GHAC announces election results

For the last meeting of its 2006-2007 session, the Greater Hilltop Area Commission convened at the J. Ashburn Jr. Youth Center on July 10 with plans to go over the results of their June 23 election and to appoint a new commissioner via a secret ballot election.

The chair of the Government Legislation Committee began by congratulating the winners of June’s election and by offering a resolution aimed at certifying its results.

Commissioners Judy Manley, Dru Bagley, and Mark Potts were each re-elected to their respective positions, while new member Jenny Keplar won a spot on the board with just over 50 votes.

Due to a resident concern regarding the accuracy of the ballot count, the Government Legislation committee had met prior to the meeting to recount the votes and confirm the election results. Each commissioner was elected with around 50 or 60 votes.

After a few minutes of debate among fellow commissioners and residents, the resolution to certify the election results was approved unanimously.

After the regular meeting was adjourned, the floor opened up for nominations for the commission’s open seat.

The next highest vote-getter was write-in candidate Pam Weaver, who received just over 20 votes. Weaver admitted that she “finally gave in” after being asked by others to enter the fray.

Resident Bee Murphy recommended to the commission that Weaver fill the final position on the commission, one to be appointed by the members of the group.

Though Weaver was the next-highest vote getting in the election, Hilltop’s bylaws do not mandate that the appointed position reflect the vote turnout.

GHAC Treasurer David Horn nominated local resident Bob Spears, who remarked that he would do anything that he could in order to help the Westside.

“I would like to see some more in terms of economic growth and public safety,” he commented when asked to discuss his plans should he be appointed. “I’m not saying that I have all the answers, but I am willing to take my experiences from around the area to help in any way that I can.”

Commissioner Ricardo Mendez then nominated a hesitant Bee Murphy, who declared that she simply wanted to see the Hilltop community come together.

“I would like to see the people work together for the betterment of the community,” she offered to the commission.

At the conclusion of the group’s secret ballot vote, the group extended a warm welcome to Bob Spears, who won the seat by an eight vote margin.

Once the appointed position had been filled, commissioners moved to nominate and confirm new officers.

Chairman Gary L. Baker II faced no competition in retaining his position, while Chuck Patterson captured the position of Vice Chairman while the standing VP was absent from the meeting.

Rounding out the officer elections was the retainment of David Horn as Treasurer and Judy Manley as Secretary.

Chairman Baker closed the meeting with a few poignant words regarding the past and future direction of the body.

“This commission has never mistaken responsibility for power,” he began. “We are no more powerful than anybody else in our community. If you truly believe that, then I would encourage all of us to deliver on that trust and on that promise.”

In other Hilltop news, the land designated for the new police heliport has been approved by the city. Construction remains in the planning stages.

A block watch-led cleanup effort at Westgate Park on July 7 helped residents recognize a growing problem – crime and unsanitary conditions on the public grounds.

Commissioner Sue Laughlin explained that there needed to be more of a police presence in the area, as drifters have been using the park as a restroom. “It’s a real problem,” she lamented.

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