No candidate yet for Fifth Ward seat

Wednesday, January 19, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:51 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

The deadline for candidates to file for open seats on the Columbia City Council is Thursday, but no one has filed for the Fifth Ward seat being vacated by incumbent John John.

The terms of John and First Ward Councilwoman Almeta Crayton will expire in April. Crayton has already filed for election to a third term.

John, meanwhile, said he knows of no one who is interested in taking his place, but he did list some qualities he would like to see in a future council member.

“Somebody who understands that running a city is all about balance,” John said. “It is important to strike a balance between all of the different interests people have.”

City Clerk Sheela Amin said several people have picked up petitions over the past few weeks as a first step toward filing for the council. Amin, however, keeps no record of who picks up petitions or how many are distributed.

Former Fifth Ward Councilman Karl Kruse said no one has spoken to him about filing for the election. He heard that about six petitions have been picked up, but he doesn’t know the potential candidates or whether they’ll actually file.

Kruse said that if there is a race in the Fifth Ward, growth will be a big factor in deciding who wins.

“The big issue for Columbia is the exploding population and how to handle that without destroying quality of life,” Kruse said. “If there’s a race, the candidate that wins will be the one that is best able to speak to the people on those issues.”

The city charter indicates the council is responsible for filling any vacant elective offices. Those chosen to fill vacancies serve until the next scheduled election.

Mayor Darwin Hindman, however, thinks that will be unnecessary.

“I feel virtually certain that someone will file,” Hindman said. “Deadlines often motivate people.”

Crayton remains unopposed thus far. Some have speculated that John Clark, a member of the North-Central Columbia Association and a 2004 candidate for mayor, might run against her. Clark said Tuesday that he is the type of person who makes up his mind at the last minute and has not picked up a petition.

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