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Esquivel, Doty square off for House District 6 seat

The sharpest difference between the two men running for the Oregon House of Representatives District 6 seat is over land use and property rights.

Democrat John Doty and Republican Sal Esquivel are running in the Nov. 2 contest to replace Rep. Rob Patridge, R-Medford, who chose not to seek re-election to the House district that includes most of Medford.

Esquivel, 56, served on the Medford City Council for seven years, including two terms as council president, until he was appointed to replace longtime Sen. Lenn Hannon, who left office in December to take a job with the state parole board. Esquivel is a real estate broker with Van Horn Real Estate Inc. in Medford.

Esquivel grew up in Medford, attending St. Mary's School, Wilson Elementary School, McLoughlin School and was a 1966 graduate of Medford High School.

He joined the Navy and served in Vietnam.

— He is past president of Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. (SOREDI) and helped form the city's Communications Advisory Committee. He served on several committees while on the council.

Doty, 36, was born in Meadville, Penn., and moved to Phoenix in 1970. He is a 1986 graduate of Phoenix High School.

Doty is a teacher of government, U.S. history and geography at CrossRoads, an alternative high school in Medford run by the nonprofit Community Works. He has also been a teacher at Phoenix High School and was local campaign coordinator for Democratic presidential contender Howard Dean. He's also a soccer coach and referee.

Doty said that when his mother, Carol Doty (who was a Jackson County Commissioner 1976-1979) learned that he filed for the position, she told him she wished he had asked her first so she could have talked him out of it.

Both candidates put education, public safety and human services at the top of the state's list of priorities.

I don't believe we have an adequate amount of money in the schools, said Doty. Education funding needs to be the first budget item that we address.

But Esquivel said state funding for emergency services should be a priority.

I think emergency services has to be first and foremost, he said.

Esquivel said there need to be budgetary benchmarks and goals set on the state level.

The state of Oregon has never prioritized what they want to do, he said.

Esquivel said the state has been too frivolous with taxpayer money.

Government's grown 7.8 percent in the past 10 years, he said. Why does it have to grow that much?

He said just as Medford learned to roll over unspent funds into the next year's budget, the state needs to learn that they don't have to spend it all.

Doty said shortfalls in education funding can be corrected by making such expenditures a priority and by creating stable tax revenue and budget contingency funds.

It's a conversation that the state of Oregon would have to engage in, he said.

The candidates take different sides on the issue of Measure 37. If passed it would require state or local governments that enact land-use measures reducing the value of private property to either compensate protesting land owners for the lost development opportunity or waive the land-use restriction.

Doty said compensation to landowners in such circumstances would be cost-prohibitive.

It becomes much more easy and much less costly to not enforce the law, he said.

There's an awful lot about (Measure) 37 that I find really, really troublesome, he said. But he wouldn't try to overturn it if it passes.

Trying to overturn citizen initiatives is political suicide, he said.

Esquivel said Measure 37 would mostly pertain to rural property, and he thinks the regulation of personal property in the state has gone overboard.

This is a complete outcry from the people, he said. If government would have listened to people, this wouldn't have happened.

Esquivel had said earlier in the campaign that he was probably opposed to Measure 37. He supports local land-use regulations, rather than statewide mandates.

What's good for Medford's not good for Lakeview, he said.

Doty and Esquivel agreed that as a representative the job would be to do what's best for Oregonians first before thinking what's best for the objectives of the political party.

Esquivel said his years in political office and working with the Medford budget give him the experience necessary to get to work in the Legislature.

But Doty argues that his fresh approach is an asset, and that Esquivel can be set in his ways.

There are things about which his mind is very made up, said Doty.

Reach reporter Meg Landers at 776-4481 or e-mail