Monday, November 29, 2021

Candidates for Ward 1 City Councilor

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Two Lincoln City citizens have stepped forward to fill a vacant Ward 1 City Councilor position created by the resignation of Diana Hinton.

Fernando Garza, who ran for mayor, will be on the ballot along with Elaine Starmer, who serves on Lincoln City’s Budget Committee. The Sept. 21 Special Election will determine who becomes the new councilor.

We asked the candidates the same two questions:

Elaine Starmer

Elaine Starmer Lincoln City

What do you think is a big issue facing Lincoln City?

Most people would immediately say housing. No doubt, housing is a problem for multiple reasons, but there isn’t enough space in this article to do it justice.

Another big issue is our aging infrastructure (roads, water and sewer systems, city buildings, parks, etc.) Our infrastructure was not designed to support 9,000 residents and 30,000+ visitors.

Our police department and fire and rescue services are not funded to handle the growing needs of our tourism industry (NLFR will be asking property owners for more money on this November’s ballot). Clearly, our city needs new revenue sources to fund these requirements, but it is imperative that we balance that financial burden fairly and equitably among our tourism industry and our residents. That balance is missing today. The good news is that other “destination cities” are doing this successfully. We don’t have to recreate the wheel, but we also want to consider the nuances of our town.

Do you have any ideas you want to share?

I have lots of ideas, many of which I’ve already laid out in my campaign materials and other newspapers. Three of those ideas are under consideration by City Council.

Someone once told me I like to “float lots of balloons.” I think that comes from working 26 years in an environment that requires troubleshooting and problem solving as a big part of your job. Working in project management has given me a lot of experience in how to not knock down ideas before they are fully vetted. It drives me nuts when someone floats an idea and someone says, “we can’t do that” or “that would never work”. It completely shuts down the problem-solving process. You don’t get to explore the options, or tweaks that might make the idea workable. It’s better to say, “yes, we could do that, but here are some things to consider.” In the end, it may not be a viable option, but you don’t know that until you work through it. Starting with “yes” is a much more productive way to solve problems.

Fernando Garza

Fernando Garza for Lincoln City Mayor

What do you think is a big issue facing Lincoln City?

I have spent the last two and a half years campaigning, fighting against poorly written ordinances and talking about the issues in this city that I love and have wept for. They haven’t changed, not with the current council and not with previous councils.

What has changed and unfortunately, in the wrong direction, is the continuing and ongoing lack of openness, inclusiveness, and communications. Follow through with some council members even in Ward 1 is apathetic at best.

I have openly expressed my concerns for lack of critical thinking when it comes to safety and housing to city council. Alas to fall on death ears and bring up other topics. Such as the current revenue shortfall they/we are facing. This was made public back in April prior to Ron Chandler leaving. You could have heard a pin drop as sitting council and other members of committees were being schooled on how their projections were not going to be met. That the revenue shortfall would continue to happen if they didn’t move to plan against this.

City Council openly continues to boast about their participation in the budget committee. Who then takes responsibility for the revenue shortfall? Candidate Starmer has been on the budget committee only a short time. Will she take responsibility for the shortfalls. Not according to her, and I quote: “All industries create costs to the cities they reside in, including tourism. The key is knowing what these costs are. My goal as city councilor is to help our City make revenue growth decisions in an equitable and balance budget manner.” I read that as more of the same.

I’ve been called on our city streets “the guy that wants to make Lincoln City user friendly.” I’ll take it because it’s from the people. A vote for Fernando Garza for Lincoln City Ward 1 Council is a true visionary change, allow me to demonstrate and share with you my level of communications, openness and inclusiveness. From someone who lives it on a daily basis, I repeat myself “I’ll be your Huckleberry.”

Do you have any ideas you want to share?

A rising tide lifts all boats, but we need to remember that not everyone in our beautiful Lincoln City in in the boat yet. In fact we’ve all been moored for so long that we’ve forgotten what it feels to be free to change with the waves. That’s why so many of our sons and daughters will continue leave to make ends meet where they must.

I still believe that safety can be the catalyst for a new direction. One where we hire and train from our own citizens creating a safety workforce that can be used to implement other safety measures during the 4th of July and any other time of the year. Year round work with good paying opportunities and good leaders for the working class is not just a dream. It’s a direction where we’ve managed to pull ourselves out of the sand bar and journey together as a true example of Lincoln City, one where all our cultures are included. I know how to do that; I do that on a daily basis. I know enough about critical thinking to know 2021 and the future that I see can be scary for some. What is scarier is not wanting to leave the shore where there is nothing left. I won’t forget anyone.

Homepage Staff
Staff account: Articles written and/or edited to comply with Associated Press style and professional journalism standards.

Welcome to the comments section. Feel free to speak your mind about topics raised in this article, but please be civil to your fellow humans.


  1. even though Eliane gave me a condescending lecture about how we elect
    our dubious officials, I hope she wins, the pother candidate’s recycled rhetoric
    sound exactly what I expect from a career politician, and we have enough of those.
    And look up Fran’s claim of church loans- it’s not the only thing our city has it’s fingers in and should not be subsidizing. I call BS on loaning money to private
    entities and religious entities.

