Four apply for Darrow’s seat

Four applicants applied by Monday’s deadline to replace Councilor Traci Darrow who resigned last month as she’s moving outside of the city.

Darrow was the second city councilor to resign from their post this year, after Councilor Greg Lemhouse announced his departure in February. She was appointed in 2017 as then-Councilor Pam Marsh was elected to state office.

The council received seven applications in March for Lemhouse’ seat. Three of those applicants reapplied for Darrow’s seat.

Tonya Graham, Geos Institute director, and George Kramer, a local historic preservation consultant, were among three selected by the council as finalists to replace Lemhouse.

The City Council ended up unanimously voting on March 20 to appoint Jackie Bachman, a former director of special education for a California school district and former chair of a Senior Center ad hoc committee. She was sworn into office last week.

In her application, Graham stated that she has been civic-minded since she was young. She listed homelessness, climate change, affordable housing and hiring a new city administrator as some of the pressing issues in Ashland.

Graham currently serves on the Wildlife Mitigation commission and the Ashland School District Bond Committee. She’s also currently or has been active with the Ashland First Congregational United Church of Christ, Climate and Energy Action Plan, Nonprofit Association of Oregon, John Muir School, Ashland High School Turf Field Campaign and Senior All Night, according to her application.

Kramer is a longtime Ashland resident who has been involved with a number of city projects throughout the years, according to his application. Kramer served on Historic Commission in the early 1980s and on committees for the fire station on Ashland Street and City Hall recently.

Kramer lists work-force housing supply, affordable housing, homelessness, economic opportunities and the city’s budget as some of the key issues in Ashland. He said a councilor’s role is to achieve the community’s priorities within the limitations of time and money.

Theodore White, a resident of Ashland for 14 years, also resubmitted his bid for a council seat. In his application, White listed political correctness, intolerance, “the use of labels,” media, “language police,” “complicated plans that leave things exactly the way they were,” among other things, as issues facing the city.

White is is a Southern Oregon University academic coach who has run for a council seat several times.

Josephina Sarah Baker, a new applicant, lists local police and emergency services as the biggest issue in Ashland due to their “misinterpretation and miscomprehension” of First Friday Gallery Walks. She called the agency’s “ignorance” to confuse her, “a church goer,” with “a homeless (and) aggressive drug-using felon” to be “disgusting.”

Baker, who says she’s a registered Republican in her application, didn’t include any specific city group or local nonprofit involvement in her application. She has been a volunteer for programs at libraries in Shady Cove, Rogue River, Talent and Gold Hill.

Baker said in her application the role of a city councilor is “to be open-minded, fair in judging issues and impartial when possible.”

The council plans to select its finalists at its April 17 meeting. Councilors and the mayor will conduct one-on-one interviews with the finalists before making a selection on May 1.
—Reach reporter Tran Nguyen at 541-776-4485 or Follow her on twitter @nguyenntrann.

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