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Vote Barb Campbell for Bend City Council position 6 & Vote James Cook for Deschutes County Commission position 3 

Barb Campbell, left, and James Cook. - SUBMITTED
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  • Barb Campbell, left, and James Cook.

Three candidates are running for position 6 in Bend's City Council race, including incumbent Barb Campbell, Sarah McCormick and Ronald Boozell. With Boozell in the Deschutes County Jail yet again on charges related to non-payment of child support, it leaves two serious contenders to consider.

Campbell is the owner of Wabi Sabi, a downtown Bend store, and boasts having worked at a host of working-class jobs before earning a degree—a background she believes gives her a connection to the economically disadvantaged in Bend. McCormick is a mother of two young children whose husband works for the McCormick family business, Pine Tavern. Having two candidates with intimate knowledge of doing business in downtown Bend was an interesting contrast. On the topic of Mirror Pond, Campbell, whose service on the Bend City Council thus far lends her a knowledge of the reality of the city budget, is resolute that the City of Bend should not pay for dredging, suggesting that the Bend Park and Recreation District pay up. McCormick, on the other hand, suggested that the City of Bend find a way to pay its share.

On the issue of paying for the septic to sewer conversion affecting hundreds of homeowners in southeast Bend, both candidates seemed to agree that at least some of the cost should be shared by residents city-wide. Campbell, however, understands the intricacies and legal difficulties of making that a reality, and also seemed in support of the current Septic to Sewer Advisory Committee proposal —a committee on which Campbell volunteered to serve—that the estimated $25,000 price tag proposed for each homeowner is fair, given the myriad challenges.

On the issue of how to tackle the issue of homelessness in Bend, we favored Campbell's "housing-first" approach over McCormick's "treatment first" approach—largely because we tend to agree that not all homeless people are mentally ill or have addiction issues, and because many mental health issues can be alleviated by offering someone a place to live first.

McCormick seemed genuine in responding to our questions, but some of her responses seemed canned. While she may hold promise as an elected official in the future, she should serve time on a committee or three first. Campbell would do well to keep her conversations more succinct, but given her depth of knowledge and her general philosophy in representing the working class, vote Barb Campbell for Bend City Council position 6.

Democrat James Cook is a small business owner and chair of the Redmond planning commission who has also served on Redmond's budget and parks committees. Republican Patti Adair has been licensed as a Certified Public Accountant and is the county chair of the Deschutes County Republican Party. Cook's actual experience and background is stronger.

Both claim their experience would be vital to managing a complex budget such as the one in Deschutes County—but it's here that our concern about Adair's ability to match rhetoric with real-world execution begins to fall apart. When we discussed managing the budget—a budget Adair claims she will look to cut in her quest for "fiscal responsibility"—Adair would not directly answer the question of "where would you actually cut the budget," besides making vague statements about the salaries of current county employees, and sharing confusing leaps of logic about winter road conditions and how they relate to high rates of absenteeism at local schools. A lack of informed, researched, brass-tacks number-crunching is surprising from someone with a CPA background.

James Cook, meanwhile, offered a clear response to our question of how to best manage county budgets, demonstrating knowledge of how to utilize available funds while also continuing to adhere to constitutional property tax options and build up reserves to avoid calamity in years of lower economic prosperity.

Cook also offers a stance on county marijuana regulations that seems more palatable to a larger number of people in Deschutes County, arguing that the current regulations be allowed to stand, lest the County find itself in lengthy administrative and court battles related to regulations that are too strict. Adair, on the other hand, seems in favor of even-stricter regulations for an industry already choked by more regulation than any other crop. She also made a statement at a recent debate that a local landowner's land has "no value" due to its location next to a marijuana grow—a statement we later verified with the county assessor to be unfounded. These sweeping statements that have no basis in fact, which Adair tosses out on any number of issues, are what concern us most about hiring Adair to the county commission. While Cook would do well to keep a more measured demeanor in the face of such erroneous and egregious statements by Adair, he is clearly the more experienced, prepared candidate in this race. Vote James Cook for Deschutes County Commission position 3.

Visit our YouTube page at: youtube.com/user/thesourceweekly for video recordings of our ongoing candidate endorsement interviews.

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