We are impressed with the volume of letters of support and enthusiasm for City Council candidates Ian Thomas and Karl Skala. The campaigns of these two hopeful City Council members share many common themes also reflected in the core beliefs and inspiring mayoral platform of Sid Sullivan, including implementing community vision, job creation, relationship building, promoting the local economy, embracing community input, sustainability, viable public and alternative transportation initiatives, research-based decision making, fiscal responsibility and transparency. It seems to us that these things are not some sort of liberal agenda, but the basic values and collaborative thinking that encompass the type of Columbia most of us desire to live in and routinely put down on paper via decades of city-wide visioning projects, such as the 2010 Charrette Report.
As residents of the First Ward and longtime homeowners in the North Village Arts District, we can tell you from personal experience that living day to day with the relentless pressure put on our neighborhood by special interests and the unrestricted building of luxury student-only housing, that our current redevelopment process is broken and unnecessarily stressful for everyone involved. Having a forward-thinking, supportive and responsive City Council representative for your ward is a great asset, but what you also need is an independent and thoughtful leader at the top, like how Sid Sullivan would be as our next mayor.
The time we have lived in Columbia has been wonderful and we wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. That being said, the past three years have truly exercised our resolve and core belief that it is our duty to support our fellow citizens by being willing to testify in the public record, as there are currently a multitude of local issues that desperately need all of our attention on a daily basis. We do not want to see the Columbia we know and love disappear forever, and it seems from reading all of these candidate endorsement letters that many of us have similar expectations of what we want to see from our local representatives. If this is true, we should all make sure to provide our City Council the leadership it needs to get the things we all want done and vote for Sid Sullivan for mayor on Tuesday.
Patrick Keenan and Nina R. Wilson-Keenan are Columbia residents.