Kespohl kicks off campaign for Columbia's Third Ward seat

Safety and jobs top Kespohl's plans if elected councilman
Friday, February 5, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA – Gary Kespohl, a candidate for the Third Ward seat on the Columbia City Council, officially launched his campaign Thursday evening at Jack’s Gourmet Restaurant.

Kespohl is running against one-term incumbent Karl Skala. The two ran against each other in 2007, when Kespohl lost by only 63 votes.

Although the faces running for the Third Ward chair are the same, Kespohl said he’ll take a new approach this time. His campaign crew will be knocking on doors, and he said he’ll call attention to Skala’s voting record.

Kespohl’s kickoff welcomed supporters from several Columbia wards in an open-house setting that saw people coming and going between 5 and 7:30 p.m.

“As a business person, I’d like Columbia to be more friendly to the businesses,” said David Babel, a Third Ward resident who attended the event and lives in Kespohl’s neighborhood. “He’ll serve his ward and, more importantly, he’ll bring a broader perspective to the city as well.”

Kespohl, 62, plans to make public safety and jobs central to his campaign. He supports the installation of security cameras downtown, a measure that will appear on the April ballot along with the City Council elections, several city charter amendments, a school bond issue and school board races.

Bill Raines, who retired as a representative of State Farm Insurance, was among the supporters who turned out at the kickoff.

“He uses good judgment,” Raines said of Kespohl. “I like his views toward business, especially small business.”

As owner and manager of Central Missouri Computer Center, Kespohl said he’s grown concerned about Columbia’s growth in the past several years. He said the lack of development contributes to higher crime rates and lower revenue.

“Growth will put people back to work and (move them) away from crime,” he said.

“I want to make some changes in the city,” Kespohl said in a short speech. “I want to make it easier for Columbia to live and work and build.”

Kespohl said he will tour the Third Ward on foot, knocking on neighborhood doors in mid-February and in March. He also plans to gain support through social media and speeches.




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DeAnna Walkenbach February 5, 2010 | 8:57 a.m.

"He said the lack of development contributes to higher crime rates and lower revenue." HELLO! What lack of development? We are in a recession, practically a depression. The developers here and around the country kept building until the market crashed, taking advantage of low interest rates despite the obviousness of what was to come. Geez...

(Report Comment)
Dale Jones February 5, 2010 | 10:05 a.m.

Columbia has been cited for not having a good development program for business for years. The City has always let the University be their stablization. Therefore, we didn't diverse as we should. We need smarter leadership.

Mr. Skala was the deciding vote making this a "Chicken City"

We need CHANGE in our City Government NOW! Vote for Mr. Kespohl to bring some common sense to the City Council!!

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro February 5, 2010 | 11:02 a.m.

("He said the lack of development contributes to higher crime rates and lower revenue.")

Lack of moral development, substance abuse and pressure from neighborhood gang oriented peers contributes to higher crime rates. Street crime is a behavioral issue not a financial income issue. Just take a look at the crimes committed by some people who rent, for instance. Many have section 8 vouchers or some other kind of housing assistance, TANF income, medical assistance, food stamps, clothing vouchers, church funded assistance programs, food banks, etc. Many even have cars. With no desire to aspire via education and conformity with antiestablishment tendencies, what jobs are you offering to criminals?
And if you want a piece of the criminals' revenue, I'd suggest you advocate a "fair tax" plan to get a piece of their action when these monies are spent on jewelry, alcohol, smokes, brand label clothing and other expenditures.
Let the social workers, the educators, the churches, the family courts and their families do a better job with potential criminals. There are always jobs available for people who can and/or are willing to work.
Using lack of jobs to justify crime is a lame excuse.

(Report Comment)
Patrice Albert February 6, 2010 | 12:57 p.m.

