Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Mayor Arthur Babitz said Monday that calls for him to resign are unfounded and based on secondhand information.
“I understand the City Charter and I have never done anything in violation of the charter,” Babitz said.
A newly formed group calling itself Hood River Citizens For Accountability (HRCA) last week asked Babitz to resign, claiming that Babitz has violated the city charter, and that his presence in office will make it more difficult to hire a city manager to replace Bob Francis, who retried in July citing “micromanagement” by Babitz.
Former mayors Paul Cummings, Glenn Taylor and Bob Palmer sent a two-sentence letter to Babitz asking him to resign, and HRCA is also collecting signatures in an online letter to Babitz calling for his resignation.
But Babitz said the charter allows the mayor and council do set policy and do oversight. “I think what people are upset about, I’m guessing, in my appraisal it is that we have taken a more active role in setting policy and oversight. I cannot think of any examples of this council directing staff contrary to the city manager. The city manager has a direct line to all staff, and I am extremely careful not to give direct instruction to any staff and I have no knowledge of any council member doing so.”
Mayor Babitz issued a response to his critics, found on page A4.
Babitz said critics “are acting from secondary things they think they have heard or things they think are true. There is this assertion that I overstepped the charter, that I don’t understand the charter. Of course I understand the charter, and I have not violated the charter. I took an oath to uphold the charter four times and I do not believe I have in any way violated the charter.”
He said “a series of assertions were made about me in council about process, and micromanaging. To be clear, he never made any of those assertions to me or any of the council members prior to his resignation.
“I am convinced I was elected because people knew I would ask hard questions and knew I would do deep research, and I am convinced that was what the city has needed and I have provided that service; and that is a contributing factor to us making the progress we have made,” Babitz said. “I believe it is absolutely my responsibility to ask the questions, do the homework, and that is what I am doing. I think it is remarkably clear and I don’t know how people get confused between that and giving directions. When I am asking questions I am not giving directions.
“My focus is on getting the best city manager in as a replacement for Bob that we can, and that’s what the City Council is working on,” he said.
“I thought carefully about what my role is and I am going to play a more peripheral role because this is going to be my last term (in office),” Babitz said.
“I’ve thought about what effect my resignation would have and I disagree with their analysis that my resignation would in some way help the case; when in fact I have a fair amount to offer — I have had experience in hiring executives.”
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge