Tuesday, July 31, 2012

PAC Leaders Debate City Debt Issue in LO Review

To All COLA LO Members,

This week two citizens provided different viewpoints on the issue of city debt.   The contrast in views provides insights into local politics as the citizens represent different Political Actions Committees or PAC's.

The first article asks to hear candidate views on debt and can be found at About City Debt.  It was written by a member of the newly formed LOCAL group.   The second article discusses awareness of debt and indicates that there is no issue with debt at the city level.  It can be found at How will we handle City debt and was written by a member of the KLOG PAC which has been involved in city politics for many years.  

Many residents believe these two PAC's will have opposing viewpoints on issues and candidates in the 2012 election as was represented in a recent article by a leader of the KLOG PAC Welcome new PAC.  

Will the opposing viewpoints of these PAC's just confuse LO residents and the voters?  

Only time will tell but it seems that Lake Oswego may be experiencing a proliferation of Political Action Committee influence and special interests before the fall election.  

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

Monday, July 30, 2012

LOPD Investigates LOCAL Business Owner Sign Complaint?

To All COLA LO Members,

We have received a number of emails and calls regarding a local business owner placing a sign in his window which stirred controversy.    It seems the sign offended a resident who called the LOPD.  

Ironically the LOPD investigated the incident and a photo was placed in the local paper and the police blotter.   

No doubt this stirred some serious concern about "thought police" within the community and free speech.

 It stirred so much controversy that it appears that the incident was the subject of a local radio show host last week.  The details can be found here Lake Oswego Sign.

We were inundated by emails and calls from members last week regarding this controversy.   

Unfortunately the last thing Lake Oswego needs is more divisive controversy and absence of  common sense.    Board members confirmed the details on the sign this weekend and also that the business owner has supported COLA endorsed candidates in past elections. 

The issue has also been picked up by other blogs Sign.  

Please notify all members, contacts and friends of this latest issue.   

Friday, July 27, 2012

COLA Board Member Discusses the "Cost of Local Government"

To all COLA LO Members,

This week the Lake Oswego Review published an article by board member Dave Berg regarding the cost of local government.  

The article is a follow up to one published a year ago regarding an issue may members continue to discuss, the size of our local government.  

The article can be found at Cost of local government?

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Oregonian Publishes Studebaker Announcement

To All COLA LO members,

This week the Oregonian published the announcement that Kent Studebaker will be running for Mayor.    While the announcement comes late it included comments on key issues impacting the community and some of his positions. 

 The Oregonian announcement included a quote “I’d like to step back, reassess our priorities, get some feedback from citizens about what they’d like to see done and take it from there,” Studebaker said. 

The article in the Oregonian can be found at:   Budget Committee Chair to Run  and a previous article two weeks ago in the review can be found at Studebaker to Run for Mayor.     The local Bloggers provided their perspective on the race early on with articles like Race takes Shape  and Second Candidate for Mayor.

2012 will be a very interesting election in LO.    Please notify all members, contacts, and friends...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Another Urban Renewal District?

To All COLA LO Members,

Yesterday in another 4-3 vote the City Council approved its 3rd Urban Renewal district.    The Foothills plan was approved last night by the council.  This marks the third UR district for a city of only 37,000 residents.

 It will use Tax Increment Financing and limit the funds generated to support public safety and other services.    Several supporters included ex mayor Judie Hammerstad of Portland Streetcar Inc  and LOSD Board Member Linda Brown. 

There were serious questions about the viability of the project as proposed the requirement for affordable housing and the need to modify the existing waste water treatment plant which is owned by the City of Portland. 

All of this comes at a time when states like California are moving away form Urban Renewal districts due to their devastating impact on city finances including Stockton California.

Details can be found in the Oregonian article:  Council Approves Foothills. or  Reviewing Foothills and the LO Review:Foothills Discussion

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Friday, July 20, 2012

City Council Approves Urban Renewal District in Lake Grove

To All COLA LO Members,

This week the City Council in a 5-2 vote approved an Urban Renewal District in Lake Grove.    Its the culmination of a long process and was a major issue in 2011-2012 budget deliberations.    The area is showing signs of increasing private development with a new senior living facility and reconstruction of the lake grove shopping center.     The new Urban Renewal District will remove some funding for the county, school district, and public safety to pay for redevelopment projects.  

Once again an amendment to put the issue up for a vote by residents was defeated by a 4-3 vote of the council.    Residents will not be allowed to vote on the approval of the urban renewal district or the proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) it will use for renewal.   

Several citizens testified at the hearing including local residents and neighborhood associations.  Two residents were quoted as expressing their concerns about the new URD and the need for a vote of LO residents before approving it.   Details can be found form the LO review.  

Carolyn Krebs of the Lake Forest Neighborhood Association was less confident in the proposal. She said her association opposes formation of an urban renewal district without a citizen vote.
“While it is true tax increment financing doesn’t raise property taxes, it does impact citizens financially by changing what they can expect from city, county and state government,” she said. “Citizens of Lake Oswego should have the right to decide before making this commitment.”
Krebs also noted the Lake Grove plan included a goal calling for public involvement with recommendations of potential funding mechanisms. However, she said, “It appears this public hearing is the only opportunity for any of us to say whether we recommend urban renewal.”
Cheryl Uchida, who, like Krebs, has been involved in Lake Grove planning for years, recently served on a Lake Grove urban renewal focus group for the city. She said she felt “spoon fed” information by consultants pushing the group to rubberstamp the urban renewal plan.

