What looks a lot like campaign materials arrived in the mailboxes of Depoe Bay voters this week. They were paid for and mailed by current City Councilor Barbara Leff who was quick to tell NewsLincolnCounty.com that it’s not really campaign materials as much as a set of instructions on how voters can “write-in” other names if they don’t like the names that are already on the ballot. She said if voters want to write in a name instead of voting for the name that’s on the ballot, they first have to fill-in the circle to the left of the write-in line and then write in the name of the person they want to win. Leff’s name for mayor is prominently on the top of the write-in slots, followed by City Councilor Dornida Goddard for city council and then at the bottom, Fred “Beanie” Robison also for city council. Robison has active for many years in city and harbor politics and other activities around Depoe Bay.
Leff was also quick to point out that because the mailed materials came to less than $750 in cost it didn’t fall under the state campaign laws as a recordable campaign expense.
It appeared that political angst among the council came to a very painful head when former City Councilor Skip Hoitink was found dead in his apartment, taking his life by his own hand. Mayor AJ Mattila, and what could be termed as his majority-making three political allies on the council, had been in a political tug o’ war over the past few months – even kicked him off the council. But then the city attorney told Matilla and his allies, in so many words, that Hoitink’s removal would not stand up in court.
Hoitink got his seat back. But then came his death a short time later.
As in any closely knit town, people started talking. They wondered what could be done about the downright ugly politics that had gripped their city council.
Councilor Barbara Leff had always been considered the coolest head on the council, relentlessly trying to bridge the gaping philosophical differences between the Mattila-led majority and the three in the minority – Hoitink, Goddard and Leff. But with the death of Hoitink and the Mattila majority clearly in a position to appoint his replacement, something snapped. Suddenly Leff, who had announced she was not running for re-election was confronted at a recent candidate’s forum with the question whether she would allow her name to be written in on the ballot for mayor. She said if she won, she would proudly serve as mayor. Within a short time Councilor Dorinda Goddard was also in the hunt to get back on the council as a write in candidate and Fred “Beanie” Robison soon joined them.
Getting back to the flyer that voters pulled out of their mail boxes this week, several sentences are clearly campaign statements rather than mere instructions on how to write in a name on the ballot. It reads:
Please write in these proven Depoe Bay leaders who have promised to serve if they win the write-in vote. They are Barbara Leff, Dorinda Goddard and Fred Robison.
Every single person, pet, street, neighborhood, business, community organization, dock, boat and local event that makes up the heart and soul of Depoe Bay, deserves this kind of leadership.
However, true to her word, Leff has neither bought nor placed any campaign signs around town, passed out any campaign literature, given any speeches nor has she knocked on any doors seeking votes. But with the flyer this week she and the other two write-in candidates have clearly presented themselves as serious candidates for office.
When asked why there was no suggested write-in name under candidate Steve Sparks for city council, Leff offered only, “We think he’s a good guy.”
News Lincoln County asked Leff some weeks back why she didn’t simply run a write-in campaign – you can walk from one end of Depoe Bay to the other in far less than an hour. She replied, “The people of Depoe Bay know me very well. I’ve lived here many years. They know my views, my commitment to serving Depoe Bay and know that I love the community deeply. When I said I’d serve as mayor if I won as a write-in candidate, that news spread quickly. It’s now up to the voters of Depoe Bay to vote in the best interest of the community.”
FRIDAY MORNING UP DATE FROM BARBARA LEFF:
Statement from Barbara Leff
October 17, 2014
Depoe Bay, OR
I recently sent a flier to registered voters in Depoe Bay, suggesting that they consider writing in three candidates including me. The flier showed a reproduction of the Depoe Bay portion of the ballot, with the suggested candidates written into the suggested positions.
Steve Sparks was concerned that people would think he was somehow affiliated with the write-in group. He wants people to understand that he is independent and not affiliated with any political group. Steve asked me to let the public know that he had nothing to do with the creation or distribution of the flier. I am pleased to report that to you and your readers. I respect his position and so I am requesting that you pass this information on to your readers.
Please also ask your readers to be sure to vote. No matter who they are voting for, their vote supports our nation’s democratic process.
Thank you, Barbara Leff