By Ron Lee
These views are that of the writer only and do not serve as an endorsement of any candidate by the US~Observer.
You know the story, the tortoise and the hare, where a race occured between a rabbit and a tortoise? In this classic Aesop fable, the slow moving tortoise is ridiculed by a speedy rabbit who challenges him to a race. The tortoise crawls toward the finish line and is ultimately victorious due to the rabbit's overconfidence. Halfway into the race, the rabbit is so far ahead he feels he can comfortably take a nap. He sleeps so long the tortoise finishes first. The moral of the story is that even if you are the best suited to win you should never take for granted the task at hand. Also, if you are a tortoise, you just might win a race if you keep moving along without distraction.
How does this apply to the race of Josephine County Commissioner between Dave Toler and Simon Hare, beyond the obvious play on the names? Well, in this instance the Hare (Simon Hare) is the best for the job and is running as quickly as he can to cross the finish line before the overconfident entrenched Tortoise (Dave Toler). Toler is only one step away because he is the incumbent, not because he is best for the job.
You might be wondering why I think Hare is the best for the job. Well, it's not because I don't like Dave Toler, because I do, he’s a likeable guy. I served with Dave on the Dome School (Takilma) Board. I found him to be a strong advocate for his after school program and a real go-getter when it came to funding it. However, I feel his talents are better served as a community organizer who can seek funding through his grant writing abilities, not heading my county where he can fall back on his quasi-socialist views of monetary redistribution - higher taxes. I think Simon Hare's ideas of electric generating solid waste facilities and programs focused on generating income through our agriculture, natural resources, and out-of-the-box thinking are exactly what I want for the future of our county. We need to generate revenue from outside of the community and bring it in! We can't afford to live in a closed economy.
Simon Hare is also a much better representative of my values. He believes in the Constitution - not that watered-down "living document" liberal progressives like to push, but the black and white, English language version. I feel Hare believes that we should use our natural resources responsibly by opening up limited timber harvests, like what was offered in the Western Oregon Plan Revision (WOPR) - something Toler would not support. Hare's knowledge on renewable energy is leaps and bounds above Toler's, and we have to think about being self-sufficient with our energy and food production in the near future.
Bottom line for me happened a few years ago. I went to Commissioner Toler with a national raffle idea that would generate over $500,000.00 per year for our county. I took the time to research its legalities, put the proposal together and present it to him. He told me he would have County Counsel Steve Rich look at it to see if it could legally happen. He never did. After several weeks I went to then Commissioner Raffenburg, who sent it right over to Rich. Raffenburg even championed it at several public meetings. Maybe it was because of the bad blood between Toler and Raffenburg that scrapped my proposal. Maybe it's because Toler just doesn't want to do anything that works - and it would have, Rich signed off on it.
Who knows... I just know that Toler is taking credit for things like public safety where he has little if anything to do with it! I am sorry, but Gil Gilbertson has done an outstanding job, and to suggest that Toler is responsible for the department's transformation is outrageous and totally self serving!
In this instance, as this really is the most important race we face here locally, I truly hope our future finds Hare winning, completing the Joco version of the Toler, I mean Tortoise, and the Hare ...