In last Sunday's Herald and News, the Editorial Board picked their candidates: Kelley Minty Morris for Commissioner Position #1 and Todd Kellstrom for Commissioner Position #3. While we think it is fine for an editorial board to endorse candidates, the reasons why they chose these two is somewhat odd.
Apparently the Herald and News editorial board is hip on glitz and glamor and not so much on substance. The editorial board said their choices were filtered using the metrics of leadership and vision. Unfortunately the Herald and News didn't define what they meant by these terms. To me, someone showing these qualities would first understand government has no cost-containment structure. Matter of fact it's just the opposite. By its nature government is set up to always cost more each year for the same or fewer services. And those costs never align with inflation or tax receipts. Government wages, benefits and costs are in their own little world. Real leadership would involve fixing that problem whether people on the receiving end like it or not. Vision would involve making county government efficient and affordable for the people who live here, rather than giving businesses more and more reasons to leave.
The Herald and News only left us with this description to define their meaning, "Kelley Minty Morris, a hardworking campaigner with plenty of ideas, for Position #1..." Morris' web site explains how she is a former television broadcaster and manager for a well respected charity. Both of these are supposed to demonstrate qualities of leadership and vision.
And we're supposed to smile as we swallow this? Really? In a debate when asked about the biggest budget she had managed, Morris skirted the question because she doesn't have such experience. Her assertion that being a manager at Citizens for Safe Schools qualifies her for managing up to nine departments and a budget of over $10 million is laughable. Kelly is a nice person, with a warm personality, but that is not what we need right now. We don't need a cheerleader.
The paper's love affair with Todd Kellstrom stems from the fact that he does have experience. They said,
"Kellstrom is the long-time mayor of Klamath Falls. He's done a good job representing the city, worked hard to upgrade the downtown area and been a positive force for the entire county. He seems interested in working for city, suburban and rural residents, all alike."
It's funny. The editorial board "thinks" Kellstrom is interested in working for all alike. "He seems interested." Shouldn't being interested in all alike be a given? And yet this qualifies him? Wow. Kellstrom knows the players in the city and county government. He's been in office for over 20 years as mayor. So how is this a change from what we've seen in the past? Does Kellstrom have a record of bringing costs inline with revenues? Or is his solution to raise revenues to meeting increasing costs?
The editorial board's picks are purely political. They have little to do with solving our county problems which is mostly financial. If these two are elected we will have done a nice job of shuffling the lawn chairs on the titanic. New faces, new names, but nothing new in substance. I'm heading for the lifeboat.