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December 13, 2021


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Mr. Fernandez served before 2003, when Mike Swaim was Mayor. When he disagreed with a left leaning policy or proposal, he would speak up. Not only was there no blowback for doing so, but Council appreciated his willingness to express his concerns, even during Council sessions.

A lot has changed since then. I think that it is safe to assume that, if he had not enthusiastically supported the 3rd bridge, he would have been fired. While having accumulated a great deal of power over the years, he is still "staff".

I do not know enough to say that his actions here were based on the direction of others or petty revenge (or some combination of the two), but I do know that petty revenge is a real thing.

When I successfully opposed the removal of left in access to a property I owned on Mission Street, the lead staff person for ODOT took me aside and told me that it would only be a matter of time before it would be removed.

When an opportunity arose several years later, he was able to carry out his threat by making outlandish threats which included a "taking" of my property. He did this even though, at a meeting of engineers, access specialists, and the head of access control, it was unanimously determined that there was no good reason for removing left in access to the property. I was unable to afford the corrective legal action, which would have been successful, so my life was never the same since. The value of twenty years of hard labor was seriously diminished.

When the work to shut off access was about to begin (at my expense), the ODOT staffer apologized by saying that "the political pressure was too great to resist". During the process, he demonstrated an almost gleeful willingness to do as he was told and his regret only arose after the fact.

He was really a pretty good guy and, although he never made my Christmas card list, my understanding of the nature of politics and bureaucracies allows me to step back when feelings of personal animosity creep into my conscious mind.

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