City Council Race Heats Up Over Controversy
Controversy in the upcoming race for two seats on the Florence City council came to a head at Monday evening’s city council meeting. Three members of the community came to the defense of City Council Candidate Geraldine Lucio after she received a visit from one sitting council member and an email from another. The email from Councilor Suzy Lacer to Lucio came after an Our Town interview with Lucio, Woody Woodbury, and Maureen Miltenberger in which Lucio had an uneasiness in the interview setting, even asking to be excused momentarily from the interview. The email had verbiage in quotation marks that seemed to outline the wording Lucio could use to exit the race including quote, “I didn’t understand what the position takes and I’ve realized this isn’t what I want to do; I’ve decided I am not running for Council” end quote. Lacer offered a public apology at last night’s meeting.
“I already apologized to Geraldine and I am happy to do so publicly to her again and to the rest of the community I in no way intended to harass or bully or to intimidate her.”
Lacer’s statement was met with jeers from some Lucio’s supporters in the audience. Lucio said she had not previously received an apology prior to the meeting. More on this story after this…
The other city councilor named in a statement by Local resident Jackie Beveridge was Joshua Greene. Greene admitted to having a conversation outside of Lucio’s business, the Old Town Barber Shop, but said he in no way asked Lucio to pull out of the race,
“So I explained to her my concerns and I wanted her to be aware of it. I never, ever said that you shouldn’t run. That was never my intention, that’s not how I roll.”
Greene also offered a public apology to Lucio and while attempting to explain his position was also heckled by members of the audience… Also speaking to members of the council in support of Lucio was local business owner Terry Tomeny.
“…was very encouraged to see a smart young woman step up to serve on the council, she brings exactly what the council needs, most importantly she brings a non-partisan approach.”
Mayor Joe Henry was asked about the situation several days before the city council meeting and stated that the city had no official comment on the issue but he was concerned about the ability of the council to work together moving forward
“I am afraid that these recent incidents will have a dramatic impact on our ability to continue to function as a team.”
The concerns in both the email from Lacer and in Greene’s conversation with Lucio regarded public speaking an item that Mayor Henry pointed out is not a prerequisite for the position of city council. Council Member Woody Woodbury says he is looking forward.
“I am hoping that once the election is over that it’s something that we will get passed and get back to the business at hand of the city, we’ve worked well as a group.”
Lucio was asked about her reaction to the situation.
“My jaw dropped, I couldn’t believe it. I can’t believe I saw that email, I couldn’t believe that a sitting member of the city council would have sent that.”
And she added…
“it’s time to put it all behind us and wait for November 6th to come and let the citizens of Florence decide.”
Master Recycler Program
Lane County Waste Management is offering a free course this winter that provides comprehensive training on local solid waste issues. The Master Recyclers Program is designed to help Lane county residents and businesses reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink waste habits. The program will be held locally in Florence at Lane Community College beginning on January 8th and continuing through March 5th. from 5:30 to 8:30 on Tuesday evenings. Those interested in taking the course can apply at lanecounty.org/master recyclers. The course is free but requires a commitment of volunteering a minimum of 30 hours over the course of a year to help educate others in recycling.
Quake Hits Off Coast
A 4.5 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Oregon struck last night at 4:57 pm. The quake was in an area often associated with quakes of varying strengths. No warnings or watches were issued due to the type of quake. This area has been active for quakes over the last year. Approximately 177 miles west off the coast of Bandon.