Tag Archives: Bob McDavid

Mayor McDavid Throws a Tantrum

If you have followed the happenings at City Hall you are surely familiar with the student housing vs. downtown infrastructure fight that is taking place.

In a nutshell, some big, out-of-town developers sought approval to build some large apartment buildings geared toward students in Downtown Columbia. Initially our City Manager, Mike Matthes, declared that the existing sewer and electrical infrastructure was at maximum capacity and without the corporate welfare of TIF, development would stop. He told us there was no “Plan B.” The TIF plan was rejected and magically, only days later, Matthes announced “Plan B” and a couple of large developments were whisked quickly through the approval process with little chance for public input.

Enter Jeremy Root and the Repeal 6214 group who claimed that the City had failed to follow due process, rushing the projects to approval without the opportunity for the public input required by the City Charter and precedent. They also claimed that the private student housing developments will be poorly built and would soon turn into Section 8 slums. Root and company drew up a petition seeking to overturn the ordinance that approved the new buildings and quickly gathered more than enough legitimate signatures.

Fearing that their development would be stopped by the proponents of central planning, Opus, the group behind one of the large developments, began boisterous saber-rattling with threats of a multi-million dollar lawsuit aimed at the City. Coupled with the fact that Repeal 6214, the group charging that the City failed to follow the letter of the law during the approval process, themselves failed to include the full ordinance in their petition as required by the City Charter , we’ve got ourselves a real mess.

If we can accept the notion that it’s the City’s job to build basic infrastructure, which seems to be the model we are working with in Columbia, then the City should do just that. Leave the rest alone. If the idiots who run our city are put in charge of regulating the real estate market, nothing good can come of it. It’s the City’s fault that basements are flooding, not the developers. If the City bureaucrats and elected officials choose to do the bidding of developers — blame the City.

Mayor Bob McDavid

Mayor Bob McDavid

When it comes to childish comments, Mayor McDavid’s statement to the media regarding the Opus threat of litigation really takes the cake. In response to the threat, Mcdavid said:

“There is the cost of litigation, and it’s really, really going to irritate me if we’re hiring attorneys to manage the expense of this lawsuit instead of police officers and firefighters”

Really, Bob? You’re throwing a temper tantrum? You’re really threatening to cut public safety dollars if the city is sued by a developer? Your failed leadership is really to blame for this mess and now you’re trying to steer the ship of public opinion with this childish threat? Really?

How about we take money from your silly FastCat pet project? How about we stop funding the renovation of the Blind Boone home? How about we stop building giant parking garages that would be empty except that the City leases spots to its own departments? How about we not pay for the CID’s silly Gateway project? How about we not buy homeless shelters? How about we prioritize the way this City spends tax dollars by fully funding basic sewer and electric infrastructure and our police and fire departments before we fund anything else?

 

 

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Fred Schmidt Targets Blacks With Prohibition

During the final comments of the Columbia City Council Meeting on Monday, February 18th, [see video above] Councilman Fred Schmidt made some alarming remarks regarding alcohol in Douglass Park. Councilman Schmidt announced his plan to pursue an ordinance prohibiting alcohol consumption in Columibia’s premier inner-city park — a park frequented by Columbia’s vibrant African-American community and a popular meeting place for area residents.

Did Fred Schmidt intentionally make this proposal during Black History Month?

Schmidt made it clear — well, sort of clear considering he stammered through his rambling and rather confusing monologue — that he was singling out Douglass and was not interested in prohibiting alcohol consumption in other city parks.

FredSmall_000

Councilman Schmidt

It is important to note that the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in some of the smaller downtown parks due to the presence of vagrants and panhandlers. Douglass Park, however, is not known for drunken panhandlers. Alcohol is allowed in all other city parks.

Schmidt claims that he decided to take on this task after, “some back and forth with some people in the neighborhood.”

Sources tell me that this plan is actually being spearheaded by none other than Jonathan Sessions, darling of the Democrats and Columbia School Board member. There is some question about whether or not Mr. Sessions is a member of the Douglass Park Neighborhood Association, although he has given the impression that he is a member while pitching the idea to Parks and Rec staff. He and Carrie Gartner, bought a house on Aldeah, far from Douglass Park, about a year ago. Mr. Sessions may have once lived in the trendy North Village Arts District that buffers “The District” from the low-income neighborhoods to the North and may still own property there.

