Needle on my ‘skept-o-meter’ is twitching

Fueled by rancorous rhetoric that pilloried past elected leaders in the city and aided by a political party styled “vote the ticket or else” campaign strategy, we now have a new “gang of four” running city politics in Lake Oswego. Though skeptical, I wished them well when they took office.

But just two weeks into the new year, the needle on my “skept-o-meter” is twitching. Why ungraciously depose a perfectly capable and professional city manager who has brought stability and leadership to city operations under difficult circumstances in the past year? If Mr. Donaldson is not to be the manager of choice for the new majority then, on his record, he surely could have continued in the interim role until the council (the entire council body) decides who the next city manager will be.

By casting him aside in order to appoint their own person (a political fellow-traveler), then right out of the gate the new majority subjects itself to charges of cronyism, a lack of transparency and poor communications with the rest of the council and an unnecessary additional administrative expense for a consulting interim manager.

At installation, Mayor Studebaker said “a lot of things are being done very well and we want to continue that.” Mr. Donaldson, the city’s quarterback charged with executing the plays called in from the sidelines, must have felt good about his contribution to the city’s team. However, just one week later, he’s benched with very little explanation, not even the customary cop-out of “violation of team rules.” So, we are left to wonder. For all their criticism of prior elected officials, this new “gang of four” seems headed down the road to repeating the avowed sins of their predecessors. Call me skeptical.

Noel Klein

Lake Oswego

This Lake Oswego appointment ‘stinks’

Politicizing the city manager job is bad for our community.

No matter how you look at it, setting aside a professional like David Donaldson and bringing in someone whose credentials start with being a LOCAL member, active supporter of Kent Studebaker, Karen Bowerman and Skip O’Neill and outspoken on many community issues stinks.

I hope the mayor and his cronies do not have supporters who want to be police or fire chief.

William J. Tierney

Former Lake Oswego city councilor

‘But, they get to choose’

In December, citizens saw the mayor and city council approve what some believe are partisan city committee appointments. Some think these appointments were made to spite the incoming council and mayor.

This month, the new mayor and city council appointed a new, interim city manager. Some constituencies believe this appointment was made surreptitiously.

All the while, many in this city have hope that the new year will bring an end to the rancor and divisiveness exhibited by city officials in previous years. Many long for a new regime, which will show effective leadership, ushering in calm, thoughtful, considered decision-making.

Realistically, early returns from current council demonstrate that the old status will remain “quo.” It’s natural for winners to leverage the prerogative (power) they deem has been vested in them by the majority.

So, “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.” And, I might add, same as the next boss.

The good news is that the new boss will probably get something done. The bad news is that it may not be what you would have wanted. But, they get to choose.

So, voice your displeasure whenever you feel the need, but be diligent in protecting yourself in every way you can from that which you cannot control.

Then take a deep breath. This too shall pass.

Thomas N. Holder

Lake Oswego

Behavior by councilor deemed ‘unacceptable’

During his first city council meeting, our new mayor, Kent Studebaker, was criticized by one of his fellow councilors, Jon Gustafson, regarding the tactics used to “secretly” nominate Tom Coffee as the interim city manager. He pointed out that he was surprised at the mayor’s announcement and ranted about “the rumors he has heard about Mr. Coffee’s hit list of city employees, departments and programs that he would like to get rid of.”

The truth is that our mayor made a point of discussing with Gustafson (the previous) week about his intent to place Tom Coffee in the city manager position.

I believe the community shares my opinion that this type of behavior from a newly elected councilor, or anyone for that matter, in Lake Oswego’s government is unacceptable. Gustafson has relied on rumors to support his position and has placed his personal self-interests and feelings before the needs of the our city. Our council has more important issues to resolve without taking the time to hear the negative gaffe from someone with no proven leadership or political experience.

I am hopeful that Mr. Gustafson rethinks his role on the council and makes a concerted effort to be a team player.

Dave Sengenberger

Lake Oswego

Thanks to LOPD, dispatchers for professionalism

(On the) afternoon (of Jan 17), the Lake Oswego Police Department responded very quickly to my 15-year-old daughter’s 9-1-1 call, reporting someone attempting to gain entry into our home — and ended up catching the guy in the act of breaking one of my windows.

If you report this, please allow me to go on record that I truly appreciate not only their promptness, but (also) the extremely calm, kind and professional manner they used while talking with my daughter.

I am very proud of her for doing everything exactly as she should have in this situation, remaining calm and cool the entire time, and the officers were kind enough to commend her about that repeatedly.

