Opinion

Cox for County Council

In the race for York County Council District 3, we endorse incumbent Joe Cox.

Cox, a Republican, has served one term. Before being elected to the council, he had served for five years as mayor of Sharon.

Cox is opposed Nov. 4 by Democrat Eddie Lee, a longtime professor of history at Winthrop University and mayor of York for the past seven years. He has three years remaining on his current mayoral term.

Cox said he is running for re-election to complete the goals the council has yet to accomplish. Near the top of that list is "Pennies for Progress."

Cox envisions a 2010 bond referendum for another round of road projects but believes the county is committed to completing the projects already approved by voters. He thinks that bonding out those projects could be a reasonable option.

Cox also said he will continue to press for fire substations in western York County. District 3 covers much of the western part of the county, including York, Sharon, Hickory Grove, Smyrna and McConnells.

The county envisions seven volunteer-run substations in the western half of the county to provide faster emergency response and lower insurance rates for those now living more than 5 miles from a fire station. Cox has been the chief proponent on the council for this project.

Cox remains opposed to a proposed solid waste landfill on Quarry Road. He, along with fellow Councilman Curwood Chappell, supports building an incinerator that would burn waste to generate energy.

He concedes that the initial cost of an incinerator would be high, and York County, by itself, could not supply enough waste to make the project feasible. But Cox sees the possibility of enlisting other nearby counties to use the incinerator.

Lee, Cox's Democratic opponent, boasts elective experience not only as mayor of York but also as a Chester city councilman when he was 23. He also believes the county has a commitment to finishing existing "Pennies for Progress" projects, and stresses completion of the S.C. 5 bypass as his top priority.

He would promote recycling and reclamation as the first resort in dealing with waste. He also believes the council has offered too many variances to its long-term land-use plan.

Lee also has tried to make an issue of the discord on the council. He claims the arguments that once occurred publicly now take place behind closed doors during executive sessions. And that, he said, does not serve the interests of open government.

We agree that the council has been openly argumentative and, at times, downright uncivil in the past. But Cox asserts that members are working together effectively now and that little bitterness from past disputes remains. We think the evidence suggests that the council is more cordial and efficient -- due in part to the hiring of Jim Baker as county manager -- and that discord no longer is as serious a problem as it once was.

Cox has been an effective councilman with a clear grasp of what the county needs and good ideas for achieving them. We recommend that voters give him another term.

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