It was striking, the Nov. 5 meeting of the Lake Oswego City Council. From not in our backyard local lobbyists to a very "scientific" proof of consensus through a request of hand-raising.
I, like many others in the room not vehemently opposed to building bridges but rather open to learning more, walked away even more unwavering in the idea that you build a community based on actions for something, not a NEVER mentality. It's as if you survey and then spread misinformation as a false sense of empowerment to those that would never use such a product in the first place. Then tout their concerns as a real consensus when the truth is, they'd never need, want, or fathom how bridges actually benefit a greater good. I'm not writing this to say that anything about the OGLO Bridge was handled, surveyed, discussed or presented in a manner that was inclusive to Lake Oswego.
However, this idea that because things aren't perfect that we then shouldn't do anything doesn't make a bit of sense. It's kind of like running for office based on what we can't do. Then what's the point in municipal structures? And if your objective is then to undermine and destroy the validity of a municipal structure, then let's be transparent about what you think the role of municipalities should be.
Most shocking though, was the confession of a lack of bandwidth for continuing collaboration on a project because being a City Councilor is a "volunteer" post. And as a volunteer position holder, there is only so much that one simply can do. As if after running two campaigns to be elected and then re-elected, and then serving for the past five years, this idea of a volunteer position is just now sinking in? Is it just now impacting the bandwidth and wherewithal on this particular topic? Will that lack of bandwidth then extend to other issues, or is just this one topic too much for a volunteer elected official who represents all of Lake Oswego? Interesting.
After serving in a leadership capacity on two campaigns in Lake Oswego, I can tell you that relentless is the word I would use to describe the endurance one must have in order to be effective
Whether they are volunteer posts or not. We did not earn respect, glean insight, or form policy positions through a lack of bandwidth because
we were "volunteering" to run for office.
It was never what we were against that earned us a vote. It was always a vision for the future that enhanced the integrity of the backbones of our community (our youth and aging populations) that earned us a viable seat at the table.
So, as we approach the 2020 election cycle and four open seats come up for grabs on the Lake Oswego City Council including the mayor's seat, it may be prudent that we make sure we have people in the spotlight with the vision, innovation and relentless pursuit of something greater to occupy those seats.
Perhaps that lack of bandwidth or as I would rather call it, a great privilege and invaluable commitment to maintaining and improving the quality of life for all of LO, should be extended to those with a resolute vision of hope, opportunity and love of volunteer civic engagement.
Melissa Fireside is a Lake Oswego resident.
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