Community Soapbox by Diana Robson

Instead of recalling City Commissioner James Nicita, we should all be thankful he is watching and scrutinizing the city's use of public funds. I am glad he is conservative when weighing the merits of awarding The Rivers developer $17 million in urban renewal funding.

The Jughandle Project at the corner of Highway 213 and Washington Street is already being built to provide better access to the area....Why does the developer need all this funding?

That's money that, for a very long time, will be diverted and does not flow into the general fund to help support the city, our schools, police and other services.

If the landowner and developer have a contract and comply with all relevant land-use and planning regulations, then neither Nicita nor anyone else can stand in the way of The Rivers shopping mall being developed. Home Depot built on this same site, but without asking for a handout.

In these worrying financial times, I'm happy James Nicita asks hard questions and does not rubber stamp the use of taxpayer money. Should these funds not be paid back in full, homeowners in Oregon City are all on the hook, a small fact that no one is speaking about.

Has anyone noticed that the economy is not improving and retail is flat at best? Is funding The Rivers a risk we want to take?

Go ahead and build The Rivers...just don't ask for $17 million of public funds. By the way this special-interest driven recall is costing taxpayers between $10,000 and $15,000 ...another good use of public funds?

Diana Robson is a resident of Oregon City.

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