EDITORIAL: Vote Mahayni for fourth ward

Editorial Board

Students need to vote Tuesday — but you already knew that. For the first time in recent memory, students have several student-friendly options vying to represent the citizens of Ames. In the fourth ward, one candidate shines brighter than his opponents.

Matt Denner, senior in political science, is the lone ISU student on the ticket. Denner grew up in Ames and plans to make his home here after graduation. He’s been active in several student organizations, as well as the Government of the Student Body.

Denner’s got some creative ideas for the future of Ames. He supports an across-the-board cut in the city budget, continued funding for the arts and a unique idea: neighborhood gardens, designed to create a greener, friendlier Ames.

While it would be nice to see a student serve on City Council, Denner just doesn’t have the real world experience necessary to serve all of Ames’ citizens. While it’s encouraging to see a young person have a vested interest in the future of our community, Denner is just too idealistic to appeal to a broad audience right now. We’d love to see Denner run in four years — after getting a job, learning more about his constituents and paying some property taxes of his own.

Joseph Viles, associate professor of genetics, development and cell biology, is hands down the most controversial candidate. Viles is notorious for his prior police record, which includes animal abuse charges.

It’s unfortunate we have to mention his record, but Viles’ suggestions for the future of the city just haven’t been convincing enough to make us forget about the sad saga of his dog, Sweetheart. Viles has proposed the building of a new mall — but not on the city’s north side. He’d rather build it in West Ames. Viles lacks a clear vision for the city, plain and simple.

Joe Paulson has an impressive record of public involvement in Ames, serving as president of the Jaycees and Lions. As a landlord, Paulson is in favor of changing the overoccupancy policy to one-person, one-bedroom. But IN the recent public forums, Paulson has waffled on his stances on issues, including the mall proposal. He seems to lack firm goals for the community.

Riad Mahayni is our choice for the fourth ward seat. An experienced, intelligent incumbent, Mahayni is also a professor and expert in community and regional planning. That knowledge and experience has been and will continue to be incredibly useful in applying the city’s Land Use Policy Plan to the controversial future of the proposed mall.

As a parent of two ISU students, Mahayni has a vested interest in communication between students and the greater Ames community. Mahayni has the proven political leadership to move Ames forward, personally and economically. Vote Mahayni on Tuesday.