Tag Archives: Columbia MO

The Chadwick Majority

In response to the move to recall her as Columbia’s First Ward City Council Representative, Councilperson Ginny Chadwick posted the following on her official Facebook page

chadwickConsidering her focus on the notion that Council representatives are elected by a “majority of the people” and that statements regarding her recall are “clearly from the minority,” it seems appropriate to break down the numbers. Councilperson Chadwick has made it clear that her resounding First Ward election victory should be interpreted as a mandate from “the people” that we should all unquestioningly accept her policy proposals. After all, her campaign garnered 64% of the votes cast.

But how many votes were cast?

The First Ward has a population of 18,212. According to Director Art Auer at the Boone County Clerk’s Office, the First Ward had 9,803 registered voters on the books during the April election. Ginny Chadwick won the election with 525 votes. Votes for Chadwick represent 5.36% of registered voters in her ward. 525 votes is 2.88% of the population of the First Ward. 525 is 0.45% of Columbia’s 115,276 total population.

The reality is that 525 votes is not a meaningful number of votes. 525 votes does not a mandate make.

When confronted with these numbers, the first thing out of most people’s mouths is “voter apathy,” or “it’s their own fault.” While it might be the fault of the First Ward, the problem was not voter apathy. There was really no reason for anyone to turn out at the polls because there was simply no one to vote for.

The only First Ward failure was the failure to find a worthy candidate to run. Even the liberal political strategist Jeff Chinn of Progressive Political Partners, mastermind of many recent liberal council victories, reportedly opposed Chadwick’s candidacy, but failed to muster a suitable candidate for the position.

Bill Easley

Bill Easley

Chadwick’s only opposition was Tyree Byndom, a local community leader who was forbidden from campaigning by the tenants of his Baha’i faith, and Bill Easley, a cantankerous elderly gentleman with a penchant for unintelligible, boisterous rants.

Although Byndom would likely have served the ward well, his absence from the campaign trail and refusal to take a public position on any issue was a turn-off for voters. Also running was last-minute, write-in candidate John Clark, a local political gadfly. Considering the options, it is easy to see why most voters asked, “why bother?”

Another measure of the Chadwick “majority” and the recall “minority” can be found on Facebook. Chadwick’s Councilwoman Chadwick Facebook Page boasts 356 “likes” after more than six months in office. By comparison, the Recall First Ward Councilperson Ginny Chadwick Facebook page garnered more “likes” than Chadwick’s page in only a few days and today stands at 389.

There is little doubt that this recall will be successful. There are viable candidates in the pipeline, but recall supporters are playing their cards close to the chest.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ginny Chadwick Disrespects Military Veterans

Columbia City Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick’s official Facebook page has been scrubbed of all dissenting comments, most notably the comments from military combat veterans who served while under age 21. Ms. Chadwick’s latest nanny-state proposal, which seeks to change the legal age for tobacco and nicotine e-liquid purchase from 18 to 21 in Columbia, raised the ire of many citizens and signaled a firestorm of comments on her page. Obviously, Ms. Chadwick’s proposal would bar adults between the ages of 18 and 21 who served or are serving in the military from buying these products.

The comments, none of which were vulgar or threatening, were removed almost a quickly as they were posted. One commenter even posted a picture of himself at age 19, taken while serving in Iraq. Many of the comments were removed almost as quickly as they were posted. We were able to screen-shot a few of them before they were deleted. If you visit her page today, you’ll see that all of the dissenting comments have been removed, including comments on other topics.

It has become clear that Ginny Chadwick can’t be bothered with the opinions of we proles.
Chadwick screen shot2 web Chadwick screen shot2 web1 Chadwick screen shot3 web Chadwick screen web

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The Columbia Police Officers’ Association on Ferguson

fopWe won’t make any judgments about the CPOA, our local police union and Fraternal Order of Police – Lodge #26. You can judge for yourself. It is important to have some insight into how our local police see the events in Ferguson and how they likely view the citizens of Columbia.

