Safety, public works issues facing Loganville candidates

LOGANVILLE -- All four candidates for three available city council seats seem to be in agreement on a couple of major issues facing Loganville: Public safety and public works.

Incumbents Pedro Vega and Jerry Price have extensive law enforcement backgrounds and feel that while Loganville is in a good situation now, the city can't afford to become complacent.

In the midst of police and fire department layoffs and hiring freezes, Price, a retired Atlanta police officer, still believes public safety needs to be increased, not decreased.

"I always preach public safety," Price said. "You can start all these feel-good programs, but the bottom line is often about the numbers. If someone is thinking about robbing a bank and sees a hundred police cars, he might think twice. You can't be too ready."

Vega, a school resource officer, said more people means more crime. After 40 years in Atlanta, his parents now call Loganville home. His young daughter will grow up there. He wants it to be a safe place.

"The city is doing great now, but I believe there is always room for improvement," he said. "There is always new (law enforcement) technology coming out."

Political newcomer Danny Curry decided to throw his hat in the ring as a "people's candidate," hoping to help build a good quality of life. Curry isn't in law enforcement, but agreed that public safety should be atop the agenda.

The city's infrastructure, candidates said, needs to be ready to support the growth that all four candidates believe is imminent following the recession. Specifically, the city's roadways and water supply.

"As the city embarks on a new direction, I see many positive opportunities ahead," Geiger said. "Plans for the new water tank are just about complete and should become a reality in 2010."

The new water tower will have more than double the capacity of the existing one, Vega said.

Curry referenced Atlanta's "water wars" when talking about Loganville's situation.

"We have got to become a major player in the water issue," he said. "If we're not careful, we may end up paying pretty dearly for it."

No candidate spoke of glaring local government weaknesses, rather saying that it's more about continuing to move forward.

"We have to maintain what we have," Price said. "The equipment and the level of service we are able to provide everybody with. We've got nice stuff and great citizens who pay their taxes on time."

The three incumbents hope to maintain their seats Nov. 3, but said it's more about the group than any individual.

"We all lean on each other, we don't have personal agendas," Price said.

"We don't always agree, but we always compromise."

Vega, in this case, agreed.

"We do work well together," Vega said. "Sometimes we agree to disagree ... If I have questions, I'm comfortable asking them."