2011 Election Issues
I’ve already posted about some of the potential mayoral candidates for the 2011 city elections. Now I want to look at a few of the probable issues.
Earlier this year there was a move to allow grocery stores to sell beer and wine. This seems pretty reasonable, as grocery stores are allowed to sell alcohol in most cities. The city council tabled the move for now, but the Chamber of Commerce and many local residents support it, so this issue could return.
Crime will likely be an issue in next year’s elections. Over the last couple of years, the number of armed robberies and muggings seems to have increased dramatically. Each week when I open the Carbondale Times the police reports contain at least one mention of someone being robbed while walking at night. It’s hard to say what can be done about this, but a reallocation of police resources away from writing drinking tickets and toward preventing these violent crimes might be a good start.
During the past few years, notable historic buildings have been destroyed in Carbondale. The old Bank of Carbondale building, which housed the Stage Company for many years, was torn down in 2005 along with a few other buildings.
The Tuscan Lodge, where famous musicians like Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and Cab Calloway once played was demolished in 2009. The First Baptist Church, which stood at the corner of University and Main for over 100 years was also demolished in 2009.
The Stotlar House, a beautiful example of prairie style architecture, was demolished this year. There were unsuccessful efforts to save the Tuscan Lodge and the Stotlar House. I’d be interested in seeing candidates take positions on a stronger historic preservation ordinance.
Form of government may become an issue in 2011. Brent Ritzel is on record favoring an aldermanic system of government. Carbondale voters rejected a move to a ward system in 2001, so I’m not sure how far this idea can go.
The role of the mayor has been somewhat controversial in recent years. Current mayor Brad Cole has been an active, full time mayor, and some don’t like that. The Southern Illinoisan article announcing Fritzler’s candidacy quoted one local man as saying “It seems like we’ve strayed from the council-manager form of government. I believe he’s going to restore it.”
In the 2007 mayoral elections, Brad Cole explicitly ran to be a full time mayor and Sheila Simon was running to be a part time mayor. At least in 2007, the voters preferred to keep Cole on the job full time. We’ll see if it becomes an issue this time, especially considering that two candidates, Maroney and Goldman, are retired and could presumably serve full time.
Mayor Brad Cole himself may turn out to be a key issue in 2011. Cole has both supporters and enemies in the community and his two terms have had their share of controversy. Fritzler has been especially critical of Cole. If a clear successor candidate emerges, the election could turn out to be a referendum on a third Cole term, even though Cole will not be on the ballot himself.
Economic development and redevelopment are sure to be issues in 2011, but I will cover them in a future post.
These are the issues that came immediately to mind for me. What have I missed? What issues do you think will be important in 2011?
Comments are welcome.