Columbia councilman to run for mayor in 2010

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 | 6:47 p.m. CDT; updated 5:47 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 28, 2014
Fourth Ward Candidate Jerry Wade asks Fourth Ward resident Kelly Carney for her support as Wade goes door-to-door on Bourn St. handing out literature and speaking to residents on March 10, 2007. Wade announced he will run for mayor in 2010.

*CORRECTION: Mr. Wade was chairman of the Columbia Planning and Zoning commission for nine years. An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported the number.

COLUMBIA — A bid to become mayor of Columbia is a gambit for Jerry Wade, who will have to give up his seat as Fourth Ward councilman to run for the city’s highest office.


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Wade on Tuesday became the first to announce that he would run for mayor in 2010, seeking to replace five-term Mayor Darwin Hindman. Hindman announced in August that he will not seek another term.

Wade said the prospect of losing a seat on the council weighed into his decision of whether to run for mayor.

“I love the Fourth Ward and the Fourth Ward people, and I love being their council representative,” he said.

Wade said his reasons for running are fairly simple. "I believe I have the qualifications and experience to be mayor, and I want to continue my community service."

Beyond that, he declined to comment on what his platform would be as a candidate.

"I'm not prepared to begin talking about the issues,” he said. “I wanted to announce now in order to end any speculation. (And) my candidacy creates an open position. I want to give anyone who’s thinking of running for the Fourth Ward position adequate time to prepare."

Wade's campaign in 2007 focused on the role of the council, development policy and economic expansion. He said then that the council should function as a policymaking body, leaving operations and project details to city staff, with citizen input. He also called for an overhaul of the city’s zoning codes — a process that’s in its early stages — and said the city needs to set and follow development policies that are clear and proactive.

Wade declined to name anyone he thinks might run for the open Fourth Ward seat.

"I think there will be good candidates, and I look forward to working as mayor with whoever wins," he said.

Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala, whose seat on the council also is up for election in April, said he believes Wade would make a good mayor. His strengths, he said, lie in facilitation and mediation. “He’s a consensus-builder," Skala said.

But Skala, too, pointed to the political risk Wade is taking.

"If he doesn't win the mayoral race, he won't have a City Council seat, either," Skala said. "In that respect, I hope he wins."

Wade has represented the Fourth Ward since 2007 when he was elected with 61 percent of the vote. Before that, he served on the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission for 15 years, including nine years as chairman*.

Although he has served on the council for only one term, he said there are two accomplishments of which he is particularly proud. One is the territorial agreement reached earlier this year between the city and the Boone County Fire Protection District to share jurisdiction over areas on the edge of the city. The other was a private sewer ordinance passed in 2008 that relieved homeowners with private sewers of the burden of sharing repair costs with the city.

Hank Ottinger is chairman of the Osage Group of the Sierra Club, which endorsed Wade for the council in 2007. Ottinger predicted smart growth will be a central issue for whomever is elected Columbia's next mayor.

"How it grows is really the issue," Ottinger said. "Do we want it to look like another Springfield? Do we want it to be all Papa John's Pizza, or do we want more Shakespeare's?"

Ottinger also complimented Wade, citing his background in city government.

"I think he's certainly a capable candidate," Ottinger said. "He's been involved in city government pretty much in all levels. I think he's eminently competent. I think he'd be a good mayor."

Skala, who worked with Wade on the Planning Commission, shared Ottinger's view that smart growth would be a challenge. He characterized the issue as the difference between smart growth and subsidized growth.

"The simplest part of this is to avoid duplicating costly infrastructure," Skala said. "Target growth in areas that already have infrastructure. If you encourage growth on the urban fringe, those tend to favor the developer rather than the city."


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John Schultz September 15, 2009 | 11:20 p.m.

What a lousy comment by Hank Ottinger:

"How it grows is really the issue," Ottinger said. "Do we want it to look like another Springfield? Do we want it to be all Papa John's Pizza, or do we want more Shakespeare's?"

In the hypothetical situation, will the evil corporate behemoth import non-Columbia residents to work their new digs, or would they employ local folk? Just what is the difference between a local franchisee employing local workers and Kurt Mirtsching and the gang opening another Shakespeare's?

(Report Comment)
Brian Ash September 16, 2009 | 9:46 a.m.


While I agree that the same sets of rules should apply in the City for chains or for local independent businesses (because that's the fairest way to do it), we at COLORS (Columbia Locally Owned Retail and Services) would argue that local businesses really are better for our community.

Click on our COLORS website to hear our supporting arguments:

We should all spend our money wherever we feel we get the best quality, value, etc., but if all other things are equal, then shopping locally should be the tiebreaker.

Our goal is simply to get people to think about this before they shop.

Have a good day,

(Report Comment)

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