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Council has weathered storm; recall is over

Since December, the city of West Linn has been in upheaval because a number of disgruntled citizens attempted to recall Mayor John Kovash and City Councilors Jenni Tan, Mike Jones and Jody Carson.

We were pleased last week when the four petitioners attempting to recall members of the council did not show up at city hall to turn in their petitions.

Each petitioner was required to get 1,844 signatures from registered West Linn voters — 15 percent of the total votes cast in the city in the last governor’s race — in order to initiate a recall. If returned, each elected official could opt to resign or a recall election for the remainder of his or her term could be held.

Considering that two of the targeted councilors, Carson and Jones, are up for re-election in November, we question why the petitioners did not wait until November, in the meantime picking their own candidates and building up a campaign to change the current council.

With a population of 25,600 in West Linn, the vast majority declined to sign the recall petitions. That is a great statement about our citizens and their faith in the current city council. Though a petitioner declared, “Nearly 1,800 people signed each of the petitions,” the group declined the Tidings’ repeated requests to see the petitions and their associated numbers to confirm the count.

So we are forced to ask ourselves: If they were so close, why not have one last push and get those last few signatures? If they were sincere in their efforts to rid themselves of four-fifths of the city council, why not follow through on the effort?

We feel this small group of citizens is upset over the Lake Oswego-Tigard water treatment plant project currently underway in the Robinwood neighborhood, near Walmart, and put the entire blame of its approval on the West Linn City Council.

Yes, the planning commission denied the initial application for the project and its associated pipeline. However, thanks to the city’s de novo (“afresh” or “new”) hearing process, the applicants were allowed to amend their application and make it more appealing for the city and the majority of its residents - including $5 million to use toward replacing the Bolton Reservoir.

Yes, we understand the inconvenience of the construction — the noise, the traffic, the shaking, the rattling and the temporary loss of quiet in a secluded neighborhood. However, when weighing the city’s charter, its codes and stipulations, and the de novo hearing process, the city council opted with what it thought was the best choice for the majority of the citizens, albeit at the temporary expense of the neighborhood in which it is located.

We are glad that a few upset residents are not dictating the direction of the city. We are glad our city council has stood tall and proud amongst the accusations. And we will welcome the November election when the city as a whole can select its new representatives or re-elect those who choose to run again.



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