Her “adrenaline crash” was almost non-existent (can’t say the same for mine) and I attribute that to the way they handled the situation with her.

Kristie Focht

Lake Oswego

‘Rapid action in replacing’ city manager is disturbing

An open letter to Mayor Kent Studebaker:

Your action reported in the Jan. 17 Lake Oswego Review (“Controversy clouds city appointment”) is disturbing.

Your rapid action in replacing the city manager did clarify your statement as you left the candidate forum last fall at Lakeridge High School: “Get rid of the city manager.”

In our democratic society you won the election (although {154} votes is hardly a mandate); now play by the rules.

Sandra Jackson

Lake Oswego

Reader shares enjoyment over Gubanc’s

I recently went to an amazing restaurant called Gubanc’s Pub.

It is located at 16008 Boones Ferry Road, Lake Oswego. I enjoyed it so much I could recommend it to anyone. The food selection went from burgers to steak to salmon. The drinks are superb and the selection of wines is immense. The restaurant was very boxy looking and had a family atmosphere.

If you need a nice dinner out or a small family gathering place, then you must try Gubanc’s Pub.

Vanessa Tuffs

Lake Oswego

‘Ask that our new mayor stop his oligarchy’

The recent moves and decisions by the new city council “majority” is not only disappointing, but concerning. So much for “transparency” as the new mayor promised in his taking the oath of office.

In appointing Tom Coffee as new (interim) city manager, the mayor said, “You’re not going to find anybody that is better qualified.” The mayor avoided describing that Mr. Coffee and the LOCAL political action group provided significant funds for his campaign. Is this payback time? What’s next?

Lake Oswego is an incredible place to live, raise our families and love life. Behind all that is a competent, dedicated government with incredible public employees. We have the finest police and fire departments. I have interacted with many staff (members) over the years. Please do not ignore their experience and knowledge.

Ask that our new mayor stop his oligarchy of the few controlling for selfish reasons. We want to continue to live in a democracy. We want to see Lake Oswego continue to thrive.

Paul J. Lyons

Lake Oswego

Councilors are public servants to all

Lake Oswego has chosen the council-manager form of government, where the city manager runs city operations under the direction of the city council, whose job it is to make policy.

ORS 192 instructs that in Oregon, the carrying out of government requires an informed public that is made aware of the deliberations and decisions of governing bodies and the information upon which such decisions are made. ORS 192.620 states specifically that decisions of governing bodies should be arrived at openly.

In ORS 244, the Legislature instructs that 1) service as a public official is a public trust and 2) public officials should put loyalty to the highest ethical standards above loyalty to government, persons, political party or private enterprise.

The “new majority” of the city council of Lake Oswego owes its constituents better service over the next two years than that suggested by the events of the Jan. 15 council meeting. Anyone who thinks that what transpired in that meeting can be forgiven as rookie exuberance need only have listened to the mayor’s remarks to the Jan. 16 Lake Oswego Women’s Coalition for a vision of what appears to have been scripted for the future. The mayor won his seat by a mere (154) votes. If a re-vote had been held Jan. 17, I’m pretty confident that it wouldn’t have been hard to find 250 electors anxious to change their vote.

After his election, Mayor Studebaker, in an interview with Molly Harbarger of The Oregonian, expressed only leadership goals and “next steps” that were positive and progressive. All of us who care about Lake Oswego need to hold Mr. Studebaker and his new majority accountable for the populist ideals expressed in their public speeches during the campaign, or the city will remain divided and polarized. Councilors are public servants to all citizens, not just to the ones who voted for them.

Karen Jacobson

Lake Oswego

‘Is this any way to run our government?’

We will now see the fruits of November whereby anti-light-rail forces were put in charge of our Clackamas County government.

In their first month in office they have ordered voters to approve simple administrative questions such as, “Should TriMet operate the new Portland-Milwaukie light rail line?” Duh.

If the voters say “no,” then the Ludlow-Tootie-Savas schemers have won by killing the new line and any others. They must want more vehicle traffic.

Next up: Oregon DOT is looking at a new high-speed rail line connecting Eugene to Portland. Whoa! It must run through Clackamas County and that means voters must authorize consideration of such a notion.

That’s thought-provoking except staffers can’t even think about it on county time unless voters say they can. Is this any way to run our government?

One wonders how long Clackamas County citizens will put up with such expensive, time-wasting foolishness.

Peter Toll

West Linn

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