SISTERS, OR -- Sisters City Council candidate Richard Esterman is responding to questions about his residency. In a statement sent Thursday to the media, Esterman says Interim City Manager Rick Allen overstepped his position.
The Sisters City Attorney sent a letter to Esterman, this week, asking for proof of residency
, citing minimal water use at a home he rents in downtown Sisters. The property has also never had garbage service. Esterman also owns a home in Tollgate, although he has said that serves as his office.
In the statement, he cites his drivers license – which lists the Oak Street address, downtown – as proof he lives inside city limits. He admits he doesn't know who authorized the City Attorney to send the letter, but says City Manager Allen is helping another candidate because he doesn't like Esterman's "outspoken style."
Richard Esterman's complete statement, issued Thursday:
Richard Esterman is qualified to run for City of Sister’s council position because he is a resident of the city and denies the accusations leveled by City Manager Rick Allen—who overstepped his management position by interfering in politics to aid another candidate.
“I take this election seriously and I am running to make a difference, so each citizen receives equal treatment before the city and so others will become involved with city politics”, said Mr. Esterman. He believes Mr. Allen, wants another candidate to win because Allen dislikes Esterman’s outspoken style.
Richard Esterman resides on Oak Street in Sisters and maintains an office in Deschutes County. He has resided on Oak Street under a valid lease for over a year. Previously, he was a resident in Tollgate for about 26 years. His driver’s license reflects his Oak Street residency since October 25, 2015.
Concerns regarding Richard Esterman’s residency were raised in a letter by City Attorney Jeremy Green, but it remains unclear who authorized Mr. Green to write the letter and who provided a copy of Green’s letter to the press before Esterman had an opportunity to prove his residency.
City Manager Allen wrongly asserts that there was “zero” water consumption at Esterman’s home on Oak Street to support his residency attack. But City Manager Allen knows or should know that water consumption is measured by the City of Sisters in increments of 100 cubic feet (748 gallons). So, any use below that amount will appear on a water bill as “zero”. Not only was City Manager Allen wrong about water usage, he was wrong about Esterman’s residency. Of concern to all citizens, Allen unlawfully breached Esterman’s privacy by snooping in his personal information stored at the city.
“I do not feel that it’s right or legal that Allen can use his position to go into my private information without my permission and make it public”, said Esterman. There are reports of Allen driving past Esterman’s home on Oak Street. Mr. Allen’s involvement is troubling, because under the City of Sister’s Charter, the city manager may not direct the Council and is not authorized to act except by the council. There is no record that the City Council authorized Allen to act against Esterman.
Esterman is willing to look past Allen’s conduct. “I am running in this election to make a real difference and to inspire others to do the same. I will bring city transparency to the citizens of Sisters and will always be consistent, fair and objective. Sisters is my community and I will always put differences aside to serve the members of my community equally and effectively.”