This district covers much of south Wichita. Only district residents can vote on this race.
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Occupation: Council Member / Business Owner
Education: Halstead High School \ Hesston College
Political experience: 6 yrs Wichita City Council, 2yrs Chair Sedgwick County Association of Cities
Community involvement: Council Member Wichita City Council, Member Bethel Life Center, Former Cub Master/Asst. Scout Master Boy Scouts of America, Convoy of Hope Wichita, Chair Sedgwick County Assoc. of Cities, Old Cowtown Board of Trustees, National League of Cities Community and Economic Development Steering Committee, Board Member Inter-Faith Ministries, Involved with Neighborhood Associations through out Dist. 3
How long lived in district: 24 yrs
Phone: 316-530-7ICT (7428)
Facebook: James Clendenin for Wichita City Council
Occupation: Graphic Artist/Writer
Education: WSU/New Horizon Tech
Political experience: 30 year activist & Organizer
Community involvement: Member of several committees, From environmental to health, literacy, and the arts. Special project manager at the Confluence Community Center.
How long lived in district: 40 years
Why are you the most qualified candidate?
James Clendenin: The experience I've gained over the past 6 yrs., my ability to listen to the needs of citizens and navigate City Hall to find solutions, my ability to be an Advocate for District 3 but also take into consideration the well being of the whole city makes me the most qualified candidate to represent District 3 Citizens.
William Stofer: Three words best describe me, innovation, imagination,determination. I have accomplished a lot during this campaign cycle. The main reason I chose to run was to spearhead my revitalization projects in south Wichita. South Wichita used to be the outdoor entertainment part of the city, And I will bring that back.
What do you see as the city’s role in creating and retaining jobs?
James Clendenin: The city's role is to support an economic environment that encourages entrepreneurship, innovation, education, private investment, and job training to stay competitive. We should do this by creating a favorable regulatory environment (cutting red tape), investing in quality of life, and supporting our city Universities and Technical Education schools.
William Stofer: Fund, end red-tape, reduce business taxes, and promote an environment for create spaces and entrepreneurism. My small business startup model my be the solution for an economical growth burst. The initiative is called Make Local/Buy Local, and this model is used in small countries and cities around the globe to invigorate local economies.
What, if anything, do you think needs to be done to strengthen the city's industrial base and how would you go about that?
James Clendenin: Economic Diversification and Job training will strengthen Wichita's Industrial base. We can accomplishment this by supporting the Blue Print for Regional Economic Growth (BREG) and supporting Post secondary and Technical Education in Wichita.
William Stofer: While medium sized manufacturing is essential to the economic stability, we must look closely at what industries we are attracting, and will they fit into our vision of a clean green healthy city. Through my entrepreneur idea of creating goods and services that we once had but now import, we can help our residences start their own innovative companies. Wichita's work force is highly Talented!
Most pressing issue
What is the most pressing issue for the city and what do you think city leaders should do about it?
James Clendenin: The most pressing issue for the city is the need for additional Police officers on Wichita Streets. The Wichita City Council has already set the wheels in motion for addressing this issue. How to pay for additional officers will require a robust community discussion.
William Stofer: Infrastructure, we have put important issues off far to long. We have to sit down and really look at our situation and bring the public in on all of the issues, and decide on a long term solution.
Top district issue
What is the most pressing issue in your district, and how would you address it?
James Clendenin: The most pressing issue is the issue of Neighborhoods. Keeping them safe, keeping them clean, and providing amenities that make them enjoyable places to live. You accomplish these things by listening to citizens and being responsive to their needs.
William Stofer: Lack of oversight and direction, has created slums and decay in our once vibrant neighborhoods. Quality of life is waining for our residence. Economic growth is always the beginning of revitalization, and my stimulus programs are designed to do that along with blight and crime reduction.
Proposed tax increase
What do you think of the proposal to increase the property tax mill levy to pay for more police officers? How would you vote on it in next year's budget?
James Clendenin: As the city continues to look inward to find and create efficiencies within WPD, we will need to gage the public's willingness to absorb a dedicated mill levy increase for public safety. It will be imperative to engage citizens, listen, and be willing to put it to a public vote if that is what citizens require.
William Stofer: Before I ask the taxpayer for one more dime, I will review everything through a microscope. I want to make sure we have exhausted all options before we go to a vote.
What should the city do about Century II?
James Clendenin: This issue is such an emotional issue with a passionate city. Taking the City Manager's recommendation, I will listen to citizen input and make a decision that will allow the city to stay competitive while preserving our 1 billion dollar Convention and Visitor Industry. I do believe this can be done and still save Century II.
William Stofer: Don't do anything until the three of us are on the council, this will be three new perspectives to review these important issues. It will still be there in January!
Managing Century II
Do you favor keeping the managing of Century II (or a replacement facility) as a government responsibility, or would you favor privatizing the operation as Sedgwick County has done with the Intrust Bank Arena?
James Clendenin: I would support privatizing in areas that make sense, but I continue to believe Wichita City Government is very capable and has been doing an amazing job (with less than ideal facilities) running Century II as a municipal facility.
William Stofer: First I want to know what the majority of voters have to say, then we can strategically plan.
The city has spent millions of dollars on redeveloping downtown. How do you see the balance of spending between downtown and outlying areas? Is too much going downtown, not enough, or about the right amount?
James Clendenin: Downtown is a neighborhood like any neighborhood with approximately 2200 citizens living there. In the recent past downtown was a drain on city resources, it now adds value to our city. Downtown adds to a tax base that provides funding for things like Police protection, Fire protection and road maintenance in outlying areas. Some of these outlying areas now need the same attention.
William Stofer: I don't see a true plan, what I see is busy work, and this type of renovation makes no sense when you have areas of town that have not been a hammer or nail in seventy three years. We are only as strong as our weakest areas.
