Featured Stories

Ares resigns council post


Councilor Rich Ares decides he's seen enough of the 'No' mentality

When the gavel fell to end Wednesday night’s Canby City Council meeting, Councilor Rich Ares’ time on the council was done. Disappointed with what he considers a “no” mentality from Mayor Brian Hodson and councilors Rider, Dale and Hensley, Ares read a passionate letter toward the end of the meeting indicating his time as a city councilor was done when the gavel fell. “The city council is supposed to serve the community,” Ares said. “We’re not. We’re not serving the general public. We are serving specific publics. I’m not a big spender. I’m pretty much in the middle, but when we don’t do things like build libraries, where we can do it and not raise taxes to the public – shame on us.” Ares has been retired for nine years. He said that resigning from the council would allow him to enjoy a full-time retirement for the first time. As the senior member, he offered some advice to the council on his departure. “As the senior member of this council, during my tenure I have had approximately 160 meetings, just on Wednesday evenings. The mid-stream decision to kill the library project by this council and hearing the mayor’s vision for downtown made me realize I don’t have the energy, nor patience to continue, especially since this council, like our Congress, has adopted the philosophy that the word “No” is a strategy to improve our community. “From my 43 years of community involvement experience on school boards, commissions and councils, let me assure you “No” is not a strategy. It is simply an excuse to avoid making tough decisions that benefit and improve the community as a whole for all citizens, not just special interests and select property owners,” Ares said in his resignation letter. Ares said that there was something in the air after the November elections. “All you had to do was count to four,” he said of Hodson being elected mayor and Dale, Hensley and Rider joining the council. “You could sense something was coming. I felt that common, mature, rational discussions could sway people. When you have the ideology that the majority of the council has now, they can’t break from that ideology.” He said that the issues that were coming forward on the council, particularly within the library project, simply pointed to time wasted. “You have to be decisive in business and government,” Ares said. “You should study all you can up to a point, but when we need to make a decision, we make it based on what we have. We’d make a decision, then reverse it – sometimes in the same bloody meeting.” Ares pointed to the Canby Utility Board property and the original deal, which was a land swap, as a turning point, saying he and City Administrator Greg Ellis should have been more aggressive in getting it done. “We should have sealed that deal six months ago,” Ares said. “They (CUB) just wanted to be made whole, which was fine. Then, came back to us wanting us to buy everything. In a 20-day period, we had to come up with a way to do that.” That’s when they came up with borrowing from wastewater reserve funds. Ares said that Ellis was instructed by council to draw up a purchase agreement with CUB as well as arrange to borrow from the sewer fund. “When it came up for a vote in public, those four said no,” Ares said. “That’s when my blood pressure really began to rise.” Fortunately, Ares will be spending much more time at a beach house he and his wife have. He expects the liberation from the struggles and strange decisions of this current city council to occur nicely while watching the waves break just south of Salishan. As for Canby, Ares has a distinct philosophy he follows. “Life, whether it’s politics, economics, personal economics, everything is a cycle,” he said. “We go through cycles all the time. Real estate cycles are about every seven years, economy cycles through about every six to 10 years, we go from conservative to liberal and back in government on a regular basis. “The library has been a catalyst,” he added. “I’m starting to hear more people in town that are interested in city council again. There was a cycle of about eight to 10 years where everything was kind of cool and things went smoothly. When Melody and Randy were mayors, it was pretty smooth. But with this latest transition, more and more people are starting to say they need to be more involved in city government. Hopefully, the next election there will have multiple people running for the open seats, not just three people for three open seats. It will give people an honest choice.”