Sunday, February 28, 2010

Picking Dems for Tuesday's Primary in Roanoke

Valerie Garner (above) and Ray Ferris (below).

Roanoke's Democratic primary for its May City Council elections are Tuesday and here's how I'm going to vote:

Incumbent David Trinkle has been solid and will get my first vote. David's smart, honest and has strong opinions. I don't always agree with him, but I trust him completely to do what he believes is best for the city. That's good enough for me.

Ray Ferris is a Roanoke lawyer and that's not a lot to write home about by itself. However, he is a co-owner of Sav-A-Lot food store at the old Roanoke-Salem Plaza, the existence of which I consider community development in its highest form.

This is a grocery store that serves a depressed minority neighborhood with fair prices and a supermarket selection. I am especially impressed that Ferris manages to keep produce prices relatively low because the poor often opt for cheap, unhealthy foods over vegetables because of price. Kroger, years ago, moved out of inner city neighborhoods because the return per square foot didn't meet its corporate goals. Other major chains have reacted similarly. There's a good living to be made with these smaller stores, but the value is in the service to an under-served community and I'm taken with that. It is, simply, good citizenship.

Valerie Garner is something of a gad-about citizen-journalist whose voice is loud and consistent on certain issues (the fate of Countryside Golf Course, for example). Val can be annoying on occasion (ask any current city council member), but she's smart, studied and knows the system. She's also tough and blunt and my guess is that she could flush out some excellent discussions that need to take place. (The one question that remains--my wife keeps asking it--is whether Val will continue writing about council while she's on it. I know of no law that would prohibit her from doing that, but it would be an ethical minefield if she kept her little online publication going and covered city issues with it.)

That leaves out Bill Bestpitch, whom I like personally and who has served quietly and well on council in the past. If Bill's the choice, I would have no problem with it. But the other three are ahead of him on my ballot.

No comments:

Post a Comment