My View – August 2016

Unless you’re living under a rock, you can’t help but notice this is “political” season in America! In the coming weeks, the mass media barrage will be in full-force as candidates vying for national, state and local offices hijack the airwaves and internet to convince us to vote “their way.”

Here in Jacksonville, I think we’re lucky that our City Council and Mayoral races are the antithesis of what’s happening at the national level. As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, there are 3 City Council seats and the Mayor’s seat up for grabs in the November General Election. And even though I don’t know everyone who’s running yet, I’m confident our town will produce a well-balanced ticket. Based upon their performance records, it’ll be easy to endorse our current councilors who choose to run for re-election. And, it’ll be a bonus if we’re not subjected to candidates with single-issue axes to grind…something that’s happened too many times.

It’s one thing to serve on council with a desire to actively deal with and solve a multitude of issues—it’s entirely different to get elected, solve the only issue you care about and then be a lame duck for years! (Yes, it happens.)

Despite that possibility, Jacksonville politics is conducted on a more open, friendly and transparent basis than most cities. Perhaps it’s due to our officeholders being volunteers and not doing so to earn a living.

In recent weeks, Jacksonville’s City Council, Mayor and staff have made us proud with the completion of several large-scale projects. The city’s aging dam and spillway has been “fixed,” and is now able to safely channel heavy rainfall from the reservoir downstream. After decades of discussion, the project was well-managed by City Administrator Jeff Alvis—at a cost far below original estimates! (Please see Tony Hess’ article/photos on page 16).

In addition, City Hall is about to move to the historic Courthouse, another project that’s taken years of vision and work to accomplish. As of this writing, the date for the official move-in is the week of July 25. I’ll bet my bottom dollar that after getting settled, Mayor Becker will be throwing a party and leading tours, so look for that announcement on our Facebook page and website.

This political season, join me in being grateful for living in a Small Town with Big Atmosphere…without political drama!