To the editor:

I moved back to Auburn four years ago after having been gone for 35 years. I have been happy to see that my hometown is starting to really grow with fun activities on Fridays, new restaurants and even our ACD Festival has grown into a weekend event. I’ve been following the candidates running for mayor so I could decide who I would cast my vote for.

Everyone I have talked to has said that this mayoral election is a win/win with two strong candidates. I went to the McKenney-Harrison School Meet & Greet to help decide for myself. I was really disappointed that we were not allowed to ask the candidates questions. I had expected a debate to be able to tell the candidates apart. What I got out of the meet & greet was that Mike Ley is not as comfortable at communicating as Sarah Payne is. Mike Ley said if he had a million dollars he would repair the sidewalks and Sarah Payne said she would not need a million dollars to repair the sidewalks because she would look for opportunities to help people who could not afford to pay for their own. I started leaning towards Sarah at that point.

However, Mike Ley’s ideas of public bathrooms really made me curious. I was at the fair and there is nowhere to go to the bathroom anymore. Our city needs bathrooms. However, then I saw that the new project at Cedar Creek already has bathrooms that are going to be literally right across the street from the project Mike proposed, I didn’t understand why we would think to add more so close to the ones already in process. Public bathrooms are expensive to build and maintain and I just don’t understand why he would want to put public bathrooms literally right across the street from where they are already going to be. I think if more bathrooms are needed downtown maybe they could be at least a few blocks from each other, maybe at the James Cultural Plaza?

I asked Sarah Payne this question on her Sundays with Sarah. She has been working on the Cedar Creek Landing project for five years. I have heard of it before but I didn’t know she was a part of it. It does contain public restrooms. The fact that Mike Ley did not know that this project would have public restrooms or that he thought we would need more right across the street causes me great concern. I think he is out of touch with our community.

I like that Sarah gives opportunities to ask questions because I have not had those opportunities to ask Mike Ley questions. He does not have an email on his website. Let alone a phone number. Sarah has an email, phone number and does Facebook events every Sunday where you can ask her any question while she is live. I noticed she also writes a blog every week she posts on her website.

It is clear to me now that Sarah is running because she has listened to the people and worked with the people. She understands what they want and need. And she has chosen to do something about it and run for mayor. I have made my decision to cast my vote for Sarah Payne. I encourage you to make a thoughtful decision too. I think if you explore all the facts, you will too.

Beth Jehl


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