The two candidates for mayor of Brentwood, Barbara Clements and Chris Thornton, met Monday at the Brentwood School District conference center in a congenial League of Women Voters forum. There was often agreement in the 28 questions posed by audience members, read from cards by a LWV moderator.
Around two dozen residents came, maybe a few less than attended the forum for the Brentwood School Board last week.
The moderator alternated who answered first. Some of the questions, and answers:
Brentwood’s biggest challenge? Clements: mitigate the flooding on Manchester. Thornton: how to benefit from the city’s past investments in a capital project, making sure tax base doesn’t suffer from nearby commercial competition.
What new businesses would you like in Brentwood? Both said more restaurants, specifically ice cream.
How to handle pressure from developers, balancing needs of residents? Clements: Committees, such as planning and zoning, has a say in this. Thornton: the comprehensive plan, now in the works, is the best tool the city has.
Speeding in residential streets? Thornton: Public safety committee to finish traffic calming measures plan. Clements: speeders are often residents
Opinion on the proposed apartments at Brentwood and Hanley? Clements: gut feeling is that there would be too much traffic, against it. Thornton: any development will bring more traffic, and traffic engineers approved it.
Dog park? Both 100 percent behind it.
Deer Creek flooding mitigation? Thornton: a massive plan to control flooding is two years in the works, and there would be enormous benefits if done. Clements: There must be a less expensive way to accomplish flood mitigation, possibly work with MSD.
City employee compensation? Thornton: Brentwood’s city employees are mostly the best paid of 14 cities in a comparison. Compensation would pass revenue if not checked. Bring salaries down to be in the top 3 of the 14 cities. Clements: Compensation should match performance, why should it be capped?
How to bring resident participation in city committees beyond Ward 1? Thornton: happy to do it, but he has to twist arms to get residents to serve, and most come from Ward 1. Clements: Agrees.
Willing to make Brentwood a sanctuary city (city where police will not pick up undocumented immigrants)? Both said if an immigrant is undocumented, all should follow the law, and the immigrant should be picked up.
How to promote a culture of civility in board of aldermen meetings? Thornton: It has come a long way. He said he implemented Roberts Rules of Order, and would continue that. Clements: Was on the board for 19 years, and doesn’t remember having problems, said some on the board now served with her.
Biggest public mistake? Thornton: Making committee nominations without talking to the aldermen first when he first became mayor, said communication has improved since then. Clements: Retiring, and she’s now trying to rectify that.
What’s the best quality in your opponent for mayor? Clements: Thornton is Dapper Dan — he’s a nice person. Thornton: Clements’ love of Brentwood is so deep it’s not even funny.
The candidates’ opening statements: