Agitated claims that we’re in a “critical time” before the next city election and need an incumbent candidate with a “wealth of knowledge” about what’s happening in the city are greatly exaggerated. Anyone who actually follows the meetings or even reads the minutes knows:
1. There is nothing critical about this 8-month period before the regular city election. The vast bulk of council work is routine and uncomplicated — approvals or not of payments, agreements, variances, grant applications, commission appointments, subdivision plans, city projects, and studies. Information about it is readily available to all.
2. Non-routine matters — new proposals, policies, ordinances, rezoning or text amendments, for example — are neither frequent nor rocket science. Citizens who pay attention to them have no problem understanding them. An attorney candidate, experienced at developing “working knowledge” of matters in fairly short order, can pick up on them pronto if not already knowledgeable about them.
3. Preserving the city’s tree canopy is more important to its appearance and property values than has been recognized by the council so far, and the greatest loss has taken place on the incumbent candidate’s watch with little action or advocacy undertaken to prevent it.
Claims that we need a mayor to “hit the ground running” are also cooked up. We actually need one who will stay still and focus on Diamondhead alone because that’s what it takes to serve a city as its mayor — concentration on developing good policy and law and attracting business and talent from outside.
I want to see excellence for Diamondhead. Not just “willingness” in office to protect it and make it all it can be, but determination and drive to succeed. That takes ability to persuade, influence, build consensus, and get people on board to get the job done. I think one candidate has more of that ability than the other. That’s why I’m voting for Richard C. Willis for Mayor.
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