President John F. Kennedy described himself as an idealist without illusion. I always took this to mean while it remains important to maintain your core beliefs or principles, one needs to be willing to work with others of differing views to achieve a common good. Too often of late, at the federal, the state, and even the local level this concept has been lacking. Personal agendas, uncompromising dogmatic beliefs and a lack of respect for one another have prevailed. Unfortunately it is rancor that makes the headlines. It paints a picture of a distracted, dysfunctional, unproductive City Council.
As City Clerk I have had a front row seat to every Council meeting, the good, the bad and the ugly. This Council, unfortunately, has not been given enough credit for the good they have done. Working for neighborhood quality of life issues ranks among the best. They have advocated for improved street lighting, graffiti removal, curb and sidewalk replacement, along with community oriented policing. On occasion this emphasis on basic neighborhood services may have conflicted with the Mayor’s priorities. It is not that the Mayor does not support better neighborhoods. He does. It is a question of priorities. The Mayor’s are reflected in the budget he submits to Council for approval.
Councilmembers of course, have their own priorities. Councils according to law can only reduce budget items, not increase. This is where negotiations take place. Fortunately this Mayor has an “open door” to listen, learn, defend and accept Council input. The most effective Councilmembers work with the Mayor. When this happens, we all win. A well run, functioning city that delivers services to its citizens in a fiscally responsible way truly becomes one in which people want to live, work, and play. More than a slogan, it is a city where families and businesses want to invest in the future.
So what does my candidacy offer? A lot. Both an undergraduate and graduate degree in administration from Indiana University and Notre Dame respectively. Thirty five years of a common sense approach to public service. I have both the aptitude and the attitude to work together for all of us.
In closing I offer another Kennedy quote, “Let us not seek the Republican or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
I ask for your vote on Tuesday, May 5th.
Meet the Candidates is a series introducing candidates in their own words. Articles are posted verbatim. South Bend Voice will publish articles for all South Bend office seekers who are on the May 5th primary ballot.