Scott Hopson

Scott HopsonEudora Mayor Scott Hopson during the Meet the Candidate Forum in March, 2013 (photo by eudorareporter.com photojournalist Mark Moore)

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

Four years ago, Scott Hopson ran for and was elected Mayor of the City of Eudora.  With the form of government change, the Mayor’s position is no longer chosen by the voters so Hopson ran, unsuccessfully, for a seat on the new City Commission.  On the last full day of Scott Hopson’s term as Mayor we asked the Mayor to sit down and talk about his time at City Hall.

Q: What do you see as your biggest success as Mayor?

SH:  As far as helping those most people, it was the cables. (He’s referring to the cable median barriers on K-10). It’s also the thing I got the most criticism for.

Q:  Some people praised you for your work on the cable median barriers and there are many out there that say they were a big mistake.  Do you still think getting cables out there was the best thing to do?

SH:  Sure. The best part of the cables is that they have already saved lives. One of the things that I thought was really great was that one of the first people that were saved by them was a member of Tommy Shutt’s class. She graduated with Tommy and her family is from here. She hit the cable barriers in her new car in the snow and she has a couple of small children. It was right before Christmas. She’s here today and her family is not going through what Cainan’s family went through because of the cables.

Some of the criticism we got was using Cainan’s name and that came out of the family asking that Cainan’s name be put with those cables. That wasn’t something that we did. The family thought that if something good came out of those cables, Cainan didn’t die for nothing.  I would think anybody that went through what they went through probably would feel the same way.  The little boy died, but other people are going to survive and that’s what the cables did.

Those cables were put out there on that highway because a lot of people from a lot of different zip codes got involved. I got a lot of heat from my own city council, some members of the city council who thought they should be from city limit to city limit and that is all we should be worried about. I didn’t agree, I thought it should be the full length of K-10. A lot of people from a lot of places got involved with that, it wasn’t just us. We couldn’t have done it by ourselves.

Q: What did you want to accomplish that you were never able to get done?

SH: The Chamber (of Commerce).  I wanted to grow the Chamber using De Soto as a model and that was a disappointment that I never got that done.

Q: What do you want to see done in regards to the Chamber of Commerce in the future?

SH: I want to see the Chamber evolve into a productive Chamber. I want see the other business owners in our community feel their membership fees get them a functioning Chamber. I want to see the growth of business continue.

Q: You have had people who love you and people who despise you. Looking back on it, are there things you would have done differently?

SH: I knew going in to being the Mayor that I have detractors and issues. I saw that from when I was on the Council.  No, I would not have done anything different. Its unfortunate people either like or dislike you for whatever reason.  I would wish at least they knew me because of a lot of people I hear don’t like me I have never talked to them or spoke to them. I don’t do that. I might hear this guy is a jerk or this is guy is good, but I generally go in and talk to them myself and make my own decision. I wish other people would do that, but the world is what it is.

Q: Your about to be a private citizen once again in less than a day. Besides the chamber, what else does Citizen Scott Hopson want to see going forward over the next few years?

SH:  I want us to continue down the path that we paved over the last four years. When I was elected Mayor, the city was nearly bankrupt and we got it turned around and have the cities financial stability in a much better place now.

Q:   Is they city where it needs to be or is there more work that needs to be done?

SH:   There is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but if you want to look at it from an infrastructure issue, we have an overlay program that we never had.  Everybody complained that all we did was chip and seal and they lived on a gravel road for so many months until that chip and seal dissipated. From that stand point we have improved. Water quality has improved, city services have improved, we have a website and programs trying attract business to Eudora: Shop Eudora First, The Economic Developer position held most recently by Collin (Bielser) and Barack’s (Mattite) position as the City Management intern.  All of those were things that when I came on board as Mayor I said this is what we need to move forward with and we did. We still have a long ways to go. As far as the City goes, you’ll never be done.  There is always something to do.

Q: Is the end of Scott Hopson’s political career? Will we see you run again in two or four years?

SH:  Who knows, I’ll never say never. I still care about Eudora, I still love Eudora.  There are a lot of good people here. In two years, there still will be a lot of people that like to complain that don’t show up for the meetings. There still will be some folks that want to criticize and sling mud, but yet, they have done nothing themselves to make Eudora better. A person who runs for public office has to understand that because you have a bull’s-eye on you for any crackpot who wants to take a shot at you and you have to be an adult about it and not throw mud back. That’s just the way the game’s played.

Hopson’s term will come to an end with the swearing in of the new Commission members at Monday night’s City Commission meeting.

Share

Scott HopsonMayor and City Commission Candidate Scott Hopson

Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com

With the coming School Board and City Commission election in April, we asked each candidate for both School Board and City Commission to answer a few questions to help give voters an insight into who is running.  Last week we featured the candidates for School Board and this week we will profile the City Commission candidates that have chosen to respond.   All candidates were given the same list of questions to answer and their responses are being printed exactly as received.  Today, we feature Commission candidate and current Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson.