What do you think about the city's plans for Naftzger Park? What would you advocate doing there?
James Clendenin: Naftzger Park is an aging park that needs some TLC. I would advocate listening to the citizens that live near the park and allowing there ideas to be prevalent in the decision making process.
William Stofer: I would still like to know many voters said it was ok to do anything at all with this public space.
The talk of redeveloping Naftzger Park has highlighted the city's homeless problem. Is it the city's role to provide a safe and reasonably comfortable place during the day? Why or why not? If yes, what would you do as a council member to provide such a place?
James Clendenin: The city should continue to support for the many organizations that provide services to the homeless in Wichita. In conjunction with those organizations the city should ensure funding for the Wichita Police Department Homeless Outreach Team (H.O.T.). H.O.T. has facilitated a 72% drop in chronic homelessness and they have helped over 700 homeless find Permanent and transitional housing.
William Stofer: We have never sat down with all the groups in Wichita that reach out to the homeless, to define a long term strategy for shelter, rehabilitation services, job training and placement, as well as mental evaluation. We have all the tools and groups here, we just need to make a decision, and quite with these token efforts pretending we have it under control.
What is the current state of relations between your district's community and the Wichita Police Department? And what do you see as your role in that relationship as a council member?
James Clendenin: The emphasis on community policing, department wide, has strengthened the relationship between WPD and District 3 communities. My role is to support policies that continue to make community policing possible by listening to citizens concerns and the officers who protect and serve them.
William Stofer: For many of my crime prevention initiatives I need an ongoing line of strategic planning and communication with the chief. Relations with law enforcement has gotten better, but many people feel nothing is really being done. With that being said, many don't see what is done on a daily basis, but I do understand where there are coming from in hard hit crime areas.
Do you think your district receives its fair share of city funding? If not, how would you propose to change that?
James Clendenin: Since the 1970's South and Southeast Wichita has struggled to receive the necessary funding to meet citizen expectations. Since 2011 we have started to see positive momentum and in 2017, after my advocacy, District 3 is receiving more street maintenance funding than any other part of the city. At the same time we have begun to heavily invest in Park renovations and quality of life initiatives.
William Stofer: No! I have tentatively set up the South Wichita Development Corp. under the leadership of Phil Sanders of the Confluence Community Center. This community outreach organization will be similar to the Downtown Development group, but ran by the community as to what they feel are in their best interest. The group will provide business support, economic development attraction, and fundraising.
With some pools having closed this year and others due to close next year, what is your overall view for the future of the city aquatics program and how would you intend to affect the system as a council member?
James Clendenin: The future of the city's aquatics programs will be bright. As we stabilize the system, it is my goal to add pools back to the system in areas of greatest demand for aquatics services.
William Stofer: The general public is outraged, other cities are adding more, while we cut. I know there is no magic funding solution, but we will find a way. Prosperous cities have amenities.
Do you favor restoring the existing McAdams Park pool, replacing the pool with another in the northeast Wichita community, or replacing McAdams with a "splash pad" for children to play in?
James Clendenin: The McAdams Community has been very effective in advocating for a pool as part of their area. I will listen to citizen input and then determine whether a pool should be placed in McAdams park or somewhere else in the community that makes sense. I will seek similar opportunities for citizens in District 3 which itself does not have a municipal swimming pool.
William Stofer: While that pool is not in my district and I don't have a history with it, I would prefer my fellow candidates decide. They know that community very well, and their opinions need to be in my evaluation.
How would you address problems with blight and abandoned and/or dilapidated housing in your district?
James Clendenin: The problems with blight and dilapidated properties will need to be addressed with proactive code enforcement, citizen involvement, private development, and community education about City of Wichita ordinances. It is important for me as a Council Member to support citizens concerning this issue to create neighborhoods that are beautiful and safe to live in.
William Stofer: The housing issue is still up for debate so I will comment on vacant lots, graffiti, and illegal dumping. To reduce tall grass and weed issues on vacant lots, I plan on a special incentive program to turn those lots into editable vegetation that requires extremely low maintenance if the lot has not sold within two years. My arts and mural projects will reduce graffiti. plus other initiatives.
Is your district adequately served by public transit? If not, what would you propose to improve it?
James Clendenin: No it is not. A dedicated funding source is needed to expand direct routs, and add night time and weekend service in areas that would support transportation to and from second and third shift jobs. The City is currently using proceeds from the sale of the Hyatt hotel to fund pilot programs to help realize these goals.
William Stofer: We are in the early stages of reworking our public transportation, I do believe a full time overseer, and bringing the advertising back to Wichita may help us get closer to a long term solution for maintaining and growing our system. I want to explore as many options as possible.
What other priorities do you have and how would you address them?
James Clendenin: The five priorities I have are to Keep our neighborhoods safe, continue improving our streets, foster fob creation, increase our quality of life, and ensure Wichita stays well-run. I will do this by continuing my emphasis on personal citizen engagement. I will use citizen input as a catalyst to achieving those priorities.
William Stofer: District three will be a handful in and of itself, but I want us to create and market Wichita as the innovative center of the midwest. We have so many great things to offer, but we seem to go part way then stop short of reaching any real objective.
Please state, in detail, your position on open records, open meetings and transparency in government.
James Clendenin: I support the public's right to have easy and affordable access to all public records. I am willing to look at policies that create further government transparency especially in the realm of quasi-governmental agencies.
William Stofer: Bottom line is this, I have always felt a representative should do just that, representative all voters, and not special interest or cronies. Along with my Community Portal d3voice.org I want to hear your ideas, I want mini polling on important issues, I work for the community. I will not spend tax dollars on anything without looking at who, where, how and why throughly.