September 28, 2011 - Bend Bulletin - Bend’s lobbyist for infrastructure

Sep 28, 2011

September 28, 2011 - Bend Bulletin - Bend’s lobbyist for infrastructure

Bend’s lobbyist for infrastructure

Published: September 28. 2011 4:00AM PST

Bend Business Advocate Jon Skidmore has the wrong job title. It should be business advocate/lobbyist to get breweries to be Bridge Creek friendly.

Skidmore sent e-mails to Bend breweries encouraging them to sign a letter of support for Bend’s $68 million Bridge Creek water upgrade. Breweries have not been fighting to be the first to sign.

Lobbying for Bridge Creek doesn’t sound like what Skidmore is being paid $84,000 a year to do. When his job was rolled out, it was part of a new effort by the city to be business friendly.

“The program will streamline the business development process within the city to help local companies grow and market the city ... to attract new companies and jobs,” the city’s May news release said. “Skidmore will serve as a liaison between existing and new businesses and city administration, providing advocacy and facilitation services.”

Silly us. We took that to mean he would be going through city policies and regulations to see what could be done to help businesses thrive in Bend. He was going to look at fee structures. He was going to meet with businesses and listen to their concerns. Then he was going to march back to the city and try to make some changes. After all, that’s what Skidmore told The Bulletin’s editorial board he was going to do.

OK, maybe Bend is as business friendly as it can be. Maybe business advocacy is not a full-time job. Maybe it’s not a full-time priority for the city.

We still don’t see how lobbying breweries to be Bridge Creek friendly fits the concept of the job.

Then there was the assertion this week from City Manager Eric King that the city wanted to meet with breweries two years ago to discuss infrastructure but didn’t have time until Skidmore was hired.

Uh huh. We think it’s not a question of time. It’s a question of priority.

Now that questions about Bridge Creek have not gone away; now that opponents have a website asserting the better choice for Bend’s water needs is wells; now there is time.

Now there is need. So now the city has got a Bend Bridge Creek advocate.

Published Daily in Bend Oregon by Western Communications, Inc. © 2010

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