City Council contenders

By Tara Kulash

Jessica Bradshaw

A Carbondale Community High School graduate, Bradshaw works at SIU as an office manager. She has been a member of both the Chamber of Commerce and Carbondale Main Street and is chair of the human relations commission. She also serves as chair of the newly formed Northwest Carbondale Neighborhood Association. Bradshaw ran in the last City Council election and said she chose to run again because Carbondale citizens often approach her with ideas for the city all the time. As a council member, she would want to push for a hotel in the downtown area.

Tony Holsey



Along with being the minister at Greater Gillespie Temple Church, Holsey works for Carbondale’s housing rehab program. He said his main concern is that the City Council is not people-oriented enough. He believes council members should put more effort into their positions and play an active role in the community. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Holsey said he has politician friends in Cleveland who could give him objective advice on Carbondale issues. He said he thinks he is a qualified candidate because he has common sense and is a people person.


Fronabarger was appointed by the council as a member two years ago to fill Mayor Joel Fritzler’s vacant seat. He has served four years on the city planning commission, volunteered at the Carbondale Park District and has helped with plans for the new outdoor aquatic center for the past eight years. He has worked at SIU for 21 years with transfer students. He said he believes his two years of experience on the City Council gives him an advantage over other candidates because he knows what to expect from the position. As a councilman he helped with the city manager selection process, which he said was a rewarding and educational experience. He said his top priority if re-elected would be to focus on economic development.


Kang has lived in Carbondale 24 years and runs an insurance agency. He has served on the planning commission for more than 10 years and served as Carbondale Park District commissioner for two terms. If elected, he wants to focus on business revitalization and help increase SIU’s enrollment. While the city has promised to donate $20 million over 20 years to the university, Kang wants to give a larger portion of that amount to SIU sooner for scholarship purposes. He also wants to invest in more parks, litter cleanup and energy-efficient city buildings.


Harvey has worked at SIU for more than 30 years as an accountant. At the university, she has served on several search committees, including searches for a chancellor and president. She is chair of the planning commission, which she has been a part of for 10 years. Harvey is also president of the civil service council at SIU and treasurer for the Women’s Center Board of Directors. Her main goal as councilwoman would be to balance the city budget, which she said she has experience with as an SIU accountant. Her second goal is to provide quality and affordable housing for both students and families.


Ritzel was born and raised in Carbondale and now is now pursuing a master’s degree in public administration at SIU. He ran for mayor in the last election and is part equity owner of a renewable energy company. Ritzel said he believes he is the candidate that most focused on following the comprehensive plan. He wants to focus on entrepreneurship and local businesses to boost the economy as he has started three record labels and trained musicians in starting their own businesses. Ritzel said he finds it unbelievable that there has never been an SIU student on council, and he thinks it’s important that the students receive representation.


An SIU law student, Hennrich has lived in Carbondale for nine years. He is vice chair of the human relations commission and has served in the National Guard since 2002. Hennrich said he believes he has the time to dedicate to a council position that other candidates might not have. He is most worried that the council doesn’t listen to its citizens enough, and he wants to be responsive to their concerns. Hennrich said he wants to make improvements to the downtown area as well as stick closely to the comprehensive plan, which is a plan for the city’s future put together by citizens, organizations, businesses and a consultant and was made official by a council vote in 2010.


Tisdale is a law student at SIU and is president of the Graduate Professional Student Council. He also serves on the human relations commission. He said he decided to run for council after researching for his GPSC presidency and realized how much the city and university rely on each other. Tisdale said he wants to work on downtown development and making Carbondale a safer place for students and residents. He said in order to make improvements, he wants to continue to review and use the city’s comprehensive plan.

Pepper Holder

Hoping to be a voice of diversity, Holder said he wants to give Carbondale a better future for his grandchildren. He has traveled the U.S. and said he believes it makes him qualified because he knows of policies that have worked in other places that may be of use to Carbondale. Holder said he would like to give citizens more of a voice by either allowing them to approach the human relations commission with complaints or hold special City Council meetings just for the purpose of citizens’ comments. He said he would also like to beautify Carbondale and bring back the town’s music festival scene.

Candidates William Graham and Karim Abdullah had no contact information available. Luke Adams Jr. was called multiple times but did not return any messages.

