OPINION WWW.BENDSOURCE.COM / MAY 16, 2019 / BEND’S INDEPENDENT VOICE
Ariel Méndez for Bend Metro Park & Recreation District Director, Pos. 1
Two Bend Park and Recreation board spots are open this election, with Brady Fuller vacating Position 1 and Ellen Grover vacating Position 2. In a city with so many changes and so many needs happening all at once, it’s unfortunate that the Position 2 race is unopposed. We’ve endorsed the candidate in that race, Deputy District Attorney Jason Kropf, in the past, and likely would again—but unopposed races are not ideal. The Position 1 race, meanwhile, has two candidates who would be beneficial to the board—but Ariel Méndez, a political science instructor at OSU-Cascades, is more ready for the job right now. He serves on BPRD’s budget committee, the City of Bend’s Citywide Transportation Advisory Committee and as president of the bike-commuting advocacy group, Bend Bikes. With that extensive involvement, Méndez has shown he’s committed to learning and to leadership in Bend. Méndez’s priorities include building a trail network that can help people get around town safely (and off streets) and making BPRD’s needs-based assistance programs more visible and accessible—priorities that are directly in line with the needs of a community faced with transportation challenges and affordability issues. On the hot-button issue of Mirror Pond, Méndez is much more well-versed and ready to tackle this pressing issue. Méndez believes the conversation needs to be more about whether to dredge or not dredge, and believes BPRD shouldn’t invest in any project until we know the future of the Newport Dam, whose impoundment forms Mirror Pond. Both candidates believe the public should be involved in any decision-making that happens around the dam. Davis is trained as a civil engineer, works at an insurance company and serves on Bend’s Economic Development Advisory Board. He’s running to encourage more diversity and inclusion on the board—and as a resident of
the east side of Bend, wants to be on the board to represent the lower-income east side. While we agree that having equal representation from the various corners of Bend would be valuable, we do recall that Bend voters rejected the notion of wards during the last election—signaling that Bendites may not prioritize that as much as some other things, such as increasing transportation infrastructure. While building a connected trail network won’t solve the issues on a large scale, it’s a mission that is within BPRD’s scope. Méndez should have the chance to advocate for that at the board level. Vote Ariel Méndez for Bend Metro Park & Recreation District, Position 1.
Shimiko Montgomery for Administrative School District No. 1 Director, Zone 3 (Bend-La Pine Schools)
It’s a high bar to unseat an incumbent in any race. In this one, however, Shimiko Montgomery simply has more knowledge and on-the-ground experience in schools, making her a candidate who can rise to the bar. We like Andy High. We really do. For the past six years, he’s been a solid presence on the Bend-La Pine School Board—a reasonable person who’s able to work well with people from both sides of the political aisle. But High himself admits that his primary expertise around education comes from when he was a student himself. As the owner of Thompson Pump and Irrigation, with a bachelor’s in public policy and administration, and some time spent serving with Sen. Tim Knopp as policy advisor, his expertise is valuable for the community, but that expertise may be better served on other boards. Bend-La Pine Schools—like most schools in Oregon—continue to grapple with low on-time graduation rates, large class sizes, achievement gaps for students of color and low levels of mental
and social supports for struggling students. Montgomery has faced these issues during her time as a school counselor and will be more well-versed and ready to tackle these challenges on the board. While board members don’t work directly in schools, an astute board will be able to offer explicit oversight and guidance in ways to handle these issues. High agrees with the Carver model of governance, in which a board governs at arm’s length from day-to-day operations. While that is, on paper, the role of a school board, that’s not to say that a board member shouldn’t possess deep institutional knowledge of the causes, effects and solutions that dictate policies. That’s where Montgomery’s experience can come into play. We applaud the entire board for overseeing the adoption of stronger security measures at Bend-La Pine Schools, and for fostering the inclusion of more career and technical education courses in secondary schools. Moving forward, with a continued population explosion—and an increasingly diverse population—social supports are only going to be more crucial. With the passage of the Student Success Act in the Oregon Legislature this week, we can assume more dollars will be flowing into the district soon. We need a board that can ask the right questions and provide guidance to ensure an adequate amount of that money goes toward social supports. We believe Montgomery can help make that happen. Vote Shimiko Montgomery for Bend-La Pine Schools, Zone 3.
Legislature), dealing with growth in the district and keeping class sizes low. In addition, he’d like to see more diverse class offerings for secondary students and supports improving the quality of instruction in all schools. As these are also key priorities for Sisters residents, as well, we believe Hedrick’s priorities are where they should be. Vote Don Hedrick for Sisters School District, Position 4.
Redmond Area Park & Recreation Measure No. 9-126: YES Bonds to construct new community recreational facility to expand programs
The momentum in Redmond at the present moment is palpable. Valuable new businesses are investing in the city. The City of Redmond and the Redmond Chamber of Commerce are both hard at work making the city more attractive to businesses and residents, through initiatives such as its new transit hub, a landmark affordable housing project, a new bike park and an expanded runway at the airport—plus more flights to key cities. Redmond voters should support that momentum by saying yes to the bond measure that would build a new recreational facility—including swimming pools, a gym, an indoor walking track and fitness rooms. Redmond residents deserve a facility that meets the needs of the growing city.
Don Hedrick for Sisters School District 6, Director, Position 4 Redmond Area Don Hedrick, running for another term on the Sisters School Board, has already Park & Recreation served eight years on the board, including four as chair. After taking two years off, he Measure No. 9-127: says he missed serving and wants another chance. As a former high school teacher and principal who’s worked in both sub- YES urban environments in Illinois as well as smaller districts in Tillamook, Ore., and Klamath County, Ore., it’s clear that Hedrick has the breadth of experience we like to see on a school board. His priorities include being part of a team and working with the rest of the board, as well as being proper custodians of public funds. His concerns include the consistent underfunding of schools (hopefully alleviated, at least in part, by the recent passage of the Student Success Act in the Oregon
Five-year operating levy for Park and Recreation
Due to rates set decades ago, the taxes Redmond Area Park & Recreation District collects are far less than what Bend’s district does—and it’s quite apparent when one looks at the services offered, as well as the wages Redmond Parks employees earn compared to Bend. If voters want to see expanded services and offerings for kids as well as adults, vote Yes on the operating levy.
Endorsement Recaps: A look at endorsements we’ve rolled out thus far: Central Oregon Community College Director, Zone 5: Jim Clinton Sisters School District Director, Pos. 3: Jeff Smith