Once again, a small group of West Linn residents is trying to be the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.

Four residents have filed petitions to recall Mayor John Kovash and Councilors Jenni Tan, Mike Jones and Jody Carson.

The petitions were filed by Karie Oakes, Curtis Sommer, Reena Heijdeman and E. Marie Horvath, who allege that the city councilors broke their oaths of office by violating public meetings laws, not representing the best interests of West Linn citizens, ignoring recommendations from city advisory boards and commissions and failing to assert proper control over the city manager and city attorney.

Some of these complaints stem from issues like an in-house attorney position, the Lake Oswego-Tigard water treatment plant permitting process and the role and power of the city manager. For most citizens, these are simply procedural decisions. There has been no embezzlement or scandal. These councilors are not committing any crimes.

Anyone who has met the members of the city council knows they have nothing but the best interest of West Linn in their hearts and in their minds. These are honest, hardworking and thoughtful individuals. These are your neighbors trying their best to learn their jobs as elected officials and doing the best they can for the city of West Linn. Is there room for improvement? Sure, as there is with any job.

This is not the first attempt of a recall in West Linn’s recent history. In 2009, a resident petitioned to recall Scott Burgess, Jody Carson and John Kovash because the three then-councilors supported having West Linn join a Clackamas County advisory board that would have explored a sewage treatment partnership. However, the resident failed to turn in the required signatures.

Although recalls have their place, it is recalls such as these that hinder the government process, conjure ill will toward elected officials and cast a poor light on civil servants. Four people out of the city’s 25,600 should not have the power to taint public opinion of the mayor and the city council. In 2012, during the most recent council election, 8,295 people supported the mayor by voting for him, as did 9,425 people for Tan.

Rather than casting stones, the petitioners should step up and run for election. The terms of Carson and Jones end in November 2014. Why not start working on your own election campaign and bring change from the inside rather than working through intimidation and bullying?

If the petitioners do collect the required 1,844 signatures they need on each petition, the cost of a special election to the city is estimated at $10,000. On top of that, the city is already hemorrhaging staff time and money working with the petitioners as they navigate the recall process.

It is time to stop the bickering, the nitpicking and the gossiping.

This is the time of year when we spread a message of peace, love, family and community. This recall casts a shadow not only over these elected officials and their families, but also the entire city. It may also deter any potential future leaders as they may not want to be targets for disgruntled citizens.

Don’t sign the recall petitions.

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