5th District Council Candidates Discuss Issues During Forum

By Alan Van Zandt | avanzandt@kq2.com

Published 01/30 2014 10:39PM

Updated 02/07 2014 02:02PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The theme for the 5th District St. Joseph City Council candidate forum was set early.

"We need change," said challenger Mary Attebury.

"Our City Council hasn't been taking care of the items it should," said Michael Grimm, also competing for the seat.

The two candidates are trying to unseat incumbent Barbara LaBass, running for her third term to the City Council. In speaking about her successes, LaBass pointed to the city's strong support of the 139th Air Guard and the city's improved business park.

"It's looking much better, we have landscaping up there," LaBass said. "We have Boehringer there with a new, huge warehouse that has located out there.

Grimm reminded those in attendance at Missouri Western State University of the great responsibility council members have.

"It's $209 million. That's the budget for St. Joe, Missouri, $209 million." he said.

Attebury said improving the look of the community will help attract people to St. Joseph.

"Appearance has to be welcoming. People have to be welcoming," she said. "People will want to come here when there are good schools and there are places to go."

Like the first debate for at-large candidates, there was much discussion about St. Joseph's proposed smoking ban voters will decide in April.

Attebury has been a strong advocate of the smoking ban as part of Smoke Free St. Joe.

"My biggest, largest disappointment ever in this community was the failure of the council to pass a clean indoor air ordinance on its own," she said.

Attebury is the only candidate for the smoking ban.

"I have a little bit of problem when the government starts coming in and taking and taking and taking and that's what's happening," LaBass said. "The smoking issue is just one little piece of it."

"One of the great things about America is that we get to make our own decisions, even if they're stupid," said Grimm. "So, if you want to smoke, have at it."

Two candidates will advance from the city's primary election on February 4. The general election will be in April.

Municipal Court Judge John Boeh was also at the forum, but he is running unopposed for another term.

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