Our concerns about Bend's City Council are best typified by the lack of forward progress on issues such as Mirror Pond and the lack of hustle initialized to set in place a tax of recreational marijuana sales. With Bend's rapid growth—an expected 50 percent population boom over the next decade—it is concerning that the current City Council is not more proactive or able to bring issues to closure.
Even current City Councilor Scott Ramsey commented that City Council could use more leadership and direction, what he called a "personality to expedite the conversation."
We couldn't agree more. There are pressing issues—the urban growth boundary, the affordable housing "crisis," the lack of sufficient public transportation.
Although we are encouraged by last month's decision by City Council to undertake a comprehensive study about short-term vacation rentals, and to set that process on a timeline to make a decision about changing zoning rules, that determined approach seems to be the exception not the rule to its style of governance. More common seems to be the lack of hustle, as exhibited by the failure to formally present any ideas to tax marijuana. (Under the pending Measure 91, the state will collect taxes on marijuana sales to fund education and law enforcement.) We understand that tax measures in Bend needs to be presented as a referendum to city voters, but there was barely a whisper to even attempt to move forward such an idea; meanwhile both Medford and La Pine, city governments that oppose legalized marijuana, were clever enough to understand the opportunity to generate some public funds. Just this single example of inaction by City Council may mean the loss of an opportunity to collect tens of thousands of dollars in annual tax revenue, public funds sorely needed for an underfunded police department.
Toward creating a City Council that is more hustle than humdrum, and more proactive in creating and enacting a vision for Bend's future that includes affordable living and public transportation, we believe that this election is a time to rock the boat, and to vote onto council three new members—Nathan Boddie, Lisa Seales and Barb Campbell.