The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

April 8, 2014

In City Council race, Joplin voters elect two newcomers, three incumbents

JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin voters rejected two incumbents who voted to fire City Manager Mark Rohr, instead electing two newcomers and returning three incumbents to the City Council who had supported Rohr.

Totals are according to complete but unofficial returns Tuesday night from Jasper and Newton counties.

In Zone 4, incumbent Mike Seibert received more than twice the votes of his challenger, Jack Golden. Golden held a general seat on the council when he filed against Seibert for the zone seat. The vote was 4,396 to 2,105.

In addition to Golden, Trisha Raney was the other incumbent who was not returned to the council.

Golden and Raney were among the five council members who voted to fire Rohr without cause at a Feb. 4 meeting that stoked weeks of backlash from residents that included letter writing campaigns, heavy attendance at council meetings, and complaints to the attorney general's office and the state auditor's office.

Vote totals show that newcomer Ryan Stanley led the general seat polling with 5,276, with Miranda Lewis only two votes behind at 5,274. Incumbent Mike Woolston received 2,958 votes to win his general seat back. Raney received 2,203 votes. Vote totals for the other general seat candidates were Jim West, 2,223, and Harvey Hutchinson, 1,944.

Incumbent Gary Shaw, who was unopposed for the Zone 1 seat, received 5,618 votes.

Woolston, a real estate agent, was criticized in the Feb. 4 council investigation report for creating the appearance of impropriety for abstaining from votes in 19 property transactions that involved land where the new Joplin Public Library is to be located. Woolston said the land was not identified as the site for the library when he brokered land purchases on some of the tracts. In campaign advertising, he reminded voters that he was mayor in the aftermath of the 2011 tornado.

"I'm obviously pleased about being re-elected, but I realize there are some citizens that feel like I have trust issues," Woolston said. "I'll try to make myself available to those people in an attempt to reassure them I've done nothing wrong. I'll continue going forward protecting the city and doing everything I can to keep from having the appearance of impropriety."

Seibert, sunburned from standing outside polling places on Tuesday meeting voters, said: "I really feel like the citizens have paid close attention to the issues of Joplin. They showed up and they voted their conscience, and now I think the City Council needs to take that into account and move the city in a forward direction."

Stanley said the election generated "quite a few different voices, and I am emboldened by Joplin's confidence in me and I am excited about leading for the next four years."

Lewis said of her win: "I cannot tell you how I excited I am. I didn't know what to expect being a first-time candidate."

The number of votes carried by the candidates in the Jasper County portion of Joplin:

General seats -- Lewis, 4,116; Stanley, 4,090; Woolston, 2,266; West, 1,812; Raney, 1,800; Hutchinson, 1,581.

Zone 4 -- Seibert, 3,379; Golden, 1,716.

Zone 1 -- Shaw, 4,422.

The number of votes in the Newton County portion of Joplin:

General seats -- Lewis, 1,158; Stanley, 1,186; Woolston, 692; West, 411; Raney, 403; Hutchinson, 363.

Zone 4 -- Seibert, 1,017; Golden, 389.

Zone 1 -- Shaw, 1,196.

1
Text Only
Top Stories
  • 080114 Older worker1_72.jpg Co-workers, friends honor nurse with 50-year career

    Wilma Massey has worked a half century in health care and, even at the age of 74, she’s the first to arrive at work each morning.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Scott Branden Smith 080114.jpg Comatose assault victim dies

    A Joplin man left in a coma from an apparent assault died this afternoon at Freeman Hospital West.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amendment 7 backers tout safety, new jobs; foes say special interests to benefit

