By Shaun Delliskave | firstname.lastname@example.org
During Murray’s anti-incumbent fervor over the past year, many elected officials had more significant reason to worry. Unfortunately for Jim Brass, he was the most incumbent of all the candidates, with 16 years on the Murray City Council. Brass’s bid to continue serving as Murray’s longest-serving city councilman was thwarted in the Aug. 13 primary election, by a mere 10 votes.
“Right now, it is a difficult time to be in politics. People are frustrated with the way Washington is behaving, and we are a convenient place to vent those frustrations,” Brass said. “I can very much understand that feeling.”
Before his four terms on the city council, Brass served on the city planning commission. During contentious zoning hearings in city council meetings, Brass would frequently refer to his experience as a planning commissioner and explain the pros and cons of the ordinance from zoning issues in city history.
“The hardest part of being on the council is making the ‘tough decisions.’ Eventually, you will be called on to make a decision that is contrary to what your constituents want, but that is required by federal or state law. One example is rehabilitation facilities. Nobody wants them, but they are legal in all zones. Our hands are tied, but we are the ones who take the heat for allowing them,” Brass said.
Brass’s district has been the bullseye for many new city redevelopment projects. His area encompasses downtown Murray, which is where the new city hall will be built and where a new firehouse is already under construction. Along with developments have come protests over historic buildings, many that reside within his district.
Notably, the former Mount Vernon campus in Brass’s district constitutes several century-old buildings. Brass was stuck between weighing the rights of the property owner, who was planning to tear them down, and the desires of preservationists, who believed that the city’s ordinances required protection. Eventually, a lawsuit settled that question in favor of the preservationists, but that also may have cost Brass votes this election cycle.