Where do I start?

The decision by the West Linn City Council to overturn the planning commission’s earlier decision on the Lake Oswego-Tigard water treatment plant has compromised our system of government in more ways than I care to think about. How ironic that there were Cub Scouts in the room watching our elected officials turn their backs on the citizens and their duty to abide by the very rules they are sworn to uphold.

To begin with, let’s start with our mayor who at the beginning of the hearing two weeks ago claimed he had had no ex parte communication. Then, as the hearing progressed, he proceeded to discuss several ex parte communications he had participated in. There are many terms that could be applied to this, but perjury is the first that comes to mind.

After this was duly noted in the record by citizens and lawyers, neither he nor the rest of the council addressed this behavior in any way. I guess they all think this is acceptable action for someone to take when they want to ramrod their agenda through the system.

Then there is the matter of the approval by the rest of the council. Since the very beginning of these proceedings, the citizens have been told that the only thing that matters is the code. Keep the emotions out of it.

The citizens who oppose this have made it their business to know and understand the code and have referred to it repeatedly in their arguments. The planning commission found nine instances in which the proposal did not comply with the code. The city council, however, in overturning the commission’s decision, only chose to address one of these codes. What happened to the other ones? Is it acceptable to ignore all of those as long as they can find some reason to carry this thing forward? They didn’t tell us that those rules didn’t apply to them. I find it inexcusable that they did not address each and every one of those issues that were instrumental in forming the decision that they overturned.

I’m sure some will call this a sour grapes letter. Maybe so, but its justification lies in a system that has been abused and an outcome that was a result of money and power and politics. Shame on the system, shame on a council that failed to uphold this city’s codes and comprehensive plan, and most particularly, shame on a mayor who will obviously do whatever it takes to carry forth his own agenda.

Scott Gerber is a West Linn resident.

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