Archive for Thursday, December 16, 2004

Council candidates preparing for ‘05 campaign

December 16, 2004

If at first you don't succeed. . .

This week, another familiar name was added to the list of candidates running for Basehor elected offices in the April 2005 general election.

Bob Moore, an 11-year Basehor resident, joined former City Council president Chris Garcia as a candidate this spring, by filing Monday morning for the Basehor City Council.

"I think we all need to have more input and not let a few people tell us how to spend our money," Moore said. "I think as a City Council member, I could have input into saying 'this is not going to happen again without consequence.'"

Both Garcia, a candidate for mayor, and Moore, who's vying for one of three open City Council seats, also ran unsuccessful campaigns in the spring 2001 general election. As of press time, the list of candidates begins and ends with the two local men, according to the Leavenworth County Clerk's Office.

Moore, 61, is retired from General Motors in Kansas City, Mo, where he worked for 31 years. He is a former sergeant at arms and trustee of the United Auto Workers Local 31 and has lived in Basehor since 1993.

While Moore has been a familiar face at City Hall, frequently attends meetings and has backed the campaigns of several candidates in the past, Moore himself has never held public office.

"I've helped a lot of them get elected and I've been sorry I did," he said.

Moore said he decided late last week to take another shot at politics.

"No one has been going to the meetings and no one has shown any interest in (serving on the City Council)," Moore said. "There's got to be something I can do to help."

"Something has to be done. We're getting all these rooftops and none of the commercial businesses. All we hear is why we can't get them. They say businesses won't come without the rooftops, so why aren't they coming to Basehor?"

Moore also said he is running for City Council because he's tired of continually seeing poor City Council decisions "come back and slap them in the face." He cited the mishandling of the U.S. Highway 24/40 sewer benefit district, the dismissal and subsequent settlement of an appeal filed by former employee Mike Hooper and overall fiscal irresponsibility as prime examples of mismanagement from the current administration.

Moore said his 2005 campaign would be drastically different from his effort in 2001. Moore, who was among the last candidates to file in 2001, said his late start negated any efforts to build a base of support.

By paying the $5 filing fee Monday morning, making Moore the first candidate to file for one of the City Council positions, Moore said he took the first steps in avoiding a similar mistake.

"I'm going to get a jump on it this time," Moore said. "We need people that care about what happens to this city. I plan to get out there and let the people know what's going on in their city."

In 1988, Jerry Barlow was serving the first of his three terms aboard the Basehor City Council when he determined he "needed to know more about government" and looked to correct the flaw by enrolling at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Fast forward 16 years and Barlow is now working on his master's degree in history from Baker University, which he will most likely complete in May. But, it's another feat Barlow hopes to accomplish a month before he receives his diploma.

Winning one of three seats on the City Council.

"It's going to be pretty busy," said Barlow of his spring. "I think keeping busy keeps a guy mentally sharp. That's what I want to be."

This week, Barlow, 63, ended speculation by confirming that he would run for one of three open City Council seats in 2005. Barlow said he has not yet filed for the election, but that officially declaring is a mere formality at this point.

"I'm just not happy with the way city business is being conducted," Barlow said. "I don't think the voters are getting equal representation with the builders and developers (involved in city government).

"My main obligation is to the voters and the city," he added.

Barlow, a resident of 33 years, is retired from Fagan Co., a Kansas City, Kan., heating and cooling contractor. He is a past member of the Basehor Planning Commission and past president of the City Council, which he served on for 12 years.

Barlow said past discussions and decisions by the current City Council led him to re-enter the political arena. One of those issues Barlow cited was the council's consideration earlier this year of waiving more than $260,000 in excise tax fees for the Honey Creek Farms development on 166th Street.

After considering the waiver request for a month, the City Council rejected the proposal.

"We (residents) voted on that tax to be levied on the builders," Barlow said. "I was very disturbed they would even consider giving that back -- that's a lot of money to a city like Basehor."

Barlow also said that he feels "the governing bodies are on their way to being "dominated by Realtors and developers" who are pushing their own agendas rather than the best interests of the city.

"I think it's very difficult for them to vote without a conflict of interest," Barlow said.

Other issues Barlow cited as recent flaws in municipal policies include annexing land not contiguous with existing boundaries and hiring new employees outside the current employee pool.

Barlow considered running for the 2005 election as a mayoral candidate, but changed his mind when former City Council president Chris Garcia filed for the office. The former council member turned hopeful said he believed he could accomplish more as a City Council member than mayor.

"I had considered running for mayor, but I felt I could be more effective by having a vote," he said. "I'm supporting Chris. I think he did a good job when he was on the council.

"Certainly my vote will be for him."

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