By Jennifer Grimes
Triplicate staff writer
The opportunity for change is in the wind for Crescent City, candidates for the city council say.
A resort hotel is planned for the waterfront and is a hoped-for economic boost. Major projects are under way to upgrade the citys infrastructure. New water and sewer lines are being installed and expansion of the wastewater treatment facility is being studied.
Also under consideration are several annexation proposals, including one that would bring Crescent Citys harbor inside the city limits for the first time. Although the move would not lessen the authority of the Harbor Commission, it would allow for increased city services in an area that traditionaly has been a hub of Crescent City commerce.
The way the city and its council reacts to this changing political landscape is a common thread running through the race for Crescent City City Council this year.
Glenn Gary, Kenneth Hollinsead, George Mayer, Ernest Moore and William Youngblood are competing for three open positions on the citys highest decision making body. Despite recent progress on some goals, the four newcomers to politics said they still feel not enough is getting done.
I feel the council is stagnated and needs new blood, Gary said.
Theres a lack of activity on the part of city council; of getting things accomplished and springing the city to life, said Kolodner. Youngblood and Moore echoed those concerns.
The two incumbents, however, Hollinsead and Mayer, said they feel the momentum is there to carry Crescent City to a brighter future.
Were going through major changes now, and were in good favor with the county and the harbor. Its really good for the future, Mayer said.
All of the candidates said they have the leadership skills and management experience to help them in the task of being a council member. Hollinsead and Mayer have more than 10 years of experience as city council members.
Yet, each of the six have slightly different approaches to coming to a group decision.
Moore said knowing the facts will always lead to the right conclusion.
You cant argue with facts. Its a law of nature...I would give (the other council members) my facts to prove this is the way it should be, Moore said.
Gary had a similar view. He said doing homework on the issues will help him show the other council members why he is right when disagreements arise.
Majority rule and compromise were the strategies mentioned by the other four candidates.
Its an arena at times, but with five people on the council you have to use common sense. You have to compromise, Mayer said.
Kolodner said the key is to research each topic and he said if his opinion is outnumbered by the other members, he wont pout.
You go with the majority and Ill throw my shoulder to the wheel to go in that direction, he said.
And compromise is a skill Hollinsead said hes had all his life.
Getting down to the issues, all six contenders believe the city needs to grow through annexation and to make aggressive moves to bring in new businesses.
If you look at downtown, you see that stores are empty and businesses are dying. I feel it could be better and I want to take a shot at doing something to change it, Kolodner said.
Youngblood said a proposed resort hotel on the waterfront will help bring money into the community, but said more energy needs to go toward making a more diverse economy here.
Among his reasons for running, Hollinsead said he wants to assure the hotel project and annexation go through, as well as a new water system.
However, the question of what to do about the citys blight problem is where the six split.
Hollinsead and Moore said a new ordinance created to define and punish the existence of blight is not the best way to solve the problem.
I think (the city) got carried away and jumped on the bandwagon. They should have done more research and anyway, they dont enforce the one they have now, Moore said.
Gary said he feels the new ordinance is too vague and needs to be refined but he favors passage of a revised blight law.
If you make the people feel good, theyll do good on their own. Get them out of bed, and get them to want to be part of the community, Gary said.
The other candidates favor the new law as it is proposed.
It will let us do something if we need to. Its a tool, Mayer said.
Youngblood and Kolodner said passing the blight law is a step in the right direction.
As for conflicts of interest, the candidates said they own only their own homes within the city limits, and although Mayer said he has a construction company, he said he wont bid on any city jobs.
The three top vote getters in the race will fill the three open positions on the council in the Nov. 7 general election.
The one seat where no incumbent is running is currently held by Mayor Mike Scavuzzo, who decided not to file for re-election.