Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bend city council vote a mess

It doesn't really matter who wins a seat on the Bend City Council because city governance is so screwed up, no councilor could have any real impact.

The most recent head-scratcher has to do with OSU-Cascades. The city council heard the challenge to the city staff's approval for a 10-acre campus knowing that the ultimate campus size would be 10 times that size. Yes, it would be good to have a master plan, but city code doesn't demand one. That's what they call planning in Bend. Councilors said they couldn't do anything about it.

If there isn't anything they could do, then they shouldn't be on the city council to begin with.

Then, this same council keeps jacking up water, sewer and storm water fees at more than triple the rate of inflation. They've been doing this for a decade. A modest 1,200-square foot home in Bend that houses three people and has a 300-square-foot lawn can pay $150 a month in summer for water and sewer, and almost $100 a month during the winter.

Yes, they are trying to pay for a costly water upgrade, but the sewer and storm-water fees keep rising to subsidize millionaire developers in Bend. Instead of raising development fees, the city is deferring them.

In fact, the city just raised the storm-water tax on homeowners and has never even considered enacting a building impact fee on developers and builders, as allowed by law, to offset storm-water runoff.

Instead of enacting a 3-cent-a-gallon gas tax, like most larger cities do in this state, the city council caves to anti-tax nuts. We have no sales tax and ton of tourists that could help offset their impact on the roads. It's really a no-brainer, and that's what we have on the council.

Instead of getting re-elected, most of these yahoos should be recalled. They're a complete embarrassment. Save, for Mayor Jim Clinton, the only councilor looking out for city residents.

Of course, the councilors are just the tip of the iceberg of dysfunction in Bend.

City planners answer only to the development/real estate crowd and could care less what the majority of Bend residents think. I've been to a number of community meetings over the years and can vouch for this claim.

Voting for a city councilor is a waste of time. The only solution is suing the city.

That's why the Truth-In-Site group, which opposes the west-side location for OSU-Cascades, has a chance to influence the city because it is challenging the city's approval of the pumice pit site to the state land-use board of appeals.

If you really want to influence government, hire a lawyer. And, no, I'm not a lawyer.

Anyway, position's 5, 6 and 7 of the council are contested this time around.

In Position 5, vote for Nathan Boddie because he appears to look out for all the citizens of Bend. His opponent, incumbent Mark Capell, is an absolute joke with no clue about what the citizens in this town want.

In Position 6, there is no one really to endorse out of the four running. Ron Boozell, Casey Roats, Lisa Seales, and Richard Robertson. Roats, through the Bend water system he owns, represents the old guard. Boozell is not credible. Seales teaches at OSU-Cascades and can't be trusted on the west-side campus. Robertson is disabled and he is passionate about issues facing the disabled. Vote for Robertson. At least he stands for something legitimate.

In Position 7, incumbent Scott Ramsay is an empty suit representing the status quo of current infrastructure dysfunction in Bend. His opponent, Barb Campbell, is rightfully concerned about the skyrocketing water and sewer rates in this town. Vote Campbell.

Again, it doesn't matter who wins, because unless Bend citizens are willing to sue the city, nothing will change here.

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