Candidates push ideas for economic development, job creation

Hoppe says city is on right track; others disagree
Sunday, April 5, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — With Columbia's February unemployment rate at 5.9 percent — up from 4.1 percent in October — and indicators showing Missouri jobless claims on the rise, job creation and economic development weigh heavily on City Council candidates' minds.

All four candidates, Jason Thornhill and Allan Sharrock in the Second Ward and Rod Robison and Barbara Hoppe in the Sixth Ward, pledge to increase the number of jobs available. But their ideas for how to do that differ.

Hoppe, the only incumbent, said she is pleased with the city's current direction. But all three first-time candidates are proposing changes or expressing dissatisfaction with the status quo.

"We are on the right track," Hoppe said. "I just don't understand how my opponent can (in) any way say that this council or myself isn't doing wonderful things to put us in a good position in the future."

Those wonderful things, Hoppe said, include approving an economic development director and a sustainability director, as well as a focus on the creation of green jobs at every level, such as weatherizing homes and engineering alternative power sources.

Her opponent, Robison, said Columbia has a lot to offer businesses and should look to add tax benefits to that package in some cases.

"I think we really need to do everything we can to convince them (businesses) to come here," Robison said.

Robison also took issue with the city's processes for approving new commercial developments.

"It's not so much that we have to start something new, but that we have to stop some of these road blocks," Robison said of the cumbersome requirements that developers face when pushing projects through the city bureaucracy.

Robison said developers should not be forced to come back time and again for a series of excessively long meetings. "There are regulations, and either (developers) are meeting them or not," he said.

In the Second Ward, Sharrock said his first step, if elected, would be to ask Regional Economic Development Inc., and the Columbia Chamber of Commerce for a list of potential projects and ideas. Sharrock said he would not rest until the council had either voted for or against every proposal.

Thornhill, a member of the chamber, said his first goal would be to learn what strategies have worked for similar cities and then adapt them to fit Columbia.

"I do think we can streamline the approval process for those folks who do want to build here," Thornhill said.

Thornhill said there is more to economic development than just bringing new buildings to town. He said many high school graduates and high school dropouts aren't making adequate wages.

"Just because you have jobs doesn't mean you have wages that support home ownership and investment in the community," Thornhill said.

Thornhill said the City Council isn't doing enough to promote job creation and a stronger economy.

"We've lost more jobs than we've brought in the last five to 10 years," Thornhill said.

Sharrock agreed the city's economic environment is unacceptable.

"I've knocked on a lot of people's doors, and they've said they've just been laid off," Sharrock said. "If we're not proactive and we're not aggressive then we're going to be on the defensive, and that's never where we want to be."

Sharrock and Thornhill said the city needs to "close the financial gap" by providing high school graduates and dropouts with jobs "that they can be proud of and make a decent wage."

When discussing green jobs, Sharrock said the reality is that a business is a business and that if the city is not business-friendly, green employers won't relocate to Columbia, either.

The election, which also includes the Columbia School Board race, is Tuesday.

Missourian reporter Patrick Sweet contributed to this story.

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Ray Shapiro April 5, 2009 | 9:53 p.m.

[Missourians — one in six people in the state — needed federal aid last month to keep food on the table. That’s the highest count ever...]
I wonder what that figure is for Columbia, if you omit the transient college student population.
(source): More Missourians than ever seeking Food Stamps

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 6, 2009 | 4:57 a.m.

ray and it is only going to get worse as time goes on. It will be quite the spectacle when you see those want to be elitists in this community have to go get in line for their share of those Food Stamps,hands outs,oh and say it might not be so for them but having to "live on the dole".

What is funny though one day I saw several really nice newer style cars park at the CMFB with the new dealer tags still in the window and these women get out dressed in their casual house clothing waiting in line for their hand outs.

Could the times be coming for others to join in the lines too. After all alot of families are only one check away from those same food lines they scoff at or make fun of others standing in.

The times they are a changin' and it is not looking good at all.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand April 6, 2009 | 7:16 a.m.

It will be quite the spectacle when those on the dole have it cut off because those who pay the majority of taxes are no longer able -- or simply unwilling to. Where will the money come from then?

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand April 6, 2009 | 7:20 a.m.

"He said many high school graduates and high school dropouts aren't making adequate wages."

This is the marketplace screaming, "Stay in school."

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 6, 2009 | 8:51 a.m.

Ayn Rand what will be more entertaining is seeing how well people like you can survive it all when it does hit the hardest.

What is in your back pack?

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand April 6, 2009 | 8:58 a.m.

Chuck, my home is paid for, and I have about $60K cash in the bank. My lifestyle of thrift, responsibility and self-reliance served me well when I was laid off years ago and never had to file for unemployment or welfare, and it will continue to serve me well even if things get worse. You won't see me becoming a burden to society, nor will you see me willing to support those who refuse to work or who didn't save for a rainy day.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 6, 2009 | 9:57 a.m.

