Crowded house

Lee's Summit JournalSeptember 27, 2013 

The District 2 race for the spring Lee’s Summit City Council election is already shaping up to be a barnburner.

Even as the other district races remain silent as a city land negotiation, by contrast, District 2 has been a stead drum beat.

Attorney Tim Denker was first out of the gate a few months ago, announcing his intentions to fill what will be an empty seat among our eight city councilmen.

Later, Craig Faith declared his intentions and was followed by, this week, Trish Carlyle.

All three are political newcomers and, thus, a little unknown in those circles.

But none are unknown to Lee’s Summit, each with a different social and business circle that spans many miles around their district and all with some connection to the important downtown Lee’s Summit area.

Beyond District 2, however, we are stagnant, so far, in locating candidates to fill the seats that are hitting the ballot April 8, 2014.

Ed Cockrell (District 3) and Kathy Hofmann (District 1) are both term-limited out of their current positions on council.

District 4’s Dave Mosby is also up, but eligible to serve another term. He hasn’t announced yet whether he will seek those four more years, however.

It is rumored that former city councilman James Freeman may jump back into the fray in District 4. The rumor mill also has been swirling around former District 3 rep Joe Spallo’s interest.

Neither has said that publicly, yet.

Rumors and political buzz aside, we are still left without a peep about District 1 candidates or even those interested in pursuing that vital role of city official.

Sure, it’s early in the process – a process that gets ever longer each election cycle – but filing starts in December and running for office takes an inordinate amount of time, planning, grass roots and, of course, money.

Those that jump in later could find themselves at a disadvantage in other ways, too, as social media allows candidates an entirely new avenue to relay their message to potential voters and donors.

This will be the most social-media-driven city election we have ever witnessed in Lee’s Summit. Using it wisely and responsibly could mean the difference in decision-makers and council-wannabes. But social media cannot hide or diminish leadership deficiencies. It may even reveal it.

The next few weeks and months will be prime time to enter the city council and mayoral races in Lee’s Summit – Mayor Randy Rhoads is also alone in that realm as no challengers have come forward.

Finding the right candidates to move us ahead is critical and vetting those candidates through public forums and topical questions will tell us far more than anything we will find on Facebook or a political flier in our mailbox.

One-on-one time still tells the tale of the politician.

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John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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