The following are The Eagle editorial board’s recommendations for the three Wichita City Council districts holding primaries on Feb. 26. The top two candidates in each district will advance to the April 2 general election, when incumbent Lavonta Williams and challenger Dave Thomas also will be on the ballot in east Wichita’s District 1. We offer these primary recommendations as information to consider as you make up your own mind about the candidates.
Community activist Mary Dean, a retired Boeing employee who twice ran for the Wichita school board, also seeks the seat. She has been critical of the city in the wake of a series of police-involved shooting deaths and would push for an independent citizen board to review such incidents. Dean, who has had personal financial problems, also wants to see more redevelopment in the Planeview and Hilltop neighborhoods.
The other candidate is Clinton Coen, a Wichita State University student and strident critic of the council’s use of economic incentives, who also ran for the seat in 2011.
Also running are David Glover, a Walmart employee who has run for the seat before, and Craig Gabel, a businessman and political activist who ran unsuccessfully last year for the Legislature and has had past tax and legal problems.
Vice Mayor Janet Miller is the clear choice in this north Wichita district. During her first term on the council, Miller has proved to be a good listener and a problem solver. She collaborates to find solutions and is dedicated to helping constituents access services and resolve concerns. She has been involved in a number of important issues, including homelessness and environmental issues. She is smart, capable and deserves to be re-elected.
Also running are Richard Stephenson, an Occupy Wichita member who has appeared at council meetings to protest police-involved shootings, and Marty Mork, who has run unsuccessfully for a number of offices.