To the Editor,
This letter is a reaction to the recall effort in Jefferson County.
In my 24 years as a resident of Metolius and Madras I have been fortunate enough to have met and visited with all three of our county commissioners. In my work with 509-J, I found Walt Ponsford to be a hardworking, caring, and fiercely devoted fellow teacher with a wonderful ability to listen and a broad understanding of life in America. At church I occassionally visited with Bill Bellamy and always walked away with the feeling that I was respected even if he did not agree with an issue at hand. For years Mary Zemke and her family often met my family at gatherings related to our children, some of whom were the same age and grade going through school. I found her to be kind, strong, a good listener, and a determined defender of family and friends.
I have read with interest and some sadness the debates over various issues in our county in the Madras and Bend newspapers. Certainly these issues are important and need to be worked out. I am proud that my fellow citizens are using the political process, even resorting to the recall as they see necessary. All of this is for me so much better than what we see happening every day in Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, and in many other places.
Nevertheless, I have decided not to support the recall for at least two reasons. First is the massive investment we have in the training and experience of each of our commissioners. It literally takes years to fully grasp our local form of government, and this could be wiped out leaving us exposed, unprotected, and rudderless during a season of change. The second reason I believe that a recall is not a good choice is diversity. As it is right now our county board of commissioners does represent a wide political spectrum, from liberal to conservative, pro-business to pro-farmer to pro-consumer. Our current board offers some hope of representation to the vast majority of our citizens. A narrower more special interest board might leave many more of us feeling that no one in county government will listen.
So despite the valid concerns of the petitioners, I cannot support this recall effort. If it does reach ballot, I plan to vote to retain the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners just as it is.
Jesse David Wickham