Call makes endorsements for next Tuesday’s election

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\”Call the Tune\” by Mike Anthony

We would like to endorse Proposition A, a half-cent sales-tax increase on Tuesday’s ballot designed to help the Metro transit agency restore, enhance and expand light-rail, bus and van service throughout the region.

We certainly want to take a regional view of public transportation, but at the same time we can’t help but wonder: What’s in it for south county?

We’re not sure. We visited Metro’s Moving Transit Forward Web site Monday morning in search of the transit agency’s long-range plan for the region.

Unfortunately, the final report remains unfinished, though the Web site stated: “Stay tuned — The final report for the Moving Transit For-ward plan is currently being finalized and will be published this month.”

Instead we viewed presentations of the plan approved by the Metro Board of Commissioners and the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.

While we don’t disagree with the broad goals of the presentations, we couldn’t help but notice the lack of specific details. So we don’t really know what’s in it for south county.

Secondly, it’s no secret that, as a daily newspaper wrote: “Metro’s history has been a terrible mess.”

That said, Metro President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Baer certainly has worked long and hard to restore the transit agency’s credibility. We applaud his efforts.

But the problem with Proposition A is it’s a “forever” tax expected to generate roughly $75 million to $80 million annually. If approved by voters, that revenue will be collected forever.

Previous proposals for Metro have contained 20-year sunset provisions.

Coupled with the fact that south county residents would receive little benefit if the sales-tax increase is approved, we reluctantly conclude we cannot endorse Proposition A.

Crestwood

In Crestwood’s only contested race, Ward 4 Alderman John Foote is being challenged by former Alderman Steve Nieder, who lost his re-election bid last year to Alderman Deborah Beezley.

Both candidates should be applauded for their service to Crestwood, particularly Foote, who has been involved in city affairs since 2003. But the two take a night-and-day approach to the city’s finances.

Of the two, Nieder seems more willing to take the steps needed to curb the city’s spending. Given the current economic climate, we believe this is the approach the city needs to take.

Therefore, we endorse Steve Nieder.

Sunset Hills

While Sunset Hills’ four aldermanic candidates are unopposed next week, three challengers are looking to unseat Mayor Mike Svoboda, who is seeking a second two-year term. He is being challenged by Ward 4 Alderman Frank Gregory, Ward 1 Alderman William J. “Bill” Nolan Jr. and Mary B. Wymer.

Under Svoboda’s tenure, Sunset Hills has languished somewhat as he has failed to articulate a clear direction for the city.

As mayor, Svoboda has broken one tie vote of the board. But that vote indebted the city to the tune of more than $20 million over 19 years to fund a new aquatic center, community center and stormwater improvements. Given the state of the economy, we believe the pay-as-you-go proposal put forth by Nolan would have been a more prudent course. We believe Bill Nolan, a fiscal conservative with a clear vision for the city, is the best choice for mayor.