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Retain incumbents in Wards 3, 4

City Council races for Ward 3 in northwest Medford and Ward 4 in the southeast pit capable incumbents against challengers who appear less so.

Councilors Kevin Stine in Ward 3 and Michael Zarosinski in Ward 4 have served well in their time on the council, and we see no reason not to take them up on their offers to continue in the unpaid and often time-consuming jobs.

Stine, seeking a second term, is a U.S. Navy veteran and Southern Oregon University graduate who worked with veterans at ACCESS and is now Veteran Resource Center Specialist at Rogue Community College. He points to his support for cleaning up dilapidated homes and mitigating drug houses in city neighborhoods, extending the Medford Urban Renewal Agency to deliver improvements to the Liberty Park neighborhood and backing efforts to create more affordable housing.

His opponents include Glenda Wilson, who was terminated as Medford city recorder in 2015. Wilson did not meet the deadline for getting information into the Voters’ Pamphlet, a serious misstep for someone who held a city administrative job that required attention to detail. She says she supports efforts to address the problem of homelessness, but in a group interview with the Editorial Board, she said she does not know who serves on the Continuum of Care Committee formed to coordinate efforts by the city, social service agencies and others.

The third candidate in Ward 3 is Don Libby, owner of a security company making his third run for the council. He also ran for the Medford School Board in 2015. He declined our invitation to attend the group interview.

In Ward 4, Zarosinski, a civil engineer, faces a challenge from Lewis Severson, a retired contractor and seasonal worker for the city Public Works Department. Zarosinski cites city efforts to house the homeless as successes, and says urban renewal money set aside for seismic upgrades to provide more downtown residential space will continue the revitalization of the central business district.

Severson told the Mail Tribune last month that “rather than complain” about city government, he decided to run for office to “get into it and figure out what’s going on.” Judging by his answers to our questions, he hasn’t figured it out yet.

We recommend Ward 3 voters re-elect Kevin Stine, and Ward 4 residents retain Michael Zarosinski.

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