Citizens of West Linn, consider this fact before you vote: Your choices for city council will determine the fate of your community.

Keep the current council, and secrecy will cloak city hall. Decisions affecting livability will be made behind closed doors. Your protests will be met with deaf ears.

Elect David Tripp, Curt Sommer, Ken Pryor and Julie O'Connell, and you and your neighbors will chart West Linn's future, hand in hand with city hall.

You threw out the Thorn council to stop its relentless thrust into the Stafford Basin. Mayor Dodds made missteps, and again you opted for change. What you wound up with, unfortunately, is a more dangerous version of the Thorn council.

Norm King is a likeable guy who bends with the wind. He's gone back on his campaign promise to protect the Stafford Triangle from urbanization.

Scott Burgess, the real power, is an ambitious growth promoter whose continued presence will put development and annexation, and their attendant costs and problems, on a fast track.

Mike Gates rakes in campaign cash from developers and their allies.

Michele Eberle follows where Burgess leads.

You deserve better.

David Tripp is unbending in his belief that protecting the Stafford Basin is critical to continued livability. As West Linn's mayor, he will give citizens and neighborhoods the right to say how and where the city grows. And, his two terms on the city council will enable him to hit the ground running.

Curt Sommer has demonstrated strong leadership and far-reaching vision as head of the League of West Linn Neighborhoods. He has a firm grip on issues facing the city.

Ken Pryor is a breath of fresh air in a political atmosphere where acrimony clouds debate. He has the open mind, and the balance so lacking with the current council.

Julie O'Connell is a bright light on West Linn's political horizon. She will bring accounting expertise and strength of character to the council.

Growth is not the sole issue, but it drives other major concerns. With climate change a certainty, West Linn cannot afford to squander its right to Clackamas River water solely to enable the growth industry to urbanize the Stafford Basin.

The King council, backed by developers, will put South Fork water on the auction block. The Tripp council won't let that happen.

West Linn's natural resources need protection. The King council, backed by developers, has done nothing but drag its feet on Goal five, after spending $300,000 of your tax dollars. The Tripp council will make Goal five an immediate priority.

And what about trust? The King council broke the law by authorizing the pipeline through Wilderness Park. Then they asked you to approve their illegal action, to 'save money' on a public works project that benefits one developer. That's malfeasance topped with deceit!

If given four-year terms, Burgess and Gates, with King and Eberle nodding their assent, will have all the time and opportunity they need to open the Stafford Basin to dense-packed suburban sprawl. Goodbye livability forever.

Don't hand West Linn's future to the growth promoters. Elect good neighbors who have your best interests at heart - David Tripp, Curt Sommer, Ken Pryor and Julie O'Connell.

David Hedges is a resident of West Linn.

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