COLUMBIA — The candidate forum held by the League of Women Voters at Stephens College on Thursday night gave ward and mayoral candidates yet another chance to solidify their campaign platforms and address questions from an audience of about 50, with election week only two weeks away.
The forum was moderated by local radio personality Tom Bradley from KSSZ/93.9 FM, The Eagle. Bradley asked a combination of questions, both prepared and submitted from the audience.
Cathy Rosenholtz, a political communications graduate student at MU, asked mayoral candidates about promoting positive race relations in Columbia.
“I knew who I wasn’t going to vote for before, but this helped me make some decisions tonight,” Rosenholtz said.
Sean O’Day said the disparity between races and economic circumstances needs to be addressed as a whole through equal enforcement of laws.
Jerry Wade also outlined adequate enforcement of ordinance violations.
Candidates Bob McDavid, Sid Sullivan and Paul Love said promotion of diversity starts on a youth-based level.
Mayoral candidates got a chance to address a topic of their choosing when asked what their third most important priority is, after the topics of public safety and job growth.
Sullivan used his 90-second response time to address governance and setting solid policies within the council.
Wade said he would try to move economic development, crime, building neighborhoods and policy procedures at an equal rate.
McDavid and Love chose to focus on budget issues concerning social services spending and using budgetary dollars wiser, respectively.
O’Day said he would promote Columbia’s potential to be more sustainable through bio-fuels and efficient transportation.
Although the Third and Fourth wards candidates also discussed crime and economics, the tone of the Third Ward campaign has drastically changed during the latter half of the election season.
Gary Kespohl’s recent focus on Karl Skala’s travel expenses drew boos and hisses from a handful of audience members.
“I ask that Karl should apologize for wasting taxpayer money and a moratorium should be put on council spending,” Kespohl said, speaking over the ruckus.
Midge Pinkerton, board member for the League of Women Voters, said she thought Kespohl’s attacks on Skala were a turn-off. Pinkerton said, however, that the candidates’ answers were interesting and informative overall.