During his June 6 appearance on KMED’s Bill Meyer Show, Josephine County Commission Chair Herman Baertschiger made pointed comments about the Mayor, saying, “The Mayor’s got a real problem promoting the Governor and all this homeless stuff. I actually think they’ll gather enough signatures to git her on the ballot for recall, you know. I don’t know, maybe the Bristols will go back to Pasco. I mean I think they got chased outta Pasco, Washington. I don’t know,” stated Baertschiger.
Baertschiger attempted to absolve himself of culpability for the spread of this rumor by prefacing his statements with, “I don’t know.” But it is clear he was well aware his remarks would resonate with Meyer’s right-wing talk radio listeners, igniting gossip that would spread.
The information regarding the Bristols, however, lacks accuracy. Contrary to Baertschiger’s claims, the Bristols never resided in Pasco, Washington, and certainly did not find themselves “chased out” of any town. Chris and Sara Bristol had been living in Yakima, where their paths had been defined by significant professional advancements and dreams. Chris Bristol always nurtured the dream of leading a city newsroom. So, when the opportunity came for him to take up the position of City Editor at the Grants Pass Daily Courier, it was an offer he could not resist.
While they were out of the country, it was Sara who learned about this golden opportunity for her husband. A dedicated public servant herself, Sara was part of the Yakima City Council and was even next in line to be Mayor – a position elected by council members. But upon discovering the career-defining opportunity for Chris in Grants Pass, she willingly stepped down from her council seat to support her husband’s career and move their family to Grants Pass.
It is also essential to clarify Mayor Bristol’s position on homelessness. Mayor Bristol is not “promoting all this homeless stuff” as Baertschiger would lead you to believe. Her mission focuses on alleviating homelessness in the city by relocating homeless camps from city parks and streets, offering alternative locations as mandated by a court injunction. These alternatives are comprehensive solutions addressing drug addiction, mental health issues, housing shortages, and poverty, requiring the expertise of specialists in these fields.
The Mayor, in her capacity, does not “promote the Governor and all this homeless stuff,” but she is expected to advocate for initiatives that aid in transitioning people off the streets. Therefore, it is crucial to separate the Mayor’s supportive role from the notion of her promoting these issues outright, as suggested by Baertschiger.