Archive for Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mayoral forum gets heated

Mayoral candidates Alan Townsend, Fred Box, Scott Kendrick and incumbent David Breuer discussed growth, infrastructure development and communication with at a forum sponsored by the Basehor Chamber of Commerce on Monday night.

Mayoral candidates Alan Townsend, Fred Box, Scott Kendrick and incumbent David Breuer discussed growth, infrastructure development and communication with at a forum sponsored by the Basehor Chamber of Commerce on Monday night.

February 12, 2013, 10:09 a.m.

Updated: February 13, 2013, 1:09 p.m.

Monday night’s mayoral candidate forum erupted into an exchange of terse words between one candidate and the incumbent mayor’s wife.

While responding to a question about results of a 2012 citizen survey, candidate Fred Box took the opportunity to say he thinks David Breuer serving as mayor is a conflict of interest because of his family’s business connections in Basehor.

“I think David Breuer ought to withdraw from being mayor,” Box said.

The statement elicited a few gasps from audience members, as well as a few shouts to turn off Box’s microphone.

He also accused Breuer of having a biased relationship with City Council President Travis Miles, who, he said, is related to the Breuer family by marriage. Miles' aunt is married to one of David Breuer's brothers.

Cheryl Breuer responded, saying the Breuer family pays taxes like other citizens and asked Box, “What’s the problem from keeping business in Basehor?” She then left the auditorium, shouting to the moderator to turn Box’s microphone off.

When an audience member later asked a question about the candidates’ communication skills, citing the verbal attack, Box apologized to Cheryl Breuer.

The remainder of the forum was considerably calmer, with discussions focusing on road improvements, planning for growth and attracting development to Basehor.

All four candidates were at the forum Monday, including Box, David Breuer, Alan Townsend and Scott Kendrick. Primary elections are Feb. 26 and Basehor Community Library will hold a final city and school board candidate forum at 7 p.m. March 19.

Growing Basehor

Box told audience members Basehor is going to grow no matter what, and while the city needs to be ready for it, he thinks it’s time to take a step back from the push to construct unnecessary infrastructure.

“We’re trying to get ahead of things,” he said. “We don’t need to continue to push the envelope and build a bunch of places we can’t afford to build right now.”

He added that the city should focus on taking care of senior citizens, who are being forced into assisted living facilities and nursing homes because they can’t afford taxes and fees the city imposes upon them.

Breuer said Basehor’s location near a major airport and retail centers make it attractive for many families. But having great schools is an even bigger draw.

Breuer said he’d like the city council and planning commission to work together to plan for growth. Paying for infrastructure also takes planning, he said.

“We have to make the commitment to put that money away,” he said.

Candidate Scott Kendrick said he believes funds for infrastructure initially must originate with the city, but then tax revenue from development will reduce the financial burden on Basehor residents.

“Are we going to remain a bedroom community or are we going to grow?” he asked.

Kendrick said he’d also like to see development of apartments, which would help the city’s younger and older populations who may not be able to afford a house.

“We need to keep our people here,” he said.

When asked how to attract new families to Basehor and where funds would come from to fund new development, Townsend said he didn’t know.

When candidates were asked what areas of the community they thought needed the most attention, Kendrick again emphasized business development.

“Until we bring in more business and bring in sales tax, residents will foot the bill,” he said.

Priorities

Breuer said increased attention to the city’s 43 miles of roads has been a good step. He said that in previous years the city only upgraded one mile of road each year, but after challenging city staff, it upgraded 3 miles last year and will do 7 miles this year.

Breuer also responded to earlier comments by Box who said the Wolf Creek Parkway project is a “road to nowhere.”

“I do believe that road is going to open up the opportunity for retail and bring in tax revenue, which stabilizes the property tax,” Breuer said.

Townsend was asked what business, besides a grocery store, Basehor could use and he said a lumberyard would be a good addition to the community. He also talked about the city’s need to make roads more pedestrian-friendly.

Getting along

In light of last year’s recall election and infighting, communication was a theme during the forum.

Breuer emphasized the need to communicate calmly and said the new council is intelligent and works for the community, which makes them easy to work with.

“You just have to work together,” he said. “Make the decisions, and move on.”

Kendrick said he knows he can’t please everybody, but he’s running to be a part of the solution, not the problem.

