FOR CORALVILLE MAYOR: ADAM
A diverse crop of four candidates stepped up to run after longtime Coralville Mayor Jim Fausett’s declined to run for another term.
Of the four, we think attorney Matt Adam is the best-suited candidate for the upcoming term.
Because of Adam’s history — he represented a group of Johnson County business and property owners in an unsuccessful effort to block Coralville’s controversial Von Maur incentive deal — we half expected him to be a one-note candidate. We quickly discovered that wasn’t the case.
In his conversation with Editorial Board members, Adam demonstrated a deep and nuanced understanding of the benefits and limitations of tax increment financing (TIF) law. He had clear, reasonable ideas about how the tool can be used as an incentive to, not a substantial replacement for, private investment. He was mindful of making sure the city and taxpayers don’t take on more than their share of the risk in future development.
And in a campaign season that has been dominated by conversations about Coralville’s economic development policies and debt, Adam appeared to have at least one eye on the future. We liked his analysis of how the council might improve transparency and communication with Coralville residents, and his stated commitment to fostering a council process in which minority and majority opinions are heard.
Adam does not have decades of service under his belt, as does his able and dedicated opponent, City Council member John Lundell. Lundell should be respected and appreciated for his continued commitment to the city’s growth and well-being.
But when we consider what Coralville residents need most from their mayor in the coming years, including — but not exclusive to — a constructively critical eye on the issues of development and debt, Adam stands out as a fresh, capable candidate.
FOR CORALVILLE AT LARGE CITY COUNCIL: HOEFT, SCHNAKE and WINKLER
Two incumbents are running for three seats in next week’s Coralville City Council election. We endorse one of them. We believe Bill Hoeft’s experience and thoughtful perspective on the long and short-term challenges facing Coralville will be of considerable value going forward.
In our conversation, Hoeft was able to clearly explain the reasoning behind Coralville’s past economic development decisions, to catalog their successes and articulate critics’ concerns.
His thoughts for moving forward, for intelligently getting the city out of its extensive “retail and development game,” as he put it, made sense.
In a similar vein, Jean Newlin Schnake offers voters a good combination of experience and fresh perspective. As a community member, and later as a member of the City Council until she was defeated in 2007, Schnake was part of early planning and implementation of Coralville’s ambitious development plans and seems to remain inspired by the possibilities.
Her criticisms of more recent development activities may not be misplaced, but the real challenge will be in how Coralville can move forward.
Finally, we think newcomer Mark Winkler would add a fresh perspective, constructive debate and considerable organizational skills to the board.
Winkler, director of the Business Solutions Center at the University of Iowa Tippie School of Business after a long, international career in the private sector, is new to politics, but demonstrates a clear understanding of Coralville’s challenges and strengths. His business and leadership experience would be a welcome compliment and asset in coming tough conversations about the city’s debt and development policies.