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.  

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