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December 19, 2020

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Powers comes across as yet another spineless bureaucrat. Apparently, he has never met a serious problem he couldn’t solve by avoiding any action, even if it endangers the community that pays his salary. Time for a change. Our next City Manager must be capable of enforcing the law equally, even if it inconveniences her/him.

In order to understand what is going on within the current Salem government, it is necessary to understand what led up to where we are now.

In 2003, Salem government was converted from progressive idealism to special interest pragmatism. This continues to this day, although reversion to progressivism is the direction that it is headed.

Linda Norris and Bob Wells acted in the best interests of all citizens. Mr. Powers was brought in to promote the interests of the real estate industry and the Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Powers's recent statement that the campers in the parks would be removed should be instructive. Previous managers would have stated that the proposal to be brought to them would include the option of removal. That is an important distinction.

A primary component of the duties of the City Manager is to advise Council. All powers of the City are vested there. The City Manager should not be acting like a political influencer.

Mr. Powers has effectively served the interests of his supporters and Salem growth was inevitable (although the rate and extent of that growth did not have to be so extreme and there should have been more attention to the repercussions of that growth).

It may be that Mr. Powers can adjust to the arising shift in direction (another staff member, Peter Fernandez, in 2003, had little trouble doing so), but the continuing animosity that remains between the two factions continues to such an extent that common ground will be elusive.

It may or may not be that the City would benefit from the removal of Mr. Powers because the emergency conditions that we now face will make idealism, fairness, justice, and decency seem less relevant for the foreseeable future.

It is time for another citizens' ballot measure, eliminating the city manager system altogether and putting the elected city council in charge.

Doing so would necessitate other major changes as well, but that would be vastly preferable to being ruled over by unelected nazi sympathizers and enablers.

I will agree with Mr. Holloway. This system only works when there is limited divisiveness and highly competent candidates.

People like Bob Moore, Bob Wells, and Linda Norris acted with inimitable skill, knowledge, and integrity. The common purpose that Americans have enjoyed seems to be evaporating so it is unrealistic to believe that future Councils would place a candidate that they did not perceive as an unabashed advocate for their points of view.

Also, we should pay Council members. It would broaden the pool and I would never have to hear "but we are only volunteers" ever again. Being penny wise and pound foolish is ... foolish.

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