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Lake City re-elects incumbents

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Lake City voters returned two incumbent councilman to office Tuesday, leaving the lone challenger out in the cold.

The city's unopposed mayor said the 144 votes cast affirm that the elected officials are "doing something right."

"We're one of the safest communities in the area," Mayor Willie Oswalt said. "Crime is low and our response time is fast, and we have no property taxes."

Incumbent Bobby Williams was re-elected with 121 votes. Incumbent Dwight Ginn was re-elected with 113 votes.

Ginn said he was happy with the results. "We've got a good town," he said. "We've got a good mayor, a good police department."

Williams and Oswalt have both been in the city's government for more than two decades, and both incumbents said, during their campaigns, that they wanted to keep the small city the same.

Challenger Ray Johnson, losing with only 60 votes, cited the long-constant alignment in Lake City government as the reason he lost.

"I can't beat the system, you know that," Johnson said. "I thought I'd get a few more votes, with all of the people I called. People tell you they're going to vote for you, but there's no telling what they'll do."

Johnson was a proponent for change, in the 1.8-square mile city's election. He proposed efforts be made to bring in more residents and more businesses, saying the city desperately needed to grow, and the council needed to tap the city's potential.

Johnson said the council needed to be more open to the voices of citizens, and proposed getting more people involved in the governing of the city.

Less than 10 percent of the city's 800 registered voters showed up to the polls, on Nov. 6.

Looking at the low voter turnout, Johnson said that, apparently, people don't want to be involved, but want to see the city continue like it has.

"I don't reckon people care, anymore," Johnson said. "It's just going to stay like it is. We've got a lot of empty shopping centers and a lot of empty houses and people are just going to keep moving out."

Oswalt agreed that the citizens -- those who voted and those who didn't -- showed they want to see the city continue doing what it's doing, but said it's a good thing.

"I'm glad the people see we are trying to do good," the mayor said.