Jim Valentine has been on the Wellington City Council for four terms now, always fighting the good fight.  He has always done his job  by his own words, focusing on “your health, safety and welfare.”  Lately, though, he has strong words for the city government and their handling of matters.  To put it bluntly, Mr. Valentine is not happy.
“We don’t have unity when you have people who dictate,” he says, referring to the current city government.  
“Ten years ago, we had 4,441 electric customers.  Now we have 3,300 customers and 30 of those are businesses.  We have dropped in population 1,500 people, to a population of 7,000.  We do not have the tax base right now.”
He goes on to describe that the housing in Wellington is made up of 60% rentals, with only 33% of them being rented.  “My concern is the people.  That’s what matters to me.  I was born and raised here.  I know dollars and cents.  Nothing else matters.  We are in dire straits.  We (the city government) cannot keep taking, taking, and taking.”
In regards to issues such as the automated trash issue and other developments, Valentine stresses that “we need to put on the brakes.  We cannot lose the hospital.  We cannot skimp on public safety.”  He adds sadly, “Only 54% of the people in Wellinton even use the hospital.”
Valentine says he has put up quite the fight since he has been on the council.  “I don’t back down and when I say no, I mean no.  No one is changing my mind.  I know we do need to progress, but we cannot keep raising sales taxes and putting up more bond issues.  I am not against progress with reason.  I am against progress without reason.”
“We are not moving forward.  Driving down the streets, there is blight everywhere.  People are being penalized with higher real estate taxes when they try to fix up their houses.  The utilities and tax rates are both way too high.  People pay the bills here.  The city should be working for the people, not the other way around.  The city should be held accountable.”
Valentine, of course, is a “no” vote when it comes to the trash service.  He brought us a letter he received regarding the failed petition to tell the city council no on that issue.  He allowed us to print it in full from an anonymous citizen of Wellington.  
‘Even though it was not accepted because of a technical problem, there were still that many voters that signed.  We have seen and heard the three newly elected council member voice a ‘no’ on the sanitation truck twice.  The mayor consistently makes it known that no one can speak unless called upon.  It is clear to me we have NO freedom of speech in Wellington.  The mayor tells us not to say anything about Wellington on social media pages.  You risked your life to protect our speech even in little Wellington, KS.
I hope you will look into this to see if we truly do not have a voice here in Wellington.
I am sending this to you, Mr. Valentine, because I know you, above all the other council members, believe in the constitution.’
Valentine has been known to be “the voice of reason” on the city council since 2007, despite a two-year break for health reasons.  His political career goes all the way back to 1991 when he ran for mayor of Wellington, but lost to his opponent by a little over a hundred votes.  
“You are here to help people live, not survive,” Valentine says he told the three new council members.  “Do you want to help people live or survive?”
In the end, Valentine believes “Wellington is a good town.  Decisions being made, however, are not being made rationally.  There are too many holes in them, like Swiss cheese.”
In response, Mayor Hansel says she and “Jim disagree on quite a lot of things, but he voted with his heart and what I think is right.”
She recounts a contentious exchange at the recent work session between Valentine and Public Works Director Jeremy Jones.  Jones was going on about how citizens were going to receive two trash cans:  one for trash, the other for recycling.  Jones mentioned how some communities fine people for not recycling.  Valentine vehemently said he ‘would not support a socialistic society.’  
Mayor Hansel said she “tried to reassure Valentine that it was not going to happen in Wellington. “ ‘No one will force anyone to do anything they do not want to do,’ she said to him at the work session.  
For the automated trash issue Mayor Hansel and Jim Valentine are clearly on opposite sides.  “Jim has been my friend for a long time, but I think he’s wrong on this one.” However, Mayor Hansel believes  that “for Wellington to be a progressive community, it needs to happen. It makes so much sense for it to happen.  It’s change and for the better.”  
Hansel believes that if the council fails to pass this issue, then privatization would be her fall back plan.  Unfortunately, “with privatization, fees per month could go up to as high as thirty dollars a month.  If we don’t go with the automated trash, it will clearly cost us so much more in the long run.”
With this fight, Mayor Hansel is firm in saying, “I have never been more sure of something in my life.”