David Haley, candidate questionnaire

David Haley

Name and office sought: David Haley, Board of Public Utilities (BPU) – At-Large District 2

Age: 62

Occupation and experience:

Lawyer, developer, state senator.


Education:

B.A., Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia; J. D., Howard University Law School, Washington, D.C.

Organizations, clubs, groups to which you belong: civic; church; youth sports; political.

Reasons for running: As a native ‘Dotte who has lived in other cities around the U.S., I know for a fact (as do thousands of other Wyandotte Countians sincerely suspect), that our jewel of a monopoly, electric and water municipally “owned and operated” utility, is severely off kilter.

For the average residential and small business ratepayer-consumer, the BPU is expensive compared to other similarly situated electric and water consumers with other utilities (all “for-profit”) in the Kansas City metropolitan area; if indeed the midwestern United States.

Recognized for decades, many candidates have run for BPU as inquisitive, results-seeking “reformers.” Supported by and elected to serve by an equally inquisitive majority of the voting KCK public they have pledged to serve; after their election, as a new member of the board, some actually become accomplice to the carnage.

Whatever else happens, most Wyandotte Countians will sincerely attest that David Haley is as responsive after being elected as I am as a candidate for elected office. I will continue to do my best and to not let the BPU curse affect my established public service record.

What are the three most important issues facing this position and how would you handle them?

1) Better align municipal charges (Like the “P.I.L.O.T.,” water pollution and trash, etc.) on the BPU bill with state guidelines.

Did you know?
Current Kansas state law, as governed through the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC), limit the total percentage of municipal (or “city”) charges to no more than 16% of the consumption usage. So, for example, if BPU bills were governed like a for-profit utility susceptible to the KCC, a consumer’s bill charging for $100 of actual electric and water usage total bill could not exceed $116.

2) More equal representation

Let’s face it.
With 4 of the 6 board members all living in the northwestern quadrant of the city, it’s no wonder that average homeowners and small businesses have little equality in policy implementation while other “protected” special interests (like the T-Bones baseball team) can game the system with impunity; protected by that benefitting 4 member majority of the board. Living and responsibly representing KCK found east of I-435, if elected I will bring a different perspective and mindset to the 6 member panel; for the rest of the county, too.

3) Continuing the responsible goal of renewable “climate friendly” generation while reducing costs to the consumer

Our BPU is a leader in the strong (moving towards 50%) portfolio derived from renewable, climate responsible, sources. The additional research and implementation I will work towards is to stabilize these new technologies; increase their capacities and efficiencies; and reduce the stranded costs that impact average income ratepayers.

If you are not an incumbent, what would you change if elected?
As a challenger, if elected, I will press for greater transparency for the public of the policies and procedures of the BPU .

Although the pandemic-driven necessity to remove the bimonthly (1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month) board meetings to remote
(or Zoom) only, the public’s involvement has increased (by being able to attend and participate during the “public comments” section virtually) and decreased (by revoking practically all in-lobby and-or office administrative personal interactivity) at the same time.

Have you run for elected office previously? When, results?

State Senator. Elected (2000 – 2021) .
State Representative. Elected (1994 – 2000) .
Precinct Committeeman. Elected (1986 – Present).

Also : Mayor-CEO. Unified Government of Wyandotte County, Kansas City, Kansas (UG). 3rd place, (2017). 2nd place, (1997).

Mary Gonzales, candidate questionnaire

Mary Gonzales

Name and office sought: Mary Gonzales, BPU At-Large District 1

Occupation and experience: Retired educator

Education:
BA Education, University of Montevallo, Montevallo, Alabama.
MA Curriculum and Instruction, Emporia University.

Organizations, clubs, groups to which you belong:
American Public Power
American Water Works
Rosedale Development Association, board member
Civic Leadership Academy for Olathe schools board member

Reasons for running:

Increase communication and cooperation for joint projects involving the UG and BPU.
To make sure the utility remains a municipal, one that is not governed by an entity outside of KCK, Wyandotte County

Important issues facing this position and how to handle them:
Infrastructure: keeping our system repaired and upgraded is a concern. I would address this by making sound budgetary decisions.
Communication: Finding more and better ways to communicate with our customers.

Incumbent accomplishments:
Some time ago, at a national conference I heard about a plan utilities were using called “pre pay.” Some years later the BPU has a program similar called “Flex Pay.” It was not solely my idea, but I pushed for it.
I respond to customers when they ask for assistance or help with issues in a timely manner.

Run for office previously: I am an incumbent.

Claudine Sanders, candidate questionnaire

Claudine Sanders

Name and office sought: Claudine (Dinie) Sanders running for Unified Government, Commissioner at-large District 2.

Age: 51

Occupation and experience: I have worked in Armourdale at CSTK, Inc., a refrigerated trucking sales and service center, for 25 years. I have worked every office job there in my time, from HR director, A/P, A/R, parts management, service writing/management, corporate accountant and now serve as the administrative manager. I have also been the executive secretary for Wyandotte County Bar Association since January 2020.

Education: Associates degree in business administration/general accounting received from American Institute of Business in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1990.

Organizations, clubs, groups to which you belong: Armourdale Renewal Association former secretary and current vice president since 2015; Stony Point – Hunters Glen Neighborhood Association former secretary and president, current member since 2015; District Attorney Community Liaison Board since its creation in 2017; 12 Step “Anonymous” Program since getting clean and sober 11/29/97, in which I’ve held nonprofit positions in from meeting leader to regional convention chair and multi-zonal service symposium registration chair.

Reasons for running: The empathy and compassion she has gained from her own journey through addiction – recovery and support for fellow addicts carries over to everyone she meets. She views no person and no situation unmanageable or without promise. Having lived everywhere from 5th Street to 83rd Street and in between, while working in Armourdale the past 25 years, she feels strongly that all residents of WyCo deserve an equitable amount of honor and respect, as well as access to the same services. She lives by her principles and believes that living in the problem and not the solution is unacceptable. Her honesty and openness in her personal life leads her to seek the truth and transparency in others, especially at the level of local government.

What are the three most important issues facing this position and how would you handle them?
Community involvement
We must hold town halls to have discussions with residents. Attending neighborhood meetings is sporadic. I will push to have a monthly town hall in different parts of the county so that all residents have an opportunity to be heard. They are currently allowed a very small amount of time to give voice to issues at Board Meetings.

Community transparency
Create a commissioners page and email the access to residents weekly that plainly and simply states what is happening and what’s coming up. Residents should not have to search through pages of minutes to find out what is going on in WyCo.

Better eco devo
We need to start attracting green energy and technology businesses to WyCo instead of low wage distribution warehouses. I will stop allowing the latter businesses to get in here tax free, when businesses that have been in Wyandotte for decades are experiencing giant property tax increases.

If you are not an incumbent, what would you change if elected?
I would vote yes for Safe and Welcoming.
I would push for help for existing and new small businesses instead of low paying warehouses.
I would ask for a community board to look into the corruption issues that everyone in Wyandotte has talked about for decades and work with the KCKPD and Sheriff’s Department to regain the residents’ trust.

Have you run for elected office previously? When, results?
No.