2011
10.21

On October 3rd, after candidate qualification ended, the Underground e-mailed all 12 LaFayette City Council candidates in competitive races a series of questions. Candidates were asked to respond to the questions via e-mail by October 18th, and were instructed not to share their answers with each other before we made them public. Every candidate was given the same set of questions except where noted below.

Not every candidate responded, but seven of the 12 did. Candidates who did not respond will have [no response] after their name for each question asked, and candidates who responded but chose to skip certain questions will also be marked [no response]. Responses received after this point will not be accepted for a full post, but candidates are welcome to add to their responses, answer questions, or respond to our opinions in the comment section below.

Answers are copied directly from e-mail without corrections or changes except for redaction of addresses. Redactions or any editorial clarifications of questions or answers will be made in [brackets]. Our thoughts are in italics beneath the responses.

We will be doing responses one ward at a time. Ward 3 will be going first with this post, because the Ward 3 candidates who responded got their replies in earlier than anyone else. We will have Q&A articles with the Ward 2 and Ward 4 candidates within the next week. This week’s Friday Photo has been moved to next week in order to get these up in a timely manner.

Ward 3 Candidates Chris Hollis, Judy Meeks, Jerry Rogers, and Stacey T. Suttle:

UNDERGROUND: What is your full name, and what name do you generally go by?

    HOLLIS: Barry C. Hollis / Chris Hollis

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: Jerry David Rogers Jerry

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: What is your age?

    HOLLIS: 41

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: 67

    SUTTLE: [no response]

    Public information indicates candidate Meeks is in her early 60’s and Mr. Suttle is in his late 40’s.

UNDERGROUND: What is your address? (We will only publish the street, not your house number.)

    HOLLIS: Gilbert Lane , Lafayette, GA

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: [redacted] South Chattanooga St.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

    According to the phone book, Suttle lives on Henderson Street and Judy Meeks’ home is on South Chattanooga Street, north of West Main. Rogers is on S. Chatt towards Roper at the far southern edge of Ward 3.

UNDERGROUND: How can voters contact you or stay in touch with your campaign? (Please include info like e-mail, phone, Facebook, Twitter, etc. if applicable.)

UNDERGROUND: How long have you lived in LaFayette, and (if applicable) where else have you lived?

    HOLLIS: 41 Years

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: I have lived here since 1963.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: What’s the best thing about living in this community?

    HOLLIS: Being on a first name basis with many of the residents and knowing if I really needed anyones help in a time of need, there would be people willing to offer it.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: The people are very friendly, we share some chores[trimming hedges,keeping grassclipped] property lines clean.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

        

UNDERGROUND: Starting as early as you want, what kind of education do you have?

    HOLLIS: Resume’ Included in Reply

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: Graduated Trion high school-1962 Walker Technical Business,Accounting,Business Law,Real Estate,Refrigiration

    SUTTLE: [no response]

    When Judy Meeks was elected to City Council in 2003 she told reporters she had certificates in business management and leadership development. Hollis’ rèsumè, which you should check out, shows a variety of industrial, manufacturing, and chemical handling certifications along with “Continuing Judicial Education” at UGA.

UNDERGROUND: What is your current occupation?

    HOLLIS: See Resume’

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: Retired from Alstom Power, Naval Reserve.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

    Mr. Suttle is a counselor at Walker State Prison. Meeks is retired. Hollis does environmental management for CH2MHILL and is caretaker of the former Dow-Reichhold site in Kensington.

UNDERGROUND: What previous jobs have you held?

    HOLLIS: See Resume’

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: Carpet mill.Part Time Post Office, Equifax part time,over 39 yrs.withAlstom Power[work leader for part of thistime]and senior enlisted in the navy seabees company chief,retention program manager on the Admirals’ Staff.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

    Hollis worked for Dow-Reichhold for 17 years and served one term as the city judge. Suttle recently claimed experience with UPS and K-Mart that will “help him get LaFayette going again.” Meeks worked for Mt. Vernon Mills as a lab manager before her retirement.

UNDERGROUND: Do aspects of your education or job experiences make you a better potential city council member? If so please explain.

