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Handbill against Columbia school bond issue misrepresents St. Louis group

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 | 6:24 p.m. CDT; updated 12:56 p.m. CDT, Friday, March 26, 2010

COLUMBIA — Paul Wallace was perplexed that a handbill opposing an upcoming Columbia school bond issue had information from the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis on the back. The foundation supports access to post-secondary education.

Wallace, an emeritus political science professor at MU, said he was given the handbill on March 5 after a Muleskinners forum for Columbia School Board candidates. He called the foundation's Executive Director Faith Sandler, who said a stack of about 100 information sheets disappeared from an exhibit table during the foundation's March 2 visit to MU for a college access conference.

Sandler contacted Robin Hubbard, whose MySpace URL was on the handbill. Hubbard, who frequently addresses the School Board, said she called Sandler before realizing she had a message from her.

Hubbard calls herself the public face of It’s Okay to Vote No!, which urges voters to reject the $120 million bond issue on April  6. The campaign, she said, is supported by about a dozen community members who do not want to take a public stance.

Hubbard said she habitually picks up paper at conferences and exhibits to reuse. She said that after checking a couple of times for program directors to return, she took the papers believing they were no longer being used. She said she has distributed fewer than 75 copies.

“It was stupid of me not to check, but it was an unsuspecting consequence of good intentions,” Hubbard said.

In her conversation with Sandler, Hubbard agreed to destroy the rest of the handbills. Sandler declined Hubbard’s offer to take out an advertisement in the Columbia Daily Tribune, apologizing for the misrepresentation.

“My concern is for protecting the reputation of the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis,” Sandler said. "The foundation refrains from commenting on St. Louis bond issues, let alone ones farther afield. As long as the handbills do not continue to circulate, she is satisfied with the resolution."


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