Running for Albany office: Two surprises – Hasso Hering


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Running for Albany office: Two surprises

Written August 6th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

Albany City Hall on a nice evening in June 2020.

The first two days of candidate filings for Albany City Council produced a couple of surprises. Well, at least they were surprising to me.

The filing period opened Wednesday, and the first person to show up on the list of candidates was Marilyn Smith, who retired in June after many years of working at City Hall as a management assistant and public information officer. She filed for the Ward 3 seat held for two terms by Rich Kellum.

The second surprise: Ray Kopczynski wants to rejoin the council in Ward 2. He was on the council for nearly two full terms after being appointed to a vacancy, but he didn’t seek re-election in 2018. Now he’ll be on the ballot again, having filed on Thursday.

Keith Kolkow in Ward 1 and Jill Van Buren in Ward 3 announced their council candidacies on Facebook weeks or months ago. They too made it official by filing on the second day.

Kolkow is a member of the Albany Landmarks Commission, whose decisions on property at Fourth and Calapooia have twice been overturned by the council.

Van Buren is retired from serving many years as the elections supervisor of first Linn and then Benton County.

Kellum has not said whether he’ll seek his third four-year term representing Ward 3. In Ward 2, Bill Coburn this year is finishing his third consecutive term. And in Ward 1, Mike Sykes is completing his first. They haven’t announced their plans either.

Also on the candidate list after the second day of the filing period is Sharon Konopa, seeking her seventh consecutive two-year term as mayor. (She spent years on the council before becoming mayor.)

For Albany city candidates, the filing period for the Nov. 3 election runs until 5 p.m. on Aug. 20.

What are the questions Albany city candidates should expect to be asked?

How about: Would they ever vote to close the Carnegie library downtown? Would they support using CARA urban renewal money to expedite moving and restoring the former Cumberland church? What’s the right maximum size of an accessory dwelling unit, 750 square feet as the mayor insists or 900 square feet as four councilors want? And, not to remain too parochial, do they agree with the current claims about racism in America, and if so what should Albany do?

There are other issues, obviously, but these should be a start. (hh)

16 responses to “Running for Albany office: Two surprises”

  1. Madame Lafarge says:

    “Parochial?” The current discussions at City Council regarding racism, equity and diversity have been more a display of severely stunted awareness—with several clocking in as clueless to the current tide for change outside their limited focus. I look forward to robust discussions and changes in the lineup.

    • Al Nyman says:

      Are we planning on having a French revolution. Just remember that Robiespier? lost his head in the end.

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Does APD keep residents safe? Would you support defunding the APD? How much? If not law enforcement, where should that money be spent?

    To help balance the city budget, what fees would you increase? What new taxes or tax increases should be referred to the voters?

    Has CARA been effective? Compared to what? At what cost? What hard evidence do you have?

  3. Time for change says:

    If we keep voting for the same people, we will get the same result.
    Fire them all!

  4. Linda Hart says:

    You have an error in your blog…Mike Sykes is in Ward 1

  5. Bill Kapaun says:

    It seems laughable for this council to address issues that the entire country can’t address when they show such bigotry against anybody that doesn’t own property downtown.

  6. Cheryl P says:

    Would they ever vote to close the Carnegie library downtown?

    —> No. With Covid-19, the library is even more important. Not everyone has Internet access.

    Would they support using CARA urban renewal money to expedite moving and restoring the former Cumberland church?

    —> If the church was going to be moved and restored, it should have been done years ago when the original road work that made it useless as a usable building. Find someone who is willing to salvage the building and let it go.

    What’s the right maximum size of an accessory dwelling unit, 750 square feet as the mayor insists or 900 square feet as four councilors want?

    —> Probably the only thing I have ever agreed with the Mayor on…750 sq feet. Most folks don’t have room for a ‘she’ shed, much less adding a two-bdrm, 1 bath apartment to their property.

    And, not to remain too parochial, do they agree with the current claims about racism in America, and if so what should Albany do?

    —> Not in the way that the media is portraying it. As was exemplified by a black Portland Police officer…he and his partner, a man of mixed race, made a traffic stop; the woman was black. As the mixed race officer approached her vehicle, the first words out of her mouth was, “I know you stopped me because I was black.” Then she saw the black officer and said, “I guess you didn’t.”

    —> I think we need to do away with ALL “special consideration” with the exception of those who are disabled. Either you are equal…or you’re not.

    • HowlingCicada says:

      “””Either you are equal…or you’re not.”””

      You’re not equal if your ancesters’ ability to accumulate wealth and pass it on to you has been systematically obstructed by the dominant caste AND BY GOVERNMENT (within the lifetimes of many people still with us).

      Only those who recognize this will understand the anger of the moment. And it’s far from the only reason, though it may be the most important one and the most difficult one to solve.

      • Cheryl P says:

        Horse hockey! I grew up poor…I’m talking tar paper shack, no indoor plumbing, frost on the inside of windows during the winter, sleeping with my two sisters in a single bed to keep warm. And no I’m not 90…I was born in ’61.

        Neither of my parents graduated from high school and had no real skills, but they did the best that they could. There was no ‘housing’, no ‘cash assistance’, no ‘food stamps’. Mom got a sewing machine with S&H Green Stamps and learned to sew. We got one pair of shoes at the beginning of the school year. “College” was just a word used by rich people.

        My first job included the words “Do you want fries with that?” I ended up quitting high school…found out I was missing 1/2 a credit two months before graduation. I tried secretarial work since I could type decently, but wasn’t very good at it…I had an attitude. Told the President of the company of one company to make his own damn coffee. Did a lot of odd jobs until I turned 21 then got into bartending because it turned out I was good at that. Did that for a few years until I got tired of dealing with drunk people. Then I BS’d my way into a bookkeeping job…really didn’t know much more than how to balance a checkbook and track income and expenses, but it was enough to get me started and there was always the library. Today, I run the bookkeeping department of a medium-size CPA firm. I have a nice office, a nice paycheck and nice benefits. Nobody ‘gave’ anything to me. I worked for it. In fact, everything I have I worked for. Even during the toughest times…I’ve been homeless, I went 10 years without a vehicle and walked everywhere…I worked for what I had.

        BTW, I’m a woman (if you couldn’t tell from the name)…I know about discrimination. When you’re young and female, employers worry about you running off and getting married. When you’re young, female and married, employers worry about you having babies. When you’re female and have kids, employers worry about the amount of time you are going to have to take off when your kid gets sick or there are daycare issues. Then there is sometimes sexual harassment (happened twice) and not being paid enough because an employer is ‘worried’ (happened once).

        But here’s the deal…the reason I am where I am today is because I wasn’t told that I couldn’t. My parents never once told me that I couldn’t be anything I wanted to be because I was female, or that folks would treat me differently because I was female, or to use being female as an excuse for not being the best I can be.

        And times HAVE changed, but some people continue to live in the past and use it as an excuse for not succeeding despite everything that is available to them to do so.

        • HowlingCicada says:

          Thank you, Cheryl. I appreciate your reply more than you might guess (had a hunch I’d get a mouthful:).

        • centrist says:

          You were born with gumption, brass, common sense, and determination.
          Did well with that. Good on ya

  7. Jill Van Buren says:

    Thank you Hasso, for posting filing information for the upcoming Albany City Council.

    Am rather disappointed that although the ADH has published information on both the Lebanon and Corvallis City Council filings, nothing has been done to inform voters on who is running here in Albany.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      We will know the entire slate the day after the formal closing date to apply…
      Even then, things may still happen to affect the number of names that may appear on the ballot.


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