Here are a few things to look for while perusing the following posts…

  1. The use of the term “Hug-A-Thug”
  2. Citing of questionable and often xenophobic, “click-bait” sources like LibertyNewsOnline.com, MrConservative.com, TheFederalistPapers.orgTheTruthAboutGuns.com, etc. Take a look around some of these sites and judge them for yourself.
  3. The sometimes “colorful” comments from followers which include “PANTS UP!! DON’T LOOT!!” and instructions for inserting earplugs in a bad guy’s ear with a .45 caliber pistol.

The CPOA leadership has garnered national attention in the past for Facebook posts that were seen by many as indicating racial bias.

It seems that it would be better for everyone involved, both police and the public alike, for the CPOA to work to ease racial tensions in this troubling time. All we can hope for is an honest, transparent, and just investigation into the incidents in Ferguson.

The following posts are from the CPOA’s Facebook wall.

hug a thug excuse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

hug a thug excuse comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

hug a thug 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shots Comments

block door bully and thief do crime do time dowis fox beating friend wanted mr cons not dr fed pap Pants up dont shoot pros robbery rubber 45 to head shawn parcells shirt sup wils tools

 

 

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Chadwick’s Douglass Park Prohibition

Yesterday I posted and then deleted a story regarding First Ward Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick’s proposed Douglass Park alcohol ban. It included 20-some photos of Councilwoman Chadwick consuming alcohol around town and across the country along with a couple of screen shots of posts from her page extolling the virtues of alcohol. The intent was to expose the hypocrisy of Columbia’s white councilwoman who often drinks quite publicly and who is working to ban public alcohol consumption in Columbia’s central city park, a park long frequented by Black citizens who live in the area. Sadly some readers missed the point.

After posting the article, it just felt wrong. It was too dirty. It was a low blow to pull several photos from the councilwoman’s Facebook page and post them for all to see, regardless of how disgusting her move to ban alcohol in Douglass might have been. There were many innocent bystanders in the photos. I thought better of it and pulled the post down.

Politics is a dirty business, to be sure, and dirty often wins, but I just don’t want to go to that place any more. Believe me, I’ve been there before. It ain’t pretty.

With that said, I’m still not above having a little fun to make a point, so I’ll include a quick meme…

293105_10150358406763033_406964_n copySo we’ve established that Councilwoman Chadwick has mastered the art of consuming alcohol in public. This is not meant to shame her for choosing to do with her body as she wishes — i.e. consume alcohol — lots of it — publicly. It is meant to shame her for the hypocrisy of drinking in public while working to limit the ability of others, namely the Black citizens who frequent Douglass Park, to do the same.

Councilman Fred Schmidt, Chadwick’s friend and predecessor once spoke of his desire to ban alcohol in Douglass Park, but quickly forgot the proposal after a significant public outcry led by Keep Columbia Free.

Since Chadwick has renewed the effort, many have pointed out the drunken public mayhem that ensues on any given Saturday during college football season. Drunken college kids and sloshed middle-aged tailgaters stumble through the streets between Downtown and Faurot Field, most of them white and most of them affluent. The post-game apocalypse leaves the ground covered with beer can fallout and barf. This, of course, is how we roll in the SEC. It’s a sacred tradition. Who cares if the University Hospital trauma center is overrun with alcohol poisoned young adults and other alcohol-fueled injuries? It’s SEC football, damnit.

Compare that to the usually mild-tempered bar-b-ques in Douglass Park and the park looks mild. Yes, the skin tones are usually a bit darker and the participants a bit less affluent, but what’s the difference? Why allow one but not the other? Could Chadwick’s proposal simply be more white, so-called liberal paternalism (or maternalism as the case may be) from our First Ward leadership? And at what cost?

