Thursday, December 27, 2012

COLA Board Member Describes the "Last Council Meeting"

To All COLA LO Members,

This week in the LO review board member Gary Gipson published an article on his views of the final council meeting of the Hoffman administration.    In the article he describes an email he sent to the council following their December 18th session and their actions during the session. 

Its an insightful article on the history o this administration and his experiences with certain functions.   In the article he describes a response he received from a sitting councilor.  

the article can be found at:  Council Shows Transparency.

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

County Commissioners Claim They Can "Work Together"

TO All COLA LO Members,

Last week two county commissioners published an opinion in the Oregonian.  

The article stated that governing required respect and teamwork.    Two attributes that many voters believe have been completely absent on the commission as it consistently voted against placing key issues up for a public vote and also actively attempted to circumvent the vote with contradictory ballot initiatives.  

Its ironic that after the election of two conservative commissioners we see this article from two incumbents.   

Voters must certainly be confused at this point.   

The article Respect & Teamwork Required provides for interesting reading.   Now that the majority on the county commission has shifted it will be very interesting to see how it operates in  the future.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

Local Blogger Claims Hoffman Administration Gives Voters the Finger!

To All COLA LO Members,  

A local blogger published their view of the recent city council session this week.   

The blog post  provides some interesting insight into how others interpret the actions of the council in the "lame duck" session of the Hoffman administration.   

Details can be found at: Losers hurl a final insult.  

We leave it to the reader to make their own interpretation of the post and the online comments. 

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Council Passes Midnight Edicts in its Final Meeting of the Lame Duck Session!

To All COLA LO Members,

As many expected the city council went late into the night on their last session passing many of the projects and plans of the current administration in 4-3 votes at the "midnight hour" of this lame duck council.    Clearly the current administration had their "ducks all lined up" before the council session.  

Citizens testified often that they felt betrayed by the council making these decisions a week before Christmas knowing that the new council would disagree with the direction. 

It was clearly a night for jamming decisions and costs through when the current Hoffman administration knew they had a 4-3 majority on the council.     It was after all consistent with how this administration has acted over the past four years.  

Details can be found in :  Late Night Council Passes Foothills

The majority of citizens opposed the effort to push through decisions on Foothills, appointments, and expenditures at the final hour.    Despite attempts by councilors, Gudman, Kehoe, and Olson Mayor Hoffman ignored the appeals of the public and forced votes.  

Several COLA members and members of other groups testified that it wasn't morally right for the decisions to be made in the final session of a council that was effectively ousted in the 2012 election, when they knew the new council voted by the people were against the proposed direction.  

It seems the final legacy of the Hoffman administration has been sealed in the history of Lake Oswego, and its fair to say its not a positive one in the minds of the majority of citizens. 

As one online comment states:
  "I believe Mayor's Hoffman and Sam Adams are similar in many ways including their desire to ram through their last minute "epic" efforts to be relevant. They both have failed. Also, they have both been the worst mayors in memory for their respective cities. So glad they are gone for good. Hopefully the new city council in Lake Oswego can reverse the damage Hoffman and his cohorts have done to that great city. "

Lets see how the new council handles the issues as many believe they will reverse a majority of the decisions made in late night backroom agreements in this administration.    2013 may be the real year of tough work to return good governance to Lake Oswego.  

More details to come before the holidays.  

Please notify all members, contacts and friends. 

Citizen Requests Council Not to Create a "Lame Duck" Legacy

To All COLA LO members,

This past week a resident published an article in the LO review regarding the efforts of the current city council.    In the article the resident asks the administration not to create a lame duck legacy during their remaining days in office, before the January 8th swearing in of new council members and a mayor. 

In the article the citizen states: 

"Current Lake Oswego Mayor Jack Hoffman and his city council are moving forward in setting up an urban renewal district for Foothills when such a proposed development does not map with the wishes of the newly elected mayor and council. Nor has it been reviewed in detail with voters. "

The article as goes on to state:

"There are situations where moving forward on urban renewal districts (such as Lake View Village) are appropriate. This Foothill district proposal is not such a case. This proposal is in the same vein of “moving forward” that occurred with the West End Building that continues to plague our town. "

It provides interesting reading and the article can be found at Lame Duck Legacy?

