Friday, October 23, 2015

Citizens Budget Committee Member Tells US why Water Rates are So High!

To All COLA LO Members,

This week budget committee member Gerry Good published an article in the LO Review.    IN the article he provides precise reasons for why water rates continue to escalate in Lake Oswego.     Its a good read for all citizens that are concerned about their monthly water bills.  

According to Mr. Good it seems that rates will only continue to increase until elected officials begin to address the situation.    His article can be found at:  Skyrocketing Water Bills

In an ironic twist this week our council voted 5-1 to review getting into the Internet business in a public private partnership.     Many wonder how much that will cost residents in  the future.    IT seems that the "tax and spend" mentality of the old days has returned to LO.  

Fortunately the 2016 elections are just around the corner. Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Charles Collins is our new City Councilor

To all COLA LO members,

Last night our city council agreed upon Charles Collins as the replacement for Councilor Bowerman.   Charles is the current budget committee chair taking over the committee after board member Dave Berg termed out as budget chair and was elected vice chair this past year.

Widely regarded as a fiscal conservative and a strong advocate of citizens property rights, Charles Collins was believed by many cola members and the board to be the best replacement for the departed councilor Bowerman.  It's clear that Cola endorsed councilors O'Neill,Gudman, Manz and Mayor Studebaker eventually agreed on this conclusion.

 Ironically conspicuously absent from the votes of Councilors Buck and Gustafson was the name of Charles Collins.  Many believe this was due to an attempt to remove him from the final round of 3 candidates. It's a tactic seen in past administration's and one that may return with the 2016 election.
   He is well known to COLA members having sat in as an independent observer on the Cola board member interview process for 2014 council candidates.  The cola board routinely invites two independent observers when interviewing candidates in order to ensure objectivity.

Mr. Collins has served 3 years on the budget committee and has resided in our wonderful city for over 20 years.

Please notify all members contacts and friends...

Sunday, September 6, 2015

COLA Board Members Publish Articles on Governance

To All COLA LO Members,

Over the past two weeks COLA board members all have published articles on topics from the need for voter input on budget priorities to the selection of a replacement for departed councilor Bowerman.    The articles have been well received by the community and board members have received comments form a variety of sources.    Here is a brief summary of articles:

Dave Berg published Voters must determine priorities
Gary Gipson published Compromise is not a one way street
Dave Barra published Council should pick a like minded replacement

All of these articles address the current concerns of the community regarding future governance and the management decisions of the current city council.    Once again COLA continues to be engaged in the open debate regarding the governance of our community.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Sunday, August 30, 2015

COLA Board Member Addresses the Council Appointment Issue

To All COLA LO Members,

This past week COLA board member Gary Gipson submitted his personal views on the "compromise" approach to selecting a replacement for Councilor Bowerman as proposed by an article from Councilor Buck.  

The article is drawing online attention and can be found in Replacing Bowerman.

It provides for interesting reading on an historical perspective over the past twelve years and the willingness of different administrations to "compromise"   when they are elected.  

Its well known that the past two administrations were not willing to compromise and held a very heavy hand in their positions.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Friday, August 21, 2015

More Candidates "pile on" to the Appointment Process

To All COLA LO Members,

It seems there is no end to the number of candidates who would like to be appointed to the LO City Council when the requirements are pretty limited.    The LO Review published a very good summary of the 10 candidates who applied as of mid week.    They then had to update it for three new applicants.  

The article can be found at:   Council Applicants

The process and decisions are expected to be discussed at council meetings on 9/1 and 9/8.  

It will be very interesting to see how diligent this council is in ensuring they appoint a councilor which holds to the will of the voters when Councilor Bowerman was elected in 2012.

Will the council try to sway the balance of power away from the 2012 input of the voters?   Only time will tell but its certainly on the minds of the community.  

Please notify all members,contacts, and friends.    

Friday, August 14, 2015

City Council Inundated with Applications for Appointment.

To All COLA LO Members,

This week the council seems inundated with applications from candidates seeking an appointment for the open council position vacated by Councilor Bowerman last month.  Candidates must believe that its an easy process to be appointed to the LO City Council?   

With the departure of Councilor Bowerman a number of new candidates are beginning to appear in Lake Oswego. There are now no less than SEVEN candidates for the open position.    All have already submitted their applications before the August 20th deadline.    

