A race where I wish we had a 3rd candidate (but not Niky). Alderman Ahrens has done nothing in particular to displease me, although I can't name anything in particular he's done that was extremely pleasing either. Winborn is somewhat of an unknown to me, as I've never particularly followed county politics. Many people in my parents' generation seem to know and respect him for his sporting goods store and political service. This is almost a coin-toss, especially since Ahrens speaks entirely in "politician" sometimes. I wish Winborn had spent a term as alderman first...
My Pick: Ahrens by a nose.
One of my picks is easy. Alderman Howard. She's been the lone sane person on the council on several occasions. I went to school with several of her kids, and I just feel that she is a good person. She had the courage to stand by her vote on the stormwater fee, even though it probably cost her some votes. Out of the other 3, none jump out at me as being the clear choice. Cunningham seems like he'd be a fighter on the council, which has its up and down sides. Vance and Frink seem like they have a lot of similar views.
My Picks: Howard and, oh... lets say... Frink
VanFossen all but made a fool of himself at the first Police/Fire forum. He somehow inserted his opposition to fixing the River Drive retaining wall into his answer to a question about improving police services. He (wisely?) stayed home from the next forum. Gibbs had clear, logical answers for all the questions, even though I felt like his fix for the budget was overly simplified. He represented the city well as Mayor, and hopefully he will support continued downtown and riverfront development.
My Pick: Gibbs. I wish he had run for Mayor
I can't fault Hammerlinck for being young, but I can blame him for only telling people what they want to hear. Bushek has been bold in standing up for her vote on what I believe was a necessary fee. She has served the city in different forms for a long time, and hopefully would take a leadership role in the next council. Plus she provides an endless target of short jokes.
My Pick: Bushek, although I don't think she'll win
From the minute he chose to read "Black Christmas" at a city council meeting, Alderman Meyer was not going to be taken seriously. This is truly a shame, because I admire him as a person, even though I hold differing opinions than him on most topics. Whether or not the poem was offensive is immaterial; what Keith should have known is that it wasn't appropriate for a council session. He has improved greatly over his time, but he's still not taken seriously. Bill Boom has good ideas and works well with others. I believe he can compromise, which is a much-needed trait at City Hall. His only downside is his recent wishy-washy-ness about the stormwater fee. His idea for a 3rd Ward Council representing different neighborhoods makes sense, and I would very much like to see Alderman Meyer on THAT council. I would like to believe that the two of them could work together on 3rd ward issues.
My Pick: Boom. I consider myself a Boom supporter.
This is an interesting one. I've been accused of being Anti-Jen and Anti-Ray, which in some ways is true. I believe Mrs. Olsen served a valuable purpose in fighting for her beliefs against JLCS. If she hadn't stood up against Cobblestone, instead of nice (but small) houses, there would be a 20+ unit building on the site. However, I think she's been a little too rabid in blaming all the city's problems on low income housing and JLCS. Attracting homeless people may cause an increase in vandalism or public urination, but its not causing shootouts at Northwood Village. Alderman Ambrose seems to have outdated opinions on a number of issues, and his anti-dog and anti-sex offender initiatives were clearly just feel-good political moves. His supporters are another large (and bigoted) strike against him.
My Pick: Olsen (Didn't see that coming, did you?)
This is another tough one for me. I personally disagree with Lynn's "basic services only" agenda, but he is a good alderman. His website actually provides reasoning and justification for his votes, and he is very well-spoken. I think he would make a good at-large Alderman. Mr. Franken just moved into town, and has some controversy in his past, so it should be an easy choice. After all, I've lived here over 23 times longer than him. However, I was quite impressed with his answers at the first forum. He also seemed more in line with my pro-downtown, pro-riverfront feelings. If he isn't elected, I hope he will stay involved in Davenport politics and run again.
My Pick: Lynn (I wish I could vote for both)
The next three are toss-ups for me. I have never liked the Mayor's attitude towards the public (including Niky) at council meetings. He also doesn't seem to be a big fan of Fly's famed "transparency." That said, he supports things that I generally support. Gilmour, however, might also support much of the downtown and new urbanist ideas being debated currently. He hardly comes across as the opposite of Charlie. The anti-Brooke, Pro-Niky crowd has already had their big defeat, so....
My Pick: Gilmour
When I first read Swanson's candidate statement on Fly's blog, I didn't see a single thing in there that wasn't the easy way out. He told people what they want to hear. He'll improve services and lower taxes/fees! Too bad that's a lot harder than people seem to think. Also his past issues as a police officer pointed out by the QCTimes don't help him. Barnhill doesn't come across as the best or most well-spoken alderman on the council either, but he tends to vote (along with a crowd?) for things that I approve of.
My Pick: Barnhill (Can I vote neither?)
I cannot think of anything of note that Alderman Engleman has done. However, I cannot vote for Dumas. I think its clear he is planning a career as a politician and "Alderman" is just the first box that needs to be checked. I can't picture him running for a second term, because someone that can get a possible presidential candidate to speak at their fundraisers is going to be on to bigger things as fast as possible. In a supposedly non-partisan election, he has gone out of his way to be Mr. Republican. Plus I like where the city has been going, so I should endorse a few more status quo guys.
My Pick: Engelman (Franken should move to the 8th)