Length incumbent has served is an issue in Aurora Ward 6 primary
Is 38 years in office too long?
Some candidates running against Aurora Ward 6 Alderman Michael Saville in next week's primary think so.
Saville is being challenged by Matthew Orr, Matt Harrington, Nicole Mullins and Benjamin Marcum. The top two vote-getters in Tuesday's primary will advance to the April 4 consolidated election.
"Forty years is long enough. Let somebody else have a turn," Marcum said during an interview with the Daily Herald. He said a person with new energy is needed, for example, to work on revitalizing the business district on North Lake Street (Route 31), a main entry to the city.
Harrington also was critical: "Thirty-four (sic) years of the same is insanity," he said.
Mullins said that "Ward 6 has definitely been neglected in the economic development department," and the other challengers agreed. Mullins said Saville doesn't have a presence on social media or have town-hall meetings to communicate with residents.
Saville sees his experience and ability to work with fellow aldermen as strengths. "I'm very accessible, people know me, they can contact me, I'm proud of my record of accomplishment," Saville said, citing stores that moved into a shuttered Jewel space, the remodeling of a Taco Bell, the rebuilding of a McDonald's destroyed by a fire, and three new restaurants in the ward.
Orr, who is vice chairman of the Aurora Public Library board, said economic development is the No. 1 issue for both the ward and the city. He also agreed with Mullins and Harrington that the city should work to increase the stock of affordable housing.
Marcum said he believes there is enough affordable housing in Aurora.
"Affordable housing is the reason I moved here," Marcum said. "There's plenty here. There's no lack of affordable housing in the 6th Ward."
Saville said 50% of the housing in the ward is considered affordable, and he noted the recent construction of a house by Habitat for Humanity.
Marcum, Harrington and Saville all said public safety is a top concern.
Marcum said speeding is a problem in the ward. "Police have to crack down on some of these little things or the big things are going to get out of hand," he said.
Harrington proposes requiring serial numbers on ammunition for high-powered, high-capacity weapons, something he has been pushing state legislators to do. He also wants the city to have an independent inspector general to investigate corruption he says is happening with city officials.
Mullins, meanwhile, is critical of the council's treatment of residents who disagree with the council, saying officials had "demonized and villainized" them.
"The city council continues to find people they align with and personally do business with," she said. "I'm tired of myself and others being confined to three minutes (of public comment at meetings)."