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Activity Important For At-Large Candidates

Political control of Jamestown’s City Council likely comes down to the choices voters make for the three at-large positions on the council.

Candidates still on the ballot are Democrats Tamu Graham-Reinhardt, Greg Rabb and Taylor Scott, Republicans Kim Ecklund and Jeff Russell and Libertarian Raven Mason-Thompson. While we have no doubts that Graham-Reinhardt, Rabb or Mason-Thompson would do well on the council, The Post-Journal endorses Ecklund, Russell and Scott for the three at-large seats on the council.

We continue to endorse Ecklund, who has done good work on the council over the years and whose experience continues to be needed on the council. Ecklund is a steady hand who brings with her experience in business, a mile-long list of community involvement and an in-depth knowledge of the city’s fire department. Ecklund deserves another two years on the council.

Russell also deserves your vote. Several years ago, former police officer Steve Szwejbka earned a seat on the council and brought to the position an understanding of what city police officers deal with on a day-to-day basis, the stresses of the job and ways the council could possibly help. We hope that Russell can bring a similar voice to the council, particularly in this time of haggling over police and firefighter pay and benefits to find something fair to public safety employees and fair to taxpayers as well.

The third at-large spot should, in our view, go to Taylor Scott, a newcomer who could represent very well the young people Jamestown hopes to bring into the city. As a real estate agent, Scott understands full well the dynamics happening in Jamestown’s neighborhoods. The city sorely needs to do a better job of policy making in neighborhoods and can certainly do more to publicly bring together the myriad agencies working on neighborhoods into something resembling coherent neighborhood policy. She would certainly bring fresh ideas and be able to articulate them.

As we said yesterday, now is the time for the council to step up its activity level. The council has a role to play in civic affairs that is more important than routine resolutions that pay the bills. The City Council seems to have abdicated its responsibility for neighborhood policy and to help come up with ideas to generate foot traffic in the downtown business core to non-profit organizations. The candidates for council — both in the wards and for at-large positions — must not fall victim to the pitfalls of the past. The City Council must take on new importance in city affairs starting Jan. 1. A new mayor will certainly have ideas for programs and changes, but the council must take its role as a policy making body to heart. Ecklund, Russell and Scott are the best bets among the at-large candidates to do just that.

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