Statements at Thursdays candidate forum from Port Commissioner John Zia and his challenger Bill Nokes centered on whether the port is moving too far away from boating related activities.

After 12 years in the position, Zia encouraged voters to continue an enthusiastic winning team.

The port is the most active recreational, community minded, economic entity if not in the state, then certainly in Southwestern Oregon, he said. You cant miss it; its all going on down there.

I think the port has done a laudable job, agreed Nokes, but the ports main business is boats. Thats the reason the port exists. The emphasis has gotten farther away from that than it should have.

They disagreed over whether boating activities through the port pay for the facilities.

At the present time, revenue from boats is paying generally for the facilities provided, Nokes said, adding that revenue does need to be found for some pending problems.

It doesnt pay for itself, Zia said of boating. And by focusing on economic development, the port has been able to leverage more funding and development for both boating and non-boating activities.

Zia cited his business perspective and network as assets for the position on the board. Nokes noted his background in boating and private law practice.

Incumbent School Board Member Tom Davis said his forum appearance would be his only effort at winning re-election to a second term. He would stand for election on his record, both on city council and school board, he said, adding that his opponent Bill Ferry would also be a good choice for the board.

It doesnt matter who you vote for, just vote, Davis said.

Ferry, chair of the school district budget committee and the citizen committee that designed last falls successful bond issue, said his goals are to watch over the bond issue spending, get parents involved in schools, get more students involved in post-secondary education, encourage teachers, and assist administrators.

Asked about the school districts random drug testing policy for students in extra-curricular activities, both men grudgingly endorsed it.

We are having some success with random drug testing, Davis said.

It is not a favorite of mine, but you have to look at what the community wants, he said.

Ferry said he wished there was something that could focus on the students who have more symptoms of failure than of success, ... but in light of all other alternatives, I think we have to live with this.