Next Tuesday evening, one week from the date I'm writing this, my team and I will be spending one long night watching returns and covering what we can around the election, before our next issue goes to press at midnight that night. I don't think I'm the only one who's more than ready to see this election season behind us—but before the dust settles, we'll be ready to cover the ups and downs.
Our website, bendsource.com, and our social media channels @sourceweekly will be the places we'll update any information we gather from election night, and we invite you to visit us there to keep up with the latest. Elections are always important—and this time around, when so much focus has been placed on the presidential race, we hope you've taken a similar amount of time learning about the local candidates and measures that will very directly impact your lives. The vitriol around the presidential race is real—but it never stops surprising us how relatively little energy is expended by the public in weighing in on the other races.
We look forward to the inevitable challenges and important conversations that are going to emerge over the next several weeks. May we all do our best to maintain level heads as our political future unfolds.
Guest commentary: Will Latino Voters Make a Difference in Central Oregon?
Latino voters make up a small, but significant sliver of the electorate in Oregon – only 7.7 percent of total registered voters, according to the Pew Research Center. Although their numbers may be smaller in Central Oregon, there is much at stake for Latinos in the 2020 election.
"We're very much a mixed-status family community," said former state senate candidate Greg Delgado. Many Latino citizens in Central Oregon have immigrant parents, grandparents, or siblings who are not eligible to vote. So it's up to voting members to represent their family's priorities.
Hostile expressions toward Latinos have increased over the past four years, noted Milagros Aparicio, client services manager for the Latino Community Association in Bend. This year, she has helped new citizens, especially those who are older, register to vote online.
Along with many of her clients, Aparicio hopes for a new administration that can begin to reverse "an unhealthy emotional environment for most of our (Latino) community."
It's difficult to determine how many of the 20,512 Latinos who live in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties can cast a ballot. About three-fourths were born in the U.S., but more than a third are youth under 18, according to U.S. Census estimates for 2018. An unknown number of naturalized citizens may also vote.
LCA sponsors citizenship classes and exam tutoring for foreign-born residents and has graduated 141 people since 2015. Those who became citizens can join the pool of eligible voters.
Oscar González oversees these classes as LCA's empowerment programs manager. Instructors show students how to complete a ballot and emphasize that "your voice, like everyone else's, counts," he said.
Joanne Mina, LCA's volunteer coordinator, is recruiting people to make calls to registered voters and encourage them to turn in their ballots.
While many of us are riveted to the presidential contest, state and local races are vital to Josh Mondragón, a local college student majoring in government. He believes the federal government has overstepped its boundaries.
"Allow (elected officials) to run their state and local governments as they see fit," said Mondragón, a political independent.
Aparicio would like a closer relationship with local elected officials "so they can become educated about our barriers and needs," she said. "Not everybody takes us into consideration when making the laws."
Delgado sees two trends: "We're seeing more women and people of color stepping up to run for office," he said. But even disenfranchised communities are becoming more active politically on issues of environment, immigration, health care, and education.
For Delgado, it's important "that we make politics a part of our family fabric, and engage in healthy dialogue and respect for each other when we discuss the issues."
González hopes that more young Latinos will vote in this election and begin shifting the political landscape in the area. "When you choose not to participate ... you acquiesce to the status quo," he said.
—Denise Holley is the research and communications assistant for the Latino Community Association
Vote for Emerson Levy
My name is Emerson Levy and I am a mom, an attorney, and running to be your State Representative in House District 53.
In the remaining days of the campaign, I want to share with you my plans and goals for the future. I've run a campaign that I am proud of: an issues-based campaign that seeks to resolve and improve the issues that affect your everyday life, whether you are a Republican, Independent, or a Democrat.
There are big differences between myself and my opponent when it comes to how we want to represent the citizens of HD53. I have put forward serious plans for the future that are inclusive and will build a coalition of strong leaders in Central Oregon. My opponent has narrowly aligned himself with groups that commingle with the alt-right and the anti-vaxxer movement, only causing further divide. He has not been accessible to his constituents, nor made any attempt to connect with the community outside of his group of niche issue lobbyists and political organizations. Additionally, my opponent is endorsed by Oregon Right to Life. I am endorsed by Planned Parenthood, NARAL and Basic Rights Oregon.
