Charlotte Lehan takes on term limits
The Wilsonville term limits advocates, led mostly by petitioner, Doris Wehler, are intent on eliminating Tim Knapp and me from public office. That's why they made it retroactive. I'm not sure why she is so opposed to Tim Knapp since he was originally her top pick for appointment to the City Council in 2003. But I'm pretty sure her perpetual opposition to me arises from back in 1999 when she was promoting her development, Wehler Estates, now known as Oak Patch, off Canyon Creek Road. Despite her later anti-density conversion, she really REALLY wanted seven lots there on the side of Boeckman Canyon, and the City Council (of which I was mayor at the time) only approved six. Without a real cul-de-sac, it was still a very tight fit.
Doris Wehler has twice tried (and failed) to recall me, in 1999 and again in 2003. She has always supported whoever was running against me. Her rationale sort of shifts with the times – prison siting, water, building city hall, her support for development at the airport or Langdon Farms, density (for or against), traffic – but she has been consistent in her opposition to me.
Over the years I have largely tried to ignore Doris' animosity, but making a policy change as draconian as this particular term limit measure is will have far reaching impacts beyond any tit for tat between Doris and myself. It is not apt to change anything for me since it is HIGHLY unlikely that I will want to run again. The impact will be on Wilsonville's future mayors. Consider our three newest councilors, all in their first terms. (A fact that belies the "need for fresh faces" on the city council.) If any of them were to run for a second term on council and then later decide to run for mayor, they would be limited to one term. Our new mayor would be both a freshman mayor, unknown to decision makers in the region, and a lame duck, already on the way out. No matter how great a job they were to do as our mayor the voters would not be allowed to vote for them again but would have to replace them with another inexperienced mayor.
Wilsonville electeds interact with decision making in Clackamas and Washington Counties, with Metro, with the state and federal Governments, with dozens of commissions and policy groups like JPACT, MPAC, Metropolitan Mayor's Consortium, Westside Business Alliance, Willamette Locks Commission, Clackamas County Business Alliance, Willamette Water Supply Project, Tualatin Valley Water District, Harmful Algae Bloom Monitoring Project, ODOT, DLCD, Regional Transportation Funding Committee, Clackamas County Coordinating Committee, Washington County Coordinating Committee, Greater Portland Inc. Economic Development and many more.
Don't know about all these? Precisely, and that is why we need experience and time for our electeds – especially for the mayor – to gain the knowledge and credibility needed to effectively represent the interests of Wilsonville.
The fact is that term limits will be BAD for the FUTURE of Wilsonville. Don't let some old grudges drive your decisions. Preserve YOUR right to vote for the people you believe are most appropriate to represent you in local government. Vote NO on Term Limits.
Charlotte Lehan is a Wilsonville city councilor.
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