Voters have been put in an awkward spot by the choices for Redmond mayor and the four people running for the three City Council seats up for a vote. Two of the candidates are married, and that’s a problem.
Mayor George Endicott is running against former Mayor Ed Fitch for mayor. Krisanna Clark-Endicott, who is married to George Endicott, is running for council.
Redmond voters should not vote for both Endicotts. Support Jon Bullock, Clark-Endicott and Jay Patrick for council. (The top three vote getters win seats.) And support Fitch for mayor.
The Endicotts say it would not be a problem if they are both elected. They argue it does not fit the definition of a conflict of interest under Oregon law. True. They also don’t always agree. Also true.
But, yes, it is a problem. If they are both elected, the perception will be they are a voting bloc. It would make it easier for the Endicotts to work as a team and get done what they want and more difficult for any other councilor. Would those policy outcomes necessarily be bad for Redmond? No. It would be bad for Redmond, though, to have a cloud hanging over city decisions and policies that Team Endicott always has the edge.
George Endicott, 70, has by no means been a bad mayor over the last 10 years. His eye is always on creating better jobs for the community. He wants to help keep neighborhoods attractive in the city, but doesn’t want to have the city dictate to developers how that should be done. He is also as concerned as much as anyone else about finding solutions to Redmond’s traffic issues with U.S. Highway 97 on the town’s south end. He should not be re-elected, rather, because his wife is one of the clear three best options for council and because voters should not elect both Endicotts. Voters have an outstanding mayoral candidate in Fitch.
Fitch, 67, knows how to do the job already. He was Redmond mayor from 1998 until he resigned in 2001, when he temporarily moved out of town. He was also city attorney from 1979 to 1996 and works as an attorney. His goal is to take action on several matters that he had hoped the city would have made more progress on. He wants action to ensure Central Oregon Community College has room to expand. He wants action to secure land near the airport for development. He wants action to solve Redmond’s traffic issues on the town’s south end. He doesn’t promise that it will be fixed in the next few years, but work has to be done now, he said.
One clear difference between Fitch and Endicott is that Fitch would like to have residents vote on a proposal to allow perhaps two marijuana retail businesses in town. Redmond would capture some tax revenue. Currently, Redmond residents export those tax dollars to Bend or elsewhere.
As for the council race, Bullock, Clark-Endicott and Patrick are the best qualified and prepared. Bullock, 47, was appointed to the council in November. He is director of the Redmond Proficiency Academy, a charter school, and worked for many years before that as a teacher and administrator in the Redmond schools. He brings that managerial and budget experience to the council and deserves to be elected.
Clark-Endicott, 49, is the former mayor of Sherwood and is brimming with energy and a commitment to serve her new community. She wants to create a community garden in town and also to create a way for the community to honor its active military with banners downtown. She did face controversy as mayor in Sherwood, resigning before a recall election. It was over a contract for managing a community recreation center, and it’s not clear that she actually did anything to deserve to be thrown out of office.
Patrick, 61, is the very definition of institutional memory. He has been on the council since 1999. He should be re-elected to serve again. He brings a sensible approach to the difficult choices the council must make, such as the debate over increasing the number of police officers. He would like to see it happen and believes it will. But it he wants to do it without new taxes or fees on residents.
Josefina Riggs, 59, was born in Venezuela and moved to the United States in 1995. She said she would be a voice for people who can be underrepresented — immigrants, the LGBTQ community and also the disabled, since she works in that field. Riggs is less prepared for the position than the other council candidates. She was much less familiar any policy options to address Redmond’s challenges. Riggs also said she wanted to use her position to encourage more people to join unions. It’s a legitimate objective. Council meetings would not be an appropriate platform to pursue it.
The best way to solve Redmond’s awkward election is to vote Fitch for mayor and Bullock, Clark-Endicott and Patrick for City Council.