Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Monday, September 26, 2016

TONIGHT: Attend one, record the others


One of two mayoral candidate debates is scheduled for tonight.  Unfortunately, the Clinton/Trump debate will air at the same time.  For those interested in both debates, record the national debate on TV, and attend the mayoral debate at the Lakewood Center.

Football games are another story.  They can also be taped, but not very exciting to watch after the fact.

The unfortunate timing blows my ideal schedule, but I have to prioritize, so the choice is easy (just not made without a lot of grumbling!).

For those who are looking for the easy way out, the Lake Oswego Review has promised that videos of the debates will be available on their websites.  I would hate to see the debates (for mayor and city council) be held in an empty room while citizens waited for the video online.  What happens in person make a difference with the energy and course of live performances, so attendance by a wide portion of the population is important.

See you tonight!

MONDAY, SEPT. 26: A forum for candidates running for Mayor (Budget Committee Chairman Dave Berg, City Councilor Jon Gustafson and incumbent Mayor Kent Studebaker).

The forum will take place in the Community Meeting Room at the Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State St., scheduled from 6-7:30 p.m., and will be recorded and available for viewing later at lakeoswegoreview.com.

Note:  the Lake Oswego Review is sponsoring a debate for City Council candidates on October 3 at the same time and place as above.  

And on October 2nd!

The Lake Oswego Citizens Action League - LOCAL - has scheduled a debate for City Council and mayoral candidates at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2, at Lake Oswego High School (2501 Country Club Road). All but Gustafson are expected to attend. The format will feature a moderator and three community members who will ask questions; attendees will also be able to submit questions at the event.

And another...  

The Chamber of Commerce, a special interest group, is holding its own mayoral debate at a breakfast meeting in September.  They are opening the meeting to the public at a cost of $35 per person.

USC is fine with any group doing whatever it wants, allowing any guests it wants, and charging any fees it wants.  And while this may be considered doing a public service in a loose sense of the term, it caters to only those who can afford its fees and is still a private organization with self-interests that do not prioritize the general welfare of the public.  Consider the purpose of the Chamber of Commerce members (to maximize their businesses) and how their objectives might jive with yours.  

This group differs from LOCAL which is a non-partisan group of local citizens who are interested in preserving a high quality of life in Lake Oswego.  Membership is free and open to anyone, donations are welcome, and the forum is free and open to all.  See the LOCAL website for more information:  locitizens.com.   

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Keep LO Safe

Be vigilant and proactive

Maybe homelessness and vagrancy, drug use and harassment isn't happening in your neighborhood - yet - but let's make sure this problem doesn't happen anywhere in Lake Oswego.

Municipal Codes and policies on dealing with the homeless and criminal behavior need to be up to date and enforced.  LO should not become another magnet for vagrants spilling over from our very lax big-city neighbor to the north.  Prevention is better than a cure.

Lake Oswego Review, September 22, 2016
Police Log

9/12/16 2:30 p.m. A building owner said people are sleeping behind his property and leaving food and needles behind. 

9/13/16 3:54 p.m. Two homeless women were holding up signs asking for help at the Safeway on Avenue A.

9/14/16 4:03 p.m. Neighbors asked police to remove a man who was attempting to live on a stairwell.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pretend Everything's Really Swell

But Oh My, Beware!

The City has a time bomb ticking.  Public Employee Retirement System costs are growing.  According to The Oregonian, disaster isn't in the future, it is now.

Which candidates for mayor and city council are willing to face this issue head on instead of hiding from reality with feel-good propaganda, or concerned but not too worried reassurances.  Why doesn't the City Manager educate the Council about the impending costs and what they will do to the budget?

Does Employee Unions' support have anything to do with it?  I'm open to other suggestions here.

The Oregonian, September 21, 2016. By Ted Sickinger 
'This is becoming a moral issue':  Officials face truth behind Oregon's soaring pension costs

The numbers are bleak. Oregon's pension system owes billions of dollars more to retirees than it has, and the last major attempt to fix the problem was shot down in courts.

This month, cities, school districts and others will find out how much more they'll pay to help prop up the system. Higher pension costs could come at the expense of funding for other needs, including social services, infrastructure investments and education programs.

Experts openly acknowledged they're understating the magnitude of Oregon's problemThey're relying on optimistic assumptions about investment returns. And they're holding down required pension payments below what's needed to keep pace with the debt, to avoid eviscerating school and government budgets across Oregon.

"We're beyond crisis," Katy Durant, chair of the Oregon Investment Council, said in an interview after last week's meeting. "We should have been addressing this 20 years ago and it's just been building. It's a little bit like a Ponzi scheme. Sooner or later it's going to catch up with you."

"This problem is not going away," said John Thomas, a Eugene benefits consultant who chairs the pension system's board. "It is what it is. The math is the math...It's getting to a point now that it's difficult for people to accept what these numbers are."   

As it stands, pension payments cost government agencies and school districts across the state about $2 billion every two years, and they're panicking about the $885 million, or 44 percent jump, in required payments over the next two years.

That's just next biennium," PERS Director Steve Rodeman, said at the meeting. "There's going to be one just like that in the next biennium and very similar to that, under almost any scenario, in the one after that."