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Archive for Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Candidate’s political career has taken winding path

February 25, 2009

Editor's Note: This is one story in a series profiling the eight candidates running for City Commission.

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James Bush

Age: 43 Address: 3717 Crossgate Terrace Family: Wife, Sandy; three children, ages 13, 12, and 8. Occupation: Sales and marketing professional Substantial business interests: Bush listed no ownership interest in any corporation, partnership or rental property. He also listed no ownership of any stocks, mutual funds or retirement accounts greater than $5,000 in value.

The career path at one time seemed to be a straight line for James Bush — straight to a political office somewhere.

As a student at the University of South Carolina, he was on his way to getting a pair of powerful weapons for any aspiring politician — a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in speech. And, to top it off, he already had his foot firmly in the door. He was a staff member for the majority leader of the South Carolina House of Representatives — David Beasley, a man who would later become governor of the state.

So it should be no surprise that of the eight candidates running for the Lawrence City Commission, it is Bush who can’t seem to get enough of all things campaign-related.

“The presidential campaign was the most wonderful time of the year,” said Bush, who is a self-labeled political junkie who has bookshelves full of political biographies.

So, again, no surprise that Bush is the one candidate in the field who came back for more. Bush ran for the City Commission two years ago, winning enough votes to make it out of the primary but falling short in the general election, where he finished fifth. That left him undeterred.

“My values haven’t changed,” Bush said of why he is running again. “The things that matter to me haven’t changed. My passion for serving hasn’t changed. It all still matters to me.”

Sounds like a simple story — a career-minded politician traveling down that straight line. Simple, except for the fact that the only reason Bush is in Lawrence is because life seldom travels on a straight line.

After the University of South Carolina, Bush didn’t find himself atop a political perch. Instead, he found himself planted behind a pulpit. A desire to serve ultimately turned him in a different direction. He ended up with master’s in divinity, and in 2003 with a job as senior pastor at Lawrence’s First Southern Baptist Church.

That’s the way it stayed for awhile, but then came those darn twists and turns. And if you turn enough, you ultimately end up facing the direction you started. In the middle of the 2003 campaign, Bush left his position at First Southern Baptist Church because it was becoming difficult to balance that job with the job that he wanted to have in the political realm.

“For me, I needed to step out of the pastorate in order to step into more community involvement,” Bush said.

But that’s not to say that the journey hasn’t shaped him. Today, one of Bush’s central campaign messages has a bit of a pulpit feel. It centers on the age-old message that we’re more similar than we are different. We all want safe streets, good schools, a thriving downtown, good-paying jobs, Bush said. But on that portion where we don’t agree, Bush — like pastors sometimes do — invokes us to do better.

“I’ve seen as a community, that we’re really going to arm wrestle over that last 10 percent,” Bush said. “That is something we have to try to do something about, specifically when it comes to bringing jobs to Lawrence.

“We don’t want the reputation of a community that beats up on new businesses.”

The third shift

Bush, 43, spends a lot of time on the campaign trail talking about jobs. Some of that may come from the fact he grew up in a house that was one job loss away from having a real problem.

Six weeks after he was born, Bush’s father died. That meant his mother took a third shift job in the health care industry, and Bush — the youngest of three — grew up fast.

“Growing up in a single-parent home, you have a great appreciation of a work ethic,” said Bush, who is a sales and marketing director at Maceli’s, a downtown catering business. “You see it everyday.”

The family, Bush said, never took welfare nor state assistance. But his mother was one of eight children, so they took lots of help from family. Somewhere out of that, Bush’s calling towards public service took shape, he said.

As a high school student in a small New Jersey town between New York and Philadelphia, Bush volunteered for the community’s volunteer EMS program.

“I’m a firm believer that what makes a community work is the willingness of citizens to make a personal contribution,” Bush said.

The issues

Bush is sounding the alarm that Lawrence is falling off the radar screen when it comes to companies looking for new locations. Bush said he’s been told that at least two of the major site selection companies — firms that look for locations for major employers — no longer consider Lawrence.

“They see some of the policies we’ve put in place, and they say ‘we’re not going to select Lawrence,’” Bush said.

Bush hasn’t yet said he wants to eliminate the city’s living wage requirement — which requires companies that recently received tax abatements to pay all their employees at least $11.44 per hour. But he did say he believed the ordinance was hindering Lawrence’s job attraction efforts.

