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Following Schmidt's decision against the First Ward seat, others consider running

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 | 8:59 p.m. CST; updated 12:54 p.m. CST, Thursday, November 21, 2013

COLUMBIA — Laura Nauser is the only incumbent who has filed to run in the spring 2014 City Council elections, but there are about two months left before the filing deadline.

The First and Fifth ward seats will be up for re-election. Only about four people have picked up the necessary paperwork to enter the race, City Clerk Sheela Amin said. To officially file for the election, candidates must provide a petition with no less than 50 signatures from registered voters from the ward they seek to represent. If elected, City Council members serve terms of three years. 

First Ward City Councilman Fred Schmidt's term ends in April, as does Fifth Ward City Councilwoman Nauser's term. Ginny Chadwick, who served as Schmidt's treasurer during his campaign, confirmed that Schmidt told her that he had decided not to run next year.

Now, the 36-year-old graduate student pursuing dual master's degrees in journalism and public health is gathering signatures for a petition should she decide to run.

"I was not going to run in opposition to Fred, but now I'm considering it," she said. 

Chadwick, who also worked on former First Ward City Councilman Paul Sturtz's campaign when he was elected in 2008, declined to comment on the issue any further. 

"I will make a formal statement after this weekend," she said. 

KOPN 89.5 FM radio talk-show host Tyree Byndom is also considering running for the First Ward. A friend of the late Almeta Crayton, Byndom was presented with the "Columbia Values Diversity Award" in January for his work promoting social justice and diversity. In past years, Byndom reinvigorated the Douglass Park Neighborhood Association. He now serves as a member of the Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence and works as a partner in the consulting firm Byndom, Stanton and Associates.

Byndom said he has to consider his background before deciding to run. He is trying to figure out how he might run as an official candidate while respecting the political system and values of his religion as a member of the Bahá'í faith, he said. Bahá'ís are prohibited from holding membership in a political party, but may serve their government in administrative posts, according to the Bahá'í International Community website. 

"I'm kind of different," he said. "I'm not the cookie-cutter type of individual."

Though it's still early, whether or not Byndom runs is a decision to be made by the rest of the community, he said. It's not necessarily about what he wants as an individual.

"The only reason running is in consideration is because I've had individuals from the community express that I inspire them and that it's making them more receptive to the process of making our community better," Byndom said. "If that's the prevailing sentiment, if people believe their voice matters and counts, if it's something that inspires people, then that's why I'll consider it. The only reason anyone is elected to office is because they have the support of the people."

Sabrina Garcia-Rubio, owner of the Maude Vintage clothing store in downtown Columbia, originally considered running for First Ward but decided not to due to time commitments. Garcia-Rubio wants to focus on her business, and her husband, Max, plans to open a restaurant in the downtown area. 

"Since I like to have a good work effort and want to be the best I can, I would potentially be devoting 40 hours to City Council on top of the 40 hours I work at my shop," she said. 

Running for a city council position could be in Garcia-Rubio's future though, she said. 

"It would feel better to me if I took a few years and grew into it organically by getting involved with city government from a ground level first," she said. "It's something I will do in the future."

Nauser said the link between her position with the council and as a co-chairwoman of the Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence is a key reason she decided to run.

"I want to see the task force through to completion," said Nauser, who also volunteers to advocate for foster care children. "My priority is crime in our community, public safety and family issues, and they're all connected. The city can help address the needs and issues concerning crime and the issues impacting families."

Nauser said that her voting record shows her voice adds a different perspective to City Council.

"I look at things differently, and it's important to have that on the council," she said. "There are many issues facing the city of Columbia that I have valuable perspective on to help address people's needs."

The deadline to officially file for candidacy is 5 p.m. Jan. 14, 2014.


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Comments

Jack Hamm November 21, 2013 | 7:23 a.m.

I really hope these are not the best candidates available for the first ward; if so we are in a lot of trouble.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 21, 2013 | 10:48 a.m.

Well, who would you suggest? Would they want to do it? It's reaching the point that serving on the Council is nearly a full-time job, and they get what - $6,000/year for it (and that's only been this year)?

I wouldn't do it unless I was retired, myself. Most people with jobs and families wouldn't. That cuts down on the field tremendously.

DK

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm November 21, 2013 | 12:41 p.m.

