By Tyler Schneider and Kathy Feist
Residents in south Kansas City went to the polls June 2 to cast their vote on higher taxation in favor of the Kansas City Fire Department, school board elections and in the case of Grandview, city aldermen and transportation tax renewal. There were a few surprises.
Kansas City Fire Sales Tax increase
Question 1 asked whether to increase the current Fire Sales Tax from a 1/4-cent to a 1/2-cent for improvements and upgrades for equipment and infrastructure within the Kansas City Missouri Fire Department. Many in south KC had only this one issue for which to cast a vote. Despite no organized opposition, the ballot issue won by 10 percent, 19,159 to 15,919.
Center School Board Election
Incumbent Marcie Calvin lost her bid for a three-year term after serving four years on the board, six months of which were as chairman in 2019. Calvin, a local dental hygienist, lost with 552 votes.
Voters instead chose newcomer and former Center school teacher Amy Carr, who ran an aggressive campaign, and garnered the most votes, 1,663 (29 percent).
Incumbent Danielle Quinn, a chaplain and associate pastor, ran last year for a one-year term and was re-elected with 1,379 (24 percent).
Sam Cook, area director for Code Ninjas, lost in his campaign last year, but came in third this year, with 1,056 votes (18 percent).
Bryce Thomas Shields, a community outreach employee with the KC Area Transportation Authority, is a newcomer to the district and first-time candidate. He garnered 608 votes (11 percent).
Jonathan Decker and Margo L. Simms-Hurst both withdrew from the race post-deadline. Their names remained on the ballot.
The top three winners will get a three-year seat on the board, joining members Rebecca Lahann, Paul Kramschuster, Beverly Cunningham, and Dr. Ronald Fritz.
Amy Carr 1,663 (29%)
Danielle C. Quinn 1,379 (24%)
Sam Cook 1,056 (18%)
Bryce Thomas Shields 608 (11%)
Marcie Calvin (incumbent) 552 (10%)
Margo L. Simms-Hurst 286 (5%)
Johnathan Decker 227 (4%)
Hickman Mills School Board Election
Six candidates vied for three open seats on the Hickman-Mills C-1 Board of Directors in Tuesday’s election. Irene C. Kendrick emerged as the top vote-getter with 1,330 votes (23 percent), ahead of runner-up Byron Townsend 1,208 (21 percent) and DaRon McGee with 1,190 (20 percent).
Falling short of reelection with just over 15 percent (881 votes) was Clifford O. Ragan, the incumbent vice-president. Debbie C. Long (771) took fifth, upsetting incumbent Richard Abram II (460). There were 52 ballots cast for write-in candidates.
Kendrick, 57, enters public office for the first time. She is a retired human resources specialist with generational ties to the district.
McGee, 32, is an HMC-1 product and area-native who represented District 36 in the Missouri House from 2015 through April 2019.
Townsend, 52, brings prior experience on the HMC-1 Board of Directors as well as four children that have graduated from or are currently attending district schools.
The trio will join sitting board members Carol Graves, Alvin Brooks, Tramise Carter and Cecil Wattree. recently announced superintendent Yaw Obeng in crafting policy to move HMC-1 forward.
Irene Kendrick 1,330 (23%)
Byron Townsend 1,208 (21%)
DaRon McGee 1,190 (20%)
Clifford Ragan (incumbent) 881 (15%)
Debbie Long 771 (13%)
Richard Abram (incumbent) 460 (.08%)
Grandview Alderman Race
Debbie Bibbs took the widest margin of victory of all the races, winning the Ward I race seat with 68.92 percent (408 votes) to Tom McBride’s 31 percent (184 votes) and no write-ins.
Bibbs has prior experience on the Grandview Board of Aldermen, having been elected as the city’s first African-American female aldermen in 2015. Her term was cut short due to health related circumstances, forcing her to submit her resignation on Sept. 12 of 2016.
A business owner with 23 years of accounting experience, Bibbs will look to prioritize improving basic city services through effective collaboration with city officials and her fellow aldermen.
Debbie Bibbs 408 votes (69%)
Tom McBride 184 (31%)
Ward II had the smallest turnout in overall ballots cast at 474 for the only three-way race of the night between incumbent Annette Turnbaugh, newcomers Bud Day and Kaele Bybee
Turnbaugh won her reelection efforts to take back a seat she has held since April 6, 2010. Her 196 votes bested Day by just 32 votes. Bybee took 109 votes for 23 percent ahead of five write-in votes.
Turnbaugh, 61, is expected to pursue Joe Runions’ spot representing District 36 in the Missouri House of Representatives this fall. If she were to vacate her seat for that position, there are guidelines in place that would be used to determine her replacement.
Annette Turnbaugh 196 (41%)
Bud Day 164 (35%)
Kaele Bybee 109 (23%)
In a stunning upset, Ron Brownlee snagged 282 votes (53.71 percent) to successfully oust James Crain (237, 45.14 percent) from a seat he has held since April 1, 1980. Six write-in votes rounded out the 525 total ballots cast.
Brownlee, 60, a 1978 graduate of Grandview High School, brings over three decades of experience as a water operator for the Jackson County Public Water Supply District No. 1.
Crain, 74, a Vietnam veteran and Hallmark retiree, remains active in the Grandview Parks and Recreation Committee, amongst other community groups. He has been a citizen of Grandview for over half a century.
Ron Brownlee 282 (54%)
James Crain 237 (45%)
Grandview Transportation Sales Tax
Grandview voters overwhelmingly approved renewal of the half-cent Transportation Sales Tax on the June 2 ballot by almost three to one. There were 1,213 (77%) in favor of the renewal and 366 (23%) against.
Funding from the sales tax will will go toward conversion of the I-49 outer roads to two-way traffic, a new Kansas City Southern railroad overpass over Blue Ridge Blvd., Blue Ridge Blvd. upgrades and construction of a new bridge on Raytown Rd. just south of its intersection with Harry Truman Dr. All of these projects are expected to receive matching federal or Missouri Department of Transportation grants.