“I know that the living wage is one of the policies,” Bush said. “When a site selection company sees that, they are not going to look at the details. They’re just going to move on.”

On other issues, Bush said:

• He doesn’t support raising property tax rates to fill expected budget gaps.

• He said he would focus on preventing cuts to core city services such as fire, police, and sanitation services, but said that other worthy city departments or outside agencies that receive city funding may have to receive temporary reductions.

“I think we’ll have to consider asking different organizations or different city departments to go without for a year or two,” Bush said.

Comments

KU_cynic 5 years, 9 months ago

Two points:

  1. Did Bush write this himself with only minimal polishing by reporter Chad Lawhorn? Look at this excerpt, which is not written in the story as a quote attributed to Bush:

"That’s the way it stayed for awhile, but then came those darn twists and turns. And if you turn enough, you ultimately end up facing the direction you started."

The very colloquial use of "darn", the use of second-person voice in the second sentence, and the fact that these sentences could have been excerpted entirely without affecting the information conveyed in this story concern me as a reader. It's just sloppy, lazy, unprofessional journalism.

  1. Bush is identified as a sales and marketing professional, but no employer or self-employed company is listed. What does he sell and market? Uniforms for boys bands? And, as a 43 year old he has "no ownership in any stocks, mutual funds, or retirement accounts greater than $5000"? What's in his portfolio? Cash, kruggerands, and canned goods? I don't want to impose a "wealth test" on public office, but why should someone whose personal finances appear so woeful be entrusted with stewardship of taxpayer funds?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

“I know that the living wage is one of the policies,” Bush said. “When a site selection company sees that, they are not going to look at the details. They’re just going to move on.”


Then we don't need these site selection companies. If Bush's idea of "job growth" is to be little more than an enthusiastic cheerleader for corporate welfare and a race to the bottom, we should kindly request that he remain a privately employed "marketing professional."

Chris Ogle 5 years, 9 months ago

His names says it all ... that's it..... run fast....

fairplay 5 years, 9 months ago

He works for Macelli's.

Speaking of personal finance issues...is anyone EVER going to start talking about Klingenberg's bankruptcy?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

"Speaking of personal finance issues…is anyone EVER going to start talking about Klingenberg's bankruptcy?"

It's been mentioned a number of times? Do you have anything of substance to add?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years, 9 months ago

Bozo - Your statement lacks basic common sense. So... we want jobs, but it doesn't matter if the people who consult with prospective employers will recommend Lawrence? How can you NOT be alarmed by this? If another vegan burger joint is your idea of growing our economy, then I guess it doesn't matter if a 300 workforce company with benefits decides to go elsewhere.

9070811 5 years, 9 months ago

I don't believe that decrease in minimum wage to satisfy a few companies is a positive move for employees. Citizens employed at low paying jobs are likely to need assistance. If we start with healthy, positive standards we are more likely to have happy, active in the community citizens. Irresponsible employers should not be tolerated.

I would like to see more businesses in Lawrence but there are many other factors that need to be overhauled, readjusted and prioritzed. Decreasing a living wage, especially now, would be an absolute ludicris idea! It is a, living, wage.

Oh and whats up the Jesus picture? So a cross behind him seems a little subliminal to me. Thanks Dolph, I personally know where your standards are. And yes it mentions his church affilations, but shouldn't we focus on something like his....job.

9070811 5 years, 9 months ago

He ended up with master’s in divinity, and in 2003 with a job as senior pastor at Lawrence’s First Southern Baptist Church.

That’s the way it stayed for awhile, but then came those darn twists and turns. And if you turn enough, you ultimately end up facing the direction you started. In the middle of the 2003 campaign, Bush left his position at First Southern Baptist Church because it was becoming difficult to balance that job with the job that he wanted to have in the political realm.

“For me, I needed to step out of the pastorate in order to step into more community involvement,” Bush said.


Okay, if he really wanted wanted to seperate it from the polical realm, then he wouldn't have allowed a photo with the Cross and himself side by side, to be published with this article.

Compy 5 years, 9 months ago

want my vote? chuck that wooden symbol,, i find it offensive!

1029 5 years, 9 months ago

"The presidential campaign was the most wonderful time of the year”

Really? Even though McCain and Palin lost?

Interesting that this article avoids any direct mention of Bush's larger political ideology. Didn't he let it be known loud and clear that he was a W-supportin' conservative back during the 2007 campaign? Maybe he realized that keeping that sort of thing quiet might mean getting more votes here in Lawrence.

