Give Bubenik, Grimes nod for Tualatin races
Tualatin voters will get to choose a mayor and one member of the City Council in November. We endorse Frank Bubenik for mayor, and think incumbent Nancy Grimes should keep her position.
But the person no one can vote for this year, and whose presence overshadows both races, is Lou Ogden. He's been mayor of Tualatin since 1995 and can't run again this year because, in 2016, voters approved term limits that will sweep him out of office this December.
We're no fans of term limits, one of those self-inflicted wounds that cities and counties occasionally employ and often regret. The idea makes little or no sense. If a person isn't doing his or her job well, vote them out. But term limits means the people with the most experience are politely shuffled out the door.
We sometimes talk about making government run more like a business. Can you imagine any business so bereft of logic that it would employ term limits for the C-Suite? "Oh, Jane has been a great chief executive officer but, you know, term limits says she needs to step down so someone else can take the years to learn what she knows."
But that's the rules in Tualatin now. And if the city needs a new mayor, Bubenik is it.
He's been on the council for eight years. He knows the major issues facing the city. He has a solid grasp on the budget; more important than ever, since the state economist is predicting the next recession could hit by 2020.
He has a big personality, which you need to be the standard-bearer for a city in Washington County. It's not hard to imagine Bubenik seated at the table with Beaverton's Denny Doyle or Forest Grove's Pete Truax, and holding his own.
He is not shy about strong opinions. The Metro housing bond on the November ballot? It's not perfect but it's better than nothing, Bubenik says. Mass transit problems? "TriMet sucks," Bubenik told our editorial board with a grin. He wants Wilsonville's South Metro Area Regional Transit, or SMART, to start serving portions of Tualatin instead. The much-disputed Basalt Creek development project? Get TriMet's Westside Express Service, or WES, to serve the new area as it gets developed and turn it into Tualatin's version of Hillsboro's Orenco Station.
Now, that's creative.
He's going up against City Council member Paul Morrison, who also has creative ideas for the city, priding himself on having the ability to compromise and find solutions to city problems. Morrison's main problem: He moved to Oregon only two years ago, and started serving on the council in January 2017.
Yes, he's been highly active since he arrived, but he's still a newcomer. His time will come.
But Bubenik is ready for the job today.
Two council seats are unopposed: Maria Reyes faces no foe for Position 1. The same is true for Bridget Brooks in Position 3. Both will get a walk onto the council.
For Position 5, incumbent Nancy Grimes faces challenger Chris Burchill. Due to scheduling conflicts, Burchill did not meet with the editorial board. However, he has been on several Tualatin organizations and groups including the Community Emergency Response Team and involved with the Ibach and Byrom CIOs.
While Grimes seemed a little thin on details at times, she has long been an advocate of keeping the city livable and maintaining its reputation as a great place to do business. In addition, she's been on the council since 2011 and understands how things work. That stability makes sense right now.
We urge "yes" voters in November for Bubenik and Grimes.