Archive for Wednesday, January 28, 2009

De Soto City Council slate balloons to 11

January 28, 2009

New Kansas election laws that increased the number of candidates filing before a primary election was forced couldn’t prevent the need for a March 3 primary for the two open seats on the De Soto City Council.

In the last week before the Tuesday’s filing deadline, the slate of candidates running for the two seats now held by two retiring council members, Tim Maniez and Ted Morse, ballooned from one to 11.

With the filings, there will be a March 3 primary to trim the slate. The six candidates with the most votes in the primary will move on to the April general election.

Among the new candidates are three current members of the De Soto Planning Commission — Kevin Honomichl, John Krudwig and Rick Walker — a former chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission, Doug Pickert, four who identified the city’s consideration of closing the Sunflower water treatment plant as at least partial motivation for running — Andy Everett, Bob Garret, Ron McDaniel and W.R. Sam Tyler — and retiree who returned to the De Soto, Danny Lane, and young professional woman who wants to add a younger voice to the council.

Council candidates are:

Ron Crow, a lifelong resident of De Soto and member of the De Soto Parks and Recreation Commission and the De Soto Days Committee. Crow said he is running for the council with the goal on increasing the city’s tax base through the use of state tax incentives.

Andy Everett, owner of E’s Directional Boring and a 1993 graduate of De Soto High School. Everett said he learned from working on city construction projects that the city can better manage them and save money. “I want to bring common sense to the council and some construction knowledge,” he said.

The city needs to invest in the water system distribution and treatment infrastructure, Everett said, who supports the renovation of the Sunflower water treatment plant.

Bob Garrett, a lifelong De Soto resident retired from ATT Lucent Technologies. Garrett said he opposes closing the Sunflower water plant to buy water from Olathe in partnership with Johnson County Water District No. 6.

“This is a bad deal they are trying to do,” he said. “I think the mayor and some of the city council are leading us in the wrong direction.”

The council’s priorities are wrong, Garrett said, pointing to the $82,000 spent to purchase the closed filling station at 83rd Street and Kill Creek Road. He also questioned the downtown streetscape project, for which planning is to start this year and is to be completed in 2010.

“That’s not going to bring things to De Soto,” he said.

Kevin Honomichl, a civil engineer and president of the Overland Park engineering firm BHC RHOADES. Honomichl has been on the De Soto Planning Commission for nearly eight years and was its chairman for three. He was appointed the Sunflower Redevelopment Authority, which will oversee development at the plant.

His planning commission experience, which included an update of the city’s comprehensive plan, development of an area plan for the future western growth area, creation of the 95th Street Corridor Plan and numerous hearings prepared him to serve on the council, he said.

“I’ve met a lot of people,” he said. “I feel like I’ve got a pretty good feel for the community. I feel like I’m in a great position to help the community grow and feel like I’d like to do that.”

Jon Krudwig is the owner of the architectural engineering firm Krudwig & Associates that is located in downtown De Soto. He has served on the De Soto Planning Commission for the past three years. He was unavailable for comment since filing for the council.

Danny Lane is a retired communication technician with ATT. A native of De Soto and graduate of De Soto High School, he moved back to the city after retiring. He is running because he has the time with his retirement and a desire to give back to the community and its residents who “gave me a lot,” he said.

He’s not coming to the race with an agenda or on confirmed position on issues.

“I know water is a very important commodity,” he said. “I need to look at it and see what is going on. I know you never want to give up a valuable resource. That is something that needs to be looked into very carefully.”

Ron McDaniel, who at one time ran the Sunflower water plant while the ammunition plant was still open, has been a vocal advocate of the city continuing to operate the plant at De Soto City Council meetings at which the issue was discussed. He was unavailable for comment since filing for the council.

Doug Pickert is a past chairman of the De Soto Parks and Recreation Commission. A landscape architect, he owns Indigo Design Inc. and created the master plan for De Soto Riverfest Park. He grew up in Gardner and went to Emporia State and Kansas State universities. He moved to De Soto with his wife, Janet, and two children five years ago because of its small town character and potential.

Pickert said he filed for the council because of his belief that community service was important.

“I believe De Soto has a great future, and I want to do what I can to help shape that future for all the citizens.”

W.R. Sam Tyler is a retired carpenter. He is also the father-in-law of Randy Johnson, who is running for mayor of De Soto and with whom he shares the philosophy of fiscal restrain. Tyler, too, favors the city continuing to make use of the Sunflower water plant and questions the current council’s priorities.

“I think we have more desperate needs than paying $82,000 for the old filling station.”

Rick Walker was appointed to the De Soto Planning Commission last year and served two terms on the De Soto USD 232 Board of Education. He is a civil engineer with TranSystems. He filed after reading there were few candidates in the race, feeling De Soto residents needed a choice. He has no agenda or predetermined positions, including the issue of water. He said he understood the desire for the city to keep producing water, but said the decision should ultimately come down to what was best for rate payers.

Stephanie Weaver is a 10-year resident of De Soto, having moved here after becoming the western regional manager for EiKO Limited LTD, a manufacturer of light bulbs for the electrical wholesale industry. She was running for the council to bring a different viewpoint and create a more diversified council, she said.쇓

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