    HOLLIS: Any education a candidate may have could possibly help save the city money in the future, or help plan projects to make them successful. I hope my education, training, and experience will help guide our City in the right direction.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: While in thr military I was in almost daily contact with people from all walks of life, I had to develop the ability to get thru some B.S. as to why some projects were not progressing as planned and get them back on schedule. Iwas also required to submit written and oral reports to my superior.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: [Hollis Only] You served a single term as LaFayette city judge. During that term what did you accomplish, and do you think your time as judge will hurt or help your campaign to become a member of the city council?

    HOLLIS: During my term as City Judge I accomplished very little to none from the previous Judge’s Court. Not because I did not try to, but because the City Council and City Manager did not want any changes made and my hands were tied. I found that out very early, contacted the state and other Judges, even Pat Clements, and tried to make the changes. I wanted to bring in a solicitor to the Court to help with soliciting Court Cases like is currently done in the State Court of Walker County. The revenue created would be substantial and would benefit the people and City in many ways. Many cases now are turned over to the State Court of Walker County and they get all that revenue. In addition, the LaFayette City Court cannot help the people by having this option. After trying to discuss this with the entire Council and City Manager, I knew I was wasting my time. Without a City Council that is willing to help develope things like this, it will never get done, they have to approve it because it costs money.

    HOLLIS: Being the City Judge in the past will probably hurt my chances of being elected in two ways. First, I am sure I made a lot of folks mad when making decisions in the Court. Secondly, The people in this town may be ready for a completely different set of politicians in the town, I can’t say I blame them one bit however, If elected I will do my best to make them proud they gave me a chance at this, I really think I can make a difference in the way things are done, the friendliness of the council meetings, and the transparent way I wanna do business, the people deserve it.

UNDERGROUND: [Meeks Only] You previously served a single term on the LaFayette City Council, 2004-2007, losing an election to Bill Craig who you now hope to replace. During your single term on the council, what did you accomplish, and was there anything else you wanted to accomplish there but couldn’t do?

    MEEKS: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: [Meeks Only] Both of your sons, Stacey and Wally, are long-time employees of the city. Do you consider it a conflict of interest to serve on the council while they work beneath you, and will you recuse yourself from voting on issues that would impact their departments, duties, salaries, or benefits?

    MEEKS: [no response]

    During Meeks’ one term as a councilor, city employees say she gutted LaFayette’s nepotism policy to allow Stacey to transfer back into LPD from another agency. Under the old rules he couldn’t have rejoined the department while his mother was on the council, but Judy’s changes allowed it because she wasn’t his “direct” supervisor.

UNDERGROUND: [Rogers and Suttle Only] Do you have any previous political experience? If so please explain.

    ROGERS: No.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: What will be your first priority once you’re elected to the council?

    HOLLIS: To thank the people who elected me and ask for their future support so we can make this town what we want it to be.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: Clean up our city so that people will have pride in where they live . Ifeel this would go a long way in helping to aleviate some of our money problems.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

    Meeks told the Chamber her main goals are improving roads and luring industry, but said the city needs to “increase” tourism because “that brings in money”. If LaFayette had back all the money wasted in recent years on failed tourism initiatives we could repave roads and upgrade infrastructure in a way that would attract businesses. Nobody really wants tourism, they just use that as an excuse to build money-pit projects like the softball fields and golf clubhouse for themselves.

UNDERGROUND: Is there a criteria you will use when deciding to vote for or against motions made by the council? (An example would be “Is it moral?/constitutional?/Do we need it?/Can we afford it?” etc..)

    HOLLIS: You forgot one. *Will the majority of the people want it / benefit from it?*

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: Does it pass the smell test, is it good for our city and the citizens,and can we afford it.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: Looking over the field of candidates for the other wards, who do you hope to see elected to serve along with you on the council? Are there any candidates who you don’t think you’d be able to work with?

    HOLLIS: I can work with anyone who works for the people. If they are in there for themselves or select groups we may not see eye to eye.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: Iam not that familiar with all of the other canidates, I can get along with anyone that will their job.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: Do you expect to get along with the remaining councilmen (Swanson and Andy Arnold) and Mayor Florence? Do you think they’ve done an adequate job in leading the city?

