All council seats contested with entrance of John Gaffey

John Gaffey entered the race for City Council this week, ensuring that all three available seats will be contested in the November election.

"I kept waiting for someone to run against Carol (Voisin)," he said. "I've been on the fence about running and that position kept going uncontested. To have an uncontested seat like that is not good."

He and Voisin, who will vie for council position No. 1, plan to meet for the first time on Saturday, he said.

Gaffey, who has lived in Ashland since 1980, has never held a formal government post. He has been an active participant in community discussion, however, sending comments to the council via its electronic mailing list as well as writing guest forums, letters to the editor and making frequent entries on the Daily Tidings Web comment section.

He applied for a council seat vacated by Chris Hearn in 2005 and circulated a petition for a ballot measure to sell off the city-owned Ashland Fiber Network in 2006. He abandoned the campaign when he failed to collect the required 2,500 signatures.

If elected to the council, he said he would like to work on planning issues such as the updating the city's 25-year comprehensive plan and railroad district plan while giving city staff more leeway.

"I'm not sure the way the City Council is managing the staff has been conducive to keeping things moving," he said. "You don't have to have fingerprints all over everything."

Gaffey has spent most of his career in graphic design and works full-time as an AutoCAD drafter. He said he would like to lessen the workload of councilors so the role is more accessible to working people.

"I think right now the popular conception is it can't be done by someone with a family and a 40-hour-a-week job," he said.

Cate Hartzell and Greg Lemhouse are running for council position three and Russ Silbiger and Pam Vavra both filed for council position five.

Stefani Seffinger also filed for a seat on the Parks and Recreation Commission, running against incumbent JoAnne Eggers. Seffinger said she would like to conduct surveys on changing park use and consider adding more dog-friendly park areas.

Jim Lewis is running for the other Parks Commission seat, the last uncontested seat of the election.

The filing deadline for city positions is Aug. 15.

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 227 or .

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