YES on Measure 14-67: Remove the Temptation
The [Hood River News] Oct. 12 Another Voice article on the Protect Our Parks ballot measure, Measure 14-67, contains
alarmist nonsense that requires response.
The operative text of the Protect Our Parks measure is simple. It amends the city charter to add this
sentence: “The City shall not dispose of City parks unless specifically authorized in a public vote by a
majority of City voters.”
That’s it. It’s not complicated. If the city council wants to sell or give away a public park, it must first
get permission from city voters.
The Oct. 12 article claims that this “changes our democratic system.” That’s just wrong. What could be
more democratic than a direct vote by affected citizens? The right to amend a city charter is granted by
the Oregon Constitution and Oregon law. Citizens amended our charter as recently as 2005. No
mushroom clouds rose into the air.
The article claims that changes to the charter are “forever.” This is untrue. The public has the right to
make changes by popular vote; and the public has the right to reverse those changes the same way. Who
can’t change it back are members of the city council.
The article claims that public votes on any proposed sales of city parks will be “costly.” That’s
nonsense. Public votes can happen twice any year. The cost of putting a measure on the ballot in odd-
numbered years is the cost of a quality television set. The cost in even-numbered years is nothing.
Compare that to the public cost of giving away a million-dollar-plus park for $1, a decision made by the
council in a closed-door meeting. Consider the evidence:
At noon on March 6, 2018, the city held an “executive session,” which by law excludes the public, to
consider “real property transactions.” On the same date, the city signed a contract to sell the 5-acre park
for $1. What do you think happened? We’re not stupid.
It’s illegal to make actual decisions in closed executive session. Decisions to sell public property first
require a formal public hearing under Oregon statute, but no such hearing has ever been held.
The article claims ability to “move quickly” to “take advantage of opportunities” will be lost with
Measure 14-67. That’s just as well. We see that rush-rush “opportunities” tempt officials to give away
public parks in closed-door sessions. A public vote to pre-authorize a proposed sale would avoid that
The real risk to democracy is when well-meaning public officials are tempted to let the end justify the
means. That’s what abuses the democratic process and “changes our democratic system.”
Remove one temptation.
Our parks. Our vote. YES on Measure 14-67.