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'Sour grapes complaints are tedious at best' 


Power is defined as control. Synonyms are influence, authority, rule, command, clout and dominance (among others). Once a group obtains power, they will do whatever they can to retain power. Once they lose power, they will do whatever they can to deter those who took the power from them. In doing so, they maintain a sense of their former power through their resistance to the new authority. Lake Oswego provides an excellent example of the flow of power in a municipality.

Prior to 2001, under mayors Schlenker and Klammer, the city council was truly a nonpartisan body. Fiscal conservationism was weighed against progressivism. Voting was balanced and budget matters and projects such as Millennium Plaza Park and Lake View Village progressed with ease and cooperation. The last year under Klammer, Ellie McPeak and Jack Hoffman were the only voices for what was to become a dominant group of individuals. Judie Hammerstad became mayor in 2001 accompanied by John Turchi and Gay Graham. With McPeak and Hoffman it formed a 5-2 majority. The arrival of Lynn Peterson in 2003 made it 6-1 and in 2005, after adding Frank Groznik, it was a solid consortium giving this group unopposed command. Four more years of rotating in Roger Hennagin, Kristin Johnson and Donna Jordan, the group had absolute power. It also brought us the West End Building. Although sensitive lands designations had already been created, new interpretations and applications were derived. The PDX-LO streetcar and Foothills development were expensive ideas floated in the new Lake Oswego.

In 2008, Hammerstad gave way to Hoffman who brought with him Sally Moncrieff and Bill Tierney and a lone voice of fiscal realism, Mary Olson. The unanimous vote was gone and 6-1 votes followed serious discussions to which the citizens of Lake Oswego finally paid attention. The LO-Tigard Water Partnership and resulting water rate increases were added notice. When Johnson resigned from the council, she was replaced not by the runner-up in the prior election, but by Dan Vizzini who had served on Hoffman’s election campaign staff. Discussions at council meetings became heated as a growing number of citizens opposed the plans of the council majority. They were in power however, and the goals of that group continued unabated.

The election of 2010 brought change with Jeff Gudman and Mike Kehoe joining Olson’s fiscal restraint approach. It is the writer’s belief Jordan was re-elected (in a close vote) because Lake Oswego was not receptive to electing a slate of male-only candidates. More debates, more contentious arguments, more citizen awareness culminated in the change in power that occurred in the recent election. The citizens labeled the “vocal minority” by Jordan showed that was a misnomer as the power shifted to fiscal self-discipline.

Now came the misinformation campaign to smear the new administration. Lack of notice, lack of transparency, pushed by the now out of power group and furthered by the media was the beginning. Now it’s Foothill injustice written by members of the Hammerstad-Hoffman cadre and signed by three councilors who served more than 20 years ago, two sitting councilors defeated in their bid for re-election, and two others who would have been defeated had they run. Having rammed their directives home fortified by stacked boards and commissions without regard for the rest of us while they were in power, their sour grapes complaints are tedious at best.

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