Tag Archives: Keep Columbia Free

Chadwick’s Ninny Pulpit

“Ginny State + Nanny State = Ninny State,” wrote one Facebook user upon learning of Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick’s latest proposal. At the most recent council meeting, Ms. Chadwick started the ball rolling toward an ordinance that would change the legal age for the purchase of tobacco from 18 to 21 and also place tighter restrictions on e-cigarettes within the city limits of Columbia.

Ginny Chadwick

Ginny Chadwick

Her latest proposal comes fresh on the heels of her astoundingly racist and seemingly defunct push to ban alcohol consumption in Douglass Park, a popular gathering place for Columbia’s African-American community. Couple these two overtly overprotective prohibition propositions with her unwavering support of the Opus student housing development and her willingness to completely ignore her constituency on all issues and Ms. Chadwick is a contender for Columbia’s most hated councilperson. There have even been rumblings of recall on social media.

There is, however, one constituent to whom Ms. Chadwick will lend the royal ear. School Board Member Jonathan Sessions, the young entrepreneur and politician rumored to be a Democrat favorite for state office, has taken credit for proposing the new tobacco age restrictions and, according to city insiders, was the man behind the original plan to ban alcohol in Douglass Park when it was first proposed by Chadwick’s predecessor Fred Schmidt.

Jonathan Sessions

Jonathan Sessions

So, what’s so wrong with changing the legal age for purchasing tobacco from 18 to 21?

In a town the size of Columbia — i.e. not very big — this change would likely move tobacco sales to just outside the city limits. Unlike the few suburban cities that have made the change, Columbia’s outskirts are relatively under-developed and ripe for a burgeoning tobacco trade. In Columbia, migration of the 18 to 21 tobacco trade is inevitable.

Speaking of suburban cities that have made the change, Ms. Chadwick touted the successes seen in Needham, Massachusetts. The problem is, Needham is  the ONLY city where the change has been made and any success has been seen. The leading organization behind this push, Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation, on their website Tobacco21.org, lists only Needham, MA while offering no other evidence regarding tobacco and age limitations. The rest of the evidence is loosely extrapolated from data based on alcohol, a completely different and unrelated drug. And let’s not forget, Columbia is not a densely populated suburb of Boston. Columbia is a small, unique, and independent Midwestern city with a large, transient student population between the ages of 18 and 21. Columbia is the apple to Needham’s orange.

And, there is really no reason to make the change since smoking is already trending down. Read the CDC report HERE. 

Statistics aside, the philosophical problems with the proposal are almost too many to list — but I’ll give it a shot…

Eighteen is the universally accepted, legal age of adulthood in the developed world. It’s the age at which we allow our men and women to join the military so we can send them across the globe to kill and die on our behalf. It is the age that we force all young men to register for the Selective Service so that our government can force them to join the military to kill and die on our behalf (or at least on behalf of the corporatists who run our government). We’ll ask and/or force these adults to kill and die, but Ginny Chadwick thinks that they can’t be trusted to buy cigarettes.

People between the ages of 18 and 21 can choose to have sex with another consenting adult of any age. People under age 21 can even have children and we allow them to be responsible for the health of these children, but Ginny Chadwick thinks these same people cannot be trusted to make their own health decisions regarding tobacco.

People under 21 are allowed to work in Columbia restaurants an be certified by the Health Department to handle food. Ginny Chadwick thinks that these people are a danger to themselves and must be stopped from buying cigarettes, yet they are trusted with the health of restaurant patrons.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates how many people between the ages of 18 and 21 are employed. Take a look at the healthcare and social services statistics for under 21 employees. Wow! We trust these young adults to work in these industries, but Ginny Chadwick doesn’t trust them to buy cigarettes. What’s next? Will she outlaw babysitting for anyone under 21?

And, let’s not forget that 18 is the voting age. We trust 18-year-olds to help choose our leaders, yet Ginny Chadwick doesn’t trust these same citizens to make their own decisions regarding tobacco.

What is Chadwick’s Game?

