>>Valley Patriot>>

District "F" (& Lawrence)
Deserve Better
Jim Hoole, President, Colonial Heights Neightborhood Association

Two years ago, the voters of south Lawrence decided they wanted to make a change in representation for District “F.”

Unfortunately, the change that occurred is not the one that was envisioned.

Today, we have a city council representative that rarely attends neighborhood meetings. When he does, he never has anything to say.

We have a councilor that is supposed to represent us on the council. When the motion was on the floor for the new city tax rate to be voted on, our district had no representation because Michael Fielding decided to take a walk. He never voted on the motion, one of the most important issues of the year.

Our councilor only takes on the required minimum for the position. One only needs to drive around the district and see the deterioration of our streets and sidewalks and the accumulation of trash. Nothing has been done to try to get tax monies diverted to our district for the improvement of these roads and sidewalks.

It has become apparent over the last two years that Michael Fielding has a total lack of understanding in the area of budgets and financial management matters, as well. Last fall he voted against a perfectly capable candidate for the office of city budget director. Because of his total lack of understanding of accounting, budgeting and finance, he made a poor decision. Had he had this basic understanding, he would have known that this individual was perfectly capable of doing the job. I believe that his decision was politically motivated in an attempt to embarrass the administration and not in the best interests of the taxpayers of Lawrence.

In short, the last two years have resulted in a total lack of accomplishment.

Why is that?

The only reason Michael Fielding ran for public office in District “F” was to keep the then councilor Marie Gosselin from retaking the council seat. Once this was accomplished, he had no further incentive to do anything for the voters who put him in office. He accomplished his task and just sat it out for two years, cheating the voters of effective representation.

There has been a total breakdown in the level of professionalism in this position.

For these reasons, I have decided to enter the race for city councilor in District “F.” I think it is time for us to help Michael Fielding pack his bags and send him on a one-way walk from city hall.

I think the taxpayers of District “F” deserve a lot more from their representative.

We need a councilor who can bring back the level of professionalism that we deserve.

We need a councilor who is pro-active and will seek out the problems in the neighborhood before they become insurmountable issues.

We need a councilor who will work with all parties at the council, city and state levels to bring funds into our district for improvement of the community and overall quality of life.

In an article in the May 1st edition of Rumba, “Lantigua legislation seeks funding for local non profits,” representative Lantigua filed amendments to the 2006 budget that if passed would bring funds to community service organizations such as the Arlington Neighborhood Association in the amount of $145,000, as well as others. Our council representative needs to work with the legislators at the state level to try to get some of this type of funding for the south Lawrence neighborhoods as well for community development and improvements.

And we need a councilor that is willing to step outside the box and come up with new and innovative ways to get things done.

Just because it’s not the way it’s done, doesn’t mean that it can’t be done a different way.

We owe it to the taxpayers to use this initiative and get things done more efficiently, and in the most economical and cost effective manner.

I have spent the better part of the last 30 years developing relationships, creating alliances and building teams to work together to accomplish common goals.

I have also spent over 30 years building budgets and preparing and analyzing financial reports. I know how to dig into the tiny nooks and crannies of a budget and dig out the fat. We need this type of professionalism in our city council if we are to move forward.

I have always been a team player and team leader. Standing alone, we become vulnerable. Together, we become a fortress. Working as a team, great things can be done.

I can’t promise that I will get new streets and sidewalks in all areas of the district. I will promise to listen and do my best to work with all parties at all levels to bring about the resources to resolve the issues.

I will make one promise that I can keep. I promise you that I will not walk out on an important vote. I will make every effort to return to you in services and quality of life issues with a greater return for your tax dollars.

I close with these three questions:

Do we want a new vision of professionalism at city hall?
Do we want a new vision of cooperation at city hall?
Do we want a new vision of accomplishment at city hall?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then I ask that you join me and jump on the new vision express and ride with me all the way to Lawrence City Hall as your next city councilor from District “F.”

*Send your questions comments to ValleyPatriot@aol.com
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