Just 2 hopefuls emerge to seek seat on council

Candidates haven't beaten down the door at Medford City Hall to fill the councilor seat vacated by Al Densmore on Aug. 2.

So far, only two candidates have come forward, and city officials predict it's unlikely a required third candidate would have the time to file by the deadline of 5 p.m. Friday.

"Likely, we'll have to extend the deadline," said Glenda Wilson, assistant to the city manager. "The way it's looking right now, we won't have three by Friday."

Wilson said the 10- to 20-hour-a-week volunteer time commitment is possibly one of the reasons candidates have been scarce. The City Council also assumed the role of the Medford Urban Renewal Agency board in 2010, which increased its workload.

"It's difficult to dedicate that much of your life to public service," Wilson said.

Densmore stepped down as councilor for Ward 1 before the completion of his term, which requires the City Council to select a replacement rather than wait for an election.

The only residents who have expressed serious interest are Philip Iantosca, former owner of the Honeybaked Ham Store in the Medford Center, and lawyer Timothy Jackle, chairman of the Medford Planning Commission.

On Wednesday, Iantosca had filled out the paperwork and submitted the required 25 signatures. The signatures haven't been verified yet.

Jackle had taken out the paperwork, but as of Wednesday he hadn't collected the signatures, though he said he was working on it.

Once the candidates have satisfied all the necessary requirements, the council will appoint a committee of five citizens from Ward 1. The committee will interview the applicants and make recommendations to the council as to which candidates it thinks are the most qualified.

Iantosca has retired after a lengthy career working for biomedical companies, including San Jose, Calfi.-based Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions.

He said he encouraged Lighthouse to open a location in Medford when he was vice president of global sales.

After he left, Iantosca opened the Honeybaked Ham Store but closed it because lease costs were set to increase along with franchise fees.

He said one of his concerns is the potential closure of the library system by Jackson County.

"We need that kind of important resource to attract business and industry," he said. "We need to attract technology businesses to this area."

In general, he said, the City Council has done well, but he said he would do more to help attract business.

Jackle, 43, said he wants to continue what he thinks has been the good work of the City Council over the years.

"I would be remiss not to say that Ward 1 and the state were well-served by Al Densmore," he said.

Jackle said he doesn't foresee making any big changes as councilor.

"The thing that we have to do is weigh economic development and our desire to be prosperous with livability concerns," he said.

One thing Jackle would like to see is the development of a park on a portion of the Cedar Links Golf Course.

Jackle grew up in the Portland area and moved to Medford in 1998.

Because he is self-employed, Jackle said he has the ability to make the time for councilor duties.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com.

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