Local First Ward homeowner Ellie Moore recently commented regarding some possible real but unintended consequences that might arise if Chadwick’s proposed ban were to be successful. Ms. Moore pointed out the likelihood that police might arrest or otherwise cite someone from the neighborhood for drinking in the park. Given what we know about the overtly racist application and prosecution of our nation’s Drug War, bad enough that it has been dubbed “the new Jim Crow,” there is a high likelihood that a black male might have a felony record. “This ordinance might leave a few more children fatherless,” she said. That is a real possibility. More needless laws, more needless prohibitions increase the likelihood of a run-in with police. As most black males in the First Ward and around the country will tell you, those run-ins usually don’t turn out well.

Please let Ms. Chadwick know that you do not like the idea of prohibiting alcohol in Douglass Park. Her email is Ward1@GoColumbiaMo.com. Her phone number is (573) 999-2641. If you feel like faxing, use (573) 442-8828. Sound off, folks!

 

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Save Rock Quarry Rd.

Rock Quarry Rd. may be the last remaining scenic drive in Columbia. Most everyone in the area is familiar with the old road that winds through the grand wooded hills and valleys south of the University. What most do not know is that our local government is hatching a plan to change all of that — supposedly in the name of safety.

The flags are out and trees are marked for removal. Concerned citizens contacted Public Works to see what was afoot and were told by Director John Glasscock that the road is going to be widened. This comes after a 2011 report that stated no change to the road was warranted.

The accident rate on Rock Quarry — determined through a complex formula — is 37 percent higher than the state average; however, according to the report, redesigning the road for safety would not be considered prudent until the accident rate exceeds twice the state average.

Rock Quarry Rd. is narrow and curvy to be sure. Couple that with an uptick in traffic from ill-conceived, behemoth student housing projects at the road’s south end and the rate of traffic accidents starts to climb. Sure, there are better-lit, wider, and straighter thoroughfares to choose from, but for the late-night run from downtown for those headed south, the dark relatively un-policed road is inviting.

The Columbia Police Department has requested a new study for updated accident statistics, apparently concerned about driver safety. Linked here is story from 2011, when the discussion about Rock Quarry Rd. was taking root.

The report indicated the leading causes of accidents on the road were speeding, inattention and drunken driving, accounting for 55, 25 and 23 accidents, respectively.

But is the road really the problem? Are we tax payers really responsible for the poor driving skills and lack of good judgement on the part of drivers who venture down the old road during the wee hours? If the safety of ill-equipped and sometime impaired drivers is really our concern shouldn’t we bulldoze, flatten, and pave everything?

Roughly half of the accidents resulted from vehicles hitting fixed objects such as ditches or trees.

And do people really need to be walking and cycling on Rock Quarry Road? Who are these people?!?!

Commission members also expressed concern that the road lacks accommodations for pedestrians and cyclists.

This all seems like a silly waste of money that may drive down the property value for those who own homes along the quaint and scenic path. Implementation of this plan would be a waste of scarce resources at a time when the City is complaining about a lack of funds for updating long-ignored infrastructure in the central city.

Should we allow our government to butcher the last remaining scenic drive in our city simply because developers built student housing on a road that could not support the traffic?

I say we save everyone the headache, heartache, and money and simply post a large and well-lit sign at each end of the road bearing the message, “SCENIC ROADWAY: NARROW ROAD WITH DANGEROUS CURVES AHEAD. DRIVE WITH CAUTION.” Then we can sit back and let nature take its course.

Let us at least brainstorm for some less invasive means to make the road safer while preserving the scenic and real value of existing properties. The government answer is always to use a sledge hammer when a small finishing hammer will get the job done with more finesse and less mess.

Please contact your City Council representative and tell him/her to leave Rock Quarry Road alone.

