Our picks in the May 4 elections for Mayor, Clerk and City Council seats in Districts 1, 3 and 4. Early voting, for those so inclined, starts Monday.
The Democrat recommends: BRANT HELVENSTON
Helvenston knows and cares deeply for Live Oak and its past. He's equally concerned with the future, and we know he'll work tirelessly to revive our economy and help foster intelligent, long-term growth.
Above all, he'll do so in an open, transparent way that invites - even welcomes - public scrutiny. A welcome change, in our view, and one long overdue.
There are a number of well-qualified candidates in this race, any one of which could competently perform the duties of Clerk. We decline to single out one for endorsement.
City Council District 1
The Democrat recommends: JOHN HALE
The Live Oak City Council would be a poorer place without John Hale, who has repeatedly stood up for what's right in recent years only to find himself on the losing end of a 3-2 vote.
We're not always on the same side of the issues as Hale. We're not convinced that outsourcing public works is an inherently bad idea, for example.
But Hale is an honest man whose beliefs seem heartfelt. In our view, he's effectively come to function as the conscience of the city council. It would be a shame not to return him to office.
City Council District 3
David Burch, the incumbent, saw fit to spend more than an eighth of the city's budget on a no-bid contract with OMI. That alone calls into serious question his sense of fiscal responsibility.
Henry Smart, the challenger, comes across as a bright man with Live Oak's best interests at heart. We had hoped to learn more about him from a questionnaire recently submitted to the candidates. His failure to respond to our inquiries leaves significant gaps in our understanding of his views on important issues facing the city.
We therefore decline to endorse either candidate.
(For the record, Burch also failed to return our questionnaire. Our view of his candidacy is based on the performance of his duties as a councilman.)
City Council District 4
The Democrat recommends: ADAM PRINS
Adam Prins is an intelligent, energetic young man whose sole focus is what's best for Live Oak. To boot, he may be the least political politician in recent memory. In matters of policy he says what he thinks straight out, no matter who's listening.
Prins thinks for himself and brings to the table a solid sense of right and wrong, as well as the courage to speak out when something just doesn't seem right.
In our view, he's just what Live Oak needs.