There has been a great deal of speculation, some rather well-educated speculation, regarding what might be driving Ms. Chadwick’s ninny-nanny behavior. Some have suggested that she merely enjoys all forms of attention, both good and bad. Some have suggested that her belief that she is more intelligent than everyone around her has morphed into some sort of frightening, yet common, elected narcissism. Some have suggested that she is using her elected position as a résumé builder for a future career in the public health field. What is clear is that in spite of her tortured campaign slogan, “The key to the city is the voice of the people,” Ms. Chadwick has completely ignored her constituency, the very citizens she was elected to represent.

Comments posted to her Facebook page, a page which she floods with anti-smoking propaganda, even posting updates during Council meetings, go unacknowledged.

vernon to chad

When she does take the time to answer a constituent, her answer is best described as a ‘non-answer.’ Ms. Chadwick is pursuing a master’s degree in Public Health and Strategic Communication. Here is an example of a strategic non-answer that will curl the hair of staunch grammarians. Did I mention that she studies in the Missouri School of Journalism?

chad qStrategic communication indeed.

When listening to Ms. Chadwick discuss the Opus student housing agreement, it became clear that she was part of “The City” and not part of the First Ward. She often projected a tone of us (The City) vs. them (the people). During an interview on Steve Spellman’s Mid-Missouri Freedom Forum on KOPN she often referred to the City as “we” and called Mayor McDavid “Bob” and City Manager Matthes “Mike” as if they were old friends. She seemed to relish her insider roll, hobnobbing with Opus attorneys and high-ranking bureaucrats.

In the footnote on page 6 of the lawsuit filed by the anti-Opus petitioners, it is noted that Ms. Chadwick seemed to be working with Opus while ignoring her constituents by passing information from the City Manager to one but not the other.

chad law

Click HERE for a news report on her Opus press conference that further demonstrates the us vs. them mentality she holds. She literally thinks she needs to educate her ignorant constituents.

But really, for the narcissist in a seat of power, isn’t it all about “me” and the attention “me” gets? Take this Facebook exchange for instance. Note how Ms. Chadwick talks about her smoking age restriction and how it is an issue that is important to her, not to her constituency. The comment from her Facebook comrade is also quite telling as the friend and citizen pleads with her benevolent overlord to stop the unwashed poor from stinking up the town with their smoking. This is the very arrogance that has come to characterize Ginny Chadwick’s policy making. Birds of a feather flock together.

chad q1

Besides the ego-boosting attention she is receiving, what’s in it for Ms. Chadwick? For one, she’s seeking a degree, and one would assume a career, in the Public Health field. Is this all just a means for Ms. Chadwick to bolster her professional résumé? Why else would she undertake such unpopular crusades while ignoring more pressing issues important to her constituents like gun violence and crumbling infrastructure?

Perhaps she has her sites set on higher office. She does seem to be taking her marching orders from the local establishment Democrat up-and-comer Jonathan Sessions. Is G-Chad just trying to please J-Sesh? He does seem to be the anointed one among local, big-money Dems like Chris Kelly and John Wright. jsesh 1

Who knows what her angle is? Maybe it’s all of the above. What’s clear is that in less than six months from taking her oath of office, Ginny Chadwick has made three extremely unpopular and very public displays of poor political judgement. Sadly, this is par for the course with First Ward representation. It is high time that this community figure out how to get good, trustworthy candidates to run for local office. Many promising candidates cannot afford to donate the time (yes the Council receives a small salary that won’t even cover the gas it takes to drive to the top of a parking garage) required to serve adequately, leaving the job to those with residual or retirement incomes. It is likely time to pay our Council a meaningful salary like our county officials receive. Sadly, it also takes money to be elected. It is time for people to pool their resources and support good candidates. If a First Ward recall were to be undertaken, there is little doubt that the 200 or so signatures could be gathered in only a few days. The real question is — who will take Ms. Chadwick’s place?

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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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Proposition 1 is a Stinker: Give It the Royal Flush

What’s that smell and where is it coming from? Is it the sewer backing up? Nah. The malodor is emanating from a Columbia, Mo sewage-leak-releasesewer bond proposal, which seeks to place the city’s sewer system on terra firma—or, at least, that is the justification for the bond. While some say the bond proposal is a boon to the city because it helps pay for an improved sewer system, others say it is a massive waste of important resources and, ultimately, baneful to Como citizen’s wallets and pocketbooks.

