Russ Axelrod and I are running a joint campaign for the two West Linn City Council seats being contested in the November election. It seems clear to us that a change in the current direction of West Linn will only be affected by election of two new council members. A council who has voiced a desire to eliminate Neighborhood Associations (NA), cut back on citizen testimony at their meetings, repeatedly disregarded their advisory board decisions/recommendations and shown indifference to its citizens is unlikely to be swayed in any other way.

The current council complains that NAs are not truly representative because meeting attendance is poor unless a significant issue is on the agenda, but doesn’t the same apply to their council meetings? The reason so few people attend or watch council meetings anymore is perhaps because the discussion is limited or non-existent and the result predetermined in private meetings behind closed doors. The incumbent City Council members Mike Jones and Jody Carson are well-meaning people, but they no longer bring independent ideas to the discussions or challenge city management proposals. In 2010, both were elected with the promise of empowering NAs and ensuring citizen involvement in decisions, yet we have seen no evidence of this being done. In fact, they have already made decisions to weaken these elements and have expressed opinions and plans to further degrade these essential components of our community planning process.

With all that is happening in the world today, it is understandable that most people feel too busy to keep track of council conduct that may impact their lives. We are typically focused on the priorities of work, bringing up a family and finding time for some well-earned leisure. As a result, we rely on our elected officials to keep us informed, represent our opinion and best interest on issues, and to be fully transparent in their conduct.

For most people, buying a home is the largest investment they will ever make. Therefore, decisions regarding the community they have chosen for this investment are of paramount importance to them. Traffic problems, inappropriate development and overcrowded schools were not the reason they moved to West Linn. In fact survey results show quite the opposite.

I have a strong and successful background in project management, balancing budgets and working with others to achieve common goals - all of which are vital skills for a city councilor. Since moving to West Linn, I have fortunately had the time to become involved in my community by attending NA meetings, volunteering my time tutoring at Clackamas Community College, attending and testifying at Planning Commission and council meetings, and submitting letters on community interests to the local newspapers. It has been these activities and involvement that have resulted in West Linn citizens asking me to run for one of the council seats being contested.

Russ Axelrod and I pledge that we will keep the promises we make. We will serve the people of West Linn first and conduct ourselves to the best of our ability in an open and transparent manner. We will listen to the people of West Linn and will challenge any decision that does not serve the best interests of our citizens and community first.

Brenda Perry lives in West Linn and is a candidate for City Council.

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