Chris Ogle 5 years, 9 months ago

Informed (Anonymous) says… For those of you with your panties in a wad over the pic,


Nope, just a little gun shy about his last name. After all...who knows.... maybe that village in Texas found the wrong idiot.

9070811 5 years, 9 months ago

dude, I never said anything about land. I think theres a lot of land that can be used, including that nasty piece of rust field of Farmland...which they should pay to have cleaned up.

Business permits can be handled on a case by case basis, with some heavy a*s regulation. Based on how the company will treat it's employees. If the company wants to pay something like 9.50 than it should prove that it covers or makes up the difference with bens. I think that's a pretty in the middle solution. But our city is too defuct to deal with something like that, it might cause an overload or a shortage of brain power.

But lowering it or removing it is sure to have some serious abuses.

9070811 5 years, 9 months ago

My panties aren't in a wad over that photo, I'm not even wearing any.

What difference does it make if it is from a few years ago...? Besides the fact that the urinal world is lazy. And who knows, we all talk trash on it, but we're still posting!

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 9 months ago

"fairplay (Anonymous) says… Speaking of personal finance issues…is anyone EVER going to start talking about Klingenberg's bankruptcy?"

Yeah, I can hardly wait to see how Chad tries to spin her profile in a positive way. Unemployed? Bankrupt? Yes, let's have her help run Lawrence!

The only question is how quickly Richard/merrill will post some sort of cut-and-paste complimentary to her positions.

alm77 5 years, 9 months ago

Is this Bush related to the developer John Bush?

hipper_than_hip 5 years, 9 months ago

How can he say no to the industrialists/developers when they contribute so much money to his campaign?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

" So… we want jobs, but it doesn't matter if the people who consult with prospective employers will recommend Lawrence?"

If their recommendation includes repealing the living wage ordinance, then no, it doesn't matter what their recommendations are.

BTW, any company can set up shop here and not be required to pay the "living wage." They just can't get tax abatements-- which is exactly how 90 plus % of businesses in this town already operate.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years, 9 months ago

"Okay, if he really wanted wanted to seperate it from the polical realm, then he wouldn't have allowed a photo with the Cross and himself side by side, to be published with this article."

Well the article was intended to tell us what he's all about. His faith is a big part of who he is. He isn't leaving Christianity! He quit his job for other pursuits. If you quit working at Payless, would it be OK for you to have a picture taken wearing shoes?

Geez...

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 9 months ago

"just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says… BTW, any company can set up shop here and not be required to pay the “living wage.” They just can't get tax abatements— which is exactly how 90 plus % of businesses in this town already operate."

Correct. However, the "living wage" (much like other price floors) artificially inflate costs for those even indirectly associated.

Bob Forer 5 years, 9 months ago

Not the first time an "Elmer Gantry" has been revealed in real life. This unmitigated, unreconstituted opportunist couldn't sponge a "good" living off of god, so now he's after the second easist scam--he want's to "represent" us. I find in utterly despicable that an alleged "man of god" does not believe that full-time employment entitles one to enough pay to suppport one-self with the bare minimal basics of life. In the words of Rachel Maddow, "GAH!!!"

9070811 5 years, 9 months ago

He wanted to seperate his church from his political realm...so yes it still doesn't make sense that he have this photo taken.

As for shoes and payless...no it doesn't fit into this situation at all.

Bob Forer 5 years, 9 months ago

"He ended up with master’s in divinity, and in 2003 with a job as senior pastor at Lawrence’s First Southern Baptist Church.

That’s the way it stayed for awhile, but then came those darn twists and turns. And if you turn enough, you ultimately end up facing the direction you started. In the middle of the 2003 campaign, Bush left his position at First Southern Baptist Church because it was becoming difficult to balance that job with the job that he wanted to have in the political realm."

Hmmm, sounds very suspicious, to say the least. He obtains a master's degree in divinity, and presumably, thereafter, lands his first job, also in 2003, with a Lawrencian Church. Then, within months after landing the job, and without any roots in Lawrence, he decides to run for public office as a shill for the developers. ,

So, is anyone surprised that shortly after announcing his intention to run for office, he was out of a job. Sounds like the good folks at the Baptist Church--once realizing they had a politician when they wanted a minister--decided to amicably part ways with the "good" pastor.

