OLATHE, Kan. — Two candidates advance to the general election following a six-way primary to represent the 3rd Ward on the Olathe City Council.
With early voting for the November 2 general election starting next week, FOX4 is working to help voters get a better idea where candidates stand on issues impacting residents in the metro.
FOX4 sent out a questionnaire to candidates in more than 50 races in Johnson County. Here’s a look at what Felter and Janner had to say.
Q: What qualifications do you have that make you stand out from the other candidates?
Felter: I am the most qualified candidate. I am a proven leader. I am transparent about my platform and policy positions vs. my opponent who has refused to engage with media and has been opaque about his policy positions. Example: Note his lack of response to key questions on the candidate survey from the City’s partner, the Chamber of Commerce (questions 14, 15, 16, & 17), as well as his refusal to do a candidate video for the Chamber of Commerce here, as well as his complete lack of engagement with the media (take note of his lack of response to your primary candidate questions). Why would anyone vote for a candidate who will not go on record with any policy position of substance?!
I will note a few items of interest: Mr. Janner claims to have experience listening to the community due to his position on the Planning Commission. Mr. Janner was appointed to the Planning Commission this year by our current Mayor, John Bacon, who has recruited Mr. Janner to run for Ward 3 on the City Council. Mr. Janner has less [than] nine months of experience listening to the community from an appointed position.
Mr. Janner claims to be a business owner. While this may be true, a quick comparison of the two candidates on the level of experience and depth of knowledge as a business owner helps clarify the picture based on the limited information my opponent has provided to the public:
Mr. Janner is a Realtor for Keller Williams (KW) and all Realtors with KW are owners of the KW organization they work for (kind of like Hy-Vee, employee owned). When Mr. Janner filed as a candidate for City Council he was working as a para in the Olathe School District vs. my experience as a business owner which began in 1997 when my husband and I started Olathe Truck & Equipment over off of Santa Fe, across from Calamity Line Park.
Within a year we outgrew the small lot on Santa Fe and decided to invest in a building of our own and ended up purchasing what would be our primary business location off of Rogers Road in Olathe, adding MidWest Truck Sales to our business.
Over the next 18 years we grew our business into a successful organization that had seven truck and equipment dealerships, located in five states, with over 260 employees on average. When a large company offered to buy our business, we sold and then branched off into other areas of interest ranging from ranching/farming to commercial real estate, developing, and building. I am the Vice President of AAG Investments where my responsibilities include strategic planning, administration, managing human capital, marketing and communications.
When I say that I am an entrepreneur and business owner, I don’t mean that I own a few shares in an employee-owned organization. I mean that I know what it takes to start a business from the ground up, and to grow it into a large thriving organization that has provided hundreds of jobs.
Janner: My qualifications are many and unique by the involvement in the community in many different ways. I have been a business owner in Olathe since 1994. I have also held positions in the Olathe School District and as a pastor in the local faith community. I have reached the point in my life that I can devote myself fully to the Olathe City Council, not among other commitments. I’m all in!
Q:What are your views on the use of benefit districts and other tax based incentives to fund infrastructure improvements?
Felter: Managing a growing city like Olathe in ways that support and drive economic growth while safeguarding resources and maintaining our competitiveness requires intentional management of growth and redevelopment. Targeted public-sector investment may be required to attract business to Olathe. Olathe should forge connections between businesses, investors, and talent by holding regular conversations with industry leaders and citizens. We need to foster a culture of growth in Olathe with the City embracing strategic development that takes into account regional growth and cooperation of surrounding municipalities and regional service providers.
We must be flexible. That said, I don’t like the way the City of Olathe recently attempted to essentially create a retroactive benefit district out in and around Cedar Creek. I’ve never seen that happen before here locally (although I am told it happened once before, years ago) and wouldn’t support that scenario moving forward.
Janner: Benefit Districts have been used extensively in our area with success, but there’s also considerable evidence that the current system has a lot of room for improvement. Taxes should not be added to homeowners in existing homes for benefits that do not affect their properties or are imposed without their consent.
Changes need to occur in the disclosure process so any potential homebuyer fully understands the potential for assessments that they may incur. In regards to other tax based incentives, it should be reviewed on a case by case basis. Incentives are not always bad or good. Think of it this way, do you need to discount tickets to an event that people are standing in line for? Olathe is a great opportunity for development, not just an opportunity for developers.
Q:Would you support the city issuing a mask mandate or any other health orders beyond what has been recommended by the county health department? Please explain why or why not.
Felter: I would not support the City of Olathe issuing a mask mandate. JCDHE provides health related guidance to our county.
Janner: I do not support any government imposed mask mandates. Personal freedom of choice should be the overriding factor on mask decisions. The City should not be involved in any policies contrary to those beliefs.