The Chad vs. The Sigs

COLUMBIA, Mo 6/9/14 (Beat Byte) -- A Columbia City Councilwoman who said she "felt lied to" by citizens sponsoring a petition to overturn a six-story downtown apartment is now urging petition signers remove their names.

"Please reconsider if you have signed the petition.   It is not too late to remove your name," First Ward Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick wrote on her Facebook page yesterday (right and below), about the Repeal 6214 petition.   

She also hovered around the Repeal 6214 booth at Art in the Park Sunday, arguing with signers and sponsors, and "deliberately trying to interfere" with the signature process, Repeal spokesperson Jeremy Root explained at a related event.  

Repeal 6214's recently-validated first petition would have sent Council Bill 6214 -- which approved Opus Group's student apartment plan in March -- to voters.  

But Council members approved a nearly identical "decoy" bill -- Council Bill 130-14 -- Chadwick designed and championed shortly after she was elected to the Council in April.   Repeal 6214 has since become Repeal 130-14, circulating a second petition to repeal the second approval.   

After less than a month in office, the newly-elected Councilwoman took the lead on the pro-Opus side of the petition debate, most recently sparring with Repeal 6214 attorney Josh Oxenhandler in yesterday's Columbia Daily Tribune.   

"Chadwick said that Oxenhandler threatened the city — a characterization he denies — with the lawsuit and the requests of Opus came off as demands," the Tribune reported, about a meeting the two had regarding a possible civil rights lawsuit.   "I'm not willing to play dirty politics," Chadwick added. 

Though public, the Councilwoman's Facebook posts are playing to a more limited audience these days, after she banned several constituents (including this organization) from reading her comments.  

"How do we go about removing our names from the petition?" constituent Mark Speckman asked on Facebook.

"I believe that you can make the request on the Repeal 6214 Facebook page," Chadwick replied.  "If not, then I will ask our City Clerk if there is a process if your name is on the petition once it is submitted."

One constituent openly disagreed with Chadwick's call to "de-sign" petitions.   "I do not believe you (the Council) is acting in the best interest of downtown," Andrea Quiroz Jira responded on Facebook.  "Decisions are being made without the consent and wishes of those that live downtown.  Shame on all of you." 

But the Councilwoman remains unmoved. 

"It is just beyond me that people think they get to have consent above the laws that they set forth as a city on what type of development can be built on private land," she explained.   "I believe that I was elected to make policy and ensure that it is upheld by our city.   It is important to me that the citizens of this community allow me to do that."

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