Mayor Paul Aziz is running for re-election, and the Lebanon Express is endorsing him: He is the best fit to continue as mayor for the city of Lebanon.
Aziz's opponent, Forest Bosley, has no experience in local government. That's not a huge surprise in small-town politics, but the mayor's post is a large undertaking; it would have been better for Bosley to run first for a seat on the City Council.
The acting mayor's job is a leadership position (as the mayor only votes in the case of a tie); therefore, it's rarely a policy-setting position.
And because of that city councilors tend to hold more political sway. The mayor's job is to set the tone and lead the meetings.
On the issues, the only strong disagreement Bosley has with Aziz is on the legalization of recreational marijuana.
But neither Bosley nor Aziz will have the final word on that issue; the voters will decide this in the November election as they decide whether to affirm the council's decision to ban the sale, production and distribution of marijuana within the city limits and that ban must be upheld by the voters. Aziz has said he will not stand in the way of whatever the voters decide.
Aziz deserves another term in large part because of the great strides he's made in improving the tone of meetings and increasing government transparency. He has worked to post all council meetings on YouTube (excluding executive sessions, which are closed to the public) and is using social media channels to explain city business (which now includes putting out a quick Facebook post for all road maintenance work, no matter how minor the repair).
There have been two major hiccups during Aziz's tenure: a city manager who didn't work well, and the several snags that the water treatment plant project hit before construction was slated began. Aziz, the council and city staff have worked well together to solve these issues.
Aziz did not skirt these issues when asked about them: He was willing to admit the mistakes. That is a sign of true leadership, and part of the reason why we believe Aziz is charting the right course for Lebanon.