Sixth Ward residents, who have experienced first-hand the buzz words “growth” and “development,” will have a choice between Valerie Barnes and Barbara Hoppe in a City Council race that pits a Realtor and developer, Barnes, against a lawyer and environmental activist, Hoppe.
Barnes and Hoppe entered the race after incumbent Brian Ash opted not to seek re-election.
Barnes, 49, a Realtor with Re/Max Boone Realty, has lived in Columbia her entire life. After staying home to raise her two children, she earned her real estate license in 1993. Barnes is the daughter of Elvin Sapp, the developer of the ward’s 489-acre Philips tract.
Hoppe, 55, is an administrative attorney for the state public defender. She moved to Columbia in 1979 from her home state of Michigan. Hoppe earned her law degree at MU, graduating in 1987, with a focus on mediation. Hoppe is a founding member and former co-chairwoman of the Boone County Smart Growth Coalition.
As for council service, Barnes said she would offer the development community’s perspective and collective knowledge, which she said she feels has been missing since the departure of former Fifth Ward Councilman and Realtor John John. Her experience as a Realtor and resident, Barnes said, will help her take a balanced approach to city decision-making.
Hoppe said she would advocate for the average Sixth Ward resident, who she believes needs more council representation. She said she thinks her background in community activism, ranging from leading the effort to preserve Stephens Lake Park to participating in the Street Standards Planning Group, demonstrates her ability to engage the public on citywide issues.
Both candidates said they favor “thoughtful development,” but through different means.
Columbia is going to grow, Barnes said, and her priority is helping the city approach growth pro-actively to encourage quality development and anticipate infrastructure needs.
Hoppe said managed growth should protect the environment residents love by encouraging infill development that minimizes infrastructure costs.
Barnes and Hoppe both said they favor the community visioning process and city-county collaboration.