I went to the candidates’ forum [Oct. 9] at A-B Tech and wow! I’m voting for Brian Haynes, Keith Young and Rich Lee. I’m not voting for Marc Hunt or Julie Mayfield.
Question No. 1: Shall we have a park across from the basilica?
Brian Haynes: “When you are elected to office, you should do what the people want. And the people seem to want a park. It’s my job to go with the will of the people. Rather than say why a park can’t be done, I would see how it can be done. A park will not cost millions; we can get a lot of private donations and build it at a far lower cost. On this issue, either the people have a say-so, or the developers do. It’s that simple.”
Keith Young: “I agree. It’s up to the citizens, not the developers.” (All night long, he hit hard on the developers. Thank you, sir.)
Rich Lee: “It should be a park as indicated in the Downtown Master Plan.” (I did not know that.)
And now, dancing around the issue:
Marc Hunt: First, there was self-promotion. “I hate to toot my own horn,” he began and then proceeded to toot, listing all the green things he has done. Finally, he said: No park. “Even the simplest park would cost $4 million.” (Voters don’t believe that.)
After the forum, my friend and I got back into our car. I said, “So what did you think of Marc Hunt?” She said: “If he’s so green, why did he clear that space and then cover it in concrete and put a chain link fence around it?”
“What do you mean?” I asked. So she explained: “Marc Hunt is on City Council. They are the ones who voted to clear the space, cover it in concrete and put a chain link fence around it — so they can sell it to a developer!”
Julie Mayfield: Now this was masterful. “We need a significant public space (cheers). To create a park, we would need private donations (cheers). But if City Council cannot raise private donations, we will sell it to private developers (groan). Not a high-rise. Not a hotel. Not a high-rise parking lot (cheers). Private developers can build a low-rise building with a public plaza.” Hmm, sounds like she has a developer in mind.
Watch the video: [http://avl.mx/1wo].
— Linda Brown
Editor’s note: Based on reader feedback from the primary, Xpress has begun asking letter writers if they have any formal role in the campaigns of the candidates they are writing about. Brown says she didn’t have a formal role when she wrote the letter, but has since become “captain of canvassing” for the Brian Haynes campaign.