Four years ago there were two nearly identical candidates running for Metro president. Neither candidate was speaking about the issues that I found most pressing as a voter.

I was working with the Oregon Senate Democrats during the 2010 election so I was more attuned to the issues at that time than many people around me. Those issues are still around today: No control or oversight of TriMet (it is in Metro’s charter to do a restructure of TriMet), a lack of attention to the funding and care of greenspaces purchased with voter approved bonds, a lack of openness and approach-ability of Metro’s elected leaders.

Since then they still have not paid attention to any of those issues and new issues have come to light: no comprehensive plan in refitting the compost program, suspected abuse of the Zoo elephants, loss of revenue from garbage collection, and blind faith in a controversial and ill proposed Convention Center Hotel. Out of all four of the incumbent seats for Metro only one runs opposed, my run for Metro president. I oppose the current hotel deal and am against the back room secret meetings and hidden details wasting our tax dollars. I want a full and open investigation and review of the current elephant habitat and all their medical records, plus independent review of the elephants care.

I don’t like Mr. Hughes style of putting all his eggs in one basket, providing for only one major development in the Metro region, in the former mayor of Hillsboro’s backyard with the Intel campus expansion. I want to put forward programs that help develop and improve the abilities of local companies and small business because I don’t believe going around the world to find a knight in shining armor is what will save our economy but only raising a new crop of homegrown entrepreneurs. I am not for expanding the Urban Growth Boundary or developing new areas until we have exhausted the already developed areas within our 25 cities like the boarded-up storefronts and empty lots that dot the landscape of our communities.

I was raised all over the Metro region, my parents were divorced, and I lived in Beaverton until fourth grade with my mother and spent weekends and summers in Milwaukie, I later went to Clackamas High School my freshman year and just recently spent two years at Clackamas Community College. I have friends and family who live and work everywhere from Forest Grove to Estacada and south to Oregon City and Wilsonville.

I want to see equal development that is beneficial to the whole Metro region. It is not just what I want to do, but how I want to do it. I won’t just take input and then go into a closed meeting, I will keep the doors to the meetings and plannings open so that everyone can be an observer and give input throughout the whole process. We lost nationally one-million jobs, according to labor statistics approximately 800 thousand of those will not come back with an improved economy, they are only going to be replaced with the creation of whole new industries, something that is not part of the current Metro plan.

If something isn’t done about TriMet soon the whole agency may go under and we will have a federal takeover of our local mass transit system, a system which already does not serve the whole Metro region equally or equitably. What we need most in government right now is trust, honesty and openness, something we have not been getting in current leadership and I want to set the example of what good leadership is.

I have no major endorsers but I have tons of community and grassroots support. In the last few weeks since I began my campaign the current Metro president has put into action a plan to at least partially fund the recently purchased greenspaces and finally start work on the elephant habitiat expansion, both of which were approved by voters years ago and should have been approached with more expediency out of respect for them instead of in reaction to my campaign.

I really will bring a level of honesty and transparency not seen in any government agency or body today. I am the only candidate that has a vision for the whole Metro region instead of my own backyard. There are many who still question the validity of the existence of Metro at all. Help me restore faith in our unique and potentially very beneficial form of government by being a true voice of the people.

Jeremiah Johnson is a Metro president candidate in this May election.

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