Jim Bischoff lives on White Avenue, across from the high school. His wife liked the house, but he wasn’t sure about living right across from the school. Now, he likes being on the busy intersection.
“We go to the football and basketball games,” he said. “Early in the morning and late in the afternoon there’s a little bit of traffic, but aside from that the kids are fine. It’s great.”
He lives there with Susan, his wife of 19 years. That’s also how long they’ve lived in Brentwood.
Their three teenagers go to Chaminade, Villa Duchene and CBC. They have a dog, Willie, who announces visitors.
Bischoff grew up playing hockey. He learned to skate at the Brentwood Rec Center and taught his kids how to skate there. He said it makes him biased toward saving the rink.
“Whether they’re going to close it down, move city hall there, or whatever the plan is, something needs to be done. It’s a dated facility.”
He called the possible Drury Hotel development the top issue facing Brentwood. He said it’s a good development for the city.
Bischoff said he’s running for alderman to see what he can do to help the city out. He calls himself “just another concerned citizen.”
“I don’t want to be anything more than another voice and a fresh opinion on the board,” he said. “I have no hidden agenda to get anything passed.”
“It’s time to give back,” he said. “I’ve lived in the community long enough. I just do volunteer; it’s part of what I do. It’s that simple.”
Bischoff claims no political qualifications, but said his business experience has prepared him for local government. He worked in his family’s bridal registry business, Byron Cade, in Clayton.
“When you have five brothers and sisters working with you, you get accustomed to learning how to work with people to get things done, because everybody wants to be a chief and nobody wants to be an Indian,” he said.
Improved communications with the residents, at least with Ward 1, would be a priority. He likes the idea of ward meetings, like Ward 3 currently has.
He’d also like to bring term lengths back down to two years, for the protection of the residents.
“If you have an alderman or mayor that you’re unhappy with, he’s got another term coming up right around the corner, whereas now it’s three more years before anybody is up for election, and that can be too long.”
Bischoff said he doesn’t plan on staying in more than one term. “It keeps people fresh. Keeps ideas fresh,” he said.
He knows that it’s known that Mayor Pat Kelly asked him to run, and that to some, that could be viewed as a negative.
“(Kelly) said nothing more than we need good people; I think you’d be a good candidate; would you consider it? And I did, and here I am,” Bischoff said.
Would Bischoff side with the mayor on issues?
“I’m going to vote my conscience. I’m going to get in there and investigate the issues and vote how I see fit, not how I’m told to,” he said. “People who know me will know that’s the truth.”
As for the robocall survey that went to Ward 1, and sponsored by Kelly, Bischoff is fine with the mayor's explanation that he wanted to know what residents were thinking on city issues.
Bischoff said Brentwood needs to move forward to fix the city's damaged reputation.
“Whether anybody likes it or not, we can’t go back and change it,” he said. He said too much looking back causes problems.
He also said he doesn’t know what he would have done at the time.
“It’s too hard to say ‘that was wrong.’ Hindsight is always 20-20,” he said. “I don’t think that’s fair to say what I would have done.”
Bischoff said hiring the new city administrator and finance director, were good changes already put into place. He called last year a learning experience.
Bischoff works, with his brother-in-law, for Tramelli Industrial Products, a supply company that has done business with Brentwood for years. He said the relationship between the company and the city would end if he were elected.
“I don’t want any appearances of impropriety,” he said. “I’ve been told by Bola (Akande) that I wouldn’t have to. That all I’d have to do is claim it on a disclaimer form, and doing that is fine, but often the perception is the reality.”
Bischoff sees no problems fitting in to the current board.
“I think part of helping out is just being able to work with the other aldermen,” he said. “Being able to work with the mayor, the city officials. I’ve already tried to contact all the aldermen.”