Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Last Night's Forum Kemmling/Willoughby

Last night there was a forum in downtown Shawnee which was organized by former councilmember David Morris and Hartman Hardware owner Mike Unterreiner.  Attorney Kevin Bennett served as moderator.  This was the first attempt at something like this in Ward II and these three are to be congratulated for even taking on the task.

So, what happened?  Well, you had to be there to appreciate it.  Mike Kemmling , for the most part gave specific answers to questions.  Remember, the questions were basically asking these two what their thoughts/positions were on a variety of topics.  Most of the time Alan Willoughby referred to a manila folder he had (complete with tabbed pages) and rather than his ideas, thoughts and positions rattled off inconsequential statistics.  Wonder who put that together for him?

Anyway, he did answer some of the questions directly.  One of them pertained to the mayor not permitting public input at the council meeting where he was appointed to the council.  He apparently thought it was OK for no public input to be allowed.  Ironically, he made the statement a number of times that the council "elected" him.  Oh boy, another person that does not understand the way local government works.  The council did not "elect" him, it appointed him to fill an unexpired term caused by a resignation.  Maybe he doesn't realize that he is NOT running for reelection, but for election to a full term.  Kemmling thought it was not right for the mayor to prohibit citizen input and cited precedences of citizen input, to include the appointment of Jim Neighbor a few years ago.

There was one topic of discussion where Willoughby was not sure of the expiration of the parks and pipes tax.  What did he do when he wasn't sure of that date?  He shouted out to councilmember Sawyer who was in the back of the room for verification.  Hey, Uncle Alan (he is the mayor's uncle by marriage) this was supposed to be between you and Mike Kemmling.  If you don't know an answer say so.  Do not shout out for third party assistance.  Going forward, if something like this happens again I would expect the moderator not to permit the person in the audience to answer (learning curve time).

When the question csme up concerning the city recently sending 8 people to Boston for a National League of Cities conference, Mike Kemmling thought that two people would have been enough, and that those two could bring back the info to the others.  Alan Willoughby thought that sending eight people was ok (6 council members, he was one of them, the city manager and the mayor).

I sincerely hope that the citizens of Ward II send a message to city hall that they no longer want cronyism in city government.  One way to do that is to vote for Mike Kemmling.