If we endorsed candidates on the basis of colorfulness, Bend City Council hopeful Ronald "Rondo" Boozell would be a shoo-in.
It's not Boozell's positions that make him colorful, although he does have some interesting ones. A self-described libertarian, he says he's "setting out to do nothing less than change our culture" and "dreaming of a sustainable lifestyle." He wants to encourage Bend residents to buy locally, and thinks government should "get out of the way ... and let businesses prosper."
No, what's really colorful about Boozell is his personal history - specifically, his personal history of close encounters with the criminal justice system. According to court documents, Boozell has a string of misdemeanor convictions dating back about 12 years.
In 1998 he was charged with hit-and-run and resisting arrest after an auto accident. Then in Lake County in 1999 he was convicted on a misdemeanor assault charge after getting into a fight with a neighbor while the latter was repairing his roof. (Boozell says he acted in self-defense after the neighbor threatened him with a hammer.)
Last November Boozell got into a physical altercation in the Deschutes County Courthouse lobby while waiting for a court proceeding involving custody of his five children. Although he again maintained he was acting in self-defense, he pleaded guilty to violating a restraining order and misdemeanor assault and was placed on probation for a year and a half, with the condition that he get a psychiatric evaluation and seek counseling for anger management - which strikes us as an excellent idea.
Boozell's legal problems didn't end there: In July a judge issued a warrant for his arrest for failing to comply with the terms of his probation.
According to Boozell's account, he's a hapless victim of a judicial system that's biased against men in child custody cases. He maintains that "being convicted of a crime doesn't mean you're necessarily guilty of a crime" - a legal doctrine that we must admit we're not familiar with, and that we suspect judges and lawyers haven't heard of either.
He also insists he's really a peace-loving, mellow guy. Sure, whatever.
Boozell certainly would make council meetings more lively and entertaining. Spectators and fellow councilors could never be sure when Rondo might decide to go Rambo on somebody. The city might even be able to pick up a few much-needed dollars by selling admission tickets and closed-circuit TV rights.
On the whole, though, we don't think the tone of council meetings would be improved by making them resemble World Extreme Cagefighting matches. So we're withholding our endorsement from Mr. Boozell and offering, instead, THE BOOT.
At the same time, however, we feel compelled to recognize the extraordinary degree of chutzpah it takes for a man with Boozell's record to put himself forward as a serious candidate, so we're having a special trophy - we're calling it "The Rondo" - crafted for him. It isn't finished yet so we can't show you a picture, but it consists of two large, highly polished brass spheres mounted on a walnut base.