In May, voters in Bend cast their ballots in favor of allowing the electorate—as opposed to fellow city councilors—to name the city's mayor. We wrote in favor of this change on multiple occasions. It's one "mission accomplished"—but it appears more clarification is needed as the city navigates what that change means for residents, city staff, the city council and the new mayor.
When voters approved that change to the city charter, it was not a sweeping change that would see the city's leadership structure changing significantly. The changes voters voted in favor of would not see the new mayor being allowed any new powers, beyond what he or she will wield as a member of the Bend City Council. In short, the new mayor will serve as a figurehead—but even in that, there are nuances that we hope the current candidates for mayor fully understand.
First and foremost, we need a mayor who works well with others—who understands the vital role that city staffers play in establishing, maintaining and visioning for the future of Bend. City staffers hold degrees in urban planning, engineering, accounting and other areas of expertise required in a growing city—areas councilors don't necessarily specialize in. The mayor and councilors should respect and adhere to that expertise.
Of course, we also expect the new mayor to be informed of the issues and to have thought through the consequences of policy decisions before they speak publicly about changing policy.
They should be informed about the issues the city faces, but they should not expect to run the city like a dictator from on high. The mayor should have a pulpit to raise issues and to offer solutions, but then to work collaboratively with city staff, the city manager and others to solve those issues. We are not looking for a mayor who will be divisive, but one who reflects and shares the values of this community.
In attending the first mayoral debate, hosted by the Bend Chamber of Commerce last week, we feel that the candidates who presented there mostly understand the role of mayor as it stands now. As the campaign season moves forward, we hope candidates will continue to raise issues, and offer strong solutions to those issues—without descending into condescending language or behavior for the people who will carry out that vision, and without a divisive, vitriolic tone that can alienate one side of an issue from another.
Boddie's behavior shows a lack of commitment to the district
As we prepare for the November election and we begin to schedule our endorsement interviews, it's become glaringly obvious that Nathan Boddie lacks a true care for District 54—the district for which he currently holds the Democratic nomination. We reached out to Boddie yet again this week to ask about his campaign and received no response. In the past, Boddie or a member of his campaign has been quick to respond. According to reports from other news outlets, a lack of response has been Boddie's only response since he issued a statement that effectively aimed to turn the tables on a local woman who accused him of sexual misconduct.
Were Boddie truly committed to District 54 and to achieving the best possible outcomes for the district in the Oregon House, he would step aside before the election filing deadline passes. The last day for him to withdraw for the race is Aug. 31—but the last day for someone else to file in the race is Aug. 28. Boddie is very unlikely to win this race, and we assume he fully knows that. Were he the statesman he's claimed to be, he would do what's best for the district and let someone else run.