Vote Yes on Measure 9-118 - City of Bend Directly Elected Mayor
You don't have to be a population scientist to know that Bend has grown exponentially since 1995, the last time the city amended its charter. Back then, the city had roughly 30,000 people—far fewer than the 91,000+ reported by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2016. At that time, it might have seemed perfectly reasonable to allow a group of city councilors to collectively lead the city, and to act as cultural and political ambassadors for Bend.
In the much-larger city that Bend has become, Bend needs a strong leader who can set the tone and establish a vision for the city. As the measure's language states, switching to a system that includes a mayor directly elected by voters—as opposed to having the mayor selected by fellow councilors, as it stands today—establishes a "political head of the City government." As Bend's influence continues to grow state- and region-wide, the city needs that political head. Vote Yes on Measure 9-118.
Vote Yes on Measure 9-119 - City of Bend Remove Council Member Pay from Charter
Bend's seven city councilors currently earn a stipend of $200 a month (plus expenses) for the work they do in service of the city. While one could argue that the position is done in the spirit of community service, it's currently a "service" that only those with means can perform. By removing the issue of council member pay from the City Charter and allowing pay to be instead decided by Council ordinance, we can bring the notion of increasing councilor pay to the table.
If that happens, the pool of candidates has a better chance of opening to those who might represent a lower-income demographic—which sorely needs a voice in Bend. This is not going to be someone's full-time job, with full-time pay, anytime soon—but we believe that in the interest of economic equity, councilors should be paid more. And just in case you're concerned, understand that current councilors would not be able to vote themselves a raise. Under the provisions of the measure, current councilors would continue to earn the $200 a month until the end of their terms. Vote Yes on Measure 9-119.
Vote Yes on Measure 9-115 - City of Bend Five-year Fire and Emergency Services Levy Renewal
If you need any convincing that the fire levy is a benefit to the community, consider this stat: According to Fire Chief Larry Langston, the initial levy, passed in 2014, allowed first responders and fire personnel to lower response times from a whopping nine minutes to an average of five and a half minutes. In cardiac events, that's critical time that can save lives. Resuscitation rates were about 22 percent for cardiac events in 2012, compared to 70 percent in 2016, Langston told the Source in December. To maintain the level of service that has resulted in these marked improvements, vote yes on Measure 9-115.
Vote Yes on Measure 9-116 - Deschutes County Rural Fire Protection District #2 Five-year Fire and Emergency Services Levy Renewal
As is the case for the City of Bend's fire levy, the levy that would be assessed for the Deschutes County Rural Fire Protection District under this measure will also help to maintain the level of service we currently enjoy in the rural parts of the county. Both measures provide for a local operating levy that translates to 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value for five years—a negligible amount for an important service in the interest of public safety in the community. Vote Yes on Measure 9-116.