Among those are Budget Committee Chair Charles Collins, budget committee member Dave Beckett, planning commissioners Randy Arthur and John Lamott, and three unknown candidates Barbara Rizzatti, former allied/republic waste representative Ray Phelps and Robert Price.    

Its hard to imagine that any candidate without previous board or commission experience could believe they would be effective and know all that is required of a councilor within the 1 year term of the appointment.   That alone should be a factor in the selection process.  

Our city council needs an appointed member who can immediately be effective and understands the history of decision making in this administration.    Let's see if the council agrees or is willing to appoint a candidate that will be learning on the job for the duration of the appointment.    Many residents will be asking themselves how many mistakes will be made during this OTJ period.   

It will be very interesting to observe the council and their management skills during the selection process.  Rumor has it that there is a 3-3 split amongst councilors on the direction of the appointment.    

The Application and specific procedures can be found at:   City Council Appointment.

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.    

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

City Council Candidates Submit Applications

To All COLA LO Members,

With the departure of Councilor Bowerman a number of new candidates are beginning to appear in Lake Oswego.   Several have already submitted their applications before the August 20th deadline.    Among those are Budget Committee Chair Charles Collins, former allied/republic waste representative Ray Phelps.   Its rumored that budget committee member Dave Beckett will also apply for the appointment.  

The Application and specific procedures can be found at:   City Council Appointment.

Will the balance of power on the council  and the mandate of 2012 be overturned?   That is a question many are asking within the community.    Rumor has it that a 3-3 vote stalemate exists on the council right now for any replacement that is perceived to be a "fiscal conservative"  like Councilor Bowerman.  

Only time will tell but it appears that a storm is brewing on the council once again.   Will they replace Councilor Bowerman with a like councilor and honor the vote in 2012 or will they ignore the voters?  

The details will certainly impact the upcoming election in 2016 where the Mayor and 3 City councilors are up for re-election.    Stay tuned for the outcome.

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Final Words From Councilor Bowerman

To All COLA LO Members,

This past week Councilor Karen Bowerman published her final address int the LO review.   Its an interesting article form the now departing city councilor.    Many have asked COLA board members what they thought of the article.    Its no secret that COLA endorsed Candidate Bowerman during the 2012 election in what many perceived was a dramatic effort to shift the direction of the city in future years.  

In her article Councilor Boweman makes this statement.  

"In management, we know that unmet expectations are the No. 1 cause of organizational turnover. The workplace was not as expected. Unfortunately, our village is similarly not as expected. Life in Lake Oswego is taking on the character of a more dense profile, with codes that foster it. From my vantage point, village character is not reflected in our decision-making processes and we are not addressing real issues of quality of life."

So its clear she was unhappy about the direction of both the 2012 and 2014 council after serving 2.5 years of her 4 year term.     Its disappointing to see her leave early but we all understand.

Her article can be found at:  Viewing.

Many are now wondering who will replace Councilor Bowerman on the council.  Will the direction of the city council change?    More to come on that discussion and process.    

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.     


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

LO Review Editor Changing the Face of Community Journalism?

To All COLA LO Members,

Its no secret that the LO review has not embraced fiscally conservative candidates or elected officials over the years.    COLA members and board members have been contacted often on this matter.   However, there may be a real change in terms of the fairness issue at the LO Review.

Several board members and many COLA members have met with he new editor of the Review over the past year.   Most have come back with a view that there may be a refreshing change in our local press.    All would agree that is a good sign.

This past week the editor of the LO Review published an article describing the challenges he faces and decisions he has made.   It makes for a good read.   The article Objectivity & Engagement is a good read for all citizens.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Councilor Karen Bowerman RESIGNS!

To All COLA LO Members,

Last night in a dramatic statement City Councilor Karen Bowerman resigned after serving only 2.5 years of her 4 year term when elected in 2012.   Many in the community are stunned by her announcement.

A recent newcomer to the community, she won the most votes in 2012 in a dramatic election that saw the council direction change dramatically away form the "tax and spend" philosophy of governance.

Details can be found in an immediate update in the LO review:  Bowerman Resignation.

Who will replace Councilor Bowerman, will the council direction change?  Its on the minds of many community leaders today.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

More Details Emerge from the WEB Sale

To All COLA LO members,

More details are emerging on the sale of the WEB building.  The results keep looking even better than expected.    It looks like the sale was nearly $3 million in excess of what was owed on the property.

