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Fisher a needed improvement

Voters have clear choice in comissioner race
by: Earl Fisher,

One of the decisions that Democrats will have to make in the upcoming primary election is who to nominate for Position 1 on the Columbia County Board of Commissioners.

That ought to be an easy task.

Clearly, Earl Fisher is the better of the two candidates.

There are a lot of reasons to choose Fisher.

He is well-educated, with a master's degree in education

He is experienced in public administration, with six years as a school superintendent managing an $8 million budget, which is similar in structure and in scope to the operations of the county.

He is involved in his community, as a volunteer member of eight civic organizations, including the Commission on Children and Families, of which he is chairman. His record of civic involvement is impressive and speaks to his commitment to Columbia County and its people. Even though he is no longer employed as an educator, he mentors college-bound students. That is a guy who cares about kids … and the future.

Fisher has a long list of political accomplishments, including shepherding the Clatskanie School District through downsizing in the aftermath of ballot Measure 5 and cleaning up some egregious ethical lapses and failed leadership at the Port of St. Helens - examples of a person who maintains a steady hand under difficult and acrimonious circumstances. He has negotiated contracts with teachers' unions, which are notoriously tough negotiators, and maintained a good relationship with his staff, some of whom remain some of his strongest supporters. The ability to disagree without becoming disagreeable is the sign of a true leader.

Fisher has discovered a simple truth that many public officials never learn - be open and honest with people at all times, especially when the going gets tough, and people will respect you and accept your decisions. He recognizes the role of differences of opinion in public discourse and the value of diverse backgrounds in shaping public policy. Open-mindedness is a virtue in public service.

Fisher has demonstrated through his career, and particularly in the recent campaign, that he is a hard-worker. You don't get promoted from teacher to principal to superintendent without hard work, great performance, diplomacy and other high-level skills. As a candidate, when Fisher isn't attending public meetings he's out putting up signs or knocking on doors. It's obvious that Earl Fisher is willing to work hard to get the job, and from that we can deduce with a level of confidence he'll likely work hard when he actually gets the job.

The contrast between Fisher and his opponent, Joe Corsiglia, couldn't be more pronounced.

If there wasn't an election on the horizon, we could reasonably ask for Corsiglia to resign or for someone to initiate a recall. His work ethic, his ethical lapses, his disregard for his colleagues, the people he was elected to serve and their institutions, and his contempt for the law are excessive, egregious, and outrageous. His use of a county-owned computer to dig up dirt on Fisher's son is an obvious and flagrant violation of state elections law. His not-so-veiled attempt to dodge a public records request by persuading a sheriff's underling to 'seize' his computer smacks of obstruction of truth, if not unlawful obstruction of justice. At the very least, these incidents suggest a person who believes he is accountable to no one. His service as a commissioner is a disgrace and an embarrassment, and it needs to end.

Contrary to his own delusions, Corsiglia is indeed accountable - accountable to the people who can and should on Election Day give him the rebuke he deserves. His shenanigans might make good fodder for salacious water-cooler gossip, but they are of no value in solving the important issues of the day and moving Columbia County forward. Running the county's business is too important to digress into childish games, smoke and mirrors and dirty tricks.

The challenges ahead will require the very best talent, vision, thinking and collaboration that Columbia County can muster. Earl Fisher is by far the candidate best position to deliver on that challenge.