Tuesday's city elections: What you need to know
The polls will close at 7 p.m. tonight.
Apr. 05, 2011
Prop 1 and 2 allocate stipends and utility spending
Proposition 1 Proposition 1 would award stipends to Columbia City Council members and the mayor beginning with those elected in April 2014. Council members would receive annual stipends of $6,000 at the beginning of their term; the mayor would receive an annual stipend of $9,000 at the beginning of his or her term.
The proposition allows the amount of the stipend to be adjusted, but restricts adjustments from taking effect until three years after they are passed. In this way, the proposition restricts council members from adjusting their own stipend without being re-elected first.
Proposition 2 Under Proposition 2, Columbia would issue $49.5 million in its Water and Electric System Revenue Bonds. The money would be used to expand, repair and improve the city's waterworks and electric system as well as to purchase the outstanding shares of the Columbia Energy Center.
Ameren Energy Marketing owns the Energy Center, but the city hopes by purchasing it, Columbia will be able to back up its energy needs. The Columbia Energy Center is a 144 MW natural gas fired electric generation facility that was built in 2001 and located on Peabody Road.
According to a news release from the city, Columbia Water & Light has contractual agreements with Ameren that includes ownership options. In 2010 the city purchased 25 percent of the plant. When Columbia was approached about purchasing the remaining 75 percent of the facility, the costs of the different options were reviewed. It was found that purchasing the remaining portion of the plant would save the city approximately $1 million each year.
Four candidates for First Ward
Darrell Foster is a former educator and sports coach who describes himself as a community servant and leader. He volunteers with the First Ward Ambassadors.
Foster said he would like to provide inclusion for the minority community in the First Ward, which he feels hasn't had someone to represent their issues for a number of years.
"We haven't had anyone to step forward and speak up and reference the best interests of our community," Foster told The Maneater in a previous interview. "Not the best interests of those with special interests, not the best interests of businesses, but (of) those citizens that actually live in the First Ward."
Pamela Forbes Pamela Forbes is a member of the Community Development Commission and said her platform is centered on sitting down to listen to the opinions and suggestions of those she would represent.
"Being on the Community Development Commission, we have been looking at the housing in the First Ward and there's a lot of dilapidation; there's vacant housing," Forbes told The Maneater in a previous interview. "The city's actually rehabbing some now, but we really have to look at those issues and take care of that. We've neglected it for so long."
Forbes said, as a mother and factory worker of 30 years, she comes from a position which will allow her to truly relate to those she represents. She said she would like to give a stronger voice to the black community, the lower-income people, the people with disabilities, the elderly and the working families who she thinks have been underrepresented in the First Ward.
Mitch Richards Mitch Richards, the youngest candidate at 29, worked on the Political Action Committee and said he was involved the past year trying to stop the city from installing red-light and downtown cameras. Richards says because of his age, he believes his political views will align more often with students.
"There have been some troubling developments in the community in the last year or two, particularly with the installation of the red light cameras, license plate readers and iris scanners at the jail," Richards told The Maneater in a previous interview. "I think it's getting a little out of hand and someone needs to speak up."
Richards acknowledged that a position as a councilman would be only one vote, but that he would, with very few exceptions, use his position to vote against any type of surveillance technology in the city. He said he would also like to make it easier to start a small business in Columbia, and that by doing so, he hopes to improve the local economy.
Fred Schmidt is an accountant with a bachelor's degree in economics from Vassar College and an master's degree in economics from the University of California at Berkley. He has worked on Wall Street, and said his experience as an accountant is important to Columbia at a time when one of the biggest issues in the city is the budget.
When asked why he was running for the First Ward seat, Schmidt said he had a specific vision of what Columbia could be.
"Right now, the burning issues are the economy, the budget and jobs," Schmidt told The Maneater in a previous interview. "We've made a lot of progress in recent years in making Columbia a wonderful place to live and work. You can conceive the challenge, so how do we continue to maintain our quality of life and maintain a vibrant community in this environment?"
Helen Anthony and Glen Ehrhardt vie for former Councilwoman Laura Nauser's seat
Helen Anthony Helen Anthony is a lawyer who was elected to the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission in 2007. She said her main concerns regarding the Fifth Ward are in its infrastructure and zoning regulations.
"We have zoning regulations that are more than 25 years old," Anthony told The Maneater in a previous interview. "They are inadequate for a city that's 100,000 and growing. Infrastructure to my mind also includes making sure that our police and fire are staffed adequately. Our central services are really stretched to the limit and I think need to be supported and bolstered."
She said her experience as a lawyer shaped her people skills especially when trying to come a decision when parties disagree.
"I think in order to be successful in any kind of organization you have to have the ability to respect different opinions and try to come to some sort of an agreement knowing that not everyone is going to get what they want," Anthony said. "Those are the kinds of skills that you can use dealing with any issue that comes before city council.
Glen Ehrhardt attended MU for both his undergraduate and law degrees, and has been a Columbia resident for 32 years. Ehrhardt was selected to serve on the Columbia Public Schools High School Site Selection Committee and serves on the Board of Directors for Alternative Community Training.
Ehrhardt said he would focus on crime prevention, creating jobs and promoting economic growth. He supported the initiative for downtown surveillance cameras and says he will continue to do so for years to come.
"We have an increasing crime problem and Columbia residents don't feel as safe today as in past years," Ehrhardt said on his website. "I will work to support our police officers and firefighters who put their lives in jeopardy daily to protect our families."