Archive for Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ladies’ night

Marilyn Pearse, left, is the apparent winner in Tuesday's mayoral election. Kathy Gerstner, center, and Christi Darnell were elected to the city council.

Marilyn Pearse, left, is the apparent winner in Tuesday's mayoral election. Kathy Gerstner, center, and Christi Darnell were elected to the city council.

April 3, 2013

Marilyn Pearse appears to have won a return to public life after narrowly defeating Jason Mock in the contest for Baldwin City mayor.

A member of the Baldwin City Council for 16 years before stepping down in 2005, Pearse received 235 votes to Mock’s 222 in unofficial results from Tuesday’s election. Bonnie Plumberg, like Mock a current council member, was third with 99 votes.

Deputy County Clerk Benjamin Lampe said there were 20 provisional ballots to be counted in the three Baldwin City precincts, enough to change the results if they swing big to Mock. Those would be counted during the remainder of this week and early next week before the official results were released after an April 11 canvas.

Should results hold up, Mock, who has two years left on his council term, will be joined on the council by first-time candidates Kathy Gerstner and Christi Darnell. Grestner received the most votes in the race for the two open council seats with 408 votes and Darnell was second with 329 votes. Another first-time candidate, Michael Paulick, received 161 votes.

Pearse, an owner of a Lawrence accounting firm, said she thought voters responded to her past experience on the council and financial background.

“I had a lot of support from businesses and from people in town,” she said. “It’s been really nice. I’m excited to get to work.”

Mayor Ken Wagner, who chose not to seek another term, said he would meet with the mayor-elect to help with the transition.

“I have told all three candidates individually that I would be happy to help in whatever way I can as they settle into the new role,” he said.

Gerstner and Darnell expressed appreciation to Paulick for running and for his positive campaign.

“It’s really difficult to put yourself out there to be a candidate,” Gerstner said. “I really think that is true of all the races. I’m grateful for Michael for running.”

Darnell and Gerstner said they sensed a general satisfaction with the work of the current council and their election didn’t signal a need to change the city’s direction.

“I’m not a bulldozer,” Darnell said. “I’m a listener. I like to find what works and build on that. I think Kathy is the same way.

“I would like to thank voters for giving me this opportunity to serve. I will spend my term honoring their support and doing what I can to make Baldwin City a great place to live.”

When she announced her run for the council, Darnell said she would like some of the savings the city realized from its new wholesale water contract with Lawrence to be passed on to customers. It was an issue she would still pursue, she said.

“I plan to inform myself fully about our utilities and I want to share that fully with the public,” she said. ‘I want to share that at the library and social media so the rate structure will be clear and easily assessable. I would like to see that across the board.”

Pearse said before the election she wanted increased communication between the council and the school board. She suggested the council reschedule its meetings so they don’t conflict with those of the Baldwin school board. With that, she hoped a council member would attend school board meetings and board member the council’s meetings.

Darnell said she, too, wanted to see greater cooperation between the council and the board, as well as with other institutions through regularly scheduled inter-agency meetings.


1776attorney 5 years, 1 month ago

All the winners deserve congratulations and an opportunity to prove themselves.

Here are a few statistical facts I would offer after hearing several winners state that “the voters are generally happy with the direction the city has been taking.” I don’t believe the voters (and city residents) disliked the previous mayor, but from my emails and conversations with numerous taxpayers, there is a vast majority of homeowners who believe the center city area of Baldwin City were neglected and those neighborhoods left to degrade.

Here are a few facts-

Our new mayor Marilyn Pearse won the election with 235 votes, but 321 voters voted against her (222 for Mock and 99 for Plumberg).

New councilperson Gerstner won with 408 votes, but 490 voters voted against her. New councilperson Darnell won with 329 votes, but 569 voters voted for other candidates.

There is no mandate or “approval of the current direction” in voting numbers like that. In fact, a “majority of voters” did not vote for the winners.

Residents believe there is something “funny” happening when all their tax dollars are being spent north of Highway 56 and the center city areas are left to age and decay. My conversations with Baldwin City residents say they expect their city government to provide “services” that make their lives easier and more carefree, while maintaining the history of the city with some modernity.

The center city residential areas need new sidewalks (designed to be historically correct), new rainwater drainage, curbing, streets, alley improvements and lighting. I know I intend to push these issues and I am told others are prepared to offer petitions or court intervention to force the city government to stop pandering to developers, the new wealthy neighbors or businesses.


Peabody 5 years, 1 month ago

This analysis is not entirely accurate. Because each voter was allowed to cast a vote for two candidates running for city council, it is not appropriate to assume that votes for other candidates were votes against an individual candidate.

If we assume that everyone who showed up at the polls voted for one of the mayoral candidates, then there were a total of 556 Baldwin City citizens voting in the election. Of those 556 potential voters, Kathy Gerstner received 408 votes, or 73.4% of the total vote. Likewise, Christi Darnell's 329 total votes translate to 59.2% of the total vote.

I would contend that a majority of voters did, in fact, vote for Kathy and Christi, and although it may not be a mandate, it is certainly a sign of confidence in these two community members and the leadership they offer.


Commenting has been disabled for this item.