Candidates cite issues of education, aesthetics, communication

By Bill Short


During telephone interviews last week, three of the 11 candidates for alderman in the Nov. 6 Oakland city elections cited issues regarding education, aesthetics and communication.

Because he is a former alderman, Gregory Duncan said he knows some things that will benefit the town. But he wants to keep an open mind, because no one can predict the future.

“I believe in peace and harmony and working together,” he noted. “We have to live among each other.”

Duncan said he is concerned about “schooling and training” for Oakland’s children, because they are the future of the town.

“I wish the best for the city of Oakland,” he added, “and I want to see things done in peace and harmony. I know that is not possible right now, but we work toward that, because Father Time is moving right on.”

Kelly Rector said his primary goal is to “bring the town back” to its residents. Noting that he has seen how Oakland is depicted on area TV newscasts, he said that is not a correct representation of the town.

Because he attends the monthly meetings of the Oakland Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Rector said he stays current on most of the issues facing the town. But while the board cites certain needs, he said what he is hearing from the public is “totally different.”

“Why is that?” he asked rhetorically. “If they’re for the people, they should at least know what the people’s wants and needs are.”

Rector said he decided to run for alderman, because he felt like he had not been given the opportunity at the board meetings to discuss issues that are important to him. Although he initially wondered whether he was “up for the job,” he said he is now in the race with “both feet.”

Noting that he believes the “overall cleanliness” of Oakland has “really gone to pot,” Rector wants to restore a caring attitude by starting an annual Clean-Up Day.

“What I’m getting on the streets is everybody wants to help,” he said. “I don’t know how much truth is in that, but I’m going to call them out on it. We’re going to all work together and see if we can get this town turned around and headed in the right direction.”

John Troncone said that, about a year ago, several residents asked him to run. Because he and others were complaining about the “current situation” in Oakland, he decided he was going to try to do something.

“The roads needed work, the grass needed to be cut,” he said. “And currently, we pay more for garbage, but we get less.”

Like Rector, Troncone said he has attended the monthly board meetings but felt that he was not being given the opportunity to discuss the issues.

“I think we all should have a voice in this city,” he said. “My opinion wasn’t being heard, so I decided to be the voice of the people.”

Noting that he has worked in the financial industry for 13 years, Troncone said he believes that would give him a “leg up” to function like “checks and balances” on whichever administration is elected next month.

Two other alderman candidates, Gloria McFerren and Tammy Qualls, could not be reached for comment before press time.