Printed in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Oct. 28, 2009
Our View - Kuhl, Wayson will help N.L. keep improving
It's been a long time since we've advocated anything but change in North Liberty. With a new city manager and new city planner -- along with elected officials who have learned to behave civilly in meetings -- the city has made great strides toward putting behind its wild-west days of free-for-all development and personal political feuds. North Liberty is now at a place to become a major player in the corridor and the state.
At this point in the city's development, we think city government would benefit from city councilors who can provide some context and institutional memory for the challenges facing the growing and changing city. That's why we're backing incumbent candidate, Gerry Kuhl, and challenger Brian Wayson.
In his four years on the council, Kuhl has served his city well. His accountant's attention to detail has helped in his dealings with both North Liberty citizens and the surrounding communities. He was on the right side of change in the past, and he is up-to-speed on the changes the city needs in the near future.
As Kuhl writes in his candidate statement on page 12A, "We need to continue to manage growth and encourage commercial development, exercise fiscal restraint, all while not forgetting the needs of original North Liberty. We must recognize that uncontrolled growth created problems four years ago and diligently work to avoid any relapse."
Although Wayson is a familiar face in North Liberty, he too has been on the right side of change in the past. As a long-time resident who can remember when this city pushing 15,000 people had just a small fraction of that population, he's seen what happens when city government fails provide sustainable limits on development. And his experience on one of the city's lesser celebrated committees has given him a behind-the-scenes, on-the-ground appreciation for how the dictates of the city council actually get carried out.
We agree with challengers David Grex and Jonathan Waller that newer, younger residents are the fastest growing population in the city and that their needs must be addressed by the council. That's why we hope both men remain active in North Liberty politics -- especially Grex, who in his work for Medicacom has a unique perspective on the city's limitations as a site for additional commercial and industrial development.
But now that the city is finding a sense of stability after some painful periods of change and upheaval, we think North Liberty will benefit from experienced people who already have shown their good judgment.