When your money is useless and you cannot buy food nor pay your property tax then come back and say the same

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand April 6, 2009 | 10:14 a.m.

Chuck, how will you be any better off? You live in an apartment building, so you can't grow your own food. Forget about that lot next door because anything you grow there will be taken, unless you believe that you can protect it. By comparison, I can grow my own food, and I wouldn't hesitate to shoot anyone who tries to take it.

And if my money is useless, so is everyone else's. At that point, the last thing anyone is going to be worried about is paying taxes. Then woe to anyone whose food, clothing and shelter is entirely dependent on those taxes.

Those who depend on the government have the most to lose.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 6, 2009 | 10:51 a.m.

Ayn Rand and when it all comes down you will be right there on the streets too only some like you will be more worried than I will obviously.

No you get it all wrong it is "those who depend and worship their money and their own self arrogance" will be the ones to lose the most.

That is funny you will shoot some is to laugh because you will be on the receiving end of that same chain of thought coming from those looking for their fair share.

Those "on the dole" as you call it already know how tough it will get when it hits and do not think ever that it will not hit.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 6, 2009 | 11:10 a.m.

Chuck, if things get as bad as you claim, Ayn will have her own house and weapon to defend herself. Paquin Tower will be under siege. Let me guess, the city probably doesn't allow firewarms to be owned by the residents, right?

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand April 6, 2009 | 12:16 p.m.

You guys couldn't even protect your garden at a time when law and order are in place. Why on earth would assume that you can protect it -- not mention your building and yourselves -- when there's civil unrest?

John is right that Paquin would be under siege, if only because someone wants to take out law enforcement communications.

(Report Comment)
cwh51 April 6, 2009 | 1:12 p.m.

I sure MIAC has you pegged for what you are, whacked extremist!
Your bumper stickers probably already give you away.
"Any Rant" was funny a funny moniker but, whoa, you all need to run for office but that would give you away out in public out in the open. Will you show up at tonight's council meeting to express your views as you've done here?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 6, 2009 | 1:34 p.m.

John Schultz if you think Ayn owning a house and a gun is going to stop anybody you seriously need a reality check.

By the time anybody thinks of sieging anything in this city the entire down town will be looted clean,all grocery store's shelves will be empty and it is almost a sure bet that somebody has a better back up plan than worrying about all of that stuff in Paquin Tower.

There are more locations besides Paquin Tower I bet right now that can or do hold that type of equipment if you think there isn't >> once again you seriously need a reality check.

Think out side of the box John if that is possible for you.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 6, 2009 | 1:38 p.m.

cwh51 they will go looking for John Schultz first being he is the Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Boone County who's party is crying for smaller government which will probably be taken in an anti sort of way.

Any Rant will be next in line for their points of view and impersonating a dead person.

Myself they will not worry.

Why show up to the Dog and Pony show when you can watch it on TV? Besides I was invited out to the movies tonight.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 6, 2009 | 1:44 p.m.

cwh51, I have run for office already, thank you very much. Any other snide (and uninformed) comments you would like to make?

Chuck, you once again missed my point. If society breaks down, then you and the residents in Paquin will be first against the wall as people come through looking for money, food, booze, and loot in general. Ayn has a weapon to defend herself, what would Paquin residents use in such a societal breakdown?

And please continue with the insults, it makes you look like the cranky old guy I have envisioned. Toodles!

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 6, 2009 | 9:12 p.m.

No John Schultz the first people to get raided will be those like you with your houses,cars and clothing. Those like you will be the first hit and taken down.

They would know you have items they will need because you have been a good little capitalist/consumer stock piling your toys for a very long time. Oh and they will know those like you have lots of toys too. You cannot help but to keep up with the Jones' mentality of life.

People like you stock pile them like trophies in a case for viewing. You and those like you will be prime targets.

They will see and know this by instinct and target you and your kind first and foremost.

They wont get to the really poor folk like me till the very last. By that time I will already be set and dealing with it watching those like you running around stressing it all.

It is always that way and it will not change.

Besides as you said before about all of the Government Radio Equipment above my head then the Feds would protect this building and keep it secure at the ground level. They might kick out the residents and they might not. They would want somebody as look outs and meat shields I suppose. Especially those with gun experience which is alot of the population of Paquin Tower. We have quite a few vets living here I am sure can shoot straight.

Fun scenario to think about isn't it. I mean people like you having to fight for what you worked so hard for till your last breath if need be or better yet learning for your first time "Urban Street Survival and Tactics of Survival".

As the old saying goes "How the mighty have fallen". Let's all pray it never comes to those days right?

You forget John Schultz the old saying you may take a person off the streets and make them a productive citizen but you will never take "street thinking" out of the productive citizen you just created.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand April 6, 2009 | 9:32 p.m.

