Here's why you should vote yes on all three Oregon City measures:
3-583: Eliminate numerical positions on the City Commission
We do not have specific areas of our city represented by an individual commissioner. All commissioners represent all areas of our city, so it doesn't make sense to assign numerical positions.
Here's an example of why this current system is not good for our city: Let's say you have two really good candidates running for position 3, and in fact, are having trouble deciding which one to eliminate. Then you have two not-so-good candidates running for position 4. Only one of the quality candidates for position 3 will get elected, and we'll end up with one of the inferior candidates for position 4.
If we eliminate the numbering of the positions, voters have the opportunity to elect the best two candidates possible.
3-580: Commission appoints Planning Commission and Historic Review Board
These two groups are different from all of the other boards and commissions in our city. Both of these groups have the ability to enact legally binding decisions. This means that important land-use decisions are being made by people appointed by only one person, the mayor. All it takes is one unscrupulous mayor having absolute power to appoint their friends, cronies and anyone that they feel they can persuade to vote in their own personal interest. They can also block people they personally don't like.
Having the entire elected City Commission vote on appointments to these two boards and commissions will eliminate this potential problem. The mayor will still have the ability to appoint members to non-legally binding committees.
3-579: Remove term limits for Commission Positions
I know that term limits are very popular, and with the corruption of money in politics, perhaps one could argue that term limits are necessary. However, Oregon City commissioners are not paid for their service. It is a totally volunteer position. These citizens are devoting hours of their personal time to read endless materials, investigate and understand complicated issues, attend long tedious meetings, and make good decisions in the best interest of the citizens — all for free! Additionally, there is a learning curve for serving on the commission, making people who have historical knowledge and experience better qualified to know and understand issues affecting the city.
So, if the city is fortunate enough to have someone on the commission who is doing a great job and is willing to keep working for free, why in the world would we want to eliminate them? Term limits will still exist, but in a more common-sense manner. If you don't believe someone is doing a good job, you can always still vote for someone else.
Lynn Andersen is an Oregon City resident.
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