Monday, September 22, 2008

Sustainability and what it means to me....

Webster's Dictionary has this to say about sustainability: sus·tain·able
Function: adjective
Date: circa 1727
1: capable of being sustained 2 a: of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged b: of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods.

My take on sustainability: Sustainability is more than the latest buzz word, it is a way of life. It is how we choose to use the resources we have available to us. Fundamentally I believe in leaving as small a footprint as possible as we move through life. Here is a partial list of the choices and changes my wife and I have made:

1. I ride a bicycle as my primary form of transportation. I'll walk the mile to Palisades Market instead of using the car. I will admit that since my campaign for Lake Oswego City Council I have been unable to ride as much as I would like. Bicycling also keeps my heart healthy and the weight down.
2. We downsized from 4 cars to 1 car over the past few years. But two were old English collector cars so they may not count.
3. My wife has a garden spot at Luscher Farm where she grows a lot of our own food. She has been there for 10 years and grows everything but the garlic, which I grow.
4. When ever possible we attempt to buy locally grown food. We love our local Farmers Market.
5. We minimize the use of herbicides and pesticides at home with no use in the garden.
6. We try to support local small businesses instead of big box stores.
7. We emphasize purchasing American made products which sometimes proves a challenge.
8. We love our curbside recycling of paper, glass, cans, etc. We also recycle lumber products at Rebuilding on North Mississippi in Portland. If you haven't been there it is worth the trip. We don't compost as we don't generate enough waste to make it feasible.
9. Replaced our cracked concrete driveway with a permeable driveway made with concrete pavers. Then recycled our old concrete driveway into steps going down to our backyard.
10. We replaced our old water heater with a tankless water heater. My wife and I have a difference of opinion on that one. I feel it is best used as a point source system as opposed to a replacement for a hot water tank. She likes it.
11. Over the years we landscaped our front and backyard with indigenous and drought resistant trees and plants friendly to wildlife. We have no lawn.
12. A few years back we installed a drip irrigation system making a significant reduction in our water usage.
13. I think compact florescent bulbs are great. They are energy efficient and produce a lot of light.
These are just some of the changes we have made over the years. It may not work for everyone but it does for us.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Looking at Lake Oswego

My daughter Grace and I at
our Luscher Farm garden plot.

Many fine aspects make up the fabric of Lake Oswego such as education. A good education is predicated upon community involvement and quality schools. Lake Oswego has those qualities and I support maintaining those qualities to keep Lake Oswego great.

The varied neighborhoods within Lake Oswego are another aspect in the fabric of this city. I believe when development occurs within a neighborhood or affects a neighborhood it is imperative that it is in keeping with the characteristics of the neighborhood. We must ensure strong and viable neighborhood associations that are listened to and used as consultants in neighborhood development.

The business community that provides our basic services or the light industrial areas of this city must be given every opportunity to remain in business. We need a city council that is as interested in the existing businesses as it is in promoting the latest boutique. We need a city government that is as interested in accommodating the businesses in Lake Grove as they are in designing the Lake Grove Village Center Plan.

I believe with my extensive community involvement in Lake Oswego and my belief in fiscal responsibility, an open and transparent city government, and a common sense approach to the prioritization in spending, I am the right person at the right time for the Lake Oswego City Council.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Right Person at the Right Time for Lake Oswego City Council

Why am I running for Lake Oswego City Council? The short answer is: Why not, if not me who? The longer answer encompasses my philosophy of life, my experience, and my desire to serve the community. Fundamental to that is my belief that elected officials have a fiduciary duty to the taxpayer to ensure spending is prudent and thoughtful. The violation of that fundamental principal has precipitated the discord currently felt in the city. We need to elect City Councilors capable of earning the trust and respect of the residents of Lake Oswego. We need to elect City Councilors willing to listen to their constituents and who are proactive in rebuilding trust and healing the disconnect between City Government and the residents.

This election season we are going to hear a lot about fiscal responsibility and transparency in City Government. Fiscal responsibility is more than a concept, it is the main ingredient in respect and trust of the government by the governed. This also holds true for transparency, for without transparency there is no accountability. It is the aspect of accountability by government to the governed that enables us to maintain a stable representative democracy.

I first moved to Lake Oswego 36 years ago. During those early years I was very involved with issues before the City Council. It was in some respects like a court of law, for a lack of a better description. There were some contentious issues and each side presented their case and it never seemed to me that a decision was deliberated before the evening public City Council meeting. Unlike today, there were never the Tuesday morning City Council "dress rehearsal" meetings to go over the evening agenda. These "dress rehearsals" have enabled the City Council to speak with one voice (similar to speaking the party line), iron out any disagreement between councilors, and it seems to me reach a conclusion before the fact. I believe we are fast approaching having only the appearance of transparency in Lake Oswego City Government. When sausage is being made it needs to be done before the public eye. Some of us running for City Council truly take these principals to heart.

In November we must elect to City Council the candidates who believe in these principals, to swing the pendulum back towards the center. We must elect to City Council candidates who are fiscally responsible, understand their constituency, have the ability to honestly and responsibly prioritize city needs, and truly believe in a transparent City Government..