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Nurse, retiree run for Phoenix mayor

PHOENIX ' For the first time since 1996, residents will not see the name Larry Parducci on the ballot in the race for mayor.

Forced by term limits, Parducci's departure leaves two newcomers ' a nurse and a retired council member ' seeking his office.

Native Oregonian and Providence Medford Medical Center nurse Vicki Bear said her interest in running for mayor was sparked while helping to campaign successfully last year for a five-year public safety levy.

Bear said she witnessed too many inefficiencies in the city's government and practices that could easily be improved.

Leadership means wise decisions, with well-thought-out plans, both short and long range, she said. I believe this is accomplished by asking questions, by listening, by looking at all the angles, supporting the past and gaining the knowledge to handle the future.

— Some people refer to this as 'thinking outside the box.'

Bear, 39, moved to the Rogue Valley four years ago and bought her home in Phoenix with intentions of eventual retirement. She is a strong proponent of Oregon public meeting laws, short- and long-term growth planning and urban renewal.

I would like the urban renewal programs focused on developing an approachable city center where all can enjoy a general meeting place with aesthetically pleasing surroundings, said Bear.

Council member Dan Sauro, ending his first four-year term with a bid for mayor, agreed.

Sauro said urban renewal was an important focus for a growing city with not much of an identity or city center. Sauro said he opted to run for mayor to bring some continuity to the council with Parducci's departure.

We have a lot of things hanging right now, said the 75-year-old.

We're starting talks about an urban renewal district, Home Depot wants to come in, we just passed a public safety levy and we're going to be hiring another firefighter. — I just want to see all these things come through to fruition, really.

Sauro moved to the Rogue Valley 10 years ago from Santa Barbara, Calif., where he had retired from a position of broker president for Century 21 Pueblo Realty. Having worked in management his entire career, Sauro said his management and people skills would prove effective if he were elected.

Sauro, who has lived in Phoenix for five years, also worked for some time as administrator for the Santa Barbara Housing Corporation rental management administration. Sauro now works part time as a community representative for Hometown Buffet, visiting schools and medical offices.

As to whether Home Depot should be permitted to construct a 103,000-square-foot store at the troublesome Fern Valley interchange, Sauro said the retailer would be a great boost for the city's tax base if traffic concerns were ironed out.

A lot of it has to do with the traffic and it's a question of when are they going to solve the traffic problem, Sauro said.

Bear said if elected, she would listen to residents in making any decisions about allowing the home improvement giant to come to town.

The mayoral position is partly that of advocate for the people to impart their views and positions to the council, stated Bear.

As such, in listening to those I have spoken to in my campaigning from all parts of Phoenix, it is clear that the majority wishes Home Depot to become a part of our community but only if the traffic situation is taken care of first.

Buffy Pollock is a free-lance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffypollock@juno.com.