Throughout the race for Clackamas County Chair, I have described my view that the current leadership of John Ludlow, in collaboration with Jim Bernard, has created a dysfunctional majority and embedded a toxic and ego-driven culture on the Clackamas County Commission. The current leadership prioritizes rigid partisanship over actual solutions to the problems affecting our citizens.

The signature of this toxic culture is personal attacks that frequently have no basis in reality, unfounded criticisms and other behaviors that lack even the basic level of decency we expect from school-aged children. Bernard seems to think that being a Democrat makes him different than Ludlow, but Bernard still engages in the same popularity contest-style politics as Ludlow, which focus on partisan one-upmanship rather than the real thankless grunt-work required to solve problems that truly matter to our citizens.

Unfortunately, yesterday, Bernard ranted on social media, making personal attacks and wildly-untrue claims that have no place in this race—offering nothing but to perpetuate the Ludlow-style toxic culture. Bernard’s attacks were designed to distract people from the real issues they care about, because neither Bernard nor Ludlow is prepared to discuss concrete solutions that transcend party politics.

Clackamas County needs real leadership, and that means focusing on the issues that matter. These are issues like job creation, reducing traffic congestion and public safety. If I am elected Chair, I will break down these arbitrary political barriers on the commission and pursue responsible economic growth. We will invest in transportation and other vital infrastructure to help attract high-wage jobs to the county. We will improve clean water infrastructure and encourage construction of housing for all income levels, including affordable housing. But we need to do this while keeping a keen eye on protecting our precious farm land that is the foundation of Clackamas County’s economy.

I have a plan to address all of these issues, but I am modest enough to admit that I do not have a patent on good ideas. These problems are complex and need input and involvement from a broad spectrum of community stakeholders to make sure the solutions work for everyone. If elected Chair, I will not only accept your input, I will actively seek your involvement. I hope others will join me.

Paul Savas

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