I'll work on behalf of all my fellow Central Oregonians focusing on: Job Growth, Small Business Support, Childcare, School Safety, Affordable Housing, and strong Environmental Policies.
Please check out my website where I discuss policy in detail: emersonvotes.com.
I am ready to go to Salem. I am ready to go to work, for everyone.
Henderson: A THOUGHTFUL LEADER
I'm writing this letter in response to the Source Weekly's endorsement of Phil Chang.
The article talks about my vision for Deschutes County being "flawed." I dispute that. I fight for Central Oregonian values, those of many Deschutes County residents.
It claims I want "sprawl housing" around the county. My vision is not that. It's to use land which isn't useful for farming or natural habitat to be used for housing where it makes sense. Oregon's 50-year-old restrictive land use system is flawed and only benefits the wealthy.
Chang believes in a "triplex on every block" and compact living. I don't.
The last UGB expansion for Bend was approved four years ago. No homes have been built on the land added. Meanwhile housing prices nearly doubled.
To clarify another point, the County Commission did not oppose mental health experts in schools. We tabled a budget proposal for $170,000 growing to $230,000 over three years with unclear planning. We will revisit this proposal when the economy is more stable.
The past four years I led efforts twice to cut our county property tax rates, helped secure $60 million from the Federal government to improve roads in the North end of Bend, led the effort to donate land for the Veterans Village in Bend, led the effort to create affordable homes in Skyline Village and helped lead our County through the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19 focusing on public safety and economic reopening.
I will continue to be a thoughtful leader.
RE: Phil Henderson
I am writing this piece as a response to the guest opinion published, October 1st, about the Deschutes County Commissioner race. It made several allegations which I will respond to. They’re misleading or completely inaccurate.
First, the guest opinion author was absolutely right when they said that the County Commissioners are responsible for ensuring that Deschutes County taxpayers are served well. Phil Henderson has exemplified that trait in his four years in office. His experience prepared him for responsibility. As a lawyer he ran his own firm, as a homebuilder he ran his own company and he led a much larger company as well. Commissioner Henderson is thoughtful and stands up for the residents of Deschutes County.
Commissioner Henderson consistently advocated for Deschutes County tax payers. In every decision he makes he asks himself, how will it help the residents of Deschutes County? When the construction of the Behavioral Stabilization Center began, Commissioner Henderson travelled around Oregon to other centers to learn how an effective stabilization center operates. He prevented money being wasted during construction. Simply put, Commissioner Henderson does not just “rubber-stamp” things; he makes sure if a job is going to be done, it is done right.
His opponent has criticized him for not spending enough of our money. I prefer that if the government is going to use my tax dollars on a project they do it right. We don’t need another government employee on the County Commission, we need someone with broad private sector experience.
-Brenda Grigsby, Concerned citizen of Central Oregon who has lived in Central Oregon for 58 years.
Vote for Megan Perkins
It is unfortunate that the Source editorial board has endorsed Chris Piper—a Bend City Council candidate who has received $92,000 in campaign contributions from the Central Oregon Builders Association, Central Oregon Association of Realtors, and Bend Chamber of Commerce PACs (political action committees).
These powerful special interest PACs have consistently tried to buy Council seats with obscene amounts of money. They don't spend this kind of money for nothing. It is an attempt to purchase influence.
In 2018 these special interests gave two City Council candidates about $141,000 in contributions. After voters wisely rejected both candidates, representatives of these three organizations relentlessly pushed Piper from virtual obscurity into a vacant Council seat. It was largely behind the scenes and took many by surprise. That's the way special interests work.
Megan Perkins is the better choice for City Council Position #3.
Megan is not beholden to special interests. She has run a strong grassroots campaign fueled by the people power of voters who recognize her as one of them, not a representative of the powerful. She will speak up for Bend residents who are too often left out of the process and work hard to make sure that our city's progress is shared by all.
Go to meganforbend.com and learn for yourselves why so many Bend residents support Megan Perkins for Position #3 on the Bend City Council. And then vote for her. Bend will be better for it.
Letter of the Week:
Thanks to all the candidates and candidate supporters who weighed in this week. We won't award a Letter of the Week among these election-related letters, but when it comes to a free, respectful exchange of ideas, you are all winners!