Archive for Thursday, December 30, 2004

PRIDE chief decides not to run for office

December 30, 2004

George Smith, a Basehor resident and a familiar face in city circles, won't be among the list of candidates running for public office in 2005. This week, Smith told The Sentinel he considered an '05 campaign for one of three open City Council seats, but has since decided against it.

"I'm not going to run," Smith said. "The way I see it, I have the two most important jobs in Basehor right now -- the Planning Commission and chairman of PRIDE."

Smith has served as chairman of PRIDE, a local, civic-minded organization for the last year and has worked as an at-large member of the Planning Commission for two years. While Smith is a cog in the municipal machine, he's been anything but bashful about criticizing actions by his own Planning Commission and members of the City Council.

During a meeting earlier this year, Smith told City Council members that more thorough planning was necessary to move the city forward. In a letter to the editor this week, (see Page 4) Smith again voices opposition to recent discussion and actions by the current council.

Consideration of a Smith-to-City Hall campaign was overturned, the planning commission member said, because working for his current two organizations trump any positive strides he might be able to accomplish as City Council member.

"The Planning Commission is where we should be developing plans and our vision for the city," said Smith, adding to the list of reasons why he's not seeking public office. "Without the Planning Commission, the City Council would be out there wallowing in the mud. And PRIDE, for the size of the organization we are, we accomplish a lot in Basehor. Without PRIDE, there would be a big hole as far as civic activities go.

"I just think those are the two most important jobs I can have right now," he added.

According to the Leavenworth County Clerk's Office, only two people have filed as candidates for Basehor city government public offices -- Bob Moore, a candidate in the '01 election, for City Council and Chris Garcia, a former Basehor City Council president and mayoral candidate in '01, for mayor.

Two current City Council members -- Keith Sifford and Julian Espinoza -- have indicated they will not seek re-election. Basehor mayor Joseph Scherer also said he's not running in '05.

The filing deadline is Jan. 25 and at least one Basehor resident will look upon the field of candidates with keen interest.

"I'm just hoping for some last-minute really good people to come out of the woodwork," Smith said. "And, if that doesn't happen, I'm hoping (the current council) doesn't mess up thing too bad."

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