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Readers' Letters

Remember where we have been

I have been a resident of West Linn for over 15 years. During that time we have seen a lot of turmoil at city hall. We have seen $1.42 million embezzled by a city employee and our financial audits were a joke. We have seen a dysfunctional city council that accomplished little but bickering with each other. We have seen a mayor misrepresent her credentials, lie to the citizens and strain relationships with other government leaders.

Now it is 2014. Where are we today? Our financials have stabilized and we now receive national awards for our financial reporting. We have regained the respect and working relationship with other local governments. We have a city council that is working hard to make the right decisions for the city. We have a mayor that has shown he is not only a good leader but an honorable man who is using all of his resources to do the right thing for the citizens of West Linn.

Today, there is a small group who want to remove the mayor and most of our councilors because they made a decision this group did not agree with. I fully understand and have empathy with them for the construction that is going on and will go on for another year in their neighborhood. However, that construction will end and life will go back to what it was.

Our leaders made the best decision they could for the good of all of the citizens of West Linn. Let’s not forget how far we have come and throw them out because some people don’t agree with one decision.

Mike Lindner

West Linn

Mayor and three councilors ‘need to go’

I love West Linn, but I confess I’m not as confident about the future of the city with the current administration as some writers. All the misplaced hand-wringing and consternation over the recall would be better spent holding the city council accountable because Mayor John Kovash and the council majority have abdicated their responsibilities to represent the citizens of West Linn. City Manager Chris Jordan is calling the shots and the council does his bidding and I’m pretty sure that is not how it is supposed to work.

Mayor Kovash blames the citizens for holding him accountable for his misdeeds due to the ethics violation. Trivializing both ethics and campaign violations is a slippery slope, but as long as the tail is wagging the dog, in this case the city manager making the decisions for the city council, all is well in paradise.

Citizen input is no longer valued at city hall, unless you engage in the group thinking of the council. Diverse opinions are marginalized and discredited so people no longer wish to be active in local government. I understand that a recall effort is a very serious matter, but I want a city council that listens to the people; just like they promised they would do when they ran for office. I understand they are unpaidvolunteers, but hiding behind their volunteerism is unacceptable.

The recall effort is comprised of people from a cross section of the community, with diverse backgrounds and differing political views. It is comprised of people who don’t always agree on everything, but they agree on one thing, the mayor and the three councilors in question need to go.

Curt Sommer

Recall petitioner

West Linn

Support the mayor and council

Like many residents of West Linn, we chose to build our life in this community because of its longstanding commitment to education, ongoing effort to preserve open space and the connections that exist between its people. All of this was apparent when we returned to Oregon and it continues to be true today.

Over the past five years, we’ve been fortunate enough to establish new friendships; see our kids grow and, in many ways, thrive; and become involved in a variety of local causes, committees and boards.

It’s with the benefit of this perspective that I’d like to offer a brief response to the current effort to recall Mayor John Kovash and Councilors Mike Jones, Jody Carson and Jenni Tan.

A small minority of citizens argue the council violated the public’s trust and put at risk the long-term interests of the city. In addition to particular procedural missteps, they cite a deliberate disregard for citizen opinion and a lack of accountability. At best, this argument is misinformed and slanted; at worst, it’s self-interested and ill intentioned.

The council, together with the city manager, has pursued creative solutions in a challenging climate to pressing issues facing West Linn’s transportation, water and economic infrastructure.

The city’s financial health, once in doubt, has never been stronger. And new leadership forums have been launched — helping to increase transparency and stimulate citizen involvement at all levels. For each of these reasons, and so many more, this council has my support. I appreciate their commitment, thoughtful approach and willingness to work as one in support of a better West Linn.

Erik Simshauser

Citizen budget committee member

Former utility advisory board member

West Linn

Sign petition to help end taxpayer funding of abortions

You can help end Oregon taxpayers’ funding of abortions right from your home computer.

Since early last year, the Oregon 2014 Petition Committee — which I serve as a chief sponsor — has been working to put a measure onto Oregon’s November 2014 ballot to end state-government funding of abortions. To succeed, we need to collect the signatures of 116,284 registered voters by mid-May.

Tens of thousands of Oregonians already have signed our petition. We’re on pace to qualify our measure for the ballot. But we need your signature as well.

Why?

• In Oregon, via the Oregon Health Plan, taxpayers fund nearly half of all elective abortions. The number of tax-paid abortions in fiscal year 2011-12 was 4,191, at a cost to taxpayers of some $1.75 million.

• Over the past decade, Oregon taxpayers spent $16 million to fund 38,455 abortions.

• Today, the number of taxpayer-funded abortions in Oregon is at a 10-year high.

A recent Action Solutions/Edge poll of 448 randomly selected Oregonians — weighted for age, gender and party affiliation — found that 54 percent oppose taxpayer funding of abortions while only 37 percent support it.

Whatever your position on abortion, certainly you can agree: taxpayers should not be forced to pay for elective abortions.

It’s easy to get our petition. Go to Oregon2014.org, print a single-signature petition sheet, sign it and mail it to the listed address. By doing so, you can help end Oregon taxpayers’ funding of abortions.

Marylin Shannon

Oregon taxpayer and former Oregon state senator

Brooks



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