The question any candidate should ask before taking on the incumbent is, “What is the current officeholder doing (or not doing) that needs to change?” Rebecca Kreher has not answered that about incumbent 4th Ward Councilman Tom Tebben.We suspect that's because Tebben hasn't left much to criticize as 4th Ward councilman. Tebben represents both the ward and the city well. He pays attention to details, is realistic abut the problems Lima faces and addresses constituents' conerns. Kreher has yet to say how she would improve the ward's representation.Residents of Lima's 4th Ward are well-served by the current representative on City Council. The Lima News is endorsing Tebben for re-election.Give Kreher, 30, credit. It's refreshing to see young people want to play an active role, doing more than sitting back and saying, “This is stupid.” But Kreher offers no reason to replace Tebben. She's said he's been too gruff with individual complaints — which he denies — and she's said the city had been too slow in preparing for Environmental Protection Agency mandates that will cost property owners an extra charge for the foreseeable future. Pressed for specifics about what she would have done differently, Kreher has been short on answers.She offers plenty of what should be done — be more open for business, for example — but little about how to do it. Tebben hasn't been a mass producer of ideas, but he sticks to the nuts and bolts rather than offering slogans.Tebben, 58, is a stickler for details. Asked what his priority would be in another term — it would be his third elected term on City Council — he says the budget would take the first six months. It's not sexy, but it's a realistic view of what Lima faces Lima now with less state funding.The argument over the storm water runoff mandate from the U.S. EPA has been amusing, but it's also short-sighted on Kreher's part. Tebben complaining isn't going to reverse it. Mayor David Berger co-authored a resolution from the U.S. Conference of Mayors opposing such mandates, but it's done nothing. Kreher does say the city a decade ago could have begun charging something like $2 a month on bills to offset the cost. That betrays her inexperience: What does she think residents would say about a charge that wasn't yet needed? How long does she think a city facing massive budget cuts would ignore that money?We hope more young people will follow her lead in trying to serve their community, but in this election, Tebben is the better choice.
Coming Thursday: Lima City council president