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The most important city election in many decades will be upon us shortly. Two weeks from this coming Tuesday we can determine our town’s future, but only if we are active participants in the process.

For our citizens to make an educated and informed choice, we need to know what each candidate believes in, stands for, and how they plan to lead our way ahead. Campaign fliers and street signs don’t tell us who the candidates really are, or what their vision is for our “Loveliest Village.” In order to vet the two remaining candidates, I’d suggest an open public debate.

During the first two mayoral forums, we heard a few polished politicians repeatedly saying they “need to listen.” Based on the impassioned questions at those forums, it was apparent that there has been scant listening in our recent past.

We all chose to make Auburn our home based on some personal connection. It could be family, the town’s character or “feel,” a connection to the university, or your small business, but at the end of the day, it’s our choice and we want OUR voices heard. None of those small town attributes will matter if we cannot be assured that our mayor shares the endearing features that are close to our hearts. We need to see our opinions reflected in city planning and policy. I challenge our local media outlets — The Auburn Villager included — to arrange a venue and format for the debate. The Frank Brown center comes to mind.

Countless men and women have served this nation to protect your right to vote. As a former Air Force fighter pilot, who spent the best years of my life in harm’s way on behalf of this great nation, I implore you to repay that sacrifice by fulfilling your civic duty with your vote, and join the call for a debate.

We have just over two weeks to decide. This is not a popularity contest, and we need to know the facts behind each candidate’s vision. Both David Hill and Ron Anders could certainly find time to debate in a public forum. We want to know who they really are. Neither candidate should decline! (Unless they don’t want us to know their true plan for our home).

Dave Heideman

Auburn, Alabama

Steven Dixon for Ward 5

This letter is in support of Steven Dixon’s candidacy to represent Ward 5 on the Auburn City Council. 

Steven spent the majority of his childhood growing up in Auburn; he graduated from Auburn University with a degree in communications. He has worked in the field of communications, first as an employee of a Methodist church in the Washington, DC, metro area. Steven then returned to Auburn and started his own business as a videographer for legal depositions; later expanding his business’ focus to include commercial applications. 

Steven is hard-working and self-disciplined. He cares about the city, its citizens and their future. He is willing to listen to all of the city’s stakeholders and consider the merits of each of the positions they advocate. And while he has the small businessman’s experience, Steven understands that a vibrant community is comprised of many, varied elements.

Steven Dixon has the energy, stamina, dedication and integrity to represent the viewpoints of the residents of Ward 5 to the City Council; and he has the open-mindedness to work cooperatively with the other members of the council to optimize Auburn’s opportunities. Ward 5 residents’ votes for Steven Dixon will be a positive investment in the city’s future. 

Andrea Jackson, CPA

Auburn, Alabama

Support for David Hill

Over 50 years ago my father wrote a very public letter to support his close friend Dr. E.T. York in his candidacy for the president of Auburn University. There was powerful opposition and Auburn went a different direction. I think that my dad’s letter limited his career opportunities during his 30-plus years at Auburn University. He was never bitter and did not place any blame but I always felt that he was a bit hurt. He never expressed any regret for supporting his close friend; he thought it was best for the university he loved so much.

I find myself in the same position during the mayoral election for Auburn. I can honestly call Ron Anders, Mayor Ham, most of the council members and city management staff as my friends or acquaintances. Lots of Ron’s supporters are close friends. They all have worked hard and have done a great job to make Auburn a great place to live.

But, I have decided to support David Hill for mayor. Some of my friends and business associates will not understand, but I really think that this is best for Auburn, so I feel I must speak out.

The City Council is going to have almost a complete turnover. They must be led by someone that can form a working relationship between citizens, businesses, City Council and the city staff. There is a good bit of discontent and uncertainty within our population. The next few years are going to require strong leadership that does not bow to political pressures. There is much more at stake than 10 feet of building height or traffic issues. The future of Auburn is going to require someone with some experience that is not limited to the way things have been in the past. It is going to require someone that understands how local governments work and someone that has some new ideas about how to get things done. 

The mayoral responsibilities in Auburn are probably very different from what most citizens think. The city code reads: “The mayor shall preside at the meetings of the council and shall be recognized as the head of the municipal government for all ceremonial purposes ... but shall have no other administrative duties.” There are a few appointments and some other emergency duties, but basically the mayor only has the “power to persuade.”

I think that David Hill has the leadership skills and the experience to work with a new council that might not have the best experience to deal with all of Auburn’s issues. When the city staff gets to know him they will understand that he really wants what is best for Auburn and they can work together. I believe that he will be a mayor that will listen to all, make good unbiased decisions and effectively lead Auburn for the next four years. That why I will vote for David Hill for mayor.

John N. Cope

Auburn, Alabama

Support for Ron Anders

“Own the day tomorrow,” read the Twitter message sent to me on the eve before the first school day. It was from Ron Anders, a person I knew of but had never actually met. The effort to reach out to a teacher who he had not met nor had taught his children spoke volumes about his support for our city’s educators. It certainly made a new year even better knowing the community was behind us. 

I met Ron in person later that year and, since then, I have been drawn to his efforts to encourage those in his community. Before each school year begins, a new teacher breakfast is held; while not many officials attend, Ron is there annually meeting those both new to our school system and, oftentimes, to our community. This past spring, in a packed auditorium at Auburn High, he gave up his seat at our Vietnam veterans ceremony choosing to stand against a back wall, remaining there throughout the entire program and making every effort to “Welcome Home” the veterans in attendance. 

The “Loveliest Village on the Plains” goes beyond a cityscape as a village is characterized by the investments its neighbors make in one another. A sense of community and “small town” atmosphere establishes itself in relationships that individuals dedicate efforts in building, not buildings themselves. Ron Anders exemplifies this investment and will continue to demonstrate to us as mayor that we are still the “Loveliest Village on the Plains” due to our character most importantly. 

Blake Busbin

AP US History, Auburn High School

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