Two local groups, CoMo Council Watch and Keep Columbia Free, have joined forces with local cannabis law reformers to recall Councilperson Ginny Chadwick. More groups are likely to join the effort soon.
Columbia advocates for cannabis legalization, Aaron Malin, Eapen Thampy, and Duell Lauderdale, started the recall effort in response to Chadwick’s reversal of her public campaign promise to support Councilperson Barbara Hoppe’s proposed cannabis cultivation ordinance. Her vote was the last in a long string of outright betrayals since being sworn into office only six months ago. It was the straw, or perhaps the leaf, that broke the proverbial camel’s back.
Even Councilperson Barb Hoppe was confounded by Chadwick’s dishonesty.
“I think we felt misled… It’s hard to tell what she really thinks. She’ll say she’s for something and then vote against it.” — Councilperson Barb Hoppe on Chadwick’s cannabis vote
The recall announcement made by the pro-cannabis crowd was simply the first. A newly formed organization of First Ward voters calling themselves CoMo Council Watch had their own recall petition in the works which listed many of the same grievances, chief among them being Chadwick’s less-than-transparent slight of hand in her dealings with the Opus student housing project.
I was at the coalition meeting along with several of the Keep Columbia Free faithful. This writer has chronicled Councilwoman Chadwick’s flagrant misdeeds for several months and all in the room were in agreement that she had amassed a laundry list of recall-worthy actions. Besides her 180 on her cannabis reform campaign promise and her good ol’ boy relationship with Opus, Chadwick has also proposed an overtly racist plan to ban alcohol in Douglass Park and is now pushing to change the legal age for tobacco purchase to 21 and include e-cigs in Columbia’s smoking ban. And she doesn’t give a damn what anyone has to say about it, going so far as to scrub constituent comments from her official Facebook page, even blocking some users.
The folks from the Bistate Regional Advocates for Vaping Education (BRAVE) have expressed great dismay over Chadwick targeting e-cigs and will hopefully officially endorse the recall effort soon.
There is little doubt that Chadwick has sided with the establishment “powers that be” in Columbia. Even the great establishment propagandist, Tribune Publisher Hank Waters, has jumped to her aid with his barrels of ink and an overtly erroneous editorial in which he attempts to pigeonhole the recall effort as a “small group of disappointed supporters of looser marijuana restrictions.” Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Even his own newspaper reported the facts. Apparently, Ol’ Hank doesn’t read his own publication.
The editorial prompted this apropos response from local liberty activist Spencer Pearson…
HA! This Op-Ed from Hank Waters about the #RecallChadwick movement is outrageously false. It must be nice to own a newspaper and tell voters in other wards what to do without any real knowledge of the movement you’re writing about.
The “small group” of people who are members of the Recall First Ward Councilperson Ginny Chadwick page already outnumber Chadwick’s public like page! And the grievances First Ward voters have go far beyond her broken campaign promise to support decriminalizing cannabis cultivation.
Waters concludes the piece with a Confucius quote: “The real fault is to have faults and not try to mend them.” When Chadwick publicly stated she didn’t have to make a case to a group of angry constituents, THAT was the deciding point of the recall. She has flat-out refused to address the people who elected her, as is her job. Perhaps Mr. Waters should show this Confucius quote to Ginny Chadwick instead of patronizing First Ward voters by telling so many of them their efforts are “without merit and should be ignored.” Or perhaps he is just projecting
But who will replace Chadwick?
There are a few names being tossed around, but those discussions have been kept secret so far. The First Ward wants to make sure that they don’t get fooled again, hoodwinked by more snake oil, ending up worse off than before. There is little doubt that the determined First Ward voters will produce a fully-vetted and qualified candidate. Enough is enough. After a decade of poor representation from the likes of Paul Sturtz, Fred Schmidt, and now Ginny Chadwick, the ward is ripe for real reform and meaningful action. But who will it be?
One name that has been mentioned is former First Ward candidate Mitch Richards who lost to Fred Schmidt in 2011. I asked Richards if he might run to replace Chadwick should the recall effort prove successful.
“Absolutely not! I have no intention to run for Council at this time nor in the near future.
That said, I do support the recall effort. Councilperson Chadwick has advocated an overtly paternalist set of policies since taking office. She arrogantly singled out Columbia’s African-American community as being unfit to consume alcohol in Douglass Park only to change course and try to ban alcohol everywhere in hopes of countering the justifiable cries of racial insensitivity the initial proposal faced. She wants to include e-cigs in Columbia’s smoking ban despite the fact that these devices provide a somewhat safer alternative than smoking for tobacco users and now she wants to tell young adults that while they can vote, pay taxes, and serve in war, they cannot be trusted to buy tobacco products. Her secretive work on the Opus project ran counter to the wishes of her constituency and now she’s made a 180 degree turn on the marijuana cultivation ordinance — an ordinance to which she pledged support during her campaign. Campaign promises should be sacred. The First Ward needs to send a strong message to current and future leadership that these types of fundamental betrayals will not be tolerated.”
These strong words from Richards echo the popular sentiment across the First Ward. There is little doubt that this recall effort will produce plenty of signatures in a very short time.