Wednesday, August 20, 2008

4-3 JERRY: Council Swings with Wade

With a second high-profile swing vote under his belt, 4th Ward Columbia City councilman Jerry Wade has become the man to watch in local government.

Casting a tie-breaking "yes" vote in June's Maguire Blvd. extension and in this week's Cross Creek development plan, Wade sided with developers on both controversial counts.

The rest of the council seems evenly divided on such projects. 1st, 3rd, and 6th ward council members Sturtz, Skala and Hoppe, respectively, voted against Maguire and CrossCreek, while Mayor Hindman, 2nd ward councilman Janku, and 5th ward councilwoman Nauser voted in favor.

In opposition, Skala and Sturtz are philosophical -- "Columbia can do better" is a favored Skala argument. In Monday's CrossCreek debate, Sturtz called the project "a real speculation," noting that it seemed like clearcut land looking for a building.

Hoppe objected on environmental grounds in both cases.

Pro-project arguments from Hindman and Janku were vague. The mere fact that developers made changes and engaged neighbors seemed enough, from their perspectives, to justify a yes vote.

Nauser and Wade argued that they were following the law -- an imperfect mess Wade said needs revamping at Monday night's meeting. CrossCreek, he said, will be a catalyst for change.


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