The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

April 17, 2012

Our View: Mayor's challenge

Melodee Colbert-Kean will have many challenges as she begins her two-year term as mayor a year after the May 22 tornado, the worst natural disaster to ever hit Joplin.

She enters the position with a positive, confident attitude. It is clear she loves her city and respects the role of mayor.

While the challenges of rebuilding and establishing good city codes have been and will continue to be foremost for the Joplin City Council, we think Colbert-Kean will first have to address the obvious rift on the council.

In a profile story in Monday’s Globe (April 16), Colbert-Kean told us she wants “all of us pulling together toward a common goal.”

Joplin residents deserve City Council members who think and vote independently — not in blocs. The 5-4 split on the council is obvious to even the casual observer. It’s also obvious that discussions about city business are happening outside of council chambers and the public vote frequently is a formality.

Colbert-Kean said one of her main goals is to listen.

We would ask the council members as well to listen to their constituents as they address the following issues:

• Recommendations of the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team.

• The development of neighborhoods where property owners are protected by good city codes.

• Job growth and new industry for Joplin.

• Creating a safer place for Joplin residents in times of storms.

• Establishing a memorial to the 161 people who died as a result of the May 22 tornado and honoring all those who volunteered in the recovery efforts.

The only “side” that should be chosen on a city council is the side of the residents of Joplin.

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