Bend is the largest city in Oregon that doesn't allow voters to pick its mayor.
As it stands now, Bend's city councilors select the mayor among themselves, in secret.
It doesn't really matter that much, but citizens should vote for their town's "leader."
The city manager wields the most power in the city and the citizens really have no control over who the city manager is.
Right now we have a young, inexperienced city manager who is pulled in different directions by an ideologically divided council.
Consequently, we have an expensive water project, that the council approved, on hold by the state due to challenges from Bend's citizens.
The problem with the $68 million water project is that the common household must pay a disproportionate amount to finance it.
The biggest users, the local beer industry, are subsidized by the basic household, even when that household has only one person using the water system. For the past 10 years, city water rates have increased each year at triple the rate of inflation.
Also, for years, ratepayers have subsidized developers and the bill is now due.
Jim Clinton, the oldest and longest tenured councilor, understands this and that is why he is opposed to the water project.
But, as smart and capable as Clinton is, he doesn't have the personality to be mayor. And, we know that personality goes a long way. That is why Jodie Barram is preferred for this position.
Clinton is not a back-slapper type. Neither is Barram, but she is younger and has more energy to devote to the position. Also, it's important to have a progressive woman as a leader in our city because it shows that Bend is forward looking. Clinton should be mayor pro-tem, or the substitute mayor.
In this era of "standards" and "accountability," it's vital that we have leaders willing to demonstrate these attributes rather than be shills for the development community.
Barram and Clinton look out for all of Bend's citizens, not just those with the deepest pockets.