    HOLLIS: To have progress, we will have to try and work together. With the majority of the people behind me, I don’t think I’ll have any problems myself. :-)

    HOLLIS: So far, I don’t think the things done in the past were done for everyone. If they were, the people would not be upset like they are. I am hearing a lot of complaints in this town. The people want a change for a reason, and I intend on trying to make it happen.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: Yes to the first part, I don’t know that I am qualified to answer the second part with out more information . I think the prior city manager was not as forth coming as he should have been in that job, he should have been replaced long ago.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

    Judy Meeks gave her opinion of the current city leaders in an interview with Channel 9 regarding the termination of Johnnie Arnold. Meeks said “I know the council personally, and I know these guys are the kind of guys who are up front.” In contrast, Chris Hollis said “the city council in LaFayette Georgia has been secretive for as long as I can remember.” That illustrates a marked difference between the two leading Ward 3 candidates. Candidate comments begin in the video below at the 1:00 mark:

UNDERGROUND: Andy Arnold and Wayne Swanson have been on the council for ten and twelve years, respectively. Neal Florence will begin his 22nd year [actually 21st] in the mayor’s office next January. Do you agree that the city should implement term limits for all its elected leaders, or does LaFayette benefit from having experienced leadership?

    HOLLIS: Experience is helpful to a certain degree. Term limits would be a good thing unless a certain individual is making good progress for the majority of the people. Maybe a Councilman should be required to get a certain percent of the votes cast to determine if he is re-elected or not after so many years?

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: YES!

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: Currently the city’s councilors must live within the ward they represent, but any resident of the city can vote for candidates for any ward. Does that system provide adequate representation for all the city’s residents, and if not would you consider changing that aspect of the city charter?

    HOLLIS: I think people in a certain ward, should vote for the councilman of their ward. It makes no sense for someone north of town to vote for the councilman representing the southern portion.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: [no response]

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: Have you been following the situation with outgoing City Manager Johnnie Arnold? Do you think Arnold has done his job well, and do you feel the council properly responded to his recent behavior?

    HOLLIS: No Comment, Possible Legal Situation

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: [no response]

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: Are there any changes you would make to the City Manager’s authority and duties? Would you consider splitting aspects of the City Manager job (like handling human resources and payroll) into a separate paid position?

    HOLLIS: I would consider anything if it makes sense. I just want to be fully informed before making a decision.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: [no response]

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: Are you familiar with the Richie White situation at LaFayette Solid Waste? Has the City Council handled that issue correctly, and what (if anything) should be done to prevent similar incidents of fraud and theft from city employees?

    HOLLIS: No Comment, Possible Legal Situation

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: [no response]

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: What is the biggest overall problem citizens in LaFayette currently face, and what (if anything) can city government do or change to help them with it?

    HOLLIS: The majority of the citizens have not been thought of when money has been spent. Thats obvious because our Children and young adults have absolutely nothing to do here. If we are concerned about our children, we need to get them some activities in this town. My recommendation: The City needs to build a Theatre, Bowling Alley, Game Rooms, and Concessions for the kids. Why not, we spent millions on the golf course over the years, and millions on the ballfields, and very few use those recreational hobbies. With the items I just mentioned, the majority of the people here will have activities they can use and maybe some of the kids will not get into trouble like they do now.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: The economy, before they vote to increase any service cost at the present they should insure that it cannot be delayed for a period of time.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: How has the City of LaFayette done in regards to maintaining or improving its infrastructure, including streets, sidewalks, sewers, and utilities? Will you make any changes to the Public Works Department?

    HOLLIS: The way the streets are fixed now is awful. Its uneven, bumpy, and makes my truck rattle. Someone needs to be instructed on how to fix these holes in the road so they are smooth.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: Terrible, I would certainly look into why they let the city get into such a mess.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: If voters approve it, the 2013 SPLOST cycle will fall inside your term. What projects will be your priority when the city gets its share of that multi-million-dollar funding source?

    HOLLIS: Theatre
    Bowling Alley
    Game Rooms,
    Concessions
    Thats what the people want, atleast the majority of the ones I’ve talked to.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: There are so many things that need to be accomplished I would have to give a lot of thought to that. I would not agree to anything that did not support the people[ NO 230,000 dollar gas lines for one person. The rate of return on that will never be recouped.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

    Suttle told the Chamber of Commerce the city “has a lot of empty buildings” and needs a bowling alley or “something to keep kids off the street.” That’s the same idea Hollis has been advocating for a while: investing funds into activities for children and families, like a bowling alley or movie theater.

