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FIRST WARD CITY COUNCIL: Meet the candidates

Thursday, March 6, 2014 | 7:27 p.m. CST


Tyree Byndom, 42

On the web:

Facebook  

Twitter 

LinkedIn 

Years in the First Ward: Byndom moved to Columbia for the first time with his mother when he was 9. He left the state when he was 16, returned in 1994 and has lived in the First Ward since 2010. He is not married and has nine children — three biological and six adopted.

Education: GED

Employment: CEO of Byndom, Stanton & Associates

Involvement: Byndom restarted the Douglass Park Neighborhood Association in 2011 and serves as the association’s secretary. He is a member of Mayor Bob McDavid’s Task Force on Community Violence. Until he filed for the race, he was a talk show host for KOPN 89.5 FM on Saturdays from 2 to 6 p.m. on "Lokal Vokalz," "Straight Talk" and "Kore Issues."

Byndom’s top three:

Byndom is not campaigning, saying it is against the principles of his faith, Baha’i. He declined to discuss leading issues facing the First Ward.


Ginny Chadwick, 36

On the web:

Campaign website

Twitter

LinkedIn

Years in the First Ward: Chadwick moved to Columbia in 1995 to earn her undergraduate degree at MU and stayed until 2001. She left Columbia until 2004, when she moved into a house in the First Ward. Chadwick is not married and has two children, who are 11 and 14.

Education: Undergraduate degree from MU in consumer and family economics; graduate student in journalism and public health

Employment:
Graduate research assistant for MU’s Psychological Research on Information and Media Effects Lab

Involvement: Chadwick is a member of Slow Food, a national organization with a local chapter dedicated to healthy eating; a student member of the League of Women Voters; and a member of the American Public Health Association. Chadwick is the filmmaker liaison for the Citizen Jane Film Festival and has volunteered for the True/False Film Fest. She was the director of Columbia Locally Owned Retail & Services, a nonprofit organization that promoted the economic importance of local businesses, from 2004 to 2011. Chadwick served on the Columbia Farmers Market Sustainable Farms and Communities Board and used to be a leader of La Leche League, a Columbia organization for breastfeeding mothers.

Chadwick’s top three:

Downtown development: Although a tax increment financing district to provide sewer and electric capacity for additional downtown development was rejected by the Columbia City Council, Chadwick said she sees the need to provide the infrastructure to accommodate additional development.

Chadwick said she supports increasing development fees charged to new developers, as well as user fees that are charged to buildings for utility use such as sewer and water. Raising development fees was part of a 2013 proposal from Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala and is being reconsidered and discussed among City Council officials as one possible solution to financing downtown infrastructure.

City buses: Chadwick is supportive of the CoMo Connect plan and wants access for both residents and students. She said she doesn’t believe the new plan is providing too much service to MU students.

MU should continue to be a key point in the system because it is one of the largest community employers, Chadwick said. As Columbia adjusts to a new transit system, she said she hopes both residents and students will begin to ride the bus more.

Public safety: In an email, Chadwick said she supports the community-based police model the Columbia Police Department has been developing. She said she hopes to see the department hire additional officers for the community policing effort.

She said the department was "obviously understaffed" and supports allocating more funds to hire additional officers. She also said Columbia residents need to be made aware of the importance of giving priority to funds that can assist the department in hiring new officers, but did not offer any specific suggestions about how to pay for that.


Bill Easley, 74

Years in the First Ward: Easley moved to Columbia in 1994 and into the First Ward in 1995. He is not married and has two sons, who are adults.

Education: Hannibal High School

Employment: Retired, fast food industry; Army veteran

Involvement: Since moving, he was involved in the now-defunct Smithton Valley Neighborhood Association and Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. He is a member of Grass Roots Organizing.

Easley’s top three:

Jobs: Easley said he thinks the First Ward needs more training available to help workers become qualified, and that some companies could provide this training for new employees.

He also said the city should try to talk to companies that are outsourcing overseas and see if they would be interested in coming to Columbia instead. He would like to see more factory industries brought to Columbia, such as factories that make phones.

City buses: Easley said he wants the city to "do a better job" in available transit and does not support the CoMo Connect plan because there are too many bus services available for students, he said, with buses sometimes running back to back to transport only a handful of riders.

He told the council during a public hearing Feb. 17: "Now it sounds like you all are catering just to the students. ... You forget about the homeowners who have been here most of their lives."

Easley also disagrees with the removal of Wabash Station as the central hub of Columbia’s transit. He said it was built with government money and that to quit using it would be a waste, though only one of the three proposed downtown routes under the new plan would not include Wabash as a stop. Wabash will still be used for customer service and transit office spaces.

He suggested the city reallocate a few student buses to other areas because he thinks student buses aren’t being used efficiently.

Police and public cooperation: Easley also said he would like to see the Police Department and the public working together and communicating. He did not offer any suggestions on how cooperation could be improved, but he does think police could be more friendly when approaching people. He suggested the officers change the tone of their voice and the way they walk, and approach people with a warmer greeting, such as "Hello, how are you?"

“We need better feelings between the police and the residents,” Easley said. 

He said the community police used at Douglass Park was a good idea, but doesn’t think officers should be “tied up all day” in one place. Instead, they should be floating around the community and patrolling for crime, he said.

Easley said he would like to see the Police Department “get out more” by using more motorcycles and bicycles.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.


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