A healthy crop of candidates

By Baker City Herald Editorial Board September 12, 2012 09:42 am

Turns out we needn’t have fretted about Baker City residents lacking interest in serving their community.

When the deadline to file as a City Council candidate passed on Aug. 27, the list of names was lengthy — gratifyingly so.

Nine people are vying for the four seats on the seven-member council that will be filled in the Nov. 6 election.

That number adds an element of competition to the election that would be absent were there, say, just four candidates. And competition, besides giving voters a true choice, tends to lead to more robust debates about which issues the City Council should concentrate on over the next few years.

The roster of candidates includes Milo Pope, one of the two incumbents eligible to run for re-election.

Incumbents Sam Bass and Beverly Calder are precluded from running due to the term limits clause in the city charter.

The fourth incumbent, Aletha Bonebrake, is eligible but she declined to run due to time commitments with her work as a library consultant.

The nine candidates offer voters a variety of choices.

There are, in addition to the incumbent, Pope, a pair of former Baker City Council members in Richard Langrell and Terry Schumacher.

Kyle Knight is a current member of the Baker School Board, and Mike Downing has served as an pro tem Justice of the Peace for Baker Justice Court.

Jack Turner is the former publisher of the Baker City Herald. Kimberley Mosier is a former deputy district attorney in Baker County. Barbara Johnson is a member of the group Concerned Citizens of Baker City, which successfully lobbied the City Council to pass a resolution supporting the overturning of the Citizens United case regarding political campaign contributions. R. Mack Augenfeld is a retired businessman who has a master’s degree from Fordham University.

An intriguing group, to be sure.

We expect to learn more about the candidates’ ideas for the city’s future over the next several weeks, including at the American Association of University Women-sponsored candidates forum set for Oct. 8 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Baker High School Commons, 2500 E St.

Information about the candidates is available on the city’s website, www.bakercity.com, and the Herald will publish a voters guide next month.