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Candidates Spar in Final Pre-Election Debate

The League of Women Voters held a University City election forum Wednesday.

Just days before the municipal election, candidates for the  City Council appeared at the  to answer questions from constituents.

The event, held at the , featured the four candidates running in the city's 1st and 2nd Wards. 

The candidates for a four-year term on the city council are:

  • , Ward 1, incumbent
  • , Ward 1, challenger
  • , Ward 2
  • , Ward 2

The event moderator took questions from the audience and addressed them to the candidates. The questions ranged from questions of policy to those regarding current events in city hall.

Candidates were asked when they first learned of the and what role, if any, they played in it.

Wofsey and Crow both said they had no part in the investigation and didn't learn of it until late February. Adams told the crowd that as a lawyer in private practice she wouldn't speak of cases that she may or may not have been involved with prior to her decision to run for council.

"I found out on the Patch," Carr told the audience. "I just know what I've read but I don't think it is an ethical violation for Ms. Adams to say whether she represented the city manager or not."

Adams responded by telling the crowd that the emails in question and the documents have been available for months.

"I don't think it is ethical to bring this up on the eve of an election," she said.

Other topics included:

New Police Station

All of the candidates said they weren't sure how this question arose, because there is no push from within the police department for a new station. Construction of a will free up more space for police in city hall.

Business and Economic Development

Improving the tax base in University City by maintaining existing businesses and attracting new ones was the subject of several questions.

Carr spoke of what she called the "Maplewood plan" which would involve actively pursuing businesses to relocate or expand into University City.

Wofsey said the city needed to improve its reputation — deserved or perceived — that it is difficult to work with for developers. 

"Four out of our top 10 largest tax producers are senior centers," Crow told the crowd. "Two others are apartment buildings — we need to help the expansion of these businesses while balancing the needs of the neighborhoods."

Loop Parking

All four candidates agreed that free parking in and around the Delmar Loop is good for the businesses in the area. The lot behind Cicero's is scheduled for repaving which will disrupt parking temporarily.

Collections

The city is owed nearly $1.5 million in back fees for trash service. A collection agency, working on a contingency basis, is trying to recoup some of the money.

All four candidates agreed that using a collection agent was the city's best bet for attempting to get money back, but the candidates also acknowledged that the city isn't likely to get most of the money back.

"This is a decades old problem," Crow told the audience. "We have liens on properties, but the question is what do we do with the uncollectables?"

Carr said she was in favor of asking St. Louis County to require payment for garbage services with property taxes. Crow said the idea has been floated and St. Louis County "isn't biting right now."

Sunshine Law Violations

A question on whether the city is violating Missouri's Sunshine Law for open records sparked varying responses.

Wofsey noted the failures found in the state audit regarding how executive sessions were called.

"Changes have been made from what I understand," she said. "Anything else I've heard is just allegations — I have no proof."

Crow acknowledged that there seems to be a continuing challenge with Sunshine requests being answered in a timely manner.

Adams cited her experience working with the Sunshine Law. 

"I have reviewed the lawsuits and found two minor clerical errors," she said. "You have to prove intent to violate the law."

Carr rebutted Adams review of the lawsuit, saying she might be a lawyer but she wasn't a judge.

"Her opinion in this case weighs as heavily as mine," she said.

The municipal election is Tuesday, April 3.

