Defeating an incumbent, especially for a City Council seat, requires the challenger to make a compelling argument to voters that a change is in their best interest. Two of the four contested races on the Nov. 6 ballot include attractive candidates, but we don’t think any have made that case.
Councilors are essentially volunteers who work long hours and can be criticized when residents disapprove of their actions.
In position 2, incumbent Michael Morris faces Tonya Graham, executive director of the Geos Institute. Graham is thoughtful and committed to community service, but so is Morris, and his 13 years on the Planning Commission and eight years on the council are hard to match. Theo White, the third candidate in the race, has run before but earned little support. We recommend voters re-elect Morris.
For position 3, incumbent Jackie Bachman proved herself as chair of the Senior Program Advisory Committee, formed to recommend changes after the controversial dismissal of the Senior Center manager. The council unanimously appointed her in March — over Graham and George Kramer, who are also running for seats in November — and she has served ably since. Challenger Julie Akins, a former television news director and freelance reporter for the Tidings, brings some good ideas to the table, but can’t match Bachman’s record of service on city committees. Al Wilstatter, a one-time councilor and former owner of Twin Plunges, a local swimming pool that closed in 1978, would rather talk about the city’s past than its future. We recommend Bachman.