The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Posts Tagged ‘Kathy Potts’

City Hall puts cost of “A Season of Progress” report and mailing at $31,444; mayoral challenger Corbett sees report as incumbents using tax dollars to respond to criticism

In City Hall on July 6, 2009 at 11:39 am

Mayoral candidate Ron Corbett says it figures.

It’s just four months from the November city election, and the City Council — six of the nine members’ seats are on the ballot — is out with a spiffy, six-page mailing called “A Season of Progress.”
City Hall puts the cost of the “one-year progress report” on the city’s flood recovery at $31,444. The sum is what it costs to write the report, design it, print it and mail it to 63,000 households, the city reports.

“Any challenger like myself, no matter what the office is, always has to go up against the power of incumbency,” says Corbett, vice president at trucking firm CRST Inc. and a former state legislator.

“When you can use taxpayer dollars to respond to challenges from someone like me and others, it certainly is that built-in advantage of being the incumbent,” Corbett continues. “… It’s a disadvantage that I have.”

Mayor Kay Halloran says Corbett is entitled to his opinion, but she says the mailing to Cedar Rapidians was an appropriate report at the one-year mark of the city’s flood recovery.

“We had certain commemorative activities to mark the one year, and the idea was to show people that we have made a significant amount of progress, and while they are clearly impatient as I am also, we aren’t standing in place,” the mayor says. “We’re marching straight ahead. Not as fast as they would want us to. Not as fast as I would want us to. But as fast the circumstance permits and FEMA money allows.”

Kathy Potts, who is challenging incumbent council member Jerry McGrane for the council’s District 3 seat, says her very first question when she saw the City Hall mailing was this: How much did it cost?

“The wasteful spending that this city continues to do is frustrating,” Potts says.

Beyond that, she says she also thinks, “There they go again, trying to convince us they are doing a wonderful job.”

Corbett says all he can do is pick apart what the six-page progress report trumpets. He singles out two items:

He notes that the report praises all the flood-damaged businesses that have reopened. But he notes that the City Council has decided to add a year to its lease on temporary quarters in a northeast Cedar Rapids office park rather than returning to the downtown. And he notes, too, that the City Hall report celebrates the demolition of 70 flood-damaged properties. With more than 1,200 more demolitions to go, Corbett says 70 homes in a year isn’t much of a victory.

The city’s new fiscal year began July 1, and the City Council’s new budget eliminates the cost of printing and mailing City Hall’s monthly four-page newsletter. Each issue has cost about $18,000 to produce and mail, the city reports.

The city will continue to produce an e-mail version of the monthly newsletter.

Corbett is the only candidate in the mayoral race at this point.

Two possible candidates, council member Monica Vernon and Linda Langston, Linn supervisor, have said they will not seek the mayor’s slot.

Council member Brian Fagan, a local attorney, is expected to run against Corbett while Mayor Halloran is not expected to seek reelection.

Six of nine council seats up for election this year; one seat, Jerry McGrane’s, now has a race

In City Hall on May 4, 2009 at 2:02 pm

We have a City Hall council race.

Kathy Potts, a self-described homemaker and community activist who ran unsuccessfully last fall as a Republican for a spot in the Iowa Legislature, will compete to unseat incumbent Jerry McGrane for the District 3 seat on the City Council.

Potts, 50, who grew up in Mississippi, came to Cedar Rapids in 1999 with her husband, Tom, and four children when her husband took at job with Rockwell Collins.

If elected, she said she will listen to constituents, work hard to serve them and will see what she can do to see that the city depends more on local experts and less on out-of-state consultants to help on city projects.

She calls the current council “indecisive,” “lacking in leadership” and sometimes focused on matters that aren’t important.

Potts, of 1118 First St. SW, gives the council an average grade on flood recovery.

She and her family had water in their basement following the June 2008 flood, though she notes that they were fortunate compared to others nearby and many others in the city. An adult son and his wife now live with her and her husband because of flood damage to their residence, The Roosevelt apartment building downtown.

Cedar Rapids often is said to have — whether real or imagined — a west side and east side divided by the Cedar River, and the District 3 council district is the only one of the city’s five council districts with precincts on both sides of the river. Potts says both sides of the river are the same to her.

She calls District 3 a diverse district with neighborhoods and areas of differing income levels as well as the downtown.

She says she wants the city to work to keep and create jobs so that her children and their children can stay in the city.

Part of the Wellington Heights Neighborhood is in the District 3 council district, but Potts says she can’t find a bad part of that neighborhood no matter how hard she looks. She says there may be three or four bad houses here and there, but there isn’t a bad neighborhood, she says. She does not want the Police Department to get “heavy-handed” in reaction to a recent flurry of neighborhood crime, she says.

Potts says she is not running against incumbent McGrane, 69, a retiree and former Oak Hill Jackson Neighborhood Association president, but rather running to show voters what she has to offer.

“Jerry’s a nice guy,” she says.

Potts becomes just the third candidate to make it known publicly that she or he is running for a seat on the council. Six of nine council seats are up for a vote in the Nov. 3 election.

In addition to McGrane, Ron Corbett also has announced he is running for a spot on the council. Corbett, 48, vice president of trucking firm CRST Inc., wants to be mayor.