Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Behind LO elections

How the city has changed.
The baby (our livability) is being tossed out 
with the bathwater (real estate development).
How far will we let this go?
 Who's city is it?  

Amid rumors of this person or that who might make a run for mayor or city council, only Kent Studebaker has declared himself as a candidate for a second term as mayor. It will be interesting to see just which of those other rumors come true since many people will no doubt wait until the deadline to file for office.

Preparing for a potential challenger, Kent Studebaker has either hired or is receiving friendly assistance with his campaign from political strategist, Elaine Franklin.  Studebaker and Franklin worked together on his first campaign for mayor also.

If you recall, Franklin lent her support to the campains of Joe Buck, Jackie Manz and Jeff Gudman during the 2014 election for Coty council seats.  Franklin was also part of a team of strategists hired by Patrick Kessi, developer of the Wizer Block, to win hearts and minds when the controversy about the development's design became a city mud wrestling match.

In many ways, Lake Oswego city elections have become more about who is supporting and funding which candidate and why.  Well-connected candidates have always had an easier time getting elected than the unconnected but brilliant and capable guy or gal off the street.  As local, regional and other development and real estate interests now have Lake Oswego in their sights for development, more money and interest is being paid to who governs the city.  Welcome to big-city politics!  

Lake Oswego is no longer about citizens controlling their own little town, it's about who can make the most money on land, development and real estate deals - that's where the big money is - that's the major industry for this city.  There is still urban renewal money to be handed out, land to be rezoned and partitioned, and no matter how streamlined (development-friendly)the code language becomes, there will be citizenry resistance to overbuilding, and a city staff that has proven to be more favorable to developers than citizen wishes. This is not the Lake Oswego most of us have enjoyed.  The cohesive, small town feel and mutual respect is vanishing as big money moves in and land speculation heats up.

We CAN regain local control of our town and destiny, but it will take specia people to do it.  Who will be paving the financial road to the City Council this year?  You and me, or others with a more avaristic intent?

You can follow the money trail by checking the financial activity for each candidate at the ORESTAR website operated by the Secretary of State's Election Office.

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