Nonetheless, if Como citizens vote for the bond on the Nov. 5 ballot, which is a debt owed, rates will increase, fees will be enacted, and a multitude of taxes will follow in order to pay down the loan.

Before talking about bonds in general, let’s take a trip back in time: Columbia voters passed a $77 million sewer bond issue in 2008 that was supposed to allocate $4 million to cutout Columbia’s ” private common collector sewers.” Not only was this 2008 iteration of today’s sewer bond proposal a waste of taxpayer dollars (“private common collector sewers” split the cost of maintaining sewers with the taxpayer 50/50, lowering the cost to the taxpayer), as highlighted by Columbia Heartbeat’s Mike Martin, but it was also a promise that went unfulfilled because this year’s proposal is making the same promise: eradicating the “private common collector sewers.”

Instead of repackaging a turd from 2008, maybe Como’s City Council could flush these ridiculously expensive bonds down the toilet. After all, turds were meant to be flushed.

But I guess the Columbia City Council wants to act consistently: They say, well, we wasted $4 million in 2008, we might as well stay consistent and waste approx. the same amount in 2013.

What is worse, it appears as though inequitable utility billing practices have plagued Columbia for years.

Indeed, four years ago it was revealed that former Columbia sewer superintendent Bill FOURTHWARD_032113_Bill_Weitkemper_RP048Weitkemper—a man with an absolute stranglehold on sewer spending in Columbia—found that utility bills were more expensive for individuals in residential households than for large utility users like the University of Missouri, apartment owners and strip malls; Weitkemper, in a letter to the City Council, said “master meters,” which measure sewage usage at several apartments and buildings, are the reason why individuals residents have higher utility bills than MU, strip malls and apartment complexes.

I guess it is true: shit really does roll down hill.

The master meters, he admonished the Council, should, for purposes of making utility bills more equitable, be abolished in favor of individual meters, which measure individual units and buildings.

As for bonds in general: It is easy to see why they are so attractive; a bond’s immediate input of revenue into public coffers allows local governments, state governments and the federal government to avoid increasing taxes.  But like most personal loans, which are oftentimes frivolously spent by the borrower with nary a consideration for repayment in the long run, the issuance of bonds becomes easier and easier to undertake.

To wit, the issuance of bonds, by dint of the fact that they are easier to stomach than tax increase, can easily become part of normal operating procedure. To that point, the potentates in Congress and in state legislatures suggest bonds for myriad things: Does our local police force need a tank? Issue a bond; do we need a new, modern national airport? Issue a bond.

In short, bonds tend to stack up on top of another, making them nearly impossible to pay off.

Apparently, spending other people’s money is habit forming.

For example, as explained by the Show-Me-Institute’s Michael Rathbone during testimony before the Missouri Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Missouri’s Missouri’s FY 2013 budget showed that the state completed payments for the Third State Building Bonds, but the state is still paying for the Fourth State Building Bonds, and Water Pollution Control Bonds.

Moreover, according to Missouri FY 2013 budget, the state, along with its pending bonds, is also facing nearly $5 billion in unfunded liabilities. These unfunded liabilities and the excessive selling of  bonds portend bad things for many Missourians going forward, and many Columbia citizens especially: we are all going to face massive tax and fee increases to pay off these bonds.

In the end, a bond issuance is not free money–nothing is free. Taxpayers will be asked to pay out the butt for these bonds in the coming years.

Keep Columbia Free, if you have not gathered, thinks that Proposition 1–the initiative that, if approved, would sell bonds for sewer work–stinks.

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Small, Homey College Towns: Columbus, Ohio and Columbia, Mo Have Armies? But Why?

This post originally aired at The College Fix.

We should be asking the Columbia, Mo City Council why it feels the need to militarize its police force. Hopefully the University of Missouri refrains from purchasing an “urban assault vehicle.” But who knows. Those college students can be a rowdy bunch. Maybe a gun turret blast into their dorm rooms will quite them down.

While some universities, in attempts to keep a lookout for lone-wolf shooters, have spent millions of dollars on a vast array of campus security cameras, other campuses have considerably beefed up their police force tools with urban-warfare tanks—in effect creating little armies.

