Film fest organizer announces bid for First Ward council seat

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 | 7:28 p.m. CDT; updated 10:36 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

COLUMBIA — Paul Sturtz, one of the driving forces behind the True/False Film Festival and the Ragtag Cinemacafe, said Tuesday he will run for the First Ward City Council seat.

Sturtz said in an e-mail news release that he will officially announce his candidacy at four Columbia locations on Thursday. Sturtz, 43, will be the fifth to announce his run for the seat, which is currently held by Almeta Crayton.

Crayton, who is serving her third term, has said she will seek re-election. The other announced candidates are John G. Clark, Sal Nuccio and Marlon Jordan.

Sturtz is co-founder and co-organizer of the True/False Film Festiva and co-founder and program director of the Ragtag. He has lived in the First Ward for six of his 12 years in Columbia and has been a long-time critic of what he sees as development-based government, or what he calls a “slash-and-burn economy.”

Instead, Sturtz calls for sustainable growth.

“We have a limited base of land out there,” Sturtz said. “We need to protect the things that make Columbia and Boone County unique.”

Commenting on how he would implement sustainable growth, Sturtz pointed to some programs already in place around the First Ward, such as Columbia YouthBuild, which teaches youth construction skills and helps build houses in the community.

“I feel like there’s a lot of good people who are doing great things all over,” Sturtz said. “There’s a lot of really great models (of sustainable growth) that are happening in the First Ward already.”

In addition to being an entrepreneur, Sturtz has been active in community organizations. He was a KOPN/89.5 FM board member in 1997. He is a founding member of Big Canoe, an organization founded to encourage economic and environmental sustainability.

When asked about incumbent Almeta Crayton, Sturtz said: “I think Almeta’s been a tremendous personality and force in the city, and I wouldn’t want to diminish that. She’s raised a lot of issues that wouldn’t have been raised otherwise.”

Still, he thinks it’s his turn to be First Ward councilman.

“She’s been on the council for nine years, and I think that’s sufficient time.”

Missourian reporter Paul Hagey contributed to this report.

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