It is good to see more candidates than there are vacancies in the Eagle Point mayor and council race. But as a result, we will have decisions and opinions.
In the race for Mayor, we have two candidates- Bob Russell and Rick Tree.
Both are good, upstanding residents and citizens of our community. Tree has been in the community four times longer than Russell. Probably because of his occupation, he is not well known. We base that on the number of people asking who he is.
Tree has experience on the budget committee and on the council. At the last city council meeting as the meeting was ending, Tree sought an informal “blessing” to take an idea he said he had for an aquatic center and tennis courts to the school board the next night. The council did not object. When his brief presentation during the audience comment time at the school board meeting was cut short by the board chair, Tree almost immediately left the meeting. The whole thing sounded like a political move and walking out of a meeting where you are the appointed representative of the council did not leave a good taste in our mouth. With his years of experience on the council and as a city representative he should have known better.
Russell is a mover. He has a strong background in business, marketing and as a business owner. He has made a big difference in this community since purchasing Butte Creek Mill five years ago. He has some doable goals, and will be a good “face” for the community. We also know he will have a learning curve as rules and regulations can frustrate him as he wants to move forward. We weighed both candidates back and forth-council experience vs. community and business experience and observing Tree’s final moves ended our wavering.
VOTE: Bob Russell
There are four people running for three council seats. Obviously, Leon Sherman has the most experience and knowledge of the community. He seeks the council seat because he cares about the community and projects still underway. By city charter, he cannot seek a third term as mayor.
Other than Sherman, Jonathan Bilden has the most experience with the city. We believe his long-range political aspirations find him getting on far too many boards and once on, he is prone to sit quietly by not actively participating very much in the decision making. He has said some of his involvement will end at the end of this year and agrees he needs to be more aggressive at meetings.
Ruth Jenks waited until the last minute to run for the council seat. She may have attended one council meeting before her filing. We get the feeling there was a motive by a group that got her to run. We believe if Jenks had a sincere interest in Eagle Point, she would have filed earlier and had some knowledge of city business other than her two hour learning session with the city administrator. There are openings from time to time on the four city commissions and suggest she consider one of them.
Kathy Sell readily admits she will have a learning curve if elected. But, she has a strong and broad background in leadership, as co-owner of a business, and as someone who learns quickly. She is a “can-do, will-do” person.
VOTE: Bilden, Sell, Sherman
By Nancy Leonard & Margaret Bradburn
Of the Independent