About Tuesday’s election

by | Nov 2, 2021 | Miscellaneous | 1 comment

Tuesday is Election Day throughout Benton County, and, granted, this is not the most scintillating election you’ve ever experienced (unless you’re voting for the first time, in which case be assured that these do get more interesting).

Depending on where you live in the county, your election ballot might contain three proposals to amend the city of Corvallis charter. (None is earthshaking, but you should vote “yes” on all three, for reasons I’ll outline later.) If you live in the city’s Ward 8, you have a City Council race, except it features just one candidate, Tracey Yee, who finally will land that council seat, unless someone mounts a substantial write-in campaign. If you live in the North Albany Fire Protection District, you get to vote on whether to renew a five-year operating levy; that’s significant. If you live in the McDonald Forest Estates, you’re facing a measure to establish a five-year local option tax for road maintenance; that’s significant as well.

Of course, “significant” doesn’t necessarily always mean “compelling.” That’s why these election issues have generated scant news coverage — and why turnout in the election as of Monday morning was about 24%. I actually was surprised turnout was that high.

If you’re one of the 76% of eligible voters who hasn’t cast a ballot, you should dig out your ballot wherever you’ve stashed it, mark it, sign the envelope, and return it to one of the ballot dropoff boxes scattered around the county. (It’s too late to mail them in; they won’t arrive at the county Elections Office by 8 p.m. Tuesday, the deadline.)

The main reason why you should do that is because it seems exceptionally dangerous these days to fall out of the habit of voting — especially in a local election. These are muscles you need to keep in shape. This local election may not have anything that will change your life — but the next one could. (In fact, it’s these local elections that have the most potential to affect you.)

With that said, I understand that many of you might not have had time to study the Corvallis City Charter. Let me lend you a hand. The first proposal on the ballot lengthens the time that the City Council has to fill a vacant city manager position from six months to two years. Now, reasonable people can debate whether this process should take two years — but it’s clearly unrealistic these days to ask a volunteer City Council to recruit, interview and properly vet a city manager candidate in six months. You should vote “yes.”

The second proposal would allow councilors to fill vacant positions on the council through appointment rather than waiting for a special election — like this one. An appointed councilor would still have to run for election at the next regular election. This would prevent situations like what’s happening now in Ward 8, where an unexpected resignation has meant that ward has gone without representation on the council for months. Again, I recommend a “yes” vote.

The final amendment on the ballot would remove gender-specific and binary pronouns in the charter — and would eliminate all those occasions in which the dreaded “s/he” is used. For that reason alone, you should vote “yes.”

Waiting in the wings, perhaps, are more serious charter amendments — most notably, the question of whether councilors should serve four-year terms instead of the current two years. I also wonder if Corvallis needs nine wards — or if the city would be better-served with a combination of councilors attached to wards and at-large councilors.

Those questions will have to wait for another day. Tuesday is Election Day, so go vote.

1 Comment

  1. Curt Wright

    Thank you for putting out this special edition. I doubt you’ll be surprised I share your views on voting as well as how to vote on the issues directly affecting Corvallis.

    Reply

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