Clackamas County Commissioners have misplaced priorities. With the exception of Paul Savas, the remaining commissioners have bought into the Portland agenda of diminished public safety, mass transit boondoggles and the constant assault on private property rights.

The commissioners believe that their role is to constantly obtain new funding sources from the public in order to preserve “sustainability.” A perfect example is their determination last spring that a new “tax” or “fee” is needed in order to repair and maintain county roads. The commissioners have consistently kowtowed to Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPAC), a group that decides which new transportation projects in the entire Portland area (including Clackamas County) should be built. For years, JPAC has dumped our county’s share of gasoline taxes into TriMet’s ridiculous light rail and paved bike routes instead of allowing Clackamas County to build new roads and do major remodeling to existing corridors.

When road funding is stolen from the people of Clackamas County and diverted to pay for light rail (at $205 million dollars per mile) it not only affects how you get “from here to there,” it negatively affects businesses and the flow of commerce. Goods and service costs go up for the consumer because businesses must spend more time getting to their destinations, and they have more wear and tear on their vehicles.

The Board of County Commissioners is ready to trade voter approved public safety for a non-voter approved light-rail project. In May of this year Sheriff Craig Roberts said to the commissioners that “The money that the voters are giving us through the front door to increase patrol and jail services is being carried out the back door by the county’s cuts to the sheriff’s general fund support.” In addition, the sheriff said, “The construction of the Orange Line may well be a worthwhile public project. However, it does not exist in a vacuum — moving ahead with light rail will mean moving backwards on public safety, and likely other basic services to county residents.” The sheriff eliminated 19 full-time positions last year. He also said, “The last time we had this few deputies being paid for by the county’s general fund was in fiscal year 2005-06.” We cannot allow public safety to diminish in this way. The Clackamas County sheriff has endorsed Measure 3-401 that will be presented to the voters on Sept. 18, 2012, in a special election.

A “yes” vote will give the entire county the ability and right to vote on whether we want TriMet’s light rail to enter our county.

Our county has endless opportunities to grow and prosper. Those realizations can only occur with new leadership. The majority of Clackamas County Commissioners have shown their disdain for voters by their wrongful positions on the Sellwood Bridge vehicle licensing fee, the Urban Renewal vote and now the right for the public to vote on light rail. Help me to change that. I need your support and your vote.


John Ludlow is a Wilsonville resident and candidate for Clackamas County chairman. Tualatin residents who live East of Interstate 5 will vote in that election.

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