Coody and Jordan Face Off Again
In this year’s mayoral election, Fayetteville will decide between two leftward leaning politicians facing off once again.
Lioneld Jordan ran against Dan Coody, the incumbent, in 2008, unseating Coody who was mayor from 2001 to 2008.
“I can say from personal observation that a lot of folks feel quite torn and there are strong partisans on both sides,” said Janine Parry, a UA political science professor. “I think most folks don’t really have strong feelings about it other than mildly positive about the direction of Fayetteville over the last 10 years. I think that leads them to feel conflicted.”
Coody, an advocate for sustainability, lead the city in its efforts to protect the environment, he said.
“I’m a very strong believer in sustainability and working against climate change and trying to reverse that as best we can,” Coody said. “Besides recycling and food security and getting local food production going on, sustainability is the most important thing that we as a city need to worry about.”
He said he won’t just provide “lip service” like he said Mayor Jordan has.
Mayor Jordan said that he has put every effort into sustainability since he has been in office.
“I am very involved in the sustainability movement,” Jordan said. “I am very green. I have not just talked about it I have done it. If you will look at our record, my record as a mayor, we’ve been leading the state in sustainability.”
The university is important to the city, Coody said.
“If it were not for the UA, Fayetteville would not be the city it is today. The UA and I had a great relationship when I was mayor, to the point that we would go to D.C. together to ask for support for things that would help the university and the city at the same time,” Coody said.
Jordan believes the city and the university have a special relationship, he said.
“I attended the university as an undergraduate, and I worked for UA Facilities Management for 27 years before being elected Mayor in 2008. I love the University and the Razorbacks,” Jordan said. “Chancellor Gearhart and I have a close working relationship, and we recently initiated a new town and gown committee to assure even better coordination of our plans and goals.
“In addition, when I became mayor, I promised to hold a mayor’s town hall meeting on the UA campus, bringing city government to the students and staff to present programs and answer questions, and I have held one on campus every year,” Jordan said.
Coody also wants to address parking on Dickson Street.
“Of course, if I get elected, I also want to fix the crazy parking situation down on Dickson because it hurts businesses, it hurts the patrons, it hurts people who want to go down there for a beer or just enjoy themselves in the evenings,” Coody said. “It’s a disaster and it has got to be fixed.”
Jordan does not regret any parking decisions that were made while he was in office, he said.
“It was 2009 when we were looking to build a parking deck and if you will look at the price that we charge in city lots it is much lower than what the university charges,” Jordan said. “I supported the plan, which passed with a unanimous vote, because I think we needed a deck, which we had been talking about for 20 years. We feel that the parking plan is justified because at the end of the day we are going to create more parking for the downtown area and address some of the growth not only at the university but at the apartment complexes that went in down there.”
Coody is running again this election because he does not like the direction Fayetteville is headed, he said.
“I think if we elect leaders who don’t really understand [climate change] and who aren’t passionate about it that it is just going to get worse,” Coody said. “My number one job is to try and protect the world for future generations and to create equal opportunities for everybody. Every student at the university needs to have equal rights and equal opportunities and that’s a big part of a sustainable economy. It is a very broad issue but I’m very serious about this. Lip service just is not going to get it done.”
Jordan said he has strived to create a local government focused on partnership and will continue to do so.
“I love this city. I have 5 town hall meetings a year because I believe in a partnership-based government,” Jordan said. “There are two types of government, a consumer based government that says ‘what is in if for me? What do I get out of it?’ or you can have a partnership-based government, which I have tried to create. No matter who we are, where we come from or our background we are all a part of this city and we work together to make this city better.”