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VOTERS GUIDE

Sunday, April 4, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:26 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

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Mayoral Candidates

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Phone: 474-5195

mayor@ brookscomputing

systems.com

Web site: www. brookscomputing

systems.com/ Mayor

Address: 3141 Bonny Linn Drive

Arch Brooks

Arch Brooks, who according to county records was born in February 1952, operates Brooks Computing Systems, a consulting firm. He ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Columbia Board of Education last year and is running for both mayor and school board on Tuesday’s ballot.

Brooks’ written platform cites inequity in city government’s provision of services among Columbia’s wards and says the city should strive to provide equal services to all neighborhoods. He believes more affluent wards have an advantage under city govern-ment. He also complains that special interests have taken over city government and cites a need for equal employment opportunities for minorities and women in Columbia.

In his platform, and at recent candidate forums, Brooks has alleged that the Columbia Police Department is guilty of racial profiling and has called for an outside review of police practices. He also says the city should do more to ensure the Activities and Recrea-tion Center is available to underprivileged youth.

Brooks calls on city government to do more to secure grants and other sources of federal funding, to improve its use of technology to make local government more acces-sible and to make city buildings more accessible for those with disabilities.

An online forum for public discussion of city issues is perhaps Brooks’ most innova-tive campaign strategy. It can be found through his Web site, which is listed at left. A recent check, however, showed that only one message had been posted, and that was on Jan. 22.

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Phone: 442-7077

jgclark@mchsi.com

Web site: www.jgclark.net

Address: 403 N. Ninth St.

John Clark

Clark, 61, has lived in Columbia since 1968. He is president of the North Central Neighborhood Association and has served as an officer of the group for the past nine years. He is a certified public accountant and attorney.

Clark has served on numerous city government, school and community advisory boards and task forces. He is treasurer of the Central Columbia Get Out the Vote Com-mittee and represents a neighborhood alliance on the city’s Street Standards Planning Group. He is a member of the Citizens’ Chronic Nuisance Property Abatement Ordinance Planning Group.

Clark’s written platform focuses on five key issues: preparing the city council for the eventual departure of City Manager Ray Beck and its search for a successor, establishing an audit committee to ensure the city’s financial integrity as Columbia continues to grow, appointing a task force to recommend whether there should be changes in the city’s tax-base philosophies, increasing the council’s role in developing policies that guide its deci-sions and planning more effectively for the public impact of private development.

Clark has spoken about the number of wards and council members in Columbia, arguing the council should appoint a task force to determine whether creating more wards is a good idea. He believes more wards, and thus more council representatives, could make city government more responsive to constituents and spread an increasing workload among council members.

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Phone: 449-5227

mayor @GoColumbiaMo.com

Address: 1223 Frances Drive

Darwin Hindman

Hindman, 70, is running for what would be a record-setting fourth term as mayor. No other Columbia mayor has sought a fourth term. Hindman was first elected in 1995 and ran unopposed in the past two elections, in 1998 and 2001.

A resident of Columbia for more than 60 years, Hindman works as an attorney for Hindman and Goldstein, LLC. He is a longtime advocate of trails and was a leader of the effort to establish the cross-state Katy Trail State Park. Hindman has spent much of his energy as mayor trying to make the city more amenable to bicyclists and pedestrians and promoting healthier lifestyles.

Hindman’s governmental philosophy takes for granted that the city will grow and focuses on improving Columbians’ quality of life even as that growth occurs. It is impor-tant, he says, that the city plan for growth and provide adequate infrastructure to accom-modate it.

Perhaps Hindman’s most controversial vote while on the council was his approval last month of the request to annex and zone the Philips farm, where Elvin Sapp plans a mix of commercial, residential and office development. Both his opponents have criti-cized that decision. Hindman, however, believes that plans for the property are adequate to protect sensitive streams, that the city is in a strong position to provide services such as public transportation to the development and that the city’s ability to develop a regional park in the area is important.

City Council Candidates

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Phone: 442-5423

ward3@GoColumbiaMo.com

Address: 2252 Country Lane

Bob Hutton

Third Ward

Hutton, 55, has served on the City Council for a combined three terms, though they haven’t been consecutive. He served two terms as Third Ward representative from 1989 to 1995 but did not seek re-election in 1995. Hutton ran again and won the Third Ward seat in 2001, and he is unopposed in this year’s election.

Hutton works as the director of plant and facility operations at Columbia College.

While an advocate of growth, Hutton says one of the primary goals of the city and council over the next few years should be improving the city’s transportation system. Too many developments, he says, are occurring before adequate streets are in place. He be-lieves the city should be more aggressive about planning for streets, securing funding and getting projects under way.

