Usually, when a newspaper offers no endorsement it means that there simply isn't a candidate worth supporting in a given race, but that's not the case here. Instead, we have to two very worthy candidates in incumbent Beth Bagley and challenger Susanne Flynn. Both are intelligent, working moms with kids in the schools. They are both willing and eager to make a significant commitment to ensure that our children have access to the best possible teachers and programs. The only problem is that Ms. Flynn happens to be a longtime employee of the Source newspaper. That's what's known as a conflict of interest, or at least a perceived conflict. So in the interest of fairness and the preservation of our credibility, we're sitting this one out. We'll just say that whichever way you mark your ballot, you can't lose. Sort of like trying to decide between steak and lobster when your boss or rich uncle is footing the restaurant bill. Speaking of which, why doesn't this joint offer surf and turf?
It's a favorite shell game played by politicians all over the country and Central Oregon is no exception; it's called Hide the Tax Increase. And it works like this: A city or other taxing entity sees the sunset of a temporary tax coming over the horizon and, being government, it finds a way to reallocate that money to another unfunded need at no "new" cost to taxpayers. It's happening right now in Bend as city leaders attempt to convince voters to replace the soon-to-expire downtown urban renewal tax - that's right, you've been paying it for years without even knowing it - with a new $30 million road improvement bond designed to address Bend's growing backlog of road improvement work, which today stands at roughly $100 million. The impact on individual homeowners - like most funding measures, it's a property tax assessment - varies, depending on how much your home, or homes, are valued at. But it comes to about $81 per house for the owner of a home valued at $300,000.
The choice in this race is an easy one. Peggy Kinkade has dedicated countless hours of service to the local schools both as a board member and a volunteer for the Bend-La Pine Education Foundation. Before that, Ms. Kinkade worked diligently to pass the school construction bond that helped alleviate the serious overcrowding in the district. Most recently, she has served as the board's chairwoman, which has put her in the high-profile position of acting as the head of the board and the liaison between the elected officers, the administration and the public. By all accounts, she has served admirably in that position.
A conservative corporate-backed organization that connects lawmakers with industry insiders to craft ready made laws could lose its non-profit status that allows it to wine and dine lawmakers like Central Oregon’s Gene Whisnant.