Mark,

I agree with your assessment; and it is pretty much the same thing Fred Schmidt said about his decision not to run.

However, the fact remains that Columbia is too big and the role of the council is to important for us to continue to get the caliber of candidates that we do. A council can not be made up of retirees and "activists" in a town of over 100,000 people and a budget that is nearing a half billion.

In addition, how can we accept potential candidates who have small children to care for, have school to attend, and jobs to work when we all know that council is incredibly time consuming? Not to mention they have zero experience working with large budgets, infrastructure, zoning, and capital projects? I think Tyree is a wonderful man and a invaluable asset to the first ward but is he qualified to be council person? No. Ginny seams like a nice lady too but she is not even remotely qualified.

I think Schmidt got another point right when he talked about certain people taking up so much of council's time a few weeks ago. Those same people are a huge road block to getting qualified candidates. I know several people who would be excellent council members but they can't work, do council, and put up with the insatiable demands of a few needing people. Wanna be activists like John Clark and Pat Fowler have done far more harm than good to the first ward. The first ward is in a inmates running the asylum situation.

(Report Comment)
Tracy Greever-Rice November 21, 2013 | 2:22 p.m.

Wow, 'Jack Hamm', do you actually know any of these people, their accomplishments, dispositions, intelligence, capacities?

Because I have the great good fortune to know all three. Both the first ward and the city would be extraordinarily fortunate to be represented by citizens of this caliber. To a one these are kind, thoughtful, empathetic, responsive, intelligent, fair all-around good humans who have all already proven their commitment and loyalty to our community over and over again.

This town would be an immeasurably more humane and sane place for all should our choices always be this good.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams November 21, 2013 | 5:07 p.m.

JackH's post:

I agree.

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin November 21, 2013 | 5:14 p.m.

Though I'd like to say I disagree with Mr. Hamm, doing so poses a quandary.

Though he has claimed residence in the First Ward, and ownership of property in North Central Columbia, I can find no record of anyone with even a similar name within 100 miles of Columbia.

No record of property ownership, even under an LLC or trust. No record of phone, address, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media profile. Nothing -- except here at the Missourian.

So I'll let someone else with more confidence in Jack's identity say it for me:

"If Jack Hamm doesn't like you, you must be doing something right." -- Mark Flakne, 11/2/2012

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/a/1682...

(Report Comment)
Tracy Greever-Rice November 21, 2013 | 5:21 p.m.

Interesting, Mike. I thought it was against the rules of the Missourian to facilitate folks posting under pseudonyms...

Did you check the voter's file?

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin November 21, 2013 | 8:14 p.m.

Didn't check voter registrations (honestly, not that motivated to do so).

What I did check were things Mr. "Hamm" has told Missourian readers over the years about himself: that he lives in the First Ward; owns property in North Central; is a small business owner; etc.

He's also expressed an intense and ongoing interest in First Ward politics, and the presumed knowledge to not just criticize, but absolutely lambaste, a number of potential First Ward Council candidates.

I'm figuring he must be deeply invested in the area, and so must really, truly, and honestly actually exist.

BUT....

I've been involved in First Ward doings -- from neighborhood associations to Council campaigns -- for the past 11 years.

For the life of me, I cannot recall ever meeting, conversing with, or even hearing about anyone named "Jack Hamm," John Hamm (other than the actor, whom I think went to school here or something), Jacqueline Hamm, Jackie Hamm, or any reasonable facsimile thereof.

Figuring he's intensely involved in city politics, I even typed "Jack Hamm" into the city's search engine at http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/. "No results found."

The absence of any sort of digital footprints -- social media references, Spokeo, Radaris, PeopleSearch, White Pages, etc. -- I also found quite odd. The only footprints are here:

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/accoun...

Finally, the whole name "Jack Hamm." If it's a pseudo, I'm figuring it's a guy who cracked open a Hamm's beer one night (or is a big Mad Men fan) and started hamming it up on the Missourian.

Hence, my questions over the question: Who is Jack Hamm? Or perhaps, Jacqueline Hamm?

Once we get a 10-4 on Mr. 'Hamm', maybe y'all can invite him to an NCCNA meeting (if, of course, he can stand being around that dreadful Patricia Fowler.)

(Report Comment)

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