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Two commissioners to face election opposition in May.

Byline: Matt Cooper The Register-Guard

Races are set for two seats on the Lane County Board of Commissioners and for other elected county positions, with the passing of Tuesday's deadline to file for the May 16 election.

For the post serving eastern Lane County, two-year Commissioner Faye Stewart of Cottage Grove faces two opponents: Gary Kutcher, executive director of the Sustainable Forestry Network, and scientist Ron Davis, a Cottage Grove area resident who served on the board of the Emerald People's Utility District when the utility started service in 1983.

In the west, seven-year Commissioner Anna Morrison of Florence again will square off with Mapleton businessman Bill Fleenor, whom she defeated in 2002.

Bill Dwyer, the seven-year commissioner serving Spring- field, faces no opposition after Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken dropped out of the race last month.

In one sense, the races can be summarized by each candidate's view on a proposed income tax for public safety services, likely to go before the voters in November: The current commissioners support the tax, their opponents don't.

Stewart, 38, said that if re-elected, he would work to ensure that the county continues to receive critical federal funding, and he would try to make the county planning department as efficient as possible. Along with the rest of the five-member board, he supports a local income tax to pay for more jail space, prosecution and public safety needs.

"The only way I can see right now (to fund such services) is to ask the voters for more funding," Stewart said.

But Kutcher, a 50-year-old who lives southwest of Eugene, said the board is out of touch with average citizens and their financial struggles. He believes an economy based on environmentally sound principles will add jobs, and he would change county spending rather than go for the income tax.

County government has "plenty of money," Kutcher said. "They're just not spending it properly."

Davis could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

In other races, three will vie to replace retiring Assessor Jim Gangle: deputy assessor Anette Spickard and appraisers Gary Cook and Bill Mahn. Appraiser Bill Weeks withdrew his candidacy in January.

In the race for Justice of the Peace for the Upper Willamette district, Gary Carl, appointed to the post last month, faces Sheila Nelson, who held the job in 2001-02.
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Title Annotation:Politics
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 8, 2006
Words:387
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