Q&A: Clay Bearnson
If elected, what would be your top priority while in office?
"I really want to focus on economic revitalization of downtown. I would like to see if we could somehow finance some kind of matching funds program so building owners can retrofit, so they can do a change of occupancy. It’s a really expensive cost that for a lot of property owners isn’t a financially viable option. If there’s a way our city could invest in that, I think in the long run it will pay off and bring more business downtown."
Do you think recreational marijuana should be legalized?
"I’m not a proponent for Measure 91. I own a bar, and I deal with OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission), and I just don’t believe that’s the proper agency to tax (cannabis) and regulate it. If there was a different measure on the table, I would explore it. I don’t believe in prohibition. It’s been proven ineffective 100 years ago."
Should the city continue its ban on medical marijuana dispensaries?
"I think (the moratorium) should be lifted. I think it denies patients access to their medicines and consequently exacerbates the black market. It’s also a potential revenue generator for some of the projects I’d like to see in Medford."
How should the city deal with homeless people who cause problems in the parks?
"I would just like to see a collaborative effort in dealing with the population with all the stakeholders — public safety, community groups that help the homeless. I realize that during the Hawthorne Park renovation (when the park will be closed and the homeless will be fed elsewhere), it’s more or less going to be a balloon effect. It doesn’t deal with the population, it just maybe forces them to go somewhere else."
How would you be different as a leader?
"I am a downtown business owner of over 11 years. I’m in the trenches, so to speak. I represent the working class. I hear firsthand from the people of Medford what their concerns are in my business."