Jon Session hugs Barb Hoppe

Jon Session hugs Barb Hoppe

I’d venture a guess that neither Mr. Sessions nor Mr. Schmidt has spent much time in Douglass Park if they’ve visited the park — ever.

Many in Columbia’s central Black community have rightfully labeled this move as racist. For sure it smacks of the white, liberal paternalism that Columbia has endured for the last several decades, especially in the First Ward that surrounds Douglass Park.

Perhaps these two progressives hatched their plan to ban the consumption of alcohol in Douglass Park over a mojito on the patio of Bleu, just a few blocks southeast of the park. I guess Fred and Jonathan just don’t trust Black folks with dangerous fire water. I wonder if they trust Black folks to sit in the front of a FastCat bus.

Here is another related video from a last year’s discussion about upgrades to the government surveillance system in the Douglass Park. It struck me as sadly funny how the city politicians seem to view the people of the Douglass area as “others” when we all live in the same community. Heck, the City Council Chambers are literally only 4 blocks away from Douglass Park. Listen as Mayor McDavid and Councilwoman Hoppe praise their brave bureaucrats for venturing into the Douglass neighborhood to peddle surveillance.

Written by Mark Flakne

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What Was Schaefer Thinking?

jones schaefer

 

When I saw that Senator Kurt Schaefer and Representative Caleb Jones, both darlings of the Republican Party, had endorsed Mark Jones for Columbia City Council, I couldn’t believe it. After all, Jones is a longtime Democrat political operative and a union boss and lobbyist for the NEA teachers union. While there are some liberals with whom I share some ideology, Jones is not one of them.

Of course, I don’t agree with Kurt Schaefer or Caleb Jones all of the time either, but, for some reason, I still expect lawmakers to act on principle, at least some of the time. All this move did is cement the fact that all of the big-money, establishment politicians are playing for the same team regardless of whether they have a D or an R next to their name.

What sort of backroom deal was hatched to get a state senator to wade into the murky waters of local Columbia politics? What sort of strings has Jones pulled to help these two Republicans? Is it because Jones delivered the NEA for Kurt during the last election? Did Kurt sell Columbia down the river for Union support? I guess it says something that even with big name endorsements, big money from both sides of the imaginary aisle, and a flawless campaign, Mark Jones only garnered 16% of the votes cast.

So why are Columbia’s liberals whining that Jones was a spoiler?

With mailers like the one pictured above and the backing of much of Columbia’s powerful development lobby, Mark Jones undoubtedly pulled more votes from Nauser than from Burns. Heck, Burns even had the backing of the local leftist political cabal and money machine, Progressive Political Partners, the group headed by Jeff Chinn that helped make Chris Kelly seemingly unstoppable and won the last 5th Ward contest for Helen Anthony, and still couldn’t edge out Laura Nauser’s grassroots support.

There is no doubt that Jones really thought he was going to pull enough from both sides to win the race. He took the left for granted and went hard after Nauser’s base by riding the Schaefer endorsement like a stolen pony. People who met him at their doors often commented that they knew he was a Democrat but he talked like a Republican. A Tootie spoiler Jones was not.

Hoppy is hoppin’ mad.

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.

Councilperson Hoppe writes:

“Sad day for Columbia. Tootie Burns would have won hands down in the 5th Ward election if Mark Jones hadn’t been a spoiler. The weight of future bad city council decisions will be on his egotistical and delusional shoulders- and those who encouraged him -shame on them.”

Here is the complete thread from Sleadd’s Facebook page.

sleadd hoppe b

 

All I can say is “WOW!”

The April elections for the mayor and two ward seats are just around the corner and it looks like they might be fun to watch. Can underdog, populist gentleman Sid Sullivan edge out the smug, favorite incumbent Bob McDavid? Will the pedal powered Brit Ian Thomas serve as the spoiler ruining things for watchdog Weitkemper and usher in a second term for Dudley and his pickup truck? Will the third epic battle between the long-winded internet troll Skala and his arch nemesis Kespohl leave anyone unscathed? Stay tuned!

–Mark Flakne

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Kespohl Lies About The EEZ

In response to a recent press release issued by Keep Columbia Free warning the council that they could possibly face recall if they vote in favor of blighting Columbia to insure corporate welfare via the EEZ, Councilperson Gary Kespohl made an interesting comment. Councilman Kespohl has been known to stretch the truth to get what he wants, as evidenced by the unprecedented negative ad campaign that helped him edge out Karl Skala in 2010, but his comment in this interview was more than a stretch; it was an outright lie. 