“People need to leave their personal differences outside the door when they walk into city council meeting,” he said.

Box agreed with Kendrick, adding that he wants to work together in the community’s interest. He also addressed his resignation from the council last year.

“I resigned because it got so bad I had half of my friends on one side and half on the other side,” Box said. “My friends were more important to me at that time than that council.”

City administrator

Audience members were eager to hear candidates discuss their thoughts on hiring and keeping a new city administrator after Basehor has been without one for more than a year.

Breuer addressed the council’s decision to put the search on hold until after April elections to broaden its candidate base. He said the city only received five applications that met the job description’s criteria.

In regard to attracting a candidate after the city’s debacle with its last city administrator, Breuer said he hopes the last nine months of calm in the council chambers will help.

This story was updated to clarify that Travis Miles' aunt is married to one of David Breuer's brothers. Cheryl Breuer said at the forum that it was untrue that Miles was related to David Breuer by marriage.

Comments

armystrong 1 year, 8 months ago

City administrator: "Breuer addressed the council’s decision to put the search on hold until after April elections to broaden its candidate base. He said the city only received five applications that met the job description’s criteria." "In regard to attracting a candidate after the city’s debacle with its last city administrator, Breuer said he hopes the last nine months of calm in the council Chambers will help"......

My family has for a year given the current Council our support. Let us use common sense for a second. City Council makes Million Dollar decisions for the city but for some reason they cannot conduct a search for a competent city administrator. I remember reading an article about the city council proceeding with it's search for an administrator. Then for some reason in August or September it change to the city is in no hurry to find an administrator. I know I'm not up on all the city gossip, news and we don't attend meetings as we should but something doesn't make sense.

( I've done a search for over a year checking on this position along with a friend is interested in the position. As of today I have still never found it posted) This is from the City of Basehor website. *Employment Opportunities There are currently no open positions.  The Hiring Process All positions require an Employment Application. Resumes........... --------------------------------------------------------------------__---------------- We have not seen the openness and caring that they stated they would provide the city when they took office. Regarding the City Council meetings I've observed there's been very little in the way of opposite opinions. Cohesion is good but when there's no opposing opinions it just makes me and the wife a little nervous.

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LightTheDarkCorners 1 year, 8 months ago

Fact Check:

Travis Miles is a nephew of David Breuer's sister-in-law. Miles is employed by Suburban Water Company which is owned by the Breuer family. His boss is David Breuer's brother, Mike. Miles is also the nephew of former Mayor Terry Hill's wife.

With David Breuer as Mayor and Travis Miles as President of Council and so many Breuer related businesses almost continually having business either before council or with the city, the perceptions and appearances which are bound to surface dictate that one or the other should remove himself from city government.

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armystrong 1 year, 8 months ago

If this is true why lie about it if you have the cities best interests at heart? I am going to check on that after I get off duty. Google search here I come... HaHa, Thanks for the info.

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StandforSomething 1 year, 8 months ago

"Editor’s note: Basehor Mayor Terry Hill says he is not related by blood to anyone on the City Council. Council member Travis Miles is the son of Hill’s wife’s sister. Thus, Hill is Miles’ uncle by marriage. Miles' aunt is married to a brother of council member David Breuer. However, Hill says he is not related to Breuer, nor is he related to council members Iris Dysart, Fred Box or Council President Dennis Mertz."

Direct quote from the Basehor Sentinel, Nov. 22, 2011. So which is it, Basehor Sentinel? Truth on 2011 article, but "That is untrue" on Feb. 12, 2013 above article?

To LightTheDarkCorners: Looks like it's a furthering of "what looks like" the good ol' boys network. They appear to be more interested in keeping their invested commercial properties taken care of more than following the legal and moral laws of doing their job.

To armystrong: May not be the case, but sure looks like the City decided to keep Martley in both positions because of that former officer's lawsuit being moved up to federal court, and Martley being the defendent in the same lawsuit, would have access to both sides of the issue, which is another conflict of interest that's piling up against his staying where he is!

