Voter Guide

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Merriam Council Ward 2

Voter Guide

Candidate picture Choose Chosen

Dan Leap (N) I am an artist, musician, and owner/operator of two Merriam businesses; Total Comfort Heating & Cooling, a 40-year-old family-owned business, and Guitar Lamp, a design/manufacturing company.

Biographical Information

Personal Biography I am a proud resident of ward 2 and have lived in Downtown Merriam above my GuitarLamp shop for 20 years.
Campaign Phone (913) 362-5004
Campaign Email Dan@DanLeap.com
Campaign Web Site http://www.DanLeap.com
Education See below...
Community/Public Service I had the honor & privilege to serve Ward 2 for two consecutive terms 2003 to 2011.
Address 5848 Merriam Drive Merriam KS 66203
Web Site DanLeap.com
CampaignPhone 913-362-5004
Champaign Phone (913) 362-5004
Campaign phone (913) 362-5004
Web Address DanLeap.com

1. What do you believe are the three critical projects or initiatives that will move your city/district forward?

Projects don't always move the city forward, as we have been reminded by the latest boondoggle.The city does lack basic services such as curbside leaf pickup and it lacks basic amenities such as a grocery store. I'm not out to shove yet another unwanted, costly project down the throats of Merriam residents. It's not what I believe that matters here, but what the residents of this city tell me they need. That's what I'm going to work on. Unlike four of the current City Council members, I believe the job of a City Council member is to represent the residents not the City Staff. What I am NOT going to work on is yet another crazy idea the City Staff dreams up so they can add bullet points to their personal resumes and stick residents with the bill.

2. What skills, expertise, or competencies qualify you for this position?

I am an artist and musician. And I run our small, family-owned heating & cooling business located right here in downtown Merriam. I know our neighborhoods well and have served 2 terms as Merriam Ward 2 City Councilman (from 2003 to 2011). The main skill that has been missing from the City Council, except in a few cases, is the ability to discuss ideas. I deal all the time with people whose views differ from mine and I actually like that. We can put our heads together to solve problems. That's very different from the dynamic we see on the Council now where a clique basically steam-rollers over everyone else to ensure their pet project gets done even if the residents don't want it.

3. What specific actions should your city take or continue to insure affordable housing is available?

We have to stop wasting money on frivolous things. There's a long list. The symbol of "spending stupidity" is the ugly wind chime that cost $123,000 located right by my building. It is advertised as a serenity park but sited in a high noise area. That money could have been used to put a homeless family in a house, or to help disadvantaged people with repairs to their homes. The second part of the equation is to lower the mill levy which, along with rising property evaluations, makes our property taxes go up Up UP which is difficult for residents on fixed incomes. We need to control wasteful spending so that we can lower property taxes and help residents afford to stay in their homes.

4. Shawnee, Olathe, Lenexa, Overland Park candidates: Should your city adopt a non-discrimination ordinance that provides legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals?

Candidate has not yet responded.

Voter Guide

Candidate picture Choose Chosen

Whitney Yadrich (N) Senior Project Manager

Biographical Information

Campaign Phone (785) 979-7842
Campaign Web Site http://whitneyformerriam.com
Education University of Kansas Johnson County Community College
Community/Public Service Merriam Park Elementary PTA Merriam City Council Candidate WordPress Core Community Ugly Christmas Sweater Party founding member (former) GP ASPCA (former volunteer)
Address 9620 W 57th PL Merriam, KS 66203
Web Site www.whitneyformerriam.com
CampaignPhone (785) 979-7842
Champaign Phone (785) 979-7842
Campaign phone (785) 979-7842
Web Address www.whitneyformerriam.com

1. What do you believe are the three critical projects or initiatives that will move your city/district forward?

1. The future of 5701 Merriam Drive. The city has taken some initial steps, but the public meetings held earlier this year were not well attended. This will be a multi-year, expensive and nostalgic project that requires transparent financial planning and proactive community outreach.

2. Renewal of the 10-year, 1/4-cent sales tax. This revenue is exclusive to street and stormwater projects. Voters approved it in 2010 and it generated funding for 30 projects. We need to secure financial backing for our infrastructure while we pay down debt and consider threats to other revenue sources - like Dark Store Theory.

3. Filling empty storefronts. Merriam's commercial and retail spaces are prime real estate, and we should keep them full - not only to generate revenue but to make sure our residents have convenient access to necessities, like groceries.

2. What skills, expertise, or competencies qualify you for this position?

As a senior project manager, I spend my day solving multi-million dollar puzzles. I have almost 20,000 hours of experience estimating projects, managing budgets, creating timelines, planning for risks, enforcing quality, and making sure project teams and clients are all on the same page. I've successfully applied these skills in a variety of industries and media.

I'm known for building strong teams and working through complex problems using context, focus and compassion. This type of empathetic, forward-thinking leadership is what Merriam needs to heal the broken trust between city hall and the citizens.

As a former local journalist, I am not afraid to ask questions. I instinctively research issues, listen to people, and then effectively share information. I believe in productive, respectful and transparent conversation, and am able to work effectively with different personalities by leaving my ego at the door.

3. What specific actions should your city take or continue to insure affordable housing is available?

Our city has become an attractive destination for new residents, which is an indication of the health of our existing community and our potential. Ward 2's zip code is one of the hottest in the country, according to Realtor.com; and Simple.Thrifty.Living. ranks Merriam as the no. 2 city for middle-class families in Kansas! While that's exciting, it can drive up property values and make affordable housing hard to come by. Merriam is already trying to get ahead of this issue by mandating that new housing complexes have a certain amount of lower-income units available. I also believe we should diligently avoid raising the residential city mill. We haven't raised it since 2008, thought home values are increasing. Maximizing revenue from non-residential taxes and investments will help keep housing affordable.

4. Shawnee, Olathe, Lenexa, Overland Park candidates: Should your city adopt a non-discrimination ordinance that provides legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals?

We already did! Whoo! I'm proud to live in a city that was one of the first in northeastern Johnson County to enact an NDO.