Concerning the only Dubuque City Council seat to be decided Nov. 5 by all voters, David Resnick is the clear choice for re-election.
A veteran music educator who is now a veteran on the council, Resnick is what every constituent should want in an elected leader: an independent thinker who thinks things through. Over the past 12 years, Resnick has demonstrated time and again that he is willing to swim against the council current when he believes it is necessary.
For several years running, until Resnick was satisfied that concerns about spending and debt were adequately addressed, he was the lone “no” vote on the motion to adopt the city budget. He’s been on the short end of plenty other 6-1 and 5-2 decisions — but he doesn’t particularly mind.
Three years ago, he called out the council majority for its decision to start council meetings earlier, knowing full well that it posed a schedule problem for newcomer Luis Del Toro at work. He publicly suggested that the move was “petty” and possibly “payback” for Del Toro questioning the status quo on issues, including spending and a meeting agenda that made it inconvenient for citizens to speak at council meetings. Those remarks did not please Mayor Roy Buol, who later warned members against making what he considered disparaging and uncivil comments. It was an overblown reaction that eventually blew over (we think).
That is not to say Resnick is always a naysayer. It doesn’t take intelligence or insight to vote “no” on everything. Rather, Resnick does his homework, he asks researched and intelligent questions respectfully, and he votes what he thinks is best for our community.
In our view, this race is a mismatch. It would take a lot to convince Dubuque voters to oust Resnick, and his 25-year-old opponent, Luke Schiltz, isn’t making that case.
Indeed, Schiltz himself says Resnick has done a “good job,” and the only criticisms he could muster regarding his opponent were some vagaries that he’s heard on the campaign trail — and even those were generalities about city leadership rather than concerns specific to Resnick.
The co-owner of two small businesses, including the restaurant at Dubuque Regional Airport, Schiltz possesses energy and ideas. But most of those ideas, especially those involving an expanded Five Flags Center, come across as impractical and insufficiently thought through.
A foundation of local leadership is community involvement, and Schiltz has made a start. This year, he secured appointment to the city’s Investment Oversight Advisory Committee after being the only applicant for the volunteer position. Yet his attendance record is off to a shaky start, having missed one of the committee’s two meetings since his appointment.
Of greater concern regarding Schiltz’s leadership and community involvement is his paper-thin record as a voter. He’s voted only twice, in 2012 and in 2018, a situation he attributes to his lack of familiarity with candidates and issues. If he hasn’t done his homework prior to elections, a basic expectation of every citizen, how might he handle the massive homework required of council members?
Though we commend Schiltz for taking the initiative to offer his service to the community, he would do well to shore up his record in basic citizenship before seeking elective office.
Dubuque voters are fortunate that David Resnick is willing to continue on the city council and, particularly in light of the disparity between candidates, they should soundly support his re-election to a fourth term.