Arnold City Council Voter Guides

23 Mar

Patch and the Leader have published their voter guides for the upcoming election. While these normally elicit mere pleasant generalities from candidates, there are usually a few useful pieces of information that can be found. I will highlight here what I think are the most interesting responses.

First we look at Ward 2 candidate Mary Elizabeth Coleman. Her race with Jeff Fitter is a toss-up affair; I don’t really see a strong reason to choose one candidate over another. Coleman, however, gave us a big clue about her thinking with this statement to the Leader:

As an attorney, I decided to run when I watched the council fail to support city employees and vote to protect its own members despite the cost to the city in defending litigation or regard to right and wrong.

In other words, she supports the Susie Boone settlement. This despite the fact that the investigation was totally unable to corroborate the charges, and no allegations that actually fall within the purview of the Missouri Commission on Human Rights were made. If elected, can we expect Coleman to offer Chief Shockey a similar deal in response to his bogus complaint?

On a more positive note, here’s a home run of a suggestion from Ward 3 write-in candidate Rodney Mullins:

Problem: Excessive dollars spent on legal counsel. Solution: Lead a full business case study to investigate hiring a full-time lawyer at less annual cost to residents. Also, I would challenge all city personnel to operate openly, honestly and ethically to avoid the need for continuous legal advice and defense representation.

I’d love to hear the arguments that would be ginned up against this idea.

At election time, everyone claims to be fiscally conservative. Some people make this claim without a full grasp of the concept. Take Ward 1 candidate Jason Fulbright, running unopposed thanks to the electoral malfeasance of city clerk Diane Waller and city attorney Bob Sweeney:

I am fiscally conservative when it comes to spending tax dollars…I support programs like free trash and the Jeffco Express for our city.

These two statements are incompatible. Ward 3 incumbent Phil Amato proclaims the same contradiction. Speaking of Amato, he is famous for claiming credit for everything up to and including the rise of the sun each morning. Check out this ridiculous claim:

My having gray hair and the most experience on the council has been a plus for the city in this term. This is because I have behind the scenes and in meetings encouraged people to be more respectful to one another and unfortunately in recent months egos have outweighed good judgment. Believe me when I tell you that as bad as things are they would be even worse if I was not constantly calling for more tolerance.

If he’s so proud of his gray hair, why does his Patch photo look like it’s 15 years old?

Ward 4 councilwoman Sandra Kownacki has received quite an education on how things operate in Arnold during her two years on the council:

No more keeping residents and some council members out of the loop. There has been a power grab by some council members trying to keep the “good old boys” network alive. I would hope the new elections will weed out and not elect any more “good old boys.”

Her last point is especially salient given that her opponent, Butch Cooley, has been bosom buddies with Amato, and will be so again if allowed to return to the council. Speaking of Cooley:

I served during the conception and completion of the Arnold Commons shopping center, the building of the Recreation Center and library and the acquisition of Pomme Creek Golf Course…

This means he helped create a Missouri precedent for using eminent domain to seize land for private use, he helped saddle the city with an albatross of a golf course, and put the city on the hook for $2.6 million in subsidies for these entities.

Cooley also says he will stop bickering on the council. How, I ask him? With behavior like this, from his last time on the council?

A work session called for the Arnold City Council to consider changes to the city’s smoking ban turned raucous and bizarre  Thursday night.

Councilman Claude “Butch” Cooley, 4th Ward, announced his  resignation and stormed out of the meeting less than two hours after he  was sworn into office for his third term. Minutes later, he rejoined the council.

There is plenty for Arnold residents to ponder before they head to the polls.

 

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2 Responses to “Arnold City Council Voter Guides”

  1. mary elizabeth March 24, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

    JeffCo- I am surprised you chose not to include my answer when you asked me directly how I feel about the Boone case. Your reporting has been so thorough in other articles… No need to speculate about my opinion on this issue, I told you when you asked me what I think. Let me repost it here for ease of reference. “First and most importantly as a member of the public I do not have access to all information regarding the Boone case and am not privy to the reasons why the council approved a settlement payment to this employee in this case. There are a number of reasons why a case may settle, culpability is but one of those factors. I have read the report and again, I am not privy to whether that report held any weigh in the settlement of the case.”

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    • JC Penknife March 25, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      Perhaps I should have. I find a bit of a disconnect between your Leader answer and the answer above, though. Your Leader answer is quite critical of the council members who voted against the settlement, but the above answer is more ambivalent on the issue. How does one reconcile them?

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