KINGMAN – Kerry Deering is a political newcomer running for City Council this election, and he says he wants to change the perception of politics and growth in Kingman.
Deering said that this election was the time for him to get involved because he was tired of complaining about some things happening in Kingman and not doing anything about it.
“Politics unfortunately can divide, it’s easy to sit back and critique other people. The current mayor and Council, hats off to them. They’re serving the public, they’re not perfect, I know that,” he said, however, he said negative perception exists in the community.
“I think it might be a little conflict of certain people doing business with the developers when they’re elected officials to serve the people of Kingman.”
Deering said he hears a common sentiment daily from patients in his medical practice – they believe that the city is pushing for growth before it’s ready for it.
“Whether they have been here six months, a year, or their lifetime,” Kerry said, “all of them have the same view that ‘We feel that we’re having to pay for the new developments that are going to be coming in so people can move here.’”
“We’ve got some major things that should have been taken care of with what we already have,” he said.
“Why did the Airway Underpass become the most important thing in Kingman? What happened to the Bank Street Project; that thing was supposed to be done in 2005?”
Deering relates a shopping incident with his daughter where he said, “You need to take care of what’s in your closet before you get any new clothes. You’re not putting anything else in there until you get rid of the other stuff.
“I think it’s great, we have to plan for the future, but we also have to attend to the house we have right now.”
Deering said all developers, large and small, should be held to the same criteria.
“I don’t think there should be exceptions. I don’t care if you’re Wal-Mart or the little ma and pa supermarket, to me you stand by the law,” he said.
“I think we need to develop a plan and stick with it.”
Deering defines himself as a strong advocate of outdoor recreation and worries about the consequences of over-development.
“My life evolves around orthopedic injuries. I see what happens to people that don’t exercise. That’s a big thing of mine. I envision bike trails that people can safely ride on,” he said.
“I would love to see the three cities get together and work with the county on a plan to say ‘hey, maybe we need to improve some of the county property that will be left for all of us to enjoy down the road. Let me tell you, people are going to need a place to go and get some fresh air, and I’m afraid it’s all going to be bulldozed under.”
Deering said he was particularly worried about the schools not being ready for growth.
“It’s a very tough situation they’ve been placed in,” he said.
“It’s going to be crowded, we’re going to have higher student to teacher ratio, very little room for kids in the new middle school campuses.”
“We need a long-term plan to prepare to deal with any outlook that could arise,” Deering said of the water situation, adding that conservation measures should be applied to new development.
“You’re going to put a golf course in, from here on out it has to be sewer water that’s going to water that course. You can never use potable well water to water that course,” he said as an example.
On annexation, Deering said: “If they do want to come into the city and we can financially afford to bring them in, then we do it the right way … exactly the way it’s planned, with no exceptions, no under the table deals,” adding that he didn’t want Kingman to become “a little island amidst a bunch of little settlements.”
Deering said taxes “have to be earmarked for specific things, and people need to know up front. I think the people that are established in that community ought to have the say if they think that’s enough (of a priority).
“No matter what, whatever, I get elected or not, I hope this election stimulates people to get involved and not just gripe, because I know 50 people right now I could name that would be excellent on that City Council, just that they won’t get involved. And they’re not all old Kingman,” Deering said.