Aditya “Doc” Savara, a member of two city boards, is running for Oak Ridge City Council in the November 4 municipal election.
In a press release, Savara said he has been involved in local politics during the past two years and served on the Traffic Safety Advisory Board and the Environmental Quality Advisory Board. Savara said he has attended and commented during public comment periods at City Council meetings, is knowledgeable about the issues facing the city, and has been vocal about them.
“In 2012-2013, an ordinance came before Oak Ridge City Council regarding whether property owners Jack and Myra Mansfield could build a single home on their property in a neighborhood zoned as R1, for single-family dwellings,” Savara said in the release. “Adjacent homeowners asserted property values would drop if the Mansfields were allowed to build a home on the open space. I pointed out that the neighbors could have bought the open property themselves if they wanted to keep it as open space. I stated that the neighbors didn’t want to buy the cow, but wanted to have the milk for free, and that it was not too late for the neighbors to make the Mansfields a fair offer.
“Despite such statements by myself and others, Council voted not to let the Mansfields build. I would have given the neighbors a chance to make the Mansfields a fair offer for the open space, then let the Mansfields build.”
Savara said he is dedicated to finding solutions when there are challenges, and “Oak Ridge has some challenges to deal with.”
He said the city is paying more than $500,000 per year on the city-owned Centennial Golf Course on Edgemoor Road.
“I would like to lease out Centennial Golf Course to a private party and use that lease money to pay down our debt,” Savara said. “For some context, a lease of $200,000 per year for this golf course would be like renting a $100,000 house for less than $200 a month. Any number above $0 is an improvement over the current situation.”
Savara said he would also like to provide city recycling pick-up service to apartments. Apartments do not have the city recycling pick-up service while houses do, he said.
Savara said he also proposes to create a citizen budget advisory board because the city is more than $180 million in debt.
The candidate said he would like to provide incentives, but not money, to get more businesses into strip malls and the shopping centers—and not just the Main Street Oak Ridge project. And he would like to provide incentives for renovating legacy homes to have modern plumbing, electrical, interiors, and driveways.
Savara said he would work with the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce to bring more manufacturing jobs and retail to Oak Ridge to improve the local economy.
He said he knows what it’s like to represent people and was graduate student president and on the graduate leadership council for four years at Northwestern University. He taught at Northwestern University, won department-wide and college-wide teaching awards, and “knows what it’s like to have to choose between your personal life and giving as much as you would like to your students.
“I pledge to work with the Board of Education as soon as I am elected to iron out a good school budget proposal and to prevent acrimony,” Savara said. “I am smart, honest and fair. Given my involvement in city politics, my knowledge about the issues, and my caring about the city of Oak Ridge, I ask you for your vote and ask you to tell your friends and neighbors about my platform.”
You can read more about Savara’s views here.