JeffQuibell201002 Once again, it’s election time, as you can tell by the proliferation of political signs, letters to the editor, and junk mailings filling up our mail boxes. There are politicians who say they represent our interests, politicians who say they aren’t politicians, and opinion column writers, current and former politicians. How do we weed out the facts from the spin and make good decisions in selecting our next leaders? It’s difficult if not impossible to effectively verify the statements made by politicians in a timely manner. We often believe what we read or hear, especially if we know or trust the source.

As I read the letters to the editor and added my own comments to several, it occurred to me that those letters have been written with the best of intentions, usually to help friends with their efforts to win an election. Letters of support to express our own individual opinion of the person, not necessarily that the person we are supporting will in the end vote the way we think they should. Our elected officials surprise us at times with their comments, and their votes not always in sync.

So how do we as voters figure out whom to cast our vote for? Whom do we believe? The answer is simple and hard at the same time. We should make every effort to learn more about the people we are supporting, and we should dig more deeply than just our personal relationship with that person. Friendship is one thing; voting is another.

I really wasn’t surprised when I read Ron Fowler’s letter to the editor supporting Sheila Solon, as they are longtime political friends with similar positions on local issues. Ron wrote about how Sheila voted against multi-family housing complexes. What he didn’t mention is that she votes for them as well. Right or wrong, she is inconsistent on this issue. Once in February 2003 she voted to put multi-family zoning on Adams Dairy Parkway and twice that I recall in 2007 while I was on the council serving with her.

Ron also talks about Sheila voting against sales taxes. Those votes were actually against the new retail development on Adams Dairy Parkway. The next time you sit down for dinner at Olive Garden or shop at Target or Gordman’s, consider that she fought hard to stop Adams Dairy Landing from coming to town. Just before she left city office, she worked very hard to scale back Missouri Innovation Park from its original 500 acres to just 100 acres. Her actions would have restricted job growth in Blue Springs at a time when we need more high-quality jobs. Again, she is inconsistent after making “real jobs” a focal point of her council campaign.

Former Councilman Solon, as pointed out by Mayor Ross in a recent article, was very ineffective as an elected official while on the City Council. I expect it would be no different in Jefferson City. Fortunately, the voters have a choice on Aug. 3. I would recommended giving strong consideration to Mike Parker. I’ve spent some time getting to know him and believe that he will best represent the interests of his constituents and will be an effective leader.