Sunday, November 16, 2014

Jane Adams Statment

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:

Jane Adams with supporters at City Hall
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 districts.

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 alarming rate.

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.

Revitalize Carbondale

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 Gigabit City 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.

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