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Citizen's View: 'Vision, balance, leadership': It's what makes a city great

The “silly season” of mayoral politics has come early to Lake Oswego.

Dave Berg’s entry into the race for mayor was preceded last week by his Citizen’s View (“Did the ‘promise’ of the 2012 LO election ever materialize,” May 12), in which he denounced the current Lake Oswego City Council as all things fiscally wrong and trumpeted his role in all things fiscally responsible.

Candidates often use buzz words to create scary images in voters’ minds, but freedom of speech carries with it accountability for one’s words. Candidate Berg accuses the current council of having a “tax-and-spend mentality,” of increasing density and of not being transparent. None of those accusations is true, though they may make great fodder for campaign literature.

In January 2013, I became mayor of this great city, and since then, tax rates have not increased; the City debt that I inherited has been significantly reduced; the density in our neighborhoods has not increased; and I have a publicly listed telephone number and a publicly listed email address — you can’t get more transparent than that!

We have reduced City staff by 5 percent and we are replacing the Operations and Maintenance facility and the Police and 911 centers without asking residents for a single additional dime. That’s called having a focused and disciplined mentality.

Candidate Berg suggests that the council has promoted high-density development using your taxes. That is blatantly false. The Wizer Block development involved the sale of private property to a private developer and was allowed to proceed because it met the standards of our City Code. The courts agreed. The City investment in that project is to pay for an additional 135 parking spaces — that’s called planning ahead.

The only other “high-density” development the City is authorizing is the North Anchor project. The City owns the property and we are selling it to a developer. Some family housing will be added to our downtown, as well as a boutique hotel. That’s called vision.

Unless I miss my guess, Lake Oswegans want certain characteristics in their mayor and council. Honesty, integrity and some humility are certainly among those characteristics. Every day, the council works strenuously with sound foresight and fiscal responsibility. Each day as your mayor, I strive to quietly guide them.

I am very optimistic about the future of this city and about the ability of this council to take us forward with sound economic decisions and great judgment. I know things around here are not gloom and doom. That’s why my campaign slogan will be upbeat: “Vision, Balance and Leadership.”

My publicly listed telephone number is 503-201-2270, and I invite anyone who would like to discuss the future of Lake Oswego to give me a call.

Kent Studebaker is the mayor of Lake Oswego. He has announced that he will seek re-election to the office in November.