Clark to face opponent in fall election for Fourth Ward

Published 1:54 am Thursday, May 19, 2005

By By RANDI K. PICKLEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES - On Nov. 8, voters will have a new name to consider for the Niles City Council seat representing the 4th Ward, which includes all residents in the city limits west of the St. Jospeh River.
Robert Burch, of 548 W. Main St., entered his petition for the City Council seat before the deadline of May 10, placing him opposite the current Councilman Scott Clark.
Burch, a union ironworker and Navy veteran, has been on the planning committee and the zoning board with the City of Niles for the last three years. He said, "I've been attending the meetings, helping to make site plans and getting ordinances straightened out. I've had this decision (to run for election) in mind for a long time."
Burch feels there is no conflict of interest for him in vying for the seat. "I have some political experience. I don't own a business. I'm running for City Council because I am a concerned citizen. I believe it is time for a fresh face with fresh ideas," he said.
Burch plans to serve the community through a platform that includes attracting new businesses to the area and focusing more on the neighborhoods.
At the age of 33, Burch wants to present a up-to-date perspective in his campaign. "We have to stay with the times, otherwise Niles could be another ghost town. Our citizens are willing to walk the park, but not the downtown area," he said.
Burch is also concerned about better enforcement of laws that affect the citizens of Niles. "We need to be more effective with things like the sound ordinances and the speed limits being enforced," he said.
Burch said he wants stronger communications between the residents and the city government. "The citizens need to know they can contact the council members with suggestions and concerns. We can make better use of the media through newspaper articles and radio broadcasting to keep residents informed," he said.
Incumbent Councilman Scott Clark commented on his qualifications for retaining the City Council seat. "I'm all about taking care of people. I don't plan to promote anything. I stand on what I've done. My past eight years on the council speak for me."
In regard to the political arena, Clark added, "You'll never wonder where you stand with me."