Two of Deschutes County’s three commissioners are running for re-election this year, and both face opposition in the May Republican primary election. Tony DeBone, of La Pine, holds the Position 1 seat, while Tammy Baney, of Bend, is the Position 3 seatholder. They’re opposed by Ed Barbeau and Patti Adair, respectively.
The two incumbents, DeBone and Baney, are the better choices to serve the county.
Barbeau, 60, who seeks DeBone’s seat, owns a pizza shop in Tumalo. He ran unsuccessfully for the commission against Baney in the 2010 Republican primary and was an unsuccessful candidate for Bend City Council two years later. He believes county systems development charges are too high, though the county itself levies only a single SDC of a bit over $3,000.
Adair, 66, hopes to oust Baney next month. She lives between Sisters and Redmond and has been a vocal opponent of allowing legal marijuana businesses in the county. She says the marijuana advisory committee created to help county commissioners was stacked against marijuana opponents and wonders if the county’s self-insurance for health care costs too much.
DeBone, 51, and his wife own a small business in La Pine. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electronic technology and robotics and chaired the La Pine Parks and Recreation board. He believes, as does Baney, that the county is a responsible steward of the taxes it receives, pointing out that it currently employs about the same number of people it did 10 years ago. That’s unlikely to change in the next five years, he says, because the county’s bill to the state Public Employees Retirement System will take an ever larger portion of its budget.
Baney, 46, grew up in Bend and attended Central Oregon Community College. She’s been an active community volunteer and brings boundless energy to her commission duties. She’s proud of the county’s spending record, pointing out that it doesn’t start new programs until commissioners are sure its finances will sustain them over time.
She and DeBone agree on the need for more enforcement of marijuana laws in the county. And they are both working hard to correct the frustrating problems with the county’s new digital radio system.
Neither Barbeau nor Adair makes a good enough argument that DeBone or Baney should be replaced. DeBone and Baney have brought to the commission moderate views, plus a willingness to do their homework and to listen to their constituents. They’ve served county residents well and should be allowed to continue to do so.