Archive for Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Candidates stake out positions at forum

February 21, 2007

Candidates for Basehor City Council and Basehor-Linwood School Board were put on the spot Tuesday night at a forum to show the community what they have to offer.

The Meet the Candidates event was sponsored by the Basehor Chamber of Commerce.

Each candidate gave a two-minute introduction and a two-minute conclusion. In between, chamber members and moderators Debbie Bonee and Susan Guy asked two questions of each group of candidates, and audience members were permitted to ask questions afterwards.

Council candidates Iris Dysart, Jason Gorup, Terry Hill, George Smith and Jim Washington were present and first on the stand. Darlene Carbaugh and Roger McDowell are also running, but were not present.

Asked what they thought were the two most important priorities for the city in the next four years, matters concerning the wastewater treatment plant as well as planning and development for the growing city were discussed.

"The obvious one is the wastewater treatment plant and the sewers and the issues that go with that," Washington said. "It may be too late to get on this bandwagon, but ultimately the solution for wastewater in this community is a regional facility."

"I've promoted planning for as long as I've attended meetings," Smith said. "When you attend meetings, you see the lack of policies, procedures and plans. I think developers a lot of times are frustrated when they come in. They have a hard time getting the whole story."

"That's the key to get people to move to a town -- if they have the amenities they need," Gorup said, promoting economic and business development. "I think that unfortunately the money needs to be there. Developing a strong business backbone is one of the most important things we can do."

Candidates also were asked how they felt the city could best assist new development prospects -- retail and industrial -- and what incentives could be offered to current businesses. Several candidates agreed that codes in the city needed to be up to date.

"I think to assist growth in community development we need to make sure we have the proper codes in place and that they are consistent and reasonable," Hill said. "As far as incentives, you need to benchmark with other cities in the area. We have to at least be doing as well as the neighboring communities."

"I really think we ought to adhere to what the guidebook says," Dysart said. "I'm not opposed to giving incentives, but I think they need to be weighed and measured for the benefit."

School board members were subjected to the same format. Candidates Jeane Redmond, position No. 1, Eric Dove, position No. 3, Angie Erickson, position No. 3, Doug Bittel, position No. 7, and Leigh Farris, position No. 7, were at the event. Dayna Miller, position No. 2, and Kerry Mueller, position No. 3, are also running but were not present.

Asked to rate the school district on a scale of 1 to 10 and give ways they would improve it, all candidates gave the district a 7 or an 8. Most solutions for improvement given stemmed from the district's need for more facilities.

"This is a great school district," Bittel said. "I want us to be the best school district in the state of Kansas, and I think we can achieve that. The most important thing we do is education. When space limits the quality of education, you have to do something about it."

"I do think that this school district is a very good school district," Erickson said. "We definitely need more space. I believe good communication in the community is the key."

All school board candidates present also said they were in favor of a bond issue and provided some ways such an issue could gain voter approval.

"I don't see how we can configure our students any other way with our existing facilities," Redmond said. "We need to look for the solution that will be a solution for several years, not just a quick fix."

"A bond is the only solution that I'm aware of," Dove said. "I want them (students and teachers) to have good facilities that make sense in the district. They (the community) will vote for what we need as long as it's presented in a well thought out way that gets to them."

"You have to create a visual and you have to reach the community, but you have to fit their need," Farris said. "Communication and visualization are what is going to have to be done."

The forum was broadcast live on cable channel 26 and is expected to be replayed before the elections. The primary election is Tuesday, Feb. 27 and the general election is Tuesday, April 3.

Candidate recap:

City council

  • Terry Hill, 58, is the director of information technology for CompResults, a part of the St. Luke's Hospital system. He has a background in management, is a lifelong resident and would like to focus on providing a long-range vision for Basehor.
  • Jason Gorup, 33, is a licensed funeral director, owns Gorup Family Funeral Industries LLC and is building the Gorup Family Funeral Home and Crematory in Basehor. He focuses on providing customer service to the community and making Basehor more "user friendly" for incoming businesses.
  • Iris Dysart, who chooses not to give her age, is retired from banking and is the current onsite manager for Hickory Villa. She is the only incumbent running for re-election and focuses on planning for growth in Basehor.
  • Jim Washington, 66, is an Army contractor with Northrop Grumman at Fort Leavenworth. He is a retired lieutenant colonel, has a background in business management, is a former Basehor Planning Commission member and attends council meetings regularly. He focuses on bringing fresh ideas and real solutions to the council.
  • George Smith, 54, is a machine development specialist for Hallmark Cards. He is a former Basehor Planning Commission member, an active volunteer in the community and attends council meetings regularly. He focuses on updating zoning and subdivision regulations in Basehor.
  • Roger McDowell, 39, manages a team of test engineers at Sprint. He has a background in management and economics and was recently appointed to the Basehor Planning Commission. He focuses on managing growth and development in Basehor.
  • Darlene Carbaugh, 58, works in a doctor's office and is a former emergency medical technician. She focuses on common sense answers for Basehor.

School board

  • Jeane Redmond, 43, is running unopposed for position No. 1. She currently manages farms and ranches for Bank of America and has a background in economics. She is focused on bonding the community and retaining teachers.
  • Eric Dove, 42, is running for position No. 3 and will be in the primary election. He is a controller for Watkins & Company, Inc., and has a background in accounting and business. He would like to focus on continuing to put education first in the district.
  • Angie Erickson, 30, is running for position No. 3 and will be in the primary election. She is currently a stay-at-home mother and has a background in education. She is focused on providing a different viewpoint to the board on issues such as growth.
  • Doug Bittel, 47, an incumbent, is running for position No. 7 at-large. He is a molecular biologist and medical researcher in genetics at Children's Mercy Hospital. He is focused on providing a quality education that prepares students to compete in a global society.
  • Leigh Farris, 41, is running for position No. 7 at-large. She currently runs a business out of her home and has a background in law enforcement. She would like to focus on keeping the small town feel in the district despite the growth.
  • Kerry Mueller, 51, is running for position No. 3, is an incumbent and will be in the primary election. She is the office manager and owner of RE/MAX Real Estate in De Soto and has a background in public relations. She is focused on preparing students for several different paths in life.
  • Dayna Miller, 39, is running unopposed for position No. 2 and is an incumbent. She works for her family company, S & S Alloy Steel Inc., and has a background in education. She would like to focus on keeping the qualified staff in the district and continuing to improve curriculum.
  • Jim Hevel, who filed for position No. 1, has withdrawn from the elections.

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