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The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
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October 10, 2012     The New Era Paper
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October 10, 2012
 

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Page 14 Vct i1 ('x3M M[ tNIITV ' ]e N r - October 10, 2012 m Profiles From page 8 the needs of the citizenry and the rights of the property owners. Charitable Budgeting: I be- lieve that while the idea was noble, this was a misstep by the city. I do not think people want the govern- ment to choose where their chari- table donations go to. Raises for Non-Represented Employees: I have mixed feelings on this. On the whole, I think it was the right decision as a way to retain quality staff and to fulfill implied promises of the council from past resolution. I think that extra consid- eration and contingency may need to be put into the wording of future resolutions in regards to how' their pay would be affected by loss in revenues to the city. Private Property Rights: For the most part, private property rights are paramount to the citi- zens even when they don't realize it. The role of the city is to ensure that people do not use their property in a way that endangers the life or safety of others. It is also the .role of the city to make sure that people do not infringe on the rights of the property owner. Police and Library Levies: I think this is a bogeyman move. The only purpose of government is to uphold the rule of law and provide resalable protection to its citizens. Service such as courts, cops and other essential city services should be the only thing inside the $10 rate. They know that people are more likely to vote for a police force than a set of parks. Things that are not essential to the running of government such as parks, pools and other wants should definitely be allowed to be put out- side of the compression limits. In fact I think that putting things that the citizens want outside of the compression rate is the right place forthe extras in life. Service such as courts, cops and other essential city services should be the only thing in- side the $10 rate. Lighting Ordinance: I had not heard of the dark skies approach be- fore this questionnaire. I think that trying to regulate the movement of light would be like trying to regu- late the movement of cats - it's just not going to work in a way that is fair to everyone. I think.coming up With a Way to set standards to shield.light from going into-0ther owners' homes at a mostly agreeable threshold limit is doable. While I think a property owner has the right to light his prop- erty as he sees fit, I do-not think that right can arbitrarily pgur light into the home of another person. Ron Rodgers, 41 (Sweet Home resident since 1980) Education: MBA - Concentra- tion in Negotiations and Conflict Resolution (Summa Cum Laude) - Centennial, Colo.; BA - Labor Safety and Health - National Labor College - Silver Springs, Md.; BA - Union leadershiP and Adminis- tration - National Labor College - Silver Springs, Md.; Journeyman Millwright - Linn-Benton Commu- nity College Occupation: United Steel- workers Staff Representative (con- tract negotiations, arbitration, me- diation) Previous civic and volunteer experience: Current -Public Safe- ty Committee Chair, Admin and Finance Committee. Previous - Traf- fic Safety Com- mittee, Budget Committee, All Hazards Miti- gation Com- mittee, United Rodgers States Army What have you accomplished during your tenure.'? I originally applied for a vac .ant city council position in order to serve the com- munity with a focus on the residents of the city. I feel that I have_ been instrumental in ensuring that the needsof the city are balanced.with the rights of its citizens. What do you hope to accom- 'plish? I have no agenda other than promoting responsible economic growth while maintaining the small- town atmosphere that Sweet Home provides. I believe both my educational and professional background pro- vide me with a keen ability to look at issues from all of the competing angles and make a decision that takes every respective point of view into consideration. I have often been complimented in my profes- sional life for my ability to reach a compromise on difficult issues. In my work, I deal with difficult issues on a daily basis and have been very successful in reaching agreements which satisfy the needs of compet- ing interests. Role: The role of the City Council is to establish reasonable rules and regulations in order to preserve the rights of all of the resi- dents and businesses in the com- munity as well as establish a bud- get under which the city funct)ons. The role of the city government is to provide services and infrastruc- ture to the community while acting within the guidelines set forth by the council. Econonic Revitalization: The city should (and does) work with the Sweet Home Economic Devel- opment Group (SHEDG) in order to improve the livability and economy of Sweet Home. Chicken Ordinance: In its original draft, t was strongly op- posed to the chicken ordinance. which in my opinion did not ad- equately consider the impact that raising chickens could potentially have on neighbors, both in appear- ance andhealth. After much debate and discus- sion, we were able to develop an ordinance that .protected both the ability to raise chickens as well as reduce potential negative impact to surrounding neighbors, - Blighted and Vacant Struc- tares: Again. in its original form. I felt the ordinance was much too overbearing. Originally, the pro- posed ordinance would have affect- ed occupied homes as well as vacant properties. This most likely would have created a financial hardship to many people in the community who are on fixed incomes and do not have the finances to make repairs to their properties. The ordinance was introduced in-order to deal with properties which have basically been aban- doned and are in a serious state of disrepair. By adding the require- ment that a structure most be both blighted and vacant, it ensures that no residents are displaced from their homes while requiring vacant buildings tO be kept secure and somewhat maintained to a level that does not create an eyesore to the surrounding residents with minimal financial impact on the owner of the property in question. Sign Code: The city did a good job of ensuring that the code did not have a negative impact on small businesses in the community. Some of the proposed changes would have limited the ability of local convenience stores and gas stations to advertise their products. It is a good example of working through an issue and reaching a compromise which addresses the most severe cases which led to the need for the ordinance. Charitable Budgeting: Both SHEM and the HOPE center are charitable organizations that pro- vide vital services to the residents of Sweet Home. NOt extending these traditional donations from the city would have had an adverse im- pact to the level of service they are able to provide. The donations themselves amount to less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the city's operating bud- get and have virtually no impact On the overall budget of the city. There were some on the budget commit- tee who were in favor of not grant- ing the donations this budget cycle simply because they felt it would not "look good" to give out these small community donations while we are in a tight