Well it looks like the public relations department of Bend's pro-growth, pro-sprawl, pro-development community is at it again. What's that? You didn't know Bend's good 'ol boy network had a PR team? Sure ya did. You probably just know them by their other name: The Bend Bulletin.
So I was not surprised this morning to see the Bulletin carrying on... and on... and on about who should (and shouldn't) be appointed to the open seat on the Bend City Council. You see, in this past election Bend's developers, realtors and builders poured thousands and thousands of dollars into the campaigns of four council candidates.
Quick multiple choice question: These groups gave all this money because (a) they knew these four candidates shared their pro-development values and would vote accordingly, or (b) they knew these four candidates would always make impartial, well-reasoned decisions, ignoring who donated to their campaigns and why. If you guessed "b", not only are you an idiot, you're probably one of the people who just allowed the development community to effectively "buy" three council seats.
At this point you might be thinking, "Wait a minute, you just said the developers and builders gave to four candidates, but then you said they bought three seats." That's true. They missed one. They just couldn't quite pull off the inside straight. So they got on the horn to their PR Department [see above], and bingo, you've got this morning's editorial in the Bulletin, singing the praises of one Don Leonard, the 4th candidate. The guy who lost. See how it works?
So far only two people have filed to be considered for the open council seat, Jodie Barram and Don Leonard. While both may have recently lost their respective races, two points are worth mentioning. One, Jodie Barram received significantly more votes than did Leonard, and two, and far more important is the fact that if Dallas Nader, um, I mean Dallas Brown, hadn't siphoned off nearly 4,000 votes that would have almost certainly gone to Barram, she would have won her race convincingly.
So whaddya say people? How about it? How about we all join together and tell those big mean developers and builders that, "Sure, you might control our daily newspaper, and okay, you've got more money and political influence than we do, and yes, you just bought three seats on our city council, but this is where it stops! It all ends here. You can't have that 4th seat, no way, no how... unless, of course, you give us all season passes to Bachelor!"
After all, everyone and everything has a price. Especially a town that just sold its soul.
Dean Warner, Bend