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Recall is a win, no matter the result

There seems to be great merit in the recent recall campaign of the mayor of West Linn and three city councilors. However, there are no villains on either side.

I know that some of the city council members are people of good intentions and good character. On the other side are citizens who probably would rather do something other than attending meetings, organizing rallies and knocking on doors.

Logic dictates that there is much more here than some simplistic portrayal of a small group of people who are wailing about a problem that only impacts their particular corner of the city.

The catalyst, of course, was the city council’s decision regarding the gigantic water project known as LOT, the Lake Oswego-Tigard agreement. Disregarding its own planning commission’s unanimous vote to curtail LOT and forging ahead anyway has produced a perception, and perhaps a reality, that has spread further than any small band of vociferous citizens.

Succinctly, following are some of the perceptions as related in recent television documentary interviews:

1. That citizen input is disdained and provides no influence in council decisions.

2. That council decisions are always swayed by the city manager and hence the city manager, not the representatives of the people, makes the decisions.

3. That there is a certain hubris, especially by the mayor and city manager, that marginalizes any infractions, ethical or otherwise, by the council or by the city manager’s office.

4. That not only has citizen input been curtailed or in some cases eliminated, but that various directives from the city manager have been approved by the council whereby that office is further insulated from public scrutiny. The most obvious example is the approval of another so-called city attorney that works under the direction of the city manager.

Being a neophyte in regard to city politics, I still had an understanding that the city attorney was an adjunct to the city council and whose legal advice would serve the council as an objective voice.

I think it would be quite difficult for the other “city attorney” to provide objectivity regarding her boss, the city manager.

I also understand that this position is not allowed under the city charter, but that the document was not heeded.

I would reiterate that I am no expert on city politics and, like many, have been heretofore apathetic in that arena. In summary, on one side I see a group of West Linn citizens, with true concerns, that have no meaningful political input, no real forum and no other means be part of the decision-making process.

On the other side, I see elected officials have found it easier to say yes to the hired help than to challenge the position.

It is therefore not surprising that rather than reaching out to those who are suggesting a recall, and perhaps mending a fence or two, that the council and mayor have simply rounded up the proverbial wagons and hidden behind the idea of “just being a volunteer.”

In the end, any dissemination of information is a win for the people of West Linn. Therefore, whatever the final result, the recall effort a positive effort.

Richard Marlow is a West Linn resident.




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