Cairo Association of Teachers - Newsletter

CAT Tracks for April 18, 2007

Stories are presented in reverse order...newest at the top.

From the Southeast Missourian...

Long wait for Cairo election results

By Rudi Keller ~ Southeast Missourian

CAIRO, Ill. -- The clock was sweeping past 2:30 a.m. today when interim Alexander County clerk Nancy Kline emerged from the counting room with the final results of Tuesday's elections in Cairo.

The final results from absentee and early voting reversed the results counted from voters who visited polling places, including a lopsided victory for councilmember-at-large that elevated Linda Jackson to the office elected citywide.

Judson Childs built on the lead he secured among Election Day voters by winning the absentee and early voters by a tally of 321 to 40 over opponent Karl Klein.

The final results of Cairo's races include:

* Mayor: Childs defeated Klein 933-445.

* Councilmeber at large: Jackson defeated James R. (Bob) Conroy 751-605.

* Ward 1: Senior councilmember Elbert "Bo" Purchase defeated challenger Joseph W. Holder 182-131. Voters visiting the polls had given Holder a one vote margin.

* Ward 2: Kathy McAllister defeated Thomas W. Simpson 141-114. Simpson held a 100-93 margin among voters who cast ballots on Election Day.

* Ward 3: Lorenzo Nelson defeated incumbent Councilwoman Sandar Tarver 78 to 65, slightly increasing the 44 to 37 margin among Election Day ballots.

* Ward 4: Richard Pitcher defeated Thomas Burris Jr. 224 to 118, holding his earlier margin.

* Ward 5: Tyrone Coleman defeated Phillip Craig Hodges 152 to 117, also holding his early lead.

The Cairo School Board race was tight until the end, and while two candidates who led in the first tallies emerged victorious, the third open slot was taken by Arnold Burris Sr., who edged out Bobby Mayberry among absentee and early voters. The winners of the three seats were Mary K. Coleman, Vernon Stubblefield and Burris.

Check back at for the complete story later today or read Thursday's Southeast Missourian.

From the Southeast Missourian...

Absentee votes will decide school election

By Mark Bliss ~ Southeast Missourian

CAIRO, Ill. -- Four candidates including two incumbents were in a battle for three spots on the Cairo school board late Tuesday night with absentee ballots still to be counted.

School board president Arnold Burris Sr., who has served 16 years on the school board, was in danger of losing his bid for a fifth four-year term.

But Burris, an Alexander County deputy sheriff, expressed confidence that the absentee ballots would put him back on the board. "I think I am in good shape," he said.

Mayberry, Alexander County's 911 coordinator, agreed that Burris would benefit from the absentee votes. But Mayberry said he still was hopeful he'd win a seat on the board. Mayberry said the other three candidates battling for board seats are all "good people" and the district would be well served by any of the them.

Mary Coleman, who worked for the school system for three decades before retiring, headed up the field of eight candidates in votes in Tuesday's election. Coleman had 469 votes, followed by incumbent Vernon Stubblefield with 396 votes, Bobby Mayberry with 374 votes and Burris with 360 votes.

Trailing them were Cairo city clerk Erica Wells with 283 votes; Delbert Irish, 184; Torey Purchase, 180; and Owen Terry Jr., 125.

Coleman campaigned on a theme of doing what's best for the students. "I would like to think that over the course of 30 years, I had established a relationship with not only the parents but the students as well," she said.

"I just want an opportunity to serve."

Stubblefield, who was appointed in January to fill a vacancy on the board, couldn't be reached for comment election night. A relative said Stubblefield went to bed rather than stay up late to await the election results.

From the Southeast Missourian...

Cairo elects Childs mayor

By Rudi Keller ~ Southeast Missourian

CAIRO, Ill. -- With all five precincts reporting and absentee ballots and early votes still to be counted, Judson Childs appears to have defeated Karl Klein for Cairo mayor. Childs received 612 votes to Klein's 405 at the polls Tuesday.

Childs said he will begin a process of evaluating the city's pluses and minuses. "I'll have to take a serious look at what we have. They say don't fix it if it ain't broken, but if it is broken, I've got to fix it," he said.

He added he will reach out and look for advice from all quarters of the city. "I am not too proud to receive good information from anybody," he said. "I have no quarrels against that man. He ran a very professional campaign."

Klein was philosophical about his defeat. "If I lose, I win. I don't have to put up with four years of it. I just hope they all work together."

James Taylor, a Childs supporter, said the election of a black mayor in predominantly black Cairo is going to change the attitude of the citizenry for the better, "It is history being made," he said. "I've got butterflies in my stomach it feels so good."

Childs' apparent victory will bring to an end the turbulent period of leadership by Paul Farris, who lost his bid for re-election in the primary. Farris's tenure as mayor was marked by constant fighting over issues ranging from spending priorities to mayoral power. He endured criticism for the amounts paid to the city attorney -- current attorney Patrick Cox has a contract that pays him $106,000 a year -- and for his style of leadership.

During his four years in office, the city has faced potential loss of employee health insurance coverage and been declared in default on debts by a local bank. Farris personally weathered criminal charges related to his actions establishing new city bank accounts after taking power when the council refused to approve his appointees for top city jobs.

In the past year, agencies providing grants have begun pulling back from Cairo because city accounts have not been audited for five years. Without assurances that the city's finances are being properly handled, granting agencies won't be willing to provide the money needed for crucial improvements in town.

Both Childs and Klein spent much of the campaign promising to work cooperatively with the city council. But issues ranging from incentives for industry to crumbling buildings and deteriorating roads and sewers facing the new city leadership will provide a key measure of whether those promises will be fulfilled.

The new mayor of Cairo will take office May 1.