PEORIA, IL -- A large audience attended the final Peoria City Council candidate forum on Feb. 23, even though it was not nearly as interesting as the previous forum.
The six at-large candidates spoke first, followed by the three District 4 candidates.Perhaps they learned a little from sitting through the boring six, as they were more specific in their answers.
The incumbent, Jim Montelongo, is being challenged by Mike Eddlemon and Benjamin Thornton. The two challengers spoke eloquently about keeping Riverfront Park a park, and not letting it be destroyed by apartments.
Montelongo was not as forthcoming. He initially voted for the apartments in the park, but now says the scheme has dragged on too long and is costing the city too much. But will he vote to drop the contract rather than extend it? He didn't say.
He touted his efforts in organizing neighborhood associations and business associations in his district, and has coffee with constituents weekly, a good idea.
The two challengers complained about the bad condition of the roads, and wondered why Peoria spends money on consultants to tell them which roads to fix when the bad conditions are apparent.
Here is a recording of their comments:
The at-large candidates spoke mainly in the usual generalities, but the questions they were asked were weak. When that occurs it's difficult to understand which candidates should be elected.
The Riverfront Park apartments did not come up during the questions. But that's a key issue, in that it shows how a candidate can deal with a contentious issue, instead of asserting obvious generalities such as more jobs are needed.
Here is a recording of the at-large candidates comment.
You can also watch the video on the Change Peoria Facebook page here.
-- Elaine Hopkins