Council writes Mayor Williams a check – Retail marijuana tax seems headed to November ballot – Pickleball invading LC tennis courts – Jumbotron coming to LC pool
Mayor Don Williams got a check from the city council Monday night for $2,185.20 to cover his unpaid legal expenses owed to his Portland attorney who Williams decided to hire to defend himself against several on the council who accused him of ethics violations. After the Ethics Commission legal staff reviewed the claims that he violated executive session secrecy by revealing issues to his wife, and that he attempted to use his position of mayor to enhance his own vacation rental businesses, the commission staff said the evidence did not support the allegations – at least not enough to refer the allegations to the full Ethics Commission for a formal investigation.
Williams told the council that the allegations were false and that it cost him money to defend himself – money that he should not have had to spend. He also said that the stress of the ordeal put him in an ambulance to a hospital and that he’s still under medication for the stress that lingers in his life.
Former Mayor Dick Anderson said that although the process was painful for Mayor Williams, it’s a process that had to be gone through to resolve the matter. He said the city paying Mayor Williams the money does not set a precedent for future cases. Being extremely diplomatic, Anderson said Mayor Williams has learned a lot about public issues their processes and that the council has learned a great deal as well and that writing the check will put some painful disagreements behind them.
Councilor Susan Wahlke asked if a private fund, set up by some of Williams’ political supporters, to pay his legal bill, had delivered any money to him. Williams answered “no.” He said no funds from any support group had been given to him.
The vote to pay Williams the $2,185.20 was unanimous.
Battle lines drawn over converting Dorchester Tennis Courts to Pickleball
One of the fastest growing sports in American history is making a beach head in Lincoln City. It’s a scaled down version of tennis, called Pickleball. It’s very popular with the older set and it’s spreading very fast because its fun and very easy to play.
Pickleball looks like people playing ping-pong, but over a much larger net. Pickleball courts are springing up all over Oregon as they are coast to coast. But during last night’s city council meeting, when pickleball enthusiasts urged the city to make slight modifications to the Dorchester Courts to make them suitable for pickleball players, it raise the ire of a couple of die hard tennis players. They asked the council to draw a line in the sand – don’t modify their tennis courts to accommodate pickleball. One tennis player said he and other tennis players feel like they’re being pushed out of having their own fun.
The council sent the issue back to city staff and to the city planning commission for further analysis of the growth of pickleball and for proven ways to accommodate everyone who loves both tennis and pickleball.
Lincoln City opens the door to a local tax on retail marijuana sales.
The city council also dealt with another fast growing issue – the legalization of recreation marijuana. The city attorney presented a proposal to have the council send a 3% tax on retail marijuana sales in Lincoln City to the November ballot. If the voters approve the 3% city tax, the city is likely to enact it as many other cities and counties plan to do.
Right now the state has a 25% tax on retail marijuana. The council heard from City Attorney Richard Appicello about his concerns that with all the new taxation breaking out, there is a concern that it might push the price of retail marijuana so high that it might re-invorate the black market for the weed.
The 3% tax idea will be brought back to the council next month for a public hearing and final decision on putting the tax measure on the November ballot.
City gets $20,000 trails grant to “clean up” access to “The Knoll”
The city council Monday night also gave city staff permission to accept a grant from the Bureau of Land Management to fix the broken trail system in and around “The Knoll,” which overlooks the city not far from the The Villages which the city bought a few years ago. The idea is to cover over some trails that already exist – to end their environmental damage to the area in favor of new trails that provide good access but are easier on the landscape.
New toys for the Community Center Pool
The city council voted to spend nearly $55,000 on what’s called a Jumbotron screen to be hung above the main swimming pool at the community center. The huge screen will tally not only swim team competitions during meets but also play movies for those who partake in a “Dive In Movie.” It will also offer live instructor videos for those staying in shape, largely seniors and other musical accompaniments for regular swimmers.
For those not coming to swim, but for some other reason, like playing with aquatic remotely operated vehicles (ROV’s) there would be live camera shots of the competition and the scoreboard to go with it.
Community Center Director Gail Kimberling said the Jumbotron will attract more visitors and improve the community center’s cash flow with all it can do to create interest and coordinate activities. The councilors also re-stated their desire to maintain “the bulkhead” feature in the pool. Other improvements are also contemplated for the pool. The city allocated $100,000 for such improvements. With the Jumbotron addition, just about half of that hundred-grand will still be up for grabs for other innovative attractions at the community center.
City Manager Ron Chandler gets to keep his job as City Manager – good report card from the council
Although no details were released as to why they think the way they do about City Manager Ron Chandler, the council’s overall opinion of Chandler was revealed by Mayor Don Williams Monday night that they like the job Chandler is doing and that they look forward to working with him for the foreseeable future. Part of that future will apparently involve Chandler tacking some as-yet-unnamed “projects” at the direction of the council. Mayor Williams did not elaborate.