COLUMBIA —The decision brought a standing ovation.
Fourth Ward Councilman Daryl Dudley was the only dissenting vote as the City Council adopted new political boundaries Monday evening based on a 6-1 vote for Trial E.
Trial E extends the western boundary of the First Ward to Silvey Street. It moves Columbia Mall from the Second Ward to the First Ward and splits a portion of the Park de Ville neighborhood.
Trial E was the most favored proposal during Monday's public hearing. In more than an hour of public comment, only John Clark spoke in support of the amended version of Trial D. Charles Dudley was the lone member of the public to not support any of the maps.
"The people are here and they have spoken," Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe said at the close of the public hearing.
Before the vote began, Fifth Ward Councilwoman Helen Anthony urged her fellow council members to vote for Trial E. She said voting for any other map might hinder the city and the council.
"You never want to get in the way of an engaged citizenry," Mayor Bob McDavid said.
Kip Kendrick, president of the Benton-Stephens Neighborhood Association, was the first to speak and asked other neighborhood association leaders to stand in support of Trial E with him. Eleven associations stood and voiced support.
Kendrick also spoke on behalf of Terry Baker, president of the Park de Ville Neighborhood Association, who personally supported Trial E even though it would split her neighborhood. The association did not take an official position on the issue. Baker said in an email to the Missourian on Tuesday that she believed Trial E was the least contentious map and met the goals of the Ward Reapportionment Committee.*
Steve Calloway spoke for the Men's Minority Network in favor of Trial E.
People in the audience also held pieces of paper with a large letter E and the quote "E is for everyone."
Kurt Albert changed this phrase in his comments, saying "E is for excellence."
Trial E received the only favorable vote, 5-3, from the Ward Reapportionment Committee.
Although it initially appeared to have contiguity issues, the MKT Nature and Fitness Trail was found to be a connector for the Fifth Ward.
Third Ward Councilman Gary Kespohl asked if the MKT trail, used as a connector for the Fifth Ward in Trial E, was a legal boundary.
He said he saw the trail as partly in the city and partly in the county. Scott Boulevard was the reason the initial Trial D was found to be not contiguous at the council meeting Sept. 19.
Scott Boulevard is a county road and annexation would only stretch the city limits to the middle of the road, making it not a contiguous boundary, which goes against the city's charter.
Kespohl said the city should follow the rules it had laid out and "throw out all of (the maps) out and start over."
Whispers and gasps were heard across the room until City Counselor Fred Boeckman said the entire MKT trail was owned by the city, not the county, and was a legal boundary.
The trail also serves as a legal boundary for Trials A and B, but these were not passed by the council.
A majority of the speakers who favored Trial E also told the council they did not favor Trial D and especially its amended cousin.
The amended map was brought to the council at a previous meeting by Dudley after the original Trial D was found to be illegal. Citizens opposed to his amendment began a petition to recall Dudley and gathered signatures over the weekend.
Dudley defended his map by saying that, although Trial E had five positive votes from the Ward Reapportionment Committee, Trial D was a close second with four votes. He wanted to consider its recommendation by making Trial D contiguous.
Dudley said his amended trial map was not a political move.
Speaking in the public hearing, Rex Campbell, a former Fourth Ward councilman, said Trial D-amended moved precincts out of the Fourth Ward where Dudley had performed poorly in the 2010 election.
"If I were Mr. Dudley, I'd want to get that out of my ward," Campbell said.
Second Ward Councilman Jason Thornhill said he thought the recall petition in the Fourth Ward was a "misguided, personal affront" to Dudley.
Speaking after the meeting, Jeremy Root, who is involved in the recall petition effort, said he was pleased with Trial E's passage.
He was unsure of how many signatures had been turned in and if all of them were valid. If there is the right amount of signatures, 1,520, then the recall of Dudley will be put on the next ballot.
With the passing of Trial E, many of the neighborhoods involved in the petition effort still belong in Dudley's ward.
Each trial was listed as a separate ordinance on the council agenda. In total there were five maps — A, B, D, E and D-amended — and the council voted on each map separately. Only Kespohl voted for multiple maps, A, E and D-amended.
The Ward Reapportionment Committee was formed in May and charged with task of finding a solution for redistricting. Chairman Bob Pugh presented its final report to the council Sept. 19.
The last time the city reapportioned the wards was 2001.