Independence council candidate working to disqualify opponent over 'election' charter debate

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- It's a fight where words could mean the difference between winning and losing.

"My name is Kenneth Love. I'm running for City Council."

Love, a candidate for the city of Independence's 3rd District, was out campaigning, knocking on doors and making sure people knew his name would be on the ballot in February.

As he drums up support in his district, he's in a battle with City Hall to remove one of the candidates in his four-way primary: Celeste Matthys.

"She doesn't meet the requirements of living here for one complete year," Love said.

Matthys, a stay-at-home mother of four, moved from the 4th District to the 3rd District in March. Love said the city's charter states council members "shall have been residents ... for at least one year immediately prior to the election."

But when the primary is held in February, Matthys will have lived in her district only 11 months.

"I followed the rules of the charter," said Love, who has lived in the 4th District for 16 years.

Matthys insisted to FOX4 that she does comply with the city's charter. She pointed out that the language in the charter states that a candidate must live in the district one year immediately prior to "the election."

She believes "the election" is referring to the general election, not the primary. By the time of the general election this April, Matthys will have complied with the residency requirement.

In this case, the phrase "the election" does not directly specify the election to which it's referring.

The City Clerk of Independence said the dispute has been referred to the city attorney to determine how the language in the charter should be interpreted.

"They are looking into it, same old roller coaster," Love said, clearly frustrated. "But, as of now, she's still campaigning."



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