Ward two Astoria city council candidate Drew Herzig told the audience attending a candidate forum Wednesday that the city can't win it's fight with D.A. Josh Marquis, has spent too much money doing so, and should throw in the towel.
The forum at Clatsop Community College sponsored by the American Association of University Women featured candidates for state and local elections including the race for incumbent Peter Roscoe's seat on the Astoria City Council. Herzig, who says he is a folk dance instructor and a recent California resident said that the battle over where DUII cases should be cited reminds him of children fighting over name-calling and it takes an adult to step in and stop it. Herzig would like to do that by unseating Roscoe. For his part Roscoe told the audience that he does not take drunk driving lightly sharing that he has been continuously sober for 29 years and in the past has been the coordinator for sobriety councils and sat on victim panels listening to the stories of how destructive driving drunk is for families. He repeated that he doesn't take the issue lightly and went on to say that in his opinion a first time offense should go to municipal court but anything beyond that should go directly to circuit court.
Even though Russ Warr is running unopposed he found himself debating Herzig as well defending the council position saying that he is not willing to back off on the issue.
Herzig was also critical of the Astoria City Council's "Teamwork" theme stressed by Mayor Van Dusen and other members of the council when in the decision-making process. Herzig charged that the city council does not listen effectively to the citizens and the process lacks democracy. He said he believes the so-called teamwork approach doesn't allow for dissent and that it fragments the community. Herzig said team work is fine but stressed the priority should be 'The public comes first and the team comes second".
Both Roscoe and Warr defended the approach with Roscoe saying that it's not true all council members agree with each other at all times but once a decision is made all council members support the majority vote on any subject. Warr said it is a successful formula pointing to the state of the city generally, the large number of projects the city continues to move forward with in spite of how the last few years of economic downturn has devastated many municipalities in the country.