But city hall critic Ross Smith, who has a second home in Lincoln City, filed five lawsuits against the city alleging a number of charges including council behavior against the mayor that violated city laws, the city charter and state laws including state open public meeting and state records laws. Three of the five lawsuits the judge threw out – leaving two still festering at the courthouse door.
Former mayor and now City Councilor Dick Anderson read from a prepared statement to the council and to the citizens of Lincoln City:
We, the City Council, wish to apologize to Mayor Don Williams, Ross Smith, city staff and to the citizens of Lincoln City. Although we do not admit we violated any laws, we acknowledge that Mr. Smith’s lawsuits have served to remind us to carefully ensure that our public meetings and executive sessions are held in strict compliance with all applicable laws. We regret the impact of the disputes between the council, Mr. Smith and the Mayor. The Mayor and City Council pledge to work together to minimize disputes that distract from the important work the Mayor, City Council and city staff perform for the citizens of Lincoln City.
Then it was City Attorney Richard Appicello’s turn to say:
I offer to apologize if it would help to resolve these lawsuits. So, accordingly, I apologize to the City Council, including to Mayor Williams and to the citizens of Lincoln City, including Mr. Smith.
Then Mayor Williams read his written statement:
As to the matter concerning complaints against a city employee (unidentified), council has met in Executive Session and discussed the allegations and have dealt with it and closed this matter.
Again, no name mentioned. Deliberations in Executive Sessions are secret. Especially when it comes to personnel matters. And they usually stay secret as long as no laws were broken by anyone.
The final settlement requirement is that the city of Lincoln City will donate $3,000 to the Lincoln City Warming Shelter, which is paying rent to Mayor Williams and $3,000 to the Lincoln County Bar Association – the organization that accepts new or returning attorneys into the practice of law.
Moving right along….
Arbor Day this year will involve a ceremony with a big ribbon wrapped around a 400 year old Sitka Spruce in Regatta Park. Add to this, there’s been talk of broadening the appeal of Regatta Park with added recreational amenities.
An effort to create another park – called a “Pocket Park,” overlooking a ravine on Northwest Oar Place, was all but tossed out the window by the City Council. There were concerns that the park, which would draw families with young children, would be exposed to a steep drop off down in to the ravine – certainly a safety concern, even if the city put up a fence. What’s more, Councilor Riley Hoagland said there is an adult book and “accessories” shop within 200 feet of the site. That revelation appeared to derail City Manager Richard Chandler’s support of the location.
The idea was quickly sent back to the city Parks Board for reconsideration. Councilor Hoagland suggested a better location would be far to the south in Cutler City where families down there don’t have nearly enough park facilities.
The City Council also received a report from a developer who wants to completely transform the old Cozy Cove Beachfront Inn at NW Inlet and NW 5th Court. The project entails tearing down parts of the complex and constructing much more attractive buildings.
The developer said he has a number of motel/hotel resorts up and down the Oregon Coast and that the transformation of the old Cozy Cove will be a big boost to Lincoln City’s tourist industry. For one thing, he said, most of the rooms will face the ocean. But to pull it off he’ll have to get permission to move NW 5th Court north about a half block. The developer said he expects to have his plans finalized in a month or two and start pulling permits to build soonafter.
And finally the City Council conducted its meeting Monday night next to a memorial for recently deceased City Councilor Kip Ward. It’s situated at the end of the council dais. It is featured very prominently. Mr. Ward died earlier this month of a vicious cancer. He had strong opinions that most folks agreed with. He loved Lincoln City and always tried to do right by it. He loved people. And people loved him back. Kip Ward be remembered for a very, very long time.
Councilor Ward’s replacement won’t come until after the first of the new year. The council decided to leave Mr. Ward’s seat open until the next election rather than name a replacement who would obviously build up some incumbency in the eyes of the public – possibly tipping the scales in favor of the placeholder. So the council will rely on the normal election cycle to select the next city councilor who will be sworn in at the beginning of next year.