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STUD -- OR DUD? Ward gerrymandering disaster tarnishes Daryl Dudley's first term

"I will not continue being your Council person," Councilman tells public hearing. Part 2

 
COLUMBIA, 3/15/13 (Beat Byte) -- Fourth Ward residents want Daryl Dudley recalled because he is a bully. That was the charge constituent Esteban Ruvalcaba leveled in an Oct. 2011 Tribune letter entitled "Dudley’s bullying ways justify voter push-back."
 
In an editorial apologetic of the Councilman's behavior, Tribune publisher Hank Waters had accused Dudley's critics of "nasty ad hominem attacks" over a Ward gerrymandering fiasco.
 
Earlier that year, Dudley recruited Republican political operative Rob Monsees -- a former Matt Blunt staffer -- to devise a Ward map to remove the traditionally liberal Old Southwest from the 4th Ward and Benton Stephens from the Third Ward, placing them both in the First Ward.

Ruvalcaba didn't buy Waters' argument, instead citing a pattern of bullying behavior. "Daryl Dudley is being recalled because of his own hubris," Ruvalcaba wrote. "With the Audubon property, the Great Hang-ups rezoning, and now with the redistricting, he has attempted to force his position with no interest in dialogue or compromise. The bullying tactics he has employed repeatedly have finally resulted in push-back."

Dudley's stubborn support of the gerrymander plan prompted the recall effort, which gathered 831 signatures -- over half the 1,520 required.
 
The effort was halted after Monsees' controversial "Trial D" Ward redistricting map failed to sway the City Council. Progressives in Columbia would have lost two votes on the Council had the map been approved, a scenario Waters himself acknowledged.
 
"Trial D...would move politically liberal enclaves in the Third and Fourth wards into an expanded First Ward, thus presumably improving electoral chances for incumbents Gary Kespohl in the Third Ward and Dudley in the Fourth," he wrote. "Trial D dissidents have a perfectly good case to make against the plan. It would indeed render liberal activists less effective in the Third and Fourth wards by explicitly targeting their precincts. Trial E is a better option."
 
But Dudley disagreed. He supported Trial D and opposed Trial E -- which left the 3rd and 4th Wards intact -- throughout the debate, a position that "really sucks in the face of rational arguments and opposition," Jeannette Jackson-Thompson of the 4th Ward's Park Hill Neighborhood Association, said at a public forum.
 
"Kip Kendrick, president of the Benton-Stephens Neighborhood Association, slammed his hand on a nearby table while he shouted at Dudley: 'You’re going to pit ward against ward. You’re going to pit neighborhood against neighborhood,'" the Tribune reported about the forum.
 
Dudley ended up the sole vote against the popular Trial E that ultimately won Council approval after two hours of impassioned public testimony Oct. 17, 2011.
 
Battered over the recall effort, he also made a surprising announcement. "I will not continue being your Council person," Dudley told the crowd that night. "I will still be there for you to talk to me and I will listen to you."
 
Though Dudley apparently reversed his resignation -- he is seeking re-election this April -- Waters predicted a bumpy ride. "If he stands for re-election in 2013, his stars will remain misaligned," Waters wrote. "Dudley was elected with only a 36 percent plurality. Now...it’s safe to predict trouble ahead."
 
Sentence for selling alcohol to minors raises more questions
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