Central Point has five candidates vying for two City Council seats

Three challengers try to unseat two incumbents in the November election

CENTRAL POINT — Voters are asked to choose two city council members from among five candidates when they fill out their November election ballots.

Candidates run the gamut from retirees to residents raising families and local business owners.

Incumbents Kay Harrison, who works for Harry & David, and Carol Fischer, a retired reporter for the now-defunct Central Point Times, will face off against three local business owners: a florist, a real estate broker and a fitness center owner.

Anytime Fitness owner David Douglas said he was running for the council to encourage stronger ties between the city, schools and local businesses.

"I would basically be a voice for the citizens and business community of Central Point," Douglas said.

"I think it's vitally important that the people who sit on the council are fully vested in the community, especially from a business standpoint and not just a citizen standpoint."

Douglas, who serves on the city Parks and Recreation Committee, the Central Point Chamber of Commerce board and is a coach for various local athletic organizations, said, if elected, he would push for better support of local businesses and revitalization of the city core.

Real estate broker Patrick Iler said he would like to encourage "common sense in government" and retain the city's small town atmosphere in conjunction with responsible economic development.

Iler said he would also strive to improve transparency.

"I know they're making strides but I think the transparency and accountability need improvement so I want to contribute to that," he said.

"I think the city could benefit from new ideas and some fresh perspective."

Iler said he also hoped to advocate for city support of the historic cemetery and for a community and regional recreation and rehabilitation center.

Downtown florist Rick Samuelson said he hopes to help local businesses and encourage economic growth by staving off any fee or tax increases.

A Planning Commission member and president of the Central Point Chamber of Commerce, Samuelson also serves on an oversight committee tasked with helping select a design for the city's downtown core.

Samuelson, also a supporter of the historic cemetery, has visited 1,000 residents and 40 businesses during his campaign and said property taxes are "the number one concern, by a landslide."

"My main goal is to encourage the city and our council toward smart spending and to avoid potential emergencies," Samuelson said, noting that the city in recent years had relied too heavily on carryover, or rainy day funds.

"I'm not saying it wasn't needed, or money well-spent, but let's concentrate on paying that back instead of spending more," he said.

Each with a decade or more in city government, Harrison and Fischer both expressed a desire to keep the city on a positive course and to encourage economic growth, downtown revitalization and careful spending.

Harrison, who has served on the council for a dozen years, said she wants the city to stay the course and to continue a trend of careful fiscal management.

Harrison has served on the Rogue Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization, Jackson County Roads Committee, Rogue Valley Transportation District Board and the Rogue Valley Sewer Services Board.

Seeking a fourth four-year term, Harrison said she was passionate about serving her hometown and said she looked forward to the city's new focus on urban renewal and supporting local businesses.

"I think we've done a great job with managing the recession as well as we did, keeping the right people on staff in the city and still getting things done without any increases," Harrison said.

"I really believe we are one of the best-run cities in the valley and I want to continue to be part of that."

Fischer said her focus for the next four years would be to look out for the city's seniors and youths. An advocate for a community center, Fischer said she also hoped to see the city keep its own identity, rather than become "a bedroom community."

"I've been here a long time and I'd really like to see some things finally get cleared up and get finished," she said.

"The downtown needs to take off, we need things for kids and we've got to get some economic development going so we can be independent. I'm proud to be part of the city and I just want to continue to serve."

Incumbent Mayor Hank Williams is running unopposed on the November ballot. A Ward 4 council position, now held by Allen Broderick, has no candidates listed and will be filled either by write-in or by appointment after the election.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance reporter living in Medford. E-mail her at buffyp76@yahoo.com.


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