Dear Kansas City voters: Please stop paying attention to the no-contest mayoral election and start watching some crucial City Council races.
Kansas Citians deserve a strong, diverse and well-informed 12-member council. The top two vote-getters in council primaries on Tuesday will face off in the June 23 general election.
The crucial five
1st District in-district: Dick Davis is a long-time public servant who’s focused on improving the Northland, tight-fisted spending of tax dollars and improving public transportation. He’s easily the most positive candidate for the city’s future in this contest.
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But former fire union president Louie Wright and his firefighter supporters are challenging Davis. Taxpayers Unlimited, the political action committee for fire union Local 42, printed an attack on Davis. Two positive ads for Wright — and two negative ones against Davis — were mailed by Voters for Good Government, a group located in St. Charles, Mo. The group in March received a $35,000 contribution from the Freedom PAC (linked to odious political consultant Jeff Roe) after it collected $25,000 in January from the International Association of Fire Fighters.
Wright constantly says he’s not a one-issue person, but his protests should fall on deaf ears. Plus, Wright unapologetically uses and even defends Roe.
A third candidate, Heather Hall, is tapping into the tea party angst that grips too much of the Northland, making it possible that she’d survive into the general election.
2nd District at-large: Teresa Loar and Jay Hodges will get through the primary. Then, things could get nasty. Loar is a former council member who can employ a pitbull style of political digs when she thinks they’re needed. Hodges is a former aide to Mayor Sly James and, unfortunately, another Roe customer. Hodges already has attracted attention on the trail with his bombastic claims about what he’s going to do on the council. Notably, both are fairly knowledgeable about city issues.
3rd District in-district: Incumbent Jermaine Reed is trying to fend off a challenge from hard-working, quick-learning Jamekia Kendrix, who has effectively promoted progress in Kansas City Public Schools. Candidate Bryan Dial is waging a feisty battle as well. All three are qualified boosters of critical urban core matters.
4th District at-large: Incumbent Jim Glover is outspoken in his efforts to bolster neighborhoods and keep the fire union in check. Longtime politico Katheryn Shields could turn this into a neck-and-neck race. Newcomer Jared Campbell deserves more attention for his fresh views.
5th District in-district: Assistant Jackson County Prosecutor Alissia Canady is the best choice, and she likely will face former council member Ken Bacchus in the general. This race is a test of whether beleaguered residents — who suffered through the representation of now-resigned Michael Brooks — is willing to elect a fresh voice in Canady.
Two make it through
Former state Rep. Jolie Justus and longtime civic leader John Fierro are the only two candidates in the 4th District in-district race. Former school board member Lee Barnes and ex-city employee Dennis Anthony are on the 5th District at-large ballot. Justus and Barnes are the best qualified candidates in their races.
Incumbent Scott Wagner is the extremely capable candidate in the 1st District at-large. Lawyer Quinton Lucas is a skilled newcomer in the 3rd District at-large. Incumbent Scott Taylor is unopposed in the 6th District at-large. Northland leader Dan Fowler (2nd District in-district) and state Rep. Kevin McManus (6th District in-district) are the obvious choices in their contests.
Finally: Vote next Tuesday!