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Polls Provide Insight For Voters & New Council

To All COLA LO members,

This past week Rasmussen released several new polls that provide insight into the voting public and their views on government.    Its insightful data that could be used by politicians everywhere to understand the views of the national voting public.  

Some of the conclusions include:

One-in-three Likely U.S. Voters (34%) now prefer a larger government with more services and higher taxes to one with fewer services and lower taxes. That's the highest level of support for bigger government we have ever measured. Most voters (56%), however, still favor smaller government.
Only 37% of voters now say they are conservative when it comes to fiscal issues such as taxes and government spending. That’s the first time that number has ever dipped below 40%. Thirty-nine percent (39%) consider themselves fiscally moderate. One-in-five (20%) now say they are fiscally liberal. More voters than ever describe themselves as socially liberal, too.

Details can be found in the following:   What They Told Us.   Members can also find the polls in the links section at the bottom of this blog under Rasmussen Polls.  

The new council will likely be tackling the issue of meeting voter expectations in 2013 and a new direction for the administration.  

It will be interesting to see how they address the needs of local voters over the coming two years before the next election in 2014.  

COLA members are actively engaged in observing the council elect members and discussing issues with them prior to their taking the oath of office on January 8th.   

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.    

Friday, December 7, 2012

Voter Turnout Confirms LO Actively Engaged in 2012 Election.

To All COLA LO Members,

Yesterday the Secretary of State released information on the voter participation rates statewide.   There were some surprising results buried at the local level.   

COLA volunteers actively participated in this election and the data confirms what many of us observed during the final weeks of the race.  

We had our analysts review the data to summarize it for the community:

  1. Clackamas county had a 83.9% participation rate.   However R voters participated at 88.3% while D voters were at 86.8%   Non Affiliated voters trailed both parties at 72.9%
  2. House District 38 which is mostly LO and Southwest Portland had very similar results.  Total at 88.4% with R 91.3%, D 90.5, and Non affiliated at 81.4%  
  3. Senate District 19 which includes Tualatain,  LO , West Linn, and Southwest Portland had very similar results. Total at 87.6% with R 90.8%, D 89.9, and Non affiliated at 79.6%  
As many COLA volunteers know the non affiliated voters seemed to stay home until the very last day of the election.    The statistics confirm this as their participation rates substantially trail the affiliated voters in all areas.  

While not all details on the participation rate for Lake Oswego have been released we do know that the participation rate was 88.3%  in total or almost 5% higher than the rate for Clackamas County.  

Its likely that the trends will be even higher for Lake Oswego in terms of very high partisan turnout and non affiliated voters trailing the partisan voters but with less of a margin as compared to the county.

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Changing Times - Current Library Services Seriously Rejected by Voters?

To All COLA LO Members,

Last month we provided details on the election and the interesting rejection of the Library Bond Measure by voters in LO.   However we didn't provide the details of how overwhelmingly the Library was rejected.
The final results are now in and some details are public on the bond measure.   The details provide a stunning rebuke of what was once thought to be a core service in the community.  
The rejection doesn't come as a surprise to many members who have been arguing that the library needs to change its services and delivery.   For several years now board members have heard from many residents that a change was required.   Residents indicated that they wanted to see the library moved to the west side of LO or that services needed to begin to transition to electronic delivery at satellite locations.    There were a variety of ideas but all involved change
Here is the final tally of voters on the bond measure:
Yes   - 9,121   42.08%
No    - 12,556  57.92%
While the bond measure lost by 15.85%, COLA analysts noted it was voted down by LO residents in all 3 Counties!  Its very clear that residents did not support additional investment in the library through increased taxes.   
Additional details provide a unique insight into the breadth of this rejection across the city, despite a huge investment to support the measure YES LOPL PAC.  The PAC spent nearly $13K to support the passing of the bond.   Several members and residents had wondered why there was no organized opposition to the bond proposal. 
Information recently released by the County Clerk shows that the rejection is much deeper than the actual vote count may imply.  
  • The fact is that voters in 77% of the geographic area of the city actually voted against the Library Bond!!!!!
Only  First Addition and Halinan - Foothills  areas actually voted for the Library Bond.   Notably both of these areas are perceived to be "downtown"  while the remaining eight areas within the city all voted against the bond including residents of multnomah county.  
The entire west side of Lake Oswego voted against the library in a stunning rebuke.   This vote confirms what many members have been saying over the past few years which is the library is perceived to be a downtown operation, with limited service to west side residents.   The west side is the population center of  the city.    
Many residents expected the Library to move to the WEB building to expand service to the west side.  When this was flatly rejected by the current administration Library Proposal , its likely the fate of any future library bonds or enhancements to the library were sealed.  
What members have been telling us along with a wide variety of residents has finally been supported by a citywide vote.   
  • There is a core perception that the location of services and the enhancements made in the downtown area have been at the expense of the demographic center of Lake Oswego, the west side.    Voters are no longer willing to support this unfair emphasis on a limited percentage of the population.  
Will the new City council force the library to move its services to the West side and take advantage of unused space at the WEB, despite claims that book shelves will require upgrades?   
Will the Library begin transitioning to less programs and more electronic options in a new distributive service model?   Residents are asking these questions.    Its clear that the current model doesn't meet the needs or desires of the broader community. 
Did voters in the community realize that the proposed amount of the bond measure could actually purchase several kindles or tablets for every household in the community of Lake Oswego!   All the while the WEB building continues to be relatively unoccupied in the population center of Lake Oswego.   From what we have heard over the past four years, its clear they did realize this, and voters acted accordingly.     
The question is what direction will the new 2013 City council take in terms of the future of the Library and delivery of services toward the west side?  Only time will tell but a very loud message has been sent in our community...

