Our View: Jones for Astoria Mayor

Excerpted from The Daily Astorian

Published on October 19, 2018 10:03AM

Voters have two exceptional candidates to choose from

The city of Astoria is poised to elect only its third mayor in 27 years on Nov. 6, following in the footsteps of Willis Van Dusen and Arline LaMear.

Fortunately, voters have two exceptional candidates to choose from — Bruce Jones and Dulcye Taylor.

Both are intelligent, personable, articulate and highly engaged in the community. Either would represent the city very well.

They offer very different qualifications and personalities, however. And in Jones, we have the opportunity to select a proven leader of the highest caliber.

As a Coast Guard officer, Jones rose through the ranks from officer candidate school to command Sector Columbia River and serve as chief of strategic planning for the entire service. One does not achieve such lofty responsibility without extraordinary competence, problem-solving skills and the ability to collaborate effectively.

The Coast Guard is the largest employer in our area. Jones understands the vital economic importance of its operations to the community. (As an aside, he knows the service’s decision-making processes and may be in a unique position to help the city compete for the new cutters to be built in the next few years.)

Most importantly, he commanded Air Station New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He has dealt with life-and-death emergencies, and knows the importance of preparing for a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami. One of the first things he wants to do is bring key regional players together for a tabletop exercise to examine scenarios and brainstorm solutions.

“I promise we will be better prepared in four years,” he said.

Jones’ service on the City Council has given him a head start on how the city functions. We are impressed with the specific ideas he has to address the housing shortage and jobs, among other issues.

The city could create incentives to encourage developers to build more vertical, high-density housing, perhaps using vacant city land, he said. He would make sure that community efforts to alleviate the plight of the homeless, such as the Astoria Warming Center and Helping Hands, are fully supported. He would like to see new apartments rather than hotels, even at market rate, to free up homes in town for occupancy. He would dedicate resources to enforcing the city’s short-term rental regulations.

And he would support economic development efforts that don’t involve tourism, to diversify the economic base, he said. The activity going on at Tongue Point is an excellent example of how to bring in family-wage jobs.

Read the entire article here: www.dailyastorian.com/editorials/20181019/our-view-jones-for-astoria-mayor