Jamie Irons, a former city planning commissioner, would be a breath of fresh air on a City Council that’s made some puzzling calls over the past couple of years.
One example: Shortly after taking office, Mayor Bill Yates called for the ouster of the entire city Planning Commission. Yates wasn’t successful, but it was a divisive move that reeked of a my-way-or-the-highway attitude.
While we endorsed Yates for mayor two years ago, we expressed reservations about his abrasive attitude, and those concerns were borne out.
It’s time for a change, and we believe Irons has the experience and the attitude that will move the city forward. Irons is smart, respectful and he’s willing to do what he believes is best for the entire city — even if it means bucking the status quo.
Case in point: his handling of the wastewater treatment plant project. Irons, along with other planning commissioners in office at that time, voted against certifying the project’s environmental impact report because he believed the analysis of alternative locations was flawed.
Irons also faults the city for hiring a lobbyist for $155,000 to shepherd the wastewater treatment plant project through the Coastal Commission process. He believes city staff should deal with the Coastal Commission directly. We agree.
Irons remains open to considering other locations for the sewer plant, but if the Coastal Commission permits a new plant at the current site, he said he will support that.
“In my opinion, it’s resolved and we move forward (if the project is approved by the Coastal Commission),” he said. “If it’s not permitted — let’s start working to find an alternative site. I don’t feel it’s going to be productive to engage in a lawsuit against the Coastal Commission.”
On other issues, Irons stresses the need for an updated General Plan — the current one is 25 years old — and he promises to explore every strategy for keeping Morro Strand State Beach campground open.
He’s a strong supporter of economic development, and believes there should be a five-year plan to recruit and retain businesses, rather than a one-year pilot program that’s been proposed.
He’s served on the State Parks Trails Committee, and is a strong proponent of pedestrian and bike paths — a big plus in a tourist community like Morro Bay.
Irons’ service on the Planning Commission and his work on many community projects and programs give him the knowledge and leadership experience we look for in a mayor.
Along with that, he’ll bring fresh ideas and a new perspective to a city that continues to be challenged by a faltering economy and the need for major infrastructure improvements.
The Tribune strongly endorses Jamie Irons for Morro Bay mayor.
Editorials are the opinion of The Tribune.