From Whitman Parker, Publisher Jacksonville Review and Southern Oregon Wine Scene
The case for re-electing Paul Becker is simple: For six years, Paul Becker has been an excellent mayor, demonstrating a keen ability to listen to residents, work with staff and collaborate with committees, commissions as well as civic and business groups. He strives to reach realistic outcomes while acting as a unifier, never forgetting that he is also a citizen. He’s a man of solid character with a “can-do” attitude and a cheerful disposition, with a clear vision and a long record of accomplishments.
At City Hall, he’s created a work environment wherein the city staff and council have flourished under his leadership, resulting in the accomplishment of numerous projects that have greatly benefited all residents. Working alongside City Administrator Jeff Alvis, Mayor Becker has provided guidance and leadership on (1) the successful land swap with the MRA, thus allowing the development of the Forest Park and the successful removal of off-road vehicles from city-owned land, (2) the state-mandated removal and reclamation of the city’s aging dam and spillway at a fraction of the estimated cost, (3) restoration of the historic courthouse into a new City Hall, (4) the stabilization of public safety funding, and other significant accomplishments.
Mayor Becker has also played a key administrative role in insuring that the city is on solid financial footing and that all departments are operating within sustainable budgetary constraints. Having presided over the City Council and the Budget Committee, Mayor Becker has proven to be an excellent steward of city finances and is most-deserving of serving another term. On his watch, the city has secured invaluable, long-term water rights, revamped its Planning Department and revised outdated codes, ordinances and the City Charter.
With important decisions ahead, the re-election of Mayor Becker will ensure that the city remains on a positive pathway. Over the next four years, it’s likely that our mayor and councilors will be tasked with replacing several key department-head positions as staff retirements occur. These posts include the City Administrator, Police Chief and Fire Chief. With years of managerial experience, Mayor Becker has an excellent track record of recognizing talent and then hiring qualified employees.
In addition to being a genuinely nice and honest person, Mayor Paul Becker possesses other qualities that make him the best choice for mayor—above all is his willingness to listen to the needs of ALL residents, regardless of economic status. Mayor Becker is also a good student, who comes to meetings fully prepared to handle action items in a positive, constructive manner. Likewise, he’s a good teacher, relying on the wisdom of his years to advocate for well-founded programs and make good decisions. Mostly, Mayor Becker is a caring citizen with an open mind and a desire to be a part of the solution.
Please join me in re-electing Paul Becker as Mayor of our Small Town with Big Atmosphere!
Mayor Paul Becker – Incumbent
Mayor Becker’s response to:
Why are you running? What do you hope to accomplish over the next 4 years?
To begin, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, the citizens of Jacksonville, for allowing me to serve as your Mayor this past term. It has been an honor and a privilege and, with your vote and approval, I look forward to serving you during the next four years. We have traveled a busy road, and a review of where we have been and what we have accomplished will help to understand the tasks that lay ahead.
As your Mayor, and with the help of most members of the City Council, we have been successful in:
- After eleven years of discussion and review, we were finally able to sell off part of the excess acreage in Forest Park resulting in a net profit of $680,000. This also benefited Jacksonville by reducing motorcycle traffic, and securing a forty acre parcel with a parking lot for hikers using trails in Forest Park.
- Paying off an almost $300,000 loan on the police station.
- Embarked upon and successfully restored relations with the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.
- Then accepted from those Commissioners, the Courthouse and the full city block on which it stands, together with other properties such as the historic Beekman House. This transfer was worth millions to the City and was accomplished with NO COST to the taxpayers.
- Using Urban Renewal money, the Courthouse was then seismically retrofitted, and restored for City use and now houses our New City Hall. None of this was done with any increase in taxes and the project was completed below budget.
- Initiated a contract allowing the Jacksonville Community Center Board to lease the Sampson House site for 50 years at $1.00 per year, thereby giving them a tremendous financial boost enabling them to proceed with facility design and fundraising.
- Jacksonville’s City Charter was adopted 53 years ago, shortly after World War 2. Hopelessly out-of-date, and in violation of Federal law, it has been revised and is up for review and approval by our Citizens. This new charter is the result of more than a year’s effort on the part of your Mayor, your City Staff, and the City Council with the direct help and guidance on the legal issues by Steve Casaleggio who graciously volunteered his services. To review this ballot measure go to… http://www.jacksonvilleor.us/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Charter-Adopted-by-Council-7-19-16.pdf.
- After two years of work, Chapters 1-14 of the Municipal code were revised and codified.
- Following strong public input, designed ballot measures for this election to insure there would be NO recreational or medical retail marijuana stores in Jacksonville.
- Supported the merchants of our City by letting them use sandwich boards to advertise their business. This was of real benefit to merchants on Oregon whose shops were off the main pedestrian thoroughfare.
- Through our Administrator, the city secured another 200 acre feet of water rights thereby increasing our water supply by 50 percent… enough water to supply our estimated needs until the year 2040. (It should be noted that Jacksonville uses more water per capita than any other city in the Rogue Valley.)
- After years of pressure from the state to remove the old dam at Forest Park, and working with almost one dozen different state and federal agencies, completed the task well under any cost estimates.
- Embarked upon and completed the redesign and rehabilitation of the First and Main Street area. This project required close co-operation with the S.O.U. Archaeology experts and became a prime example of how such projects can succeed when properly managed.
