Local campaigns always heat up in the final stretch to election day. And this week was no different in Independence politics as information surfaced about one of the candidates running for one of two seats up for grabs next Tuesday on the Independence City Council.
Police reports came to light this week alleging candidate Mike Huff may have engaged in behavior that might give some voters pause as they consider their choices. According to those reports, police have been called on several occasions to incidents involving Huff. Some of the police reports document calls related to assault accusations involving an ex-wife and a neighbor. While no charges stemmed from these calls, Huff was the subject of a subsequent lawsuit filed by his neighbor, which ultimately was dropped after he filed bankruptcy.
The Examiner reported on these issues Thursday, and also previously reported on the financial issues related to Huff’s bankruptcy filing and payment of delinquent back taxes. He spoke at length with us to explain the situation with the bankruptcy filing and delinquent back taxes. In this week’s story, he responded that the domestic abuse allegations “lack credibility” and that the other allegations made were taken out of context. But for the most part, the campaign’s response was to deflect and decry this as dirty campaign tactics and a smear campaign in the final days leading up to the election.
Timing aside, we feel these are legitimate issues that voters should know. In reading the police reports, we noted in one report in which, according to police, Huff effectively threatened to withhold future cooperation with the Independence Police Department from Independence Power & Light when he was employed there. In another report, he purportedly threatened his estranged wife at the time. These reports date back to 1998, with the most recent report that we reviewed occurring in 2012.
Candidates serving our city, while not perfect, should at least not have a repeated pattern of questionable decision-making hanging over their heads. Concerning to us also is the willingness to resort to threats and intimidation as documented in the police reports. This type of behavior has no place in city government. Ever.
Public service is a tough job. As part of an elected body, you are a representative of that organization, with your words and actions on display for all to see. This applies to both what you do as an elected official, and your words and actions from the past. Voters should consider the representation they want for their community and have a clear view of their choices when selecting candidates to serve in the best interests of the community.