My View – October 2014

This is City Council election season in Jacksonville—ballots for the November, 2014 General Election will be mailed-out by Jackson County Elections Division on October 17.

Mark your calendars for October 16, from 6:00–7:30pm, when the Jacksonville Review will host a “Meet the Candidates Forum” at the Naversen Room at the Library—Jacksonville voters are invited to participate in the Q & A forum with the City Council Candidates.

The following “publisher picks” is “JMO”—just my opinion, as in “my view.” In 2012, I penned the following which remains my opinion today:

We need councilors ready to hit the ground running…a Council post is one you prepare-for by attending lots and lots of meetings over the years… and by volunteering and serving at the committee and commission level first. The best councilors gain education and experience by serving on the Planning Commission, Parking Commission, Public Safety Committee, HARC, Budget Committee, Parks Committee and others—all “classrooms” to learn the ropes.

In alphabetical order, here’s My View on the 5 candidates seeking 3 open City Council seats in the 2014 race:

Brad Bennington Candidate

Brad Bennington

Brad Bennington (highly recommend) is soft-spoken and is someone who thinks before he speaks and votes, as he’s demonstrated as a Jacksonville Planning Commissioner. Brad has broad career and volunteer experience from his work on the PC, both locally and at the county level, that will be valuable as Jacksonville moves forward with numerous issues involving planning, growth, code revisions and its comprehensive plan update.

Kenneth Gregg Candidate

Kenneth Gregg

Ken Gregg (highly recommend) will make an outstanding City Councilor. His recent service on the Citizens Advisory Committee that updated city building codes, his experience restoring the historic Eugene Bennett property, working with HARC and his service on the Historic Jacksonville, Inc. board has been excellent preparation for serving on council. Ken’s attention to detail, inquisitive nature, keen intellect and graceful manner make him an ideal choice to lead Jacksonville into the future.

Jim Lewis Incumbent

Jim Lewis

Jim Lewis (highly recommend) is a man I call the “dean” of the Council and is someone I truly respect for his civic and military service. Jim has been on the council for 26 years, 14 years as Mayor. He knows the ins and outs of city government, having served on nearly every committee and commission. He’s also a strong leader who’s highly respected by his peers. Thanks to Jim’s vision and leadership, Jacksonville is a modern-day town with exceptional infrastructure, an excellent public works department and an enviable public safety program. Jim should continue serving on the council.

Ted Trujillo is the youngest candidate and new on the political scene. Although I prefer candidates to be more seasoned and to have served at the committee or commission level first, at 37, Ted is the only candidate with school-aged children. He represents a demographic group which has been woefully under-represented for far too long. Ted will help bridge the generation gap while acting as a catalyst to get younger citizens involved in city affairs—something desperately needed as our population and volunteer base changes in the coming years.

Clara Wendt is admired by many for decades of civic involvement. Although Mrs. Wendt cares deeply about town, the citizenry would be better served by her continuing as “city watchdog” rather than serving on council.