Ohio State University and Columbia, Mo., home of the University of Missouri, are two such examples.

The Daily Caller reported that the Ohio State University campus police recently obtained what appears to be a Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicle to add to their security detail. Critics of campus security ask why such a tank-like vehicle, built primarily for urban warfare, would ever be needed in a small college town, let alone on a campus.

The massive vehicle is capable of holding 10 passengers within its bulky frame. It is also armed with a turret, gun ports and a battering ram for those hard-to-get-into dorm rooms. Needless to say, that is a lot of artillery for a small town police department tasked with the unenviable job of corralling young college students.

Not to be outdone, Columbia, Mo.—a small town compared to most other expansive cities with large SWAT forces–picked up its own $200,000, ground-pounding behemoth this past April. The vehicle is called a “Bearcat” which is an acronym for “Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck.”

To that point, universities and college towns are, under the guise of safety, taking security several steps further, opting to step up the full militarization of their police forces; it remains to be seen whether or not the increasing militarization of the police is an effective tool to use to combat episodic shooting tragedies.

The Daily Caller contacted OSU media director Gary Lewis who bragged that “OSU’s campus cops are the first agency in the state to acquire such a vehicle.”

The vehicle may be used for officer rescues, hostage scenarios, bomb evaluations or campus shootings, according to campus officials.

After Lewis’ comments, and Reason Magazine’s investigations on the story, OSU and its PR department shut out all media inquiries, admitting to reporters only that the university has borrowed other law enforcement vehicles in the past. The admission appears to contradict Lewis’ claim that the OSU campus police were the first in the state to own an urban assault vehicle.

In the same vein, Lt. Geoff Jones of Columbia, Mo., SWAT told The Fix that the Bearcat was meant to replace the police department’s older armored response vehicle that had become aged and worn-out. “The vehicle needed to be replaced,” Jones said. He refused to justify why the police department needed an armored vehicle at all, only saying that it can be used in hostage situations and to break up riots.

As if the “Bearcat” was not enough to keep the crime in check, the Columbia city council in early September filled out a purchase order for more than 40 M4 Semi-Automatic rifles and a set of 25 night vision goggles, according to City Council documents. Again, the purchasing of the rifles and an armored vehicle prompted some to question the city council’s decision to arm to the teeth the city’s police department.

After the 2007 Texas Tech shootings, many universities have acted quickly, and, some say, too hastily to protect their students from episodic acts of violence—forgetting that schools are schools, not warzones.

One of the most outspoken critics of the militarization of all police forces, not just campus police departments, is former Reason Magazine editor Radley Balko.

Balko told The Fix that “schools and police officials will cite Virginia Tech or Columbine as reason for needing SWAT teams or armored vehicles, but the average campus can expect to see a homicide once every several thousand years.” Moreover, Balko said, once these Columbine/VT incidents do not transpire, which they rarely ever do, they then can use these militaristic vehicles for more mundane purposes.

In short, police departments appear to use the public’s fear of lone shooters as a way to acquire armored toys.

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Civil Asset Forfeiture: Policing for Profit in Columbia, Mo Is Grinding To A Halt

In these tough economic times, how do law enforcement officers find the cash for nifty gadgets such as new militarized swat vehicles or fancy, little video cameras?

Why, they steal it.

Principally, civil asset forfeiture tactics have been abused by law enforcement agencies across the nation for decades – and it’s only getting worse.

A 2000 reform act passed by Congress seems to have had little effect, as recent stats by the Department of Justice show $4.22 billion was seized through federal forfeiture laws in 2012, up from $1.7 billion in 2011 – an increase of a whopping 248 percent.

While national nonprofits and law firms  dedicated to fending off such cash-seizing techniques continue to grow, and investigative news reports exposing the fraud pile up, the process continues unabated.

Here’s how the racket is unfolds.

Criminals are presumed innocent until proven guilty, but there’s a caveat. The feds can seize the assets of an individual for the mere suspicion of wrongdoing. Called “civil asset forfeitures,” they’re in stark contrast to criminal asset forfeitures, which allow police to seize cash and property from those convicted of a federal crime.

