In this fall’s election for Meridian City Council, voters are blessed with candidates who are qualified, passionate about Meridian, and informed about the community and the issues. In both seats with competitive races (Councilman Joe Borton is unopposed for Seat 2), voters have several good choices. We recommend a vote for experience: Treg Bernt for Seat 4 and Luke Cavener for Seat 6.
Meridian has six council members and a mayor. Pay for council members will rise to $10,000 in 2018.
[VIDEO: Scroll to the end to see the candidates in their own words ]
Seat 4: Treg Bernt
Bernt, who owns a flooring company, sits on the Meridian Planning and Zoning Commission, probably the single-best training ground for future council members.
That, as well as his service on the city’s impact and parks and recreation commissions, gives him an intimate knowledge of the community, the city staff and functions, and what it takes to keep Meridian running smoothly.
But beyond that, he’s got ideas to promote and educate citizens about Meridian parks and pathways, and how to keep connecting them. He also supports Councilman Cavener’s general idea of tapping the Union Pacific railroad right of way to create a commuter corridor for, possibly, autonomous buses between Meridian and Boise.
The other Seat 4 candidates are Dom Gelsomino, who works for a mortgage company and has experience as a legislative staffer; and Jordan Moorhouse, a real estate agent. Both are thoughtful and enthusiastic. But neither has the life, city or professional experience that prepares Bernt for the job.
Seat 6: Luke Cavener
Cavener, government affairs director for the American Cancer Society, has served four years on the Meridian City Council. He’s also served on the city urban renewal board.
But the reasons to return him to the council go beyond his time on task. We like how he’s thinking ahead to a future Boise River park for Meridian in the newly annexed north reach of the city. We like his proposal to have the city take over operation of the Meridian swimming pool under the umbrella of the Parks and Recreation Department, instead of taxpayers maintaining a separate West Ada Recreation District to build and maintain pools. We like how he’s thinking about making city hearings available to citizens who want to testify via Skype.
Cavener says light rail between Treasure Valley cities is “pie in the sky,” but he wants to explore an autonomous bus corridor paralleling the Union Pacific railroad tracks (a right of way Meridian and other cities have been considering for a bicycle commuting path). Is his plan less pie in the sky? We’re eager to hear more.
Cavener’s challengers, Josh Cummings and David McKinney, are both smart, attractive candidates. McKinney is a lawyer who has city experience serving in Jordan, Utah. Cummings is a retired Air Force major and real estate agent who impressed us with his command of the city’s economic development apparatus and his eagerness to embrace new ideas. Both challengers would be good council members, and we urge them to get experience on Meridian committees to position themselves for future campaigns.
Overall, we are encouraged by the pool of candidates (the one downside: all are men) and see it as a sign that Meridian is doing something right to attract so many qualified candidates who want to serve their city. But the candidates with the experience and knowledge to help Meridian are city service veterans Cavener and Bernt.
Unsigned editorials represent the opinion of the Statesman editorial board.