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  • Candidates emerge for city positions

    Filing period open for November election
  • Candidates for the Ashland City Council already are emerging in advance of the November general election.
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  • Candidates for the Ashland City Council already are emerging in advance of the November general election.
    The filing period for city offices began June 4 and runs until Aug. 21, according to the City Recorder's Office.
    Parks and Recreation Commissioner Stefani Seffinger is running for council Position 4, which is now held by Dennis Slattery.
    Slattery, a professor at Southern Oregon University, plans to turn more of his attention to challenges facing the university and is not seeking re-election.
    Councilor Mike Morris is running for re-election to Position 2, while Councilor Pam Marsh is seeking election to Position 6, for which she was appointed to fill a vacancy.
    Three other council positions and Mayor John Stromberg's seat are not up for election this coming November.
    Longtime City Recorder Barbara Christensen is seeking re-election, as is Municipal Judge Pamela Burkholder Turner.
    If elected, Seffinger would join Councilor Rich Rosenthal, who made the leap from the elected Parks Commission to the council after the November 2012 election.
    Seffinger said her time serving as the Parks Commission liaison to the Ashland Forest Lands Commission and the Senior Advisory Board has helped broaden her interest in community issues beyond the parks system.
    "Parks are important, but a lot of things are important. I would be very fair in looking at the needs of all the city departments and all the city services that are provided," Seffinger said.
    She said she cares about using financial resources wisely, rewarding cost savings, encouraging cooperation among city departments and city commissions, protecting and preserving the parks system, long-term planning for climate change impacts, Ashland watershed and forest health, affordable housing, promoting a vibrant economy and balancing the needs of residents and the business community.
    "I'm a balanced candidate. I've proven my leadership style and that I can be an effective leader," said Seffinger, the chairperson of the Parks Commission. "I believe in listening to the public and their needs."
    Seffinger said she was encouraged to run by Slattery and would not have run against him if he had decided to seek re-election.
    "He's done a lot for the community and I respect the reason for why he's stepping down," she said.
    SOU is facing budget issues and cuts to faculty and programs.
    "The university needs all hands on deck," Slattery said.
    Slattery said he has gone from feeling like he has two jobs — working as an SOU professor and serving as a councilor — to feeling like he has three jobs, with those two roles plus his efforts to help the university.
    "As the university's challenges mounted, I got more involved," he said.
    SOU's budget problems require people with expertise and capabilities to help out, said Slattery, who teaches accounting.
    He said SOU is essential to the community and he wants to help it build a positive future.
    Slattery said he supports Seffinger's candidacy.
    Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.
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