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Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015

Bend mayoral candidates debate

Thursday, October 26, 2006

It was not until the candidates' closing statements that the relatively calm scene at the Oct. 17 Horseshoe Bend mayoral debates at St. Mary's Catholic Church became at little tense.

In his closing speech, candidate George Williamson singled out Robert H. "Bob" Barnes from his other opponent, George Florea.

Williamson said he had told Barnes that people in Horseshoe Bend did not know Barnes.

Then, according to Williamson, Barnes said, "Well, you know, I've been busy with my business, George, but you should take a look at my checkbook."

Barnes immediately denied Williamson's statements.

The audience stirred as shouts came from the crowd.

Someone yelled, "You're done, George."

"That's just typical Californian politics," said Barnes' campaign manager, Ron Brooks, alluding to the time Williamson spent there during his career.

The debate that preceded the exchange regarded potential solutions to genuine problems Horseshoe Bend residents face.

Karen Johnson of the Pacesetting Times, who organized the event, presented eight questions that each of the three candidates had three minutes to respond to.

Johnsons said the questions were based on issues residents of Horseshoe Bend sent to her office.

The candidates discussed ways to promote growth in Horseshoe Bend, ways to bring business into the community, growing while maintaining the ways of life, the potential of building a community center, the expansion of the Horseshoe Bend Police Department and the necessity of the community's 2-percent sales tax.

Though some details of the plans differed, the candidates focused on the necessity of growth and bringing business into Horseshoe Bend.

Williamson's ideas centered around promoting residential growth.

"With residential growth, business will follow," Williamson said.

Barnes' plan for the town's growth was tourism. He said he plans to work with the Chamber of Commerce to promote Horseshoe Bend as a retirement and vacation community.

Florea wants to maintain Horseshoe Bend as a retirement community. He said he wants to promote growth by enticing retirees to move to the community.

All of the candidates agreed on keeping Horseshoe Bend's 2-percent sales tax.

Early voting began Oct. 23 around the state. Elections are Nov. 7.

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