COLUMBIA — Candidates vying to be Columbia's next mayor participated in a sparsely attended forum on the MU campus Wednesday night.
About 25 students attended the event at Waters Auditorium at MU. Candidates fielded questions from students and the forum's hosts — the Missouri Students Association and the Associated Students of the University of Missouri.
Brittany Berosky is campus director of the Associated Students of the University of Missouri, which lobbies legislators on behalf of students. Before the forum, Berosky said she hoped to hear candidates views on landlord-tenant legislation and downtown cameras.
The state legislature is currently debating a bill that would require landlords to account for how security deposits are spent and another that would require them to disclose utility costs before tenants sign their lease.
All of the candidates said they would favor similar ordinances in Columbia.
Candidates were split, however, on a ballot initiative that would lead to the installation of surveillance cameras downtown.
Jerry Wade said he has opposed to the measure from the beginning. "Making policy based on the emotional appeal of one person is not a responsible way to make public policy," he said. The issue arose after an assault in a downtown parking garage was caught on camera in June. The victim's mother petitioned the City Council to install cameras. The council decided to put it to the voters.
Candidate Bob McDavid said he strongly supported the proposition and thought the council had handled the issue poorly by putting it on the ballot.
Sullivan said he thought it should be up to business owners rather than the city to install cameras. He also lamented the absence of Eastside Tavern owner Sal Nuccio — the only mayoral candidate absent from the forum.
"Too bad Sal isn't here," Sullivan said. "He had his window broken out and unfortunately for him it was below his $750 deductible."
Candidates Sean O'Day and Paul Love said they opposed the measure, though Love said he thought there had been a rise in violent crime in the city.
Zach Rubin was one of roughly 25 students to attend the forum. Rubin said he came with an open mind.
"I don't know anything about any of the candidates so I'm hoping to learn," Rubin said.
Jeff McMullan was in attendance as a board member for a graduate student organization. He thought the poor attendance reflected the nature of the student body.
"It's harder to get people riled up for a city election, especially when you consider the transient nature of students," McMullen said.