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amontemayor 1 year, 8 months ago

Fred Box said Travis Miles was related to David Breuer by marriage, to which Cheryl Breuer said was not true. Miles' aunt is married to one of David Breuer's brothers. Sorry for the confusion. Hope the clarification cleared it up. -Annie Montemayor, Basehor Sentinel

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armystrong 1 year, 8 months ago

Wow! Good information everyone. Except rong. I for one appreciate people giving factual information. It was nice to see the paper edited the article so promptly. Standforsomething.. Again I say wow. Your last observation is very interesting. I hope the paper does a lot more investigating on the candidates. My wife and I believe that the only way the cities is going to move forward is if we have a divers and honest group running the city. Thanks for indulging my humble opinions.

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flower 1 year, 8 months ago

People, people, this is another attempt to draw the voters attention away from the issue at hand and embroiled on subjects that have no bearing on the attributes of a Mayor. It should be noted the Mayor of Basehor has no vote on subjects which come before the City Council unless there is a tie vote. Recognize, we in Basehor only budget for a volunteer part time mayor. The mayor’s job is to insure the decision of the Council are implemented as ordered, act on legal documents as directed and work with the city staff to run the administrative activities. In addition they are to look to the future and bring plans to the Council for discussion and direction. So let’s stop spending time on stuff which has no bearing on who will do the best job. The last 9 months have shown great progress for our city under the leadership of Mayor Breuer let’s make sure it continues. John E Flower

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johninbasehor 1 year, 8 months ago

If you all want to return to the days of channel 5 television at every council meeting and recall elections, the city paying enormous sums of money for wrongful termination law suits on matters that the city attorney advised was wrong, but your old council including Fred Box voted for anyway, then above all, vote for Fred Box or Marilyn Townsend's husband. If you want the city to acquire land for a new city hall that has asbestos in buildings on that land that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove, then I suggest you vote for Fred Box or Marilyn Townsend's husband. Box is a known quantity, and his demeanor does not paint a pleasant picture as shown at the high school gathering of candidates. I bet several of these comments here are from the old impeached city council members, part of the Fred Box and Jim Washington faction. As for being a relative, how many of you people have an aunt of your husbands sister or wives or a nephew of someone on your family tree that you seldom see? We all are related somehow, but that has nothing to do with how smart you are or how well you do your job, but that seems to be the crust of the old factions argument against our present Mayor. I hope you are smart enough to see through this smoke screen of lies and political innuendo.

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JimWashington 1 year, 8 months ago

johninbasehor: I see you're back with all your nastiness. Leave me out of this.

Maybe sometime down the road the 400 people whose only city election vote came in the recall election will actually wake up and concern themselves with city business and things will get better - as Mr_CorruptionMonkey makes the point below.

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tigerpaws 1 year, 8 months ago

We certainly do not want to go through what has happened in the past. But please be clear as to what happened. Former Mayor Hill gave instructions for a check to be issued to Mr. Loughry for money due to him after his termination. The "old city council" which inclued Mayor David Breuer, voted unamiously to stop the issuing of that check. The only member of the city government at that time who listened to the city attorney was former Mayor Hill. And for that he was "recalled". After all was said and done Mr. Loughry won his lawsuit and rightfully so. I do not recall ever reading or hearing that in fact former Mayor Hill had done the right thing and had tried to protect the city. A great deal of the progressive movement going on in the city today was put into motion under former Mayor Hill's watch. Let us give credit where credit is due. Some things are just too large to sweep under the rug. I have not yet decided who will receive my vote for Mayor.

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armystrong 1 year, 8 months ago

I in NO way agreed with the three prior City Council members when they terminated the city administrator. I also did not agree with what he did! I will say this at least they didn't try and sweep things under the rug they handled them. He did not win a lawsuit he settled with the city who all but bent over backwards for him. The city did something wrong they paid for it case closed. Don't do it again. I would rather have someone in there that's not afraid to do the right thing and yes they need to do it the correct way.

I don't buy for a second the argument of waiting to hire an administrator because the city only got 5 applications or it has waited over a year to make a decision because they are waiting for elections. The fact of the matter is we're talking about lowering the qualifications and we haven't even correctly advertise the dadgum job yet!!