That means our City will not have to write a check to the buyer.    In addition a small parcel of land on Kruse Way near the facility may also be sold to another buyer.  

The question now is what will the council do with a one time infusion of more than $3 million in funds?   Time will tell but its certain that the extra funds are needed within the community.

More details were released in the LO Review article Yakima Products Buys the WEB.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

City Council Sells the WEB!

To All COLA LO Members,

Its finally been announced.   The Council has sold the WEB building to YAKIMA who will use it as their headquarters in Oregon.    They intend to remodel the interior and move employees there by the end of the year.  

Its a win-win for citizens in Lake Oswego and the company.  
This is a major step in the ongoing economic development of the west side of Lake Oswego which is observing enormous private investment.    the details can be found at:  WEB Sold to Yakima Products.

When the final details are made public we believe everyone will see the enormous benefit this decision will provide to everyone in the city.

Please notify all friends, contacts, and members.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

COLA Board Member Discusses Core Services

To ALL COLA LO Members,

This past week board member Dave Berg published another article in the LO Review.   This one discusses core services and the importance of the community survey done by the city every two years.   In the article he discusses what many residents believe are the core services of the city and how prior administrations chose a path that impacted the ability to deliver these services.  

Its an important article and one in a series that deals with key issues within the leadership of the city.  

The article can be found at:   Leadership - Willingness to Prioritize

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Council Unanimously Passes 2015-16 Budget

To ALl COLA LO Members,

Last week the city council passed the approved budget form the Citizens Budget Committee (CBC) with a 7-0 vote of the council.   it was only the second time in recent history that the council passed the recommended budget unanimously.

The budget represents a strong emphasis on infrastructure investment without any increase in taxes or franchise fees.   Its also consistent with the recent feedback form citizens in the Community Attitudes Survey.

The LO Review published an article on the budget and council opinions:   Council Approves
The community survey can be found at the city website:  2015 Community Survey

From the site:

"The results show that residents continue to have a very favorable opinion of their city. Overall, residents rate the City 8.6, on a ten-point scale, as a place to live. Results also show that satisfaction with city government improved slightly in 2015 and that residents rated street maintenance (70%) as the highest priority for the City Council to work on during the next 18 months, followed by maintenance of parks and open space (62%). In addition, results show that the Lake Oswego Review (56%) and Hello LO (55%) remain the two most popular sources for local news."

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.   

Friday, May 29, 2015

Citizens Applaude Mayors Decision Not to Appoint.

To All COLA LO Members,

This week several citizen letters were submitted to the LO Review regrading the Councils decision not to re appoint a planning commissioner.    Its interesting as they are both for and against the decision.   However most are saying now that the recent community survey shows that most residents are quite happy with the new direction in LO and that many believe the decision was more than justified.  

The original article in the Review can be found here:   Planning Commissioner Appointments.  Comments include those from COLA board members who publicly identify themselves by name rather than make anonymous comments on positions.  

A variety of opinions on the issue can be found in the Readers Letters section this week.   Some of the
notable comments on citizens views include the following:

"sued his city and the people that he was assigned to represent, and cost our community in excess of $1 million. And, he lost his lawsuit. That $1 million could have been better used for our schools!"

"Additionally, while functioning in an official appointed capacity,  elected to initiate a lawsuit against the very city he represents. Given what appears to be a conflict of interest, it would have been more appropriate for ..... to have resigned from his official position long ago."

"Of course, there are citizens who are disappointed in the actions of our local officials, and the point of a survey is to gauge that level of dissatisfaction. Today, that feeling of dissatisfaction sits with the few and not the many. A majority of Lake Oswego residents have a very favorable opinion of their city, and on a scale of one to 10, they rate the city an 8.6 as a place to live."

Its an interesitng debate given the results of the latest community survey.    Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.   

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Community Atttitudes Survey Shows Surprising Improvement!

To All COLA LO Members,

This month the city performed its community attitudes survey using a contractor as it does every two years. The results provided insight into the consensus views of residents within Lake Oswego.    They also exhibited some surprising trends that many have talked about over the past two years.

The Survey can be found here Lake Oswego Community Survey 2015.

The testimony by the contractor CFM can be found here City Survey Testimony 5/19/15 Meeting .    

Overall citizens are quite happy with the quality of life in Lake Oswego and their opinion of local government has improved dramatically in the past two years.   Its a surprising reversal of a ten year downward tend in attitudes toward local government.   Many are now saying that the community believes the council and the budget committee are making the right decisions.

