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Councilmen lend support to candidates

By: Steve Archer, Reporter
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Lincoln City Councilmen are publicly supporting candidates running for two open seats in November.

Councilman Peter Gilbert and Councilman Dan Karleskint have emailed invitations to a private event Sept. 22 to meet council candidates Dan Cross and Allyssa Silhi. The third candidate running for Lincoln City Council is Holly Woods-Andreatta.

Cross is currently the Lincoln Planning Commission chairman and Silhi is a Lincoln Economic Development Committee member.

The emailed invitation references a group sponsoring the private event.

 Karleskint said the group consists of himself, Gilbert, city treasurer Jerry Harner, Lincoln Planning Commissioner Michele Hutchinson and Larry Whitaker.

Karleskint said the event is not a public forum.

“All of us got together and decided to support Dan and Allyssa for numerous reasons,” Karleskint said. “It’s not a public thing. Michele and I are in the habit of hosting coffees for candidates we want to support. If there were six candidates running, I would still pick two to support.”

Gilbert said Tuesday night he was not “doing this in my official capacity.”

“This is an opportunity for friends of our group to listen to candidates we support,” Gilbert said. “We did not include (Holly) because we are not supporting her.”

Councilman Paul Joiner, on his Facebook page, publicly endorsed Cross Aug. 26, shortly after the filing period closed. The two served together on the Lincoln Planning Commission. Mayor Stan Nader, whose term expires this year and is not running for re-election, has publicly supported Silhi and Woods-Andreatta.

Jessica Booth, a spokesperson for the L.I.F.T. group, or unified to lifting Lincoln to new heights through Integrity, Financial responsibility and total Transparency, said Wednesday morning the idea of sitting councilmen excluding one of the candidates from a meet-and-greet “frankly stinks.”

“It is both troubling and telling,” Booth said. “Why would they exclude Holly or any candidate?  Wouldn’t the voters of Lincoln benefit from seeing and hearing from all three candidates so they can make up their own minds?”

“L.I.F.T. invited all three candidates to meet with us,” Booth added. “Holly made herself available to L.I.F.T. members despite teaching full-time.  She answered all our questions candidly and thoroughly. She earned our unanimous endorsement. Is that why she was excluded from the forum? Have these council members already decided who will serve on the council with them?”

Tony Manning, another L.I.F.T. member, said Cross is “definitely the council’s candidate.”

“If you like the direction the city is going, with underfunded public safety, the Meyers/Nave report and the state audit, he’ll be fine and it will be more of the same,” Manning said. “With the myriad of issues facing the city, why would anyone support the council’s candidate?”