Sunday blog: The 2013 Wellington City Election is already historic in many ways

first_imgCommentary by Tracy McCue — Historically speaking the 2013 Wellington City Council election is shaping up to be a dandy.A record-setting 15 candidates have filed for the new Wellington City Council which will have six at-large council members and a mayor – eventually all serving four-year terms.There are a myriad of reasons for the large number of candidates this year. I’d like to think it is a new wave of civil service fever grasping the masses. I’m thinking the curiosity factor may have a lot to with it. The candidacy field is a good one. There are seven of eight incumbents running: Kim Woodrow, John Brand, Chase Weber, Larry Shimer, Jan Korte, Terry Nunemaker, and Lannon Taylor running. Former state representative Vince Wetta, Kelly Green, Jim Valentine, Lynne Tompkins, Jarod Nance, Noah List, John Tracy and Russell Rains have thrown their hats into the field as challengers. It’s a great looking field of candidates – some of the best I’ve ever seen run for office in Wellington.At first it didn’t look like this was going to be a case. One week before the filing deadline, the city council had just one candidate filing: Nunemaker. I had heard rumbles that several current city council members weren’t going to run for different reasons. But the one topping the list was that the four-year term seemed a little long. Up until now, council member terms in Wellington were two-year terms.I personally thought the opposite. I have always thought two years wasn’t enough time to get your feet wet.Obviously it was a non-issue, between that Tuesday and filing deadline Tuesday one week later, Wellington had 14 more candidates.J.P. Buellesfeld, who led the charge for reform in the city election process, was anticipating a big day Tuesday morning – for last-second filings. And he wasn’t kidding.It would be an understatement to say both Buellesfeld and myself were pleasantly surprised. As much interest as this city election is having, the thought that 15 people would sign up is a bit awe striking.Buellesfeld gave me some interesting tidbits about this year’s filings:•This marks the largest number of candidates for a city council election in the last 48 years. It might perhaps be the largest ever, but Buellesfeld has no documentation before 1965.•Since 1965, the record before this year was 10 candidates for one city election.•The average number of candidates over 48 years has been 5.8 candidates. There were 53 percent of the council members who were elected unopposed during that span. And some of those contested ward elections would have less than 100 voters.•Many people were concerned that an at-large format would include a high concentration from one area of town, especially with the recent controversy over paved roads in the Westborough Estates addition in west Wellington. This turned out not to be the case, Buellesfeld said. There is one candidate in that addition – Nunemaker – and he is an incumbent.•There were concerns that the “at large” election system would have a large concentration of candidates from the soon-to-be defunct fourth ward in west Wellington. Of the candidates who filed, Buellesfeld said, four came from the old first ward, four came from the old second ward, three came from the third ward, and four came from the old fourth ward.•Many people worried that the at large election would elect candidates from west of C Street in Wellington. There were nine candidates, west of C Street where 68 percent of the population lives and six candidates from east of C Street where 32 percent of the population lives.•Comparing Wellington to the city of Wichita. Wellington has a population of 8,212 while Wichita has 661,798. However there are 15 candidates running for council in Wellington and 12 candidates running from Wichita.“I think the citizens of Wellington spoke very loudly today, more than we could have ever predicted,” Buellesfeld said on Filing Day Tuesday.And I say, good work, J.P. Had it not been for you this system would have never gotten in place. For the details of how this came about visit my Sunday Blog from Jan. 6 at http://www.sumnernewscow.com/sunday-blog-the-evolution-of-the-wellington-city-council/.•••••Stay tuned to Sumner Newscow as we will be featuring written candidate forums of all Wellington City Council and school board members as we have for all local elections since our inception on that historical day August 28, 2011. With the city council members, we are obviously going to have to do something different. A question and answer session with 15 members may make for the longest story in Sumner Newscow history. I’ll figure it out, just not at this moment. Stay tuned. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (5) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +7 Vote up Vote down Small Town Boy · 393 weeks ago Tracy, I believe you’re mixing up the Wichita CITY population with the Wichita METRO population. According to the US Census Bureau, the City of Wichita’s estimated 2011 population was 384,445 (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/20/2079000.html) while the metro – which includes Sedgwick, Harvey, Butler, and Sumner counties – had a 2011 population of 625,526 (http://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/blog/2012/04/database-wichita-metro-falls-in-new.html). Granted, your point can still be made with the new numbers, but I thought the mix-up was worth addressing. Nice article, though, and thanks to you and JP for sharing these facts. Report Reply 0 replies · active 393 weeks ago +2 Vote up Vote down worldrecord · 393 weeks ago What year did Mr Buellesfeld break at that time the world record for quickest time to obtain a bachelors degree after high school graduation? It has been so many years I could not remember exactly how long he took or what year it occured. I think he went from high school graduate to 4 year college graduate in 6 months. Report Reply 0 replies · active 393 weeks ago +2 Vote up Vote down notlla · 393 weeks ago I hope we can get rid of some of the dead weight.on the council,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Report Reply 0 replies · active 393 weeks ago +7 Vote up Vote down atlarge · 393 weeks ago why not have “at large” elections for our local school board Elections? The current election system allows a person to be elected unopposed from one school district, while 3 great candidates might be running from different school district, only one can be the winner of the election. Why not get the best three people to serve on the USD #353 School board? Report Reply 1 reply · active 393 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down Tom Countryman · 393 weeks ago Caldwell’s Board of Education now uses the “at large” system, & I find it far superior for the reasons you mention, At Large. Report Reply Post a new comment Enter text right here! 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