Salisbury Election Preview: In District 3, Spies, Heath and Lindsay compete

Salisbury voters go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 3.  In District 3, incumbents Tim Spies and Jack Heath are facing each other, as well as newcomer Kevin Lindsay.

Tim Spies

One of the successes Tim Spies is most proud of is cutting an expense for Salisbury.

“I am the one council member who went out there and saved money for the city on his own,” he said, launching into a story about how a city warehouse was filled with discarded electronics that weren’t hauled away because it would have cost the city $26,000.

He contacted those who could help and managed to get a Goodwill trailer at the warehouse and assign prison labor to load it. It was hauled away, and the city received $500 for the scrap, instead of paying $26,000.

He said the hallmark of his term is generating  ideas to help the city run smoothly while saving money.

He also has an idea for reducing juvenile crime by keeping teenagers active.

“The school system is underutilized. Schools are used maybe eight hours every day, nine months a year. The rest of the time they sit empty. They are perfect places for community centers,” he told an audience at a recent candidates’ forum.

“There are 12 schools in the city and we are underusing them,” said the 64-year-old Spies, who is seeking a second term.

“I looked very hard at what the issues have been. I feel someone is needed who lives in the district, especially the Camden area. Part of the Camden area is now in a different district but those issues are still plain as day to me. They have to do with drug use, crime, unemployment,” he said.

He said he wants to keep properties looking “like they belong here,” attractive homes, not packed dirt for front yards and trash thrown in the streets.

“This used to be a professional district. There are still a good number of them. Those people deserve to be represented directly, not by someone who lives elsewhere but by someone who lives in the thick of it, like me, and who has experience,” he said.

Spies said he is well-versed in what the city’s problems are.

“I walk the walk and talk the talk for the Camden area,” he said.

It concerns him that downtown had been neglected for decades, “but now we’re going to have something much better,” he said.

Spies retired from the U.S. Navy in 2002 and from a nursing career in 2010.

Interestingly, he was a bridge tender in Salisbury. “In a lot of ways it’s like being at sea, but you’re not in a boat,” he said, calling the job “fun” and saying he had a chance to look out over the water and reflect.

Jack Heath

When Jack Heath was appointed to the City Council, to fill the remainder of former Councilwoman Terry Cohen’s term, he brought a businessman’s perspective.

A chemical engineer, he has operated several businesses during his career, was involved in manufacturing, appointed CEO and, later, after retirement, went back to work and ran Lower Shore Enterprises, an experience he thoroughly enjoyed.

Gentlemanly and elegant in speech, Heath believes in the growing downtown and said it can be further enlivened by offering incentives to attract manufacturing jobs.

He wants to see intervention for at-risk youth, plans to reduce juvenile crime and good reasons for Salisbury University graduates to stay in town after they graduate, to live and work here.

“It sickens me to see the intelligent young people we have at Salisbury, and not have something for them when they graduate … we graduate a lot of kids, a lot of really smart kids,” he said.

A supporter of arts and entertainment, Heath called them catalysts for the future of downtown. Projects such as high-speed broadband allow for greater technology there, he said.

He also wants to see multi-use development on city-owned parking lots.

Heath said his business experience, and experience at Lower Shore Enterprises, make him a better councilman.

“I have applied some of the best practices in my business career to the government sector,” the 68-year-old said.

Among them is fiscal responsibility, as well as protecting financial stability. He doesn’t believe in reducing the city’s surplus budget unless there’s an emergency, saying, “that’s what the surplus is there for.”

In well-run government, accountability is necessary, and setting goals and objectives, he said.

“My engineering background taught me numbers and metrics are very important … and we have to try to apply that instead of emotion,” he said.

Government sometimes gets involved in too many areas, when instead, individuals should be allowed to work out problems, he said. Problems can be solved by the right people, reasonable people, sitting together and solving problems, he said.

Concerning the proposed curfew and juvenile crime, Heath said a curfew has to go hand-in-hand with government programs, businesses and churches whose associates are committed to working with youth.  “Let’s not forget it takes a village,” he said.

A volunteer with the fire service for more than three decades, Heath  has been married  46 years, is the father of three and grandfather of six. Two of his children are teachers in Salisbury.

Kevin Lindsay

Lindsay is the kind of man who, as they say, keeps it real.

“Crime is down,” he told the audience a  candidates’ forum.

“So let’s stop running on a fear campaign.  Let’s focus on the juveniles. We’re talking about putting in a curfew system, but most crimes are committed between 3 and 9 p.m. or 10 p.m., so what’s the curfew going to do?

“It starts at home, but the community has to invest in the kids. Stop playing these games. They are running all over town, with nothing to do, when you don’t want to do anything for them. We need to start reaching out to them, too,” he said.

He called a curfew is “a Band-Aid.”

“These kids are looking for something to do,” he said, adding  most youth who end up in juvenile serves “are good kids, but they make mistakes.”

It was because of youth – one particular young man —  that Lindsay decided to run for office. He filed after Rakim Russell was killed last summer.

“I knew Rakim when he was little. I knew his mom. Rakim used to run through my house, drink up all my sodas. I went to the viewing and it affected me in a way to say, ‘What can I do?’ We do a lot of talking, but this would be my opportunity to do something for the city,” he said.

“I want young people growing up in Salisbury to see a face. Maybe they can recognize and see a face doing something for the community,” he said.

“It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,” he said, quoting Civil Right activist Frederick Douglass.

“The youth have to buy into it, so we have to buy into them,” he said. The 38-year-old Lindsay, a case manager for Goodwill, graduated from SU, and lived in Prince Georges County. He returned to Salisbury, coaches football and works with youth. “I see the issues first hand. We can sit up here and talk about it, but I see it,” he said.

The only candidate in District 3 who isn’t an incumbent, Lindsay has an 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son, “so the concern I have is for the future of Salisbury,” he said.

He’s convinced rejuvenating downtown can be accomplished by getting  those from the outside to buy into it. City Council members “should do more outreach” he said, suggesting free parking on the streets.

Lindsay said he isn’t sure “we all know how to do this,” in light of major companies closing and laying off employees. “It will take a collaborative effort to figure it out,” he said.

If he’s elected, a priority for District 3 will be getting youth involved, maybe by having a committee of young people go before the City Council and talking about their concerns.

“What’s going on? What’s working?  What kind of trouble have you been in before?” he said.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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