Co-owner of The Candy Factory files for Second Ward council seat

Monday, January 9, 2012 | 7:57 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The Candy Factory co-owner Mike Atkinson pondered crime, prosperity and the future of the Second Ward on Monday as children mulled over the multicolored jars of jellybeans at the front of the downtown store.

Atkinson, a resident of the Second Ward since 2005, filed paperwork Monday to run for a seat on the Columbia City Council. He said crime and budget concerns will be the focus of his campaign and are two of the pivotal issues facing his neighborhood.

"People need to be comfortable in the area they live, not feeling that the city is always asking for more money, not having to worry about people breaking into their houses," Atkinson said.

Atkinson experienced crime in the Second Ward firsthand when his golf clubs were stolen from the back of his pickup truck. In discussing the incident with fellow residents, he discovered that he was not alone. Others complained of cars and homes being burglarized, mostly at night.

"It's such an unnerving thing," Atkinson said about the break-ins. He has proposed talking to the Columbia Police Department about the nature of evening patrols and seeing whether an increased police presence in targeted areas could ameliorate the burglaries.

"We need to let it be known that that's not going to be tolerated," Atkinson said.

Atkinson also considers himself a fiscally conservative candidate and believes his background as an internal bank auditor will help him bring a discerning eye to the city budget.

"Really, I'd like to see a lot of unnecessary spending reduced," Atkinson said. "We need sustainable programs that can weather recessions."

Atkinson was born and raised in Columbia; he graduated from Rock Bridge High School in 1999. After a short time away from the city, he returned with his wife, Amy Atkinson, in 2005. They live at 1614 Secretariat Drive. The couple has two children and a third on the way.

Atkinson is a board member of the Central Columbia Association, a deacon at Memorial Baptist Church and a volunteer referee for the church's Upward Basketball League.

Atkinson joins Bill Pauls and Michael Trapp as council candidates in the Second Ward, where incumbent Jason Thornhill has decided not to seek a second term.

In the Sixth Ward, incumbent Barbara Hoppe faces a challenge from Bill Tillotson in her bid for a third term.

The deadline to file as a candidate for City Council is 5 p.m. Tuesday. Those who want to run must submit a petition to City Clerk Sheela Amin bearing the signatures of at least 50 registered voters who live in their ward.

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Ray Shapiro January 10, 2012 | 12:58 p.m.

("COLUMBIA — It wasn't the average Wednesday night for Derby Ridge residents, as several hundred made their way to the Tiger Shrine Club to discuss the crime surge in their community...
Indeed, the community was ready to talk. Topics such as Columbia youth, irresponsible parenting, burglaries, gun shots, Section 8 housing and the proposed curfew for minors all entered the discussion as concerned citizens questioned both the Police Department and each other.")

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders January 10, 2012 | 3:01 p.m.

Mr. Atkinson should run for federal office, as that's the source in charge of the entity funding the criminals in his neighborhood.

(Report Comment)

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