Salem voters are offered clear choices in the 2014 City Council election.  For the first time in years, there isn’t a single incumbent in  four races, each seat has more than one candidate, and in each race, the vying candidates represent distinctly different values.

These clear differences mean that, in this election, voters can make a meaningful decision about the direction the city should go.

It is a question, in our view, of voting to continue on the path that has led Salem, through inattention or design, to a community that feels excluded from its leaders, to a valuable historic downtown that feels injured and attacked by its government, to years of horrendously expensive research into an unneeded bridge that would burden city residents unconscionably and benefit them minimally.

The matter of who donates financial support to a candidate is not trivial.  It is naïve to expect people of even the greatest integrity, to entirely escape the influence of those who have funded their dreams and ambitions.

This means that if a voter wants more of the type of decisions the city council has made in recent years – that voter has an excellent candidate (Blasi, McCoid, Benjamin and Lewis) to select in each race.

The Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, the Salem Association of Realtors and the Home Builders Association of Marion and Polk Counties, who have donated thousands to these four can continue to heavily influence city policy.

Likewise, a voter who envisions change, new blood, councilors supported by a wide variety of voices– that voter, too, has been given at least one candidate in each Ward that will meet that ideal.

Salem Weekly’s Editorial Board chose to depart from the ​current city council ​status quo and turn ​Left.

Our endorsements are shown by the green word   ENDORSEMENT

tom

Tom Andersen ENDORSEMENT

Ward 2

www.electtomandersen.org

Why are you running?

When we moved to Salem in 2006, I immediately joined SCAN. I moved into leadership as vice-president for two years, as president for two years and chair of the Land Use and Transportation committee for four years.  Progressive Democrats who were familiar with my service asked me to run for the Council.

I am concerned that the Council seems to have adopted a top down model of decision making without much transparency. That is, city leaders decide what they think is best for the city, then try to persuade citizens to support their decision. This is not democracy in action.

Why vote for you, not your opponents?

I am the only candidate for the City Council in Ward 2 with any experience as a Ward 2 neighborhood leader.

How much will your campaign cost, and how relevant will your campaign funding sources be to your actions as councilor?

We have raised right around $4500. (Not counting contributions in kind – office space,… and the like.) The overwhelming majority (90%) of these are small contributions from individuals. I have contributions from one PAC, SEIU, a union which has no connection to the City of Salem.

Since… the vast bulk of my contributions are from concerned citizens of Salem, it would be fair to say that my actions as councilor will be guided by what is best interests of the people.

BRad

Bradd Swank

Ward 2

www.friendsofbraddswank.com

Why are you running?

It was February 2013 that I became seriously concerned about the direction the city is headed.  The city was a thinking of a new “fee” to cover the cost of streetlights, something that has always been paid from general tax revenues.

In the 30 years I worked around the Legislature, I had watched the Legislature use fees to cover the cost of services once covered by general taxes.  This form of raising revenue puts a far greater burden on the people who can least afford it.

As I began to attend Council meetings in early 2013, I came to realize that agendas were impossible to understand and important decisions were being made out of the view of the public.

I’ve been to every council meeting since Spring 2013. . .and found even more of the same.  I decided someone needed to be on council to raise these questions.

Why vote for you, not your opponents?

First is my high level of government experience and background.  [Also] I am retired.  So I have the time to do the work.  [Also] I am the ONLY person running for office who believes the tax shift to utility bills is unfair and needs to be corrected.  [Also] I am the only person running who is working with a group trying to stop Salem Hospital’s destruction of Howard Hall.  [Also] I have not sought money from, nor received any money from, political action committees.  Last, I am not seeking the office as a “stepping stone’ to some speculative future higher office I might run for

How much will your campaign cost, and how relevant will your campaign funding sources be to your actions as councilor?

We have projected the primary campaign to cost up to around $ 4000

Sheronne

Sheronne Blasi

Ward 2

www.electsheronneblasi.com

Why are you running?

I decided to run for City Council when I realized there would likely be significant turnover on Council this year. As a state performance auditor I have solid fiscal oversight experience which will be key in the next few years as the City faces continued budget challenges. I also… served on Council in 2012 as a temporary appointee and I currently serve on the Planning Commission, as well as other [City] committees.

I am concerned about the lack of communications with citizens and know from my prior experience on Council and current committees I can help improve communications and strengthen partnerships.

Why vote for you, not your opponents?

I have considerable more proven experience than my opponents, having served on Council as an appointee and now on the Planning Commission. My experience as a naval officer, the Chair of a local non-profit and a state auditor set me apart as well.

How much will your campaign cost, and how relevant will your campaign funding sources be to your actions as councilor?

To date I have spent about $5,700. The diversity of my campaign endorsements and contributions demonstrates a confidence in my ability to make fair and balanced decisions. Prior to accepting PAC contributions I made it clear a contribution will not buy my votes on council.

Steve

Steve McCoid

Ward 4

www.SteveMcCoid.com

Why are you running?

I have lived in Salem for 40 years, raised a family and am now watching my grandchildren grow up. This is my home of choice because of the tremendous life style it has offered my family and me. I was raised to give back to those things in my life that have given to me, and… I’m running to give back to the community that has been so good to me.

Why vote for you, not your opponent?

I bring a demonstrated ability to work with diverse groups of people. I’ve managed statewide non-profit trade associations for the past 31 years with thousands of members. Add to that fact most were owners of successful businesses and used to making the decision and implementing it with no discussion and you can see how this prepared me for working with Ward 4’s citizens

How much will your campaign cost, and how relevant will your campaign funding sources be to your actions as councilor?

