To the editor:
I have enjoyed Nelson Benton’s political observations from the desert. He seems perfectly plugged in, in spite of the distance between here and Arizona. I regularly agree with him yet found his recent analysis of the previous councilor-at-large race uncharacteristically slanted. He may not like Steve Pinto but to unilaterally depict Pinto’s loss at the ballot box by a slim margin as some sort of mandate (the electorate has spoken) is, in my opinion, an exaggeration.
Pinto lost the election by a relatively small number of votes in the largest field of candidates in quite some time. Steve is qualified and experienced at representing all of the constituents in Salem, would seamlessly assume the job of councilor, and be up for judgment come next election. Some politically motivated folks are encouraging a “lame duck” candidate to keep the seat warm until the next election, which is a terrible idea. We are a city with a $100 million-plus budget, and we want decisions to be made by essentially a “replacement player” sitting in for the real thing? Lame duck: a person or thing that isn’t properly able to function. This is how we want to run our city? This is unfortunately partisan politics, and any councilor telling you it is in the best interest of the city to employ a “lame duck” to represent us isn’t representing us well.
To Pinto’s credit, he is saying clearly that he most likely will run next election, have skin in the game along the way and leave it to the intelligence of the electorate to decide what kind of job he has done come next November.