DAVID ROSMAN: Candidates with 'real ideas' deserve your vote

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 5:49 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The city municipal elections have magically materialized. We tend to forget or not care. This year, it's April 5. Next week.

It's the election for our most visible politicians and issues — hyperlocal representation at its best … or worse.

This is the week the Missourian and our crosstown rival have limited space for the number of letters of support and opposition received. Not all will be printed. As a regular columnist, I have the luxury to write my say without worry about space.

I have thought long and hard about the issues and candidates. I watched and attended the debates. I am not voting for City Council, for I live outside the districts on the ballot this year, but that does not stop me from putting in my two cents' worth of opinion. For some of you, it is worth less. Or worthless.

City Council: The First and Fifth wards are the focus this election cycle. If I could vote in these two districts (I live in the Second Ward), my selections would be Fred Schmidt for the First Ward and Helen Anthony for the Fifth.

Having listened to and read about the contenders for both seats, it appears that only Schmidt and Anthony have any idea of what they would do once in office. They have real ideas, without resorting to fearmongering or "Law and Order" campaigns.

Both have been deeply involved with the city in terms of committees and volunteerism, and both are looking to bring meaningful growth to Columbia. And, as I mentioned last week in my welcome letter to our new city manager, Anthony and Schmidt understand the need to advance the idea of blue-collar employment in town.

Columbia School Board: I see this like a multiple-choice question at school: Choose the correct three of five.

Jonathan Sessions deserves to remain on the board. The School Board is the most local of all elected offices, and Sessions has done a superb job maintaining direct contact with and representing his constituents. He has worked extremely hard and I believe he will continue to do so.

Helen Wade is my next choice. In this case, her legal, civic and managerial background makes her an outstanding candidate. Never mind the bad commercials her law firm bought (She even apologizes for those appearances.), Wade, like Helen Anthony for the council, will bring organization and clear thinking to the board.

I am not sure about a third candidate for the School Board. If you are a regular reader, you know who is off my list, though she is very well qualified. I am leaning toward Liz Peterson. I liked the way she engaged the audience at a recent forum and stuck around to answer questions afterward.

Proposition 1:  “Yes.” I remain a strong supporter for a salary or stipend for our mayor and council members, clearly a need whose time has come. Our council members work full time at representing and running the city; they deserve to be compensated. Although the $9,000 remittance for the mayor and $6,000 for the other council members is not nearly enough, it is a great start.

Proposition 2: “Yes.” This concerns raising almost $50 million to purchase the Columbia Energy Center — not leasing, thus improving Columbia’s somewhat antiquated power infrastructure. This is not a tax. The city is asking to raise the money through nationally traded municipal bonds. The need is simple: to generate about 145 megawatts of energy an hour (compared to the 86 megawatts now generated by the coal plant) and to reduce the use of the coal-burning power plant by switching to natural gas. Good for people, business and the environment.

Boone Hospital Board of Trustees: One vote, two candidates. I am at a loss simply because, like many of you, I have not done my homework yet. I have met both Dr. H. Jerry Murrell, the current vice president of the board, and Jan Beckett.  Like you, I have a few days left to make my decision.

These are my choices and do not represent the Missourian’s opinion, so please do not write Executive Editor Tom Warhover. OK, write him if you wish, but this column is not his fault.

The most patriotic thing you can do as an American is to vote. So, I will see you all early next Tuesday morning, bright and early, right? Right.

David Rosman is an award-winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. You can read more of David’s commentaries at and New York Journal of Books.

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Mark Flakne March 30, 2011 | 10:25 a.m.

Bringing blue-collar jobs to town to balance the high-tech IBM jobs that require college educations has been part of Mitch Richard's platform from the start. This argument was co-opted by other candidates almost immediately.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance March 30, 2011 | 11:14 a.m.

Bringing blue collar jobs into Columbia has been discussed for years. i.e. shovel ready sites, etc. Candidates are just stating the obvious. No one co-opted this from anyone.

(Report Comment)
Mark Flakne March 30, 2011 | 12:24 p.m.

A focus on high-tech jobs and not blue-collar jobs has been the topic of discussion in recent years. The marked lack of middle-income, blue collar jobs, while it surely has been discussed in some circles, has not been at the center of the public discussion. The push in this town has been for a public-private partnership involving the university to make Columbia a center for high-tech firms and data centers. Even REDI has stated that they are not looking for "smokestacks."

The fact remains that Mitch Richards has included the need for blue-collar, clean-manufacturing jobs in Columbia in his campaign materials from the start and was the first candidate to broach the subject in public. I've perused all of the First Ward websites and Richards's site is the only one that makes mention of the need for blue-collar jobs.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance March 30, 2011 | 1:32 p.m.

A search for light industrial work is nothing new. We never had "smokestack" industry here and never will. Again there has always been a push for jobs that didn't pay near minimum, however it is hard to compete with Chinese labor.

(Report Comment)

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