Candidates target housing, business

Virtually every City Council candidate agrees on one thing: Carbondale needs some sprucing up.

From improving rental housing to reviving the Strip, nine of the 12 candidates running for three of the six council seats in Tuesday’s election shared their ideas on issues facing the council. The three who gain the most votes will serve a four-year term and can run for re-election as many times as they choose. They will face issues that include housing standards, crime prevention, property zoning, business revitalization and more.

In the 2010 election, there were 2,878 voters registered out of a population of 25,902.

While there has never been an SIU student on the council, three are running for a seat. City Manager Kevin Baity said it’s important for Salukis to pay attention to their council’s decisions because they affect students in many ways. Mayor Joel Fritzler said SIU students often don’t vote in council elections because they plan to be in Carbondale only for school. He said student involvement is still encouraged, though, and students hold seats on the liquor advisory board, human relations commission and sustainability commission.

Baity said the City Council votes on sales tax rates, parking permit fees, regulations for rental housing inspections, water and sewer rates, issuance of liquor licenses and more.

“As a student, there may only be a few items that the council makes decisions on that do not affect them,” he said.


“There are some properties I wouldn’t tie my dog in,” council candidate Navreet Kang said.

He said many neglected properties are being rented to students, and landlords need to be held accountable for that.

Other council candidates agreed housing is an issue and mentioned a possible solution would be to hold landlords to the city codes.

Candidate Brent Ritzel said fines should be heavier for not meeting city regulations.

“It’s about creating penalties that are painful enough so that instead of continuing to abuse the rest of us, they pay out of their pocketbook,” he said.

Candidate Carolin Harvey said she doesn’t think there are enough housing inspectors, so she would like to research the idea of adding more. She said while she is concerned about quality housing for students, she also wants to ensure affordable housing for families.


“I came back here four years ago after being gone for 23 years,” Ritzel said. “It was like, ‘What happened here?’ It really was like a nuclear bomb went off.”

He said Carbondale’s economy and nightlife have taken a turn for the worse, and he wants to remedy them by encouraging entrepreneurship.

Candidate and current council member Lee Fronabarger said his top priority is to create a better economy. He said he wants to look into offering more manufacturing jobs and bringing more businesses into the area.

“We have to have the funds to do the projects we want to do,” he said. “We have to be able to pump more money and have it recycled through our community, bring more revenues, more jobs, so people can afford to shop in our stores and eat in our restaurants.”

Candidate Tony Holsey said he agrees the city needs to be more productive with job opportunities and a lively downtown.

“We’ve kind of lost our identity a bit,” he said.

Bradshaw said she would like to see a downtown transportation hub near the train station that would include a hotel, bus stop and car rental agency.

SIU Enrollment

Candidate Blaine Tisdale thinks it is important for a student to be on the council so students’ concerns can be represented.

“Making sure there’s a student that’s connected to the university and has their fingers on the pulse and ear to the ground, that knows what’s going on and gets the climate of the campus, that has been another concern,” he said.

Kang said the issue is that not enough Carbondale high school students are being recruited by SIU. He said he wants to invest more of the city’s budget into scholarships for quality students.

Candidate Jerrold Hennrich said he believes downtown should become more of an entertainment hub for students, while Ritzel said he wants to create more job and internship opportunities for students.

Candidate Jessica Bradshaw said she wants more livable-wage jobs for residents.

“We need to support people so once they graduate, they want to stay here,” she said.


Holsey said while he believes Carbondale is relatively safe, there is a high burglary rate “that needs very much to be addressed.”

He said a lot of the problem stems from turnover in neighborhoods so neighbors don’t know each other well enough to look out for others’ homes.

Harvey said she agrees that citizens could help each other out, and she has seen neighborhood watch policies implemented in places such as the Arbor District.

“I should know who my neighbors are, and we should kind of watch out for each other,” she said.

Hennrich, as well as a few other candidates, mentioned it would be smart to increase police patrol on foot and bikes as well as add more lighting in certain areas. However, Fronabarger said he thinks Carbondale is safer than many areas because it has two police forces, one for the city and one for the university. He agreed he would like to see more police on bikes and foot, though.

Candidate Pepper Holder said he would also like to see more cops on foot because it makes them easier to approach. He said police give off the perception that they’re only trying to look for crime when they are in cars.