City Commissioner Steve Schwab has announced intentions to run against Mayor John Warford in the upcoming election to be held in June. It is my firm believe that Schwab is the best choice to succeed Warford as mayor of this great city.
Let me begin by saying that I do not think that Mayor Warford has done a bad job in the position he’s held since 2002. He has achieved a great deal as mayor, and Bismarck is a better city for it. However, I believe that Schwab brings something new to the table and is ultimately a better choice.
There are many who question Schwab’s position on things. They are concerned that he is reluctant to move forward and ensure continued growth for the city. There is no doubt that Schwab is opposed to many proposals brought to discussion at Commission meetings – often the only commissioner voting against topics. It is because of this that they feel Schwab is an obstructionist who’s unwilling to move forward. This simply is not the case.
There’s something to be said about someone who can stand up and say “no” when he thinks it’s wrong, rather than play the politics game and say “yes” to everything because everyone else is. Growth and expansion is great, but too much, too fast will lead to problems.
It’s not so much that Schwab’s saying “no” on things to prevent growth, he’s just being cautious with spending our tax dollars.
Look at all the spending our city’s done in the past couple years, under Warford’s supervision, with plans for more in the near future – so much so that Warford has proposed raising our city’s sales tax. Many of these projects have been met with strong criticism and controversy, especially the Aquatic Center.
That means that if Warford continues as mayor, there is a good chance our sales tax will increase by 1%. He put his proposal on the back-burner until this summer, which is rather convenient since elections are in June.
It seems to me that Schwab is simply representing the beliefs of the general public, as he’s voting right in line with how the public voted on matters, rather than finding ways to go against their wishes, as has been done time and time again.
Schwab is opposed to using TIF funds to pay for the quiet rail because the voters voted against it, and was also cautious about using tax dollars to fund the Aquatic Center (again after the public voted against it). Schwab has opposed funding the Civic Center expansion without a public vote, and he’s also raised legitimate questions about the $7 million parking ramp that no one else was willing to discuss.
Schwab isn’t exactly a penny pincher either. He is just a bit more conservative with spending our tax dollars. Many people seem to have forgotten, or don’t realize, that Schwab does have plans to improve the city – ones I feel are merited, including improvements to Washington Street near Horizon. He also was the biggest proponent of building the Global War on Terrorism Fallen Heroes Memorial, which was erected last summer – through private donations, I might add, not tax dollars.
If you don’t agree with Schwab’s position on matters, than he’s probably not your guy. However, he does seem to be the only member of the Commission who makes his decisions based on how us citizens vote, so if your position on things goes with the general opinion, he probably will support it based on what I’ve seen.
I know there are many who support both Warford and Schwab, so I see a tight race. There will be no landslide winner for either candidate, and Bismarck’s future looks bright no matter who is chosen.
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