Editorials

Community pride, service? Youthful energy? Why we never!

City of Belleville mascot Otto is a regular at parades and other civic events in the city. If fewer of our community’s leaders looked like him, that would be a healthy change.
City of Belleville mascot Otto is a regular at parades and other civic events in the city. If fewer of our community’s leaders looked like him, that would be a healthy change. tvizer@bnd.com

As the St. Clair County Board took on an elderly widower to round out its cadre of innovation and enthusiasm, Belleville replaced that same widower on its City Council.

Andy Gaa was appointed Ward 6 alderman Monday after Paul Seibert resigned to take his late wife’s County Board seat.

Gaa is 38 and is now the youngest person on the Belleville City Council. He lives in an 1885 house he rehabbed and has family roots dating to 1867 in the city. He teaches German at the Belleville high schools and gives his students walking tours to teach them city history. He was honored as a BASIC Initiative Citizen of Character. He served on a school board and coached boys and girls soccer. He served on the city library board. He’s chairman of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission. He will be the president of the Belleville Sister Cities group.

Youth, ideas, energy, community pride, a track record of involvement and public service: What’s wrong with this picture?

First, Gaa better stick with Belleville government service. His kind isn’t needed by county government, thank you very much.

Second, rumor has it he doesn’t fit into the Otto costume.

With credentials like that, how could he possibly make a difference?

Oh, wait. He already has.

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