Mayor Faces Challenge From Funeral Director - The Missourian: Local News

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Mayor Faces Challenge From Funeral Director

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Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014 3:00 pm

Jeff Palmore, 61, is seeking to unseat incumbent Mayor Herb Adams, 59.

Adams is seeking his fifth term. He is running on the slogan “Charming City.”

As mayor, Adams said his focus has been to build streets and sidewalks, and, at the same time, erase acrimony and foster cooperation among citizens and groups.

Running on the slogan “Pacific Is Due for a Change,” Palmore said the mayor has the power to end some practices that keep Pacific from being the city it can be.

Profiles on both of the candidates are as follows:

Herb Adams

A lifelong Pacific resident, Adams is a graduate of Pacific High School. He attended St. Louis Community College and worked for his family’s waste hauling business before starting a career selling cars for Wiest Chevrolet in Pacific. He is currently employed at Dave Sinclair in Pacific.

His political career began at age 26 when he was elected municipal judge. He served 16 years as municipal judge and has now served 14 years as mayor.

Adams said he takes great pride in the city’s ability to work with state, federal and county transportation officials to acquire more than $50 million in grants that have rebuilt the city’s infrastructure.

He pointed to the new Interstate 44 eastbound ramps, West Osage improvements and new sidewalks as a testament to his administration’s determination to create a better city.

“We can do a whole lot more together than any one of us can do as an individual or a small clique,” Adams said. “As we learn to pool our resources we grow.”

Believe it or not, he said, the concrete infrastructure is one of the elements of his vision of a charming city. As a boy who played ball in the street because there was no park, he realized at a young age that things should be better.

“A long time ago I envisioned a city with no standing rain in front of houses,” he said. “Children and young mothers should not have to compete with cars when they are out for a walk. There should be sidewalks on both sides of the street. Sidewalks may be concrete, but they make people feel safe and add to the aesthetics to the neighborhood.”

If re-elected, Adams said he would spend the next four years working to improve the quality of life in Pacific. There is still much that can done, he said.

“I was the one who bought the back section of the park from Boys Town and to date, we’ve not done anything with that side of the park,” he said. “We need to improve that area. I’m glad to see the Boy Scouts show an interest in that side of the park with their trails.”

Now it is time for the city to take some action, he said, by improving the pond and increasing the size so it can be stocked with fish.

“These are things that make a community, in addition to police, city water and sewers,” he said. “What enjoyment or entertainment we get when we all come together and act like family is what adds charm to our community.”

As a personal priority, if given the opportunity to serve another term, Adams said he would push for the construction of a recreation and cultural complex.

“In the first 60 days I would move forward with a plan to build and complete in four years a recreation center,” he said. “It needs to be more than a swimming pool — a track, basketball court and meeting rooms. We also need a permanent home for our museum, genealogy and a welcome center.”

“It would be a place that everyone could go to for years to come,” Adams said. “Especially, it would finally provide recreation and a gathering place for young people.”

Adams said he believes Pacific is already a charming city, but that work is not done.

“We always hear talk about taking care of what we have and I think we need to do that,” he said. “But while we’re taking care of things we need to grow and improved infrastructure is part of our community.

Adams said the city can easily do more than one thing at a time and if he is given another term he will work on several fronts to continue to improve streets and parks, add a recreation center and foster cooperation among all the groups in the city.

Adams and his wife Yolanda have two daughters, Jocelyn Jones, who with her husband Robert has two daughters, Adrianna, 6, and Ava, 5; and Danielle Alexander, who with her husband Jeremy has two daughters, Taylor, 13, and Mackinsey, 8.

Jeff Palmore

Palmore graduated from Harrison High School, Evansville, Ind. He enrolled in Mortuary Science at Jefferson State College in Birmingham, Ala., and later graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in technology management.

He later took courses in computer science at Webster University.

In 1978, he began a career as a systems analyst for weapons, including the Tomahawk cruise missiles, a job that took him to every U.S. Navy destroyer in the fleet, which he described as a dream job.

In 1984, he became a senior design engineer with McDonnell, later Boeing, and moved to St. Louis. His job transitioned to advanced cruise missiles and ultimately worked into production. He became a design engineer working with manufacturing.

Palmore met Byron Bell in 1995 and began talks about buying Bell Funeral Home. After being partners with Bell for three years, he acquired full ownership in 1998.

“I always worked two jobs,” he said. “Even as a weapons designer, I worked in the mortuary business.”

He said he originally did not intend to go into politics, but his experience with local government revealed practices and policies that make it difficult to do business in the city.

If elected mayor, Palmore said he would make changes in the areas of fiscal responsibility, open government and fair treatment of citizens and businesses.

“We need to get our costs under control,” he said. “We can’t keep building excessive structures. The idea that we will take on a recreation center is irresponsible.

“We cannot continue paying the attorney $300,000 a year and we don’t even know what we’re paying for,” he added. “We have a PUD law where developers have to pay $2,000 for a permit and the attorney gets $1,600.”

Palmore said the attorney was lauded for negotiating a cell tower contract, but the details were kept under wraps.

“I’d bet that he negotiated a big payment for himself,” he said.

Palmore said the city would be better served to spend funds on things like new police cars.

“We have six police cars with over 200,000 miles on them,” he said. “If we were to rotate them we could have cars with reasonable mileage all the time.”

He also would support expenditures such as the city’s portion of the Bend Bridge repairs because of the importance of the bridge to citizens.

Above all, Palmore said he would want voters to know that leadership can bring change.

“Maybe I’m naive, but I believe when we’re sitting in front of our citizens and a citizen complains, officials can look into the complaint and find whether it has merit,” he said. “We need to be more transparent about the petitioners’ requests and the mayor has the position to encourage officials to act in a more friendly way.

“The mayor can simply say out loud, ‘This is wrong,’ when other officials act inappropriately,” he added.

“The city should not cover up and ignore the citizen complaints. If I’m the mayor, I will say it out loud while the meeting is going on. I will be vocal.”

Palmore says the mayor can be a catalyst for change and voters who want to see change should vote for him.

Palmore and his wife Patricia have one son, Jason, who lives in Kentucky.

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