Stories about the the proposed sale of the Regency Trailer Park, long-term unemployment, police misconduct and an MU sorority charity event attracted the attention of ColumbiaMissourian.com commenters last week. Here are some of the best comments of the week.
Comments: 57 / Commenters: 11
Residents of Regency Trailer Park vented their frustrations in a meeting with Mid-Missouri Legal Services. Readers sided with the residents and debated the zoning laws currently under legal scrutiny.
"Who is responsible for the conditions of the homes and yards of this park? This has been going on for years with little change. The conditions of this park are unreal!" commenter Sally Willis wrote. "So really who is to blame, last I knew it was your job to take care of your property, so why is everyone so quick to pass the buck and blame the park?"
Ray Shapiro asked why the residents of Regency Trailer Park must be displaced at all.
"It's not like there's a thousand homeless MU students looking for a place to live ... If MU wants, let them build high-rise dorms on some of their property. How about student housing on the old Sinclair Farm, near the Cascades? There's plenty of vacant land in this area.?"
Comments: 15 / Commenters: 6
The MU chapter of the Pi Beta Phi sorority held a showcase of outfits from downtown boutiques to benefit Open Book, a national literacy charity. Some readers were sour about the show, but others defended it.
Tim Trayle thought the event was not motivated by genuine altruism.
"I just see the event as an unhealthy mimicry of Hollywood celeb culture — bunch of folks with faux concern about the poor, whose real aim — or so I think — is to prop up the charity-profile of their sorority (which is an item of intense competition among university sororities)."
Mike Mentor said Trayle should lighten up.
"These folks are actually trying to do something good instead of just partying for the heck of it and they still get annoyance at their existence … They could probably come up with a better way to raise money than a fashion show. I have got it !!! Mixed martial arts fights are all the rage right now. Organize a cage match between Frank Christian and Paul Allaire with the loser being sent to Iraq and the Pi Phis wouldn't know what to do with all the funds..."
Comments: 18 / Commenters: 10
Guest contributor David Elliot penned a column denouncing discriminatory hiring practices against the long-term unemployed. Readers disputed the merits of Elliot’s arguments.
"As a small-business owner why would I want to hire someone that has been out of work for a long time. I would rather hire someone that has been out there working no matter the job," commenter Corey Parks wrote. "Mowing lawns, stocking groceries, etc. is all better then someone collecting assistance. Shows they have initiative and do not feel sorry for themselves or blame others."
Mike Frese said his company prefers to hire people who are already employed, too.
"I will listen to people about why they have not been working if out of work for a while but they have to have a good story why. I only employ less than 10 people at any given time so if people do not work out it can be a huge problem. The hiring process is the least favorite part of my responsibilities. Over my 20 years of hiring people, there has been a significant correlation between those who keep consistent work and their level of work."
Comments: 11 / Commenters: 9
An 18-year veteran of the Columbia Police Department was fired Wednesday for excessive use of force against a man in a holding cell Aug. 15. Most readers wrote back in support of the fired officer.
Derrick Fogle said the citizens must hold the police accountable.
“Beware, those surveillance cameras just might have sharp edges on both sides. I'm sure there are groups of citizens who would be happy to help review surveillance video to make sure none of this kind of abuse goes unnoticed, if Burton is serious about stopping it. Speaking of which, have any of the anti-downtown surveillance camera people made good on their threat of bombarding the police with requests for footage from those cameras yet? How many crimes have they helped solve so far?”
“I'm glad I'm not a cop. One tries to serve and protect by serving warrants that went through all the hoops in the court system. The guy won't cooperate when you ask nicely, he fights and fights. Then when he all of a sudden wants to play nice you're supposed to walk in nicely and assume he won't fight again?” commenter Billy Kurtz wrote. “I am pleased the CPD has stayed out of the news lately, but it amazes me that after 18 years of taking my tax dollars that there was not anything salvageable about this officer. That sounds like poor management, or a police chief cutting a man loose to please the media to me.”
Comments: 8 / Commenters: 6
The United States Postal Service will be cutting services in an effort to keep the service functioning. Columbia business owners are not excited about the cuts. Readers wondered if they really need the mail six days a week.
“I'd be happy with 3 days a week … Face it, do we REALLY know when mail is coming? No. Haven't we gone a day sometimes and not gotten the mail?” commenter Mike Bellman wrote. “It was waiting for you on Day #2. It didn't turn, go bad or expire. We can still have express mail, but regular delivery can wait a day or two.”
Brian Wallstin said a private solution to the Postal Service's problems would be unfair to rural populations.
“I don't know what the best answer to the USPS's problems are, but privatizing is probably not it, unless we force the rural population that relies on it to become urbanites. As it is, they can't even get broadband because the private companies that build and own the infrastructure say it's too expensive. Why would FedEx or UPS be any different?”
Comments: 4 / Commenters: 3
The redrawing of six wards in Columbia is under review, and the process of dividing the city is no easy task.
“Personally, I believe that the city should disband this old first ward and divide it up into the surrounding wards. The mayor could then act as the liaison for the Special Business District downtown and we'd be able to streamline the City Council by phasing out one of the seats,” commenter Ray Shapiro wrote. “Any problems related to the current first ward sections would then become the problem of the ward it becomes part of. Just like every other problem wards might have. And as for being 'landlocked' one might consider high-rises for growth projects. Many 'landlocked' or even islands such as Manhattan grow up instead of out.”