Citizens Coalition of Ontario, a public group that seeks to foster better communication between the community and the city, according to its Facebook page, held a virtual Ontario City Council candidate forum on Wednesday evening. The forum was offered via livestream on the organization’s Facebook page.
Coalition administrators, Eddy Thiel and David Armstrong, hosted the event in which candidates communicated via conference call platform to answer questions from the community which were narrowed down from 19 to a list of 5.
Candidates for City Council are Sam Baker, Maria Fisher, John Kirby, Eddie Melendrez, Kevin Petross.
All but Fisher were able to attend.
All were posed the same five questions, as follows.
Following are the candidates’ reactions to the first series of question: What do you think need to be done to make Ontario a better place to live? Why? How would you pay for that?.
Baker“I think single family housing is very important,” stated Baker.
He said that “as far as funding goes,” the city has to work with Oregon Housing and the community. Baker said that it is important to get help in “getting these single family housing projects put down.”
Baker said that “without a place to live, it’s pretty tough” saying that people with lower incomes are having difficulty in locating a somewhere to live.
“In reading back there, I think the key word is live. Because Ontario is still the place to work, it’s the place to recreate. It’s the place where you buy everything. We’re still the center of this valley regardless. And I still think the quality of life in Ontario is just excellent,” said Kirby.
He also noted that Ontario has a need for additional housing opportunities, suggesting that people “just starting out” cannot afford to buy a house that is too expensive and that the city could upgrade older homes for first time buyers.
“I think we need to work together to see how each and every citizen can step up and contribute to the betterment of Ontario,” Melendrez stated.
He went on to say that the people of Ontario need to “see how we can give back and offer support” saying that it doesn’t require financial contributions to offer support “in a positive way.”
Melendrez said he wants the beautification of Ontario to continue.
Petross“I believe Ontario has so much potential and I believe with some changes and the right people on the city council, it could reach that potential,” said Petross.
He said how he also believes that we need positive leaders and “that wouldn’t really cost any money” and he described how it would “make a huge change to the attitudes of people in Ontario.”
Petross said he concerned about the future of the city and feels like he can make that change.
Thiel, in closing, thanked the candidates for their participation and the community for tuning in.