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Commissioners React to Sheriff’s Release

EUGENE, Ore. — Lane County commissioners know about as much about a plan to put a public safety tax levy on November’s ballot as you do.

They say they got blindsided by a press release sent out by the sheriff’s office on Monday.

The board was supposed to address the press release at its meeting Wednesday morning, but that discussion was postponed until August 15 when commissioners will talk about recent public safety poll results.

Those results were not available Wednesday, so we spoke with Commissioner Sid Leiken about the release. He says he didn’t hear about the idea of a public safety levy until the media did.

Leiken says there are a number of issues to discuss, including putting a levy on the ballot this close to the September 6 deadline, as well as whether the public would even vote for a tax should it make the ballot.

“Sometimes when we’re in this building, we’re talking insider baseball, and ultimately we have to answer to our bosses who are the public, and if they don’t have the appetite for this, then we really have to move forward,” Leiken said.

The county’s appetite in the past has been sour by not passing any of the 14 public safety measures on the ballots since 1994.

Leiken says he’s meeting with Sheriff Tom Turner Thursday to try coordinate their efforts in developing a plan.

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