Voter's in Ward 2 of Willmar face the decision of re-electing incumbent Ron Christianson or choosing challenger Andrew Bjur.
Christianson dislikes government and anyone who disagrees with him and does not understand a conflict-of-interest concept. Bjur brings a fresh view and a record of collaboration professionally and individually.
Bjur is the better choice in the Ward 2 race.
Christianson is a businessman in the construction industry, who has served 16 years on the Willmar Council. He is an Air Force veteran. We thank him for his civic and military service.
His biggest weakness is making issues personal when others disagree with him. He has a condescending attitude toward those who may disagree with him on any issue, especially others on the City Council. Simply, Christianson believes his vision in the only right one.
He also has a tendency to micromanage or unconstructively criticizes city staff on a frequent basis.
Christianson was hypocritical on the Westwinds project, claiming it was poor city planning to allow a twin-home development to be surrounded by single-family homes in his southwest Willmar ward. If his claim is true, Christianson himself is responsible for this alleged poor city planning?
In an e-mail Wednesday night to his supporters, Christianson criticized others for not "taking care" of city issues over the past 16 years. This is ironic since he has served on the City Council for the past 16 years and apparently did not address these issues either.
In addition, Christianson often preaches fiscal conservatism, which Willmar has historically practiced. Yet he criticizes others in city government for not spending more to address "stormwater problems."
The biggest concern about Christianson is his support of the nativism philosophy that favors the interests of established inhabitants over those of immigrants. He told the Tribune recently that "These people ... coming here ... need to assimilate to our ways of life and not wave their own flag in the air." Christianson once again showed his intolerance and nativist beliefs. Such statements by any Willmar civic leader are highly inappropriate.
Bjur is our choice in Ward 2. He is a Willmar graduate and an architect with 11 years of experience. He has civic experience working on the Community Education and Recreation advisory committee and on the Willmar Planning Commission.
He believes there is a need for a change of leadership in Ward 2. He is calling for change because council members should not "be elected forever." We agree.
Bjur's top priority is addressing the stormwater management in southwest Willmar, which is an important Ward 2 issue.
His second priority is further development and improvement of the city's parks and trails, a worthy goal.
Bjur understands the city zoning ordinances, which would enable his to represent his ward's interests effectively.
While Bjur faces an uphill role as the challenger, he is the more professional and the better-qualified candidate for this Ward 2 seat.
The West Central Tribune endorses Bjur for election Nov. 2 to represent Ward 2 in Willmar.