Updated: 5:40 4/2/2013
Voters went to the polls today, which close at 7pm. You still have time! Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren says that turnout is a little low this spring, mostly due to the fact that we don't have a school board race to draw out the CPS stakeholders.
If that doesn't dissuade you then check our guide below:
Columbia voters are electing the city mayor, two council seats, a city-wide proposition and a county-wide proposition. Here's a sample ballot. If you're not sure which Columbia ward you live in, this map breaks it down easily.
City of Columbia Proposition 1
Eminent domain became a hot issue last year when REDI attempted to declare much of North Columbia "blighted" in order to make it an "Enhanced Enterprise Zone" or an EEZ. A bitter fight broke out between the city and community activists who worried that by declaring parts of the city blighted, the city could use it's eminent domain power to seize land and transfer it to private businesses.
Prop 1 would prevent the city from using eminent domain to acquire property for economic development with the intention of transferring that property to private entities. Here's the full text of the proposition. The proposition amends the city charter and it would not actually strip the city of its eminent domain power. But it would likely prevent the particular use of eminent domain that had everyone fired up last March.
The Columbia Missourian (warning: paywall) has a good recent article on the proposition
The Columbia Daily Tribune wrote on this in November when the City Council decided to put it on the ballot
KBIA's Intersection spent an hour on the EEZ issue last year
Boone County Proposition 1
This county-wide proposition would raise Columbia's sales tax by 3/8 of a cent, bringing Columbia's rate to 7.975 percent according to the Tribune. Here's the full ballot language(PDF).
It's supported by the Columbia Police Officer's association, REDI, and the Boone County Farm Bureau. Here's a full list from yeson1for911.com. An organization called Keep Columbia Free opposes the measure.
The Columbia Daily Tribune reports on the supporters and opposition
The Maneater has this infographic breaking down the numbers on 911 calls in mid-Missouri
This KBIA report pointed out the high number of 911 calls that leave callers waiting on the line
City of Columbia Mayor
Mayor Bob McDavid is up for reelection and his main challenger is Sid Sullivan. It's a repeat of the 2010 matchup when McDavid and Sullivan vied for office when former Mayor Darwin Hindman left. That race was a landslide for McDavid who took 54% of the votes against Sullivan's 28%.
McDavid looks strong this year but his term hasn't been without controversy. Some may blame him for the blight debacle that caused so much ire last year. CiViC, an organization formed last year to oppose the EEZ designation, recently endorsed Sullivan for mayor. McDavid has the endorsement of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce.
Both candidates spoke to KBIA earlier this month
Columbia Third Ward
Gary Kespohl, owner of Central Missouri Computer Center, is the incumbent here and his challenger is Karl Skala. The Tribune reports that Kespohl and Skala have run against one another three times:
In 2007, Skala was elected to the Third Ward seat with a 63-vote margin out of 1,753 votes cast. In 2010, Kespohl unseated Skala by a margin of 54 votes out of 2,464 cast.
This one will be a tight race, though Kespohl has the lead in fundraising and the endorsement of the Chamber of Commerce.
- The Tribune breaks down the dollars in this race
Columbia Fourth Ward
Incumbent Daryl Dudley is the manager of the Hy-Vee convenience store on West Broadway. The Tribune says he's a member of the NRA and an admirer of Ronald Reagan. He was the target of a short-lived recall movement in 2011 after controversy over ward redistricting left Dudley as the sole supporter of an unpopular plan that some called gerrymandering.
His challengers include Bill Weitkemper and Ian Thomas. Weitkemper recently retired as the city's sewer maintenance superintendent.
Ian Thomas is a well-known Columbia cycling advocate who co-founded PedNet, a pedestrian and cycling advocacy group.
KBIA has this story on the three familiar faces in the Fourth Ward race
The Columbia Missourian (warning: paywall) has this lengthy profile of Ian Thomas
The Tribune reports on Weitkemper's bid announcement
The Tribune's profile on Daryl Dudley