Jonson Seeks Return to City Council
By Carl Wagenfohr
CLEARWATER - Less than two years ago, the City of Clearwater said farewell and thank you to Bill Jonson for his six years of service as a City Commissioner and Councilmember.
Next March the city may be welcoming Jonson back, courtesy of his decision to run for the City Council seat being vacated by Councilmember Carlen Petersen.
Jonson is so eager to begin his election campaign that he picked-up his candidate package from the City Clerk's at 8:05am on the first day it was available, just 5 minutes after the office opened.
Clearwater's citizens will remember Jonson as a hard-working public servant, active in civic organizations, always having done his homework and being full of questions for city staff members.
Not much has changed about Jonson, but for being two years older - now age 64.
During his 1 ½-year absence from the Council, Jonson has not faded away from civic involvement; he has continued serving the public as:
Asked why he decided to again seek elected office, Jonson said, "I've been very blessed in my life and a lot of folks have invested in me. I'm at a point in my life that I can continue to give some of that back. It's a lot of fun and I get a chance to work with a lot of fantastic people." He also takes a long-term view of what's best for Clearwater's future; "I have 3 grandchildren and I'd like for them to choose to live in this area 20 years from now," he said.
As a Councilmember, Jonson was known for his ability to understand both sides of contentious issues, and to find outcomes that everyone could live with. "I think that's the basic essence of a Councilmember's job," he said as he left office in 2007; "You do try to find a point where the majority rules without churning up the minority, and you want to serve the majority but not create too much of a burden on the minority. That applies to everything we do in the city."
Looking ahead to what he hopes will be his next term, Jonson wants to initiate a continuous improvement process in Clearwater, improving efficiency. "The city should function as if we had a competitor," he said, "Are we providing the best service for the least cost and doing what the citizens really want?"
Jonson's frugal nature, characterized by his self-described "rubbing both sides of a nickel before I spend it", would serve him well during Clearwater's budgetary struggles. "When we're closing recreation centers and taking playground equipment out of parks, we need to be very diligent in our fiduciary responsibilities," he said.
Regarding the 2009/10 city budget that will be approved tonight, Jonson had no specific suggestions to offer. "The Council made some tough decisions and we'll pick up from there," he said.
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