The week in comments: Candidate funding revealed, legalizing horse slaughter and gathering signatures for a Taser-free city

Sunday, April 4, 2010 | 6:25 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.

Candidates disclose who is contributing

Comments: 14/ Commenters: 8

The article broke down of the amount of money each candidate running for City Council, mayor and school board has raised for the upcoming elections.

Dale Jones led off the discussion by saying, "it looks like Skala, Hoppe are in bed together...I knew they supported each other....we need change and that is getting rid of both of them." He then went on to blame Skala and Hoppe for making Columbia a "Chicken City."  John Schultz responded, "Yes Dale, it's such a darn shame that Karl and most of the council decided it was OK for people to enjoy their own darn land as long as they don't let it affect their neighbor's own private property." From there, readers asked Jones and the Missourian about the use of someones real name when posting. Mike Martin said, "Please do insist that 'Dale Jones' post under his own name rather than the pseudonym." He went on to add, "The rest of us have to post under our real names here and so should you." These comments led several more about the Missourian's policy of using your real name when posting on the Web site and who Dale Jones really is.

People for a Taser-Free Columbia to introduce ordinance

Comments: 10/ Commenters: 9

This brief announced that People for a Taser-Free Columbia planned to propose an ordinance to eliminate Tasers as an enforcement tool in Columbia during a Thursday event.

Ray Shapiro opened the discussion by saying, "It is also my hope that some day we will have better methods and technology, than the taser, to protect our police from harm." Kelly Bethel countered by saying Tasers were developed as an alternative to lethal force. "Would you rather be tased or shot?" she asked. Brian Clifford echoed Bethel's sentiment and said, "Remember, our police officers deal with those members of society that the rest of us try to stay away from. You and I can just walk away, our police officers can not. You don't seem to understand that tasers actually save lifes and limbs." The discussion then went on to which was a better use of force, a nightstick or a Taser and whether someone who was struck by a Taser deserved it.

Bill backs horse slaughterhouses in Missouri

Comments: 13/ Commenters: 10

A bill supporting the legalization of horse slaughterhouses in Missouri has many people on either side fired up. Some legislators say that it will provide a humane way to kill the animals and would be cheaper for the owners.

Reader Victoria Hammond writes that it is not a humane death for horses, and says the over population of horses is caused by the breeders. "They (breeders) need to stop what they are doing instead of fostering the idea that we should slaughter their culls so they can still make a profit on their gamble."

Steph Ginsbach counters Hammond's argument saying "people with limited or no horse experience should not be telling those of us in the horse industry what is cruel and inhumane."

The bill was recently passed.

Missouri House approves horse slaughtering bill

Comments: 16/ Commenters: 10

Reader T.M. Ford, a long-time horse owner, supports the re-opening of the slaughterhouses because it would provide a more humane way of killing the animals than starvation, which is becoming an overwhelming problem in Missouri. "Never before have I seen horses treated so poorly, horses are being dumped on private and public lands in large numbers."

Theresa Messick disagrees with the bill, saying that it won't solve any problems of over population and that the horse meat market won't necessarily take meat from the U.S. for different reasons. The EU put restrictions on what drugs can be in a horse's body in order to be suitable for human consumption. According to Messick, the U.S. does not restrict some drugs. "So there is a good possibility that horses slaughtered in Missouri will have Bute in their system."

Rusty Shepard challenges those who don't support the bill to come up with another solution. "I will continue to care for my rescues until they naturally perish, but how many of you whiners are going to take in a few yourself."

LETTER: Read responds to Hoppe's accusations

Comments 10/ Commenters: 6

Sarah Read, a candidate for City Council representing the Fourth Ward, wrote a letter in response to a letter from Sixth Ward Council member Barbara Hoppe. Read said that in Hoppe's letter repeated false information about Read's previous activities in the Cross Creek mediation.

Tim Dance questioned why the letter was written. He said, "Hoppe wasn't personal attacking you, just you're methods. She didn't say you were a bad person." Barbara Hoppe entered the discussion and said, "I stand by every word of my letter. In addition, I have expressed concerned about the unfairness of the mediation processed used at Crosscreek to many people, since it occurred and well before Sarah Reed ran for City Council." Nancy Harter said that the issue at hand was not addressed in Read's letter, rather "Sarah needs to respond to Barbara and public as to why she did what she did." Ed Ricciotti agreed with Nancy and added, "A more appropriate response to Barbara's editorial would of been to explain the reasoning behind the non-disclosure agreements."

Former mayor, councilman Clyde Wilson of Columbia dies

Comments: 5/ Commenters: 5

On Tuesday morning former mayor and city councilman Clyde Wilson died in his home at the age of 83. In his obituary Wilson was remembered for his work in Columbia and how it changed the city.

Readers commented on about their grief of Wilson's death and also to congratulate him for his accomplishments in Columbia. Current City Council member Karl Skala said, "I do miss him already. My condolences to the entire family." Peggy King said, "I have always remembered Clyde Wilson as the ONE teacher who was able to really inspire me in college. And that was almost 40 years ago. I thank him for that." John Clark said he did not always agree with Wilson but thanked him for laying the groundwork as a council member and mayor that has made Columbia what it is today.

TODAY'S QUESTION: What do you think about the Taser-free proposition?

Comments: 4/ Commenters: 3

Readers were asked to give their thoughts on the Taser-free proposition that members of Taser-Free Columbia said that they will attempt to have on the November ballot.

Jaci Cauthon said that she understood where the group members were coming from, but didn't agree with them. She wrote, "I think outlawing them is too far. I think they should be legal, but I also think that the police need to have stricter rules on when to use tasers and which situations are allowed and which are unnecessary to use Tasers." Carl Kabler responded, saying "Jaci, I agree, what most people want is simply what is REASONABLE, tasers IMO were meant to be used ONLY in situations of self defense..."

LETTER: Setting the record straight on Skala

Comments: 5/ Commenters: 4

City Council candidate Gary Kespohl wrote a letter in response to the Missourian's profile on incumbent Karl Skala. Kespohl says the Missourian got some facts incorrect and outlines each discrepancy. Readers who responded challenged Kespohl and his positions for city council membership.

Reader Tim Dance says that Kespohl actually missed the point of the first article and defends that Skala's spending was less than what was allowed by the city's per diem.

Mike Martin challenges Kespohl's claim that he "stands with Columbia's families" on the priority of fighting crime by listing several felon tenets housed in Kespohl's properties.

Crime rate in Columbia relatively flat since 2001

Comments: 6/ Commenters: 4

Statistics show that crime in Columbia has been steady in recent years. The Missourian talked with the mayoral and city council candidates who shared their thoughts about crime in Columbia.

Missourian reporter Matt Pearce shared his thoughts on the fact that a rise in reporting on crime in the news — which is how most citizens hear about crime — instead of an actual rise in crime, may be feeding public speculations. 

Reader Betsy Murphy points out that Columbia's fluxes in crime rates agree with national crime rate numbers, and says the rise in late 2005 is in agreement with Hurricane Katrina exodus cities.

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