With voting just a week away, we're still puzzling over why there is only one contested city race on Moliners' ballots.|
Even the retirement of Mayor Don Welvaert failed to draw a crowd. Whether that is because Moliners are satisfied with the way the city is run or today's political climate played a part, we cannot say. But though the bulk of the posts are uncontested April 9, every city voter will have the chance to choose between two top-notch candidates for at-large alderman. The race pits small business owner and incumbent Ald. Stephanie Acri against retired Moline fire chief Ron Miller.
Ald. Acri was appointed in 2011 to replace the late Gary Brown. The mechanical engineer and owner of Evans Premium Manufacturing Inc. has demonstrated a willingness to do her homework before making tough choices. Even Mr. Miller says that he initially was impressed by Ald. Acri's performance. Where they parted company was over the issue that led to Mr. Miller's decision to resign as fire chief: privatizing Moline's EMS. In the end, the city didn't privatize the ambulance service, but agreed to cut positions via attrition. The former chief remains critical of the outcome. We don't. Whatever one might think of how it was reached, we believe the city made the right decision.
Mr. Miller stresses that he is not a single issue candidate and continued to attend city council meetings long after his retirement. He'd like Moline to focus spending on "needs" rather than "wants." We agree in principle, but disagree with the notion that city leaders aren't already doing that. Indeed, we believe the best government leaders understand how to balance the two. Ald. Acri has demonstrated an ability to do that.
We're confident voters would be well served by either candidate. Both are caring, committed, experienced community leaders. But because of her strong performance as alderman and her welcome small business background, we recommend that Ald. Acri retain the seat to which she was appointed.
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