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Columbia City Council, mayoral candidates address Proposition 1

Sunday, March 21, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 12:46 p.m. CDT, Friday, March 26, 2010

The candidates spoke about how they personally would vote on Proposition 1. If voters pass the proposition, it goes to City Council for a vote. None of the candidates said they would vote against the proposition if it's passed.

Support downtown cameras

Bob McDavid (mayoral candidate): “I’m gonna vote for Proposition 1. I’ve talked to a lot of people who don’t feel safe downtown,” McDavid said. “We need to get Columbia into a position where people feel safe downtown, so that economic activity can grow and develop.”

Gary Kespohl (Third Ward council candidate): “I’m in favor of those cameras. I don’t think you can place a value on a human life, whether it be the cost of the camera, the cost of running those cameras or the cost of giving up a little bit of liberty to make sure somebody doesn’t get killed,” Kespohl said. “I believe the cameras will help solve crimes. I don’t think they’ll necessarily deter crime. Handled properly, I think they could.”

Daryl Dudley (Fourth Ward council candidate): “I’m in favor of the cameras,” Dudley said. “I signed the petition when it first came out. I support it unconditionally.”

Opposed to downtown cameras

Sean O’Day (mayoral candidate): “There’s been a lot of talk about crime and the best way to deter crime, and I don’t think cameras are the best way to do that,” O’Day said. “They catch incidental crimes at best, but the people that are planning out crimes have the sense to put on a mask, have a sense to obscure the camera in some way … The best way to keep crime from happening is communication. We need to be taking a proactive look at crime rather than a reactive one.”

Jerry Wade (mayoral candidate): “I do not support the placement of surveillance cameras downtown … for two reasons. First of all, if the real intention is to reduce crime, then that’s a poor use of money,” Wade said. “The second reason is that it knocks those resources into a specific location … That means that we are telling people in northern Columbia, where there’s actually a more serious crime problem, that we are not going to allow those resources to be available for the police department to make the decision of how they are best used.”

Sid Sullivan (mayoral candidate): “If there is a belief that there is crime in the downtown area, which I believe is decreasing, rather than increasing,” Sullivan said, “the cost of that really should be carried by the downtown businesses, either by themselves or by a special tax, and not by the whole city of Columbia because those resources will be taken away from the rest of the community in Columbia."

Paul Love (mayoral candidate): “I’m not necessarily a big fan of putting cameras — the cameras they’re trying to place, they’re placing on high traffic areas anyway. I don’t think that those are going to prevent a lot of crime,” Love said. “Because they’re planning on placing them right on Broadway, right in the middle of the street. They may help catch someone who’s committed a crime, but I don't think we have a whole lot of crimes that happen right on Broadway down in The District.”

Karl Skala (Third Ward council candidate): “Personally, I think it’s not a good idea because there is no data—it ought to be data-driven and economically reasonable to do this. I don’t think either of those—this fits either of those bills,” Skala said. “I think private cameras are perfectly legitimate. I think the government has no business surveilling people who are not doing anything wrong.”

Rick Buford (Fourth Ward council candidate): “I personally will be voting against the cameras when they come up,” Buford said. “Not necessarily on a civil liberties basis, but as a less efficient use of our economic resources.”

No official position

Sal Nuccio (mayoral candidate): “The cameras would be useful only if they were strategically placed at crime hotspots in The District, not on every corner of every street,” Nuccio said. “Since I've lived in Columbia, I’ve almost immediately detected so many people who seem to have this incredible resistance to accepting the truth about some of its shortcomings and being in denial about some of the creepy things that go on. ... Cameras may not stop crimes from happening, but trying to create the illusion of sophistication to divert attention from the important issue of crime doesn’t either.”

Tracy Greever-Rice (Fourth Ward council candidate): “The way it’s been presented to date has been as a very black-and-white issue, but really, for most people, this is a spectrum of decisions to make,” Greever-Rice said. “We know from the research that they work in certain situations. … We need to have an honest conversation about what they can and can’t accomplish, and then we need to plan to use our limited resources accordingly.”

Sarah Read (Fourth Ward council candidate): “I think downtown cameras can certainly be done in a way that’s consistent with civil liberties, and if the referendum passes, I will respect that public vote. If the referendum doesn’t pass, I will respect that public vote too,” Read said. “Downtown’s a vital area and we need to keep people comfortable with it and engaged with it and going down there.”

Organizations

Endorse

Keep Columbia Safe

Columbia Police Officers’ Association

Columbia Professional Fire Fighters

Columbia Chamber of Commerce

Oppose

Keep Columbia Free, a coalition which includes:

  • Mid-Missouri ACLU
  • Boone County Libertarian Party
  • Boone Liberty Coalition, a non-partisan group founded by the Libertarian Party
  • Columbia Liberty on the Rocks

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