James Rose is running for North Bend mayor on the “mad as heck” platform. He’s hoping that public resentment of the city council’s decision to fund public safety with a fee added to water bills will propel him into office.

How did we get into a position where our city council had to initiate a “Hail Mary” measure to keep the fire trucks going? We’re reaping what was sown in the 1990s tax revolt, when the mad-as-heck, starve-the-beast crowd limited the ability of local governments to tax property owners. Now, our infrastructure is crumbling and our public agencies can’t do their basic job of maintaining safety. And yet, somehow, the beast remains unstarved, because the mad-as-heck crowd focused on saving money by taking away services from the needy, rather than on funding these services by taxing progressively and maximizing public revenue from public resources.

Being mad as heck is certainly a reasonable response to that, but it’s not a sufficient qualification for office. I’d rather have Jessica Engelke as my mayor. Like Rose, she has education and an understanding of how government works; unlike Rose, she owes nothing to the “starve the beast” partisans. North Bend should stop kicking the can down the road and start finding stable funding for the services that make this a livable city. I believe Jessica Engelke is the mayor who can best lead this process.

Gail Elber

North Bend

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