List of Albany city candidates grows to 10 – Hasso Hering


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

List of Albany city candidates grows to 10

Written August 13th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

Behind this wall is the council chamber, where four seats will be contested this fall.

The elections for Albany city offices have drawn at least 10 candidates for the four positions available to be filled. And the filing period has a week to run.

The filing period ends at 5 p.m. Aug. 20, so the list of candidates is unlikely to remain unchanged.

As of the close of business Thursday, the names of three incumbent councilmen whose positions are up this year were not on the list of candidates.

They could have already filed, though. City Clerk Mary Dibble told me earlier that filings aren’t added to the list until they are complete.

Councilman Alex Johnson II announced weeks ago that he would challenge Mayor Sharon Konopa for that position. He made it official on Wednesday.

The mayor’s term is two years, while council terms are for four years. So if Konopa wins the mayor’s election, as she has six times before, Johnson remains in his council position, representing Ward 2.

In Ward 1, the candidates as of now are Keith Kolkow, Matilda Novak of the Novak’s Restaurant family, and Sean Knowles.

In Ward 2, former Councilman Ray Kopczynski has been joined in the race by Amanda Dant.

Ward 3 has three candidates so far: Marilyn Smith, Jill Van Buren, and Jessi Brenneman.

I don’t know some of the candidates and hesitate to identify them further based only on internet searches and Facebook posts. On this site, who they are and what they want will have to wait.

In the meantime, think of questions you’ll want to ask these people before Nov. 3 as they campaign online and in their respective wards, or citywide in the mayor’s race.

Here’s one to add to the list: Are you prepared to have the council impose a monthly utility fee to support city services such as police, fire, libraries, and parks, or would you insist such a proposal go before the voters instead? (hh)

7 responses to “List of Albany city candidates grows to 10”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    If elected, what three steps would you take to put Albany on a firmer financial footing?

    During the current tax year about $1,200,000 was transferred from the city’s General Fund to CARA. Does servicing CARA’s debt take priority over essential services like fire, police, and library?

    If you received a $1 million grant to use for Albany in any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

    • Hasso Hering says:

      City Manager Peter Troedsson points out that no money was “transferred” to CARA from the Albany general fund. A clarification may be in order here. For “the current tax year,” the calculations have not been published. For the last tax year, the assessor’s tables show that the CARA tax in Linn County, based on the excess value of the CARA district, amounted to $1,256,048 for the City of Albany. If CARA did not exist, an amount in that neighborhood, though probably smaller because urban renewal projects would not have been done, would have been available to the general fund. (hh)

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        “If CARA did not exist, an amount in that neighborhood, though probably smaller because urban renewal projects would not have been done, would have been available to the general fund.”

        Thanks to you and the city manager for making my point – the money “would have” been available to the general fund if not for CARA. And my apologies. I should have used your preferred word “skim” instead of “transferred.”

        And how can you say renewal projects would not have been done? CARA projects wouldn’t have been done, but it is reasonable to presume that private property owners would have made improvements to their buildings (renewal).

        CARA fails the “but for” test.

        Nobody, not you or anybody in city hall, can honestly say that but for CARA, renewal would not have happened. It just would have been done in the private marketplace, not as pet projects by a spending addicted city government.

        • Hasso Hering says:

          Well, all we know for a fact is that the unaided private sector didn’t do anything to enhance central Albany before 2001, when the council formed CARA. Improvements started happening after CARA got going. You can suppose they would have happened anyway, but nobody knows that, and experience suggests otherwise.

          • Gordon L. Shadle says:

            You wrote an editorial some years ago making the same argument.

            The fact is CARA cannot enhance anything, least of all the downtown area. All local government can do is extract money from the private sector and move it to another use. Or skim tax revenue from other taxing districts. This means most of us will spend less while CARA will spend more. That isn’t “enhancement” by any definition.

            You go on to make the ridiculous statement that the private sector “didn’t do anything.” You falsely imply that in 2001 and years before the local market has been free to do so and should now be blamed.

            With all of the government imposed land use regulations, historical restrictions, zoning and building codes, and more, the local market is hardly “free.” Given multiple layers of mother-may-I requirements and bureaucracy can there possibly be a free market? No. We do not have a free private marketplace, so don’t lay blame there.

            There is much local government should do, or more accurately should undo, to help the local marketplace. Removing every freedom-destroying barrier that robs value from privately-owned property would be a good first step. And being allowed to rid ourselves of 19th century buildings and attitudes would be a good second.

            So here we are in the 21st century pleading for more freedom in the local marketplace. Clearly, Albany hasn’t progressed as much as you would like us to think.

  2. Michael quinn says:

    Everyone put the brakes on. I mean now. We voted for a levy for police and fire. Normally supposed to raise aprox $4 million. If you noticed the city on purpose touted that they would not raise the per thousand rate. At a $1.15. Everyone I talked to said isn’t that dandy. Well citizens of albany you’ve been hacked again. We last voted in this levy 4 years ago. Since then the assessed values of property in linn county have went up 4.1 billion dollars albany is aprox 54 percent of that. All within the last 4 years we aprox that the city will get around 1.6 million more dollars. They didn’t go for a fixed amount needed. It’s called a blank check. So staying at the $1.15. Brings a ton more money in. Police and fire will be ok. DON’T BE FOOLED

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Good point. Which leads to another question for the candidates:

      If the budget requires a $1.2 million reduction, and you have the sole power to make the decision, what services would you cut and why?


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