Yes indeed! It has been a busy four years… But what about the future? Looking ahead, what are the issues facing our City? Just as no business can rest on its laurels, neither can government. There are always new issues… new challenges… new tasks to be faced and acted upon. The following are but a few:
Of paramount concern is the task of securing stable funding for our Police and Fire Departments. Currently, the Police Department expense is through the General Fund while the Fire Department is through the surcharge. Neither system is capable of indefinite operational support.
Then there is the question of a new fire house. Here, questions of suitable location and cost are vital and require a thorough analysis and discussion. Several suggestions have been offered in the past and now we need to explore every option in order to arrive at a successful outcome.
Transportation is becoming another issue for our City. Not only has there been a significant increase in population in the Applegate, but now we are faced with a marijuana farm worker migration through our City every day. These two developments have had an impact on traffic along California and Fifth streets. There is also the effect urban growth has upon our transportation corridor. We need a study group to determine what the future holds in this regard and what options the City has to deal with it.
Several of our key management personnel will reach retirement age in the next several years. We will need to carefully plan and manage the task of replacing these people as this occurs.
The second floor of City Hall has to be designed and finished and an elevator installed running between the ground floor, the main floor, and the second floor.
Building the Community Center is a top priority that will benefit us for decades. I urge everyone to contribute to the Collins Foundation Challenge Grant to raise $40,000 in matching funds to move this project forward.
These are only highlights of tasks which lie before us. It will indeed be a busy four years… one requiring strong skills in management and leadership. I believe I have shown during these past four years that I possess those skills, and that I have earned your trust, and I ask for your vote as Mayor in this coming election.
Letters to the Editor in Support of Mayor Paul Becker
Paul Becker has been a good mayor. He is in his office daily and will always have time for you. Paul has looked out for the City of Jacksonville and has not put the city in debt. His promoting the move to the 1883 Jackson County Court House has been a good move and has preserved the historic value of that building. This is a historic city and on the National Historic Register and we need to preserve as many buildings as we can. Paul’s attitude toward this will keep our city a National Landmark.
Please vote for Paul Becker for mayor.
Resident of Jacksonville for 46 years
I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Mayor Paul Becker for a number of years now. As President of the Friends of Jacksonville’s Historic Cemetery he has been very supportive of the work of our organization and our volunteers. He makes himself available and is easy to approach and discuss matters pertaining to the cemetery, Jacksonville, its residents, and the importance of tourism to our community. I have found him to be a good listener, fair and always has the best interest of the community and its residents in mind. As Chairperson of the Jacksonville Cemetery Commission I have found Mayor Becker to be understanding, respectful and supportive of the Commission’s work and important role.
Dirk J. Siedlecki, President
Friends of Jacksonville’s Historic Cemetery
As a former small town city councilman, I am most appreciative of men and women who agree to serve in our city government without pay or even praise but often with criticism. Hats off then to the people running for the Jacksonville City Council and for the Mayor position.
I would like to use this means to encourage our Jacksonville voters to re-elect Mayor Paul Becker for one more term. Mayor Becker is fair-minded, responsive and dedicated to a single agenda, to do what is best for our fair city of Jacksonville. Under his leadership the historic gem Court House has not only been preserved but now appropriately houses the City offices. For the numerous problems and issues that our city has now and will be facing in the future, I place my trust and confidence in Mayor Becker. Please join me in voting for him.
This November, the citizens of Jacksonville will be selecting a Mayor to lead the city for the next four years. I will be voting for Paul Becker to provide continuity and vision.
As a former Mayor, I understand the role the Mayor plays in setting the right tone for those charged with leading the city as administrators and elected officials. Paul, as Mayor, has represented the community with County and State officials who have much to say about what happens in Jacksonville; and it takes time to build those relationships.
Paul understands the importance of his role, and has a passion for preserving the things that make Jacksonville a special community, while adding value by keeping an eye on the future.
Join me in electing Paul Becker as Mayor this coming election.
Citizen of Jacksonville
We are so pleased to hear our Mayor, Paul Becker is running for re-election. Paul and his Council members have accomplished so very much by moving our city offices to the old Jacksonville County Courthouse. I know this has all happened through Paul’s vision and leadership. He has brought action, harmony and has proven he wants the very best for our beloved Jacksonville. Vote for Paul Becker for Mayor in November.
Georgene and Jim Van Orsow
Several years ago, Jacksonville’s city government incurred public ire over issues related to water surcharges and the cost of a fulltime professional fire department. After months of debate, these issues were resolved, but not before the existing mayor, the city administrator, and some council members opted to leave their posts.
Throughout this disarray, Paul Becker, a councilman at the time, offered the reasonable voice most representative of Jacksonville citizens, which is why the voters elected him their next mayor. Once in office, Paul’s first action was to bring Robert’s Rules of Order regarding “fair and orderly meetings” to the Jacksonville City Council, instantly making the council more productive. It was an example of the levelheaded behavior the town needed.
Since then, Paul Becker has quietly kept our community running smoothly while overseeing numerous major projects, including finding the funds to improve Forest Park, and spearheading a plan to move City Hall to our town’s historic Courthouse building, insuring that the long-neglected building once again becomes the pride of the town.
We support retaining this levelheaded, forward-thinking gentleman as our Mayor.
Paula Block Erdmann and Terry Erdmann,