Why city commissioners support recall of Mayor Dan Holladay
The first duty of any government, national or local, is to provide for the safety and welfare of its citizens — not only their physical safety but their welfare by providing a setting where they can go about their lives, raise their families and earn a living in a safe and prosperous setting.
Faced with not one but a series of mayoral actions that were enumerated in the June 17 censure motion, my fellow city commissioners and I unanimously voted to censure the mayor and issue a vote of "no confidence."
We did so to protect Oregon City from the very turmoil that was and is tearing apart Portland, to protect our neighbors from the ravages of COVID-19, to demonstrate to the state of Oregon that Oregon City is not a bunch of outlaws and to demand that the mayor act as a member of the City Commission and not as a dictator. We were in danger of being labeled as racist, intolerant, unattractive to business development and encouraging of civil disobedience to state of Oregon legal actions designed to ensure our safety.
Thankfully, four of our five previous mayors joined with local civic organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Oregon City Association and prominent citizens in our educational community to both make clear to the world our true nature and to support your commissioners whose ability to control the actions of a mayor were limited, by law.
Out of an ugly and endangering series of events the exciting and empowering actions of our citizens resulted. Despite the coronavirus, widespread fires, smoke and rendering assistance to others who were displaced, Oregon City citizens took action to successfully gather signatures for the recall of the mayor.
In a world that increasingly seems to tolerate half-truths, outright lies and attempts to misrepresent that which actually happened, our people spoke and clearly stated that which every person should expect from their elected officials — honesty in word and deed, integrity in the performance of their elected duties and civility and respect in dealing with the public.
Mayor Holladay has, in the past, contributed to this city. Somewhere, in the course of his public service, he has lost his way. He has forgotten that elected officials are simply the servants of those who elected them. An elected official should love his city more than he loves himself, but that is clearly not the case, for if it were, he would resign.
And so, it falls to each of us to make our statement and show that Oregon City has not "lost its way." Exceptional leaders from our past have said, "It's always the right time to do the right thing." At this time the right thing is to cast our votes to recall Mayor Dan Holladay, and allow our city to heal, regroup and refocus on the community we wish to be.
My thanks to each of you!
Frank O'Donnell is an elected city commissioner for Oregon City.
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