And where will Paquin residents get those guns? Or are you saying that some residents already have guns in their rooms?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 6, 2009 | 9:37 p.m.

Holding off on a Stephen King novel in the making, just for a moment...

What if there are no jobs or little pay?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 7, 2009 | 2:27 a.m.

Chuck, you should pitch that script to Hollywood, it would make a heck of a lot more sense in their world.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 7, 2009 | 4:27 a.m.

John Schultz no I choose to wait and see if it will happen or if you elitists politician clowns locally,county,state and Federal actually pull your hands out of your pants and work together to actually fix our country as all of you collectively claim you want to.

Popcorn anybody?

Which do you think will come first?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 7, 2009 | 4:31 a.m.

>>> What if there are no jobs or little pay? <<< The poor class know the reality of this but the elitists wannabe's are living under that pink cloud.

What is going to be funny is when their pink cloud takes a huge brown dump on them.

Kinda like the bird of paradise leaving a present on your windshield.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand April 7, 2009 | 7:21 a.m.

Hey, Charles: I worked low-wage jobs for many years to pay my way through college. Been there, done that, still know how to survive.

Don't choke on those sour grapes.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 7, 2009 | 10:16 a.m.

Ayn Rand not talking about little jobs to survive on I am talking dog eat dog daily survival like most in this society have never had to ever see in their life times nor can imagine having too. Your high dollar class room education will not get you through it by far.

You do not have a clue in hell just how bad it could get do you?

Your guns and your property you own would not mean a piss in the wind if it gets that bad.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 7, 2009 | 11:58 a.m.

More doom and gloom from Dudleyland. Chuck, if this fabled collapse of society came down, the disabled would be the first to get it, so I wouldn't be too gleeful about it happening.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 7, 2009 | 12:35 p.m.

John Schultz wrong again Einstein it would be the rich and famous or those known to be close to that class who would get it first since they would have the most to loot from.

Keep living on your Isle of Denial John it is the perfect place for you to be.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 7, 2009 | 12:57 p.m.

Chuck, if society collapses, what will the rich and famous have that will still be worth anything? HD TVs? DVDs to watch and CDs to listen to? Oh wait, no power during a collapse (think Katrina), right? People will be looking for food, water, guns, medicine, alcohol, gasoline, and such. I don't live in the middle of downtown so they won't be coming my way until they are done looting the city. If society got as crappy as you think it will, I would hightail it to my wife's parents with its mega-stocked pantry and remote location. You can spin my CDs right round if you wish.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 7, 2009 | 12:59 p.m.

Actually, we can look at what happened after Katrina as an example. Police were spread very thin, and for several days anarchy prevailed in much of the flooded areas.

The looters hit mostly places in their own areas, and stores, as many had no transportation, and it is much safer to break into a store than a strangers house.

Someone like Ayn could choose to stay and fight it out, or leave, since she has her own transportation. Many Paquin residents do not, so they would suffer a similar fate to the people that stayed in the Superdome. It is quite possible that some residents might take the opportunity to prey on other residents.

Certainly my situation in the first ward might be a problem, as some of the gang element might decide to loot. However, a lot of people around here don't have much to loot, and looters seldom go outside their own areas (either from lack of transportation or lack of familiarity with target areas). So they would likely hit up whatever stores were convenient, and those people that could defend themselves would prepare to. A lot of others would simply leave.


(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 7, 2009 | 6:20 p.m.

...the financial crisis will lead to the creation of a global central bank and a global single currency within 15 years, echoing the call of top globalists who have exploited the problems they created to push for a new world financial order.
...the ruling elite long ago decided to force a global currency down our throats. In fact, a global currency is at the very core of their plan to dominate the world. Control money and you control the destiny of states, you eliminate national sovereignty. “The control of money and credit strikes at the very heart of national sovereignty,” A.W. Clausen, president of Bank of America once observed.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 7, 2009 | 6:45 p.m.

Great points Mark and ray. Very nice presentations by both of you.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 7, 2009 | 9:21 p.m.

Hmm, seems Mark agrees with my statements Chuck, which means I was right earlier and you were wrong. QED!

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley April 8, 2009 | 12:05 a.m.

Mark Foecking says: "So they would likely hit up whatever stores were convenient"

Giving new meaning to the term "Convenience Store"..... LOL.


(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 8, 2009 | 4:46 a.m.

John Schultz he does not seem to agree with all of your statements and my statement still stands how I feel about your politics and views I posted on that other thread.

(Report Comment)
Jeannie Nguyen April 13, 2009 | 1:27 p.m.

Barbara Hoppe leads a very interesting discussion about economic development in Columbia, Missouri. Did you know BusinessWeek recently named Columbia as the best city in Missouri to start a business?

They used ZoomProspector data to determine this list-- here is the link to the Columbia page on ZoomProspector:


(Report Comment)

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