"I'm the people's mayor," he said.
And that's why there are times he will "respectfully disagree" with decisions by members of the council. He wants to do what the people want. He said he noticed Lazio was a neighbor of Ottumwa Veterinary Clinic. And that he was the only neighbor to get up and speak in support of allowing the business to be rezoned. Now, asked the mayor, what does the challenger have to say about that decision?
"They've been good neighbors, they've done everything they said they would do," answered Lazio, who said as a neighbor, he'd still want to support their business growth.
He said there used to be one vet there. Now the small business has five animal doctors.
"They live here, they work here," said Lazio, "and I want to keep them here. I think it was a good decision."
Lazio said he had to question Flanders' talk of doing the will of the people: A unanimous vote by the zoning board to approve the request, two unanimous votes by the council to approve and a 4-1 vote by the council to approve. Then Flanders steps in and vetoes the approval.
The pair disagreed on chasing a casino license if one was up for grabs. Lazio said prior to doing that, he'd focus on affordable housing and on bringing in good-paying jobs by supporting the expansion of local small businesses. Flanders said a casino could help the tax base enough that it would be worth it to pursue. But he knows it's not a perfect solution, he said.
I know there are people who have concerns, and legitimate concerns, Flanders said, but the community would have to weigh the good against the bad. And in this case, the good outweighs the bad; those negatives, he believes, could be addressed.