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Columbia Missourian

Columbia residents approve downtown security cameras

By Ashley Reinsch, Victoria Guida
April 6, 2010 | 11:21 p.m. CDT
From left, Lonnie, Karen and Adam Taylor celebrate the passing of Proposition 1, which approves the installation of surveillance cameras in the central business district of Columbia, at mayor-elect Bob McDavid's election result watch party on Tuesday night at Shiloh Bar & Grill.

COLUMBIA — Ten months after he was assaulted in a downtown Columbia parking garage, Adam Taylor repeated final election numbers into the microphone as the crowd around him cheered.

Proposition 1, which authorizes placement of four security cameras downtown, passed with 59 percent of the vote Tuesday.

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Camera proponents packed Shiloh Bar & Grill along with Bob McDavid, the only mayoral candidate who supported the proposition. The audience celebrated as the results showed McDavid, Gary Kespohl and Daryl Dudley won their respective races; all three were in favor of Proposition 1.

"This is so exciting," said Karen Taylor, Adam Taylor's mother. Her petition put the proposition on the ballot. "The public was allowed to have a choice and speak on this issue."

Karen Taylor founded the organization Keep Columbia Safe after seven people attacked her son in June. A security camera caught the crime on tape, leading to the arrests of five of the people responsible.

"We still have another trial left," Karen Taylor said. "It's much more fun doing this than going to trial."

Members of Columbia Professional Firefighters, who stood out in their yellow "Fire Fighters for McDavid" T-shirts, were pleased at the news. The organization endorsed Proposition 1 earlier this year.

"We're all for anything that puts more tools in the hands of public safety," said Brad Fraizer, president of the group.

Of the 18,838 voters on Proposition 1, more than 11,000 approved the cameras.

"I think it's stupid not to put something up that would deter criminals," said Terry Hargrove, who voted at Parkade Baptist Church on Tuesday morning. "It's common sense to me."

Tin Can Tavern and Grille fell silent as the organization Keep Columbia Free and others opposing the proposition watched the results on television.

"I don't feel good about it, but it was close enough," said Mark Flakne, secretary for Keep Columbia Free. "Keep Columbia Free is not going to go away, and we're going to continue to fight."

Keep Columbia Free formed recently and only began receiving funding three weeks ago.

"We won't make that mistake again," Flakne said.

The proposition will now go before the City Council, which will decide how much money to allot, if any, to the cameras. Flakne said the next step for Keep Columbia Free will be to lobby to the council to not fund the cameras. He said there were still a lot of people who voted against it.

Gary Eaton, who voted at Rock Bridge High School, said he voted against Proposition 1 for two reasons.

"One: the cost," Eaton said. "Two: disproportion allocation. It delivers a service to a small part of the city and not the rest. I don't think the government should be monitoring us with video."

Adam Taylor said Keep Columbia Safe will regroup and fight for other public safety issues they deem important.

"Either way, we're still winners because we got the discussion rolling about having a safe community," he said.