Candidates square off for mayor's race


April 21, 2010 at 5:05 p.m.
Updated April 20, 2010 at 11:21 p.m.

A 24-year-old shift supervisor will take on an incumbent two-term mayor in the May 8 Victoria City Council race.

It's the only election in which all voters in the city may cast ballots. The other two races involve District 5, which covers the south half of Victoria, and District 6, which covers the north half.

Chelle Nickerson, a shift supervisor at Starbucks Coffee, said while there's room for improvement, she sees no serious problems facing the city.

"I think Victoria is headed in the right direction and they have the right ideas," she said. "We just need to keep moving forward and keep the town going in the right direction in terms of renovating our downtown area, for one thing."

That is probably one of the biggest projects she would tackle if elected, she said.

Armstrong said he tries to be an effective leader - a continuous learning process, especially in a tough economy. The city council had its share of split votes during his six years as mayor and he counts for only one vote.

To achieve success, it's mandatory the council work as a team, he said. "More often than not, I'm leading a majority to resolution on issues."

Nickerson, a write-in candidate, said one thing she'd like to accomplish as mayor would be for the city to find a way to adopt curbside recycling.

"I just think with the depletion of natural resources, we need to be sure we're staying ahead," she said. "The feedback I'm getting back from people is they really are interested in curbside recycling and interested in having a greener community."

Nickerson said she understands there would be cost involved with buying the equipment and recycling the material. She said she also knows the city is on a tight budget because of the economy.

"Cost is the really big thing right now in terms of how the economy is going, which is why I would not see something happening immediately," she said. "Maybe in the next year or couple of years."

Armstrong, co-owner of a moving and storage company, said he's proud of accomplishments the city made under his administration. He said while he alone can't take credit for them, they include the new ball parks, a canoe trail, a hike-and-bike trail and a successful fight against proposed changes to the city charter.

"There have been a whole bunch of little things, but I think the best is yet to come," he said. "I hope my greatest accomplishment has not arrived yet."

Nickerson said she doesn't think Victoria has an excessive crime problem, but there are ways to make things better. That could include everything from improved street lighting to cleaning up neighborhoods to providing youth activities to keep them off the streets.

"I think if they have a community they are proud of and want to show it off, they don't want a crime environment," she said. "They don't want drugs ... and they don't want gang activities."

Nickerson said she doesn't believe Victoria needs more officers, although that could change as the city grows.

Armstrong said there's no doubt Victoria has a crime problem and he's pleased with the job the police department does. He pointed to the recent task force effort by the police and sheriff's office that resulted in the arrest of 36 people as an example of how well officers are doing.

Armstrong said when he congratulated Police Chief Bruce Ure on the arrests, Ure said it was just good "old-fashioned" police work.

"So, he did not ask me for more funding," Armstrong said. "Consequently, I think he needs to continue with that old-fashioned police work and I think he is and I think he will."

A third candidate in the mayoral race is Robin Holy, who has described himself as mentally disabled since 1989.



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