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The New Agenda for 2013 (part Two)

To All COLA LO Members,

Now that the election is over the community  continues to wonder about the agenda for the new council.

Lets take another look at what the candidates have told us and more importantly what the voters have told the candidates!

The council elect now seems to be telling us that the top priority is to hire a new city manager.    The city manager has the hire/fire authority according to the city charter, under the direction of the council

Voters have clearly stated that they want more fiscal responsibility within the city so its likely that a new city manager will look at how to save taxpayer funds by improving efficiency and doing more with less in terms of staff.  

So voters can expect some changes in the overall staffing levels at the city over time and a redirection of focus.   Its likely the city will have more limited efforts in terms of areas its involved in that are outside of core services within the community.   That likely means less meetings, less paperwork and more face to face discussions with residents.  

The next major effort may be the cost of consultants versus staff.   The community has been very concerned about the amount of consultant contracts with the level of city staff over the past decade.   By one measure consultants have cost the taxpayer $25 million or more.    The new council will likely look at the costs of consultants and expect more from city staff.  

It's hard to say but these savings may be used to finance other priorities within the city.   Only time will tell but this may redirect efforts and improve livability within the community.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The New Agenda for a 2013 Council? (part one)

To All COLA LO Members,

Now that the election is over the community is wondering about the agenda for the new council. 

Lets take a look at what the candidates have told us during their interviews and more importantly what the voters have told the candidates!

There were two bond measures on the ballot this election and they received the most voter attention.

Voters stunningly defeated the library bond measure by 16%   More voters voted on this measure than any other item on the ballot.   Clearly the voters said no to not only more property taxes for a library but also to a library in a public/private real estate development partnership within an urban renewal district.   

So clearly the voters voted against both new taxes and urban renewal.    These two items will likely be at the top of the agenda for the new council.  LO added two new urban renewal districts last July for foothills and lake grove.    Will the new council unwind these districts and stop spending valuable taxpayer funds on them?  We think its very likely.   

At the same time the voters very narrowly passed a bond measure for Boone's ferry road improvements.    It passed by only 3% or 640 votes.    The proponents of the measure sold it as "safer streets"  for the area.    Unfortunately the measure was only $5 million and will likely not improve the streets but be spent on engineering.   

The narrow passing of the street measure shows that voters are leery of new taxes even for a core service like street improvement.   They support street improvement, especially on the westide, but they want the city to use its resources to accomplish improvements.  

So its very likely that the new council will have street improvement as a major agenda item but only using existing general funds to pay for the improvements.   We expect the new council will increase street improvement efforts by  transferring funds from other areas or doing more with less.
Given that the new Mayor has said that he plans to develop a strategic plan for the city with the new council its likely it will include both streets and redirecting urban renewal efforts.    The majority of the newly elected councilors also seem to favor less urban renewal by the city and more private development.  They also have all stated that roads are a critical function of the city.  Given this approach its likely that the new council will also focus on reducing the burden/regulations on business and attracting more private development in Lake Oswego.  