Laughably, he then tries to spin the debacle off as mere "twists and turns."

For those supporting him or considering their support, I have a question for you: How in god's good name can you support a candidate whom, at the expense of taxpayers, obtains an advanced degree in divinity, and then punts after less than a year of practice. If he is going to give good ole god the middle finger after less than a year, how do you think he'll treat you once he's voted into office.

Face it folks. This guy has "slime bag" written all over him. The smart money says he doesn't make it out of the primary.

Bob Forer 5 years, 9 months ago

So, Mr. Bush want's to "bring jobs to Lawrence." Okay, I have a suggestion for one carpet bagging psuedo--mnister: "LEAVE TOWN." If you follow my advice, you'll open up jobs for two worthy people.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

"Correct. However, the “living wage” (much like other price floors) artificially inflate costs for those even indirectly associated."

Yea, just like the Emancipation Proclamation artificially inflated the costs of rice and cotton.

Bob Forer 5 years, 9 months ago

The article reads:

“That’s the way it stayed for awhile, but then came those darn twists and turns. And if you turn enough, you ultimately end up facing the direction you started. In the middle of the 2003 campaign, Bush left his position at First Southern Baptist Church because it was becoming difficult to balance that job with the job that he wanted to have in the political realm.”

WTF??? Twists and turns???. He was having a hard job balancing his job as a minister with the “job he wanted to have in the political realm???” Sounds like a lot of poppycock to me. Translated, it suggests that he left his job as the head pastor at a large Baptist church, giving but two weeks notice to his congregation, to devote all of his time to running a campaign for a part-time low paying job as Commissioner. With a family of five to feed? Who in the world quits a responsible job at a large church to run for a part time political position?

Either Mr. Bush is a fool, or a knave who believes we are all fools.

Since Mr. Bush’s “twists and turns” explanation/spin simply didn’t cut it for me, I decided to do a little research.

According to the LJW:

“His decision to leave the job was not related to any pressures his City Commission campaign may have created within the church.

Bush said he would look for a full-time job after the campaign, and said he did not plan to leave Lawrence, where he has lived since 2002.”

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/mar...) :

Make sense to you? Sure doesn’t to me.

But, invariably, the truth always comes out. In a Journal World article about his successor, (published over a year after the election) it is revealed by somebody without a motive to lie, i.e., the church that he left hanging, “that pastor James Bush quit more than a year and a half ago to start a business consulting firm.”

Ah, so now the truth. Little Mr. Opportunist, otherwise known as James Bush, having secured the endorsements and campaign contributions of Lawrence’s wealthy elite, including the Board of Realtors, thought his election was a shoe-in (let’s not forget that he did very well in the primary) decided to get an early start on “cashing in.”

Funny, but not only did he lose the election, but his consulting business failed. Seems that now he is employed as a “Sales Marketing Professional,” which is basically a fancy way of saying that he’s an errand boy for a local restaurant.

Of course, it wouldn’t be seemly for a political candidate, in Mr. Bush’s position, to tell the truth. After all, who would vote for a losing politician who quit his job and congregation with a mere two weeks notice (not to mention endangering his family’s financial viability) to open a consulting business in the middle of a political campaign which quickly failed.

(con't)

Bob Forer 5 years, 9 months ago

(con't)

Mr. Bush is nothing but a slimy failed-minister/failed businessman who abandoned god, his congregation, his family, and his neighbors, to suck up to the millionaire developers, hoping there was something in it for him. And now he has the chutzpah to try it again, under the guise of public service. .

Go figure.

Bob Forer 5 years, 9 months ago

During the last campaign, Bush had voiced disapproval of the registry, so he was right in step with his congregation. No problem there. There is no mystery here, Hawk. Bush is merely another slime ball politician.

And by the way, what the heck is EDAR?

Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

Not only that his brother is in the local construction business .

Lance Johnson is dependent on the development industry.

Bob Forer 5 years, 9 months ago

Merrill, I didn't know that. Who is Bush's brother in the construction business? Very interesting, but certainly not surprising. While I certainly believe that some political candidate are motivated by the desire to serve and promote good, Bush, like most of them, is a charlatan out to line his own pockets and/or launch a career. Same goes for all the other shills that the developers and Chamber foist upon us at election time.

9070811 5 years, 9 months ago

nope I don't get it. i never will! my panties hurt my crack

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