 

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Red Light Retrospective: Red Light Cameras and the Birth of Keep Columbia Free

While Missourians far and wide are celebrating the ruling issued by the Eastern District Court of Appeals regarding the legality, or illegality as it were, of red light camera programs in the state, it seems like the perfect time to take a look back at Keep Columbia Free’s relationship with Columbia’s own red light camera program. Most Columbians would not be surprised to find that Keep Columbia Free has long been opposed to the use of red light cameras, but few people know the seminal role these Orwellian cash machines played in bringing together this merry band of liberty lovers.

Early in 2010 a local liberty group known as Liberty on the Rocks, part of the national Liberty on the Rocks organization, was fomenting opposition to the deployment of Red Light Cameras in Columbia under the leadership of Liz DeFoe-Thomas. Another liberty group in Kansas City, The Liberty Restoration Project, had been sounding the alarm via social media and Liz had heard the call.

Mark Flakne had also heard the LRP call and, via some mutual friends on Facebook, was contacted by DeFoe-Thomas and invited to a sign-making party in preparation for Columbia’s first protest against the Red Light Cameras. It was at that party that Mark met Mitch Richards and the two immediately became fast friends.

The protest received a great deal of interest from the media and was a smashing success, drawing an endless chorus of enthusiastic honks from passing motorists.

Here are a few scenes from the party and the protest…

More protests and more honks followed…

As the first camera protest was winding down, local attorney Dan Viets stopped by and chatted with Flakne and Richards. Viets invited the two — and the rest of the group — to join in a local coalition he was forming to push back against another Orwellian camera scheme, the Downtown Safety Cameras. A week or two later, DeFoe-Thomas, Richards, and Flakne sat down with Dan, the then local ACLU, local Libertarian Party officials, and various other non-affiliated individuals concerned with government overreach. It was at this meeting that the first incarnation of Keep Columbia Free was born.

Following the failed campaign in opposition to the Safety Cameras, the committee was officially dissolved. Sensing the need for a liberty-centered organization with a broader scope, Richards and Flakne took on the mantle of leadership and re-registered the group as the political action committee you know today.

Over the last three-and-a-half years, Keep Columbia Free has often spoken against Columbia’s red light camera program. Here are a few tidbits from these past articles.

From Red Light Rip-Off:

The spin doctors in the Columbia City Manager’s Office have been hard at work twisting the reports regarding the city’s red light cameras. They claim that the red light cameras are to thank for fewer accidents at the intersections where they are installed. Both of our local papers have printed these claims without so much as a peep regarding the legitimacy of the study, so let’s break it down.

From Red Light Cameras: The Documents:

Was the practice of an all-red pause at intersections considered? An all-red pause and longer yellows would do more to improve the safety of intersections than red light cameras, but this change would not generate profits for Gatso and its partners at the City of Columbia. It’s all about the money, folks.

What it boils down to is that these statistics say nothing about the effectiveness of Gatso’s red light cameras. Assuming that Tony St Romaine and Bill Watkins are both intellegent enough to understand these statistics, it is frightening to see that our City Manager’s Office would attempt to distort the truth by feeding lies to the media and the citizens of Columbia whom they serve.

Does this prove that our city government couldn’t care less about the safety of our city, especially when there is a profit to be had?

From Toni and Tony Twist the Truth:

I think we all know that the system is all about the money. A silver-tounged salesman comes in from out of town and with a little Harold Hill song and dance, convinces Mayor Shinn — er– Hindman that there’s trouble in River City that only Gatso cameras can fix. Of course, the city loves the plan — they get to add money to the general fund. The City Manager’s office loves the idea because their respective résumés appear more robust as most of the funds are used to add to our already bloated city bureaucracy. And who can argue with the plan? Heck, it has to make us safer. It’s for the children, right?

What these government agents… I mean… city officials have failed to tell us is the real reason red light violations are down in Columbia. It has nothing to do with these silly cameras.

You see, earlier this year MODOT, in an attempt to reduce accidents at intersections governed by stoplights, changed the timing of the lights by adding more time to the yellow portion of the light timing.  And, wouldn’t ya know it, all of Columbia traffic cameras are at intersections governed by MODOT.

