Sunday evening I received an email from Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe in response to my last post on this site regarding her grumbling about Mark Jones being a spoiler. Read that post HERE.
The section from that post that prompted her response reads as follows:
But the local Columbia leftists won’t stop spitting sour grapes all over social media. Even liberal icon Barb Hoppe, who – by the way – voted to expand Downtown government surveilance and voted for the EEZ every time until REDI told her not to, got in on the action, chiming in on a post on her hubby Mike Sleadd’s Facebook wall amidst a throng of “Jones was a spoiler” rants.
Hi Mark, Mitch and Dan, and Keep Columbia Free,
I just saw a post one or all of you did on Keep Columbia Free and it’s facebook book page.
I want to set the record straight on two things that you were totally wrong on about regarding my position and votes.
“Even liberal icon Barb Hoppe, who – by the way – voted to expand Downtown government surveilance and voted for the EEZ every time until REDI told her not to, got in on the action, chiming in on a post on her hubby Mike Sleadd’s Facebook wall amidst a throng of “Jones was a spoiler” rants.”
1. I was not in favor of the downtown cameras and voted against them every step of the way and also spoke against them at the Keep Columbia free forum at the Blue Note before the public vote. After the City wide vote in favor of the cameras, I did vote to FUND the cameras, but only after they were approved by the public ballot process. I also made it clear when I voted for the funding, that I did not personally support them and the majority of the 6th ward did not support them either.
2. EEZ- The EEZ first vote came up very quickly, with only a few days notice before the council meeting. I and Helen Anthony had many questions about the EEZ and raised them as quickly as we could given the short notice, but in retrospect we were not provided accurate or full information at the time of our first vote. Thereafter, I worked very hard to get additional answers to questions and concerns that I had, as well as those the public had. I worked vigorously to get City staff, Council and the Mayor to have more dialogue and hear concerns from the general public who had been left out of the process. I worked to and voted to rescind the first EEZ Board and worked behind the scenes to get new members on that board who would ask tough questions and represent the public. I attended many meetings with the public and continued raising concerns and questions, publicly and in many private meetings. I was responsible for help opening up the process for dialogue and community involvement, that ultimately led to REDI asking Council to rescind the EEZ Board and not pursue EEZ’s further. Your statement regarding this is ridiculous and unfounded. You are either uniformed or untruthful. I would like to think it is the former rather than the later.
So let me explain why I still stand by what I wrote.
In a nutshell, claiming to be against something but voting in favor of it multiple times is a problem.
Let’s take a look at the first point from Ms. Hoppe’s email — government surveillance of peaceful citizens in Downtown Columbia.
It is true that she spoke against the camera plan and it is true that she voted against the camera plan when it first came before the council prior to being placed on the ballot for voter approval. Thanks for that.
What we must remember is that Proposition 1, the camera ballot initiative, merely authorized the Columbia Police Department to place cameras downtown. The CPD could have made this request at any time and were already authorized to do so. The ballot initiative, as successful as it was, did not mandate that the council provide funding for such a plan. In fact, all the council really could have done in any case is vote to fund the project and Ms. Hoppe voted to do exactly that.
In fact, Ms. Hoppe not only voted to fully fund the original plan for government surveillance in Downtown Columbia, she voted to expand the camera system with a remote control upgrade. Heck, even Fred Schmidt had the guts to offer a protest vote against the expansion.
I also find it alarming that, as Ms. Hoppe states, “the majority of the 6th ward did not support” the camera plan, yet she voted to fund the project. She was, after all, elected by the voters of the 6th Ward to be their representative.
Voting to fund a project that your constituents are against and that you have spoken against is like admonishing one’s alcoholic uncle for drinking too much and then giving him $20 with which to go to the liquor store.
Now let’s take a look at the second part of Ms. Hoppe’s email — the EEZ.
Yes, the original vote was thrust upon the council with very little supporting documentation and no public input. I will concede that she made a mistake that anyone could have made. I will also concede that when a grassroots groundswell of opposition arose against the EEZ, Ms. Hoppe attended public forums and worked to dissolve the original ordinance which allowed for some public comment. She also helped get Anthony Stanton and Jeremy Root on the new EEZ board.
In reality, this did nothing. Ms. Hoppe voted to establish the original EEZ board, voted to dissolve that board alongside the most fervent EEZ supporters, and then immediately ignored the public and voted to re-establish the EEZ board after hearing volumes of public testimony from the citizens of Columbia and several renowned experts including attorney David Roland of the Freedom Center of Missouri and David Stokes, a policy analyst at the Show-Me Institute who specializes in tax incentives, specifically Enterprise Zones.
Voting to allow public input and then ignoring public input is not representative government — it is political theater.
This might all have something to do with the fact that Ms. Hoppe was in a difficult and rather dirty race against the extremely cantankerous Bill Tillotson. During the campaign, she hopped on the anti-EEZ wagon and cooperated with and listened to the EEZ opposition. After she defeated Tillotson, she went right back to voting in favor of the EEZ plan.
I had a feeling it would happen exactly this way. Here is an excerpt from an email I wrote to the CiViC email group in April of 2012:
It seems likely that the original resolution will be rescinded at the next Council meeting, but I have little doubt that a new map will be ushered in via ordinance. While the new blight map will likely be smaller than the original, any blanket blight designation is too much.
While the map was never finalized, it is true that the council rescinded the original EEZ resolution, allowed for a couple of weeks of public comment, promptly ignored that public comment, and created a new EEZ board within weeks.
It is also true that the council, including Ms. Hoppe, only voted to finally dissolve the second EEZ board when REDI made the request.
In her recent email to me, Ms. Hoppe also claims:
I was responsible for help opening up the process for dialogue and community involvement, that ultimately led to REDI asking Council to rescind the EEZ Board and not pursue EEZ’s further.
Is she kidding?
Does she really think that she helped defeat the EEZ by voting for it —- TWICE?
Ms. Hoppe, your pressure on the council did lead to some public input, but ultimately, the EEZ process was simply renewed, and you voted for it. What “ultimately led to REDI asking Council to rescind the EEZ Board and not pursue EEZ’s further” was the hard work and relentless dedication of folks like Linda Green, Monta Welch, Mary Hussman, etc. who kept the pressure on the EEZ Board and REDI. I have no doubt they would have done the same had the original EEZ Board been left in place.
Ms. Hoppe, please put your money – and your vote – where your mouth is.
Share on Facebook