The budget for my campaign is around $16,000. If I am able to raise those funds it will allow me to properly introduce myself to the citizens of Ward 4 so they can make an informed decision on my qualifications.

The contributions I’ve received to date are because my personal philosophies agree with those of my contributors – not because a contributor is attempting to mold those philosophies.

Scoot

Scott Bassett ENDORSEMENT

Ward 4

www.electscottbassett.org

Why are you running?

In the past few years I have observed many instances in which Salem residents were discouraged from obtaining information about hand having influence in the discussions and decisions made by City Councilors.  I want to change that by promoting active communication between City Councilors and all the people they represent, so that people know what issues are coming up that will affect their neighborhoods, businesses and wallets.

In short I want to ensure the best return on property taxes for Salem residents, to promote less expensive options for solving city problems and to make sure the average resident benefits from votes at City Hall.

Why vote for you, rather than your opponent?

My opponent has written that, “As the representative of the land owners…” he would help “all involved to maneuver through the City’s regulations…” As a councilor I’d represent the interests of all the residents of Ward 4, listen to their concerns and encourage them to participate in the work of their city government.  In fact, I am eager to apply my experience and knowledge for the benefit of all Salem residents.

How much will your campaign cost?  How relevant will your campaign funding sources be to your actions as councilor?

I plan to spend about $7,000 on my campaign.  My volunteer and financial support have come mostly come from Salem residents who appreciate my well-informed and independent approach.

Daniel

Daniel Benjamin

Ward 6

 

www.VoteDanielBenjamin.com

Why are you running?

I like to surround myself with positive and successful people. Being chair of NOLA and showing an interest in the safety and livability of the neighborhood, folks took notice.  I was asked to run for City Council, to which I declined.  I felt I could work with the current city councilor, as I think all Neighborhood Chairs should do to affect positive change.  When it was announced the current councilor would not be seeking reelection, I felt a duty to serve.

Why vote for you, rather than your opponent?

I have a well-documented track record of caring for our community including serving as Chair of NOLA and helping our neighborhood build a community garden; being appointed to the Citizen Budget committee where I have worked on the city’s budget priorities {and many others.]

How much will your campaign cost, and how relevant will your campaign funding sources be to your actions as councilor?

I’m estimating around $10-12,000 but since this is my first time running, I know there will be expenses come up unexpectedly and I have tried to plan for those.

I am proud to have received support from individuals in my neighborhood and from groups who, like me, believe creating jobs for people helps not only that person or family but is also one of the best ways we can help increase revenue for the city.

xue

Xue Lor ENDORSEMENT

Ward 6

www.lorforcitycouncil.com

Why are you running?

I am grateful to have been a resident of Salem for over 26 years.   I am thankful for a community and a city that have given me the opportunity to go to school.  I feel this is the right time for me to step up to help guide and direct this great city forward.  I hear the City talked a great deal about bringing diversity from the community to the city government. But talk is cheap. I plan to deliver more diverse ideas to the City Council.

Why vote for you, rather than your opponent?

My family came to Salem in 1986 with nothing.  This City and the community have given my family and me a second chance at a happy and productive life.   There are many immigrants in Ward 6 and elsewhere in Salem, and they need a voice on the Salem City Council.

How much will your campaign cost, and how relevant will your campaign funding sources be to your actions as councilor?

My campaign cost me a total of $926.32 to date.   I have made a decision not to take money from special interest groups because I do not want to owe favors.  I want to make sure I represent the residents in Ward 6 and be the voice of ordinary citizens in Salem.

Jim

Jim Lewis

Ward 8

www.VoteJimLewis.com

Why are you running?

After moving to Salem 14 years ago with my family we fell in love with the city, especially West Salem.  I have always felt a responsibility to give back to the community and have been involved with Salem since moving here.

Why vote for you, rather than your opponent?

Over the last 14 years I have been active… City of Salem Planning Commission… Downtown Advisory Board… Unified Development Code Advisory Committee… Streets and Bridges Bond measure…  Court House Square Task Force… Salem Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors…Salem Realtors annual food drive for Marion Polk Food Share…  Neighbor-to-Neighbor Mediation Services Board of Directors.

How much will your campaign cost, and how relevant will your campaign funding sources be to your actions as councilor?

Although I am proud of my volunteer involvement in my community, running for “elected” office is something completely foreign to me.  Because of that… I sought out assistance and guidance from experienced, professional help I knew I would have to pay for… To date I have received donations from three PACs, four companies and thirty individuals.

To date I have collected $10,880.  [M]y actions on the Salem city council will be independent of my campaign. I object to the implication that I can be “bought” and that people donate to my campaign for the purpose of a return.
Christopher

Christopher Proudfoot ENDORSEMENT

Ward 8

Why are you running?

I grew up in a family that placed emphasis on volunteering and civic engagement.  I believe in giving back to my community and wanted to work hard to see Salem become and even greater city

Why vote for you?

Government should be a reflection of the community; this is the fundamental element of a democracy.  Salem is a diverse place and our City Council should reflect that.  I can bring a fresh and unique perspective.  I also place a high value on equitable access for government for people here in Salem.  I am committed to working with the leaders from our neighborhoods, small businesses and civic groups to make Salem an ever more livable city.

How much will your campaign cost?  How relevant will your campaign funding sources be to your actions as councilor?

My campaign has been focusing on efficient use of resources and funding solutions to the often-high cost of campaigns.  My opponent has focused more on specific groups and that is a reflection of what differentiates us.  People and organizations have endorsed me locally and all over Oregon.  Additionally I am the only candidate to have a national endorsement and from a national organization, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund