchase of the Safeco property. If the majority votes no, it would then be put on the market. If the vote is yes, the city would continue making interest payments on its loan for the initial purchase and, in additon, bring a bond measure for funding improvements to the property for a community center.
The mayor used the word 'hamstring' several times, claiming the petition would make it difficult for the city to do business. This is also incorrect. This petition was carefully crafted to exclude purchases necessary to address health and safety concerns from voter approval requirements. The truth is that over the last decade, the Safeco purchase was the only time the city spent over $2 million for property without first seeking voter approval.
We, too, want our city to be able to function efficiently and effectively and that is why the measure allows the $2 million threshold to increase with inflation.
It's a simple request really - just let Lake Oswegans approve large, nonessential property purchases, before city government spends our money!
John Surret, Co-Chief Petitoner,
Molly Mikolaitis, Volunteer Coordinator,
Mary Olson, Treasurer
ASK Lake Oswegans
Novick would be a strong senator for Oregonians to elect
To the Editor:
Last Wednesday, I attended Democrat Steve Novick's Portland announcement challenging Gordon Smith in 2008. The place was packed with an enthusiastic crowd of all ages. I was impressed! He's a serious candidate: Smart, qualified, charismatic, has encyclopedic knowledge of Smith's Senate voting record and has a realistic action plan to do better for us and for the nation as a U.S. Senator.
Novik, 44, was born without a left arm or fibulas in his legs, he is only 4 feet, 9 inches tall and has a hook for a left arm. However, listening to Novick on stage, I forgot his disabilities as he laid out the issues, outlined his plans, and dissected Smith's record.
Novick grew up in Oregon, graduated from the U of O at 18, and graduated from Harvard Law School at 21. Novick was the U.S. Justice Department's Environmental Enforcement lead counsel in the prosecution of the Love Canal lawsuit (which he won against Occidental Chemical .... which paid $129 million to clean up its mess.)
Back in Oregon, in 1996, Novick was Tom Bruggere's issues adviser and later led Ted Kulongoski's policy issues team in 2002. Novick has been the Oregon State Senate Democratic Caucus Administrator, policy adviser for Multnomah County Chair Diane Lin and legislative coordinator for the Oregon Department of Education. Novick is rational, plain-spoken, has a great sense of humor and will be able to reach Oregonians of all political stripes. Gordon Smith is in for a bruising from this guy!