OK, so far as I know there's no betting odds on who will be chosen to replace Sally Cook on the Salem City Council.
But it's still entertaining to make predictions.
Twelve people applied to be appointed to serve as the Ward 7 councilor for the remainder of Cook's term, which ends on December 31, 2020. One person dropped out, which left eleven.
According to a City of Salem staff report, on October 10 the Board and Commission Appointments Committee met to discuss the applicants. They chose three to be interviewed at a special meeting of the City Council on October 21, a week from today.
Then the council will vote on who becomes the Ward 7 councilor, which will obviously give that person an advantage if they choose to run for a full term in the May 2020 primary election that usually determines City Council elections.
(If a candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, they win outright, making the "primary" the final election.)
Here's my take on the three finalists, ordering them in terms of their likelihood to be chosen by the current eight-member City Council.
Reid Sund -- 10% chance. Sund has several things working against him, so likely I'm being generous in giving him 1 in 10 odds of being appointed to Cook's seat.
(1) Soon after Cook announced she was resigning following her husband's untimely death, Sund announced he would run for the Ward 7 seat. This probably hurts rather than helps his chance of being appointed on October 21, since he has already said he plans to be on the ballot in May 2020.
(2) Sund appears to be the most conservative of the three finalists. Given the City Council's 5-3 progressive/conservative split at the moment, with Cook's seat vacant, he doesn't seem to be the person the progressives will want to replace Cook, who is a progressive.
(3) He's a man. I've got nothing against men, being one myself, but with only two women on the Council at the moment, choosing a man to replace Cook would be problematic.
(4) He didn't put a whole lot of effort into his application for the appointment. His answer to question #8 about the most important issues facing Salem was weak.
Bonnie Heitsch -- 40% chance. Heitsch is a woman. She's about to retire from being an attorney with the Oregon Department of Justice, where she represented the Department of Transportation for 20 years. The Salem Breakfast on Bikes blogger liked what she said in her application about getting around in Salem.
Indeed, Heitsch had some appealing ideas.
Providing transportation alternatives including improved transit and improving walking connections and reconsideration of some land use patterns. I am pleased to see that Salem Transit has restored Saturday and evening bus service with the enactment of the payroll tax. But additional planning actions may be able to support options to walk and bike to essential services and destinations. School children should be able to walk safely to their neighborhood school and parks. And selfishly, as a soon to be Senior citizen, my car may not always be an option for me and I would like to develop the transportation support for me and others for our future.
Vanessa Nordyke -- 50% chance. I've met Nordyke several times and have heard her speak. She's impressive: intelligent, compassionate, well-informed, with lots of volunteer experience. I'd give her higher odds than 50%, but I'm trying to compensate for the fact that Nordyke is my favorite candidate.
Also an attorney with the Department of Justice, she's proficient in Spanish, which is a decided plus. Her application checks off some progressive priorities and includes an intriguing question about telecommuting.
How can we incentivize renewable energy, green spaces, tree canopy, walkable neighborhoods and affordable housing while still being fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars? Are we incentivizing employers to allow one-day-a-week telecommuting...to reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions?
So my bet is that Nordyke will be appointed on October 21. However, it wouldn't be a big shock if Heitsch gets the nod, as she also seems to be well-qualified to serve on the City Council.