David Gelinas ’07 announced yesterday that he will seek election to the Fourth Ward seat on the Common Council.
In his statement, Gelinas stressed the importance of community within the ward, which includes most of Collegetown. He said that the Fourth Ward is comprised of “a lot of different types of demographic populations,” including students and permanent residents, and added that “there’s a lot to be learned between the two groups.”
“I want to emphasize that I’m not just running as a student representative, but I’m running as a representative for the entire ward,” Gelinas said.
He also said that he believes there needs to be more respect between students and police, and said that one way to do this would be to assign a community officer “for specifically the Collegetown area.” Gelinas added that noise ordinance enforcement needs to be “regulated, needs to be monitored,” and arrests for noise violations “pretty much minimized.”
He later added that the respect issue goes both ways. Students need to better understand police officers’ role, he said, and police should do more to help students understand that role.
Both of the current Fourth Ward representatives were present at Gelinas’ announcement and expressed their support for his candidacy.
“I was ecstatic when I found out that Dave was running,” said Common Council Member Gayraud Townsend ’05 (D-4th Ward). “And you know, he’s going to have to be my partner for the next two years. I can’t think of a better person who embodies the leadership skills, the charisma and the overall dedication than David,” he added.
“I think that his desire to bridge the gap between students and permanent residents, between town and gown, will go a long way in the future in mending lots of the problems that plague Ithaca, that plague Collegetown,” said Common Council Member Michael Taylor ’05 (D-4th Ward).
Gelinas’ campaign will aim for Taylor’s seat on the Council, which is set to expire Dec. 31. Townsend announced yesterday that he will not seek reelection, in part because he felt that the ward would be better represented by a current student. Townsend’s term will not expire until 2006.
The Common Council is the main legislative body for the City of Ithaca.
Among other issues Gelinas touched on were the environment and general aesthetics of the area. Addressing the Redbud Woods specifically, Gelinas said Cornell should be more mindful of the city’s and students’ opinions.
“I think Cornell needs to seriously reconsider the local sentiment, and at least the students’ general feelings to this,” he said.
In Collegetown, Gelinas focused on improving roads and sidewalks.
“Sidewalks being paved, street signs being clearly marked, crosswalks being clearly painted — it’s the little things that make everything matter in the long run. We can’t expect to build a sense of community if the things that we share in common are in complete disrepair,” he said.
According to Gelinas, although the median age of Ithaca residents is 22, “the majority of people in city government are well, well past that age.” He said that there should be more young representatives in the government.
Gelinas is running for the Common Council four-year term as a Democrat. As of the time of publication, The Sun had not learned of any other candidates for the seat. Common Council elections will be held in November.
Archived article by Yuval Shavit
Sun City Editor