You guys need to stop the whole my sides better than your side nonsense. It should be about who cares the most for the city and yes I believe wholeheartedly that any type of conflict of interest is noteworthy. It doesn't mean I'm not going to vote for you unless you try to hide it or downplay it. From what it looks like to me, my family and some of our neighbors we got some pretty serious problems that we are not dealing with as a city. Most of us would just like to know that the city has our best interest at heart and is dealing with things appropriately. Now I'd love to hear if somebody has some new facts instead of rehashing old issues. ( No matter what side you're on or not on )

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johninbasehor 1 year, 8 months ago

Rehashing those old issues is what this is about. Fred Box and Marilyn Townsend were on the side that cost the city over $200,000 and took property for a new city hall that had old buildings full of asbestos in them. As a matter of fact, I would like to know if the city's insurance carrier would even cover our city if Box becomes Mayor.

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johninbasehor 1 year, 7 months ago

March 1

I see where the city's insurance carrier took an 18% increase in the city's liability premium for the coming year. I have to wonder how much of that increase can directly be attributed to Fred Box voting to terminate the former city manager causing the city's insurance company to pay off a $200,000 wrongful termination lawsuit because Box disregarded the advice of the city attorney against that termination.

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armystrong 1 year, 8 months ago

I asked my neighbor about this asbestos problem you mentioned. He's lived here over 30 years. Are you referring to the land that was donated to the city by the new grade school? if so that's well over 200,000 dollars worth of land that was donated. I believe that area would also be a prime location for businesses or better yet a housing development.

Obviously working for the government most of my life and in the military this would not be the stupidest thing I've ever seen. ( haha )

You may have a valid point. I just wish I knew more about the logistics of the whole thing. I don't agree with building a new City Hall. I think they probably need better options like a building already in existence, an addition or wait for the city to get a little bigger. Not really a deal breaker either way as far as I'm concerned if we need it we need it.

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Mr_CorruptionMonkey 1 year, 8 months ago

It's almost comical how the "locals" assume the public is ignorant to the unique ways the elected officials weasel around the checks and balances while claiming authority to do so. Prime example, a former County Commissioner chases skirts while in office, divorces wife, hooks up with new girlfriend (who happens to be another County employee), gets a piece of land that can't be sold due to restrictions in place (that he himself helped put in place), then goes back to his good ol boys at the County Commission to say that a US Government installation is somehow "public use" and proceeds to sell property will the aid of other locals. If this were an unelected private citizen, it would have never happened. Padding the pockets of former and current officials is not the way to do business.
The "locals" run around and spout off about growth and we need new victims or as they like to say, "tax payers" from other areas to move in so they can proceed to pad their own pockets. Then if someone speaks out about it, their microphone is cut off? Sounds more like a Communist idealogy rather than a Democratic one. The "locals" want all the new tax money while remaining in power.
The new people that bring money and jobs and business opportunities may soon outnumber the locals that married their brothers sisters cousin in law. Then maybe you will see actual people with degrees in planning and business and management actually take over for people that try to intimidate just because they are all related.
The moral of the story is to elect QUALIFIED individuals with experience, not listen to excuses about cousins and in-laws and matters that have nothing to do with tax base, infrastructure, education, crime, and advancement of Northeast Kansas into a viable business opportunity. It is hard enough to attract legitimate business to Northeast Kansas, the solution is not to argue about family relations, the PUBLIC does not care about these people and their meaningless spats about nothing. Get over yourselves.
Cut off the mic? Call out the Sheriff to keep the peace? Did people elect the wife? The Cousin? The in-law? Are we all Out-Laws now?
Northeast Kansas: No Beach, No Retirement Mecca, Bad weather, Little to no scenery etc., If you do not want the area to grow and improve it's tax base, education and career opportunities, then keep letting the wife of this guy run the show. I'm sure business leaders not from Northeast Kansas would be happy to go somewhere else. Check the experience of candidates, the history, education and the ability to manage, not just because they may or may not be related (sometimes by marriage), at least this week.

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JimWashington 1 year, 8 months ago

Well stated. If you want to do something with your effort I can provide you wit the names of the almost 400 people who had not voted in a city election (going back to 203) before. They carried the election and owe it to the city to actually get involved now.

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Mr_CorruptionMonkey 1 year, 8 months ago

A simple solution is this. When a professional organization hires a new member (such as a hospital etc), the organization requires a Curriculum Vitae or "CV". On this "CV", the candidate lists all the accomplishments, experience and education of this potential member. Make every candidate post an online CV including everyone they are related to as a disclosure( which is customary in any Federal or large organization) to look for potential conflicts of interest. Vote for a candidates CV.

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