Monday, January 4, 2010

BEAT BYTE: New Columbia Mayoral Candidate Announces on Facebook

EARLY BIRD CANDIDATE SURVEY:  Tracy Greever-Rice for City Council, 

Pt. 1

Fourth Ward Columbia city council candidate Tracy Greever-Rice (left) answers the Columbia Heart Beat's Early Bird Candidate Survey from local journalists.   Survey questions went out to early filers for mayor and city council.  

Our team of questioning journalists includes:

George Kennedy, professor of journalism and columnist, The Columbia Missourian
Tyree Byndom, Host, Kore Issues, KOPN radio
Mary Daly, Managing Editor, The MU Maneater
Jonathan Sessions, columnist/blogger, Columbia Business Times

George Kennedy asks:

1.  What does “smart growth” mean to you?

Greever-Rice:  "Smart growth" implies a thoughtfully-implemented policy approach to development that encourages projects/initiatives that contribute to our economic and local tax base; create a culture of stewardship of our human and natural resources; and ingrain equity and fairness as prerequisites to public investment.

2.  What should be the top 3 priorities for the next council?

Greever-Rice:   The top priority of the next council will be to guide the City through several more years of flat or tightening budgets.  This will mean prioritizing competing interests and balancing short-term--and, in some cases, quite dire--needs with long-term investments in economic development, public utilities, and infrastructure.

The next council will be responsible for updating the city's comprehensive plan, including building trust in the planning process and buy-in throughout the community to participate in the process, rather than attempt to circumvent it.

The next 4th ward council representative will be responsible for ensuring that city resources are fairly and equitably deployed to and within the ward, particularly in regard to sewer and traffic.

3.    Should council members be paid?

Greever-Rice:  In the short term, no.   We can't afford to without diverting scarce public resources during this recession. We're fortunate to have a culture of public service in Columbia and a history of competent and talented folks willing to donate their time and energy.

In the long term, we'll probably want to think about our population-to-ward ratio. The city's population has increased by more than 40 percent since the 5th and 6th wards were added in the early 1970s.  If we want to continue to attract quality candidates, we must ensure that they can reasonably do 'due diligence' in meeting the needs of their constituents.

Another option is to make resources available to council members to support their council work, including council office space in the new city building; providing council access to hardware/software resources; independent administrative and/or research support; and opportunities for professional development.


4.  What do you see as the proper relationship between the council and the manager?

Greever-Rice:   The formal relationship between council and the manager is determined by the city's charter, which defines the role of the council as policy making - to initiate and set policy - and the role of the manager and staff as implementing council's policy directives. 

Generally, the working relationship between the council and city manager should be open, collegial and supportive.  Not everyone will agree on every issue, but all parties must be committed to an on-going, functional process and relationship that puts the community first.


Jonathan Sessions asks:

1.   In this voluntary position, what are your expectations of necessary time commitment?  

Greever-Rice:   I've spoken to a number of past and present council members to better understand the time commitment required to the job well.   Generally, they describe the time commitment as involving three sets of tasks: 1) Council meetings, work sessions and special meetings, 2) Meeting with constituents in person, via phone and email, and 3) Issue research, council packet reading, and meeting prep.   While the balance of these tasks may vary, I'm understand that serving on council requires an average commitment of 15-20 hours per week.

2. How do you plan to keep up with a demanding city council?

Greever-Rice:   Prioritize. Coordinate and collaborate with fellow council members, staff, board/commission members, and constituents to ensure I'm sufficiently informed and effective in representing the 4th Ward.

Part 2 Q/A to follow in a subsequent issue.

NEW MAYORAL CANDIDATE:  Announces on Facebook 

COLUMBIA, 1/3/10  (Beat Byte) -- Mike Yoakum (right), a Columbia College senior and chairman of Columbia's Substance Abuse Advisory Commission, has announced his candidacy for mayor of Columbia on Facebook. 

Though the Facebook page is light on details, it intimates that Yoakum is running partly because he objects to the increasing focus on PedNet and bicycle-related issues.

"Mike Yoakum for Mayor:  Because most Columbians drive cars and not bikes," the page reads. 

In a December interview with The Columbian, Columbia College's student newspaper, Yoakum -- a self-described conservative -- said former Democratic state legislator Jeff Harris recommended him in 2004 for a spot on the substance abuse commission designated for students from Columbia under 25.  

"[We] have had input into a lot of decisions such as the Columbia Public Schools drug taskforce’s recommendations, the Minor-in-Possession-by-Consumption ordinance and the DARE program,"  Yoakum told The Columbian.

If all of Yoakum's friends vote, he may be a force to be reckoned with.  His mayoral page has 127 friends, and his personal page has over 1,200 friends.


1 comment:

  1. I've been in a number of meetings with Greever-Rice and have been profoundly impressed with her experience, intelligence, and common sense--and her willingness to get involved in citizen issues. She gets my wholehearted vote and support.