- Lake Oswego Review - Opinion
Police blotter changes a concern
To the Editor:
I am a happy person who loves to read the Lake Oswego Review.
You have interesting stories, reports and other funny and interesting things.
The most enjoyable part of the paper to me is the police blotter, which has been filled with funny, sometimes ridiculous things. Recently however, you seem to have changed it back to what it used to be.
The funny police blotter that used to just give you the facts of what happened is now filled with demeaning, rude and snide comments.
This switch (went) from amusing blurbs about the past week to the annoying and terrible writings and opinions about why people call the police.
With all of these comments about the calls to the police that are twisted into crude opinions, I am surprised that you haven't started putting people names back in.
Newspaper stacked the deck
To the Editor:
In the Sept. 27 edition of the Lake Oswego Review, you ran three lengthy essays against the West End property by RA Fontes, Carolyne R. Jones and Kathe Worsley. Tellingly, none of these essays was paired with a rebuttal.
Meanwhile, in the same issue, you ran only one opposing essay by Mayor Judie Hammerstad, followed immediately by a lengthy response in opposition by Mary Olson and the omnipresent John Surrett.
Why was the mayor the only one allowed to speak at length in favor of the property - and the only one whose arguments were subjected to instant rebuttal?
This was blatantly unfair. The Review stacked the deck in the Sept. 27 issue and then dealt from the bottom of it.
Editor's note: While conspiracy theories are easy to formulate, they aren't necessarily true. Such is the case here. In the Sept. 20th Review, John Surrett wrote a citizen's view that we afforded a response opportunity for Mayor Judie Hammerstad. In an effort to be fair, we provided the same opportunity to Surrett and Mary Olson together in last week's citizen's view that Hammerstad wrote. It's interesting that people sometimes complain when we do or don't provide the opportunity for a response and now you are complaining because we afforded the same opportunity to both sides. As to why was the mayor's column the only one to speak at length in favor of the Safeco building purchase in the Sept. 27th paper,, the answer is simple: She's the only one who submitted a citizen's view that week taking the stand she did. By the way, we periodically check to see if opposing sides wish to comment on an opinion piece and often they do not. Stacked deck? Not true.
'Voters have a right to straight talk'
To the Editor:
I read with some amusement John Turchi's 'My Turn' in last week's Oregonian Southwest Weekly. At no time did he claim he was misquoted in my commentary. I simply printed what he said. At no time did I claim he supported the initiative petition measure, only the process the petitioners used.
He then uses the tired city argument that the MillenniumPlaza Park project would not have occurred had Measure 3-269 been in effect. Remember that the Millennium Plaza Park project was and is a redevelopment project for urban renewal of 'blighted areas.' This area was certainly in need of redevelopment and it has been successfully redeveloped.
The Safeco property is one of the most expensive and desirable properties in the state. Hardly a worthy comparison to the redevelopment of a blighted area. Further, had the measure been in effect at the time, and the city and LORA made a convincing case for it, the voters in all probability would have approved purchases of blighted property.
He continues, 'As of now, the Safeco purchase has not raised taxes one penny.' How misleading. Does he think the purchase was free? The city borrowed the money to purchase the property and has used more than $2 million of the taxes we have already paid to fund interest, consulting fees, lost property taxes, remodeling costs, and maintenance. Turchi also knows that council must eventually propose a bond measure funded by taxes to pay off the loan.
Voters have a right to straight talk.
Don't risk Lake Oswego's future
To the Editor:
Frozen in time. I'm concerned Lake Oswego will be frozen in time if Measure 3-269 is passed. Why would a cap of $2 million for real estate without voter approval be a bad idea? Generally speaking, controlling government is an excellent idea.
Measure 3-269 misses the mark. I own gas stations in the greater Portland area. I don't know a lot about other businesses, but I do know the gas station business. If this measure passed and we ever wanted to buy an existing gas station we would almost surely have to have a vote of the people. Why would that be if the property and building were only appraised at $1 million? The simple reason is a business sells not just for the value of the land and building, but also for the value of the business itself.
