If November 6th’s ballots tally enough White City voters’ approval for incorporation, five city council members would need to administer it. Successful candidates for the unpaid positions would be culled from the field of ten aspirants who filed. The five receiving the fewest votes would drop out of contention. The two with most votes would win four-year terms, and the remaining three would each begin serving 2-year stints. This council of five would select White City’s first Mayor from their ranks. Two previous efforts at incorporation have failed. Listed below in Alphabetical order, the following candidates hope this Presidential election year brings greater potential for more voter participation.
Long time White City dweller, Alexander has invested energy, time and funds attempting to convince residents of advantages to approving incorporation. “We pay taxes now that leave our community,” he says. “We’re spending money; we need to get it back. If we’d been an incorporated city, I believe we could’ve applied for more grants, that would’ve saved our Boys and Girls Club.”
To help the public learn more details, and make informed decisions, Alexander provided his website www.whitecity.us, with its Facebook link to the section where people can ask questions.
“We already pay for a law enforcement district through current taxes,” he notes. “We could have our own police protection district or keep what we have under contract with the County Sheriff’s Department. It wouldn’t cause another tax increase. ”
“We have a lot to learn, but I personally feel I could do more for the community by running for White City’s council.”
A White City homeowner since 1992, Lee De Berry labeled this election year an important time for White City. “People have choices,” he said. “I hope I can represent the majority of residents and property owners, and give them a voice.” He added that if given the voters’ nod, he intended to make sure his actions would remain “appropriate, but not intrusive.”
He and his wife raised two sons in a close-knit family whose members still live locally. His Upper Rogue family circle has expanded to include four grandchildren.
With a solid work history of 26 years for Oregon’s Department of Fish & Wildlife, preceded by a decade in private industry, DeBerry exudes confidence in his background, experience and ability to handle any tasks the public rightfully expects of a City Council member.
A local Scout Master, Hansen has toiled along with organizations such as the White City Political Action Committee, (PAC) and the White City Community Improvement Association (WCCIA.) He voiced strong concerns that “unless we incorporate, Medford could potentially expand its Urban Growth Boundaries to eventually overtake parts of White City’s neighborhoods.”
“For years we paid property taxes to the county, but got mostly ignored,” he said. “Roads here were so bad they just about swallowed up school buses. The WCCIA got the Urban Renewal project going, and things improved. We raised our kids here, and want to help make sure things start off smoothly.”
Employed in Real Estate, and volunteering for over a decade with the Jackson County Sherriff’s Search and Rescue Service, Mohar says she feels strongly about having a good community. “White City sadly lacks in services, both governmental and retail,” she said. “We shouldn’t have to travel into Medford or Eagle Point for shopping opportunities.
As a city, we could try and attract more businesses to the area. Keep it local. The $1.49 per thousand in tax assessment would be offset by services provided. We could go after local and government grants now off-limits to us. ”
Daniel W. Phariss:
Having lived in White City from 1969 (except for ’83 to ’91 in US Air Force,) Phariss describes himself as “not politically motivated, but residentially motivated.” Currently a caregiver for his aging dad, he says people should research incorporation before deciding which way to vote. “These Council positions should go to people wanting to make do with what they have. They shouldn’t go to a bunch of politicians who’d be taxing so they could get money to spend on whatever they want. We don’t yet know what power we’d have regarding property assessments in the future.”
He referred to his own ballooning property taxes as having gone ‘ballistic,’ even though nothing had apparently changed. With incorporation, he says, the City can hire companies in their own city. It’s a big boost for local small businesses.
“We don’t need a new fire department or police department,” he said. “Under the current Sheriff Mike Winters that department has gotten much better, so we’re going to save on those packages.”
Still living in one of White City’s first homes on one of its original streets, Reich emphatically feels the need for incorporation. She spent 22 years teaching in Eagle Point’s School district, then retired to donate her services to community improvement agencies and causes. Fifteen years Executive Director of Cascade Community Pool, she also worked with WCCIA on the Budget Committee, Street Lighting, Law Enforcement plus the Urban Renewal District. “I helped write the Library Park grant,” she said. “This involved complicated vernal pool mitigation to construct walking trails in some places. There’s a requirement of ownership to write grants. As a city we could write grants more readily, particularly if Urban Renewal deeds the land over.”
When asked, Reich explained why properties east of Hwy. 62 wouldn’t qualify for city inclusion. “Around 2005, Oregon State Legislators passed a law omitting industrial land within city boundaries,” she said. This strategy seems to result in funneling business tax revenues toward State coffers, rather than to local municipalities.
A resident of White City for over a dozen years, Sather has spent most of them at work for Jackson County Roads Department. Having observed the area’s strengths and flaws, the father of eight defines White City as basically “a good place in which to grow up.”
With a total of five kids still enrolled in local public schools, he’d especially like to see more family-oriented places in the community.
He says if it becomes a city, as a council member he’d seek reliable, accurate information and input as to what’s going on. If voters approve incorporation, he hopes the end results will focus on what’s best for the newly formed municipality.
He doesn’t believe any governing body should consist merely of people seeking to promote agendas aimed toward their own gain.
Former Ashland resident Travesi studied at RCC and SOU, but has called White City home for almost two decades. Among her experience, the retiree lists having run a huge multi-million dollar business. She also mentioned involvement with Cascade Community Pool’s Board, six years with Ford Leadership Foundation, and Urban Renewal Network’s collaboration with all Upper Rogue Communities.
She sees White City as having a proud past, siting Camp White’s positive influence and impact. “But I’ve been to lots of meetings,” she said. “The county commissioners would send us no money, and we’d get no (financial) benefits from Urban Renewal. I don’t want to see White City go back to where it once was. I’d rather we incorporated.”
Travesi obtained copies of Eagle Point’s, Central Point’s, and Medford’s city charters to learn from them. “I’m surprised they’re only about 8 or 9 pages each,” she said. “I had expected them to take hours of reading.”
As for her candidacy, she says she has no agenda. “I’m going in this for one purpose—to serve. I welcome input from White City’s people.”
A White City home owner since 1955, Wilson says that in 1989, along with Nancy Leonard and Sue Kupillas he was one of WCCIA’s founding members. The Association represented “grass roots” from day one, he stated. “People are surprised we’re still around.”
“We don’t need outsiders telling us what to do,” he said. “We’ve tried to improve the area ourselves. I remember when roads were in such poor shape that school buses stopped running, and mail wasn’t getting delivered,” he continued. “Now the roads are paved, but we still get our letters in locked boxes down our streets.”
Wilson said he didn’t think Council members should receive pay. “They need to put time and effort into doing their jobs. I just hope we don’t wind up like Shady Cove and Gold Hill.”
Employed at a graveyard shift for Boise Cascade, he says he already goes to
meetings regularly at Cascade Bingo Hall. If elected, he’d continue attending Council meetings as well.
His credentials as a volunteer member of Cascade Community Pool’s Board, plus PAC efforts to get a lighting district, belie Zavala’s modest claims. “I have no experience in government or political activity,” he says.
His day job entails working for a company that manufactures metal boats. In the US since his mid-teens, he now also heads a family that includes four daughters.
Having studied English for literacy at colleges in California, then RCC, Zavala authored bilingual pamphlets to acquaint local readers of Spanish and English about numerous issues. Among his quests, he seeks to improve land value and attractiveness by planting more trees. He would also like to extend representation to White City’s sizable population of Hispanic citizens.