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DUMPSTER DILEMMA: A triumphantly funny David vs. Goliath tale from downtown Columbia

An unstoppable force moves an immovable bureaucracy


COLUMBIA, Mo 9/6/13 (Beat Byte) --
Arnie Fagan shuttered his iconically zany Cool Stuff store last year, but his madcap downtown adventures are still going strong. 

Earlier this summer, Fagan discovered a tongue-twisting something called "the City of Columbia CID Solid Waste District" had plunked two large garbage dumpsters in back of some offices he owns on Eighth St.   

Now a full-time commercial real estate agent looking to sell or lease the offices, Fagan was appalled.  Errant dumpsters sporting that urinesque stink don't make a good impression on potential renters and buyers. 

With a friendly "hello," he sent a polite request to the city's solid waste manager, Cynthia Mitchell.   "These City dumpsters are on private property.  Please have them removed from the property immediately," Fagan asked.  "Thank you." 

But Fagan discovered removing the dumpsters wouldn't be simple.  After all, this is Columbia -- more specifically, downtown Columbia, where all manner of bureaucratic acronyms run the show (REDI, CID, BCFR, CMDC, CoC, MU, DLC, HPC, and now the SEC).  

"Hi Arnie," Mitchell emailed back.   "Carrie said this will need to go through the economic development committee and then to the board.   We will keep in communication with her and get your concern addressed." 

Someone named "Carrie", then a "committee" and then a "board"?   Just to move two dumpsters? 

Though this "Carrie" is not the same Carrie from the famous Stephen King novel, Fagan was feeling her telekinetic powers nonetheless.    The director of downtown Columbia's all-powerful, special sales tax-supported Community Improvement District (CID), Carrie Gartner was keeping those dumpsters in place without even touching them. 

Fagan was not amused.  "These city dumpsters are on private property," he emailed Mitchell again, cc'ing Mayor Bob McDavid, city manager Mike Matthes, and his Councilman, Fred Schmidt.   "Please consult the City Attorney if you wish, but no one, or no entity has the right to have their trash on this property.  It is causing economic harm." 

Fagan closed with a humorous suggestion.   "Perhaps you could relocate them to Carrie's office in the meantime." 

That bit of comic relief may have done the trick, because the dumpsters were gone the next morning.   "I am not sure if they were relocated to Carrie Gartner's office, as I suggested ;)," Fagan quipped. 

 

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