  2. If we need additional money to support local organizations due to the increase in tourism. we should be looking to the Airbnb and STR’s rather than local residences who are struggling to make rent as it is. The Vacation Rentals, and hotels are the ones seeing the financial benefits from tourism.

  3. The issue we have with our council is that they are all linked together. The Mayor and Judy Casper wanted to appoint Elaine Stammer. They did not want a vote!

    What we need to have in the City Council is someone who questions spending money!

    Just recently the council approved a 100k loan to fix a church steeple? Seriously!
    That money should have been spent on something more tangible like flashing lights on the 101!

    Please stop this council from excessive spending and vote for a candidate who will question the spending of our hard earned taxes. Vote for Fernando Garza if you want change!

  4. I’ve been to more than one city council meeting. They all vote together, there
    is no neighborhood representation, decisions seem preordained.
    I could care less what happens at the the state level, the city does not need
    these wards. I am aware of the ludicrous redistricting which is only going to
    exasperate an existing problem, and gromberg? He’s an idiot.

  5. Note,Not all cities in Oregon have “wards” for council members,example,Silverton has councilers at large. I have yet to be contacted by the council member in my ward for any input!!! Whoever thought up this “ward” senerio ,I would still like a reliable answer as to why.

  6. Hello Kevin, Wards were set up to give “targeted” support to smaller groups of residents. Each City Council person (2 per ward) will represent their ward’s needs, but will work with the rest of the Council to do what is best for the city at large. It is the same structure that is used for House Rep seats at the State level and the Federal level. We only get to vote for the State House Rep for our district, but we all vote for the Governor. We only get to vote for the Congressional House Rep for our district, but we all vote for the President. Again, the idea is to give better representation to smaller groups in order to recognize that not all groups have the same needs and concerns. Is it a perfect model, not always. Councilors do not have a staff or a working budget. They have to reach out to those in their ward and solicit their input as best they can, and rely on residents reaching out to them directly. Doing that for 9,000+ residents would not give residents the support they deserve.

    BTW, you might want to take note that Oregon is in the process of redistricting, which could affect how representation of certain districts is distributed. Rep. Gomberg has a statement out about it, also Newsguard has an article in this week’s edition.

  7. So, apparently no one is interested, or has noticed my comment about “wards”.
    I’m disappointed. After looking into it a little- just a little now, do you know not
    every city has “wards”? Exactly what is the purpose? I’d like to have it explained in a manner I could find believable. What this effectively does is limit
    the voting power of our citizens, why can’t I vote for any person that’s running
    for a position in the city? Why do I have to live in a particular “ward”. sounds
    like there may have been a purpose to something like this type of “segregation” perhaps in the distant past it benefited particular neighborhoods. I think it’s time we move on and eliminate these discriminating “wards”. and let our citizens vote in a completely free election,
    we all vote for the Mayor, don’t we? This current election to fill 1 vacant seat
    is laughable, only a fraction of the city is going to be able to participate, in an election that ultimately has city wide consequences.

  8. I’ll agree that Lincoln City was not designed to handle the current population,
    or the growing influx of tourists. One issue is narrow roads- including 101, and
    I’d like to see someone fix that- it’s not going to happen ever.
    What we need is better management and putting a cap on VRD units until we get the problems of people who live here full time solved. Cramming more crap into the city is not helping. Budget shortfall?? I don’t think so, seems an 85 million dollar Urban renewal was passed not long ago, that went all the way out to Cascade Head. There’s a waste of money right there.
    You’re going to need to better than that. I saw plenty of wasted money during council meetings, things that sounded stupid to any normal person.
    There’s no shortfall, it’s mismanagement.

  9. When I’m quoted, I prefer that it be accurate and not misrepresent my position. My full statement about “industries creating costs for the cities they reside in” is included with your ballots on the back of the Ballot Drop Off Locations flyer. It is my candidate statement. It reads . . . “All industries create costs to the cities they reside in. The key is knowing fully what these costs are. I asked City Leaders to commission a data-driven cost benefit analysis of tourism on our city. The results should empower City Leaders to make a case to the State of Oregon to modify how TRT (transient room tax) funds are allocated. A greater share of TRT funds should be funneled to infrastructure and city services.”

    I made that recommendation to City Leaders during this year’s budget committee meetings, during which I also made two recommendations for how to increase revenue without hurting residents. Both of those recommendations are currently under consideration by City Council. I have already been working for ALL residents of Lincoln City.

  10. Both have good answers making them work will be a big task for who ever elected. City council will be a major issue for them Elain is right when it comes to not much change who ever is on it. I agree tourists should share the cost of our tourism industry with or residents supporting fire and rescue I have seen this work. I among many other residents are tired of seeing our property taxes raise every year we do have good services here a lot better than some I have seen. Do need more full time fireman the days of vollinter fireman have past.


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