    Hollis’ plan (which Suttle picked up along the way) is a reflection of what he’s been told by voters, but it’s not workable. The costs of building a movie theater would be in excess of $1 million, and running it would eat up tens of thousands of additional dollars every year just for movie licensing fees. The city could run one and charge for admission, but most of the youth in the community with nothing to do don’t have money to pay for a movie or anything else. That’s why the new softball fields don’t help them, because the new fields are all pay-to-play with high fences.

    The best thing LaFayette could do for youth, without blowing the bank, is to maintain its play park and build a few more in other parts of town, reopen the two community recreation centers Johnnie Arnold shut down, open fenced fields for free-play on a regular basis, and look into building a low-cost facility like a skate park for tweens and teens on some of the city’s existing properties. Public movies would be possible in a restored Ross Abney Complex, but operating a regular movie theater is beyond the capacity of LaFayette’s budget.

    The only way to get a movie theater or bowling alley in the city would be for the city to simplify its codes and set up an area where that kind of development is encouraged through lower taxes or other incentives. The city’s Development Authority (under better leadership) could even put together a proposal for how one could be built and operated successfully by a private operator – but the city should absolutely not get into the entertainment business. That’s how we got the golf course.

    Voters have a lot of ideas, some workable and some not. Once elected, councilmen need to filter those and work on plans that incorporate ideas from everyone without catering to a small (loud) group or causing a tax increase. If citizens talking to Hollis tell him they want activities for kids, he needs to figure out a way to make that happen within the city’s financial means. Voters asking for more activities need to ask for affordable ones.

UNDERGROUND: If you had been on the council during the last four years, would you have approved any or all of these projects, and why?

UNDERGROUND: $1.4 million for a new clubhouse for the LaFayette golf course?

    HOLLIS: Absolutely NOT , The Clubhouse we had was not in that bad of shape. I used that very clubhouse many times and it was a nice place that could have used some remodeling, but no-where near the amount spent on the new clubhouse. Besides that, the new Clubhouse was built in a bad location compared to the old one which makes me question the real intent of building it where it was built. I work very hard for the dollars I make here at home and I spend each one as wisely as I can. I would hope a councilman would do the same with my tax dollars. Also, I can think of many things that could have been built to benefit the whole city population and not just a few people.

    HOLLIS: I would have wanted something for our younger people first. For the last 25 years they’ve had nothing in this town but golf and ball and most younger people do not participate in those activities. As responsible parents, we need to find them something to do, and a place to go hang out and play and have fun. That would be first on my list before anything else. Its what the majority of the people want. Walk around and ask them and you’ll see.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: NO,Due to the present economy all major capital outlays should be curtailed if possible.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: $900,000 for four new softball fields at Lowell Green Rec?

    HOLLIS: Absolutely NOT, The ballfield was built in the wrong location to ever make money if it would have in the first place. Besides that, I don’t see us ever getting that amount of return before the fields are run down. That was just a very very bad investment, or a complete waste of money, however you want to say it. I can think of many things that could have been built to benefit the whole city and not just a few people

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: NO. It could have been done much cheaper.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

    The new softball complex was named after Mr. Suttle’s late father, who coached ball in the city for many years. Despite the honor, we hope the candidate would oppose spending nearly a million dollars of road money on a softball complex, but without his response we (unfortunately) don’t know what position he takes on it.

UNDERGROUND: $500,000 (city share of $4 million project) for the LaFayette library?

    HOLLIS: Absolutely NOT, The library may have needed remodeling but thats it. Even if we was running out of room there we could have built on a lot cheaper and had just as nice of place.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: YES. This something that everyone can use,especially our school children.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

    A renovated library will be nice but the 1992-era shelves half filled with books were no less helpful than the 2013-era shelves half filled with the same worn-out books will be. A new building is less helpful than new materials, and the city could have easily committed the same amount of money to buying books as to adding on a new wing just to fix a leaky roof and bad carpeting.

UNDERGROUND: $500,000 (and counting) for a new terminal at Barwick Airport?

