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Is Lake Oswego tough on business?

To the Editor:

This reponse was also sent to Lake Oswego City Manager Douglas J. Schmitz regarding his letter in the July 5 Review:

Dear Mr. Schmitz: We read your reply to our letter in the Lake Oswego Review citing Ordinance 1783. Obviously the ordinance was in effect the full 10 years Mrs. Talarico has operated a business there and the tables have been outside all of that time. Why wasn't the ordinance enforced during those years? Recently, Mrs. Talarico told us the city didn't say anything to her when she originally opened, nor when they made changes over the years. We would like to know who brought up the ordinance after all this time? Since there had been an extended practice of allowing outside seating for such a long period of time, it would seem a precedent had been established. It would have been appropriate to let Oliver's continue its business activities until everything could be approved (or at least for a reasonable time to allow for such). You know that going through committees is a great way to stall and put people out of business. How many businesses can wait that long? Also, it seems Mrs. O'Rourke-Meador, president of the West Lake Homeowners' Association, is extremely influential because of her self-professed long history of community-involved activity. It appears to be an example of people with connections throwing their weight around to the detriment of the interests of others. We prefer to see businesses succeed. Lake Oswego is making a reputation as a very tough town in which to do business.

Julie Strong wrote another letter to the editor re. Oliver's and she was very correct in her analysis. It was a place to sit with friends and have coffee, see kids from PCC socializing in the afternoons and a friendly establishment to eat and visit, both inside and outside. We walk our dog through the Westlake area and miss the opportunity to get her some water and treats that they left for neighborhood animals. It has always been a welcoming place. It is the only bathroom around to use, if need be. We are very sad for Oliver's, the neighborhood and ourselves over the loss of this fine restaurant.

Gale and Gary Gipson

Lake Oswego

Thank you to the 'lone trumpeter'

To the Editor:

As a 20-year resident of Lake Oswego, I'd like to compliment the Lake Oswego Corporation for the best fireworks display we've ever seen on the lake! It was very well orchestrated with plenty of flash and ka-boom for all.

I'd also like to thank the lone trumpeter who played the 'Star Spangled Banner' from somewhere in the vicinity of Alder Circle at the conclusion of the fireworks. It was beautiful. One could almost feel the reverence as people hovered in their boats, quietly listening to the melody float across the water. The round of applause that followed from nearby boaters and residents showed their appreciation as well.

So, whoever you are, thank you for your patriotism and a magnificent interpretation of our National Anthem! It was a fitting conclusion to a spectatular celebration.

Martha Parisi Dirksen

Lake Oswego

Taxes and private enterprise a bad mix

To the Editor:

In response to the citizen's view by the Costellos, in the July 5 Lake Oswego Review, that the city should not choose the recommended 12-month lake drawdown, and instead suggests two 8- month drawdowns, I disagree.

Water recreation would be available during the summer months over the two-year project whereas it would not be for a single summer under the one year plan. I do not begrudge those who enjoy boating and water sports on Lake Oswego. I do not believe that taxpayers should pay the higher price for a less-efficient two-year project to subsidize boating pleasures for the few. The Lake Oswego Corporation is a private enterprise, not unlike a private golf course where the private membership pays for its use. Taxes must not be used to support private enterprise.

As for the effect on local business for one summer, the column is pure speculation. There are no facts presented to support the conclusion drawn by the authors. If a business can survive the winter months, it should be able to survive a single summer without lake recreation availability. As for Manzana's, good restaurants do well in all seasons.

John Beau

Lake Oswego

Retired teacher is luckier than many

To the Editor:

After reading the article by Cori Bolger, regarding poor Reid Segal, my heart just broke. How can Mr. Segal support himself and his family on the measly sum of $20.32 per hour? It's unheard of. Oh - I know how he can - he draws PERS benefits plus his measly $20.32.

But, bless his heart, he's being discriminated against and that's just not right. The younger guys are getting paid more than him - Boo Hoo.

Did he mention who twisted his arm when he signed the contract? Or when he chose to retire early? Or 'willingly returned to the same position two years later?'

Welcome to the real world, Mr. Segal and stop being so greedy. It could come up and bite you. Just be happy you are fortunate enough to have a job that affords you a decent living - there are many that don't. Consider yourself vituperated. Shame on you.

A disgusted tax payer,

Donna Mitchell

Lake Oswego

Safeco continues to be a thorn

To the Editor:

Since I became interested in Lake Oswego politics I have met a number of very smart people, people with loads of business and asset management experience. I have listened to their analysis and opinions and it has become quite clear why they oppose Safeco.

I knew the mayor and the councilors were not an especially gifted group in matters of business, but I wanted to believe they really care about people and our city.