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Phone: 445-8880

ward4@ GoColumbiaMo.com

Address: 2404 Topaz Drive

Jim Loveless

Fourth Ward

Loveless, 54, is running unopposed for another term in his Fourth Ward seat. Origi-nally elected as a Second Ward councilman in 1989, Loveless stepped down from his post a little more than a year after the election when he moved out of the Second Ward. Loveless then ran unopposed for the Fourth Ward seat in 2001.

Loveless is a wildlife management biologist for the Missouri Department of Conser-vation and manages Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area.

Loveless has always emphasized that he tries to keep an open mind on city govern-ment issues to avoid going into meetings with preconceived notions about how he will vote.

Loveless believes the most challenging issue facing city government is securing ade-quate funding to support infrastructure, facilities and services.

The Columbia Missourian asked the candidates for the Columbia City Council, which includes the mayor, to tell readers in 100 words or fewer what they believe is the most pressing or important issue in local government today and why. Above are their verbatim, written responses. Also included is a brief personal look at each of the candi-dates. The Missourian provides the contact information as a service to its read-ers.

Board of Education Candidates

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Phone: 474-5195

mayor@brookscomputing systems. com

www.brookscomputing systems .com /Mayor

Address: 3141 Bonny Linn Drive

Arch Brooks

About him:

Brooks, 52, according to county records, is running for school board for the second time and is also running for mayor in the Tuesday election. His Web site includes infor-mation on his background with computer systems. It also has an electronic forum for residents to discuss issues and ask questions. At a live forum last week, Brooks said his plans for the school board include helping taxpayers see where their money is going and reducing the size of the administration in the district. He would like to see the district use more of its resources and technology.

In his words:

“One goal of becoming a school board member is to right size administration and point out ways of trimming the existing budget. Also, there are many operational consid-erations for realizing a greater return on tax dollars. In addition to flattening the admini-stration at 1818 West Worley, I would eliminate the Instructional Media Services within Columbia Public Schools as currently configured. This activity is too costly for the return on investment.”

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Phone: 445-4930

kdespain@century tel.net

Address: 1800 Glenbrook Court

Karla DeSpain

About her:

DeSpain, 46, is seeking her second term on the Columbia Board of Education. She works part time as the financial officer of her husband’s business and has two children, Caitlin, 13, and Ryanne, 11, who both attend Columbia Public Schools. DeSpain has served as the president of the Fairview PTA and the Assistance League of Mid-Missouri, as well as other community activities. DeSpain has said she is running again because of unresolved issues such as those relating to the federal No Child Left Behind Act and school funding.

In her words:

“My goals in running for the school board mirror the current board goals: increasing student achievement, decreasing achievement disparity among students and maximizing use of resources. To increase student achievement, the district has an obligation to do everything possible so that each student does the best they can. Programs to encourage parental participation and personal relationships with students will help in these areas. We must give support to teachers to allow them to address the disparities within their classrooms. Keeping class sizes small and allowing teachers time for collaboration and learning will help this area. Finally, maximizing resources in a time of tight budgets is crucial to the success of our district. Not only must we conserve our monetary resources, but we must examine each program to make sure we are efficiently using our human resources well.”

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Phone: 449-6670

jheadley@coin.org

Address: 5009 Cullen Court

Chuck Headley

About him:

Headley, 73, has been a board member since 1998 and is running for his third term. He is a retired MU professor of agricultural economics and is married with two adult children. He has been involved with PTAs and tutoring in Columbia. Headley has said school boards serve a role as policy-makers within the district and communication with the community and legislators is important. He has lobbied for better special-education funding and thinks the budget will continue to be an important issue in the district.

In his words:

“The goals I have if re-elected are to continue to increase achievement of all students and to work to reduce the disparity between various subgroups in the student body for racial and ethnic groups, as well as gender where they appear. I also want to find creative ways to minimize the impact of the severe budget constraints with which the district has to deal in the next two or three years and continue to improve the career center and its programs.”

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Phone: 817-2036

hlane@coin.org

www. henrylane.com

Address: 1816 E. Broadway

Henry Lane

About him:

Lane, 64, has run unsuccessfully six times for a seat on the school board. He is a retired auditor who has lived in Columbia for most of his life and regularly attends the board meetings. Lane has tried to change the school district through public comments to the board, petitions and a lawsuit. His platform includes lowering school property taxes, and he is an advocate of concentrating on basic skills and improving working conditions for teachers rather than pay raises.

