Vote Wickham, Pace

Letter to the Editor · Wednesday, October 31, 2007
To the Editor:

I have appreciated being allowed to serve on the West Liberty City Council these past four years. Service to my community is a basic value for me, and a value that I hope to model for and instill in my children, Cornelia and Arza. As this year’s election approached, I had to make a decision about whether or not running for a second term was the best way for me to serve and improve our community.

The major items that I had wanted to achieve on city council when I first ran had either been realized or explored and found to not be economically sustainable for our community at this point and time (with the exception of written policies for how the City of West Liberty should conduct business – I still have four meetings left, though, and would not write that project off yet).

I have five projects that I would really like to see get done in our community: 1) establishing a veteran’s memorial on the property owned by the City between Iowa State Bank & Trust and Mercy Services; 2) developing the walking/biking trails identified in our City’s comprehensive plan; 3) getting the City connected to the larger Hoover Nature Trail and connected to the trail system in Iowa City (if ever completed, this would create a continuous bike trail from Waterloo to Burlington); 4) getting a recreation center built that meets community needs and is viable for the City to staff and maintain; 5) improving the look and cleanliness of our downtown district.

All of these projects are going to require cooperation and input from the City, but when it comes to planning, follow through, and fundraising, I do not believe the City is the best organization to get this done. I can be more effective in advocating for these projects through individual efforts and collaboration with other private and/or non-profit organizations. To not be on the West Liberty City Council did not mean that my service to our community was going to end; it would simply take a different form.

Given that I had defined a service role for myself apart from the city council, and the fact that my views on the direction of city policy and the role of our city manager has been much at odds with the other council members this past year, I felt I could best serve the community in an individual capacity and decided not to run for a second term.

When Gerry Wickham and Tom Pace announced that they would run for city council as write-ins, many people who support them and share their concerns about accountability and follow through have asked if they could write my name in, too.

Not to take anything away from Stacy or Bill (they care about this community, make valuable contributions to this community, and have the best interests of the City in mind), but Gerry and Tom more closely share my views about city policy, the role of the city and the role of the city manager. Electing Gerry and Tom would certainly change how effective my voice could be on city council and so, to those who ask whether they can write my name in as a candidate along with Gerry’s and Tom’s names, I would say that I would consider such a write-in vote to be an honor; a privilege; a statement from our community that the best place for me to serve is right where I am at; and an opportunity to serve that I would not turn down.


Chad Thomas

West Liberty, Iowa
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