As they prepare for the spring primary, Roeland Park city council candidates see an uncertain economic climate and a lack of governmental transparency are just a couple of key issues facing their city.
In Ward Three, Linda Mau, Erin Thompson and David Gauwitz are facing off for a council seat.
In Ward Four, JoAnna Rush, Michael Poppa and incumbent Marek Gliniecki are running against each other.
The top two vote-getters in each ward will face each other in the spring general election.
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For Mau and Thompson, vying for a seat in Ward Three, keeping Roeland Park a desirable place to live is a top priority. Gauwitz did not respond to The Star.
A former councilwoman, Mau is running for a seat again because she is troubled by the lack of communication between Roeland Park and its residents. She is concerned about the city’s financial future and its debt.
She said public infrastructure has taken a back seat and there is still undeveloped property within the city.
“I have a passion and the experience that will bring about the prosperity for our local businesses, and all of our citizens of our community,” Mau said. “I know what it takes to bring a divided council together for the betterment of all. For almost thirty years I have been actively participating and taking part of the community.”
Thompson, who has lived in Roeland Park for almost five years, states on her website that she loves the city because of its commitment to diversity, nondiscrimination and the arts. She said if elected, she would support sustainable growth while protecting Roeland Park’s unique environment.
“I am proud to be a Roeland Park citizen and want to advance professionalism, bring common sense solutions and make Roeland Park the best it can be for our families and neighbors,” Thompson said. “I will bring new ideas and the business and professional skills necessary to provide the best representation for Roeland Park citizens.”
In Ward Four, the city’s economic development and quality of life are at the forefront of candidates’ minds.
Rush, a lawyer, said if she were elected she would strive to grow the city’s commercial tax baseto maintain high quality city services and reduce property taxes. She also thinks Roeland Park needs to be more fiscally responsible with taxpayers’ money, have a more transparent government and that maintaining and improving property values within the city is vital.
“My background as a corporate and real estate attorney gives me the experience to speak with developers and new businesses who want to invest in our city,” said Rush, a 12-year Roeland Park resident. “I have worked in the professional world, I have spent time at home raising my children and I now have the time and energy to devote to our city.”
As a councilman, Poppa said, he would focus on strengthening Roeland Park and its community by actively supporting resident participation in that process while maintaining transparency and open communication. Last year, as a member of the Community Events Committee and championing for equal legal protections for residents, Poppa said he got to know the concerns of residents’ and he hopes to address them.
“The future home of Walmart is still up in the air and, with it the financial impact to every resident in our city,” he said. “Our city leaders have a responsibility to invest our tax dollars wisely to preserve and enhance quality of life and property values, maintain public services, and expand arts, education and community events.”
Current Ward Four Councilman Marek Gliniecki hopes to maintain his seat so he can continue to serve his community. He wants to ensure that the city stays in stable financial position. If re-elected, he said, he hopes to address what he sees as the serious negative fiscal impact generated by the planned move of Walmart to the East Gateway in Mission. He also wants to help the community’s campaign to protect the Shawnee Indian Mission Historic Site from what many feel is as an inappropriate development.
“I have the experience and understand both the hard issues facing the city of Roeland Park as well as the great opportunities we can take advantage of to keep the city a great place to live, work, shop and do business in,” Gliniecki said.
Education: Bachelor’s, Sam Houston State University; Bloch Municipal Government and Finance, UMKC
Occupation: Small business owner
Elected experience: Roeland Park City Council, 2003-2007;
Education: Bachelor’s in journalism, law degree from University of Kansas
Elected experience: None
Education: Bachelor’s, Kansas State University; law degree, University of Houston Law Center
Elected experience: None
Education: Johnson County Community College, Avila University
Occupation: Operations manager at Occupational Consulting Services
Elected experience: None
Education: Post graduate, public art
Occupation: Property management
Elected experience: Council since July 2009