In his words:

“I want to continue the work I’ve been doing as an outsider for the last six years. I would like to get all children a good education. It is important to reduce wasteful and unnecessary spending. School administrator salaries, for example, are exorbitant, and should be cut. I would like to lower school property taxes. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for people, especially those on fixed or low incomes, to afford ‘The American Dream’ — a home of their own. I would also oppose bond issues, like the one for $22,500,000 on the April 6 ballot, and school property tax rate hikes that are ill-conceived, fiscally irresponsible, or place too great a financial strain on already overbur-dened property owners.”

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Phone: 875-7059

mpounds@socket.net

Address: 401 Cheetah Drive

Martina Pounds

About her:

Pounds, 38, is a real estate agent making her first attempt at running for the school board. She grew up in Germany and has lived in Columbia since 1992. Pounds is married to James Pounds, who ran for City Council last year, and has two children, Savannah, 9, and Collin, 6, who both attend Ridgeway Elementary School. Her campaign includes bringing a different perspective to the board because she was educated in another country and she wants to develop greater parental involvement with schools in the Columbia Public School District.

In her words:

“One of my main goals is to focus on building a strong volunteer program, involving parents and college students. Like I said earlier, we have three colleges of education right here in this town that are not being utilized enough. I would like to work with faculty of those colleges to find creative ways to give students more actual classroom time at earlier times in their degree program. I believe teachers and students could benefit greatly from a program like this. I also would like to work closely with city and county officials to use their projections for areas of growth and development. I am against increasing property taxes, as levels are already appropriate.”

The Columbia Missourian asked the candidates for the Columbia Board of Education to tell readers in about 100 words what goals they would have as a board member. Five people are running for two seats. The election will be held Tuesday.

Bond would not raise property tax

By LAURA HAMMARGREN

The Columbia Public School District will ask voters to approve a $22.5 million bond issue in Tuesday’s election. Bonds affect all property owners but might not be completely understood, so the Columbia Missourian has attempted to clarify the issue.

General-obligation bonds are bonds the school district sells to a pool of investors to create revenue. The school district uses these proceeds as immediate funding for projects such as construction, maintenance and equipment.

How bond money would be used

  • New construction and land purchase: $7 million
  • Renovations and maintenance: $7.3 million
  • Equipment and furniture: $6.7 million
  • Curricular support: $1.4 million
  • TOTAL: $22.5 million

The property-tax rate would not increase, but taxpayers must pay the debt back over time at an interest rate. According to the school district, the debt-payment period would be extended by three years if voters approve this bond.

The school district cites the age of buildings and growth of the district as reasons the money is needed. However, the money wouldn’t fulfill all the wishes of the district. In 2000, the district created a five- to six-year budget plan that estimated more than $130 million would be needed to complete all desired improvements. Some of these wished-for items include: building another elementary school and high school, installing air-conditioning in every building and eliminating trailers used as classrooms.

In April 2000, Columbia voters passed a $35 million bond issue, the largest in district history. Renovating Hickman High School was a major project, and the large amount required a 9-cent tax increase.

Voters passed a $23.8 million bond issue in April 2002 that did not increase property taxes. That money was spent on projects such as making older schools accessible to the disabled and adding computers and other maintenance to buildings in the district.

Last April, voters approved a 19-cent operating-tax levy presented by the school district. The district has a total tax levy of $4.94, of which $4.14 is used for operating costs such as salaries, supplies and utilities. The remaining 80 cents is used for payment of debts. Last year’s tax-levy increase was used solely for operating costs.

This bond issue would keep the total levy the same and would maintain the debt-payment level at the current rate. Money from this issue would go toward:

  • New construction, which includes $4 million to the Columbia Area Career Center for a laboratory, and additional space for classrooms and a media center at Mill Creek Elementary
  • Renovations, which focus on revamping restrooms and fixing windows and roofs
  • Equipment, such as upgrading fire alarms and computers

Board of Education candidates have mixed reactions to the proposed bond.

Last month at a forum, Karla DeSpain said she was in favor of the bond so the district could continue to maintain its facilities.

Chuck Headley agreed.

“My stance on the bond issue is that it should be supported by the community,” he said. “Much of it is for maintenance, which has to be done to keep the buildings usable and effective.”

Henry Lane and Arch Brooks disagree with the bond proposal.

“Columbia Public Schools have not successfully explained current expenditures,” Brooks said.

Lane said people have the impression their property taxes wouldn’t go up.

“But debt like this doesn’t come free of charge,” he said. “There are principal and interest payments that have to be made on it, and the money to cover them will come by having property owners pay more property taxes.”

Martina Pounds does not oppose the bond issue, but she does question some of its components, such as the $1.2 million for real estate.

Voting “yes” on the bond issue would give the Columbia Public Schools $22.5 million over the next two years to complete construction and renovation in the district. Although there would be no tax increase, paying off debts would be extended for a longer time period, keeping taxes at the current level instead of decreasing in the future.


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