    Billions of dollars are on the line when Missouri voters head to the polls on Tuesday to consider Amendment 7.
    The constitutional amendment, sent to the voters by the Legislature this year, would temporarily increase Missouri’s sales tax by three-quarters of 1 percent, raising an estimated $5.4 billion for the next decade to fund transportation projects. That includes more than $114.1 million in state funds for projects in Newton and Jasper counties, on top of additional revenue for localities that would be raised.
    After the Missouri Department of Transportation downsized in recent years, these projects are now mostly designed and built by private engineers, contractors and laborers — many of whom have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to a campaign effort to sway voters to support the measure.
    Last Monday — eight days ahead of the primary election day — supporters of the measure reported having raised more than $4.1 million for a campaign committee called Missourians For Safe Transportation and New Jobs, which was established last fall to support the measure.
    The International Union of Operating Engineers in St. Louis and Kansas City have contributed nearly $250,000 to the effort. That total was dwarfed by the $649,398 put in by the Industry Advancement Fund Heavy Constructors. Between its Missouri and Kansas companies, APAC — a construction contracting company that specializes in transportation projects — has contributed more than $150,000.
    “The whole idea that money is flowing into the campaign, of course it is,” said Sen. John Lamping, a St. Louis Republican who is opposed to the measure. “It would be a smart business decision to do that.”
    Lamping said the money pouring into the campaign supporting Amendment 7 is indicative of the financial gain the measure bodes for contractors and laborers.  
    Lamping proposed a measure in the Legislature that would redirect one-eighth of existing sales and use tax revenue directly to transportation projects, but he said that measure was rejected by legislative leaders. The coalition “didn’t hear about it,” the outgoing senator said, “because it was my idea instead of someone else’s idea.”
    Lamping, who filibustered a similar measure in 2013, said Republicans have an ideological consistency problem on the issue. He pointed to the Legislature passing a sales tax increase only a few weeks after overriding Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of an income tax cut that will largely help businesses organized as limited liability corporations, like many of the companies that could benefit from the measure. Lamping said that the tax increase will mostly affect taxpayers who did not get a significant tax cut.
    “Who wants a tax cut in Missouri?” he said. “Businesses. (Republican leaders) wanted to make them happy and then they passed a tax cut. This is grand-scale special interest cronyism.”
    The ad campaign being funded mostly by the business interests features paramedics and construction workers claiming the measure would “fix our roads and keep Missouri families safe.”
    “We have a chance to give our highways and bridges the repairs they need,” says one ad, which is running in Joplin and statewide in the lead up to Tuesday’s vote. “We have a chance to fix what’s broken by voting yes on Amendment 7.”
    The commercial uses a lot of words to talk about the benefits of the measure, but two words in particular are noticeably absent from the commercial: “Tax increase.”  
    “The ads don’t mention any of the ballot language,” said Jewell Patek, a spokesman for Missourians For Safe Transportation and New Jobs. “We figure Missourians will see the language when they go to the polls.”
    Patek, a former state representative who now lobbies the Legislature, said he disagreed with Lamping’s notion that Amendment 7 is all about special interest gain.
    “There’s quite a bit to gain for Missourians,” he said. “We have serious road needs. We’ll win or lose by the benefits in Amendment 7. I’m not sure I agree with Senator Lamping’s assessment.”
    If approved, Amendment 7 would prevent an increase in the state’s fuel tax, a funding boost opponents of the amendment like Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and some of the state’s social welfare groups have said would be more appropriate because it could pull in revenue from people who use the roads — like the state’s trucking industry.
    The Missouri Truckers Association’s political action committee has contributed more than $27,000 to the effort to pass the measure. Tom Crawford, president of the association, said his members support the amendment because they see the problems on the road and deal with them every day. And passage of the measure does not mean anyone will stop paying fuel tax.
    “We overpay our fair share on the fuel tax,” he said, pointing to statistics by the American Transportation Research Institute that show truckers have accounted for about 14 percent of road usage while paying for 39 percent of all taxes and fees owed by motorists. “We pay sales taxes just like everybody does on goods and products that people buy in the stores.”
    Crawford said truck companies do not pay state sales taxes on the purchase of trucks, but they do pay a federal tax. “So, we won’t be impacted on new equipment purchase, but other areas of our business will be impacted just like every other taxpayer in the state will,” he said.
    Thomas Shrout, who is helping lead the campaign against the tax hike, said that is not good enough and that Amendment 7 lets truck drivers off the hook. “Under Amendment 7, they wouldn’t have to pay any more,” he said.
    Shrout’s opposition campaign has raised just over $27,000 — less than 1 percent of the total money raised by its supporters. They are targeting their opposition at the state’s urban core by spending money on direct mail and targeted robocalls in the final week.
    “We think using the sales tax to fund road projects is poor policy for the state of Missouri,” he said. “It should be rejected.”
    Shrout said the Missouri Department of Transportation and its supporters should go back to the drawing board and consider some of the other options like campaigning for toll roads or a gas tax increase — both based on road usage.
    Representatives for APAC and the Heavy Constructors Association declined requests for comment.

    Tuesday’s election
    Amendment 7 is one of five measures voters will consider when they head to the polls on Tuesday. Statewide, local election officials reported to the Missouri secretary of state that it was their estimate that about 27 percent of the state’s 4.06 million registered voters will show up to vote, including 25 percent of registered voters in Jasper County and 30 percent in Newton County.

    August 1, 2014

  • Brownback names 3 Kansas Board of Regents members

    Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday named a former veteran Kansas House member and two attorneys to the board overseeing the state’s higher education system.

    August 1, 2014

  • Fair to feature goats, chickens and decorated bras

    Along with the usual fair sights, sounds and smells — livestock, poultry, produce and the like — there will be something a bit unusual at the Cherokee County American Legion Free Fair this year: Decorated brassieres. And pink. Lots of pink.

    August 1, 2014

  • Grant to fund solar energy system for PSU’s Plaster Center

    An $80,000 grant from Westar Energy will fund solar panels to provide both energy and education at the Robert W. Plaster Center, now under construction at Pittsburg State University.

    August 1, 2014

  • Detour in Parsons for bridge work begins

    A portion of south U.S. 59 Highway will close at the Parsons, Kansas, city limits on Aug. 4 for drainage work, asphalt resurfacing and a bridge deck repair project.

    August 1, 2014

  • Autism center to break ground on future home

    Ground will be broken Tuesday morning for the future home of the Bill & Virginia  Leffen Center for Autism at 2808 S. Picher Ave.

    August 1, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our View: Home runs for area

    Baseball fans, there’s something exciting going on today that has nothing to do with the major leagues.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • LIVE BLOG: Little League Regional Tournament

    Athletes and parents from Joplin and Frontenac are headed to Indianapolis for the Little League Central Region Tournament. Follow their progress here.

    August 1, 2014