The week in comments: more on Buffalo, Third Ward council race tactics, downtown surveillance, and cinder use

Sunday, March 28, 2010 | 7:01 p.m. CDT; updated 11:21 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 any of the links to join in.

COMMENTARY: Ten things you didn't know about Buffalo

On Friday, March 19, Missourian reporter Alex Ruppenthal wrote a commentary piece called "Ten things you didn't know about Buffalo." The article received a great deal of backlash in it's comment section. Missourian executive editor Tom Warhover apologized for the article, but the comments continued. In the past seven days, the article has received 75 posted comments.

Kate Holzemer found another fact about Buffalo on Sunday, March 21: "Buffalonians have computers, and Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts, and we just LOVE linking to 'funny' articles about our fair city."

Less than an hour after Holzemer's comment, Andrew Blank accused commenters of being University of Kansas basketball fans. Blank then took a moment to revel in the Jayhawks' surprisingly early NCAA tournament ousting.

Missourian reporter Michael Bushnell attempted to come to the aid of Ruppenthal with his comment on March 23, but derailed the already run-away train with a stab at the state of New York's unemployment rate. Four subsequent comments were directed at Bushnell and his post.

Commenter Michael Guinn attempted to ease tensions on March 24:
"Whether he's been to Buffalo or not, there's an Amendment somewhere that says he can say whatever he wants about the place. Brush it off, no one wronged you in any serious way. All of your limbs are intact."

To round out the week, commenter Peter Farrell, inspired by Ruppenthal, replied with his own "10 Things You Didn't Know," a Missouri edition, on March 26. The highlights were Tiger football moments like 1990's "fifth down" and why former Mizzou basketball great Derrick Chievous was nicknamed "Band-Aid." While the fact checking of Mr. Farrell's post was a bit off, his counter-jab brought the conversation full circle.

Kespohl ads lampoon Skala’s travel expenses

Comments: 14 / Commenters: 11

Readers reacted to a piece regarding Third Ward candidate Gary Kespohl’s attack on Karl Skala’s food expenditures.

Ray Shapiro said he is “ashamed and embarrassed” of mud-slinging behavior such as that exhibited by Kespohl.

James Downey said the council’s travel expenses are trivial when compared to the larger issue of the city’s budget.

“The Third Ward deserves more than fear mongering,” Kip Kendrick said.

Some commenters challenged the amenity of having pre-paid meals to begin with.  But Elizabeth Hornbeck noted that this is a “professional norm” in many fields of work.

Pat Fowler commented that she hopes Gary Kespohl “has the good sense to apologize.”

Michael Scott agreed with Kespohl’s analysis of Skala’s spending, and he also noted that it seems unreasonable to send multiple council members to the same conference. “It is a complete waste of city resources and we’re just feeding the misguided agendas of council members for no real benefit to the citizens of this community.”

City Council candidates debate development, economy issues

Comments: 9 / Commenters:8

This article from Monday discusses a debate held for the candidates for mayor, the Third Ward seat and Fourth Ward seat.

Several of those who commented on this story agreed about Gary Kespohl’s campaign techniques.

Reader John Schultz wrote, “Karl and I don't agree about a lot, but I'm sure having fun telling those who ask me about the Third Ward race to vote for him instead of a shady campaign.”

But others, such as reader Michael Scott, disagreed: “I find it hard to believe that anyone can critizize Kespohl based on the action of his tenants. He certainly can't be each one of them at all times of the day to make sure they behave.”

Coalition stages camera demonstration

Comments: 9 / Commenters: 8

A Missourian report described a demonstration in downtown Columbia that was designed to discourage voters from passing Proposition 1, a proposal to install surveillance cameras in downtown Columbia.

Michael Sleadd commented, “If a business wants to buy and install cameras that is fine with me, but I don’t want my movements filmed by the city for anyone to see on request.”

On the other hand, commenter Paul Love says he thinks the proposition is an important step in making the city a safer place.

Eric Cox said that the whole idea is a bit silly. “I’m not so delusional as to believe I’m interesting enough that people will pour through days of video to catch glimpses of me going out to eat or out to get a drink.”

Columbia’s cinder use raises toxicity question

Comments: 6 / Commenters: 5

Commenters were divided on a report concerning Columbia’s established use of cinders to provide traction on snowy and icy roads.

Dale Jones said the ash ruins carpeting and clothes, and it is outdated.  

Thomas Adams rejected others’ claims that salt is preferable, saying “First, get out your wallet and be prepared to pay more. Second, salt has significant impact on the watershed and plants.” He also commented that salt can deteriorate both vehicle enamel on your car and the steel used to build roads and bridges.

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Peggy Marion March 29, 2010 | 6:20 a.m.

If you are a Buffalo sports fan, you realized that Mr. Farrell's "counterjab" was pointing out that fans of both teams share a lot in common.

Believe me, fans both the Buffalo and Missouri teams know that.

Let's look at the bright side:

1) At least the student didn't write about O.J., and,

2) Perhaps the Missourian editors will think twice about sending young writers on their merry way to a drubbing again. Hey, does anybody want to write a humor column about why Brooklyn should have lost the Dodgers?

(Report Comment)
Peggy Marion March 29, 2010 | 6:21 a.m.

Ack, "fans of both the Buffalo and Missouri teams." The preview tab is there for a reason.

(Report Comment)

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