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.  

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