Saturday, March 24, 2007

Editorial Endorsements
The Best & The Brightest

For Mayor Of The City Of St. Charles

We are proud to recommend City Councilman John Gieseke to be our next Mayor. John has a real vision for the future of our City. One not tied to the whims of wealthy special interests.

John Gieseke will see that your money is spent wisely.

Despite the infusion of tens of thousands of dollars of special interest money from outside the City…

Despite all the money millionaire developers could throw at this election…

Despite those same special interests paying to bring high priced political consultants in from Kansas City and Chesterfield to organize a campaign of distortions and lies…

Despite incessant polling and misleading surveys, wanting to know how people feel on divisive issues in an attempt to drive wedges into our community…

John Gieseke has been building momentum in his grassroots campaign to be your Mayor. His business experience, sincerity and new ideas stand in stark contrast to failed policies, a lack of leadership and no clear direction from the current Mayor. The choice is clear. Vote for JOHN GIESEKE for Mayor.

For City Council

Ward One

City Councilman Rory Riddler is by far the better choice in this three-way contest. He is one of the brightest and hardest working members to serve on the City Council. He excels at coming up with creative solutions and finding ways to get things done. The beautiful Mel Wetter Parkway, Foundry Art Center, residential facade grants, decorative wrought iron stop signs, the new Wellness Commission, improvements to North Second Street and many other projects would not have occurred without Rory’s efforts.

Peggy Whetzel, to her credit, has run a clean campaign, but cannot offer the experience Councilman Riddler brings to the job. She also appears a bit too intense to be able to build consensus.

Also challenging Riddler is Richard Veit, a single Attorney with offices on North Main Street. He ended his Republican campaign for judge this past August $12,700 in debt. There may be a pattern of fiscal irresponsibility voters would be best to avoid.

Ward Two

Here the nod goes to City Councilman Larry Muench. He is a personable and engaging gentleman with few political enemies. We may not always agree with where his vote falls, but he accepts our constructive criticism and takes it to heart. Larry Muench has also been instrumental in setting up a neighborhood association in his ward, working to bring a supermarket to his ward and responding to constituent complaints in a timely manner.

Larry Willis has run a strong campaign and given voters a clear platform, but experience is the key factor for Second Ward voters to consider. We would hope to hear from Mr. Willis in the political arena again.

Neighborhood gadfly Venetia McEntire had visions of seizing the reigns of power at City Hall for herself and close business partner, former St. Charles Director of Tourism Steve Powell. Her campaign seems to have stalled out at Second Street as she may not realize there is more to the City than South Main Street.

Ward Three

City Councilman Mark Brown withstood efforts by millionaire developers to oust him in a recall. The effort fell short of collecting the required valid signatures as residents learned who was bankrolling the effort and the corruption uncovered in the recall effort against Dottie Greer by the same group.

Mark Brown is one of the toughest Councilmen on developers and homebuilders, requiring quality and that they not cut corners. He is fighting with several over the condition they have tried to turn over subdivisions with homes built on the edge of a creek bed. They also have cracked streets, broken sidewalks and lights dangling from entrance signs. He fought other projects he felt would lessen property values or overtax our public streets and sewers. At the same time, Mark Brown has supported developments he feels would enhance the City, such as the redevelopment of the old Noah’s Ark property, which will finally remove this embarrassing eyesore at the front door of the city. Brown has stepped up efforts to protect the residents from the increasing large blasts coming from the quarry.

Now those developers are out to get Mark Brown again. This time their candidate appears to be Laurie Feldman. Rather than campaigning on her own merits, Feldman seems bent on smearing Councilman Brown. She just requested all of Mark Brown’s cell phone records for the past three years. Not once did he exceed his allotted minutes, but Feldman apparently has nothing better to do with her time than pour through hundreds of phone calls to see when citizens may have called their Councilman. Feldman is on an obvious witch hunt.

There are two other candidates in this four-way race. David Burney, who has been a regular attendee at Council meetings for over a year and Eric Frank, whose name appears first on the ballot, and is angry over treatment by developers as well.

Ward Four

Michael McMurran is running a spirited race against Councilman Bob Kneemiller. McMurran is a regular contributor to the pages of the First Capitol News, as a local sports writer. Mike is also an experienced public servant, having served as Mayor of a small community in St. Louis County.

He is sincere and honest in his desire to serve the residents of the Fourth Ward and the City of St. Charles. We are proud to endorse and recommend Michael McMurran for the City council.

Ward Seven

Zack Smithey seems to be the breath of fresh air that people always say they want to see elected. He is not accepting any campaign donations and has been running a door-to-door grassroots campaign. Young, energetic and full of idealism, Zack Smithey could be just what the Seventh Ward needs.

It’s harder to tell the difference between the remaining three candidates for the seat now held by Councilwoman Dottie Greer, who is retiring. Dave Beckering has run before and hopes this one’s the charm. Joseph Kloeppel seems a bit too angry and lost twice before for School Board. Don Borgmeyer may benefit from familiarity with his name, but otherwise hasn’t campaigned much. In the Seventh Ward we recommend Zack Smithey.

Ward Eight

Michael Klinghammer is the clear choice in this contest pitting two former City Councilmen. Michael has a solid platform, wonderful family, is active in the community, Borromeo Parish and serves as Chairman of the Beautification Committee for the City of St. Charles. He has the best interests of the entire community at heart.

In contrast, Ken Kielty was helping to launder money in the Dottie Greer recall effort through a bank account in Jefferson City. He is actively involved in running smear campaigns against other candidates for the council in other wards. On several occasions, Kielty has threatened people in the community with whom he disagreed. As a weird footnote his son, local attorney Michael Kielty, who defended the people involved in the questionable local recall efforts, calling our Police Nazis, has taken up the high profile case of child kidnapper Michael Devlon.

Michael Klinghammer has what it takes to be a great Eighth Ward Councilman and we recommend him without reservation.

Ward Nine

Councilman Joe Koester has set a high standard for responding to constituent concerns. He has also worked to put together a plan for improving the appearance of West Clay and Droste. He has ordered decorative new street and stop signs for his entire ward that will soon be installed. He worked to make sure an old medical building in his ward got a new lease on life as an upscale office complex. Joe Koester has also been working to bring a much needed and modern Senior housing complex to his ward. He also supported efforts to get the old County Seat restaurant and other eyesore trailers and concrete block buildings removed from the corner of First Capitol and West Clay.

His opponent, Ron Stivinson, touts that he was a former State Representative in the 1980s. But the district he represented wasn’t the area that now comprises the Ninth Ward. Beyond that, he has failed to offer any alternative plans to the good works already being done by the incumbent Councilman. Joe Koester has earned reelection.

Ward Ten

Erv Ermeling has been a long-time community volunteer, whose name has been associated with the Festival of the Little Hills. This past Christmas he helped Veterans decorate the KATY Depot and trees in Frontier Park for their special display of the kind of Christmas returning World War Two veterans would have experienced. It was a moving a beautiful tribute. Erv Ermeling also serves as Chairman of the Arts & Culture Commission for the city of St. Charles.

The Ermeling family learned a lot about serving the needs of customers with Jehling’s Hardware. Erv may help to transfer that same dedication to customer service to City Hall.

For the numerous shortcomings of incumbent Councilman Bob Hoepfner you can refer to our feature of last week. The First Capitol News is proud to endorse Erv Ermeling for City Council from the Tenth Ward.