Pursuing legal action to seek ward three alderman spot
r. John Carter has announced he wants to be a write in candidate for alderman at Parkville, and he is pushing legal action in an attempt to make that happen.
The potential opportunity opened up when Doug Bias, who is on the ballot in ward three against incumbent Robert Lock, told the Platte County Board of Elections on Monday, May 18 that he had moved out of ward three. That being the case, Bias, if elected, would be ineligible to take the oath and assume the position.
If Bias–whose name will still appear on the ballot since his move came after the deadline for removal from the ballot–were to receive more votes than Lock, the city would follow its procedures for appointing someone to fill the spot. That would put Mayor Nan Johnston in the position of being able to name, with board approval, the ward three alderman.
But Carter’s potential candidacy needs to be decided by the courts. That’s because in the governor’s order back in March that effectively moved the April election to June 2 due to COVID-19, the deadline to file as an official write-in candidate was listed as March 27.
Chris Hershey, a director with the Platte County Board of Elections, said on Friday that the governor’s “Executive Order 20-03 says ‘the deadline for filing a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate pursuant to Section 115.453(4) shall remain at 5 p.m. on March 27, 2020.’ So we plan not to count any write-in votes received, barring some court action.”
Carter’s legal position is that the state statute governing such items lists the deadline for a write-in to declare as the second Friday prior to the election.
The question of whether the state statute wording of “second Friday prior to the election” will override the March 27 date listed in the governor’s order will need to be decided in Platte County Circuit Court.
A court date of Friday, May 29 has been scheduled for the hearing, Carter told The Landmark. The election is scheduled just a few days later, on Tuesday, June 2.
“I’ve hired legal counsel to go forward,” Carter said this week. “I think we have a pretty good case.”
In an interview with The Landmark, Carter described himself as “a fiscal conservative who doesn’t believe in government-backed development.”
He said too often government-backed development projects, such as the Kansas City Power and Light District and Zona Rosa, end up losing money and costing taxpayers. He referenced the Creekside project at Parkville as a development being backed with city government assistance.
Carter, who practices occupational medicine for North Kansas City Hospital, said he has lived in the area since 1995. The area of Parkville in which he resides was annexed into the city in 2003-2005, he said.
BIAS ENDORSES CARTER
Bias, the man not eligible in ward three because of his recent decision to move into a home in ward one, said he is endorsing Carter.
“After talking to him, he is supporting a lot of the same ideas and plans that I was looking to do,” Bias said Friday evening, adding that Carter had reached out to him and the two had a lengthy phone conversation.
“He led it off with he’s a fiscal conservative. That’s not a bad thing, I’m that way when it comes to the city, when it comes to other people’s money,” Bias said.
Bias said he plans to run for ward one alderman next year. Asked what prompted his interest in running, Bias said: “There is too much secrecy at City Hall. It seems like a shell game.”
And he said incumbent ward three alderman Robert Lock “would never return a call” when folks with concerns reached out.
He said he wants “to make a change, make a difference, be a watchdog for the citizens.”
Bias said he has spending concerns, and concerns over what he called “lack of factual communication coming from city leadership.”
He said city leadership “gets very little citizen input about how we are going to do things.”
Bias, like Carter, mentioned the Creekside project at Hwy. 45 and I-435 as a concern.
“What drew the line in the sand for me was the Creekside development. We don’t have to give developers free money,” Bias remarked.
“My intent is to get involved in ward one,” he added.
Parkville voters can cast their ballot at the Parkville Presbyterian Church, 819 Main St in Parkville, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2.