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The Columbia Heart Beat -- 2/27/07

Chronicling the Renaissance of North Central, the Heart of Columbia

-- First Ward Politics: Some Powerful and Troubling Questions
-- Recalling Miss Crayton, A Reader Expresses Lamentation and Frustration
-- Put a Tiger in Your House: MU Programs for Easy Home Care
-- From iHeartColumbia: Happenings Around Town

1) First Ward Politics: Some Powerful and Troubling Questions

Holy Moly! Talk about some disturbing questions. In her letter below, Columbia Community Planning and Development Commissioner Pat Kelley paints a picture of First Ward politics that ain't pretty.

Who was circulating the Almeta Crayton recall petition -- and why?

Did a previous city administration deprive the ward of much-needed community-policing dollars by short-circuiting a critical personnel decision process? If so, why?

Why did mayoral candidate John Clark take the heat alone for a widely-reported mountainous molehill, leaving a crucial witness out of the fray who could have helped clear his name?

Might Kelley's commentary be the most powerful statement yet in support of Mayor Darwin Hindman's call for council pay -- or at least paid office hours for council persons?

How realistic is it to blame Almeta -- or for that matter, Clark, Field Elementary, or others we often see getting blamed -- for the decades-old results of dysfunctional inner-city governance?

Should we take Ms. Kelley's comments as a wake up call that her ward needs our community's money, brains, power, and soul -- the very things she worries we are sending almost exclusively to the 'burbs?


2) Recalling Miss Crayton, A Reader Expresses Lamentation and Frustration

I would like to respond to Mike Martin's "Recalling Almeta" article, specifically the phrase about the petitioner whose identity he could not reveal.

There is no reason I would need to be anonymous about my efforts working on the recall of Almeta CraytonDan Cullimore has my permission to tell anyone he wants that I came to his house asking for his signature on the petition and why I am interested in seeing a recall of our First Ward City Councilwoman.**

I've always had a good relationship with Almeta and won't deny that she has brought up some important issues in our ward. But I first realized that she should not be on City Council years ago, when she was quoted in the Tribune saying about city manager Ray Beck, "He knows better than we do."

This was after Mr. Beck hired Randy Boehm as police chief because he didn't want to hire Captain Eric Meyer. He knew Capt. Meyer would be asking for the financial resources to instigate community policing in our ward.

Boehm had not even been a candidate in the selection process.

I didn't say anything then because I know what it is like to have a quote taken out of context in the Tribune, so I gave Almeta the benefit of the doubt. For years, I have watched her vote for new developments that I believed would draw tax revenues from the center city out to the suburbs. I wrote a letter about this which I think you can still read on MyMissourian (see link below).

Before a controversial vote in our neighborhood, I was trying to reach Almeta for several days.  Her cell phone wasn't taking messages and everyone I talked to told me she didn't answer emails.

I tried going by her house several times. I even stood at Wabash bus station waiting for the bus that someone told me she took to work.

I left a note on the door at her house with my phone number and a neighbor's phone number for her to call to let us know when John Clark and I could meet with her.  She never returned that call until after she saw John.

I had stopped by her house with John Clark to speak with her earlier.  It was only random chance that I was not with John again when he did finally find her at her home at approximately 8:30 p.m. (not 10:30 p.m. as she said).

It was also only chance that my picture was not on the front page of the Tribune as having "threatened" her.  I narrowly escaped being labeled a "threatening constituent."

Almeta did everything she could to vote both ways on the controversial Grace Covenant zoning issue this summer. She wanted us all to reach a compromise so that she could vote "yes" with some changes that would help the neighbors approve the re-zoning. When we couldn't reach a compromise, Almeta knew she was going to have to alienate someone.

As our City Councilwoman, she can vote however she feels is right, according to her conscience.  But the role of a leader is to have the courage to stand up for her beliefs.

She can't vote "no" and say she really meant "yes" and blame that on feeling threatened by one of her constituents.

A City Councilwoman who would do that to those of us she knows -- and with whom she has worked extensively in our ward -- is not reliable, trustworthy, or being our representative.

Pat Kelley
1st Ward Resident
Columbia, MO 65203

Related Link:

MyMissourian Letter to Almeta


3) Put a Tiger in Your House: MU Programs for Easy Home Care

The MU Extension Office has a number of programs for easy home care and community sustainability:

H.O.M.E. Everything about home buying for first time homebuyers

HomeWorks: Maintaining Your House
http://extension.missouri.edu/edninfo/homeworks/index.htm

Community Revitalization and Sustainability
http://extension.missouri.edu/edninfo/crs/index.htm

4) From iHeartColumbia: Click the Link for Happenings Around Town
http://www.iheartcolumbia.com/


-- Mike Martin
Editor and Webmaster

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