So more road work, less urban renewal, and attracting private development may be on the new agenda.    More to come in future posts........

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.....

Monday, November 26, 2012

Election Results Provide Insight - Final Details

To All COLA LO Members,

The Official final election results are in from the county clerk.  

The details are providing some unique insight into the voters and their participation in the 2012 election.    The facts are very interesting when all the information has been gathered and analyzed in what may become one of the most unique elections in Lake Oswego History.  

Here are some basic insights.  

  • Kent Studebaker won the Mayoral election 9904 votes to 9751 votes (+153 votes) but lost in Multnomah county.  He won in both Clackamas and Washington county.  

  • Karen Bowerman won the popular vote for council with 10,358 votes and received 10.77% more votes than Skip O'Neill  who came in second.  

  • More voters voted for Mayor than for City Council this election! 

  • Many voters only voted for one or two candidates and chose not to vote for all three open council positions.

  • The most popular local issue on the ballot?  The Library bond measure was soundly defeated and had more voters participating than any other issue.

  • The second most popular local issue on the ballot?  The Boones Ferry bond measure had slightly less voters than the library bond and it narrowly passed by 640 votes.   

A detailed review of the election results clearly shows that residents are deeply concerned about their taxes and the direction of the community and its leadership. 

 It will be interesting to see how the new council addresses this communication from the voters.    Will it embrace the concern or will it continue the direction of past administrations?    Only time will tell but its clear the residents are watching and voting!

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.   

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Is the Mayor Elect a "Conservative" or Just Trying To Do a Better Job?

To All COLA LO Members,

This week Mayor Elect Kent Studebaker provided insight into his administration.  He did this through an interview with the local Oregonian reporter.  

It provides some insight into his plans for the city over the next four years.   

While COLA prefers the term fiscally responsible the Oregonian often uses the term "conservative"  for anyone or any group that doesn't advocate increased taxes and spending in local government.  Unfortunately they use this term in the article but its rejected by the Mayor elect.    

The article can be found at:   Meet LO's New Mayor.  

In general the comments on the article  are quite positive from residents who see Mayor Elect Studebaker as a welcome change in the community.  

These include comments on another popular local blog :  Changing of the Guard in LO.

Please notify all members, contacts and friends.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

COLA Board Member Article Describes the Election

To ALL COLA LO Members,

This week COLA board member Dave Berg published an article in the LO Review.   

The article follows up on an article he published two years ago after the 2010 election.     It describes the outcome of the 2012 local election and also what it means to many voters in Lake Oswego.  

2012 was a transformational election for Lake Oswego with bond measures both failing and narrowly passing.   The major event was fiscally responsible candidates winning a majority of the open council positions.  

The community will be evaluating the effects of this change in 2013 and accountability will be a major emphasis over the next two years.  

The article can be found at:   City continues its return to Good Governance.

Please inform all members, contacts, and friends.    

Friday, November 16, 2012

Is it Already Time for the New Council?

To All COLA LO Members,

The outgoing council continues to make decisions on water rates and utilities despite  its "lame duck"  status.   The majority of the council will be replaced in January after the recent election.    Residents are wondering why this council feels the need to raise rates and extend contracts despite the fact its been effectively voted out of office?

This past week the council in a 5-2 vote extended a 10 YEAR contract to allied waste for garbage services,  two years before the contract was due for renewal.   The prior reason stated by the vendor was they would rather deal with this council than the new one.    Bill Tierney received a contribution from allied waste during his run for council but effectively said there was no conflict of interest.  

Details can be found at Council Renews Allied Waste Contract.

The council is also discussing increasing waste water rates again and raising as much as $70 million in fees to support additional investment in the city's waste water system.    This come at a time when most of the new council members were elected on platforms to address the ever increasing water rates in the city.   

Its clear this council is not concerned with the residents strong feedback that water rates are now unacceptable.    Details on upcoming waste water rate increases can be found at Council to increase water rates?  

Residents are wondering if these are the last gasps of an administration trying all it can to raise fees, utility rates, and charges on a city before it leaves office?

Please notify all members, contacts and friends.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Unofficial Results of LO Election Provide Insight into the Concerns of Lake Oswego Residents

To All COLA LO Members,

The county clerks are still updating the election results as of yesterday but the unofficial final results are done.   A closer look at the  vote in Lake Oswego gives us deep insight into the election and the decisions by voters. 

