Open mic time, housing affordability and LGBTQ+ legal protections: Our questions for the Overland Park city council candidates

Housing affordability has become a bigger and bigger issue in Johnson County in recent years.

A few weeks ago, we asked our readers to submit suggestions for questions they’d like to hear the candidates running for seats on the Overland Park city council address.

Based on the input we received, we’ve developed the five-item questionnaire below and sent it out to the candidates competing in the following races:

Council Member Ward 1

  • Terry Happer Scheier (incumbent)
  • Holly Grummert

Council Member Ward 2

  • Roger Tarbutton
  • Paul Lyons (incumbent)

Council Member Ward 3

  • Tom Carignan
  • Stephan Glentzer

Council Member Ward 4

  • Dan Osman
  • Fred Spears (incumbent)

Council Member Ward 5

  • Faris Farassati (incumbent)
  • Phil Bressler

Council Member Ward 6

  • Rick Collins (incumbent)
  • Scott Hamblin

We’ll be running the candidates’ responses to these items starting Monday, Oct 14.

Question 1
Neighboring cities give residents access to “open mic” time where they can make comments on any issue during city council and/or committee meetings. Should Overland Park offer this opportunity to its residents? If so, how would you like to see this implemented?

Question 2
The ForwardOP vision calls for the community to be “welcoming,” where people of all ages and from diverse backgrounds are engaged in the community. What policies would you enact to realize this vision for Overland Park to be a welcoming city?

Question 3
Living expenses in Johnson County have seen double digit increases in the last 4 years. Home ownership is becoming a challenge for people working in a number of professions such as teachers, firefighters, and police officers in Johnson County. Costs for individuals, including those on fixed incomes, who own their home without a mortgage have continued to rise. How would you address the need for more varied priced housing options in Overland Park? (This question was submitted by the Johnson County Health Equity Network, which is focused on housing affordability, stability and safety).

Question 4
Should Overland Park adopt a city-level non-discrimination ordinance with legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals? Why or why not?

Question 5
In recent months, city officials from across the metro area have been coordinating on ideas that local governments can take to address climate change. Do you support the idea of city government taking steps to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Why or why not?