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Today's Question: Is it time to add members to the City Council?

Thursday, March 26, 2009 | 10:47 a.m. CDT; updated 12:03 p.m. CDT, Thursday, March 26, 2009

After the 2010 U.S. Census, it's likely the City Council will weigh the option of whether to redistrict the city.

The council moved from five members — four ward representatives and a mayor — to seven members in 1973 with the addition of two wards. More than three decades later, there is some disagreement among council members and candidates on whether it would be a good idea to add two more wards, and thus two more council members.

Sixth Ward City Council candidate Rod Robison said adding two more wards, and therefore two more council members, would add bureaucracy. His opponent, incumbent Barbara Hoppe, agreed, adding that the current council doesn't have any trouble accessing or representing constituents.

Second Ward candidates Allan Sharrock and Jason Thornhill, one of whom will take Chris Janku's seat, offered slightly different opinions. Sharrock predicted the city would need to add two wards. Thornhill said that while he's open to redistricting, he said has yet to hear of anyone having problems contacting council members.

There's no doubt Columbia has grown in population, but is increasing the City Council from seven members to nine the best solution for accommodating the city's growth?


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Comments

Ray Shapiro March 26, 2009 | 10:06 p.m.

Question:
There's no doubt Columbia has grown in population, but is increasing the City Council from seven members to nine the best solution for accommodating the city's growth?
Answer:
Yes, as the population grows in a spiral manner, better representation for those geographically living further away from downtown should be addressed.
As for: "Sixth Ward City Council candidate Rod Robison said adding two more wards, and therefore two more council members, would add bureaucracy."
IMHO, should bureaucracy be the concern of the council, as opposed to better representation, I would suggest we just do away with this entire City Council-City Manager type of government and vote in a strong Mayor/Comptroller.
Either run it right or change it!

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr March 27, 2009 | 3:54 a.m.

When all Mayor,City Council and the City Manager vote for is more and more parks and other fancy B.S. this city does not need and all the while allow our much needed infrastructure like roads,EMS and police to faulter the City Council,Mayor and City Manager are not representing my needs as a citizen in any way shape or form of the word "represent".

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 27, 2009 | 6:52 a.m.

I agree with your comments about representation, Chuck; however, they do not address the question of what the size of this mayor/council government should be.

Perhaps you would agree that if, in your opinion, these folks aren't doing the necessary job with the current number of members, there's no reason for us to believe that adding members would solve that problem.

Making any organization bigger doesn't guarantee that it will function better; sometimes just the reverse is patently the case.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking March 27, 2009 | 7:49 a.m.

Actually, the City Manager doesn't vote.

I've always thought downtown should be it's own ward, as the needs of that area are so different from the rest of the First Ward.

We'd have to carve out another ward somewhere - I'd imagine with some redrawing of boundaries we could do that in a way that would make most people happy.

DK

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr March 27, 2009 | 9:39 a.m.

Ellis Smith and Mark Foecking you both make great points I can agree and work with.

We need to redraw the Ward Lines first I do agree to see if new Wars or Council members might be needed.

We need to make down town it's own Ward separate from the huge Ward it is now or just cut down town out of Ward 1 and recognize "The District" which is down town as it's own Ward.

Any of the above I can agree with as long as done properly.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr March 27, 2009 | 9:40 a.m.

Mark I know the City Manager does not vote but he does propose at times some really crappy legislation.

(Report Comment)

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