COLUMBIA — This city has important choices to make for its future. These decisions need to be made by individuals on City Council who can work with tight budgets, have experience and skills in planning for growth, listen to all citizens and all needs and will work for good governance.
Helen Anthony is the candidate for the Fifth Ward seat who is best prepared and has the most experience. She states she is running because she is passionate about planning for Columbia's growth. Helen has a record of serving on the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission and has worked almost four years on Columbia's first Comprehensive Plan. She noted in a recent article in the Columbia Daily Tribune that all the candidates for city manager were shocked that Columbia did not have a comprehensive plan. All the cities they represent have these plans.
The book "Making Cities Work: Prospects and Policies for Urban America" says, "Successful cities provide jobs, quality schools, safe and clean neighborhoods, effective transportation and welcoming spaces for all residents. But cities must be managed well if they are to remain attractive places to work, relax and raise a family; otherwise residents, firms, and workers will leave, and the social and economic advantages of city living will be lost."
Helen Anthony will work to make the city work, and she will work well with others so Columbia is successful, safe and healthy.
Somebody needs to ensure that there is never another "GarageMahal." Many people in Columbia are upset with the new huge garage that looms over the city, destroying the view of the beautiful historic buildings in Columbia. It never went through Planning and Zoning. Now it is costing the citizens a huge amount of money to be paid off over many years. Recently it has also come to light that seven of the floors are not high enough for rescue vehicles or some pickup trucks.
This garage is a reminder that the public and the City Council need to be more vigilant. Helen will be vigilant. She is for good sustainable growth.
The city also does not need a repeat of the incident in which Bengals Bar and Grill was almost taken over by eminent domain. It does not need a repeat of the huge amount of sewer charge inequities that existed for many years, and which took too long to remedy when they came to light, resulting in an enormous loss of revenue for the city and higher taxes for citizens.
Helen knows a great deal about process and procedures. She will work for an open government that is accountable to the citizens for its decisions and actions. She will work for good planned growth.
Her opponent does not have the background nor experience in Columbia of being on city boards or commissions. The Chamber of Commerce has endorsed him, and he is friends with all the developers in town who have deep pockets to fund him for the council race. The City Council is supposed to manage Columbia for all its citizens, not only for developers. In this country, it is the deep pockets that are taking over government. Is that what citizens in Columbia want?
If you are concerned about the future of Columbia, Helen is the best candidate to serve on the council as our city grows.
Nancy Harter lives in Columbia's Fourth Ward. She is involved with the Old Southwest and Broadway, Columbia Citizens and Progressive Women of Mid-Missouri listservs, all of which foster communication and the exchange of information among Columbia residents.