budget cycle. I am of the opinion that we should base our decisions on what is best for the community, and not take actions based on how popular they may or not make us with others. Raises for Non-Represented Employees: As the question states. the raises were already outlined in a resolution the previous year. While not necessarily legally binding, i personally consider a resolution from the council to be a contract of sorts. The resolution is the "'word" or promise of the city. I do not feel it would have been appropriate to break that promise to the city em- ployees, union or not. Our city workers already make considerably less than their coun- terparts tn most towns and cities of similar size, and in my opinion, are some of the best employees in their respective fields, Further. if memo- ry serves me correctly, the total cost of these previously promised raises were about $17,000 in the budget cycle, which again, would have minimal impact on the overall bud- get. The damage to the city's integ- rity and the morale of the employ- ees, while financily ntangible, does have cost associated with it. In my opinion. such damages far out- " weigh the $17,000 expenditure. Private Property Rights: The point is that Sweet Home is indeed a community. The word itself has an implication of people living in the same area. As such. every resi- dent's actions have the potential to infringe on the rights of their neigh- bors. We require residents to mow and maintain their lawns for visual and health reasons. We pl:event people from discharging weapons for safety reasons. We restrict loud noises at night for livability reasons. The rights of city residents must be balanced with how they may impact the rights of their neighbors. This is part of living in a community. Police and Library Levies: While I am aware it may not popular, I am in support of having the police and library levies funded outside of the $10 maximum. However, this is not an action-that can be taken at the city level. I would also be sup- portive of leaving the levies inside of the currefit $10 cap mandated by state law, but have them exempt from the compression. The police and library would be fully funded from the $10, and the remaining revenue would be split amongst the other competing recipients propor- tionately as is currently done under the existing compression rules. Lighting Ordinance: I hon- estly have not fully considered this issue in order to form a solid opin- ion. While I do believe that a light shining directly into someone's window is intrusive, I also believe that people have the right to install lights on their property for security and safety purposes. As with any other issue, we will have to con- sider how the proposed ordinance may adversely impact the residents of the community. Gerritt Schaffer, 37 Education: Instrumentation program, five-year electrical appren- ticeship Occupation: Instrumentation Tech/Electrician Previous civic and volunteer experience: Active in men's minis: tries, community outreach and sound technician at Community Chapel, coach Boys and Girls Club sports What do you hope to accom- plish? I want a war on meth. I want our streets safer and our city to be a place people want to bring busi- ness. I want the kids that are in these unsafe homes to have a chance and not to become the next generation of trouble for our community. I want our police force to be strengthened, not crippled. I want to see our city as a safe place for our homes and our families. I have a relentless pursuit of accomplish- ing goals. I am readyto roll up my sleeves and get to work. I am just glad to see the turnout for the City Council. I will let the community decide. Role: To represent the voice of the community. To listen. I think that a major effort to get the homeless off the streets and the drugs out of our city would create a desirable envi- ronment for the economy to grow. Chicken Ordinance: Some is- sues are more pressing than others, but any concern from the people needs to be addressed. Blighted and Vacant Struc- tures: I think that it is great. I would also like to see the demolition and construction permits cost reduced. Sign Code: I think the sign code is fine Charitable Budgeting: I am someone who is blessed and I choose to give. I do not feel that government should force that on taxpayers. Raises for Non-Represented Employees: I believe that you get what you pay for. The people in -these positions have chosen to work in Sweet Home. I realize that times are tough, but some investrhents are worth it. Private Property Rights: ! guess this would need to be ad- dressed on a clase-by-case situation. As an overall, we all need to live to- gether, so I would say that the com- munity's interest should come first. Police and Library Levies: I think that this situation needs to be reworked from the top down. I am all for supporting our law enforce- ment. I will say that what we "have now does not work. I think that this should be the number-one issue on the table. My feelings are that we are in bad shape and on a slippery slope. We are creat- ing a haven for drugs and crime and something needs to hap- pen. Lighting Ordinance: As an electrician, I have a lot of experience Schaffer with lighting. I do not think that a blinding light into your neighbor's yard is appro- priate, although with the elevated burglaries and the reduced police force, lighted areas are a deterrent to criminals. The Neighborhood Watch material recommends that you trim bushes and replace burnt-out light bulbs. They also recommend leaving the lights on at night: I would love nothing more than to have a city safe enough to have "dark skies," but at this point I sleep better with the lights on knowing that my family is safe. Dave Trask, 62 Education: High school Occupation: Retired. Previous civic and volunteer experience: Volunteer firefighter, 40 years; city Budget Committee What do you hope to accom- plish? Attract some other busi- ness here. I am a lifelong resi- ] dent and love this communi- ty. I would give a new look to l the council. I am not a fol- lower. I am a leader and would give the council a dif- Trask ferent voice and vision. Role: To represent the taxpay- ers. spend their taxes responsibly and be accountable. To maintain all the services we need and stay within budget restraint. Economic Revitalization: We need to encourage growth in our economy and help businesses to thrive here. Make it attractive to be here. Chicken Ordinance: I am not against it unless they become a nuisance for neighbors. Blighted and Vacant Struc- tures: I feel we should try to make our city look as nice as possible. My concern is what the conse- quences are if someone won't or can't comply. Sign Code: I'm not sure what impact that has on our community. They don't appear to me to create that much of a problem. Charitable Budgeting: In my opinion, if at all possibl e , we should support all we can afford. However, in the situation we find ourselves in, it would be hard to justify. Raises for Non-Represented Employees: I voted against the raises (on the Budget Committee). I felt and still feel we need to tight- en our belts. Private Property Rights: We need to protect the rights of prop- erty owners. Shouldn't impose un- due regulations on them. Police and Library Levies: I don't want any more tax burdens placed on our community. Lighting Ordinance: Proper- ty owners should take care of that on an individual basis. Not in favor of "dark skies." Need lighting for safety reasons.