March 20, 2018

City Council Candidates -- In Their Own Words

The Inter-City News reached out to the candidates running for two At-Large seats on the Independence City Council. We are publishing them here in the order in which they were received. 

From Brice Stewart:

I decided to run for city council because with my background in Law-Enforcement as well as working within a government agency for many years; I feel I can bring positive ideas to the city.

I believe I represent the everyday resident of the city. My father is a retired truck driver and my mother retired from the medical field. I grew up on a farm in a very rural area and learned the value of hard work at a very young age. I live in a $70,000 dollar house in the Susquehanna area. You do not get much more “blue collar” than me.

I do not feel the council is representing the needs of the residents. I believe that certain individuals are more concerned about other initiatives than the crime, drug and blight problem.

I would like to see the city more concerned about the previously listed items than rather or not an eighteen year old can purchase cigarettes. This is only one example of government over reach that has occurred in the city and there are others.

My priorities would be jobs, crime and economic development. If we can bring in more jobs through economic development it will help reduce certain crimes.

I have worked for Jackson County, MO since the year 2000 in the Information Technology Department in addition to that I served for many years in Law-Enforcement with three years of that as a Chief of Police.

Beyond that I care deeply for this community and want it to thrive, I feel that more than anything qualifies me to hold a City Council seat.


From Karen Deluccie:

I want the city to take care of basic city services and not unduly interfere in our citizen's lives. For example, I am very focused on "livability" in our town. I want our town to look as good as it possibly can look and to be as safe as it can possibly be. Therefore, I worked with others in shortening the time the city takes in handling building code/trash complaints. I supported increased funding in the code compliance department to increase our ability to be responsive to the citizen's concerns. We moved lots of money into the building codes department both to add staff (which shortens the time the city takes in responding to complaints) and to tear down buildings that need to be torn down. I supported the concept of the city suing landowners who have the financial ability to fix their property or tear down their dangerous property but chose not to do so. (I am tired having a tax lien placed on the property and hoping we will get paid when the property sells at a tax sales.) I supported the use of council goal funds to install sidewalks where none were located and to repair sidewalks that had fallen in disrepair.

 I voted against the "rental ready" program for a few different reasons. I believe that the program treats renters differently than homeowners. Why is it not an unreasonable search of my home to make me allow an agent of the city to come in to inspect my home? If that inspection is not an unreasonable search in violation of the US Constitution, then is the next step a government agent coming into homes that are owned by citizens and not just rented by citizens? Second, I believe that the city should focus on policing of the outside of the rental properties and, once that is successfully accomplished, then we can look at asking for voluntary internal inspections of rental properties.

 I am focused on examining the city expenses and income. I want to be sure that we are making the most efficient use of every dollar that we spend. I read everything that is put in front of me and ask questions if I do not understand something. I will continue to do this focused examination.


From Mike Huff:

I am a proud third generation resident of Independence, MO. I attended Independence's schools K-12, married and raised a family, and worked here most of my life.  After graduating from William Chrisman High School, I went to work at Armco Steel which was on the decline cutting production and I was fortunate to land a job as janitor at Independence Power and Light. I worked long and hard hours for a career with IPL first as janitor, progressing to Journeyman Lineman, then a Lineman Superintendent, and finally the Transmission and Distribution Manager. I retired after being blessed with 34 years of service to IPL and the Independence community we serve.

I am married with two children and one grandson.

I enjoyed serving the residents of my hometown while working with IPL.  I gained valuable experience and knowledge on how this city operates.  I dealt with budget issues, power generation, power distribution, and the billing process. I was the project manager on the new operations building and understand how team work is needed to solve problems to better service the Independence taxpayer ... our true boss.

It is imperative that we have safe schools, safe neighborhoods, and safe streets to have the kind of city that draws businesses to create jobs and families to make Independence home.  I will support our police and give them the tools they need to keep our community safe.

The Northwest part of Independence is always promised development and renewal while a large share of the budget goes to the expanding business districts in the Southeast.  We cannot ignore the need to provide a fair share of the budget to the Western part of town.  Blight is also a problem that should not have boundaries. We must do better at stopping blight and removing eyes sores that hurt our property values and looks bad to visitors.

Rental Ready is an issue I don’t support as it stands now.  I believe in inspection of rental units but not when people are living in a rental.  If the City can invade the privacy of a renter, is a homeowner next? I do believe inspection is appropriate when the rental unit is empty before a new tenant moves in.  I would like to amend the program to protect renter’s right of privacy.

I am concerned that Independence Power and Light is dependent on outside electrical power generation.  We need our plant to be configured to produce our own power at peak demand.  Depending on outside supply makes us vulnerable to any weather related crisis that could cut power off for days.  I want Independence to be prepared for a loss of power from any outside provider.

I am not supporting the Local Use Tax.  I believe we must do better at getting the most for our tax dollars now and not over-burden citizens with more taxes. We must do better brainstorming at creating a unique cottage industry and attracting larger corporations to our area.

Independence is a great place to live, raise a family and have a job.  I have a wealth of hands-on experience and knowledge of our city government.  I have the time and heartfelt desire to give back to my city and look forward to the opportunity to serve for a better future and prosperity for all.

We received no reply from the write-in candidate Matt Medley.

The Inter-City News would like to thank these candidates for reaching out to our readers.

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