Bend City Council kicks off year with a bang

New mayor picked amid 'boring' comment, live tweets

Bend city council members kick off new year

BEND, Ore. - The first Bend city council meeting of the year kicked off with a bang Wednesday night, as two councilors pulled out of the running for mayor, one called the old council "boring" and another tweeted that he'd rather still be on vacation.

"I respect you tremendously as a colleague, and I care for you as a friend," Councilor Jodie Barram told colleague Jim Clinton Wednesday night.

It was an unexpected turn, as Barram and Mark Capell pulled out of the race for mayor. Clinton, the longest-serving councilor, was unanimously elected.

"I thought Jodie and Mark were very graceful in the way they decided to do this last night," Clinton said Thursday. "Of course, I am gratified to have been chosen as mayor."

Clinton said he's ready for good discussion with councilors about important issues like the Surface Water Project and fiscal challenges for public safety.

Capell says he's ready for that too. But a comment he made had some questioning its meaning.

"Our meetings have gotten a little bit boring," Capell told the audience and his colleagues Wednesday night.

On Thursday, he said he had good intentions.

"We need to debate and argue and cajole," Capell said. "We can arm wrestle and get everybody working towards coming up with what's best for the community."

Capell said he doesn't want a simple vote of yes or no on important issues, but engaged discussions He says he believes it can be entertaining and fun, all while solving problems.

"We can show that it's okay to disagree and argue, and then afterwards shake hands and go have a beer," said Capell.

During the mayoral ceremony, councilor Scott Ramsay tweeted, "I should have stayed in Ecuador."

"I just tweeted because I came back from a great two-week vacation in South America and I literally got back the night before we made this decision," Ramsay said Thursday.

'"I thought it was going to be all decided amongst everyone prior to coming to council. And so when I got there and there as still discussion, I was like, 'Oh, wow.'"

The Source newspaper tweeted back at Ramsay, asking if he was tweeting during a council meeting -- and he replied, "Somehow tonight I don't really care."

"I was tweeting more tongue in cheek, saying tonight isn't really an official council night as far as business goes, so there's nothing that could get me in trouble as far as making comments and not making comments," Ramsay said.

The Bend City Council will meet again next Wednesday. The water project is at the top of their list of priorities. That work was delayed by a court ruling, as new councilors were chosen who offered criticism of the city's controversial plans during their campaign.

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