    HOLLIS: Absolutely NOT, The air port is being built up into a really nice place for what? How many corporate planes land there now? Very few at all. From what I have seen, the airport is mostly for private plane owners who use it for personal use, not for any benefit of our business’ we currently have. If the private plane owners want a better airport they should invest some of their hobby money into a private place. I know we need to keep up the airport but not to that extent, it just don’t make sense.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: NO. At the presnt time there are more important issues that money could be used for.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: Several of those projects cost more than expected because the city didn’t build anything into the construction contracts calling for them to be finished by a certain date or completed under a certain budget. Will contracts approved during your time on the council include fines for cost or time overages, and would you consider adding bonuses to contracts that reward early completion with bonus payments?

    HOLLIS: I would like to discuss the specifics of this in more detail with the interested party. It is a possibility I guess as long as it doesn’t turn out like the ballfields.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: [no response]

    SUTTLE: [no response]

     

UNDERGROUND: How has the city done in regards to funding the recreation department (outside of the golf course, which is budgeted separately) and do you feel LaFayette Parks and Recreation is doing a good job of providing activities and facilities for all of the city’s residents?

    HOLLIS: Not familiar with the recreations funding at this time

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: YES.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: How well does the city manage its utility departments? Currently the city’s electric rates go up during summer months – would you consider averaging prices year-round to avoid charging people more during peak usage times?

    HOLLIS: The city is suppose to have this service already, its on their website, or was if its not now

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: It should be considered,several cities have implemented this system.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

    This question was probably not worded clearly enough. We were referring to the city having multiple rates for electricity during different parts of the year. The same usage in some months costs more than in other months; 1 Mw of electricity costs more during a high-demand month than a low-demand month. That puts people at a disadvantage and makes the bills even higher than they would be during periods of peak usage. The city should either average the cost-per-Mw and keep rates the same all year or eat the difference during peak periods.

UNDERGROUND: Are you satisfied with the city’s current system of meter readers (for water/gas/electric) and the current system of billing? Will you consider introducing reforms to the utilities’ meter and billing departments?

    HOLLIS: I need to study more on this issue

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: Only if I could be shown a more cost effective way.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

    Currently the utility bills are not broken down well enough to clearly see how much power, water, and gas were consumed and what the base rate for each is. There are also hidden taxes that don’t show up on the bills and extra fees for buying new garbage trucks or paying off loans that aren’t shown separately. The city needs to make reforms that help customers understand their bills and see what percentage of the bill is from their own activity and what percentage comes from all these add-on costs passed down from the Council.

    The city also fails to read meters (especially water meters) on a regular basis and bills often appear to be made-up fantasy or guesstimated from previous usage. The city should invest in digital meters for water, power, and gas that read themselves every month without the expense and delay involved with the current broken system. Customers should be charged for exactly what their own household consumes during the month before the bill is mailed, not what the city guesses they consumed two months ago.

UNDERGROUND: Health insurance for city employees is currently managed through self-insurance. Are you familiar with this form of insurance and do you feel it is appropriate for a city the size of LaFayette?

    HOLLIS: Not Familiar

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: I am not familiar with this form of insurance, but if elected I will be very shortly.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

    LaFayette uses a partially self-insured health plan that actually saves the city money in the long run. Insurance is one of the bigger budget items councilors decide on each year, and every candidate should be making an effort to be familiar with various insurance plans in order to hit the ground running once they become a part of city government.

UNDERGROUND: How well does LaFayette Public Safety carry out its duties, and are there any reforms needed in that department? Do you feel that Tommy Freeman has been a good choice to lead the city’s combined fire and police agency?

    HOLLIS: I am not happy with my past experiences of this service.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: There is certainly room for improvment, I don’t think chief Freeman has shown good management skills, why did he demote his experienced investigators for a couple of yes men without the necessary training .

    SUTTLE: [no response]

    One of the “yes men” Rogers is referring to is Judy Meeks’ son. We can assume she would be in support of his current lofty position within LPD, which is courtesy of chief Freeman. We don’t dare speculate as to how candidate Suttle feels about Public Safety.

UNDERGROUND: Does the LaFayette City government have enough transparency? Once elected to the council, will you make any changes to make city government more accessible and open to the public?

