Editorial: Break Bowling bloc - Add McKune and Caudill to incumbents Crowley and Gay

October 24, 2004

We don't always make endorsements in local political contests. It's even more rare that we would suggest that our readers not vote for certain local officeholders.

The current race for Danville City Commission is different, however. Since their election in 2002, Mayor John W.D. Bowling and two city commissioners, Ryan Owens and Chester Kavanaugh, have formed a voting bloc that has made many wrong-headed decisions, including the firing of former city manager Steve Biven, the selection of a much-too-expensive site for a new fire station and the reduction of funding for Heart of Danville, which has brought millions of dollars in state and federal grants to our community.

Furthermore, Bowling, Owens and Kavanaugh have not explained to the public the reasoning behind these and other important decisions they have made over the past two years. Their failure to do so has left many Danvillians suspicious - us included - that personal interest, rather than the public welfare, is behind their votes.


It also must be noted that Owens was upbraided by the local ethics commission for his behind-the-scenes meddling in city personnel issues. Under Danville's city manager form of government, the mayor and commissioners should not be involved in day-to-day matters of city government, including personnel issues.

On the other hand, the remaining two city commissioners, Terry Crowley and Jamey Gay, appear to have done their best to make independent decisions about city issues. They have not always voted the same as each other, and they have not always differed with the mayor. And we have not always agreed with their decisions - especially in regard to what appear to us to be an excessive number of executive sessions that are closed to public scrutiny.

But Crowley and Gay have fulfilled our two main criteria for local elected officials: They have worked hard and made honest decisions based on their independent evaluations of what is best for the city.

So here are our endorsements:

* Vote to keep Crowley and Gay. They have done a good job and have gained valuable experience in city government.

* Don't vote for Owens and Kavanaugh. Break the Bowling bloc.

* Replace Owens and Kavanaugh with Tom McKune and Kevin Caudill.

A retired administrator at Centre College, McKune has an outstanding record of leadership in the community. He served ably for eight years on the Danville school board and served on the Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning Commission. He also has been a leader in promoting good race relations: He has served as chairman of the Danville-Boyle County Human Rights Commission and has been a longtime organizer and supporter of the community's annual Heritage Festival. McKune is an independent thinker who is not aligned with any particular faction in the community.

Caudill served briefly on the City Commission several years ago when he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of his mother, the late Nancy Caudill. We are confident that Caudill will listen to all sides of the issues and reach independent, rational conclusions about what is best for the community.

The addition of McKune and Caudill to the city commission should result in better decisions, arrived at more openly.

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