Archive for Thursday, August 16, 2007

Eudora’s ready to embrace ward system

August 16, 2007

Next year, the Eudora City Council will act to change the city from a third-class to second-class city. The move was a statutory requirement mandated by the state for cities that exceed 5,000 in population.

For the most part, it's a ho hum occurrence. It does mark a milestone in the city's history, but the different class distinction brings few changes in municipal statutory procedures in how City Hall functions. There is one exception, and that is how city council members are elected. Unless the council opts out to the requirement.

Arguments could be made for both systems. The current system of all at-large seats allows voters to pick the best and brightest candidates regardless of where they live. In recent history, the at-large races for the two or three available seats have been vigorously contested, ensuring full debate of the issues and offering various visions of the future.

The argument for a ward system is that it would assure all the city's neighborhoods and their different perspectives were represented on the council.

Although the city elections of last spring, in which three council members won seats uncontested, would seem to cast doubt that more council elections are needed, we think it is time to adopt the ward system.

Eudora's population now exceeds 6,000, and it is moving steadily to the 10,000 threshold at which cities become first class. With that growth will come more distinctions in character and views of the neighborhoods. All should have a place at the table.

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