Please tell about your background.
For those that do not know me, My name is Scott Hopson. I have lived in Eudora for 39 years. I am a       Eudora High School graduate.  I currently work for KCPL as a journeyman lineman.  I also hold a current seat as Mayor of Eudora.
What qualifications do you feel you have for a seat on the City Commission?
I have served the City of Eudora for 8 years as an elected official. I also worked for the City of Eudora for 5 years as an employee. In my 8 years as an elected official I served as a councilman for 4 years and now hold the seat as Mayor. I am the first ex-city employee that has held a seat for the City of Eudora. I have a great understanding of how the City of Eudora operates on a day to day bases, as well as, planning for the future.
What do you think is the most important issue that faces the City Commission and what do you plan to do in regards to that issue? 
The most important issue facing the City Commission in my opinion is the Water Plant. The possibility of pollution from an outside source given the sand pit issue that is currently going on. My plans to oversee the issues will be to check into needed upgrades of the plant via grant money and city participation. Eudora has no secondary source for water at this time. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment will shut down our water plant if pollution was to make it to our well fields. By making these improvement to the water plant it will put control of the water supply in our hands not the county.
What other issues do you feel the City Commission should review or remedy during the next term?
The other issues that need to be addressed is 1) The Notthingham property to bring in future development to that area. 2)  In my opinion the City of Eudora needs to purchase a portion of the southern end of the property to allow for future expansion of the pool, as well as, expanding the Parks and Rec Department.  3) I would also like to see the continuance  with our economic development plan. 4) Setting achievable goals for the Chamber continued Chamber of Commerce improvements such as hiring a part-time director.  All four these items are reliant upon each other for one to succeed they all need to succeed. This all starts with a strong Chamber of Commerce.
Why do you want to sit on the City Commission?
I love Eudora, this is my home town. I want good things for Eudora. Eudora deserves it. I enjoy helping people. You can fight city hall by being part of the solution. I bring a lot of experience and knowledge and I still want to help our community grow in the right direction.
__

We will continue to bring you profiles for the City Commission candidates over the course of the week. Candidates will also have the opportunity to answer more in depth questions during the Meet The Candidates Forum on Tuesday, March 12 at 7:00 PM.  The Forum will be held at Eudora City Hall, 4 East 7th Street and the public is invited to attend.

Share

Eudora News and Information www.eudorareporter.com

Earlier this week, Senator Tom Holland’s campaign sent mailers to voters and press releases to the media with quotes from Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson claiming Holland was the only one willing to help in the effort to get cable median barriers installed on K-10 and attempt to get K-10 designated as a safety corridor.

Representative Anthony Brown, who is Holland’s opponent for the Senatorial seat in the 3rd District, disagrees with those claims.

“While Senator Holland introduced the Senate version of the safety corridor bill, I was was working the House side,” Brown said.  “I was lobbying the governor’s office trying to get this passed.”

While the Senate version of the bill passed, the House bill died in committee.

“The reason it died in committee was lack of interest,” Brown stated. “While the Mayor came to Topeka to testify before the Senate committee, he did not come to testify before the House committee.  The House committee members did not act because no official from Eudora came to the hearings.”

Brown also says that the Mayor’s claims that “We made numerous phone calls to our local elected state representatives” are erroneous.

“To the best of my knowledge, I never received any phone call from the Mayor at my home or on my cell phone about the cables or the safety corridor bill.”

Brown stated that while Hopson and City Administrator John Harrenstein did attempt to see him while they were in Topeka for the Senate hearings, Brown said he was in other meetings in the Capitol and was not able to meet with them at that time.

Brown did provide a copy of a text conversation that occurred between Brown’s wife Susie and Jodi Jackson. Jackson was one of the four women who created the Facebook page that kept the issue of cable median barriers in the public eye.  Hopson’s wife Tina was also involved in the Facebook group. (http://www.eudorareporter.com/women-working-hard-to-convince-kdot/)

In the conversation dated April 19, 2011, Brown’s wife gave Jackson Anthony’s cell phone number and email address. Brown’s wife stated in that conversation that “He doesn’t have a decision directly in this, but definitely can facilitate contacts and direction to KDOT.”

Brown also provided a letter sent to him by Secretary of Transportation Mike King from July of 2012, where King updated the progress of the project.

“I am aware of your strong support for the construction of cable barriers in the median of Kansas Highway 10 in Douglas and Johnson Counties,” King said in the letter.  Later in the letter, King added that “Your support and advocacy in your community has been indispensable.”

The push for cable median barriers on K-10 began after a crossover accident took the life 5-year-old Cainan Shutt on K-10 on April 16, 2011.