In the mayors race:

              wac               mc                 total
Kent Studebaker 9161 2 627 97901520.78%
Greg Macpherson 8921 0 717 9638

It appears the final tally will show Studebaker winning as mayor elect by 152 votes or by 0.78% of the total.    A very close race indeed.  

In the council race:
                                             cc                wc         mc                          Total      Pct                  Above    
Karen B.951227361025020.35%1012
Skip O.8700538923818.34%17
Jon   G.86132606922118.31%625
Bill T.  80322562859617.07%667
Dan  W.7436493792915.74%2803
Terry  J.4766360512610.18%
 4705932955036016787 voted

In the council race Karen Bowerman overwhelmingly won the council election, while Skip O'Neill and Jon Gustafson followed closely near each other in total votes.    Far fewer residents voted in the council election than for mayor.    A close estimate is that approximately 2600 residents voted for mayor but under voted in the city council election.   

So where did all the voters go?

The answer is THE BOND MEASURES!


More residents voted on the Library Bond than any other aspect of this election locally.  

  • Almost 2000 more residents voted on the library measure than our MAYORS RACE! 
  • Almost 5000 more votes voted on the library bond than the COUNCIL Race.  

Its clear that residents of Lake Oswego are more concerned about their taxes/fees than anything else in terms of this election.  

That is something for the new council to think about over the next four years.   

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.    

Sunday, November 11, 2012

No Wonder Clackamas County Residents ousted the Incumbents!

To All COLA LO Members,

The Oregonian continues to report that the two Clackamas County commissioners  that lost to conservative candidates refuse to concede.

 Its just an other in an ongoing pattern of behaviors that supported the newcomers running for county commission.   

It contrasts dramatically with the LO Mayors race where the candidates conducted themselves admirably despite a very tight race and conceded when the outcome was obvious.    Its clear there are different codes of conduct amongst different types of candidates.  

The details can be found at:  NO concession from Chairwoman.  Its unbelievable that this outcome would come as any surprise to anyone following county politics.  After multiple measures passed from citizen initiatives and the majority on the county commission tried all they could to subvert the will of the voters and refuse them the right to vote.  

Lets just say the conduct was despicable by any standard and the voters recognized this completely.    That's why both Charlotte Lehan and Jamie Damon were ousted decisively despite partisan efforts to rally the base.  

Its a good lesson in what happens when you disrespect the voters and do all you can to subvert their requests.  

Its time for these representatives to say goodbye.    Hopefully the new commission will show a different management style and set of priorities driven by voters.    If they don't we all can now see what happens at the next election cycle.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Macpherson Graciously Concedes!

To All COLA LO Members,

As many of you may already know shortly after COLA published a public request for the candidates to agree on the outcome for the betterment of the community, Greg Macpherson conceded the race to Kent Studebaker....

Its good to see such a close election end with two gentlemen shaking hands and moving on toward respective endeavors.  

While there were distinct differences of opinion its clear these two gentlemen fought a very tough battle and ended it on the right note.  

Congratulations to both candidates for their efforts.  

Details can be found at Macpherson Concedes and Mac Concedes.    The Oregonians view can be fount at Studebaker Narrowly Beats Macpherson.

Please notify all mebers, contacts, and friends.   

Friday, November 9, 2012

Its Over - Time for the Mayoral Candidates to Call It for the Betterment of the Community!

To All COLA LO Members,

Today we consulted various experts and officials and the race for Mayor is unofficially over.

The votes have been counted and all counties have reported.    There are some provisional ballots in the county but they aren't enough to change the outcome is the common opinion.   

Its time to call it unofficially.    Will the Oregonian call it?   Will the candidates call it?  Its time everyone.....

The latest details are close to final at this point.  There haven't been any substantive changes for days as the county clerks processed the ballots.   

There are no further updates until Tuesday at 5pm so its effectively over.  Will Macpherson concede?   Or will he finance a recount?   Nobody knows but its time to call it for the betterment of the community.  

The best part of this race was we had two candidates that acted as gentlemen despite any differences in their viewpoints.   Lets keep it that way and show the voting public they can expect more from their elected officials...

Its time gentlemen

The latest details are below:   

Candidate                    Clackamas     Wash   Multnomah   Total      Difference 
 Total votes  19,408



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