My name is Richard Carson and I am the duly appointed City Manager for the city of Damascus.
I have worked as a senior policy analyst for three Oregon governors. I was given a management recognition award by Governor Victor Atiyeh for my work on statewide land use planning. I was appointed to chair the state’s economic development team by Governor Neil Goldschmidt. And I was charged with creating Governor Barbara Robert’s salmon habitat protection program.
And I can tell you first-hand exactly what happened to the city of Damascus because I witnessed it. And what happened was the failure of the Oregon legislature to save the city and many cities like it from the anti-government movement. And now, this bill is nothing less that a death sentence for the city of Damascus – an incorporated municipal government created under Oregon law – a community that was established back in 1867. And I am here today to tell you that you have a moral obligation to save Damascus this time.
What happened to Damascus was that a group of people from the anti-government movement perverted the American founding principle of the republican form of government – where elected representatives, like you, set government policy – and denigrated that founding principle to a form of pure democracy where the “tyranny of the majority” trampled on the property rights of individual land owners in Oregon. They did it by destroying the basic principles of the statewide planning program in order to stop all comprehensive planning and annexations in cities.
You are being asked to aid and abet this political travesty by spiking the ball for them and killing off the city of Damascus – for a third time. That will be the final violation of the republican form of American government.
The Oregon legislature must come to the rescue of the city of Damascus and not allow it to be destroyed by an bunch of anti-government activists, by a neighboring city government that wants their tax base, and by a misguided progressive, Democrat state senator who has inexplicitly decided to join forces with the anti-government group of folks who wish to destroy the Oregon’s land use planning program.
I find it ironic, that the vote to disincorporate was found to be invalid because of the high vote threshold created in the city charter that these same folks supported. They can’t cry foul about an illegal election that they helped create! When that legislative misadventure failed, they convinced a state legislator – and a progressive Democrat at that – to create more faulty legislation to cover up their mistake. And here we are again!
So my question to each of you is, “Whose side are you on?”
Are you here to support the republican form of American government? Are you here to support the basic building block of the American system of governance – the city? Are you here to support Oregon’s statewide planning program? Or are you here to craft one more bit of misguided legislation by attempting to kill the city of Damascus yet again?
You can stop this and you can stop this right here and right now. Vote “No” and let Oregonians know what you stand for and who you stand with.
Oh, and do the city of Damascus a favor – quit helping it?