Archive for Thursday, February 3, 2005

Candidates shift gears before filing deadline

February 3, 2005

The January 25 filing deadline came and went with two Basehor political hopefuls having a sudden change of heart as to whether they would seek public office.

Despite a desire to serve, a former three-term member of the Basehor City Council said health concerns eliminated any chance of him running for public office again this spring. And, a current City Council member filed for the election despite previously stating he would not seek an additional term.

The name Jerry Barlow, a name from Basehor government past, will not appear on the February primary election ballot. The name Keith Sifford will.

In December, Barlow announced publicly that he would file for the 2005 election and seek one of three open City Council positions. However, the Jan. 25 filing deadline came and went without Barlow filing.

In a letter to the editor (see Page 4A), Barlow said health complications muddied his intention to seek a council position.

"Shortly after my retirement, I underwent bypass heart surgery," Barlow wrote. "Due to the recent advice of my cardiologist, due to the stress that was sure to be involved in fulfilling the duties of that position, I decided not to go forward with my candidacy. I was made aware of the possibility that perhaps I would be unable o complete my term."

Barlow, a Basehor resident of 33 years, is a past member of the Planning Commission and former president of the City Council, which he served on for 12 years beginning in 1988. He considered running for the 2005 election as a mayoral candidate, but changed his mind when former council member Chris Garcia filed for the office.

When he announced in December, Barlow said one of his primary reasons for seeking office was to curb a trend he believes is occurring in Basehor government -- that "the governing bodies are on their way to being dominated by Realtors and developers."

According to his letter, Barlow's feelings on the subject haven't changed.

"In my opinion, in many cases, it's very difficult for them to make a decision without serious conflicts of interest arising," he wrote. "Whoever is elected to the City Council and as mayor will be required to spend countless hours untangling the web that has been woven by the present governing bodies."

Barlow also wrote that, while he won't have a chance to serve on the City Council, he would be keeping a close eye on their activities.

"It is my intention, as an observant and vocal private citizen, to continue to be involved in the affairs of the community that I love. I wish the office seekers well and I again apologize to my supporters for my inability to serve the community at this time."

Sifford, who was appointed in 2003 to fill a council vacancy, told The Sentinel late last year he would not seek an additional term. A day before the filing deadline, Sifford had a change of heart.

"I just got to reconsidering my position on that and decided there is a lot of things I'd like to see done in the city," Sifford said. "There are a lot of things we've started that I'd like to see come to fruition.

Sifford, who mentioned hiring a new city administrator and treasurer as pressing priorities, said city government needs qualified elected officials to see it through a period of unprecedented residential and commercial growth.

"There is a lot of work to do, a lot," he said.

"This is a great community, we all know that. We live here. I live here, my kids and grandkids live here. We all want to see good things happen. We're right there on the verge. There are obstacles to overcome, but with the right people in place there isn't any obstacle that can't be overcome."

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