Support is so broad for the first measure that we consider that our endorsement will hardly be surprising; we sort of love this. However, the second measure has proven divisive, even among constituencies that usually get along. Without further ado…
Establish Benton County Extension and 4-H Service District
Absolutely Yes. This measure would create a service district to fund research, management, and education that support our local farm and forest economy. Even though this measure will cost the average homeowner $26 a year, we like the benefits for local small farmers and foresters, and funding for primary and secondary educational opportunities—there is something for everybody in this proposal. We dig the partnership with OSU. Our only wish would be for some set funding allocations, but given the baked-in public process and County Commission governance, count us in.
Charter Amendment Restricting Sale of Parks and Natural Areas
No. This measure would disallow the City Council selling park land without voter approval, which may sound like a good thing, except they would not be allowed to add new facilities to these properties, either—think public meeting spaces or classrooms. Add two decades of city councilors declining to make such sales, based on their hearing of public sentiment, and we accept Mayor Traber’s argument that there are simpler solutions. If this measure had been narrower, our thinking may have been different.