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Newspaper's editorial contains misguided attack

Tuesday’s editorial (“Honest answers needed for council pay,” The Outlook, April 21) started out right, but then it veered into a bizarre personal attack aimed at discouraging voters from attending a forum that the Neighborhood Coalition is holding on the council compensation ballot measures.

Who have the editor been talking to?

The editor certainly didn’t contact me or anyone else in the Neighborhood Coalition to discuss concerns before passing judgment on our forum.

I’m the president of the Coalition of Gresham Neighborhood Associations (aka the Neighborhood Coalition), the elected leaders of Gresham’s 16 neighborhood associations.

In our role as neighborhood leaders, we keep track of city issues so that we can share information with our neighborhoods, work on problems together and provide input to the city.

We took note when the issue of council pay came up this year, particularly the speed with which measures were brought to the ballot. On Feb. 3, the Gresham City Council appointed a task force to study council compensation. On Feb. 12, the task force met and made its recommendation. On March 3, the City Council voted unanimously to put the measures on council pay before the voters this May.

At the Neighborhood Coalition’s March 10 meeting, we voted to sponsor a forum with a panel and audience Q&A to discuss the council compensation ballot measures, provided we could find a balanced panel to make both pro and con arguments.

At our April 14 meeting, we reiterated our decision to hold an open forum with panelists who could provide arguments for and against the ballot measures.

We believe this forum structure gives citizens a valuable opportunity to weigh the pros and cons for themselves and to make an informed vote. Numerous community members have told me that they agree and appreciate that the Neighborhood Coalition is offering this forum.

There’s been very little time to organize it, but our forum will have four panelists who’ve prepared and can provide arguments for and against the ballot measures. Two will make arguments for the measures and two will make arguments against.

Neither the Neighborhood Coalition nor the panelists are taking any positions on the ballot measures. These panelists are active members of our community who are able to provide a lively debate and respond to audience questions.

I invite my fellow Gresham citizens, as well as the editors of The Outlook, to join us at our forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 29, in Gresham Council Chambers, 1333 NW Eastman Parkway.

Carol Rulla is president of the Coalition of Gresham Neighborhood Associations.

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