Steve March 29, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Ms. Adams is wrong that she is prevented from disclosing her representation. Federal courts have held that the attorney-client privilege “cannot be invoked to prevent disclosure of the client's name or the fees actually paid; [it] protects the disclosure of confidential information only.” Wirtz v. Fowler, 372 F.2d 315, 332 (5th Cir.1966). In re Grand Jury Proceedings (85 Misc. 140), 791 F.2d 663, 665 (8th Cir.1986). Ms. Adams is simply refusing to explain her role in the ICMA’s determination that Mr. Walker acted unethically. If Ms. Adams did not want her involvement, whatever that maybe, brought up on the eve of the election, maybe she could have told us all about it when she became a candidate rather than keeping the information hidden. (her involvement dates back to at least October 2011) Ms. Adams is wrong that intent must be shown to prove a Sunshine Law violation .R.L. Polk & Co. v. Missouri Dept. of Revenue (App. W.D. 2010) 309 S.W.3d 881. Spradlin v. City of Fulton (Sup. 1998) 982 S.W.2d 255. The Law can be violated without proving it was intentionally violated. Do we really want someone on the Council who is so wrong and who appears to want hide information from the public?
bobette luckett March 29, 2012 at 11:23 PM
This is a crucial election for University City. I will do whatever I need to do to get honest representation for the voters in ward 2. Bobette Luckett
Steve March 30, 2012 at 04:04 PM
My comment was deleted, as many others have been where I point out facts that people disagree with and just don’t want the public to know. Childish to delete the post rather than to have a discussion. I’ll re-post- Jan Adams is wrong about being prevented from disclosing her involvement in Mr. Walker’s ICMA sanctions.. Federal Courts have held that the attorney-client privilege “cannot be invoked to prevent disclosure of the client's name or the fees actually paid; [it] protects the disclosure of confidential information only.” Wirtz v. Fowler, 372 F.2d 315, 332 (5th Cir.1966).. In re Grand Jury Proceedings (85 Misc. 140), 791 F.2d 663, 665 (8th Cir.1986). Ms. Adams is simply not telling us what her involvement was in the ICMA’s determination that Mr. Walker engaged in unethical conduct. If Ms. Adams did not want her involvement to come out on the eve of the election she could have told us about it a long time ago. She was involved as early as October 2011. Ms. Adams is wrong that intent must be shown to prove a Sunshine Law violation. A violation can occur even if it is found not to be intentional. R.L. Polk & Co. v. Missouri Dept. of Revenue (App. W.D. 2010) 309 S.W.3d 881 Spradlin v. City of Fulton (Sup. 1998) 982 S.W.2d 255. Therefore the “clerical errors” are in fact Sunshine Law violations. Do we really need someone on the Council who is so wrong and who wants to keep information hidden from the public?
Lisa Hummel April 01, 2012 at 07:27 PM
This is a really important question that we should all ask ourselves before we vote. I have found Jan Adams to be much less than forthcoming during this campaign. How many times in her written statements and oral statements at candidate events has she said that she "rejects the premise" of citizens' questions? Or that she "can't answer" our questions? She says on her website that she will get back to questions within 24 hours, but she ignored the questions I sent her. She had the nerve to ask my husband to take down our sign for Paulette Carr, and she had the nerve to put a sign in my friend's yard when she did not want one, but she doesn't show the courtesy of answering people's questions. If she wants my support, she needs to prove that she is the better candidate. But relative to her possible support of Lehmann Walker's questionable behavior, she comes across as someone who has something to hide. Looking at our city's history with the Sunshine Law, we do not need another person in our government who wants to keep secrets and keep us all (and our driving range) in the dark. Or maybe people who delete the posts of others from a public forum like this DO want that type of government. "Childish" is an understatement. Censorship is un-American and has no place on this forum.
Lisa Hummel April 03, 2012 at 12:36 AM
What a silly thing to say, and what is your point, exactly? (Maybe you were joking?) I make no "secret" of the fact that I support Paulette Carr's campaign, thus the sign in my yard and the time I spent canvassing the last 2 weekends. However, I want to be a fully informed voter, as I hope we all do, so I have made a sincere effort over the past month or so to hear both sides of the story by listening to Jan speak, as well as Paulette, and reading both of their statements. Does the fact that I think Paulette is the better candidate somehow make the facts I stated above untrue? I do wonder what your point is. Please clarify.
Lisa Hummel April 03, 2012 at 01:51 AM
What happened to the other comments on this story? They seem to have all disappeared, and now the last 2 don't make sense.
Maggie Rotermund April 03, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Comments were flagged by readers. They have been restored to the site.

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