Gary Kespohl is an honest, decent man with a stong desire to serve the community, but in this case, Karl Skala is the better candidate. Mr. Skala, who is retired, dedicates more than full time to the Council position; whereas Mr. Kespohl has a computer repair business and other financial interests that demand his time and attention. Mr. Skala has been a most valuable Council person -- holding regular office hours, meeting with neighborhood association members, and scheduling town hall meetings. For example, on Thursday, February 11th from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Blue Ridge Elementary School cafeteria (3700 Woodland Drive) is the next neighborhood safety summit and town hall meeting. Please come and meet Karl Skala and several other community leaders, including Police Chief Ken Burton, the command staff and patrol officers for the Third Ward, and Neighborhood Services Director Leigh Britt. A neighborhood crime progress report, an update since last September's meeting, will be presented. Get involved in your Neighborhood Watch Program and come meet your neighbors. I wish to thank Mr. Skala for his hard work and dedication to the Third Ward these last three years. He deserves our gratitude and vote.

(Report Comment)
Dale Jones February 6, 2010 | 2:53 p.m.

The professionals who deal with criminal activity have long established there is MORE crime when there are less jobs. I wish you people would establish your comments from professional data and not just BS.

Mr. Skala does contribute some time to the City Council, however, he makes bad decisions like the decision to vote for a Chicken City. He also was one of the Council members who wouldn't even discuss the need for safety camera's downtown and that issue is on ballot for April. Therefore, the citizens of Columbia and Downtown Association disagreed with Mr. Skala decision. He lacks some common sense, managment abiltiy,and business experience. WE NEED CHANGE NOW with Columbia City's Government!!

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance February 6, 2010 | 3:16 p.m.


At the Muleskinner's meeting, Kespohl stated that "if one life can be saved by these cameras, he was for it". Sorry, but a camera won't save your life, it just records. Kespohl statement is just a canned slogan and demagoguery.

Also, are Kespohl supporters really going to make chickens their rallying cry? That is pathetic. As for crime Dale, maybe Kespohl could start worrying about crime at his rental properties before he tries to tackle Columbia's

A vote for Kespohl is a vote for the good ol' boys that want Columbia citizens to subsidize their development at the expense of deteriorating infrastructure that includes police presence.

Skala is a clear choice for the third ward.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro February 6, 2010 | 8:50 p.m.

Using crime as a wedge for economic development is lame:
Education and Crime:

On Crime:
Brief synopses of these articles are grouped into 11 explanatory categories drawn from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the author of this paper. These 11 categories, along with compelling comments by the authors of some of the reviewed articles, are as follows:
1. Effective strength of law enforcement agencies
2. Administrative and investigative emphases of law enforcement
3. Policies of other components of the criminal justice
system (i.e., prosecutorial, judicial, correctional, and
4. Citizens’ attitudes toward crime
5. Population density and degree of urbanization
6. Variations in composition of the population,
particularly youth concentration
7. Economic conditions, including median income, poverty level, and job availability
8. Cultural factors and education, recreational, and religious characteristics
9. Family conditions with respect to divorce and family characteristics
domestic violence
10.Drug use

The direction (decrease or increase)
that each factor changed in contributing to the recent declining crime rate and the type of crime that decreased (property, violent, or both) is indicated.
1. Another drug-related crime spree occurs with the following components
• A resurgence occurs in the use of crack cocaine or other illegal, addictive, mood-altering, inexpensive and highly profitable drug (most likely methamphetamine).
• A new generation of violent criminals comes of age to replace the violent criminals who killed each other off in
the crack cocaine epidemic. Gangs are taken over by more violent leaders and gang members become more violent.
• Enough time has passed since the peak of the crack cocaine epidemic so today’s juveniles and youth have not closely
and personally witnessed tragic killings or drug-destroyed lives. Therefore, they are not deterred from violence or
drug use.
2. Law enforcement and other societal anti-crime forces do not keep pace with demographic changes which occur
• Societal and law enforcement efforts to prevent crime remain static and do not grow in proportion with population growth.
• The baby-boom echo causes a rapid and sizable increase in the number of crime-prone age individuals.

• A less likely scenario would involve an upsurge in property crime by those who have not prospered in an era when many others have amassed considerable wealth.

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