The current shout-riot passing for national discourse has seeped its way into our local political rhetoric, and while all that inflammatory boldness may be entertaining, we would much rather a boldness balanced with studied and coolheaded insightfulness. We are an alt-weekly after all, so enough said about that.
Our Editorial Board conducted public debates with all the candidates contesting for the County and City office, and we’ve researched their past records and statements. One member privately interviewed each of the County Commission candidates as well. We’re only endorsing for contested races.
We endorse Sami Al-Abdrabbuh, he is a compelling and passionate leader already engaged with a diversity of groups and subcultures, and he takes a studied research-driven approach to issues.
Al-Abdrabbuh’s time as a Corvallis Public School Board Member has proved his ability to work with just about anyone, and to get things done. During The Advocate debates, Al-Abdrabbuh was clearly the candidate with the best grasp of the County’s issues, and what can be done to address them with solutions that take the long view.
Of all the candidates interviewed, Al-Abdrabbuh has the deepest knowledge when it comes to issues of homelessness. Talking with him, it becomes clear he has dedicated extensive time and research into the subject. Given the county’s reputation and history with homelessness, this is invaluable to us.
We also like Sami’s chief opponent, frontrunner Democratic candidate Pat Malone. Running for this seat as well are Pacific Green candidate Tim Dehne, and Libertarian candidate Erik Gradine. All these candidates have proven deeply thoughtful and committed to the community.
Max Mania is running without party affiliation, and has prior experience as a City Councilor in Port Angeles, Washington. Mania’s pool of knowledge about our local governmental structures concerned us. For instance, during The Advocate debate, Mania contended that there is no job description for the County Commissioner position, which was corrected by Al-Abdrabbuh, referring to the description in the County Charter. Also, given Mania’s platform statements, we are concerned he may not be familiar with how state laws preempt some types of county action in Oregon.
Mania regularly uses oppositional and denouncing language when referring to the two Commissioners he seeks to serve with, making us doubt his ability in getting the votes he’d need to move county action.
Having run for the state legislature in 2016 as a Progressive, Al-Abdrabbuh now runs as an Independent Party candidate. We suspect that at heart, he is non-partisan.
Sami Al-Abdrabbuh represents progressive values, and we believe he is the most action-oriented candidate in this field — as well as being most ready to incite change which endeavors to consider everyone’s needs.
We endorse Biff Traber for a second term. Traber is deeply knowledgeable over a variety of complex issues, and he can be counted on to be thoughtful and fair-minded. Traber’s ability to balance competing constituencies and priorities with care is a learned skill which inspires our confidence in him.
Traber has proven to be an able executive as goes the City’s fiscal policies, which is especially impressive given the challenges all municipalities are currently facing. Traber’s responses to The Advocate debate attendees were deliberate and multifaceted — he was seemingly not driven to get an emotional reaction from the crowd. Biff Traber has, in turn, become a very level-headed leader.
Chief opponent Roen Hogg, a four-term City Councilor, could also prove an able executive, but he does not show the same inclination towards balance as Traber, nor sensitivity to citywide concerns. Hardworking tertiary candidate Riley Doraine is a compelling voice concerning social justice, but she does not have experience with the full range of issues a mayor needs to work through — we hope she continues gaining and seeking experience in the field, as we hope to hear from her again.
Finally, we appreciate Traber’s lobbying for better affordable housing legislation out of Salem, and we want him to know someone in the press actually noticed it, even though he never mentioned it to us.
City Council Ward 1
We endorse Steve Lee. The soft-spoken Lee presented more knowledgeable over a wider variety of City issues than his opponent during The Advocate debate. We believe Lee takes the needs of many demographics to heart, understands complexities, and seeks to find consensus for reasonable solutions.
Steve Lee is the only candidate in any race that talked about going directly to service and care workers, as well as recipients, for advice. He makes clear he will also be reaching out to citizens. Both Lee and opponent Jan Napack have opposed downtown shelters, Napack quite a bit more vociferously. Napack was a proponent of the Flomacher site even after many of its problems had come to light.
City Council Ward 2
Our endorsement goes to Charles F Maughan. He concentrates on environmental and affordable housing issues, conflating the latter as an inclusivity issue as well — which we support. Maughan balances lofty vision with a pragmatic sensibility, and is well regarded, generally, having gained a number of notable endorsements.
Catherine Mater is the opponent in this race. Mater may over time regret, intellectually, her allusions to lawsuits over the Second Street homeless shelter, and her push for the Flomacher site. Currently, however, we do not believe Mater sees her own conflict of interests clearly. Mater and her family have significant financial interests downtown, and we believe these interests currently leave her too conflicted to serve as a Councilor, in any event.
City Council Ward 3
Hyatt Lytle has our endorsement. We are compelled by Lytle’s hardworking commitment during her first term, and her sheer encyclopedic grasp of City issues. She balances the needs of her ward and the city as a whole, admirably. We are impressed with Lytle’s work on the South Corvallis Urban Renewal District.
Notably, we were also impressed with opponents Rachel Hoffman and Mika Goodwin, both of whom were more articulate than most first time contestants. We hope both stay engaged with city affairs.
City Council Ward 5
We endorse Charlyn Ellis. This down-to-earth public school teacher acquitted herself quite well last term, and her answers over the course of The Advocate debate were decidedly pragmatic. Ellis lives sustainably in her own life, and could rightly be seen as the environmental conscience of the community on the Council.
Opponent Paige Kreisman’s platform has little to do with issues the City can pragmatically tackle, and even calls for actions that would be preempted by state law.
City Council Ward 9
Andrew Freborg gets our endorsement for this ward, though we were also impressed with opponent Andrew Struthers. Freborg first came to our attention last cycle while running for House District 16, where he became friends with both his opponents. In The Advocate debate, Freborg demonstrated pragmatism and willingness to try new compromises.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS: Editor-in-Chief Stevie Beisswanger, Associate Editor Johnny Beaver, Publisher Steven Schultz, and Interim Member for Governmental Affairs Jay Sharpe