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BLIGHT VOTE TRIPS UP KESPOHL: Skala challenges biggest whopper of this year's City Council campaign

Voting to blight 60% of Columbia -- and doing it illegally

COLUMBIA, 3/27/13 (Beat Byte) -- Gary Kespohl told the biggest whopper of this year's Columbia City Council campaign at the NAACP forum last night, where his campaign for Third Ward Columbia City Councilman -- under challenge after challenge by opponent Karl Skala -- ran into serious trouble.

"I did not vote to blight Columbia," Councilman Kespohl repeatedly insisted. "I only voted to establish a board to examine the possibility. And I didn't like their recommendations. I didn't support the map they produced."
 
Skala pounced.
 
Kespohl did indeed vote to blight the city, Skala retorted, and not only that -- he did it illegally, via Resolution instead of Ordinance. "I have the documents right here," Skala told the audience. "Anyone can come up and look at them. Gary Kespohl joined every other member of the City Council that night to blight most of Columbia."
 
"That night" was the infamous "Call Me Mr. Blighted" meeting. On Monday, February 6, 2012, First Ward Councilman Fred Schmidt played the role of Mr. Blighted and Gary Kespohl voted YES on the Blight Resolution, R20-12.
 
YES to "finding and certifying that a portion of the City and Boone County is blighted."
 
YES to the idea that 60% of Columbia contains "inadequacies which lead to blight, including any combination of such factors...that constitute an economic or social liability or a menace to the public health safety, morals, or welfare."
 
It's all right here on the first page of the Resolution, which included a notorious blight map:
 
"The statute says you have to declare it's blighted," then-city attorney Fred Boeckmann explained on Blight Night. "At some point, we have to say, 'it's blighted,'" city manager Mike Matthes chimed in.
 
"Call me Mr. Blighted and give me the money," Mr. Schmidt said.
 
Mr. Kespohl asked several questions, so he knew exactly what he was voting for, at 2:40 in this video:
 
Sixty percent of Columbia poses a menace to public health, safety, morals, and welfare. That is Gary Kespohl's vision of Columbia, Skala argued last night, the Councilman's YES vote in front of him on the table:
 
 
 
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