As I have already told Jodie Barram, I am happy for her and I think she will do a good job in filling Bill Friedman's council position. I have worked on the Bend Planning Commission with Jodie for many years, and have found that she takes a cautious and reasoned approach to her decisions. I look forward to working with her in some capacity with the City in the future.
However, I want to address some "misrepresentations" of my positions in Eric Flowers' article "One Way or Another: After losing election, Barram wins council appointment." First, while I do disagree with the current vision of Juniper Ridge, I have never said that I want to dismantle the City's Juniper Ridge Economic Development Plan. I believe there should be more industrial land and less research park. It will be the industrial land that will help create family wage jobs for all segments of the population. I have stated publicly that it is time to let the Juniper Ridge Management Committee do its task of guiding the future of Juniper Ridge. I wouldn't stand in the way of that process.
Secondly, I have never said that "it was time to divest from the Bend Area Transit System." I do believe the City needs to look at ways to cut back expenditures against the general fund. In light of the community's vote against a transit district, which I voted for, it is time to look closely at BAT and see how its expenditures can better fit within the financial resources the City has. That doesn't mean get rid of BAT. It may mean cutting back on services or increasing fares. There is a lot of due diligence that needs to be done before a decision can be made, but putting off the decision to an indefinite future date isn't the answer.
In the heat of a community debate over filling open Council positions, it is important for the media to take the time to print accurately the positions of candidates. While it may make for better news to present an inaccurate slant to a candidate's position, it doesn't serve the readership well. There are a lot of important issues facing this Council and the one being seated in January, and we will all need to work together and have a constructive debate on how to solve them. I have and always will have an open mind to all sides of the debate and will make my decisions based on what's good for the community.
Don Leonard, Bend
Editor's note: The description of Leonard's positions on Juniper Ridge and Bend Area Transit were based on our recent candidate interview with Mr. Leonard and his public statements to the city council during his interview. While Mr. Leonard has submitted a letter with his own characterization of his positions, he has not asked for a correction from the Source. While we respect Mr. Leonard's right to his own opinion, we stand by our reporting.