The week in comments: A telling video; the true risks of secondhand smoke; irksome candidates

Sunday, February 28, 2010 | 6:45 p.m. CST; updated 11:20 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Every week, readers of offer their opinions on the news and the Missourian's coverage of it. Here, we offer you a digest of some of the conversations we found most interesting. Click through on any of the links to join in.

Video of Rodman Marine arrest released (Sunday, Feb. 21)

Columbia Police released the patrol-car video of Rodman Marine's arrest. Marine has accused Officer Justin LaForest of using improper force.

Readers Sean Coder and Scott Hawf agreed that the video showed that LaForest was out of line. Coder described the incident as senseless and concluded, "This is outrageous!" Hawf agreed that LaForest's reaction was over the top, but suggests he can be forgiven since he'd never been in such a situation before.

Kespohl doubts sending Landmark e-mail (Sunday, Feb. 21)

In an open forum on Feb. 11, candidates for the Third Ward Council met and debated over the previous vote of rezoning. In the debate, Councilman Karl Skala read an e-mail that was supposedly from candidate Gary Kespohl and that contradicted Kespohl's voiced opinion. Kespohl has since denied being the author of the e-mail.

Readers seemed inclined to believe Skala while doubting Kespohl. Tim Dance said, "Mr. Kespohl, when you are in a hole, it's best to stop digging." Aside from the debate over whether the e-mail was a forgery or not, readers argued about whether Skala's vote in the rezoning matter was wrong and who was the more suitable candidate.

No opposition at Senate statewide smoking ban hearing (Monday, Feb. 22)

A statewide ban on smoking came before the Senate Judiciary Committee without meeting any opposition Monday.

Reader Marlene Bakken posted several comments that argued against the negative effects of secondhand smoke. She went on to say that "the second hand smoke issue is nothing more than a way to control a huge segment of the population." Mark Foecking agreed with Bakken, saying "the health hazards of second hand smoke are often overstated." 

Fourth Ward candidates address development issues at forum (Monday, Feb. 22)

Three of the four candidates running for Columbia City Council from the Fourth Ward spoke to residents who were concerned about the direction of their neighborhood Monday.

Dan Goldstein started the discussion by posing questions for candidate Sarah Read about how previous experiences might make her an unsuitable candidate. James Elridge defended Read's actions and called into question Goldstein's motives. What followed was a lengthy and heated debate between Goldstein and Elridge over the candidates and the ulterior motives in the others' comments. A few readers added their opinions about other suitable candidates.

McDavid event raises $5,000 for mayoral race (Wednesday, Feb. 24)

The event on Tuesday night helped raise money for McDavid's mayor campaign fund through ticket sales and a live auction. McDavid also addressed the crowd during the event about certain issues important to his campaign.

Readers questioned the ethics of the event and of McDavid himself. Tim Dance called McDavid the "best candidate money can buy," and Marion Webb stated, "if you can afford to pay $300 for a cherry pie, Bob McDavid is the mayor for you!" Ray Shapiro questioned the value of a quote in the article by Valerie Barnes, who said she had heard McDavid's name "around Columbia forever." Shapiro voiced his opinion that name recognition is not an indicator of the best candidate.

Justus proposes bill to give children of undocumented immigrants in-state tuition (Thursday, Feb. 25)

A new bill that would allow students who have attended a Missouri high school for at least two years to pay in-state tuition rates at Missouri colleges was presented at a committee hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 24. No one voiced opposition to the bill at the meeting.

However, opposition was voiced by readers, including Steve Smith, who called the bill, and similar acts, a "refusal to abide by our constitution." Terry Magyar also voiced his disapproval of the bill and suggesting others "call your elected reps and demand they OPPOSE this bill." Dale Jones shared similar sentiments, criticizing the current government officials that approve of similar policies.

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