With longtime mayor George Endicott not running again, four men have stepped up to vie for the position of Redmond mayor. Jay Patrick, a long-serving city councilor, is running to "Keep Redmond Redmond" and is focused on nuts-and-bolts issues including public safety, building a new sewer plant and the expansion of the Redmond airport. Charles Baer is a self-described libertarian whose priorities include environmentalism and transparency, and wants to see Redmond adopt a "one woman, one child" policy. Ed Fitch, also a sitting councilor, is focused on transportation, sewer and water, and wants to see Redmond open up its dialogue to listen to the concerns of all residents. Ben Schimmoller is focused on affordable housing, water management, infrastructure growth and creating family-wage jobs for Redmond.
We believe Ed Fitch is the best choice in this race.
We give kudos to Schimmoller, who a few years back, in the primary for House District 53 (Editor's note: the print edition cited a run for county commission; that was incorrect and we regret the error), espoused some far-right views that appear to have been tamed while working in the office of Republican Oregon Sen. Tim Knopp and in his family's real estate and development business. While he had good ideas, they were less refined than some of his counterparts who are currently serving on the council. And while we admire Baer's environmental spirit and creative if not sometimes outlandish ideas, he's not ready to lead Redmond. This leads us to a contest between Patrick and Fitch.
Fitch, while also realistic about the more mundane, roads-and-sewer type of governance that is required for the mayor and council positions, has a more forward-thinking view of what Redmond could be. He'd like to at least open up a dialogue once again about allowing dispensaries in Redmond. Patrick is OK following along with federal law. Fitch believes the city needs to get more aggressive in addressing homelessness and finding solutions, and believes the city's attempt at a safe parking program only paid lip service to the issue. He wants to implement a safe camping program to offer people a place to go. He wants to pursue public-private partnerships to help get more housing built, and advocated for creating a task force to help build more affordable housing. Patrick, while he admits that it is not illegal to camp on the streets, would like to see more enforcement of low-level crimes at homeless encampments. He doesn't want to see the city build "a bunch of apartments," and maintains that it's not the city's role to build housing.
On transit and active transportation, we liked Schimmoller's philosophy: add more jobs on the west side where people actually live, so that everyone has to commute less in general. Fitch wants to see more of Redmond add sidewalks and wants better bike paths to and from recreation areas, and wants the bus system to grow faster to help alleviate congestion. Patrick, the vice-chair of the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council, told us he doesn't want to "bust anything out too fast" as it pertains to this issue.
With the departure of the current mayor and the sweeping changes coming to the Redmond City Council, the Hub City is going to look very different after this election. Redmond's demographics are changing by the day, and we believe someone forward-thinking should serve as mayor to help usher in this new era. Vote Ed Fitch for Redmond mayor.
Where you'll find the candidates on a Friday night:
Charles Baer: At a café or bar in downtown Redmond
Ed Fitch: Hanging at home, playing golf or with his four grandkids
Ben Schimmoller: Watching college football or hunting with friends and family
Jay Patrick: With his wife golfing or on the couch asleep
Ben Schimmoller on Jay Patrick: He's served a long time and that's impressive.
Jay Patrick on Ed Fitch: Thankful for Ed giving voters a choice in this race. Ed "thinks more liberally" than Jay, which is a political choice.
Charles Baer on Ben Schimmoller: Ben has done a good job as a young person in politics, as it's important for young people to get involved.
Ed Fitch on Charles Baer: Charles is a visionary. Someday there will be a need for a bypass around Redmond, and a light rail to La Pine—someday.