    HOLLIS: I want the peoples help if elected. I can’t get their help if I’m not open with them. Its the only way we’re gonna make improvements

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: NO. YES.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: Do the current council, mayor, and City Manager get enough input from the citizens before making decisions? If not, what changes should be made to raise the level of input? Do you feel that the City Council meets often enough?

    HOLLIS: Need more meetings just to talk to the people. Days aside from normal council meetings.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: NO. They should implement an open forum at the end of each meeting to allow for citizens to have input.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

    Both responding candidates agree that more input is needed, and both want additional meeting times to get feedback from the citizens. That’s a refreshing change from the current way of operating. We don’t know how Suttle feels about it, but based on Meeks’ comments about the current council it’s probably not a stretch to assume she likes things the way they are now.

UNDERGROUND: Will you seek an increased role for technology, particularly Internet technology, in reaching out to citizens (both to keep them informed and to get feedback from them) during your time on the council?

    HOLLIS: Very good idea, maybe make a day to just review online suggestions?

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: YES.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: As a member of the City Council, what will you do to strengthen existing businesses within the city and attract new businesses in? Are there any aspects of the current city government structure that discourage businesses from moving to LaFayette?

    HOLLIS: City codes need to be more friendly and work with the business’, not against them so much. Its all in how you go about getting things done that makes a big difference.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: I would suggest at least a quarterly meeting with the owners and managers to insure the council would be aware of any circumstances affecting business.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

    Both respondents have good ideas with this; city codes are currently one of the biggest obstacles to existing and new businesses operating in the city and often make new building construction more trouble than it’s worth. Simplified city codes, available online so people can actually see what the rules are, would make a huge difference for many – probably the biggest easy change city government can make. Rogers’ idea to talk with business leaders is also good, however many of the business leaders already make their thoughts known through unofficial meetings with the council. More of that would be a good thing.

UNDERGROUND: Homes are for sale all over town, and property values continue to fall. What steps will you take as a councilor to help improve property values inside city limits?

    HOLLIS: [no response]

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: Make business recruting a priority I feel that jobs are the only thing that can help.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

    The city’s future is like a three-legged stool. We must have good people, good jobs, and infrastructure. None of those work on their own, all three are needed to hold LaFayette together. New business recruiting, making the city a better place to live for middle-class working people, and better infrastructure (primarily roads) to support and connect the people and employers; all are needed to move forward and without them the city will shrivel up and die.

UNDERGROUND: Please summarize in a single paragraph why LaFayette voters should pick you over one of your opponents in the upcoming election:

    HOLLIS: I started working for the people soon after I started walking door to door. I heard their recommendations and used them as my platform for getting this office. Almost everyone I talk to says we need to get something here for the kids and the young people. I am going to do that the best I can and as soon as I can. They deserve it.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: [no response]

    SUTTLE: [no response]

UNDERGROUND: Is there anything else LaFayette voters should know about you? Family, faith, philosophy, inspirations, etc.?

    HOLLIS: If we build the activities I spoke about, Lafayette residents should receive a discount when using them because their tax dollars built it. That just makes sense.

    MEEKS: [no response]

    ROGERS: I am retired and not doing this for any type monetary gain. I plan on donating the first 6 months of any monies recieved to charities and my church. Iwould like for, the young people to enjoy their youth as people of my generation did. Iwould like to see all drug use disolved. My son grew up here and went on to spend nearly 20 years working at the White House in Washington,D.C. so I know that it is possible.

    SUTTLE: [no response]

So there you have it. Responses from two of the four candidates, and thoughts on the responses along with our research into the non-responders.

Jerry Rogers seems to have the right motivation, but some of his answers show a disconnect from the way things are run in government today, and some of his answers were a bit vague. He would probably be a decent councilman, but in this four-way race he isn’t the best candidate running. Suttle is a bit of a mystery, his decision to not reply to our questions shows a lack of concern for openness and his echoing of others’ ideas without contributing his own raises some concerns. He’s also offended more than a few people by erecting most of his campaign signs on public property without permission. He has some good work experience but his education is a mystery. Neither Rogers or Suttle will be much of a factor in the race, which is going to end up in a run-off between Meeks and Hollis.

