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Tidings picks in Ashland races

Editorial

Paper endorses Morrison, Hardesty, Morris and Giordano for city posts

Editor's note:

Our sister paper endorsed several candidates for Ashland positions. Here are excerpts from the Daily Tidings' editorials:

Mayor: John Morrison Morrison seems palatable to the business community because of his level-headed, moderate approach to city government. Yet he has been embraced and endorsed by the local Green Party, many from within the environmental community as well as those who want a more measured, if not resistant approach to growth and development.

His open, direct approach to city government suggests he will offer a moderate approach to issues, and help to build unity, somehow, during these divided times.

City Council, Position 1: Jack Hardesty Incumbent Don Laws takes a no-nonsense approach to city government, and has a proven record of voting that can easily be evaluated. He is consistent in his voting patterns, many of which we as an editorial board agree with.

The real difference in this race is that Hardesty seems poised to lead more than Laws. He wants to actively pursue an overarching plan for downtown growth. I will push for a visionary downtown master plan to improve Ashland's ambiance and make it safer and more pedestrian-friendly, like a small European city.

For this vision alone, we want to see what Jack Hardesty can do.

— City Council, Position 3: Michael Morris Incumbent Cate Hartzell is controversial. She probes, challenges, debates and sometimes stalls the wheels of city government. For better or worse.

Morris is a hands-on guy, touted by his supporters as someone willing to do the work to make Ashland a better place. They point to his volunteer efforts, his work on the Ashland Planning Commission and his cooperative nature as someone who will be a successful component of the entire council.

The greater issue with the editorial board is not over whether Hartzell should be on the council, but a basic disagreement with a couple of key positions, most notably the importance of infill development downtown. While we support her efforts on affordable housing and enthusiastically applaud her work to shelter the homeless, we think her stance is often too extreme toward appropriate development and as such, we would suggest giving Mike Morris a chance to prove he can do better.

City Council, Position 5: Tom Giordano With apologies to Gary Smith, whose plans for the city are vague and his interest in the council ambiguous at best, Position 5 will likely fall to either of the other two candidates who together represent the divisions within the city.

The stereotypes hold that Russ Silbiger is a muckraking activist seeking to seize control of the council from the greedy capitalist power brokers who want to commercialize every aspect of our city. And his opponent, Tom Giordano, is a planning commissioner lackey who takes his marching orders directly from the powerful unseen capitalist forces.

Neither seems true.

The difference is in the two candidates' goals for the city. They diverge on specific issues. Silbiger says keeping kids in schools, which means families living in Ashland, his number-one priority. A close second appears to be reining in growth so that Ashland does not lose its small town charm. Giordano wants to encourage infill development in the downtown to enhance the city's economic vitality.

We would rest comfortably with either man on the City Council. Their respective commitments are proven and laudable. But in the end, we feel Giordano is the right man for this seat, at this time.