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CITY COUNCIL JEOPARDY! Match wits with our CoMo City Hall contestants

I'll take Mayor Misbehavior for $200

COLUMBIA, Mo 6/19/14 (Op Ed) --  Welcome back to another episode of City Council Jeopardy!, where Columbia City Council members and senior staffers pit their wits against public policy, planning, rules, regulations, well-informed activists, and current events.

Just like regular Jeopardy! our Council contestants provide the question that matches an answer under a category they choose.   Without further ado, let's welcome our four City Hall contestants! 

He's that gentle guy with the cuddly puppy, Second Ward Columbia City Councilman Michael Trapp

She's the lady with enough legal-ease to have three different jobs in three different cities in the last three years:  Columbia city attorney Nancy Thompson.    

Busy validating another round of student apartment repeal petitions, city clerk Sheela Amin is back for more City Council Jeopardy! 
And don't forget our returning champion -- he just loves to get the last word:  Third Ward Columbia City Councilman Karl Skala.  

Now a look at our six categories:   Ryan Ferguson; Ginny-ing up Controversy; Magnum Opus; Mayor Misbehavior; TIF: Tax Increment Follies; and Council Do-Overs.  
Let's start with our champ, Councilman Skala.   And remember -- you may hear a 'Ding' if you get a wrong answer. 

"I'll take Council Do-Overs for two hundred." 

Before they voted to save them, the Columbia City Council voted to tear down several historic homes on this major gateway into town. 

"What is Providence Road?"  

That is correct! 
"By the way, I wasn't part of that vote.  I just want everyone to remember that.  I didn't vote to tear those houses down.  I wasn't on the Council then." 

Thank you, Councilman Skala.  Next -- city attorney Thompson. 

"I'd like Ryan Ferguson for $100 million." 

Wow -- the $100 million question.   It's a City Council Jeopardy! first, folks.   Okay:  Ryan Ferguson was released from prison on the basis of this legal error. 

"Who is Kevin Crane?"
Ding!  I'm sorry -- that's wrong.   Councilman Trapp?  

"What is 'Ban the Box'?"  

Wrong again.   'What is 'withholding exculpatory evidence?' is the answer we were looking for.   Wow -- the city just lost $100 million.   

"That's not fair.  This is all very complex.  We need to ban the box on employment applications that ask about prior convictions.  That's the single-most important thing we can do to prevent crime.   And by the way, the city needs to build up, not out.  We need to support walkability downtown, and infill development, and the ability of each person to achieve his or her maximum potential, even in the face of tremendous odds.  We need...."   

Thank you, Councilman Trapp, but we need to move onto the next contestant:  City clerk Amin. 

"I'd like Ginny-ing up Controversy for $400." 

First Ward Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick has proposed this failed 1920's policy for Douglass Park

"What is Prohibition?" 

"I'll stick with Ginny-ing up Controversy for $600."

Councilwoman Chadwick used this slogan during her election campaign. 

"What is, 'Ginny Knows Best'?"
Nope.  Councilman Skala. 
"What is 'Black people should not be allowed to drink in city parks.'"


"Can I get another try?" 


"What is, 'The Opus Petitioners Lied to Me?" 

Sorry -- no more tries and that's wrong anyway.   The correct answer is, "What is, 'The Key to the City is the Voice of the People'."   Next contestant: Councilman Trapp. 

"I'll take Mayor Misbehavior for $200."  

This photo (right) shows Mayor Bob McDavid turning away -- some say rudely -- from what well-regarded city activist

"I, um -- I don't see anyone."

The question refers to the person standing at the podium. 

"What person?   I don't see any people -- except the Council members, of course." 

Ding!   Wrong answer.  City attorney Thompson.

"Who is Jeremy Root?" 

Wrong.  The correct answer is 'Who is People's Visioning director Monta Welch.'   Back to our reigning champion. 

"TIF: Tax Increment Follies for $200." 

For nearly four months starting last December, city manager Mike Matthes, public works director John Glascock, and deputy city manager Tony St. Romaine made this statement to groups like the Library Board, the County Commission, every newspaper, and every television station. 

"What is 'We are 100% out of infrastructure, and cannot allow any more building in downtown Columbia for many years." 

That is correct!   Now for our final question.  It goes to city attorney Nancy Thompson. 

"I'll take Magnum Opus for $200." 

This clause in the Opus student apartment development agreement prevents the developer from suing individual City Council members.   

"What clause?" 

Ding.  Yes, Councilman Trapp. 

"I agree.  What clause?" 

Ding-a-ling.  I'm sorry, but the correct answer is 'Clause 30:  Representatives Not Personally Liable.' 

"But that isn't fair!   Mrs. Thompson said we could be sued." 

"I did not.  I never said that.  The city manager may have, but I never did." 

"Did so." 

"Did not!" 

And that wraps up another episode of City Council Jeopardy!    Oh no!   The city attorney is about to whack Councilman Trapp with that big stack of petitions. 

"You're gonna get it, buster!  Gentle cuddly guy my foot!"   

Tune in next week when four new contestants play Double City Council Jeopardy:  Name that Pending Litigation.  

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