 

 

 

Share


Sen. Tom Holland D-Baldwin City

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson today formally endorsed Senator Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, in his bid for re-election to the Kansas Senate’s 3rd District.  Hopson endorsed Holland over Holland’s challenger, State Representative Anthony Brown, R-Eudora.

In a press release from Holland’s office, Hopson laid out his reasons for backing Holland.

“When tragedy struck on K-10 Highway, there were several communities that came together in an effort to make the highway a safe place for all. We made numerous phone calls to our local elected state representatives. Only one stepped up to help,” said Hopson.

Holland worked with City of Eudora, Douglas County, and KDOT officials in the effort to get cable median barriers installed on K-10 Highway.  Holland also worked to introduce Senate Bill 342, the Safety Corridor Act, which would utilize appropriate signage, education, and enforcement programs to reduce accidents on specifically designated highway segments where accidents frequently occur. The bill passed the Senate but died in a House Committee and was not put into law.

“Senator Tom Holland answered our calls, assisted our efforts and made that stretch of highway safer today. That is leadership. That is what we need in a State Senator, not someone who will turn his back on us in a time of need,” Hopson continued.  “Tom Holland is a leader we can depend on, he is not afraid to step up and fight on our behalf.  That is why I endorse Tom Holland for Kansas Senator”.

Holland served three terms in the Kansas House of Representatives before being elected to the Kansas Senate in 2008.  He is the Ranking Member on the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee.  He also serves on the Senate Interstate Cooperation Committee, the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, and the Joint Committee on Information Technology.

Holland will appear in Eudora at the Meet the Candidates – The General Election forum along with his opponent, Representative Anthony Brown on Sunday September 30. Also scheduled to attend the forum will be the 2nd District  U.S. House of Representatives candidates Lynn Jenkins and Tobias Slingensipien along with Kansas House of Representatives District 42 candidates Connie O’Brien and Harold Fevurly, Jr.  The Forum will be held in the Eudora Middle School Auditorium, 2635 Church Street.  The forum will begin at 1:30 PM.

Share

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

Monday’s city Council meeting had a rather unique twist. Most of the time, the City Council and media members receive information about what is going to be discussed that night.  This past Monday night on the agenda was simply the statement “Discuss Governing Body pay”.   No further information was given to Council members or media members about this discussion, other than the fact that the Mayor wanted to have a discussion about this topic.

What we thought would be a discussion about the rate of pay, turned out to be about Governing Body attendance.

Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson began the discussion with the idea about tying council member pay to attendance at meetings.  Currently, City Council members receive $200 per month and the Mayor receives $250 per month.

While Hopson did not have clear cut ideas on how to address the topic, he did eventually suggest setting up a policy for “excused and unexcused” absences and setting a benchmark for how many unexcused absences a Council member could have before any pay was docked.  Councilman John Fiore did bring up the fact that some council members schedules may not be conducive to constant attendance.

“I’ve got a day job that is easy for me to be here by 7, but I know that at least two of our Council members don’t have that luxury with their schedule,” Fiore said referring to Councilmen Bill Whitten and Tim Reazin who are full time fire fighters in other municipalities.

“I don’t want to tell Tim or Bill, or Kenny or Ruth for that matter, or you (referring to the Mayor) because you had some terrible issues right when I started where you were out of town helping out with disaster victims and I don’t want to tell you ‘Hey don’t help those disaster victims because you have only so many excused absences’, Fiore added.

Councilman Reazin also brought up the fact that when the pay for the governing body was raised in 2011, the idea was that the money was not solely for attendance at Council meetings but to help reimburse council members for other outside meetings and their time spent preparing for the meetings as well as giving back to the community in the form of donations to various charitable fundraisers that occur regularly.

Reazin and Councilman Kenny Massey both suggested that the idea that excused versus unexcused absences would lead to causing people to lie about why they were not in attendance.

“This is a commitment and you signed up for this when you put your name on the ballot,” Massey said. “I think if you get elected to these positions you should be here.”

Massey did also reiterate Fiore’s earlier comment about the fact that Reazin and Whitten have extenuating circumstances due to their full time employment, but said that members can somewhat plan their schedules and plan ahead for things such as vacation.

“I think it should just be X number of absences per calendar year and if you go over that, then you get docked,” Massey added.

While no formal decision was made, the consensus was that further discussions would need to take place and some formal determinations in a work session should occur in the near future.

We took a look at the minutes from each meeting in both 2011 and 2012 to verify the number of absences for Council members and the Mayor.

In 2011, there was 23 City Council meetings.  Mayor Hopson missed the most with eight absences.   Bill Whitten and Tim Reazin missed six meetings each with Kenny Massey, Ruth Hughs and John Fiore all missing one meeting apiece.

In 2012,  to date, there has been 15 meetings with Tim Reazin missing five and Bill Whitten missing four, including this very meeting where the discussion took place.  All other Council members and the Mayor have attended all 2012 meetings.

Share