Tomorrow the voters in Salisbury will cast their ballots for three city offices: mayor and two of the five council seats. However, the turnover on City Council could become three of five members if Gary Comegys is elevated to the Mayor’s chair. On the other hand, if Jim Ireton wins the Mayoral election and both incumbents retain their seats the current composition of City Council will continue on with a change in the philosophy of the Mayor’s office.
But which scenario would be the best for Salisbury? Well, if you want my opinion you’re obviously here to read it.
Let’s look at the Mayoral race. The biggest issues are crime, fiscal responsibility, the neighborhoods, and the environment. Both candidates are advocates of community policing, which in and of itself isn’t a bad idea. On fiscal responsibility, though, Ireton simply spoke in platitudes about transparency in spending and improving the audit. Gary Comegys has at least placed the ideas of privatization and outsourcing city services in the hopper and vows to “make it easier for businesses to do business in the city.” I don’t see that pro-job attitude coming from the Ireton camp as readily.
Needless to say, both candidates want to improve the neighborhoods and the Wicomico River. A couple questions spring to mind about what Ireton proposes though. For example, what funding would be there to establish a Community Law Center as Jim has advocated? Or the Wicomico River Project? It seems to me that Jim has a lot of ideas about using government to improve the quality of life, but is that truly the place of the city’s government to accomplish?
On the whole, while neither candidate is exciting or going to radically change Salisbury for the better, I have to believe that the better person for the job is Gary Comegys. I just don’t see Jim Ireton as being as good for bringing jobs to Salisbury – however, he’s the odds-on favorite to win given his reasonably large margin in the primary.
In District 1, the same sort of rule applies. I’m not crazy about either candidate’s prospects for improving the city because Shanie Shields hasn’t done a whole lot to distinguish herself in four years on City Council. However, there’s not a whole lot to recommend Cynthia Polk either. It’s difficult to see her as a good contributor to the cause.
The only race between two good candidates is in District 2. Both of them promise to be good stewards of taxpayer money, and either would be a great City Councilman. It would actually be somewhat of a nice scenario to have Comegys elected Mayor and allow the loser of this race to be selected to fill the vacated District 2 seat. I could see this more readily if Muir Boda loses than if Debbie Campbell does.
Now many who read this will say that the “good-ole-boy” network will be alive and well if Comegys is victorious. But there would be a different network in charge if Ireton wins and I’m not convinced that the change would be any better than that we’ve experienced in the 2 1/2 months since we’ve placed a new President in office.