Meeks has been on the council before and accomplished nothing. She endorses the current leadership and feels they’re “up front” guys even though most of their decisions point to the contrary. Her sons’ employment by the city makes her potential service as a councilor a conflict of interest, and we know there will be no changes or reforms of the Public Safety department under her watch. She has disregarded our questions, which was expected, but will likely disregard the questions and concerns of LaFayette’s citizens in a similar manner. We’ve heard she had her feelings hurt by our previous criticism of her, but if she can’t handle a bit of criticism or input during an election campaign she probably has no business running for office.

Hollis is a contrast to Meeks; she represents the political leaders of past years and the current council, while he represents new thought and a desire for openness. If we want things to keep going the way they’ve been going, Judy Meeks is the woman for Ward 3. If we want a change in direction, Hollis is our man. What we’ve been doing doesn’t seem to work very well, so lets do something different… If the election was decided by effort alone, Hollis would win in a landslide – and based on ideas and comments, he ought to do pretty well in an election based on voter preference.

In other words, the Underground officially endorses Chris Hollis for City Council Ward 3.


Interview with candidate Hollis begins at the 1 hour mark.

We do have concerns about his “movie theater” plan, but he’s seeking input on it from the citizens. If people show him a better direction, he’ll do what they ask. Open meetings, more opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions – those are all concepts almost unheard of here, but ones that we have to wholeheartedly support.

LaFayette’s municipal election will be held on November 8th at City Hall. Early voting is being held now at the Walker County Elections Office in the Courthouse, and absentee ballots can be requested at City Hall today for those who will be out of town on the 8th.

Next week: Ward 2 Candidate Q&A

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15 comments so far

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  1. Silence is not only golden, but sometimes indicates deeper, underlying problems.

    After reading this post, let me see if I’ve got this right.

    The two non-respondents that were “disappointed in voter turn-out”, threw themselves under the bus @ square-one with thier undying support for the present administration, and are under the impression they may have “scared everybody away” at the Civic Center, feel that answering a few honest question from LU is “beneath” them? (Pun intended……..)

    O.K. A one-termer closet Florencite and a PRISON COUNCELOR. (That’s what Ward 3 really needs. That and 20-30 box-cars of 12′ chain-link and razor wire. Really make them feel so much better about just………..everything.)

    Hmmmmmm. Tough choice. Nope. I’m sticking with Chris for what it’s worth. “They” will probably see to it one of the non-respondents represents the ward, out of spite……

    Here’s a novel idea. Ask the other wards, out of respect (?) for the individual wards, “Please refrain from voting for anyone outside of your ward….”.

  2. Please do NOT refrain from voting for candidates outside your ward, because this year we need every vote we can get. If our readers take that stance and everyone living in Ward 3 votes for Hollis to represent them but doesn’t vote for candidates representing other wards, we’ll end up with only one decent candidate elected, and he can’t do much by himself. As long as it’s legal for us to all vote for every ward, we all should – because the ones who oppose these reforms certainly will. We need Hollis and other good candidates we’ll be endorsing next week in there to change this mess with the wards; voting only for your ward right now will just foul that up.

    — LU

  3. Makes sense, for now, LU……

  4. While I don’t live in the City of LaFayette and of course don’t have a vote in this election, I did enjoy reading the Q&A.

    This election reminds me of a quote of one of favorite Democrats Speaker Tip O’Neill who said, “all politics is local”.

  5. I have lived in ward 3 most of my life and at one time it was one of the best neighborhoods in Lafayette. West Lafayette use to have a lot to offer like Elementary Schools a recreation center with football and softball fields and a great play ground and plenty of business’s everything from Restaurants to stores for Furniture, Grocery, Auto Parts and apparel it had a few small Business’s like the only place in Lafayette to buy a used bicycle to Places like Pep’s and the Busy Bee. Now all it has to offer are a couple of mom and pop type place’s and a huge selection of empty buildings and empty houses to look at. Like me many people are proud to say they grew up in West Lafayette and if we want the next generation to have the same respect as we do we need to make some drastic changes. I would like to say Chris Hollis is the best person for the council seat just because He has seen all of the same things I mentioned over the years and I know how much West Lafayette has meant to him and his family….

