In the race to represent Marietta's 2nd Ward, voters have two strong choices. One brings 12 years of serving on City Council and has been involved in many significant city projects. The other is a newcomer to the city council scene but has worked as a developer in the community for years, and who serves the community in other ways, such as a member of the city planning commission.
Both candidates bring unique qualities, but we think Republican James "Chip" Wilson's work in planning for economic development, whether through his work with the Washington County Port Authority early on or the planning commission today, gives him the edge when it comes to planning and working for Marietta's future.
His opponent, incumbent Democrat Mike McCauley, 72, has served the community in many ways - as a policeman, a teacher and now council member. And in his 12 years on council he has earned our respect. But we think a new face would do city council well and like we said, we think Wilson brings unique experience to the table.
As an architect involved in local projects, Wilson, 54, has required city services when it comes to obtaining permits and the like. He sees a need for the city offices and regulations to be easier to navigate. He says the city departments should go out of their way to help potential developers. He points to the success of George Broughton's complex outside city limits and suggests companies are opting to be outside the city rather than in because it's easier to get the job done without jumping through city hoops. He points to the newly enacted property maintenance code as another example of too much city regulation.
Growing up in Marietta, Wilson said he remembers when the city used to have a tangible plan for where it wanted to be in five years, 10 years and longer. He wonders what the plan is now and why the city seems to let grants determine what projects it pursues instead of determining the direction the city wants to go ahead of time and finding the means to get there.
As an architect, Wilson must work with others, come up with plans and then implement them with success. He's spent years networking with local officials and businesses and we think those connections would serve him well on city council.
When asked why voters should return him to office, McCauley said he should return in order to see through the completion of the waste water treament plant upgrade. And while it's true he has done his homework and knows the project inside and out, his next term should be about more than one project. We think Wilson, with his background, is capable of getting up to speed.
Ideally Wilson would have run as an at-large candidate, and we could have endorsed both he and McCauley. But that wasn't the case and when forced to choose, we choose Wilson.