While criminal asset forfeiture cuts legal muster, civil federal forfeiture laws are heralded by many as entirely unconstitutional. Meanwhile, examples of wrongdoing on the part of law enforcement are easily found.

Typically after such seizures, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies split the loot, using legal loopholes that allow them to collude, although they call it “equitable sharing.”  Local agents are temporarily deputized as federal ones, which helps them get around civil asset forfeiture laws and procure the assets.

Take, for example, a case out of Nashville chronicled by NewsChannel5 in late April. An Indian-American New York businessman on his way to purchase a convenience store with a large sum of cash lost $160,000 after a routine traffic stop in December 2011.

Ultimately officers were forced to return the money – but more than a year later, and after the man proved it was for businesses purposes, not drug trafficking. In essence, he had to prove his money’s innocence. And the feds still kept $5,000 of it as part of a settlement.

Peter Strianse, a former federal prosecutor, told NewsChannel5 “he often hears from people who’ve had $10,000 or more seized through federal forfeiture laws — and he has to tell them to kiss their money goodbye.”

“It becomes just a real losing proposition,” Strianse said. “You are going to spend three times that amount of money to try to get the $10,000 back that was taken from you.”

In another example, as reported exhaustively by Keep Columbia Free (KCF) among others, the Columbia, Mo. Police Department was able to recently purchase a $200,000 armored police vehicle—a military style SUV—with the help of $36,505 in civil asset forfeiture funds.

Perhaps some of that $36,505 came from Kevin Bay, the owner of a Columbia apparel store called BoCoMo Bay. According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, Bay was arrested on suspicion of carrying unlicensed firearms and selling synthetic marijuana, but the prosecutor in the case dropped all charges; it was, at the time, not illegal to hold and sell synthetic marijuana.

Unfortunately, however, the dropped charges came after Columbia police seized hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property from his house. He asked for it back. Local authorities refused. Bay’s case remains entangled in federal courts.

What’s worse about the Columbia case is that, any asset forfeitures – whether civil or criminal – are required under the state constitution to be given to the state’s schools and public universities – not to police departments to purchase military-style tanks.

But the following may illustrate police motives, their zeal to seize such assets.

In November 2012, Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton’s told the Columbia Police Review Board that civil asset forfeiture is “kind of like pennies from heaven — it gets you a toy or something that you need is the way that we typically look at it to be perfectly honest.”

KCF and civil asset forfeiture reform advocates Americans for Forfeiture Reform (AFR) want to keep the Columbia Police Department from getting its pennies from heaven.

As many readers of this blog know, KCF has kept vigil over the issue of civil asset forfeiture, both in Columbia, Mo and around the country since its inception in 2010.

Progress on civil asset forfeiture reform has been long and grinding, but it looks like the tide starting to pick up speed, building into a crescendo.

As I write this blog, AFR is preparing an ordinance that would ban the practice of civil asset forfeiture in Columbia, Missouri. Furthermore, AFR maintains that if Columbia’ City Council is not receptive to the ordinance, then the group plans on taking the issue directly to Columbia’ citizenry via a ballot initiative. The initiative will, presumably, appear on next year’s ballot.

Here is the ordinance that will be presented to the Columbia City Council. Read over it.

 petition

Read this, this and this to find out more about civil asset forfeiture.

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Tony St. Romaine’s Insatiable Lust for Other People’s Money

Columbia, Mo Mayor Bob McDavid, after some clamoring from Columbia citizens, came out in support of a 20 cent increase in personal property tax—which is another tax proposal in a seemingly never ending litany of tax proposals, the most recent of course being the 3/8 sales tax increase to pay for an $11 million 911 call center, a facility that is projected to have an annual cost upkeep of nearly $9 million—as a conduit for the hiring of an extra 35 Columbia, Mo police officers.

 

Mayor McDavid, after sensing the animus against a personal property tax increase, and noting the Columbia Police Officer’ Association’s (CPOA) assertion that a $3.5 million tax increase is simply not necessary to stem Columbia’s criminal element, made the snap quick, but perspicacious decision to split the scenery at Bugsy’s beanery; in short, he backed off of his initial support for the tax increase, breaking the news of his about-face on an August 13 Facebook post:

                 

                    “Based on comments made by the Columbia Police Officers Association, I no longer

                     support an increase in property tax to fund an increase in police staffing.”

