Endorsements – May 2014

Statewide Offices

U.S. Senator (Democrat) — Jeff Merkley

Merkley has two challengers in the primary, lawyer William Bryk of New York, who has never been to Oregon, and Pavel Goberman of Beaverton, an immigrant and perennial candidate for various elected posts. Merkley is a rising star in the Senate and a strong voice for economic justice and health care reform. In November he will face a Republican challenger, either Jason Conger or Monica Wehby.

Oregon Governor (Democrat) — John Kitzhaber

Kitzhaber has only one challenger in the Democratic primary, Ifeanyichukwu C. Diru of Salem, who is not really campaigning, maybe building name recognition for some future race?  Kitzhaber has served Oregon well in his previous three terms and shown real leadership on health care reform and economic issues. Not so great on the environment. We expect he will be facing Republican Dennis Richardson in November.

Lane County Commission

County Commission, West Lane Position 1 — Dawn Lesley

There’s a reason it’s easy to typo “Bozo” when we’re trying to write Bozievich. The man isn’t stupid, but his angry and divisive tendencies have turned what was already a contentious County Commission into what feels like a circus. He’s been taking credit where credit isn’t due on everything from the county jail levy to the new state mental hospital in Junction City. Dawn Lesley has stepped up with a smart, organized campaign and promises to be the hard-working, moderate commissioner the diverse West Lane district needs.

County Commission, Springfield Position 2 — Sheri Moore

We did not endorse Sid Leiken when he took the Springfield seat in 2010, but we had hopes the former Springfield mayor would be a swing vote on key issues such as clean water. He’s been a big disappointment. At the recent UO College Republicans commissioners’ debate he cited his dry cleaning company’s switch from solvents to water as proof of his green credentials. It’s been typical of Leiken to give off an easygoing good-guy persona while simultaneously following the divisive lead of Jay Bozievich. We trust Springfield City Councilor Sheri Moore to actually think for herself. Sandi Mann withdrew from this race.

County Commission, East Lane Position 5 — Kevin Matthews

Faye Stewart’s mainly rural district is in an uproar over issues such as Parvin Butte and a dysfunctional County Commission that’s hungry to extract natural resources for short-term gain. Kevin Matthews has the loudest and most organized roar in this group of contenders and gets our nod. That said, if you want to vote for Joann Ernst or Jose Ortal, we won’t discourage you — they are both feisty and thoughtful candidates. Jack Schoolcraft had some quirky things to say at a recent candidates debate and has remained a bit of a fringe candidate.

School Bonds

Fern Ridge School District Measure 20-220 — YES

The district is asking for bond sales to renovate aging facilities, make safety improvements and update technology. General obligation bonds total $26.7 million to replace Elmira Elementary School on the same site and make improvements to Veneta Elementary School, Fern Ridge Middle School and Elmira High School. The debt will be repaid through property taxes.

Pleasant Hill School District 20-221 — YES

The district is asking for just under $18 million in bond sales to improve school facilities. Two wings of Pleasant Hill High School would be replaced and expanded, including facilities for grades six through eight. An auxiliary gymnasium would also be built. Pleasant Hill Elementary would get additional classrooms, an expanded library and other renovations. District-wide improvements would be made to safety, energy efficiency and technology.

State Legislators

No Democratic candidates are contested in the May Primary, but on the ballot for re-election are Senate Democrats Floyd Prozanski (District 4) and Lee Beyer (District 7); and House Democrats Chris Edwards (District 7), Paul Holvey (District 8), Caddy McKeown (District 9), Phil Barnhart (District 11), John Lively (District 12), Nancy Nathanson (District 13) and Val Hoyle (District 14).

On the Republican ballot, only District 7 in our region has a contest between Cedric Hayden and Gary Williams.

City of Eugene

No Eugene City Council races are contested, but on the ballot for re-election are Alan Zelenka (Ward 3), George Poling (Ward 4), Mike Clark (Ward 5) and Greg Evans (Ward 6). All four will advance to the November General Election and can only be challenged by write-in campaigns. EWEB also has two uncontested positions. Incumbents are John Brown (Wards 4 & 5) and John Simpson (at-large).

City of Springfield

No Springfield City Council races are contested. Three incumbents are on the ballot: Sean VanGordon (Ward 1), Hilary Wylie (Ward 2) and Marilee Woodrow (Ward 5).

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