This morning featured the swearing in of Oran Teater as the seventh, tie-breaking City Councilor. Mr. Teater did not apply for the position, and was begged to become part of the City Council by Mayor Kathie Eckman less than an hour before the "emergency" meeting that voted on his "candidacy". This meeting was only noticed to select media, and notably not to our local progressive media at KPOV radio. A lawsuit is reportedly in the works from KPOV, as their reporter Tristan Reisfar was reduced to beating on locked doors trying to gain access to this supposedly public meeting.
Interestingly, Bill Robie, Central Oregon Association of Realtors lobbyist, was the only "public" individual present other than Councilor Jim Clinton's wife. Exactly three media outlets were present as well. A very small and select group were present for this very important vote.
Mr. Teater is also a member of the Juniper Ridge Management Board. He has a long history in Bend, with several years on the Council prior to 2004. He was also Mayor for a couple of years.
I sense very little commitment to even acknowledging a taxpaying citizen of Bend such as myself by Mr. Teater. He limits his interaction to those who he deems "important", while pointedly passing over those of us without an insider tag. He seems to be above "the little people", as if those who actually pay for city services are unimportant unless they hold a public position.
You can listen to the travesty of public process by downloading the MP3 recording. In this you will hear the increasing divide between the Good Old Boys and Girls group and those like Councilor Clinton who much prefer a real public process. Like what was occurring before this last minute vote.
Although Councilor Clinton was refused his request to know the agenda of the "emergency" meeting, candidate Don Leonard stated he was told a half-hour before the meeting that Mr. Teater was to be installed in the last Council position.
To quote Councilor Jim Clinton:
"...It's a slap in the face to the people who applied for these positions...now somebody's being brought in who wasn't even involved in it...now the majority has gone, [and] cooked up this back room deal...are railroading through [this name] just a few hours before the deadline...it's just wrong, it's just against what we are trying to do here make the City government open and transparent...cooking up this back room deal is just wrong."
I couldn't agree more. The Good Old Boys are back in charge. That feeling was strongly reinforced by all the glad-handing among the important people after Oran's swearing in. Whom were about all that were present.
Public process took a beating in Bend the last few days.