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Student may toss hat into Waco politics

Feb. 23, 2001

Neighborhood meetings to probe Baylor complaints

By BJ GOERGEN

Staff writer

Alice Flores has struggled to improve communication between Waco and Baylor since she became a member of Waco's City Council in 1991. Flores serves as council representative for District 2, which includes Baylor and surrounding areas.

'Because of problems with Baylor students and homeowners, we are having some neighborhood meetings,' Flores said. 'I want Baylor to know that it's not us against them.'

Three neighborhood meetings are scheduled to begin Tuesday. Flores, and representatives from the local community, will be meeting with Baylor representatives to discuss community relations.

One Baylor student expressed interest in running for the city council seat to address issues facing residents around campus. Will Shurley, a sophomore from Monroe, La., was planning to run for Flores' seat in May. Shurley said he thinks Baylor and Waco aren't using each other's good qualities.

'Baylor has been under-represented in Waco's city planning -- especially the last two years,' Shurley said. 'The roads around campus are in horrible condition and the lighting in the neighborhoods is inadequate. Baylor is hindered without support of the city.'

Even though a majority of District 2 contains Baylor students, Flores said she thinks a student council member would not be able to meet the needs of the entire district. Residents in the area feel that only Baylor would be taken care of if a student were elected, Flores said.

'You have to know the community,' she said.

Earlier this year, Flores decided she didn't want to run for re-election. However, she had many supporters call and encourage her to run again.

'I'm not sure,' Flores said. 'I'm leaving my options open.'

While researching eligibility requirements, Shurley discovered that the city of Waco requirements differed from other cities in the area.

According to the city secretary's office, Hewitt, Robinson, Beverly Hills and Bellmead each require a person wanting to run for city council to be 18 years old. However, Waco passed a 'Home Rule Charter' that requires a person to be at least 21 years old before he or she can run for city council.

Candidates must also be qualified voters of the state and city for 12 months immediately preceding the election date, and be residents of the district for six months preceding the election date. Filing for the city elections is open until March 21 and the elections will be held May 5.

Two candidates have already filed to run for the District 2 City Council seat. Carlos Pesina Jr. is a barber and has served on the Dr Pepper Museum board, the Waco school board and the city planning commission. According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, the other candidate, Larry Parker, ran against former Mayor Mike Morrison, but was disqualified from the race because of previous felony convictions.

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