Jocie Wall - ??2011 David Gibb Photography

Five candidates set sights on Jacksonville council

JACKSONVILLE —— Six candidates have filed for three at-large seats on the City Council, but only five are actively campaigning.

Criss Garcia, Katie Haugse, incumbent David Jesser, Owen Jurling and Jocie Wall are all campaigning. Bill Hampton said he is opting out of the race, although his name will remain on the ballot.

Winners of the four-year seats will face several issues. Among them is use and maintenance of four historical sites, including the courthouse that the city will receive from Jackson County.

Other issues include repair or removal of the reservoir dam and upcoming revisions of city building codes. The council also may decide how to use $680,000 it should obtain from a pending sale of land in the city watershed to the Motorcycle Riders Association.

Garcia is a systems analyst for Asante and has served on the Planning Commission for a year. He's lived in Jacksonville for seven years and worked seven years for the city of Ashland.

"Anything we do moving forward is predicated on strong fiscal responsibility. We have to take on projects without slowing down economic growth," said Garcia.

Garcia said he'd like to see the Jacksonville Heritage Society continue the work it has done to maintain and manage the historical buildings. He says the Parks Department should not be responsible for the buildings.

"I think we have to be very creative in future opportunities (for the properties) rather than just looking at the past," said Garcia.

Jurling has been on the Planning Commission for one year. He also serves on the city's Public Safety Committee. An acupuncturist, he has lived in Jacksonville seven years.

Jurling said ongoing maintenance and protection of the historical buildings would be a top priority.

"As far as maintenance and upkeep, I'd like to see that being done through groups like the Jacksonville Heritage Society," said Jurling.

Reservoir dam work should be funded from the land sale in the watershed, he said, adding that he would like to see clear codes developed.

"It's quite often that the code is not specific enough to make decisions clear and easy," said Jurling.

Jesser was appointed to the council in January 2011 to fill a vacancy. He has been on the Planning Commission for six years and served on other commissions. He moved to Jacksonville in 2004 and operates a downtown retail business.

"I'd like to continue the good work of this council and the direction it has taken in coming together, and bring fruition to some of the issues," said Jesser.

The pending sale of watershed land, debated for a decade, shows the council is moving forward, said Jesser.

The councilman said he would like to see a citizens group with expertise in historical-building maintenance and management formed to educate and guide the council on what's best for the town.

Haugse is a database manager for a medical research company. She has lived in Jacksonville seven years and was assistant city recorder for 18 months.

Haugse favors forming a committee of the public, commissioners and council members to consider the best uses for the historical buildings.

"I think a lot of discussion needs to go into it before any final decision is made," said Haugse. She'd favor continuing current arrangements with local civic groups if city management thinks that's the best course for the near future.

The city's staff is doing an excellent job of preparing for city code revisions, Haugse said, noting the process appears to be following state and city statutes and the city's comprehensive plan.

Wall is owner/operator of a company that makes medical alert bracelets. She has lived in Jacksonville for 13 years.

Wall recently worked with neighbors and the city to revise parking regulations that affect her neighborhood during the Britt Festival. In Poulsbo, Wash., she headed the Downtown Merchants Association and worked with the historic commission there.

Deferred maintenance and costs involved with the historical buildings need to be studied first, said Wall.

"I think transfer to city ownership should increase chances for grants," said Wall.

Work on the dam has to happen, said Wall, who added that she'd like to investigate removing silt from the reservoir to create a year-round pond for use at Forest Park.

Hampton was in Los Angeles due to family matters and is not actively campaigning, he said in a voicemail left in response to a Mail Tribune inquiry.

Both Haugse and Wall said they would like to see women continue as council members. Incumbents Christina Duane and Donna Schatz are not seeking re-election. Schatz has served continuously since 1995.

Council members who will continue are Paul Hayes, Jim Lewis and Dan Winterburn.

Candidates Criss Garcia and Bill Hampton did not submit pictures to the Mail Tribune. Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at

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