The reality is all businesses in this town are sold the same way. Almost all the business property would sell for more than the land and building structure. The end result: Almost no one will sell property subject to a vote of the people.
I actually believe this initiative would hurt property values. If the city is severely restricted in its ability at making land acquisitions in the future, every homeowner I believe will see a slow and steady decline in appreciation. We don't know where this town is going to be in five years so let's don't take this risk.
Measure 3-269 would create problems
To the Editor:
I urge a no vote on Measure 3-269. The bottom line on this measure is about how we govern our city. Do we want our elected officials to fulfill their responsibilities for planning and development, or do we want special interest groups with initiative petitions to take their place?
Over the years that I have been a resident of Lake Oswego I have been impressed with the quality, integrity and dedication of our elected officials. They have consistently shown a desire to do what is in the best interest of the city. Together with exceptional staff leadership they have made sound decisions in governance and planning. They have embraced the public participation process and have been responsive to public input. We have, over the years, demonstrated an excellent model for successful city government.
I do not want the initiative process to interrupt this success. Measure 3-269 would do that. Many of the implications of that measure are unknown. It would impede future progress of our city.
Our elected officials are accountable for the actions they take and the decisions they make. They have an oath of office to uphold and an electorate to face when they seek re-elections. Those who author initiative petitions have no accountability for the measure they bring forth. The ramifications of passing a flawed initiative are left for the local government to deal with. Measure 3-269 does not solve a problem, it creates new ones and impedes the future success of our city government.
Citizens need to take role in city's future
To the Editor:
In February of 2005, Campbell DeLong Associates sampled public opinion about the need for a community center. The proposed cost was estimated at $27 million dollars. Thirty-six percent of the respondents supported the project, with about half opposed.
December 2005, Council Resolution 05-86 declared the Safeco site a public necessity. The purpose would be a community center. In April 2006, the council voted unanimously to spend $20 million to purchase the property.
At the same time, sewer problems were proliferating. The current mandated repairs exceed $100 million and have been ordered by the state DEQ. However, the cost of a community center also grew to $80 to $100 million.
Now the city's leaders want to move city services into the Safeco site. Also, they have placed a measure (3-273) on the ballot to keep or sell the site. It is non-binding, suggests minimal financial impact on the taxpayer and does not specify future uses or costs related to the building.
Consequently, the Ask Lake Oswegans organization placed a measure (3-269) on the ballot through the support of more than 5000 voters. It requires the city to obtain voter approval to purchase non-essential properties exceeding $2 million and places the Safeco purchase to a vote in March 2008.
By voting yes on measure 3-269 and no on measure 3-273 we can participate in future purchases of unneeded, high-cost properties, have a single vote on urban development planned properties that exceed $2 million, and recover Safeco costs that have grown to more than $23 million without voting for a penny.
'Let the voters decide' Safeco issue
To the Editor:
I have just seen the brochure being distributed by opponents of Measure 3-269. It states that they want to 'Protect Our Future' by voting 'no' on a '… measure which would impede our city government's ability to make positive decisions for our future.' What it fails to mention is that a 'yes' vote on Measure 3-269 would impede the city government's ability to make negative decisions for our future. And the purchase of the Safeco property for a $100 million community center was a negative decision.
It is the actions of the mayor and the city council that gave rise to the group proposing Measure 3-269. When citizens see that their government is headed in the wrong direction, they must act. It's not enough to sit back and say, 'We elected them to govern so let them do their job.'
If they are doing a bad job (and enough citizens thought they were to put this measure on the ballot) and the voters don't try to stop them, these same voters will be stuck with the consequences long after the elected officials are out of office.
This is what democracy is all about: Let the voters decide. And that is what Measure 3-269 does. If the voters don't like it, they will vote it down; if they agree with it, they will vote for it. I prefer this alternative to the one of letting the city council ram this project down my throat and then hand me the bill for it.