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Councilor faces challenger after BearCat vote

City Councilor Amanda Grady Sexton gained an opponent for her seat after voting in favor of accepting a $258,000 grant to purchase an armored BearCat vehicle Monday night.

Kevin Bloom, a lobbyist and brewery consultant, filed to run for city council in Ward 4 yesterday. He said Monday’s BearCat vote was the “driving issue” behind his candidacy and that he’ll run on a platform of “peace and frugality.” He said he personally canvassed Ward 4 before the BearCat vote and the majority of people he talked to opposed the BearCat.

“I felt that my city councilman voted the wrong way and was not responsive to constituents’ emails and phone calls either,” he said.

Bloom, 52, has lived in Concord since 2009. He helped found Rothbard, Stirner and Dobbs, a local lobbying firm, this January.

Grady Sexton, who was elected in 2009, filed for re-election last week. She declined to comment yesterday on Bloom’s specific allegations regarding the BearCat, but she said she takes constituent services seriously.

“I do have an excellent record of constituent services and of responding to all constituents in my ward,” she said. “I have not, in my last three and a half years (on the council), heard from Mr. Bloom on any items that have come before the council.”

Bloom was the only person to file for a council seat yesterday. Jean Barnes, John Williams and Michael Gfroerer all filed to be ward moderators, and Genevieve Van Beaver, Valerie Perkins and Kristina Schultz filed to be ward supervisors. Stan Kelly filed for the position of ward clerk. No one filed yesterday to run for school board.

The filing period for both the school board and city council ends Monday, but petitions will be accepted until Sept. 20. School board candidates can file to run with the school board’s clerk at 104 Pleasant St. City council candidates can file at the city clerk’s office in Concord City Hall on Green Street.

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or
kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @kronayne.)

I'm a resident of the 4th Ward and I've seen Mr. Bloom at numerous city council meetings. He seems like a good man and would be a nice change of pace from the inaccessible Ms. Grady Sexton. I both emailed and called Ms. Sexton to let her know my opposition against the militarization of the Concord Police. She has not made any attempt to contact me to explain her vote. Needless, to say I'm very disappointed. In my neighborhood there was a lot of opposition to the Bearcat. I suspect Mr. Bloom's campaign strategy will be quiet effective. He’s already got his first vote.

Ms. Grady Sexton cleverly said she had never heard from Mr. Bloom on any items that have come before the council in the past 3 1/2 years. She misses the point. The largest petition effort in Concord history delivered 1,500 Concord signatures to her and she ignored all 1,500 of them. When the city is wasting a quarter million dollars of federal money and tens of thousands in future Concord revenues on buying and maintaining the THIRD armored vehicle within 10 miles, there are wrong priorities being set by Ms. Grady Sexton and the other ten council members that voted "Yes". A simple inter-agency agreement would have provided access to similar equipment; but, it was easier to vote for massive waste instead.

I'm sorry Ms. Grady-Sexton missed the two times I addressed the City Council in person to give her my opinion. To give her the benefit of the doubt, perhaps she was away. The first time was to oppose a city regulation banning signs held on the sidewalk, the second was the hearing for the armored car. Before the second vote, I collected signatures door to door in Ward 4 for most of a day, on a petition opposing the "BEARCAT". My name is clearly on the petition, so that would make three times I've given my opinion. I think "Tillie" is giving us a tongue in cheek comment, since the mayor and certain other city council members are also lobbyists.

Grady Sexton you should have listened to the people on this one! Kevin Blood you have my vote and I will be voting you can bank on that. I will be attending every city council meeting moving forward. Maybe you can straighten out the arrogance of the city council and especially the city manager. They act like rulers instead of public servants. Enough is enough!

I agree with you on lobbying. Let's also stop Planned Parenthood and unions and liberal causes from lobbying here as well.

Lobbying firm huh? Just what Concord needs, a lobbyist.

If I lived in Concord, I would vote for Mr. Bloom. It does not matter if Mr. Bloom every came before the council, he is courageous to stand against the entrenched progressive dictators on the council.

Here's a chance for the voters to send a message.

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