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Citizen's View: Make your voice heard in November

Headlines this political season compete for either the most insipid or profound of statements from our national candidates, which can make for sensational and addictive — albeit slightly repetitive — reading. Far too easily, our local candidates and issues become buried far beneath these heaps of lost emails, unreleased tax returns and hurled insults.

Nevertheless, from mayoral and City Council races to ballot measures, this community’s decisions in November will have a real impact on our daily lives and shape the direction of Lake Oswego for years to come.

Balancing the priorities of the community requires the ability to collaborate from varying perspectives, form consensus and think ahead to how we envision the community decades from now. An accessible community with a multi-modal transportation system easily maneuvered by those residing here and welcoming to visitors, top-tier infrastructure, well-maintained parks and programs for youth and seniors alike that amplify our many talents and join us together — these are some of the things I advocate for.

While we safeguard and hold true characteristics such as natural beauty and healthy and safe neighborhoods as defining aspects of Lake Oswego, we must also synthesize these features with our responsibility to the regional, state, national and global environment to ensure we deliver our next-generation infrastructure and a natural ecosystem in as strong and healthy a way as possible. Our stewardship and decisions go beyond the borders of Lake Oswego, engendering positive changes through our commitment to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, fostering healthy natural surroundings and promoting a sustainable community.

The City has a chance in the next year to introduce fiber internet infrastructure that would increase the technological capabilities of Lake Oswego and benefit residents, businesses and schools. The City Council is asking you, our residents, for input on the ballot in November on this private-public fiber internet network, which would deliver ultra-fast internet, upgradable to future capacity needs, to any subscribing resident, business or entity within the City for a low rate that would only be adjusted for inflation in years to come.

There are those who believe that internet service should remain an offering exclusive to the private sector. But I believe that in today’s environment, the medium over which we connect with the world is too vital to everyday life to be held by corporate behemoths concerned more with short-term revenue than long-term needs of our community.  At a time when most government actions add cost to the taxpayer, this proposal puts the interests of Lake Oswego ahead of profits and will result in a savings to our residents, while greatly enhancing a service.

The issue is complex, however, and there is financial risk if not enough residents subscribe. The fiber network needs community input to move forward, and will require community involvement to be successful.

On a crowded November ballot, please take the time to let your voice be heard in regard to the local ballot measures and our mayoral and City Council races. 

I hold sacred and am honored by the trust voters place in me and my colleagues to represent your voice in the day-to-day issues of City life, but your action and voice are needed now to en-

sure we can continue to embrace our shared values and propel a robust, healthy and evolving Lake Oswego into the future.

Joe Buck is a Lake Oswego city councilor.