Family: Daughter - Heather - Independence - IT trainer Son - Ryan - Parsons - Student - Labette County Community College Granddaughter - Jasmine - Independence - Student Eisenhower Elementary
Employment: 1) IT (information technology) consultant - and Internet based sales. - 2) Fire Captain/Emergency Medical Technician with the Independence Division of the Montgomery County Rural Fire Dept. being a member for the past 20 years.
Civic and other: Weather Spotter for the Independence Police Department Served as President of the Montgomery County Rural Fire Board of Trustees as part of a 10 yr stint on the board Past President of the Independence Lions Club Past business owner operating a lawn and garden equip. repair and landscaping business.
I filed as a candidate for City Commissioner because I believe my past and present experiences in business, a vast working knowledge and participation in local emergency services and civic organizations, an excellent working relationship with the public, and working with large budgets, makes me uniquely qualified for the job.
Although past bids to seek a seat on the commission were unsuccessful, I do not look at the fact that I did not get the opportunity to advance to the Commission in 2007 as a defeat, but rather as an opportunity to better plan, continue to learn, and to hopefully run a more successful campaign in 2009.
I believe the City Commission needs to either overhaul or do away with the C-4 ordinance , and subsequent ordinances passed since 2000 that have reduced the minimum sq footage to 5000 sq. ft., in the C-4 zoning district on West Main, although it was a start, it's not enough, we have a wonderful historical downtown that is vital to our business survival, however, I feel that the commission needs to stop treating the Independence business structure as an island located only downtown, and begin concentrating on attracting new business to all locations of our community, and also begin doing something that the city does not currently do, and that is to consider offering tax abatements to new retail businesses that want to locate in Independence, we do it already with industry, we need to expand on this.
Some retail stores wanting to locate on West Main either have no desire whatsoever to locate downtown, or their business does not fit within the spaces offered, and people need to understand this, we must cater to these businesses in order to survive these hard economic times. New jobs mean more residents, and more new residents mean more people to share and offset the taxes that are currently being paid by those residents that have chosen to stay after the economy nearly collapsed.
In a past Commission race, one which I was a candidate, after a past commission passed the C-4 ordinance, I suggested changing the Welcome to Independence signs at the entrances to the city to read: “Welcome to Independence, Born 1870, Died 2000.” I want to publicly state that one of my first priorities if elected will be to make a motion to repeal Ordinance 3838, and replace it with a more "new business" friendly zoning requirement ordinance in the C-4 zoning district.
I do not claim to have all the answers, but I do have the drive and desire to learn, and contribute helping to preserve our historical city and leave it in much better condition than when I came here. I want to work towards growing our population through increased business presence, relieving tax burdens, and make our city a place that when our children go away to college, they will want to return home to Independence to work, live, and raise their families.
Finally, after almost 9 years since past City Commissioners on August 31, 2000 passed Ordinance 3838 which basically ended new business opportunities and economic growth in Independence, the Zoning appeals board on June 6th, 2006 stepped up to the plate granted a variance to the space requirements, giving hope once again to economic growth. Although I strongly disagree with the past Commission’s decision to pass the ordinance in 2000, I understand their reason for doing so, and that was to protect the downtown business structure, but I still ask now, as I did back in 2000, “What were they Thinking?”
The Downtown business district is indeed vital to our city’s success, but what our City Commissioners apparently do not seem to understand is the Downtown business district is not an island.
In the late 1980’s through the 1990’s Independence was expanding, the residents were comfortable in passing a bond issue for building a new elementary school, new businesses were building on West Main, people were building new homes in all areas of the city, the economy was in a steady recovery, then in 2000 came Ordinance No. 3838, and suddenly it all came to a screeching halt, new housing subdivisions on the outskirts of Independence are basically empty weed infested pasture land.
The City Commission needs to completely abolish Ordinance 3838, and subsequent ordinances that reduced the minimum sq footage to 5000 sq.ft, it's not enough, stop treating the Independence business structure as an island located only downtown, and start concentrating on attracting new business to our community, and also begin doing something that the city does not currently do, and that is offer tax abatements to new retail businesses that want to locate in Independence, as new jobs mean more residents, and more new residents mean more people to share and offset the taxes that are currently being paid by those few residents that chose to stay after the economy nearly collapsed.
How many more times can the Commission shoot the City in the foot, and still expect it to have a leg to stand on?
Let me publicly state here that
Back in the 1980’s and 1990’s when economic growth in Independence was booming we smiled for Cessna, we built a new elementary school, expanded our business district to the West, new housing was springing up everywhere, and yet the downtown area still had just as many or more vacancies, we need to update our thinking, buckle down and realize that Independence will not survive with the current way and direction it is headed.