Category Archives: District 1 vacancy

Lavonta Williams asks Democratic legislators for help

Locked in a 3-3 vote with Treatha Brown-Foster, Lavonta Williams, an independent, is asking some of the most prominent Democrats in her district to encourage Council members to change their votes, according to an e-mail she sent last week. On the list were Sen. Donald Betts, Rep. Melody McCray-Miller and Rep. Oletha Faust-Goudeau.

“Presently there is a 3/3 vote and I need one more vote and need to make sure I maintain the 3 that I have,” she wrote. “I would be a hard worker for my community, I listen and work well with people, and my word is my bond. Anything you could do would be greatly appreciated. We especially need Sue Schlapp or Paul Gray.”

Council members will resume voting at the end of their Tuesday meeting and continue until they choose a candidate. It takes four votes to win. Council member Jeff Longwell, a Republican who is a Pachyderm member, like Brown-Foster, seemed to be the most likely tie-breaker. But he has said that Williams is the best candidate for District 1 and that he’s doesn’t plan to change his vote. Mayor Carl Brewer, who appointed both candidates to the District Advisory Board when he held the District 1 seat, voted for Williams. He has said he maintains an open mind on the candidates and that information continues to pour in. However, Williams appeared in one of Brewer’s campaign ads on TV and it seems he may be returning that support now. Even some of the most connected folks in City Hall say the outcome on Tuesday is anyone’s guess. But, unless they change their rules, which sometimes happens, they’ll continue voting until someone wins.

District 1 race stocked with names and experience

Maybe it’s because they won’t have to raise any money. Maybe it’s because only 15 people (the District Advisory Board and City Council) will be voting. Or, maybe it’s just the most politically active district.

Whatever the case, more people filed to fill the Distinct 1 City Council vacancy than ran in any of the other districts during this spring’s elections. And with a state representative, former state representative, former Council member, a pastor and three District Advisory Board members, the District 1 roster may also include more experience and name recognition than any of the races voters saw this spring. Some in City Hall say that Rev. Lincoln Montgomery, the pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, was also going to submit a petition — and probably be a top candidate. But his name wasn’t on the list by the noon deadline.

“There’s no doubt, it’s a strong bunch of people,” said Carl Brewer, who left the seat to become mayor four weeks ago.

Brewer said that he doesn’t think there is a clear front runner.

Starting tonight, the advisory board will begin interviewing candidates, then it will forward four or five names to the City Council, which will vote until a majority agrees on someone. They could also agree to reject the candidates and appoint any other District 1 resident for the position.

Read More »

How political will filling Council District 1 vacancy get?

This morning, the race for District 1 officially begins, reviving a political season that ended just two weeks ago with a citywide election. Several people have already made their interest in the seat known, including at least two from the District 1 Advisory Board.

But the process is open to a lot of politics. Council members learned Friday that they can select whoever they want to sit on the screening board that reviews candidates and forwards names to the Council for a final vote. So it may not just be the DAB Carl Brewer selected and the Council confirmed vetting candidates — especially if several DAB members are in the running. And the Council doesn’t have to select from the people the screening committee forwards to them either. They can nominate whoever they want and the first candidate to get four votes wins.

That seems to bypass the petition requirement, but, in a meeting Friday, City Attorney Gary Rebenstorf said the Council can nominate whoever they want so long as they live in District 1 (as outlined in the map above). District 5 Council member Jeff Longwell suggested the council allow candidates to come to a Council meeting and give a short speech. Longwell said that worked well when he was on the Maize School Board. Other Council members agreed, indicating they’ll probably set a date to hear from candidates.

“It gives us an opportunity to understand where they’re coming from a little bit,” Longwell said.

A candidate could be voted on as soon as May 15.

From District 84 to District 1? She might try

Add State Rep. Oletha Faust-Goudeau to the list of people who might take a shot at filling the District 1 City Council seat that Carl Brewer gave up yesterday. The third-term Democrat said she is seriously considering the position and has a petition that she’ll need 100 people to sign in order to be eligible. (See rules here.) But, she tells The Hall Monitor, she’s not yet certain. If she did run, she says she would step down from her District 84 House seat, leaving it up to the precinct committee to appoint someone to complete her term in the Legislature.

So why consider giving up one seat for another? Faust-Goudeau says when she’s talking to her constituents in District 84 (See District map PDF), they’re often looking for quick fixes to their problems — be it repairing sidewalks or eliminating blight. And in her district, which contains “Beat 44” the area widely known as having some of the worst crime and blight in the city, she feels she could have more immediate impact on people’s problems than as a lawmaker in Topeka. “I am a more hands-on type of person, and I interact with people on a regular basis,” she said. But she said she doesn’t want the race to fill Brewer’s spot to get messy. There are a lot of qualified candidates, she said, noting some of those those mentioned in previous posts. “I’m certainly not trying to create any friction,” she said. “I’m a lover, not a fighter.”

The race begins next Tuesday when the vacancy is officially announced during the Council meeting. “By the last day, we’ll probably get 101 names thrown in the hat,” Faust-Goudeau said.

A long night… and it’s not getting any easier

It was 2 a.m. by the time Mayor-elect Carl Brewer got out of his election party at the Courtyard by Marriot in Old Town. And he was up before sunrise and working by 7:30 a.m. today to figure out how he’ll leave his post at Spirit AeroSystems in the next few weeks and responding to a batch of congratulatory e-mails.

At his neighborhood city hall, he got hit with TV interview after TV interview after Hall Monitor interview this afternoon. He even picked up a cold somewhere along the way. It’s not getting any less hectic. He’s setting up meetings with the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce (to talk about bringing in new businesses), City Manager George Kolb (to talk about a citywide wireless internet system), newly elected Council member Jeff Longwell (to get to know him better) and others.

Saturday morning, he’ll be at Ryan’s Grill Buffet & Bakery, 3323 N. Rock Rd. (See map.), for his monthly breakfast with community residents — only this time near record attendance is expected. Some of them are likely to be people who want to fill the District 1 seat Brewer is leaving. “I think you’ll see who’s interested if you come there,” Brewer said.

(People interested in petitioning for Brewer’s seat can learn how the city fills vacancies here. See the full city ordinance here.And see a map of District 1 here.)

Who should fill Brewer’s City Council position?

As people sipped Coronas and sodas and mingled among the crowd at Carl Brewer’s campaign party Tuesday night, I was working the scene, trying to find out who’s going to fill Brewer’s shoes in District 1. We’ve got a list of potential contenders and we’re hoping you’ll add to it by clicking on the “comments” link below. The right person will need 100 signatures from district residents, an affirming vote from the District Advisory Board and a majority vote of the City Council.

Read More »