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Two years after suffering a defeat to Mary England, his colleague on the Lemon Grove City Council, and newcomer politico George Gastil, 14-year council veteran Tom Clabby is back.

Clabby is one of six candidates running for two available council seats presently held by incumbents Jerry Jones and Jerry Selby.

In his candidate statement, which he submitted for the November ballot, the 77-year-old former contracts supervisor indicates his pro-redevelopment and anti-tax stance.

"Lemon Grove is at a crossroad," began the former councilmember's statement. "City bankruptcy, or dissolving the City of Lemon Grove and giving its assets to the county, are not options."

Clabby will join business owner Howard Cook, proprietor of Howard's Lemon Grove Deli, two-term incumbent councilmember Jerry Jones, one-term incumbent Jerry Selby, former Marine Wayne Love, and engineering projects manager Lou Melendez.

In their statements, most candidates reached for the low-hanging fruit by mentioning their desire to inject some sweetness back into Lemon Grove's sour financial state. In recent years, city revenues haven't met expectations, and the deficit has ballooned, resulting in cuts to public services and youth recreation programs. In the past year, two efforts to increase the city's sales tax have failed, the latest by one dissenting vote from longtime councilmember Mary England.

One first-timer running for one of the two council positions expressed distaste for the city's current position. "These are tough times," reads the statement from deli-owner Howard Cook. "Everyone has had to cut back, except the city. These are challenging times and we desperately need sound fiscal leadership."

Conversely, two-term incumbent Jerry Jones gave rave reviews for his performance while on the council. "Rainy-day planning, prudent financial decisions, and aggressive pursuit of grant revenues have carried us through these tough few years. We are alive and moving forward."

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