The Carbondale Observer

News and commentary about Carbondale, Illinois and SIUC

Don Monty Officially Running for Council

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WSIU and B(ee)TL(e) Juice both had articles Monday on Don Monty’s official announcement that he’s running for city council. B(ee)TL(e) Juice also had a link to the press release. Check out that article for the link. Monty is the first candidate to officially announce his candidacy for city council.

I’m going to pull a couple of quotes for comment:

1. The primary function of the City is to protect the public health, safety and welfare. Police and fire protection are the most basic services. The City also has a responsibility to protect neighborhoods and the public by enforcing codes and ordinances and by following the Comprehensive Plan. The City must maintain a safe system of streets and sidewalks. The City must retain ownership of the water and sanitary sewer systems and assure continued high-quality service. Likewise, the City must continue to operate its own refuse and recycling programs in an environmentally sound and cost effective manner.

I like every word of this. Opposition to privatizing the water and sewer systems and the trash and recycling services will earn votes in Carbondale. Since Cole is leaving the council the issue is probably dead, but voters will want to know where candidates stand.

Code enforcement is important if we want to prevent further deterioration of our rental housing. The comprehensive plan is important too, and I’m glad Monty mentioned it. I’m planning to post on the plan in the future, so I’ll reserve comment until then.

Monty mentions maintaining our streets and sidewalks, and I’m all for maintenance, but we should remember that there are still several streets in Carbondale that lack sidewalks. I’d like for the city to develop a plan to fill the gaps in our sidewalk system.

Also from Monty’s press release:

3. The City must promote economic development in a thoughtful manner. A growing economy is essential for creating jobs for Carbondale residents and graduates of Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC). Residents must recognize the importance of SIUC to the local economy. The roles of retail sales, health and other economic sectors must also be recognized. The Downtown area needs particular attention. Carbondale must recognize that it is a “college town” and balance making the community attractive to students while keeping it attractive for “permanent” residents.

This is good too, but I’m hoping to see some specific ideas. I would be especially interested in ideas to improve downtown and make Carbondale a more “attractive” town for both college students and permanent residents.

I’m also hoping “thoughtful” economic development doesn’t turn out to mean lack of economic development. Obviously there are some developments we wouldn’t welcome (chemical plants, oil refineries, etc.) but I think we should make it clear both to potential local entrepreneurs and to outside investors that Carbondale is open for business.

I haven’t heard whether Monty has also submitted a letter of interest to be appointed to Lance Jack’s old seat.

Monty worked for the city for 35 years, so he’s had plenty of time to gain experience. Considering his long time residence in the city, he likely also has a network of supporters. Monty has to be considered a first tier candidate.

Comments are welcome.

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