The best kind of voting decisions are the ones where you can make arguments both for and against candidates. That situation encourages voters to decide specifically what kind of representative they want in an office-holder.
The Herald & Review is endorsing the re-election of Julie Moore Wolfe for mayor of Decatur, with some reservations.
There are factors that both favor and go against Moore Wolfe, current councilman David Horn and candidate Jacob Jenkins, an employee at the Illinois Department of Human Services. But ultimately, each of the three perform an important role in the dynamic of the city.
Jenkins is a regular presence at council meetings, and his plain-spoken style gets his points across. But he's also guilty of brow-beating council members at those meetings, and he may not have the same consensus-building skills that are vital to the position. His voice is an important one that could even lose impact as mayor.
Similar arguments could be made about Horn. He's a regular outlier in council discussions, but that's important in that he asks the questions to which some do not want to give answers or face the fallout of those answers.
Horn's view on the importance of neighborhoods fits well with his view on the issue of Decatur's population loss. Not all flight is frightened and disgusted people leaving a city they feel is dying. Certainly a portion of the issue can be blamed on what's happening statewide and dissatisfaction with actions in Springfield.
Jenkins' excitement about establishing an enterprise zone and his belief that such a zone would be as appealing to locals as attractions in St. Louis and Chicago is infectious. He also correctly points out that people need to get involved and make their voices heard and work to help one another.
Jacobs also argues in favor of a strong mayor system of government, an argument that was voted down a dozen years ago. (Which, of course, has nothing to do with good or bad, and might even be an idea more voters would support now.) Jacobs also made clear he was running with a vision. He wasn't running simply to oppose the other candidates.
Horn also places importance on the timeliness of the council's agenda. He asserts two business days is not enough time for the public to be able to ponder and come to a conclusion on important issues. We agree. That is a problem that stifles discussion, and it ought to be fixed.
We're particularly pleased that each candidate made repeated promises that the neighborhood revitalization effort would be revived. That's an effort too important to be abandoned.
We're not entirely on board with Moore Wolfe's positions. We still object, and will continue to object, to the lack of transparency about the search to replace Tim Gleason as city manager. More than ever, transparency in government is a necessity.
But Moore Wolfe can also take pride in her role in taking care of some of the nagging issues of recent years. We as a city are not facing the wrath of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the lake is dredged.
Moore Wolfe points proudly to her role in economic development, as she should. The connections the mayor has made during a lifetime of being in the public eye definitely help Decatur get its share of acknowledgment from Springfield and from Washington, D.C. Those efforts didn't start when Moore Wolfe was appointed mayor after the death of Mike McElroy. They've been present since before she was voted onto the city council.
Keeping that vision, leadership and direction is important. Those are the reasons we're endorsing Moore Wolfe.