Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Whooee! $$$

The race has begun!  
Sort of.  
Now we need some contenders. 
But the fundraising season is starting, so let the fun begin!  

The one candidate for any city office has been quietly working it.  In 2012, Kent Studebaker collected $38,376 for his first run for Mayor, but did not start collecting money as quickly as this time.  As of March 1, 2016, and largely as a result of one key fundraising party (on a private island no less!), Studebaker collected $14,250 -  just over 1/3 of his 2012 total, with at least 39% of that coming from donors from the real estate and development industries.  As of May 11, Kent collected a total of $15,250. There are 6 months of campaign time left.  You might recognize names of the donors if you check the candidates' campaign financial activity - always a fun thing to do.
Go to: https://secure.sos.state.or.us/orestar/GotoSearchByName.do 

Does this mean that every candidate has to get cozy with the in-crowd - the deep pockets who regularly fund favored candidates because it suits their agenda?  What is the price of a mayorship or a seat on the council?  In a hot election, I'm guessing about $30,000 to $40,000, and I predict every election will be hot or hotter from here on out.  A few people will be able to get away with the bare bones type campaign that Jeff Gudman put together in 2014, but not many.

The chance of returning to a cohesive city seems to be slipping away more and more, and with every election aattitudes coalesce around drastically different visions of Lake Oswego's future.  What visions do the developers have for our city?

Here's my take on what's taken this and other cities off track and put citizens on the outside looking in.  It starts with money - it's always about the money.  City leaders nation-wide have been conditioned to think that redevelopment is the key to making their towns "vibrant", that they withdrew the power of citizens to vote on construction projects and debt, and grabbed it all for themselves.  Greedy to put their stamp on growth and the future of the city, or mesmerized by the visions and talk of others, leaders have held onto exclusive decision-making about spending and debt, manipulated land use, changed land values, altered building and development codes, added to debts and fees (aka taxes that citizens never got to vote on), and all manner of budget items that were only wanted by a few at the top.

The vast majority of people just want their city run well with the least cost possible, and to retain the charm and ambience of the town they chose to live in.  The real estate industry (and planning ideology) has a different agenda that runs counter to citizen wishes.

With Kent getting chummy with the real estate folks and city elites, what might we expect with another 4 years with Studebaker as Mayor?

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