Editorial: Vote DeBone in GOP primary for Deschutes Commission

Published Mar 27, 2014 at 12:01AM

Republican voters in Deschutes County must choose between Tony DeBone and Richard Esterman as their nominee for County Commission in May. They should stick with DeBone, the incumbent.

Not that Esterman has nothing to recommend him. He’s a personable man and an engaging conversationalist, and he has some ideas we might agree with, though he’d have to change state and sometimes county law to put some of them in place. We hope he runs for public office again — such as school board or city council — if he does not win this time.

As you might expect after three years on the job, DeBone has a much more realistic view of county government. He ran in 2010 in part because of potential groundwater contamination issues in La Pine. Four years later, the problem remains unresolved, though the state Department of Environmental Quality, not the county, is now leading the effort to find a workable solution.

He notes that while south county residents likely will be asked to foot some of the bill for that solution, the county does have a fund available to lessen the burden.

DeBone, 47, grew up in Detroit, Mich. He and his wife, to whom he’s been married for 20 years, own Little d Technology in La Pine. He holds a degree in electronics technology from Northern Michigan University.

Now, in his fourth year on the commission, he says he understands far better than he did the complexities of county government. While he’s been in office, the commission has fired its top administrator, hired a new one and replaced several heads of county departments in the process.

Other issues facing the county in the coming years include the increasing number of requests for non-farm use of farm property for such things as weddings. DeBone notes the county must follow state law on that one, which, among other things, limits both the kind and number of such events that can be held.

DeBone has been a hard-working member of the commission. He acknowledges that being effective at it requires time, and, he believes, his experience is paying off today. He should get the Republican party nomination to continue at it.