From Is Tony St. Romain Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?:

Assistant City Manager Tony St. Romaine might be smarter than a 5th grader, but when he talks about red light camera statistics, he’s definitely not smarter than a 12th grader.

I asked my 12th grade son the following:

The City of Columbia installed red light cameras at four intersections two years ago. The number of citations issued by the camera machinery dropped 28 percent in 2012 when compared with 2011. The City says that this indicates that the cameras are working. Is that a reasonable claim?

Without hesitation, my 12th grader reasoned that this claim could not be reasonable without knowing the traffic rates for the time periods in question and the number of citations at non-camera intersections during the same time periods (provided that enforcement patrol patterns had not changed at the non-camera intersections).

So why does Tony St. Romaine continue to claim that the red light cameras are a stunning success based on phony, partial statistics and tortured logic? Is he really a simpleton?

From Banning Red Light Cameras in Columbia:

I’ve written a couple of  blogs on the subject of red light cameras in Columbia, questioning the City Manager’s assessment of their effectiveness. You can read them HERE and HERE. I contend, and the city’s own documents support the fact, that red light cameras do not keep us safe from accidents at intersections. Instead, these Orwellian tools serve only to extract a profit for international corporate giant, Gatso, and the City of Columbia. Along with financial profits, the cameras added over $80,000 to the city budget and bureaucracy which gives a boost to the resume of any up and coming assistant city manager.

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City of Columbia Targets Gays and Students

Op-Ed from Stanley Diaz — President, Columbia Apartment Association 

STUDENTS and GAYS UNFAIRLY TARGETED BY CITY

Students are the main target of the new Over-Occupancy Disclosure Ordinance.  In January of this year, the Columbia City Council voted, in effect, to remove your right to privacy as granted by the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution.  It also discriminates against gay couples. The ordinance says no more than three unrelated adults can live in an R1 residence but what constitutes a related family?   Are two gay couples two “families” or are they four unrelated adults?

In 2012, there were only 14 cases of over-occupancy being prosecuted by the City.  According to the homeowner associations who spoke in favor of this ordinance, the problem is almost always with students.  Over-occupancy has been against the law in Columbia for many years, but because of this handful of complaints, the City made it a law  (Columbia, Missouri City Code Section 22.184(c)) in January 2013 that all 25,000 rental unit occupants must sign a disclosure document that allows any “police officer or city inspector investigating any code violation” to see “all lease, rental payment, tenant information”.

“Tenant information” means your social security number, birth date, and more.  Note that the law says, “ANY code violation”, not just over-occupancy complaints!

I doubt that there is a single building in town that does not have one code violation.

For instance: a cracked switchplate cover, too many leaves in the gutter, a vine or tree too close to the building, missing smoke detector batteries, peeling paint, etc. are all code violations.  Is it right that 25,000 rental units, or about 50,000 adults should be subjected to this kind of treatment because of a couple of dozen complaints?

The Columbia Apartment Association does not condone  true over-occupancy violators.  They should be investigated and prosecuted when necessary.  But this disclosure ordinance is a violation of federal law, is insulting to all renters and discriminatory to Gays and Lesbian couples.  Also note that only Renters are required to fill out the Disclosure form, not homeowners.  Read the ordinance form yourself and see.

If you care about your rights or the rights of MU students in the years to come, then call the City of Columbia at 573-874-7222 or email them at ward1@gocolumbiamo.com, ward2@gocolumbiamo.com, ward3@gocolumbiamo.com, ward4@gocolumbiamo.com, ward5@gocolumbiamo.com, ward6@gocolumbiamo.com.  tell them to rescind the Over Occupancy DISCLOSURE Ordinance.

This issue comes up for vote again on July 15th please contact the city before that date.

Stanley Diaz — President, Columbia Apartment Association

Read what KCF had to say when the ordinance was introduced HERE

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