Over the past several months, my staff and I have been hard at work interviewing the many candidates running for Bend City Council, Deschutes County Commission, state legislative seats and more. In the midst of this pandemic, we took extra precautions and met each candidate outdoors, giving them a minimum of 30 minutes of time to share with us—and our readers—where they land on important issues.
- Richard Sitts
- Floy Sitts places her ballot into the official box at Pine Nursery Park in Bend over the Oct. 17 weekend. All registered voters should have received their ballots by now. If yours hasn’t arrived, contact the Deschutes County Clerk.
It's been a punishing schedule, but it's the type of commitment we believe a newspaper owes to its community when, subsequently, we endorse candidates in those races. Not every candidate we interviewed received our support inside the elections endorsement issue you hold in your hands, and some of our endorsements may surprise you—but we believe we've done our best to offer each candidate a fair shake.
That's us holding up our end of this election bargain. Yours, dear readers, is to inform yourselves about the candidates and the issues, using this newspaper, and every other credible resource you can before you cast your ballot. (Hint: Most credible options are not found on social media.)
It's uttered every election season, but it truly does feel like democracy hangs in the balance this year. Thanks for reading, and to you eligible voters out there, thanks for doing your part to uphold the values and promise that a free and fair election presents.
For those who have yet to see our "My View" candidate election video series, find it in the Elections section of the home page of bendsource.com.
The Power to Decide
Control is the power to make the decisions that determine human purpose. It can be about the freedom of an individual to decide their own purpose or the power of the government to mandate what everyone can do or say.
The United States of America's Constitution is about the elevation of specific individual rights to decide, such as free speech and bearing arms, so that these rights are beyond the government's ability to totally take them away. Thus, we have God-given rights instead of government mandated rights.
To further protect the right of all individuals to decide, we also have a complex system that is so convoluted it is very difficult for anyone to overcome these barriers to gain total control of government. This system includes the checks and balances of the executive, the judiciary and the legislative branches of government, the electoral college and state's rights. This system was designed to limit the power of government as well as the power of any group, be it a minority or a majority.
Who is most likely to protect your right to decide? Is it the career politician who has served over 40 years during a massive expansion of Federal and executive power, or is it the non-career politician who has much less long-term vested interest in the centralized power of Washington, D.C., politics?
Exercise your power by voting!
Vote for Phil Chang this NovemberIf you follow the news closely you've probably read/heard that climate scientists are predicting that "unprecedented" and "once in a generation" events like the devastating wildfires and severe drought this year could become alarmingly more frequent in the future. It turns out that we don't have 20-30 years to prepare for the effects of climate change; climate change is already here. This November we need to elect leaders who believe in science including individuals with deep expertise in natural resource management.
In Deschutes County, we are fortunate to have Phil Chang running for County Commissioner. Chang has more than two decades of experience in natural resource management, with the majority of that experience in Central Oregon. In addition to being one of the founders of the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project (DCFP), Chang has extensive experience with water conservation projects including working with Senator Merkley on irrigation modernization projects.
What I like most about Phil Chang is his collaborative approach to solving big problems. With the DCFP he brought together timber industry representatives, environmentalists and firefighters to implement forest restoration and fuels reduction projects across 120,000 acres.
The Board of County Commissioners currently lacks expertise in natural resource management and instead of taking meaningful actions to reduce the risk of wildfires they seem more interested in wasting County staff time (>200 hours) and thousands of taxpayer dollars fighting with the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). Please join me in voting for Phil Chang on November 3rd!
Re: Measure 110Two years ago I was addicted to opiates. I was fortunate enough to have insurance through my parents. I was able to get help with little to no cost to me. Most Oregonians are not so lucky. There are people suffering in our state daily. When these people are charged for their drug use, this limits options for work tremendously.
Too long have we treated addiction with jails. It's time for Oregon to take a progressive step and offer addicts the help they need. If someone is charged for heroin, they can get a costly (to the taxpayers) ticket to jail in minutes. Why not get these people a ticket to rehab, or treatment instead? Jailing addicts has never worked, but treatment can. Measure 110 would save millions in tax dollars by no longer treating addiction with a jail sentence, and at the same time offer treatment to those afflicted. I am sure that everyone knows someone who is suffering from addiction, a kid, a parent, a friend. These people deserve to have a chance. I am calling on central Oregon, to help pass measure 110, and offer these people compassion.
New SuperintendentThe Bend-La Pine School Board will soon be making the most important decision during their tenure in office. The selection of someone to lead our district is a critical one.
The times are changing, and the School District has different challenges. With an increasing minority population (Latinos now comprise close to 10%), teacher training must include inclusion.
The graduation rates need much improvement and homeless and special needs children have a deep need.
The superintendent, as the supervisor of all students and staff, should have a command of the multi-million dollar budget and how it is spent. Teachers and staff deserve a professional salary and proper educational tools should be available to ensure a first-class educational experience.
I sat on two school boards in my educational career and have been involved in superintendent searches. Seeking community, teaching, student and parental input is essential in this process.
I believe that our current school board is up to the task.
Letter of the Week:Ah, something to think about besides the current elections—yet a position just as important as any elected one. Thanks, Richard. Come on in for your gift card to Palate!