Articles on the decision and the issues can be found at:  council OK's Lake Grove  and Council Approves Urban Renewal District.      No doubt the issue will continue to be in the limelight as the council prepares for a bond measure to help finance the district on the fall ballot.

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gustafson Announces Run For City Council

To All COLA LO Members,

Planning Commission Vice Chair Jon Gustafson announced his candidacy for City Council this week.  His platform statement as quoted in the Oregonian is  to “continue the progress our city has made in the last decade.”   

Details can be found at Gustafson Running For Council.  

Jon Joins Bill Tierney , Dan Williams, and Skip O'Neill so far as candidates for three open City Council positions. 

 Many expect several more candidates before the filing deadline at the end of August.   Members have commented that they are pleased that the depth and variety of candidates will give the community a very real choice in this important election season.  

Additional information can be found in the Oregonian at Vice Chair enters Race.

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.   

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Liberal Portland Blogger Provides Their View of the LO Mayors Race?

TO All COLA LO Members,

Today Portland Blogger Jack Bog provided his view of the latest announcement regarding the LO Mayors race in 2012.  

 It provides some potential insight into both candidates and it appears that the author does not know both candidates but may have known Greg Macpherson in the past.  

The blogger has a strong view of the direction of Portland under the current administration and the history of key initiatives.   

So we leave it to the reader to decide the merits of the arguments.  

The post can be found at Second Candidate Announces.  

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

It is Official -Kent Studebaker Announces Candidacy For Mayor!

To All COLA LO Members,

It is official LO resident and Chair of the budget committee Kent Studebaker announced his intention to run for Mayor this fall. He will be running against Greg Macpherson in the mayoral race.

The announcement has been published here:  Studebaker Run For Mayor.    His earlier comments about this years City Budget can be found at:  Perceptions Differ.

The COLA Board was notified of his candidacy in advance but could not announce the details until we received approval form the candidate with the formal announcement... 

His announcement establishes that the race for mayor will be contested.   Many COLA members and friends have communicated with the board that they were very uneasy about the potential for an uncontested mayoral race in the fall of 2012.   

Much of the concern expressed to board members was regarding the issues involved with the current administration and perceptions that an uncontested race would not provide sufficient competition to ensure legitimate incentive for a well defined change in the direction of the city. 

 The announcement by two candidates that they will both run for Mayor of Lake Oswego alleviates this concern and its rumored that there will be additional announcements by candidates.   

The 2012 election is proving to be a true electoral race for Lake Oswego.   

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Major Candidate Announcement Released Tomorrow?

To All COLA LO Members,

We have been informed that a major candidate announcement will be released tomorrow.   While we cannot disclose the details, please watch this blog for the announcement.     The field for the 2012 election continues to expand and we expect a full slate off candidates for both the City Council and the Mayoral election. 

2012 will be a very interesting race at both the city and county levels so its important that all members stay informed on the candidates and their positions.   

Feel free to contact a board member for additional details and information as the announcements from candidates are disclosed to the public.    COLA Board members are preparing the process for interviewing candidates and the final endorsement as we did in the 2010 elections.   

Its a critical year for the community.   Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.   

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blogger Claims Lake Oswego Neighborlink Shuttle Service May Be An Alternative to TriMet?

To All COLA LO Members,

This week a local blogger claimed Lake Oswego may be starting an alternative to TriMet.   In the blog post TriMet Fails - Other Options   the Neighborlink volunteer bus system is recognized  as an option for local residents. 

While the volunteer service was just recently started in Lake Oswego, it appears the shuttle for seniors and the disabled is very well received within our community.  

Details can be found at Neighborlink.  

Its ironic that with all the discussion over transportation alternatives, and millions spent on studies,  local residents step up and provide a valuable service to our community.  

Please notify all Members, contacts, and friends. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

NY Times Article Highly Critical of Policies in Many Cities Including the Current Direction of LO?

To All COLA LO Members,

This week the NY times published an article which is highly critical of a  direction currently taken by Lake Oswego.  This includes increasing its debt , backing urban renewal efforts with Full Faith & Credit bonds from the city, and the public-private partnerships exemplified by the Urban Renewal effort.

 The article shows that many cities are now paying a very high price for bonds and debt that were issued or guaranteed by cities without a vote of the public.

In the article citizens are just beginning to understand the crushing costs of debt issued by their cities without their approval for non-essential projects.  This comes just after the City of Stockton became the latest city to file for bankruptcy last week.   Many believe that local governments will continue to file for bankruptcy due to the urban renewal and public-private partnership direction implemented by existing and former elected officials.  

 Surprised Taxpayers  provides valuable insight into the long term consequences of some of the directions of our current city council and their efforts toward both Urban Renewal Districts and public works projects. 

Examples of such projects include the Streetcar, Foothills District, and the LO Tigard Water Partnership.   The article provides a list of such non-essential projects including parking garages, stadiums, etc. 

During the same week the City of Stockton filed for bankruptcy citing its inability to renegotiate with its creditors.   The following video describes their situation Stockton Bankruptcy  and lists the renewal of its Downtown area as a major source of its problems!

In addition to urban renewal debt the video states that pension and health care costs as an additional source of the problems.  Time is now stating that Stockton is just the beginning of A Rash of Municipal Bankruptcies? 
 It appears that Stockton had issued approximately $700 million in debt for a city of 300,000 in population.   

Currently Lake Oswego has $137 million in debt for a city of 37,000 and plans to issue at least another $130 million more to finance the LO Tigard Water Partnership, with millions in additional debt for other projects.   Historically LO has a debt of under $50 million.   The debt level has been an increasing concern amongst residents for the past two or more years.   
  Please notify all members, contacts, and friends...
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