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Council shows transparency, but not in a good way

For those who did not attend or watch the Dec. 18 Lake Oswego City Council meeting, an agenda item concerned the appointments for the citizens’ budget committee. Through the normal interview process (at least eight applied, including myself), the selection committee recommended Kent Studebaker (incumbent/chair) and David Berg (incumbent/vice chair), with Charles Collins as alternate. Since Kent is mayor-elect, the recommendation should have been Berg and Collins. When the item was reached on the agenda, instead of the normal process of motion/second/vote on the selection committee’s recommendations, Mayor Jack Hoffman immediately recognized Sally Moncrieff who made a motion to appoint John Turchi and Duke Castle to the CBC with Linda Adlard as alternate. The result was pre-ordained and in spite of objections from Mike Kehoe, Mary Olson and Jeff Gudman, the current majority (Hoffman, Moncrieff, Bill Tierney and Donna Jordan) steamrolled the process and made the appointments. This was reflective of what had occurred last year when incumbent Chair Ron Smith was reappointed but removed as chair and incumbent Dan Williams failed to be reappointed and Craig Prosser was appointed in his place.

Appalled, I sent the following email to the city council:

“You have made history as the most transparent city council that ever existed, but not in a good way. Your maneuverings to place members of the Judy Hammerstad cadre on the CBC, thereby trying to salvage some control over the city, is the most blatant abuse of power I’ve witnessed, and I’ve witnessed plenty I assure you. Jack, Sally and Bill, those actions are the last memories many LO citizens will have of your service. I guess that is the legacy you’ve earned. My only regret as you give up your positions is that Donna is not leaving with you. You’ve all been disappointments in reflecting the interests of only a portion, and the minority portion it turns out, of Lake Oswego citizens. You should be ashamed, but I know you are not.”

The only response I received was from Donna Jordan wherein she justified her vote as providing the CBC with “a broad perspective that reflects our diverse community.”

Why then are all of the selections known Hammerstad-Hoffman supporters? I replied to Donna, “If those appointed last night have any of the integrity missing from last night’s vote (and I believe two of them do) they will refuse to serve under the circumstances.” I encourage them to consider doing so.

I should explain my being included in the interviews. I had not submitted my name this year. I had done so last year, but when they conducted the interviews, I was not included. Said to be an “administrative oversight,” I had suspicions it was intentional due to my previous contentious relationship with Mayor Hoffman that has been well documented in the Lake Oswego Review. However, this year I was called and was given the opportunity to interview. I did so with no illusions Hoffman would ever permit my being appointed, but merely to undergo the process for my own edification.

We have gone through considerable turmoil over the last four years in our city. Our future looks much better come January though many challenges will confront our new city council. It is a pity the Hoffman administration felt the need to continue their philosophical partisanship even through their final meeting.

Gary Gipson is a Lake Oswego resident and member of COLA LO.




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