Officially James Olson is Logan City’s Community Development Block Grant coordinator but on the side he has organized Better Logan in an effort to, as he said, “make the city I love even better.”
Over the weekend Olson announced that he plans to run for mayor of Logan as soon as the filing period opens next week. He says many people have encouraged him to run.
“At first I was uncomfortable with the idea,” Olson said. “I have been a city manager position for so long that I resisted at first. But you hear that enough times that you realize that the only way I’m going to be able to make the difference to our neighborhoods, to our businesses that I want to make is going to be as mayor.”
Olson will talk more about his reasons for running and what he wants to do if elected when he appears on KVNU’s Crosstalk program Friday, May 31 at 9:10 a.m.
Olson’s official announcement can be read in its entirety below.
<em>James Olson is announcing his candidacy for mayor of Logan with a message to residents and businesses that it is time to “Picture a better Logan”.</em>
<em>As the founder of community organization, Better Logan (www.betterlogan.org), and as a Logan employee since 2008, Olson feels that he has made in-roads towards improving the city and neighborhoods working together with other residents. Sampling from both capacities, Olson cites some of his successes as neighborhood meetings, cleanups, development of a community gardening program, recent city communication initiatives, and projects-in-progress with both the pet-owning and arts communities.</em>
<em>Olson acknowledges that these successes are a series of wins, but he feels the only way that he can execute his multi-pronged vision for the city and its neighborhoods is as mayor.</em>
<em>Olson, his wife Cena, and (almost) five kids are residents of Adams neighborhood. “I love Logan and first fell in love with where I live here in Adams. However, over the years I have developed a real love and interest for each of Logan’s neighborhoods as I’ve interfaced with people and heard their concerns. There are universal concerns that must be addressed, but there are unique concerns in each neighborhood that must be attacked.”</em>
<em>While Olson commends the current administration for the city’s strong financial reserve – which he intends to maintain – he has felt that the savings campaign has come at the cost of sufficient investment into making neighborhoods desirable places to live. Olson asserts, “Rather than the City successfully rescuing its core neighborhoods, Hillcrest residents are telling me that the city has already lost significant parts of their neighborhood to the problems faced in much of Adams and the Island areas. The current vision is not working.”</em>
<em>His admonition to “picture a Better Logan” is aimed at getting people excited and to begin to visualize improvements and investment for their neighborhoods, coming from both the city and from property owners. “I’m calling for a greater partnership between the city and all property owners – because neither group can give neighborhoods what they need on its own,” admonishes Olson, who claims consensus building and mobilizing groups as some of his greatest strengths, both of which he will need to call on as mayor.</em>
<em>Olson also points to concerns with the oft-repeated charge that the city is not business-friendly enough. Olson sees business attraction, retention, and opportunities for growth as having a very direct correlation to the health of Logan’s neighborhoods. “Where good jobs are prevalent, people will be more likely to have the financial means to invest in their properties. We export far too much educated talent, many of which would rather stay here. Frankly, I can’t promise jobs, but I can promise that we can make changes within the city to improve our reputation and make this a more desirable place to do business. With this, I believe good jobs will stay and more will come.”</em>
<em>Olson is excited to share his specific plans and vision, which will be rolled out in the coming months.</em>
<em>“This whole campaign goes back to the fact that my family and I love Logan and want to make it better . . . If people have been impressed with what I have done as a staff member in Community Development – just wait until they see what I can do as Mayor!”</em>