Why?   The top concern of citizens are streets and fiscal management.   Both of these areas have seen a substantial redirection over the past three years under the current administration.   Substantial resources have been allocated to streets and fiscal management has been to reduce debt and use existing resources to accomplish core priorities.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

City Council Votes Against Reappointing Planning Commision Member

To All COLA LO Members,

Last night the city council voted against reappointing planning commissioner Todd Prager.  The selection committee recommended that he be reappointed but Mayor Kent Studebaker overrode the recommendation on the council agenda.   Many questioned why the mayor recommended moving forward with an alternative that conflicted with the selection committee.

The agenda item can be found here 5/19 Council Agenda item 7.1 and the video should soon be available where the Mayor explains that he did not believe Mr. Prager had the city's best interest at heart Council 5/19 Video.

The mayor went into some detail citing that the lawsuit against the City of Lake Oswego in which Mr. prager is a plaintiff was not in the best interests of city.   A recent article on the details can be found here Lake Access Lawsuit.   The Mayor also mentioned that the City of Tigard was considering an ordinance that would require appointed members to resign if they were in a lawsuit against the city.  

No doubt this decision will involve controversy.    Councilors Gustafson and Buck argued that Mr. Prager had a constitutional right to his opinion and even if he disagreed with the city that did not disqualify him from being re-appointed as  a planning commissioner.  

Councilor Bowerman voiced a strong level of disagreement with Councilor Gustafson's recent social media posting about the decision by the Mayor not to recommend a reappointment.    Its clear the Mayor took a firm stand recommending against reappointment because he believed the lawsuit constituted a conflict of interest.

What many have forgotten is that in the last act of his administration Mayor Hoffman overrode the entire recommendation of the selection committee to appoint 3 members to the budget committee Collins-Manz-Berg  on 12/18/2012 and tried to stack the budget committee with 3 entirely different appointees to influence the future direction of the city.    This was supported in a 4-3 vote (Hoffman, Tierney, Jordan, Moncrieff)  for the move against a vote by Councilors Kehoe, Gudman, and Olson.    NO reason whatsoever was cited by then Mayor Hoffman for voting this way and Councilor Jordan claimed she felt overwhelmed by the other members of the selection committee when she decided to vote against her own recommendation.  

So its clear precedent has been set in this area.    The vote last night was 3-2.   Councilors Gudman, Bowerman, and O'Neill voting for the recommended appointments and Councilors Buck and Gustafson voting against it.   The mayor abstained and Councilor Manz was absent.  

It will be interesting to see how this action is reported in the media.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Will the WEB Be Sold?

To All COLA LO Members,

Over the past few weeks our community has learned that the city had received 11 bids on the WEB.   After nearly a decade of paying for a building that largely sat empty it seems the city has viable buyers.    The details of the bids have not been disclosed to the public.   However multiple sources are now telling us that the majority of bids are viable and that the city has contacted the bidders for follow up efforts.

Its fair to say that three separate administrations have not been able to justify the expenditure of purchasing the WEB at $20 million and the additional capital investment required to convert it to any reasonable use over the years.    At the same time the property has been removed form the tax rolls reducing the revenue to city government.   The expenditure on the WEB alone exceeds $1 million per year in costs to the city.    That does not include the costs of the programs it houses or the capital investments required to maintain it.

Over the past few weeks an initiative has been circulating to keep the WEB as some residents realize the sale is now very viable.    We have been told its being supported by former members of the Hammerstad administration.   The question is why?   Over nearly an decade no administration has provided a viable answer for the WEB.    Its simply too expensive to maintain or convert to any use.  

Unfortunately it appears a major political effort is underway to try to keep the WEB.

So who is driving this effort?   Why would the city keep an asset that has drained in excess of $10 million in taxpayer wealth so far?   Many of us are wondering if the supporters understand the cost of the WEB to the community.    How much could we do with the $10 Million?  The answer is a lot.  

Are supporters of the former Hammerstad administration covering their tracks?   Time will tell but it surely doesn't make much sense.  What will the current Mayor and City Council do to protect the taxpayers?   Will the city slide back into the massive debt accumulation of the past? Can the city afford to improve infrastructure if ti keeps the WEB?   These are all questions on the minds of the voters.    

Please forward to all friends, colleagues and supporters.  

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