Brazil Mayoral, City Council and Clerk-Treasurer Municipal Election candidates answered questions at Tuesday's political forum.
The forum, presented by The Clay County Chamber of Commerce and Clay County Farm Bureau, was held in the community room of the YMCA of Clay County.
Mayoral candidates Steve Lamb, T.J. Sneddon and Brian Wyndham fielded questions first.
The first question focused on city ordinances that are not being enforced such as burning trash or debris and yards that are not being mowed.
Wyndham tackled the question first.
"If in fact there are city ordinances not being enforced I think really it's pretty simple," Wyndham said. "We either enforce them or do away with them."
Lamb then followed.
"The city ordinance about the lawn mowing is being enforced," Lamb said. "There are several liens against properties of people that have not kept their property up.
We do mow it and then if they don't pay us in a certain length of time then there is a lien put on their property taxes."
Sneddon took the question last.
"My administration will start with the polite method," Sneddon said.
"We'll just ask them to please not do that and if that doesn't work, then citations would have to be issued, fines levied if that was necessary to make sure that the ordinances are being followed."
Candidates were then asked how they would address the drug problem in the area.
Sneddon took the question first.
"It is a big problem, all over. First off we need a police department that can be responsive and be mobile," Sneddon said. "My plan also (is) I've talked to some police officers who have and are willing to go into the elementary schools and start a program of education. "That's where we have to start, in the elementary schools while the police officers are still heroes to these young people by the time they get older they become the enemy and we don't want that."
Sneddon added that kids needed to be taught early about the dangers of drugs.
Lamb then offered his plan next.
"My plan is to open a mini police department in an apartment in West Central Village apartments, which seems to be taken over a lot by drug users." Lamb said. "West Central village is not being used for what is was intentionally built for ... there are good people living in West Central Village and they're afraid to come out. I think it's time for them to take back their land"
Lamb added that the police station would not be manned 24 hours a day but it would be a stopping point that officers would stop into during their shifts. He then said that a blue light might be used to signify when the police were there so residents could talk to them.
Wyndham took the question last.
"The drug problem we have here in our community isn't unlike anybody else's and that's why it's spread across the nation. I don't think there is any centralized area in Brazil (of drug problems) ... it's everywhere, and as far as addressing it I think we do have an excellent police force that does respond when there's a situation that occurs... there are (drug awareness) programs that are (being used) in grade schools"
Wyndham added that the problem is going to have to continue to be fought and that it isn't going to just go away, but agreed that it starts with educating the youth about drugs.
After a brief intermission, the city council and clerk treasurer candidates took to the panel.
Candidates included, Brad Deal and Gary Rickert, Ward One, Sam Glover, Ward Two (unopposed), Mark Bedwell Ward Three, Bill Lovett and Dustin Jorgenson, Ward Four and Tyler Hutcheson and Pat Heffner, Council at Large.
Ann Bradshaw, running for Ward Three, was not in attendance.
Clerk-Treasurer candidates were, current Clerk-Treasurer Karen McQueen and Mary Fisher.
A question that sparked the most reaction from the crowd had to do with a smoking ban.
Brad Deal took the question first.
"This smoking ban situation is a very touchy subject," Deal said.
He said he has done research by passing out 150 surveys to houses in his ward and around 90 percent of the people want a total smoking ban for the city while the rest didn't want bans on privately owned businesses or no ban at all.
As a whole, candidates agreed that a smoking ban in public places was the right thing to do, but others also said they were not for smoking bans on privately owned businesses.
Gary Rickert was a candidate who was not in favor of a ban on privately owned business.
"As far as the public places, yes I am in favor. When you go into those places you shouldn't have to smell smoke, but as far as a person's private business, that's their place, Rickert said.
"That's their money and I will never ... support a ban because that's their money and they have a right to do what they want to and their business is still in America."
Candidates were then asked if they supported the state idea of doing away with Township Trustees.
Pat Heffner took the question first and said she was "absolutely against" doing away with the township trustees.
Dustin Jorgenson said he is also against the idea.
"What they are trying to do is take the government out of the local community and we need to have government in the local community," Jorgenson said.
"Because that is where our citizens are at and that's where they need their needs met. The state doesn't know what's going on ... in every neighborhood in the community and our trustees should as elected officials, living in the area, know those things."
At print time no information on another forum has been supplied to The Brazil Times.