Jones challenges Thuston in April election for Green Park Ward 2 aldermanic seat

Seat carries two-year term

James Jones Jr.

James Jones Jr.

By BURKE WASSON

A political newcomer is challenging incumbent Green Park Ward 2 Alderman Tim Thuston in the April 7 election.

James Jones Jr. will square off against Thuston, who is seeking his second two-year term as a Ward 2 alderman.

Asked to identify the most important issue in the race, the candidates responded:

• “Incorporate our unincorporated neighbors. The city of Green Park will experience growth,” Jones said.

• “To oversee the current development and growth within Green Park, the institution of a business-to-citizen relationship and oversight of the Green Park Road project,” Thuston said.

Jones, 30, 11109 Patsy Drive, is an electrician and member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1 and has been involved in Habitat for Humanity. He and his wife, Stephanie, have two children who attend elementary school.

Jones is seeking office “to bring active representation to the Ronnie Hills subdivision.”

Thuston, 54, 9400 Green Park Road, is a consultant for membership for CCA Global. He has six children ranging in age from 14 to 33.

Thuston is seeking re-election “to continue to oversee the development of Green Park and that it grows in balance with population and infrastructure.”

The candidates gave the following responses to a Call questionnaire:

What is your position on the use of tax-increment financing and other tax tools?

Jones said, “The current system we have is fine for short term, but not for long term.”

Thuston said, “We need to help our local businesses through these tough economic times, not burden them with more costs. That said, though, if those tools will help getting some of our vacated properties filled, it would help.”

Do you agree with the direction the city is moving under the leadership of Mayor Tony Konopka?

Jones said, “Everything except the Green Park Road project.”

Thuston said, “No comment.”

Do you support the performance of City Administrator Zella Pope?

Jones said, “Yes.”

Thuston said, “No comment.”

Do you support the performance of City Attorney Paul Rost?

Jones said, “Yes.”

Thuston said, “Definitely. Paul has certainly been a strong guiding light on various serious issues we’ve faced the last two years.”

In your opinion, has the Board of Aldermen faithfully adhered to the Sunshine Law? What would you do to ensure the board’s compliance with this law?

Jones said, “Yes. I will keep the meetings open for my fellow neighbors and residents. Also, I will make sure the information on the city Web site is kept updated.”

Thuston said, “Absolutely. We have been very cautious to comply with the Sunshine Law.”

The Green Park Road redevelopment project has been delayed for years. Do you believe the city should approve redevelopment plans for Green Park Road this year?

Jones said, “No, I do not want to lose any citizens for a road project. Also, I do not want to encourage cut-through traffic.”

Thuston said, “Much improvement has been done on the original plan. The delays have definitely been worth it.”

A committee to study the need for business licenses met several times last year. The final recommendation was for an administrative fee to be imposed on businesses. Do you support an administrative fee or business license?

Jones said, “Yes, I would encourage both, depending on the size of the business.”

Thuston said, “Of course I do.”

City officials have discussed in recent months whether Green Park Commerce Center business owners should be allowed ownership of streets within that business park. What is your opinion of this proposal?

Jones said, “Yes, but meet and maintain Green Park codes and regulations.”

Thuston said, “No, no, no. We need to keep this Commerce Center and its businesses under our boundaries. The facilities and roads used to get to and from these businesses are ours, and we need to keep the residents of the center within our boundaries. Any move to leave ownership of these streets under any political body other than Green Park would lead to a possible move to leave the city. The city of Green Park benefits too much from the revenues collected from the center’s residents.”

Do you believe city officials should study expanding the city through annexation of nearby areas?

Jones said, “Yes.”

Thuston said, “Preliminary research would not hurt. But we have a lot on the table now with all the issues on streets and other business development.”

What is your “vision” for the city of Green Park?

Jones said, “Growth in these trying times. And to expand growth into our unincorporated neighbors.”

Thuston said, “Our streets will continue to be among the finest in St. Louis County. Our Commerce Center is a model of balanced development of what could have been a landfill. And it’s just about built out.

“We can improve the relationship with our local businesses by letting our citizens know exactly who is here with a registration of them and a subsequent roster sent to our residents of where these businesses are and what they offer. It would be a phenomenal way for these businesses to have virtually free advertising.”