Hard choices, difficult times

I find it both interesting and amusing when election time comes around in Auburn. Lots of letters to the editor touting how great and wonderful their candidate is. And certainly, both candidates have strong supporters. They’re such “intelligent, compassionate, intellectual and forward thinking candidates.”

But let’s bring a little clarity to the picture. One candidate is running the Shirley Temple campaign. Be seen smiling with every photo opportunity. Tell the people what she thinks they want to hear; crime is down, our police force is strong, we’re doing everything possible to help the homeless, blah, blah, blah. None of that is true of course, but that innocent little smile and her kind words have you swooning with admiration. Let’s all have a lollypop!

And then you have the other candidate. She apparently doesn’t have that kind of filter. So a lie actually sounds just like a lie, and if one questions her too deeply on her actual plans for the city, or her stand on issues, you may be unfriended on Facebook, or just completely ignored. Her brashness leaves people feeling that they were just lucky she didn’t bite them.

Here are some real truths, however. Crime is not down. We do not have nearly enough police officers. We do not have a new transit parking garage or nearly enough parking in Auburn. We do not encourage new business in the downtown core and the businesses there now find it increasingly difficult to stay. Constantly increasing utility bills, the ADA costs,( I must add that I’ve never met a business owner downtown who felt they got a nickel of value out of the ADA), having to pay a tidy sum as an owner or employee to park, and again, lack of parking in general, drive businesses away.

And the homeless situation? The only people in this city who have actually done anything are the churches and the private businesses. Forming a committee does not make it all better.

Our roads still suck, for lack of a better word. Traffic gets worse and heaven forbid when there is road construction being done. When M Street was closed this summer, the city didn’t have a clue how to reroute thousands of cars a day. So they put up road closed signs on every street and just let people figure it out for themselves. Great work at the planning department.

I’m not writing this simply to complain about all the negative aspects of Auburns current state of affairs. Although I could go on, there’s a bit more. I just want to point out that Auburn has not been moving forward much. And a vast number of people look at this campaign as having to vote for bad or worse.

Why don’t I just move away then. Well, here’s the rub. Auburn is my home. I raised my children here, and watch my grandchildren grow here. I’ve been a business owner here for 35 years. I love this town, and believe it has enormous potential. But right now, neither candidate has shown, in the long or short term, that they have the ability to truly move Auburn forward. And that, is most unfortunate. For everyone’s sake, both candidates need to seriously step up their game.

– Mark Silberling

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