Our Opinion: Where have you been West Linn?
Wake Up West Linn!
Where have you been?
Most likely too busy with family, your work, or your home to pay attention to what's happening in local government.
Having served as the publisher of the Tidings for the past 20 years I've come to the conclusion that a majority of the community typically doesn't pay attention to all the craziness that happens far too often in West Linn city politics.
And truthfully, I can't really blame you.
Since I arrived in West Linn in 2001, a wide range of people have volunteered to help shape the future of our city. Believe me, this is a thankless job and I applaud anyone willing give of themselves in the name of service to our community.
Unfortunately, as I see it, the community for far too long has allowed a very small but outspoken population assert their political will over the rest of us by out-shouting, out-politicking and to their credit, out-caring everyone else in the community. The result is that the negativity they spew for anyone who questions or disagrees with them just turns people off.
And what happens when West Linner's give up, stop caring, stop paying attention or just aren't willing to put in the energy needed to really know what is going on with our elected officials?
2019 - You get a council that spends six months evaluating the city manager's work performance and then fires that person without the courtesy of telling the other two members of the council their reasons.
2019 - You get a council that pays almost $60,000 in six months for a mediator to help them improve their communication skills to work better together.
2019 - You get a city councilor who bullies and threatens citizens and even local reporters.
2011 to present - You get a city council that spends years debating the merits of an in-house attorney.
2006 - You get a finance director that embezzles $1.4 million dollars from city coffers.
2005 to 2017 - You hire Chief Timeus who doesn't get the supervision he needs because his boss, the city manager, is dealing with constant and chaotic queries from the council and vocal citizens.
2005 - You get a police chief that resigns after receiving a vote of no confidence from the police union after 50% of the officers quit. And then we hire Chief Timeus!
2001 to present - You pay significant sums in payouts to sever ties with city employees that various city councils don't trust.
2001 to present - You get a council that doesn't trust the recommendations of a professional city employee, which then creates a revolving door of people leaving to go to work for governments where they know they have a future.
2001 to present - You get a City that is considered a laughingstock throughout Oregon. I know, I hear this all the time from key political and government people all over the state when they ask me "What's wrong with West Linn?"
And I'm not even listing the various recall threats, the cost of lawsuits brought by former city councilors against the City, charges by city staff of sexual harassment against an incumbent mayor and the years of poor working relationships between the City Council and other municipalities.
I recently chatted with a longtime City of West Linn staffer who thought that it would take a natural disaster to awake the community to the incompetence that has been allowed to continue, unchecked for years in our community.
Instead it just took a $600,000 payout to a man who was wrongfully targeted by West Linn police three years ago, as first reported in the Tidings.
West Linn, how many more examples do you need until you understand you have to stay engaged with what's happening in your community?
I know everyone wants to blame someone for what's happened.
The truth is, if you didn't take the time to pay attention to the background of candidates running for political office or follow their track record of accomplishments or lack thereof and voted for them anyway, then the fault is yours.
If you only get your news from Facebook then yes, you are to blame.
If you are a subscriber to the Tidings, you are more aware then most to decisions being made by your elected leaders. Unfortunately, too many in West Linn are not, which is why we are again being embarrassed by another example of political incompetence.
Wake up West Linn. Pay attention. Get informed. Run for office. Let your voice be heard. Your community needs you now more than ever.
Brian Monihan is pubisher of the West Linn Tidings.
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