The race for county commissioner between Peter Roscoe and Pamela Wev offers District 3 voters a clear choice in the type of experience they offer.
Roscoe, the founder of Fulio’s Pastaria, grew up here. He served on the Astoria City Council and Planning Commission, among other public positions, and is deeply involved with a host of community organizations. He still serves on the Columbia-Pacific Economic Development District board.
He knows most of the people he meets in town — and their families, he said. He has held several forums in recent weeks to talk with the public, and describes communication as one of his better skills.
“You cannot replace it,” Roscoe said of that local knowledge. “It’s a huge plus. I know the people of the county.”
Wev, the daughter of a Coast Guard captain, has lived around the globe. She has resided in Oregon for 30 years and moved here four years ago.
She is a land use planner and economic development consultant whose career has taken her from the White House to the Portland mayor’s office to many different local governments, she said. She is a member of the Astoria chapter of the American Association of University Women and the First Presbyterian Church, and raised two children as a single mother.
Wev touts her government experience and says she’d like to bring a different atmosphere to the county commission.
“I would like to address the issues facing the county commission kind of the same way I’ve done most of my public service and my parenting,” she said at a candidate forum. “I like to listen.”
Aside from a few minor barbs on social media, the campaign has appeared to be civil.
At a debate with Wev last week, Roscoe expressed hope about the county’s direction no matter the results of the November election.
“I don’t think there’s a lose in this election,” he said. “Either candidate wins, the county’s going to win.”
Whoever wins will fill the seat being vacated by Commissioner Lisa Clement. District 3 covers parts of Astoria, Miles Crossing, Jeffers Garden, Lewis and Clark, Youngs River, Olney, Green Mountain and parts of Walluski.
Both candidates support local bond issues for a new county jail and schools in Astoria and Warrenton. They agree that the county should take the lead in disaster planning. They have differing perspectives on forestry, housing and development, but agree that those are important issues to tackle.
A changing dynamic
This particular election is a referendum on the way the county is run.
This newspaper and many voters are fed up with the drama of the past year and a half. We want to see a more open, transparent county government run by a manager who collaborates in a positive way with others — including the five commissioners to whom he or she reports.
County Manager Cameron Moore, who has failed miserably in that regard, is retiring effective Jan. 3. We won’t miss his autocratic, dismissive and divisive management style.
Two members of the board majority who enabled Moore’s behavior — Clement and Board Chairman Scott Lee — chose not to run for re-election.
Roscoe’s statements on the issue mirror those of Lee and the board majority — he believes commissioners should not be involved in the day-to-day operations of the county and should have limited interaction with county staff.
Wev’s statements have resembled the minority — she believes commissioners should play a more active role, working together with the manager. If she wins, she will form a new majority on the issue with Commissioners Kathleen Sullivan and Lianne Thompson.
To be fair, that probably oversimplifies things. Roscoe would like to see more harmony on the commission too, and believes the county manager should keep commissioners better informed, he said.
But in our eyes, Wev is the much more likely of the two candidates to demand transparency and collegiality from the county manager. She calls it her No. 1 issue. She has described a forward-thinking plan for a strategic planning process to make it happen.
That earns her our endorsement.
Vote Wev for Clatsop County Commissioner, District 3.