The Cornelius council needs to address the lingering complaints that the city is somehow anti-business.
For many people, 2011 will be a year they'd rather forget. It's not just the economy that continued to struggle last year. From congressmen to city managers, it was a year of tumult and turmoil in the world of local politics.
The year started out badly for former U.S. Rep. David Wu and only got worse. February brought reports about massive staff defections and photos of the Democrat in a tiger suit. The storyline took a serious turn in July, with allegations of sexual misconduct involving the daughter of a friend. On Aug. 3, he resigned.
In Cornelius, the city welcomed a new council majority in January and then watched as Team 3 ousted the popular city manager in June. The trio paid a high price, getting recalled from office in late September.
Forest Grove officials had their own problems, getting socked with a $6.5 million jury verdict in October.
November brought another shake-up, as two Forest Grove School Board members were recalled.
So, what's ahead for 2012? Here are some resolutions we think could pave the way for a calmer, productive year:
Cornelius City Council: The appointments you made to replace Team Three were good ones. Now you need to hire a new city manager who will help you address the lingering, (and largely unproven) complaints that the city is somehow anti-business.
Cornelius Mayor Jef Dalin: If you (and councilors Steve Heinrich and Dave Schamp) want to stay on the council, then you need to campaign next year. Team 3 was elected, in part, because the incumbents they ran against didn't mount a campaign. If you want the job, voters expect you to work for it.
Forest Grove City Council: Appeal the jury verdict. It appears that some city employees may have made some decisions that created hardships for a developer. If so, that needs to be addressed. But the $6.5 million verdict presents more than a financial sucker-punch for the city, it could set a precedent which could restrict needed development in cities and counties across the state. A lot of folks have a stake in this case; some of them should be able to help you fight it.
Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax: (See advice to Jef Dalin.)
Forest Grove School Board: The three of you left standing handled a divisive recall with a lot of class. But now the real work begins. You ought to have a great pool of applicants to fill the two vacancies. When making your picks, look for candidates who have professional experience that can help you understand not only the budget, but also issues surrounding curriculum, teacher training and regional partnerships.
Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington: As western Washington County's representative on the Portland-based regional government, you already took some hits for its unwillingness to free up land out here for industrial development. You need to negotiate a political minefield of balancing what's best for the region with what's needed out here. So far you've done a good job, but 2012 will bring more challenges and you have enough respect in Portland and the 'burbs to take a leadership role.
TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane: Quit fighting the anti-transit forces in Clackamas County and extend light rail to western Washington County, where the public and policymakers will fete you as a hero. At the very least, extend the Line 57 bus route to Forest Grove High School. You look petty by not doing so.