During the KOMU interview Kespohl stated that, “the city council gave citizens the opportunity to submit names of whom they would like to serve on the advisory board, but received no suggestions.” Watch the KOMU story HERE

Oh really, Mr. Kespohl? 

It just so happens that the one and only, former-councilperson Karl Skala, a member of CiViC (Citizens Involved and Invested In Columbia), a group formed in opposition to the EEZ proposal, submitted a list to Mr. Kespohl and the rest of the council five days prior to this interview. 

 

Click HERE to view the attachment Karl attached to his email to Mayor and Council. 

So why did he lie? I guess we all know why, but fellow councilperson and Chamber-endorsed running mate Daryl Dudley summed it up the best. Near the end of the KOMU video, Dudley is quoted as saying he’s “willing to do whatever it takes to get the EEZ plan up and rolling.”

If it takes a few public lies and distortions, I guess Kespohl is willing.

For a more in-depth story, visit the KMIZ video by clicking HERE

Click HERE for the Missourian story regarding the potential recall.

Click HERE to read the Missourian’s in-depth report on the issue

Contact the council today and tell them to stop lying and stop the plan to blight Columbia. Click HERE for City Council contact info. 

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Call For Council Recall

Due to the overwhelming public outcry resulting from the City Council’s plan to declare large areas of Columbia “blighted” and create an Enhanced Enterprise Zone, Keep Columbia Free is asking for volunteers to step forward and take action to recall any and all current City Council representatives who choose to ignore the wishes of their engaged constituents and vote in favor of establishing an EEZ board.

Blight-based eminent domain abuse is common in Missouri, as Missouri law provides little to no protection for property owners. Blight designations and the resulting condemnation proceedings have repeatedly been used to take property from low-income and minority populations across Missouri. This outrageous abuse of government power ignores the most fundamental property right protections enumerated in our beloved Bill of Rights and threatens the very Liberty around which our great country was founded.

As an organization dedicated to protecting and upholding the free market, Keep Columbia Free opposes tax abatement schemes, corporate welfare, TIFs, EEZs and public/private partnerships that use government regulation to distort the market and limit competition. As proponents of limited government, we call upon fiscal conservatives to stand against these perverse ploys and demand real economic freedom for all citizens.

Considering that Columbia has the lowest unemployment rate in Missouri, was recently voted the hardest working town in America, and is likely the best place to live in Missouri – if not the entire Midwest – declaring large portions of our city blighted is nothing short of fraud.

Anyone interested in volunteering to collect the small number of signatures required to force a recall vote or interested in running to replace a recalled council member should send contact information to kcf@keepcolumbiafree.com or call 573.808.4770.

For more information please visit www.KeepColumbiaFree.com, email kcf@KeepColumbiaFree.com, or call Mark Flakne at 573.808.4770, Abhi Sivasailam at 636.675.2917, or Mitch Richards at 573.777.2306.

For background info, please read the recent story by Columbia Missourian reporters Hannah Cushman and Madeline O’Leary.

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Police Labor Unions Beset Burton

Today, Ashley Cuttle, the paid director of the local police labor union, the CPOA, renewed and doubled down on her attack on Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton. Burton has done his best to reform a troubled department despite the foot-dragging of veteran officers. Change never comes easy, especially in government, but when the pant-suited pit bull Cuttle is leading the charge against that change, there is a recipe for trouble.

To assist her in her character and career assassination of Burton, Cuttle has enlisted the help of labor leader Kevin Albrand, President of the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police. The two appeared on the Gary Nolan Show following their meeting with Mayor Bob McDavid and City Manager Mike Mathes where they lobbied for Burton’s termination.

Mitch Richards of Keep Columbia Free called the show and artfully challenged the legitimacy of the CPOA argument during the second half of the radio segment. You can stream to the radio interview HERE or go directly to the mp3 download by clicking HERE.

While the CPOA has fought Burton at every turn, the real attack started after Burton fired Rob Sanders. Sanders was fired following his brutal assault of an unarmed and detained suspect after which he laughed about the incident as the suspect writhed on the floor in agony stemming from a broken neck.

Read all about the incident HERE

Please show your support of Chief Burton by signing our online petition. Click HERE to go to the petition.

Here is the video of the brutal attack at the hands of Rob Sanders. 

