Election Today, Who I’m Voting for and Why
As everyone knows, today is election day in Carbondale. There are eleven candidates for three seats on the city council, and four candidates for mayor. Polls are open from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm. You can find your polling place here.
I wrote a post after the primary explaining my votes for Jane Adams, Lee Fronabarger, and John Holt for city council and another post explaining my vote for Sam Goldman for mayor. I’m going to follow up here explaining who I’m voting for in today’s election, starting with city council.
It’s no secret that I’ve been planning to vote for Jane Adams and Don Monty since the primary in February. That hasn’t changed. I voted for Don Monty because I think his decades of experience at city hall place him in a unique position to guide Carbondale through tough fiscal times. Here is what I wrote about Jane Adams back in February:
I mentioned above that there is usually one council candidate in each election who stands out as deserving my vote. In this election, that candidate was Jane Adams. I admire her work in establishing the Arbor District. Adams owns some rental property in Carbondale and, unlike many landlords, she has improved the community by maintaining and improving her properties. She has a professional looking website with a detailed platform and a blog. I agree with the positions Adams has taken, especially her emphasis on downtown development and neighborhood revitalization. I have seen Adams speak at city council meetings during citizen comments and I have read her letters to the editor. I have always been impressed, and have often wished she would run for council. Now she is, and she got my vote.
All of that still applies today. Simply put, Adams has the vision we need on city council.
That leaves one council seat, and several good candidates. I voted for Lee Fronabarger and John Holt in the primary, and I still think both would be good on the council. I thought Jackson did very well in the League of Women voters forum, and I thought Bradshaw showed some improvement as well. Any of these four would be acceptable choices for council.
But I still see the council election as a choice between Tom Grant and Lance Jack. I think Grant would be a fine council member. His experience in city government is valuable, and his current work as the owner of a sustainable farm brings insight into an increasingly important industry. Grant might win today and Carbondale will benefit if he does, but I am voting for Lance Jack.
It was Jack’s performance in the League of Women Voters forum that earned him my vote. Jack faced indirect criticism from other candidates for his vote in favor of the Saluki Way tax. Jack not only defended his vote for the Saluki Way tax, he defended representative democracy from demands for direct democracy.
Jack isn’t without his flaws. In the LWV forum, he suggested that the city take the lead in building a multi-story, mixed-use development at the intersection of E. Walnut and S. Washington. I think that’s a step too far. The city would have to be a partner in any development of that kind, but it should be a junior partner. But Jack’s focus on downtown and his willingness to consider unconventional solutions are valuable.
Because of the large number of candidates, this election is unpredictable. It’s possible that neither Jack nor Grant will be elected. If they aren’t, the candidates most likely to win are probably Jackson and Bradshaw, in that order, with either Holt or Fronabarger having the potential to pull off a dark horse victory. Any of these would be acceptable council members.
The mayor’s election was tougher for me. I voted for Sam Goldman in the primary, and I still like his platform. Steven Haynes has good experience in city government. But the election is between Joel Fritzler and George Maroney, and that’s a tough choice. It might seem odd, since the candidates are so different. I’ll explain as well as I can.
My personal politics are probably closer to Fritzler’s than to Maroney’s. But I’m not sure Fritzler can get things done, and he’d certainly be a part time mayor. On the other hand, I have little doubt that Maroney will be able to get things done, and I think he’d be a more active mayor than Fritzler. But I’m not sure I agree with Maroney on some important issues.
I had made up my mind to vote for Maroney because, as I’ve mentioned, I think Carbondale needs an active mayor. I had decided that strong and wrong is better than weak and right. But I never felt great about the decision. My feeling is that Maroney doesn’t understand the value of a traditional downtown, and that he doesn’t understand the built environment. I’m not sure he is diplomatic enough to play the political role of mayor in a town with as many competing interests as Carbondale.
Over the weekend, I decided I had to vote for Fritzler. He isn’t the active mayor I want. I’m not sure he has much of a positive agenda. But I also don’t think he’ll block the positive agenda others bring to the council. Fritzler also got an extra point for having a more active campaign. I’ve seen him walking neighborhoods, and he had a last minute TV commercial Monday evening.
Like the council election, the outcome of this race is unpredictable. Any of the four candidates could become mayor and, fortunately, each is qualified. I’m going with Fritzler, but I’d be satisfied with any of the others.
Comments are welcome.
(Incidentally, anonymous comments are allowed. The comment form asks for name and email by default, but feel free to use a pseudonym if you want to anonymously say who you’re voting for and why.)