Starr, Cross Face Off in City Council District II

By Alan Van Zandt |

Published 04/01 2014 09:36PM

Updated 04/02 2014 05:42PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) St. Joseph's second district has seen a heated city council race between two-term incumbent Joyce Starr and her challenger Ellis Cross.

The two have disagreed on almost every topic, including the success of clean-up programs in district neighborhoods.

"All of the community getting together, volunteers, neighbors and all of the college students," Starr said as she listed some of the groups that have joined in programs. "It's all of our community getting together and help cleaning up. Mr. Cross has never been to any of those events."

"It's quite obvious that a lot of those programs simply are not working," Cross countered. "They're great for photo ops for politicians. I don't participate in them at all."

The contrast between the two came to a head during a public forum last week at Missouri Western State University. While talking about the appearance of the district, Cross used some language Starr, and some others, found offensive.

"I hope people understand when I say, 'armpit of the city,' I am trying to use shocking language," Cross said. "Nothing else has worked. We need to admit there's a problem just like being an alcoholic. If you don't admit there's a problem, there's no cure."

"And I just say that is a stupid remark. That was rude," Starr said. "It was a stupid statement from someone that lives in District II."

The candidates' vision for the future of downtown also differ.

"When people talk to me about the casino, economics," Starr said. "You've got to think about bringing it downtown. What will it bring to the rest of the city downtown? What will it do for workers who work for the casino? It keeps their jobs if the casino stays here in St. Joe."

"I'm not for any $12 million development plans to make their thing work," Cross said, referring to one plan that's on the table. "We don't do that for anybody else and I don't think we should do it for them. If they threatened to leave, I'll help them pack."

Starr doesn't think Cross has what it takes to be on the city council.

"You have to come with facts and figures," she said. "You have to be able to control your emotions. Mr. Cross is very weak at those things."

"I have thick skin," Cross answered. "I can take all the names in the world. False information is the other problem."

Voters head to the polls next Tuesday, April 8.

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