Former City Council member Ron Thomas has a long-term plan for the city. It's the same he wrote when he ran for mayor - and nearly won - seven years ago.
Thomas' 10-point plan includes an assessment of city departments, promoting business development, supporting community policing and building connections with Racine Unified.
Here's Thomas' plan, in it entirety (and note, this is from 2003 - we have no indication Thomas is planning to run for mayor again):
There are many good and positive things happening in Racine. My candidacy is another way for me to be a part of the future of our city. However, there are some hard decisions coming our way and my history of leadership and community involvement give me the knowledge, skills and insight to be your next Mayor. Here is my agenda for the future of Racine:
1. There will be an assessment of all city departments. A strategic planning process composed of the Mayor, Aldermen and city department heads will meet on a quarterly basis to review and update major policy issues, budget reforms and strategic initiatives. Accountability will be the key to achieving more with less.
2. There will be aggressive promotion for business growth by supporting existing organizations that seek and secure funding and training through federal, state and local programs, ensuring family supporting jobs. City Hall must keep the lines of communication open with all businesses, both large and small. The marketing of Racine and working with industry are top priorities. It is imperative that business and industry in the city are comfortable with their surrounding neighborhoods. In order for this to occur, the neighborhood must be a safe and appealing place to live and work. This applies to the city's role in adopting the principles of sustainable growth. The Racine County Economic Development Plan clearly outlines the seven strategies needed to directly affect the economic vitality of the county with specific emphasis placed on challenges unique to our city. It is important to note that the quality of life in Racine depends upon the presence and active involvement of working families and the availability of secure quality jobs, paying fair wages and decent benefits, as this is vital to the economic stability and growth of Racine.
3. Support of the Community Policing Initiative in conjunction with current neighborhood crime prevention programs is imperative. By maintaining open communication with law enforcement, the crime rate will continue to decrease.
4. I support continued renovation of targeted neighborhoods with new and established programs. Perpetuating the cities low interest home improvement loans and down payment assistance is vital. The priorities are to increase home ownership, decrease blight and address unused and empty industrial sites.
5. The city needs to connect with our school system. Our future for attracting and retaining jobs and business is dependent upon the education of our youth and their ability to respond to the needs of business. By working with an accountable and responsive public education system, the city can set attainable goals. By improving the education of our children we will assure the future of our community.
6. With the social and economic changes taking place, we must have the vision necessary to think in broader terms that reflect shared resources throughout Racine County. The sewer agreement is a great example of what communities can do together to set goals and plan for the future. This process can and will be used again but it must be done in a more timely manner. One of the first things that needs to be done with our regional planning is to sit down with our surrounding communities and review the needs of transportation throughout the county. This would include the possibility of extending bus service as well as the exploration that employers contribute towards a shuttle service that could be established to pick up employees at designated locations to bring them to the job. This could be accomplished by using public/private investments.
7. I realize that the establishment of a single-site senior citizen resource center will provide yet another opportunity to work together by sharing our resources with surrounding communities. To begin the process, all aspects of the proposal will be reviewed and all interested parties will be invited to share their suggestions and concerns. Our seniors are a vital and integral part of our community.
8. We must take these ideas and develop them into a working government that is not only "of the people, by the people, and for the people," but a governing structure that states we are a community of participation, by participation, and for participation. We must work harder to recognize and respect diversity. Every sector of the community should be involved through networking and coalition building.
9. City government needs to prepare for rapid change and make sure that social and economic improvements don't ignore our poorer residents.
10. Sustainability is dependent on a diverse workforce and economic base inclusive of minorities, blue and white collar workers, seniors, the disadvantaged and the disabled. Racine is only as strong as our most vulnerable populations. The pieces of the puzzle are on the table. I will work hard to create a united community where everyone is important and heard. I ask for your support and your vote on April 1.
Alderman of the 9th District
Candidate for Mayor
Saturday, March 22, 2003