  6. Attention LU and all other people who post slanderous gossip on this site…My prayers are that God will open your eyes to what you are doing…You are being mislead by Satan…The Devil uses gossip to spread discontent and discuragement…Gossip is also a way we judge others, which really isn’t our job. God is in charge of judging people, not us. Gossip really only ends up creating greed, hate, envy, murder..
    Gossip is also a sign that we are not really active in our faith and in our lives. If you think about it, the busier we are, the less time we have to gossip. We no longer have the time to get wrapped up in someone else’s life. Gossip is bred out of boredom. It may start as a simple conversation about people, and then escalates quickly. The Bible clearly tells us to do more than discuss other people’s lives.

    Leviticus 19:16 – “Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.” (NIV)

    Proverbs 11:13 – “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” (NIV)

    Romans 1:29 – “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips.” (NIV)

    1 Timothy 5:13 – “Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.” (NIV)

    Matthew 7:1 – “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” (NIV)

  7. That’s an appropriate comment under an article where we just e-mailed people and posted their replies with our own thoughts on what they had to say. What exactly is your definition of gossip and slander? Is the newspaper gossip? Is it gossip to tell people about someone running for office? Or did you just pick this post randomly to stick in a comment that has little to do with any specific thing on this site?

    I’ve never judged anyone’s soul, I’ve not deemed anyone ready for heaven or hell. But I can tell apples from oranges, a pear tree from a thorn bush. Some of the trees in this community have rotten, dangerous fruit and I don’t think it’s out of line to warn others before they eat it.

    — LU

  8. James 4:6
    God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.
    Think about it?
    How prideful are you?

  9. LU please read and meditate on this verse Proverbs 12:15

  10. Mr. Rogers,
    you say in one of your comments about giving to the youth and your church, then in another sentence you call the police dept. investigators yes men and talk about leaders you know nothing about. I consider you are greatly misinformed. If you need to know something about a leader or representative, you need to go to them and ask, not just listen to hear say. DON’T BE HYPOCRITICAL.

  11. You’re very right, Saving Grace. I’m sure you look VERY right in your own eyes.

  12. Attention Saving Grace;

    When a Christian sees wrong, it is most definately his/her place to speak up. The problems facing this town, county, state, country, and even the world are all the result of so called christians remaining silent in the face of injustice, when they should be standing on the Word and crying out to God to right the ship. The only gossip I’ve ever seen on this website is spread from the lips of the accused.

    When a mistake is made, LU always admits it, and retracts said errors.

    Muslims cannot talk to God, Bhuddists cannot talk to God, witches cannot talk to God, atheists cannot talk to God, the unsaved cannot talk to God. Only Christians have the line to God, and that is because of the “Saving Grace” of Jesus Christ. I would say the only “slander” I’ve seen here is you slandering the Lord by calling yourself “Saving Grace”.

    The Pharisees could quote scripture too, but they didn’t recognize God when he stood toe-to-toe with them.

  13. It’s nice to see the candidates replies like this all in one place. I wish they would have all responded….they might have been scared of your rep. LU. ;)

    I’d also like to point out some of the things that the library is adding on in the renovation/addition that new space is needed for:
    1. Better Parking
    2. Computer Lab
    3. Computer Stations
    4. Tutoring Rooms (we have 2-4 groups come in every day after school and no quiet places to put them.)
    5. Teen Section
    6. Storyhour area (if you’ve tried to work at the library at 10am on a Monday, you know we need it.)

    Books are important, but libraries provide other much needed services as well. That’s what the renovation is addressing. We won’t have another one for another 20 years or more, so its planning for the future.

  14. The question every voter needs to ask themselves is: Should we continue to allow the politics and self interests to continue as is, or do should we seek and deserve a major change? I personally, like many others, are sick and tired of a self indulging city management team. It is well beyond time to shake the tree and let the leaves fall where they may.
    We need an entirely “new” thought process, an entirely new leadership and an entirely new future for La Fayette.
    I throw out there that we the people of La Fayette start our own cause and effect by electing only those that want to truly make our fair town a family-friendly and great place to live.
    This goes for those who are also in leadership of Walker county. It’s time to seek fresh new faces and ideas in both.

  15. Well said, Chelsea. The renovation was needed and will be beneficial for the city.