Wednesday, August 09, 2000

Many N.Ky. races look to be lively

Even little Kenton Vale draws big filing interest

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Seven people — including two couples — have filed for City Commission in tiny Kenton Vale (population 148), for possibly the first contested race in the little town's history.

        Tuesday was the last day to file for local offices in Northern Kentucky, and in addition to the hot race in Kenton Vale, filers in other races included the son of Kenton County Commissioner Barb Black and the son of Crescent Springs Mayor Claire Moriconi.

        In past elections, there's been so little interest in Kenton Vale politics that residents have filled most, if not all, of the four city commission seats through write-in votes, Kenton County Clerk Bill Aylor said.

        “If nothing else, we've got seven people that'll vote this time,” said Kenneth Cain, a four-year Kenton Vale city commissioner. Mr. Cain will be on the ballot this fall, along with his wife, Betty; fellow commissioner Ronald Flack, and his spouse, Patricia; incumbent Ruth Coleman; and challengers Johnny Glisson and Marsha Patrick.

        “My neighbor's wife across the street is running, and her husband said to my wife, "Why don't you run, Betty?' Mr. Cain recounted. “So she said, "Might as well.'”

        Kenton Vale isn't the only city race that will be generating interest in the Nov. 7 election.

        In Ludlow, where the council majority and the mayor have clashed over a number of issues — including whether the mayor should be removed from office for excessive absenteeism — 16 people had filed for six council seats by Tuesday's filing deadline.

        “This is great to see this kind of interest,” said Ludlow Mayor Tom Stacy, who stopped by the clerk's office to check on election filings Tuesday. Two years ago, only eight people filed for six Ludlow City Council seats, he said.

        The fast-growing Kenton County city of Independence also generated interest, with 13 people filing for six City Council seats.

        Among the candidates running for Independence City Council are Issac “Ike” Gabbard, a veteran politician who resigned as mayor under pressure in 1998, and Jim Kudera, the man who replaced him as interim mayor.

        In recent years, city government in Independence has struggled with the challenges of preserving the town's rural atmosphere, while addressing development needs. Veteran politicians and newer office holders also have disagreed over how best to manage the city.

        In Elsmere — where Kenton County officials announced they were building a jail last year, then decided against it — 11 candidates, including five challengers, are running for six council seats.

        “During the jail situation, there were comments made that people didn't care about the city,” said council challenger Marty Livermore. “But we thought about it all year long, and decided, "Yes, we do care.'”

        Ms. Livermore said she entered the Elsmere City Council race largely because she was concerned that citizen participation was not encouraged by many of those currently holding city office.

        “We thought that the lack of management and leadership skills of some of our council caused our community to be placed in jeopardy during the jail situation,” she said. “We felt it was time to choose elected officials who have proven management, problem resolution and leadership skills.”

        In Villa Hills, where Mayor Steve Clark, the subject of an investigation by the attorney general's Public Corruption Unit, has clashed often with council, there will be an uncontested race this fall. Incumbents Robert Kramer, Mike Sadouskas and Tim Sogar will be joined in the race for six council seats by Robert Krems, Julie Schuler and former mayor Dennis Stein. The mayor is not up for re-election.

        In other races of note, Kevin Black, 21, of Taylor Mill, Kenton County Commissioner Barb Black's son, filed for Taylor Mill City Commission, and Chris Moriconi, 34, son of Crescent Springs Mayor Claire Moriconi, filed for Independence City Council.

        In addition, a Bromley father and daughter — Gerard “Gary” Smith and Gail A. Smith — both filed for City Council there.

        While Tuesday was the deadline for candidates to file for local offices, Kentucky voters have until Oct. 9 to register to vote in the fall election.


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