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Wednesday, April 4, 2007 01:39 am

Davlin vs. Strom

A weekly look at where Springfield’s two leading mayoral candidates stand — or don’t stand — on the issues

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Ald. Bruce Strom
Untitled Document On economic development . . . Of the three mayoral debates held so far this campaign season, two of them — one co-sponsored by Downtown Springfield Inc., another by the Greater Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce — focused heavily on business issues in the capital city. Although insiders say Ald. Bruce Strom may have struck out with a chunk of the business community for pushing the citywide smoking ban, Mayor Tim Davlin has been criticized at times for devoting too much of his time to economic development.
Tim Davlin 
The buck stops where? — During Davlin’s first term, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum opened, the boundaries of the medical district were established, construction began on the city’s $500 million power plant, and several companies announced major expansions. How much credit does Davlin get? And what about the declining number of state employees and cuts at the 183rd Fighter Wing? Easy for him to say — The mayor accuses Strom, a Republican, of being unkind to business, pointing to Strom’s opposition to the part of the Springfield Clinic’s expansion plan that included erecting an office building over Sixth Street. But the mayor, who frequently abstains from voting (except in the case of a tie) opted not to cast a vote for the clinic expansion, although he has voted yes on several controversial zoning issues, including a proposed strip mall at Iles Avenue and Koke Mill Road earlier this year.
Bruce Strom
This is why he’s hot — Strom counters Davlin by enumerating the developments he’s supported over the years, including Southwest Plaza, Prairie Crossing, and Park South. Nevertheless, despite having sided with homeowners in the fight against allowing Wal-Mart to move to Wabash Avenue, Strom’s west-side ward is the most rapidly expanding one in the city, prompting an effort by a fellow alderman, Frank Kunz of Ward 3, to propose establishing a western border. Dangerously close to not having Dippin’ Dots — While he was serving as president of a neighborhood association in the 1970s, Strom says, members of the group were concerned about a little problem about to start up, known as White Oaks Mall. This, he says, launched his career in politics. “If White Oaks Mall hadn’t been built, I wouldn’t be an alderman,” Strom says.
Citizens decide elections. For this reason, from now until Election Day, we will let candidates explain in their own words where they stand on issues that matter to you. Let us know your issues. Contact R.L. Nave at rnave@illinoistimes.com.
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