Archive for Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Councils important to the future

April 20, 2005

The recent election in Tonganoxie went without a hitch.

Three new council members -- Steve Gumm, Jim Truesdell and Jason Ward -- were elected. In fact they've already served their first council meeting.

We may think that a smooth election, with more than enough candidates running for the positions, is the norm. But not all towns had the same good luck.

Take Linwood's recent election, for example.

Linwood City Council incumbent Charles "Dwayne" Call was the only person who filed to run for one of three open city council seats.

With two more seats to fill and no other names on the ballot, a handful of Linwood voters took it upon themselves to come up with a solution.

Armed with pencil and ballot, they made their marks.

When the votes were counted, Tony Denham received three write-in votes, making him the winner of one of the council seats. And five other Linwood residents each received one write-in vote in the last-minute contest for the third and last seat.

After contacting the five Linwood residents who received one vote, it was determined that four of them were interested in vying for the final open council seat.

The equation was solved when county officials selected at random the third council member -- Edward Morris.

That settled, the post-election question turned to the mayoral seat.

Outgoing council member Georgianna Smith tallied 32 votes, narrowly losing to Linwood tavern owner Steve Campbell. Campbell had lived in Linwood for less than one year, which one Linwood resident said would disqualify him from serving as mayor.

However, Leavenworth County Clerk Linda Scheer said, according to state statutes, Campbell met the guidelines by currently living in the city.

And to think all those election questions came up in a town with an estimated population of 377.

While it makes for interesting conversation, there's something else going on here.

Why was it that more Linwood residents didn't want to run for city council? Perhaps it's because they were thinking about now, and not about the future.

Linwood may be small, but if Leavenworth County succeeds in putting a turnpike access road in southern Leavenworth County, Linwood will grow. There likely will be more traffic, more businesses, more residents and possibly more industry.

In order to make the growth as seamless as possible, Linwood needs to be looking to the future, and planning for the future, now.

Linwood has a lot going for it -- a school, a community center, an active civic group that sponsors a Pioneer Festival in July and a Lions Club that is involved in all sorts of projects, including its annual summer chicken barbecue. The Linwood City Library is gearing up for its first health fair, set for Saturday, and the Linwood Cafe is preparing to move into a new and larger building this spring.

Now, with the election behind them, the Linwood community, city council and mayor are poised to work together for the future. And from appearances, it could be said they already have a good start.

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