Candidate wants to deal with crime

David Yochum

Some wore black.

Some wore brown.

Others wore white and gray.

Tuesday night, Kent residents revealed their socks and opinions as Heidi Shaffer, Kent City Council candidate, hosted her first open house forum to discuss issues facing the community.

As a resident and Kent Yoga Center instructor, Shaffer asked a small group of 10 people to remove their shoes before taking to the couch to discuss noise ordinances, vandalism and rental property. Shaffer also talked about why she should be elected to city council and what she can offer the City of Kent that her opponent, 28-year-old Kent resident Michael Pfahl, cannot.

“I feel we need a change in leadership,” said the 45-year-old Shaffer. “I’ve also had a lot more life experience than my opponent, but I hear he’s a real nice fellow.”

Shaffer, a single mother who grew up in State College, Pa., spoke with retired Kent resident Tony Filomena and resident Cynthia LaVelle-Pahl about nuisance violations and crime.

“I don’t think crime is so much an issue in Ward 5, but if you read the crime reports in the paper, you see it’s all over town,” Filomena said. “It’s not all students though, it’s a lot of juveniles too.”

Shaffer was quick to point out that police have said many crimes in Kent are committed by visiting, non-students who come to the area for parties.

“Kent does have a pretty high crime rate,” said Shaffer, who stressed she is most concerned about Kent’s violent crime rate when compared to similar cities.

Beyond crime, Shaffer wants to address poorly maintained nuisance homes and help families and students live peacefully together in a college town.

She also would like to represent Kent students and said she wishes they would be more politically active.

Contact public affairs reporter David Yochum at [email protected].