I am surprised by their arrogance. Their way or the highway. I am unable to determine if they don't care about the unintended consequences they will stick us with or they don't comprehend.

The mayor acknowledges that Safeco will require a property tax increase. She has used a $300,000 home value for her example. A small group of us are facetiously talking about getting up an anchor pool, and the one that finds the $300,000 property wins the pool.

The mayor has not given up on Safeco for one minute. (She) has only experienced a measurable setback. In my opinion she isn't strong enough to carry our ballpoint pens with business matters, but she is more skilled at politics than we are and we certainly know she is willing to slip and slide to gain her advantage.

Raw sewage! I cannot speak for the law, but Webster's New World Dictionary defines this stupidity as malfeasance. I suspect the law is consistent with Webster. Note, the DEQ made the case.

Alan E. Schlosser

Lake Oswego

Palisades 'Fun Day' a chance to gather together

To the Editor:

A lot of residents have become activated and involved in the Palisades Neighborhood Association (PNA) over the past several months. I hope that the new leadership of PNA, along with all Palisades residents, can now continue to strengthen and encourage the spirit of neighborhood and sense of participation over the long term.

As an area representative to the PNA, I encourage all of the Palisades families to join their neighbors on Thursday, July 19, for the Palisades Neighborhood Association Annual Fun Day at the Lakeridge High School Track from 6 to 9 p.m. Residents can pack their picnic baskets or purchase burgers and hot dogs from the grill, while they enjoy ice cream cones, participate in games and activities of the evening, and most importantly share their neighborly spirit. The evening will give all of us, as residents of Palisades, a chance to get together as friends and neighbors.

The Palisades Neighborhood Association is a large and diverse group of residents, and I hope that spirit and participation of Fun Day will lay a strong foundation of neighborhood camaraderie and active involvement in the neighborhood and in the PNA in the months to come, as together we seek to realize our collective vision for the Palisades Neighborhood.

Don Irving

Lake Oswego

A clear forecast of city

government spending plan

To the Editor:

The June 28 Lake Oswego Review carried an article (by Sam Bennett, Staff Reporter) addressing the successful completion of a petition initiative that will be placed on the November 2007 ballot. If approved by the voters of Lake Oswego, this initiative will change the city's Charter and require the City Council to obtain voter approval to purchase real properties that are valued over $2 million. It will not restrict the city's ability to make property purchases that are related to health or safety.

The following position statements by Mayor Judie Hammerstad are extracted directly from that article. They stem from her concern that the charter change would impact the city's ability to perform (its) job:

'If the charter amendment passes this November, it would be 'nearly impossible' for the city to complete real estate transaction of $2M or more.'

'And while the city has made few purchases of more than $2M in the last decade, Hammerstad said that number will certainly increase.'

'Going forward, the inflation for land purchases is so much greater than the (consumer price index) there would be a strong likelihood of many land purchases over $2M.'

It would appear that our city government fully intends to continue spending our tax dollars on non-essential, high-end assets and the Mayor and City Council don't want the taxpayers to have any say in the matter.

While the Mayor acknowledges that 'few' property purchases over $2M were made in the last decade (the facts demonstrate that the ONLY purchase that was made exceeding that amount was the Safeco property purchase in 2006), she also indicates that the number of such purchases will increase. This government mindset of an uncontrolled budget for non-essential, high-cost properties must change. The only way to deal with such a mindset is for the voters to make it expressly clear what non-essential, high-cost assets they do and don't want their tax dollars spent on. That will happen by changing the Charter and putting some controls in place.

Denny Hageman

Lake Oswego

Respectful disagreement part of being a community

To the Editor:

Lake Oswego has always been a great place to live, to raise and educate our children and to enjoy the true spirit of community.

However, recent letters and columns in the press have become less and less civil, thoughtful or even truthful.

As an example, the mayor and city council are not 'spendthrifts.' Our ability to achieve a triple A bond rating from both Standard and Poors and Moodys testifies to our fiscal responsibility.

No one has 'scraped (sic?) the records of public hearings.' That's absurd. And our only motives are to serve our community in accordance with the law, our obligations and the continuing livability for our residents for now and for the future.

If we have been bold and visionary, we have also made missteps, but that does not mean that we have been irresponsible in our actions. Taxes are lower than our capability to levy them, and we have our infrastructure needs as our first priority.

As an example of this, while the Council is very much in favor of keeping the West End property, we have made the decision to NOT go forward with the community center bond in 2008.

This city is known for its livability and sense of community. Let's remember that we are a community. We know that we can disagree respectfully, and we also know that we can work together to solve our problems, face our challenges and to make Lake Oswego the best it can be.

Judie Hammerstad

Mayor, Lake Oswego