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Letters: Support for Milwaukie's light-rail bond, county commission

Measure 3-439, to authorize general obligation bonds to refinance light-rail construction debt, was placed on the May ballot by the city of Milwaukie. Our Hector Campbell neighbors at the April 14 regular NDA meeting approved this letter asking Milwaukie voters to vote YES on this measure.

The city’s current finances are seriously underfunded because of a slow economic recovery, lowered property values and unanticipated costs to the general fund. Filling vacant staff positions has been delayed and will continue so even if the bond measure passes, because revenue cannot meet a very conservative current and projected city budget. New positions, such as additional police staffing dedicated to downtown patrols following light-rail start-up, are well beyond the future budget.

Even those who opposed Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail should understand that the previous City Council signed a legally binding contract to participate in funding the PMLR and committed the city to pay over $4.1 million. Some savings will be realized by refinancing this debt, but more importantly, that from $200,000 to $365,000 per year we would have paid will sustain the general fund budget rather than having to be paid for almost 20 years. In fact, improvements in downtown Milwaukie amounting to $13 million have been gained by the city through its commitment to light rail. The annual bond cost is a relatively small amount of money per household: about $36 on a $200,000 house — equivalent to the price of a single carton of cigarettes or 10 gallons of gas.

Even though passing the bond doesn’t resolve all of the city’s financial issues, it does allow the city to get on a more stable footing. If we wish to support the city so that we can move forward instead of stagnating, we need to all vote YES on Measure 3-439.

David Aschenbrenner

On behalf of the HCNDA, Milwaukie

Support Measure 3-439

There is an argument in support of this measure in the Voters’ Pamphlet that’s unfortunately signed by only two members of Milwaukie City Council. Should there be any doubt in voters’ minds, Councilors Miller, Churchill and I fully support this bond measure. In fact Councilor Miller and I were speaking in support of a bond in 2012 when the agreement with TriMet to pay the already-approved $5 million in installments was signed. Giving people the opportunity to decide how this should be paid was a condition of our support for that loan agreement with TriMet.

Staff positions have already been permanently removed from funding in the proposed budget for the financial year 2014/15, regardless of whether the bond passes or not. If the measure fails at the ballot, further cuts will be necessary to balance the budget. That will mean further cuts to the services the city provides. The city is committed to yearly payments from $200,000 rising to $365,000 to repay TriMet. Approving the bond will allow that money to be spent on other services. All five members of Milwaukie City Council support this bond measure, please vote yes to approve it. It is in the best interests of our city.

Dave Hedges

Council president, city of Milwaukie

Keep Ludlow, Smith in check

I urge all Clackamas County voters to re-elect Paul Savas and Jim Bernard as county commissioners. Without these two men, the Ludlow /Smith duo will continue to try to run their “own agenda.”

Paul Savas is a voice of reason, fairness, and has a vision for the future of Clackamas County. Paul diligently studies and researches the issues facing the county and makes fiscally sound decisions that benefit all of Clackamas County.

Jim is a strong advocate for Clackamas County job creation and economic growth. We need both of these commissioners re-elected to keep Ludlow and Smith in check until we can vote them out of office.

Elaine Krause

Oregon City

Government running amok

Like any other citizen, I am entitled to my opinion. In last week’s edition of this newspaper, I was being attacked by Gary Duell of Happy Valley and D. Kent Lloyd of Gladstone. These guys accuse me of slander and libel. These two are simply just sore losers and want the liberals back in charge of our county. There is no such thing as slander and libel when it comes to elected officials. They are open game. However, I am not an elected official. Then you have Peter Bellamy of Oregon City attacking Americans for Prosperity. There are many liberals along with conservatives who are members of AFP.

I mentioned in my editorial of April 16 that after losing her county commission seat, Charlotte Lehan went to work for Metro. This was actually her reward for supporting the Unions and Metro in getting things done, like the Portland/Milwaukie Light Rail Project. But did she listen to the voters who voted this down numerous times. No, of course not. But she helped keep the union workers employed. This is why she is former county commissioner. Then there is former Commissioner Ann Lininger, who one month after leaving the commission and supporting light rail, went to work for Oregon Iron Works helping build light-rail cars. Then Mrs. Lininger gets appointed to the state legislature, just like she was appointed to the county commission. Mr. Lloyd then goes on to point out that I did not mention Jamie Damon, who was given a high ranking position in Governor Kitzhaber’s administration. I just have two things to say about Governor Kitzhaber: “Cover Oregon” and “CRC.”

You see, there are just as many liberals who are disgusted with the way our local and state governments have been run over the past 30-plus years. It used to be that small business was the backbone of our economy.

However, since the unions have been lining the pockets of our liberal politicians over the past 30 years, small business has been squeezed out of existence. Yes, there are still many small businesses, but many are struggling. Keep in mind that many of these small business owners are liberals as well. And these people are also ready for a change.

Oh and let’s not forget about Clackamas County commissioners Paul Savas and Jim Bernard. Yes, Paul Savas was the lone vote against the light-rail project. He since has switched sides and now votes along with the liberals. I have to wonder what he was promised if he switched sides.

The best thing that voters can do for Clackamas County is to elect Steve Bates and Karen Bowerman to the Clackamas County Commission.

No more government run amok. It is time for our government to get down to doing the business for the people rather than their campaign contributors. The campaign contributors are the ones who are getting rich off of the liberal elected officials’ decisions. Until this changes, small business won’t have a chance.

Oregon’s economy is one of the worst in the entire country. Every Oregonian complains about it, however we keep electing the same liberals over and over again. It has also caused many good people and businesses to leave our state which has also hurt Oregon’s economy.

The last time Oregon’s economy was in good shape Vic Atiyeh was governor, before him, Tom McCall, and before him Mark Hatfield, all conservative governors.

If you are serious about wanting Oregon’s economy to improve, then it is time to bring back the conservatives and get our state moving again.

Jeff Molinari

Milwaukie

County still in America

After testifing at the Clackamas County Commission April 17, I was appalled as to the manipulation of words from Chairman John Ludlow. Citizens and elected officials are tired of his actions on the board. They are unhappy with his endorsement openly attacking Paul Savas and Jim Bernard in a letter sent throughout the county. They represent us too. I’ve never in my 74 years seen it done. I’ve been involved in politics for many, many years. Also served as city councilor. After 35 years in the medical field.

I repeat what was in this newspaper. Mayor Jeremy Ferguson, former State Rep. Patrick Sheehan and Jane Logan were all unhappy about Ludlow’s letter attacking fellow commissioners. When you are a seated county chairman, you should display respect, admiration and honesty for the citizens. Not underhanded tactics.

The candidates that are running against Paul Savas and Jim Bernard are both inexperienced in politics. Steve Bates is chairman of a citizen planning organization; it’s a big step up to county commissioner. Karen Bowman just got on the Lake Oswego City Council. Why not learn about Clackamas County before such a big step? This will be her third political race since coming from California approximately four years ago. Does she not know, we do not do this in Oregon? There is a lot to learn about Oregon; we are not California.

Does Chair Ludlow not want citizens that have a difference of opinion? Last time I checked, this is still America. We still have freedom of speech.

Jo Haverkamp

Oregon City



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