The game of going after those who stand for citizens
Since becoming a Councilor I am very disappointed at the political games that plague our city.
The latest legal and media fiasco spinning off Bialostosky and Baker's demands for nine years of Cummings personal notes are examples. Most people are unaware of the large number of records requests they have initiated regarding Cummings and myself, even to the extent of my past conference expenses.
To me, a councilor's job is to represent citizens in the city's policy and budgetary matters. It is not a city councilor's job to be friends with staff, make apologies for them, or turn a blind eye to matters against citizens' interests. The health of our city depends on electing Council's that hold citizens' interests first and who resist the temptation to do otherwise. I know from experience that pressure to put staff's interests before citizens' interests is real. Not everyone can resist. Consequently, voters must use extreme caution when voting if they wish their collective vision to define what our city should be.
Because I have ideas that some don't agree with and because I take my fiduciary responsibility to West Linn residents very seriously, I have been consistently vilified. I believe in timelines, accountability, professionalism and following through. I'm not a rubber stamp kind of councilor as many are. Almost every resident I speak with appreciates this except the few that are clearly playing political games for selfish interests.
Since Jan. 1 ex-councilor Perry has taken it upon herself to endlessly use the newspaper to vilify Cummings and myself. If her many articles in the Tidings were accurate, I would have no complaints. I believe in free speech even if it is repetitive, off-putting, and ill-expressed. The monthly annoyance of her misstatements and unbridled hypocrisy of her perspective tries my patience, as it does many others.
The letter in which she was allowed to label her opinions as "facts" was particularly inaccurate, but on July 25 she penned an opinion titled "Transparency, process and fiscal responsibility." If she were genuinely committed to transparency she would have made efforts to share with the public the public business conducted in the illegal executive session which she admitted she participated in during an Oregon Government Ethics Commission inquiry.
While I applaud her admitting to the violation, I have not seen Perry even once advocate that Council should release the Oct. 15, 2018, audiotape of that illegal executive session in the interest of transparency?
That session was deemed a violation of Oregon Executive Session law because the public's business was done in private, so to Ms. Perry I ask, "Why did you not advocate to release the tape sections that were public?"
Similarly, Bialostosky and Baker, who posture a new found interest in transparency, also have not asked for that tape to be released. Now why is that, blatant hypocrisy? Convenient aligning with staff interests as our city manager was heavily involved in this questionable meeting? Or no political gain in such a request? I do give kudos to the Tiding's editorial staff for finally addressing this in their recent editorial. Hopefully they will continue the narrative to advocate for that transparency?
So far Bialostosky's lawsuits have cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars and if appealed as he threatens on social media, will cost them much more.
I hope citizens will read Judge Breithaupt's ruling and listen to the hearing tape when posted. This will bring clarity as to why the Judge ruled as he did which is based on current state law. Isn't that what we require and expect from our Judge's?
Perhaps Bialostosky will consider dropping the idea of appeal as that would be costly to him and the City and use his expertise to change the law. Again, this law is currently clearly stated for those that take the time to investigate as Judge Breithaupt did.
Sadly, the political games are bound to continue with lawsuits, the media and social media all exploited to vilify elected officials who have the courage to stand up for citizens. The fate of our city rides on one thing: Can the voters discern who is working for their interests and who is in the "game" for some other reason?
Richard Sakelik is a West Linn city councilor.
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