The Stars recommendations | Klika, Lally for Johnson County Commission and Denning for sheriff
The Johnson County Commission has eased back on the spending throttle in the last few years because of the continued weak economy and the conservative leadership style of chairman Ed Eilert.
As a result, setting priorities for the use of public revenues and experience in dealing with crucial county issues are extremely important in the two contested primaries on the Aug. 7 ballot.
• For the 3rd District commission seat, The Star recommends Steve Klika and Michael Lally. The top two vote-getters in this nonpartisan race to replace David Lindstrom will advance to November.
Klika and Lally have extensive knowledge of the countys important concerns. They include keeping the property tax rate stable, providing top-notch basic services especially through the parks and library systems and maintaining a positive business climate.
Klika has a strong record of service, holding leadership positions on the Blue Valley Board of Education and the board of directors of Johnson County Transit. His passion for better transit could help the county improve this critical service for the growing number of older and lower-income residents. Klika is president of a staffing agency.
Lally offers an admirable blend of political and business experience. He served on the Overland Park City Council during a time when the city improved its amenities, kept property taxes low and worked harder to attract businesses. He is vice president of an engineering and design company.
A third candidate, Terry Presta, is a former state representative from Garden City and former owner of a string of convenience stores. While his business experience is an asset, he lacks the wide-ranging local policy experience that Klika and Lally offer.
Ben Hodge, a former state representative and former Johnson County Community College trustee, has an in-your-face style of conservative politics which would not be a good addition to the commission. He sells insurance and runs a nonprofit educational group.
• In the Republican primary for sheriff, incumbent Frank Denning has earned re-election by effectively operating the county jail and a law enforcement operation that has helped keep crime low. Opponent Ken Smith is a police lieutenant in Mission.