BY AARON WALKER
Independent Candidate for County Council
First of all, I need to address the issue of George Floyd’s death. This is extremely hard for me to write as a white male. I don’t understand first hand the struggles that many people have in this country. I feel it would be irresponsible of me not to attempt to overcome the awkwardness. This is a national issue, but I would be undermining the major changes this country needs to make by ignoring them. I was very proud to see the turnout at Ashley Pond on Sunday for the peaceful protest. I was also heartened by the comments that the Chief of Police Dino Sgambellone had in response. This country needs radical changes to address the issue of systemic racism and discrimination. We cannot have a nation where all lives matter until we make certain that black lives matter. Rioting and looting are both poor choices. However, we have a community within our nation that is in pain, angry, and tired of the way things are. Progress is painful and ugly sometimes, but protesting is not meant to make people comfortable. It’s meant to evoke emotion and acknowledge that there is a problem. Never forget that it was a riot, damage to possessions, and protest (The Boston Tea Party) that ignited the rebellion that created this country. You don’t have to like the rioting and the looting, but it’s time we all accept that there is a major issue of race in this country. Nothing can discount or discredit that.
I am running for county council to change the way our local government thinks and acts. It feels and appears like there is no integrity left within the county. Unquarked is finally getting their hearing. The problem here is that there is zero chance that they get a fair hearing. The fact that the county manager is on the appeals board is unacceptable. Since he has a supervisory role over the Community Development Department (CDD), he has a vested interest in how this hearing turns out. The county attorney is representing both the county and the Council Chair. How have the optics of this not been thought about and rectified in advance? Now, with news coming out of the plaza where Unquarked is located being sold, the optics continue to get worse. Why are our small businesses being treated like this? The optics of this issue, and ones that have come before don’t paint a pretty picture for businesses within the county. I know that I wouldn’t want to open a business here if I had to deal with CDD. Why is this accepted and defended? Regardless of which side is truly at fault here, we will likely see the obvious outcome: The county will defend their actions to the death, and the lopsided hearing will indefinitely turn out in their favor. The real loser here is the small business owners, potential small business owners, and the people of the county. Because the county must have total control, this hearing is over before it begins.
That type of mentality is unacceptable to me. We must have integrity and accountability within our county. As a county councilor, I will strive to hold the county accountable for its actions and poor responses. I will do everything I can to ensure this county becomes a place that welcomes small businesses and works with them, not against them.
I am getting closer to my signature goal to qualify for the ballot. I still need your assistance however. Since I am still not canvassing and knocking on doors due to COVID-19 concerns, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will set up a time to drop off a petition to you with no contact. Thank you for your support.