Citizen group calls on mayor to resign

Former mayors join in effort to oppose Mayor Babitz

Arthur babitz and former City Manager Bob Francis at City Hall in 2012.

File photo
Arthur babitz and former City Manager Bob Francis at City Hall in 2012.

A newly formed group calling itself Hood River Citizens For Accountability (HRCA) is joining three past city mayors in asking the City of Hood River’s mayor Arthur Babitz to resign, saying his resignation is in the best interest of the city.

Paul Cummings, Glenn Taylor and Bob Palmer have sent a two-sentence letter to Babitz asking him to resign (text at end of this article).

Mayor Babitz could not be reached for comment.

HRCA is also collecting signatures in an on-line letter to Babitz calling for his resignation at which it is promoting in an email sent Aug. 1 to more than 1,500 people.

The call for Babitz to resign follows the recent resignation of City Manager Bob Francis who quit saying that Babitz’s micromanagement and interference in the day-to-day operations of the city created an impossible working environment.

HRCA says that Babitz has repeatedly overstepped his authority as mayor allowed by the Hood River City Charter and that it will not be possible to recruit a new and well-qualified city manager as long as Babitz remains in office.

“We all recognize Arthur has made some positive contributions to the city,” said former city council member Gary Gorman with the HRCA. “But he’s acted far outside his authority as mayor under Hood River’s City Charter and already cost us one of the best city managers we’ve had.”

“It is in the best interest of Hood River if Mayor Babitz would step down as Mayor,” said former Hood River Mayor Paul Cummings. “The recruitment process could possibly draw more qualified personnel if Mayor Babitz were not in a position of authority.”

“Finding a new city manager will cost Hood River many thousands of dollars and be a major setback for city operations. That’s directly as a result of Babitz’s meddling and micromanaging,” said Greg Colt, who helped form the HRCA.

“The mayor has not only violated the City Charter but he’s putting the city at risk from a financial perspective,” adds Ruth Nye with the HRCA. “Mayor Babitz has now chased out the city manager, city police chief, city finance director, city attorney and public works director. His inability to work with city staff is obvious and each replacement comes at a major financial cost to the city.”

All three former mayors, along with Colt, Nye and Gorman, spoke to the mayor and council at public meetings in July leading up to Francis’ departure, and all told Babitz directly they believe he should resign.


The July 31 letter to Arthur Babitz from Cummings, Taylor and Palmer reads:

“We are writing as previous City of Hood river mayors to express both appreciation for your dedicated service to the City and to encourage you go resign your position as mayor. We believe that your resignation would be in the best interests of the City and that a decision not to resign would be detrimental to city operations and Hood River’s reputation.”

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Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge


Cascadia says...

So, Mayor Babitz overstepped his authority by managing some of the employees at the city without going through the middle management bureaucrats. Big deal. Mayor Babitz has done more for the city of Hood River than the previous mayors. Bob Francis was a challenge to work with anyway. I can see why the mayor went around him. Hang in there Mayor. You are appreciated by many here in Hood River.

Posted 5 August 2013, 8:43 p.m. Suggest removal

shadowjade says...

Babitz was a mistake made by the non-locals who moved here and took over. Just because you can bully your way into control doesn't make you a positive, and the REAL locals know it.

The rest of you won't ever be locals - and we're waiting for the day you choose a new town to destroy and GO AWAY.

Posted 6 August 2013, 12:07 a.m. Suggest removal

tition13 says...

I hate how people think they can just move in somewhere and impose their ideas on everyone around them and force them to conform. Babitz is a disgrace to hood river. What makes hood river nice is being ruined by this idiot. The fact that no one can work with him speaks volumes about his ineptitude, arrogance and bullying.

Posted 20 August 2013, 10:17 a.m. Suggest removal

Edward says...

Wow shadowjade,
I hope you have a daughter or son that goes of to college or moves away to a town to raise a family and is meet with such hate as yours. People move and relocate, population is growing, growth happens... This is not your town, you don't own it, nor do I. This is one country weather you like it or not. If you want a state to draw a line in, move to Texas. I'm sure they would love your ignorance. So, brace yourself cause were not going anywhere and all we are going to do is grow. So get with the program or stay in the shadows shadowjade.

Posted 2 September 2013, 8:07 p.m. Suggest removal

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