A Ward 2 resident who has pushed for electrical infrastructure updates in her neighborhood as well as for fixes to sidewalks and curbs at the Village Shops is running for city council.
Inga Selders said a desire to see the city address two public safety issues in particular are her primary motivations for seeking the Ward 2 seat that is currently occupied by first-term councilmember Serena Schermoly.
Selders said she has grown increasingly concerned about pedestrian crosswalks in the city, where cars tend to zip along without stopping.
“The bottom line is most cars do not stop for pedestrians,” Selders said. “I think in most cases, people are just driving on auto-pilot and don’t see that someone is trying to cross the road.”
She wants to see the city add beacon lights in key areas to raise visibility of pedestrians crossing the street.
Additionally, she said, she believes the city should take steps to increase safety at its parks. While Prairie Village’s parks are safe overall, she said there have been instances of car break-ins, vandalism and drug dealing in parking lots in recent years.
“I think adding a security camera in each of the parks parking lots would help to deter criminal activity, and if a crime is committed in the park, there is video footage of those who have entered and exited the parking lot, which would be very helpful in tracking down perpetrators,” she said.
Selders attended Prairie Elementary and Indian Hills Middle School before graduating from Shawnee Mission East. She started college at the Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles before moving back to Prairie Village and finishing a degree in elementary education at UMKC. She worked as a teacher in the Shawnee Mission School District for several years before teaming up with her husband to found a sound production company, Substream Music & Sound Design, which they’ve run for nearly a decade.
Selders and Schermoly were at odds over home design guidelines.
Last summer, as the city council was debating a new series of design guidelines regarding the size and scope of new homes in the city, Selders raised concerns on the community forum site Next Door about Schermoly’s mayoral campaign signs showing up in the yards of homes slated for teardown-rebuild projects.
Selders had argued in favor of the guidelines, saying they were needed to preserve neighborhood character. Schermoly and Councilmember Ted Odell were the dissenting votes in the council’s 11-2 vote in October to adopt the new home design guidelines.
Contact for comment on Selders’ entry into the race, Schermoly sent this reply:
When I ran for office to represent Ward 2 I did it with respect for Ms. [RUTH] Hopkins who served as a volunteer to represent me and all the residents in Ward 2. I was never disrespectful to her, I always honored her service and commitment to Prairie Village. For months Ms. Selders has attacked me and made false allegations and acted liked a bully online.
Ms. Selders never called me to confirm any of her allegations. As a representative you should always have the facts before you make a decision. I personally would NOT want Ms. Selders to represent me.
In response to those comments, Selders issued the following statement:
“I’m running because I want to make a difference in our city. I am outspoken and have always sought the truth in my elected officials. I have a solid history of standing up for our community. As an elected official, I would welcome and urge residents to engage with me concerning issues that are important to them.”
Schermoly was elected to her first term on the council in spring 2016, when she defeated 24-year incumbent Ruth Hopkins on a vote count of 223 to 108 (or 67 percent to 33 percent). She announced she would seek the mayor’s office last May, and edged fellow councilmember Andrew Wang in the primary to advance to the the general election. (Wang endorsed Schermoly for the office after the primary). Schermoly went on to lose to Eric Mikkelson in the November 2018 vote by a margin of 68-32 with more than 12,000 votes cast.