Here's the statement Councilwoman Jane Adams read yesterday while announcing her candidacy for mayor of Carbondale:
Yesterday I met with family, friends, and neighbors in front of
City Hall to declare that I am running for Mayor. Here is the statement
that I read:
Today I’m announcing that I will be a candidate for Mayor of Carbondale.
Four years ago I ran for Council because I believed that
Carbondale needed vigorous action to renew and revitalize the city, and
to encourage reinvestment in our neighborhoods and local business
We need now, more that ever, to create the foundation to “catch the next wave” of innovation.
The only other announced candidate for Mayor has a long and
successful history as a businessman. He’s by all accounts a good man.
The city had done business with him for many years.
But, he made a perplexing statement regarding the current City
Council. He’s quoted as saying that for the past year – that is, since
Don Monty took over as acting mayor – it’s been dysfunctional.
My experience as a City Council member is that much of City Hall is increasingly dysfunctional, not the Council.
The city government has had significant cost overruns, especially
for the new Fire Station and the Schwartz Street repairs. The City
Manager projects employee compensation rising at 4.5% a year. Every year
they seek more taxes. Our reserves are projected to decline at an
Additionally, we hear increasing reports of non-responsiveness to residents’ and business peoples’ concerns.
Not all of City Hall is broken. I hear excellent feedback
regarding our water and sewer department, which provides outstanding
water, responds rapidly to water main breaks and sewer problems, and is
planning well for investing in our aging water and sewer lines.
But it’s clear that the City’s management must find ways to lower its costs.
It cannot come back to the taxpayers every year – especially when most residents’ and businesses’ incomes are flat.
The City must lower barriers to business and residential development
As you know, my husband and I own a number of rental properties
that we’ve restored. We know first hand the difficulties with dealing
with the City bureaucracy.
There’s no reason that many of the difficulties that we, and other business owners, experience cannot be overcome. It
requires effective management systems, use of up-to-date technologies,
and constantly upgrading our staff’s skills, as well as making sure that
everyone fully understands why rules exist – and getting rid of those regulations that can’t be justified.
Frankly, the City’s management seems to be complacent about the stumbling blocks that many local entrepreneurs experience from the City.
These issues must
be addressed if the entrepreneurial energy in this town is to be unlocked.
Advancement of women and minorities
City Hall is also a place where women and African Americans have a
very difficult time getting promoted to top positions. We need to build
more effective mentoring of all
employees so that talent rises to the top.
There are a number of initiatives I will pursue to revitalize Carbondale, in collaboration with the City Council.
We need to lead in making Carbondale an attractive place to live and to invest.
Carbondale has two large and growing fiberoptic networks. We have a
strong knowledge-based economy with SIU and SIH/Memorial Hospital. As a
we need strong City and community leadership to seize the opportunities available to be leaders in developing 21st
century industries and services.
Southern Illinois grows wonderful fruits, vegetables, and pastured
animals. We need to nurture the local food system with a 12-month
farmers market and promotion of value-added manufacturing.
Our aging residential neighborhoods can provide comfortable homes
for the people who work here – homes that are close to work and
services. We need to implement the suggestions in the Comprehensive Plan
as well as find other tools for promoting homeowership and reinvestment
in our neighborhoods.
We also need to reduce barriers to new residential subdivisions.
The Comprehensive Plan outlined a number of zoning and other initiatives
that have, so far, been left on the shelf.
A vigorous citizens’ committee has been planning Downtown development. It must be implemented.
Our city's citizens and investors are on the move. It's vital that
City government make this energy work for the entire community.
I look forward to working with the people of Carbondale, the City
Council, and the City staff to build a bright future for our town.