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Guest comment: Chris Hawes on lawsuit concerning disincorporation

Councilor De Young continues assault on his constituents

The Citizens Committee for Disincorporation wishes to announce that a lawsuit has been filed by Damascus City Councilor James De Young to halt the upcoming May 17 election on Measure 93, and deprive the citizens of Damascus of their right to determine their own path forward.

In a recent letter to the editor appearing April 15 in The Outlook, De Young claimed a new era of cooperation and achievement was about to unfold in Damascus. He stated: “We’ve learned that past extremist views are dysfunctional. In this 'do or die' situation, we can minimize differences and magnify agreements to work together for a new, brighter future, for our splendid city.”

It is hard to imagine a more extremist view than an elected representative filing legal action intended to prevent the citizens from exercising their electoral rights.

It is impossible to dismiss the disingenuous nature of De Young’s statement when viewed in light of a lawsuit filed just days later.

As a leader of the opposition to the Yes on M-93 campaign, it is clear that when faced with a coming defeat at the hands of the voters, De Young will do anything to take the very choice out of those same hands.

De Young was part of the City Council that filed multiple lawsuits against the very people they were sworn to represent. His latest legal misadventure shows he has learned nothing from that sad chapter in the Damascus story. A clear sign of his overwhelming arrogance is his intent to act as his own attorney.

In a March press release announcing the launch of the Yes on Measure 93 campaign, the Citizens Committee for Disincorporation said: “Since we voted in 2013, we have seen a Damascus city council file lawsuits against our citizens, continued conflict, five comprehensive plans fail by ever-increasing margins, no indications of any improvement, and another $7.7 million of our tax dollars spent.”

It is apparent that we need to add this latest sorry action to the list of reasons why Damascus will not survive.

The 2013 vote clearly showed the people wanted an end to the city. We had the right to incorporate a city, and we have the right to disincorporate that city. We will not allow a self-appointed demagogue to deny the people of Damascus their right to decide their own future.

Chris Hawes

Communications Director

Citizens Committee for Disincorporation

Damascus