 

Update

It looks like Keep Columbia Free has worked its way under the skin of the police brutality apologists. This is a screen-shot from a Facebook page run by disgruntled ex-CPD officers. It’s a little flattering to have made their hit list alongside the Chief of Police, the City Manager, and the Editor of the Tribune.

http://www.keepcolumbiafree.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/cop-threats.jpg

Another Update:

Keep Columbia VP, Abhi Sivasailam, is featured in this ABC 17 news story talking about why we support Chief Burton.

 

Here’s another video of former officer Rob Sanders in action. This time he’s not violently assaulting an unarmed, detained citizen, but he is harassing local police watchdogs, Citizens for Justice instead of serving and protecting the public…

 

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When Bureaucrats Attack

If you follow Columbia politics you’ll know that, at the behest of REDI, the Columbia City Council recently passed a resolution declaring 60% of Columbia as “blighted” according to state statute. Being passed by resolution instead of ordinance effectively removed all public input from the process. A large, loud opposition quickly arose in opposition to this nefarious blight decree, the criminal process by which it came to fruition, and the tax abatement scheme it precedes which smacks of crony-capitalism. There has been much written here on this Keep Columbia Free blog and on Mike Martin’s Columbia Heartbeat blog.

While it is painfully difficult to discern whether the discussion is driven by simple, immoderate ignorance or planned, overt obfuscation on the part of REDI’s Mike Brooks, Mayor McDavid, City manager Mike Mathes, and City Attorney Fred Boeckmann, there seems to be a problem differentiating between the state statute governing the creation of an EEZ and the state statute defining the blight designation which is a legal prerequisite for forming an EEZ.

City staff, REDI, and members of the EEZ Board continually point out that the EEZ statute does not grant the city extra eminent domain powers and that the size of the original EEZ proposal has been winnowed down to a much smaller area. What they fail to realize is that the original map declaring 60% of Columbia blighted is still in place and is separate from the EEZ map. It is blight and not EEZ that opens the door for the abuse of eminent domain that has plagued many Missouri cities in recent years.  This is important because when the DED or REDI says that the EEZ does not use eminent domain, they are telling the truth. Most voters then look the other way and go back to watching American Idol without exploring the secondary dangers posed by a blight designation.

It is also true that the city can use its eminent domain powers without having declared a property blighted. What City Manager Mike Mathes is referring to when he says that the city can use its eminent domain powers without a blight designation or EEZ is the legitimate use of eminent domain for needed public projects. In these cases, the city must show a legitimate need for the taking of private property. When blight is thrown in the mix, removal of blight becomes a blanket justification for taking property and handing it over to private developers to expand the tax base. That is what we call eminent domain abuse and it stems from blight. It has happened time and time again in MO over the last few decades and is happening today.

Attorney and eminent domain abuse expert Dave Roland,  Director of  The Freedom Center of Missouri, explains how Columbia’s EEZ blight designation can lead to eminent domain abuse in this video.

When you hear… “EEZ’s don’t require eminent domain” or “The City has the power to use eminent domain,” I believe you are hearing open obfuscation. It’s like we are not even having the same conversation yet the media keeps printing and airing these verbal head fakes.

These are important distinctions to understand and share.

This video from a recent City Council meeting demonstrates either the City’s deep misunderstanding of the subject or the City’s desire to openly misinform the public.

 

 

This video brings to light another terribly troubling aspect of our city government. Notice how a paid, un-elected, city bureaucrat, City Manager Mike Mathes, effectively squashes a motion made by Helen Anthony, an elected City Councilperson and representative of we the people, while the Mayor, the rest of the council, and City Attorney Fred Boeckmann (another paid, un-elected city bureaucrat on whom we rely for legal advice) set idly by. 

Are we living under a Mathes Monarchy?

Why are these city staffers given veto power over our elected officials?

Why are bureaucrats, with lucrative salaries funded by our tax dollars, allowed a bully pulpit from which they circumnavigate the sacred democratic process that lies at the heart of our once free society?

When will the citizens of Columbia rise up and take back the reins of government from the corporatist rapscallions who grant themselves personal largess from public funds belonging to the hardworking taxpayers of Columbia?

The time is NOW!

Get involved with CiViC, Citizens InVolved and InVested in Columbia.

Call and email the City Council representatives who can influence this process.

Write letters to the editors of our local newspapers.

Call all media outlets and demand fair coverage of the issues.

Come to tomorrow’s City Council meeting, 4.16.2012 at 7pm, to stand and be counted! 

Speak up and speak out  or enjoy servitude.

 

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