 

One would think that the sensible minds on the City Council would follow suit, but such thoughts, apparently are unfounded. 

 

As if to buck reality, and to solidify the “most unpopular city managers in Columbia” title, Tony St. Romaine has decided to draw a line in the sand on behalf of tax increases. He is throwing his full weight and support behind the personal property tax increase. Somebody has to stick up for unwanted, unwarranted tax increases, no?

 

Romaine, some might remember, was the same city manage who backed universally disliked policies and ideas like the red light cameras, the use of $3 million in city reserve funding to buy up property for private developers (the worse kind of corporate cronyism), and the erection of an opulently expensive 10 story parking garage downtown (given the sobriquet, Garagezilla), which is more popular among those wishing to commit suicide (two people, in one year’s time, have leaped to their death off of the structure) then it is among the general public.

 

So the CPOA and the mayor are on the same side. They both believe that extra police officers, and the expense that comes with them, can easily be paid through funds filtered through the 911 sales tax and from the cutting back on overtime that current police officers receive; the increase in police force would, necessarily decrease the amount of forced overtime that police officers have to log every day, giving the Mayor and City Council the requisite money to pay for a extra police officers. 

 

The bottom line—according to Mayor McDavid, the CPOA and liberal Missourian columnist and professor George Kennedy, who oftentimes cuts vigorish on behalf of tax increases, is that a personal property tax increase is unnecessary at best, and a terrible idea at worse.

 

What is more, Romaine, and Mayor McDavid before sobering up, appears more than willing to default to the tax increase position on seemingly every issue of importance. If it is not his wanton adherence to a 911 sales tax, then it is his absolute, full-throated love for tax increases—regardless of iteration. A lover of zapping personal income from Columbians, Romaine, based on superfluous facts, is hell-bent on taking other people’s money purely for the purposes of funding future 10 story, 15 story and 20 story parking garages and 25 more red light cameras.

 

As a side note, Columbia residents are tired of the tax increases, and the rumors of tax increases. They want security and safety, but they are not willing to have their personal property or money pilfered and tossed down a cosmic bunny hole in order to keep up appearances. Give them real solutions, not reflexive tax increase proposals.

More on St. Romaine’s past antics HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE

Christopher W.

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Keep Columbia Free Opposes New 911 Tax

Download printable press release HERE

There is little doubt that the Boone County Emergency Management and Joint Communications 911 system faces serious operational challenges and difficulties. Something should be done to address its problems, but a tax hike to fund an exorbitant, unaccountable budget is not the correct approach.

Taxes are already high and this proposed tax increase will push the sales tax rate in many local stores to over 8 percent. A tax increase on basic goods is ill-conceived, especially when many families are struggling to survive in a troubled economy.

In fact, we citizens are already paying enough to fund these emergency operations, but decades of financial mismanagement at the hands of elected officials and government bureaucrats have squandered these funds. Our elected officials have neglected these fundamental emergency services in favor of other more glamorous and less needed budgetary objectives aimed at making headlines rather than providing safety. The proposed tax hike is nothing more than a bailout from the taxpayer for these elected leaders who have misspent our hard-earned tax dollars.

The proposed 911 budget stands as an excessive increase that will more than triple the current annual budget, moving it from $2.7 million to $8.7 million, and concentrate $20 million in the hands of just three county commissioners in the first year alone. These professional politicians, each with an annual salary in excess of $80,000, rule by consensus. No guarantees and few details have been released about the planned $11.3 million building or how the remainder of the $20 million lump sum and the $8.7 million annual budget will be spent. It is wrongheaded to take these extra funds from the citizens and pay them to the county government where there is limited representation, no firm plans for the new multi-million dollar building, no accountability, and no guarantee that our current crop of elected officials and appointed bureaucrats will be better stewards of these funds than those of the past.

We demand that politicians find a way to adequately fund and manage our 911 services without further burdening the hardworking taxpayers of Boone County. We demand that our elected officials examine their spending priorities and work within their existing means.

Please VOTE “NO” on Proposition #1 (the 911 tax) on April 2nd.

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