Sunday, December 14, 2008

BEAT BYTES: County's Elkin Hopeful on Humane Society Boost

1) Boone County's Elkin Hopeful on Humane Society Boost
2) Land-Taking Ordinances Get Name Wrong
3) TASER Talk to Open Council Meeting

1) Boone County's Elkin Hopeful on Humane Society Boost

COLUMBIA, 12/14/08 (Beat Byte) -- To support their most hopeful voice in local government, Central Missouri Humane Society (CMHS) supporters should turn out in force at tomorrow morning's Boone County Commission budget hearings.

Saying that he had "some really good thoughts on a possible solution" to the society's crisis-stage budget woes, Northern District County Commissioner Skip Elkin recently told the Columbia Heart Beat that "we are still working on this issue." The solution Elkin said he envisions "could potentially be a win-win for everyone. And it will be a significant investment from both the City of Columbia and Boone County."

Starting off the 2009-10 budget year with $11 million in reserve funds and another $6.57 million in undesignated, unreserved funds, according to recent Columbia Tribune reports, the County Commission should be in a strong position to boost its support for CMHS. Out of this year's $45 million budget, the two funds add up to a 39% piggy bank, not including reserves for individual departments such as the County Assessor, which this year reported a hefty $1.4 million reserve fund.

Low debt, low fuel prices, and a relatively minor 1% drop in county sales tax revenue this year paint a forecast that, while not overly rosy, is certainly healthier than it was when gas prices were topping $3/gallon.

Recent news that the humane society -- which in Columbia and Boone County doubles as an animal control center or "dog pound" -- was on the verge of closing sent shock waves through the community, which for over thirty years has relied on the organization as a one-stop-shop for stray animal care. Annually, the city of Columbia provides $100,000.00 and the County of Boone ten times less -- $10,000.00 -- for care of an animal control population society president Patty Forister estimates at around 4,500.

Private donations of about $800,000.00/year pick up the tab for another 4,500 animals that come to the society outside the realm of animal control.

Highlighting the humane society's mission-critical status as an animal control center: a "puppy mill bust" reported in yesterday's Columbia Tribune that sent 19 pups to the shelter. A short video on Youtube entitled "Humane Society Appeal" (below) also highlights overcrowded, unsanitary conditions at the society's Columbia shelter.

Elkin said his support of CMHS' "admirable mission" doesn't come without concerns.

"There are some accountability issues that we have to work through," Elkin told the Heart Beat. "Unlike the bozos in Washington who continue to bail out failed businesses with failed business policies, I am not in favor of just 'doling out' additional taxdollars without a successful game plan."

Tomorrow's (Monday's) Boone County Commission budget hearings will occur at 9:30 a.m., County Commission chambers, at the Roger Wilson Government Building next to the courthouse in downtown Columbia. After considering public comment, the commission is expected to adopt its 2009-2010 budget this Tuesday, Dec. 16.

For those who can't attend, contact your county commissioners with your concerns or comments at:

Skip Elkin
Northern (District II) Commissioner
Boone County Government Center
801 E. Walnut, Room 245
Columbia, MO 65201-7732

Ken Pearson
Presiding Commissioner

Karen Miller
Southern District Commissioner


Humane Society Appeal Video

County Commission Meeting Schedule

Bust Sends 19 Pups to Humane Society

2) Land Taking Ordinances Get Name Wrong

COLUMBIA, 12/14/08 (Beat Byte) -- Two ordinances to enact eminent domain on private land under consideration by the Columbia City Council Monday night refer to the "State Historical Society of Missouri" as the "Missouri Historical Society." Readers and representatives of the latter organization want to make the distinction clear. The confusion caused the name to appear two different ways in local news reports.

The State Historical Society of Missouri is a Columbia-based organization that originated with the Missouri Press Association in 1898, with several prominent Columbia residents on their board of trustees. Related websites include:

Based in St. Louis, "the Missouri Historical Society was established in 1866 to rescue 'from oblivion the early history of the city and the state.'" Their website is located at:


City eyes land for museum
Eminent domain could play role in new Historical Society home.

Local Businesses Fight Being Forced Out

Columbia City Council Agenda for Dec. 15


3) TASER Talk to Open Council Meeting

COLUMBIA, 12/14/08 (Beat Byte) -- A quartet of speakers representing the ACLU, GRO, NAACP, and the Mid-MO Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, will present their findings on 48 of the 69 TASER deployment cases from the Columbia Police Department at tomorrow night's council meeting.

"It troubles us to report that in the 48 cases, we have found TASERs being used by officers inappropriately," the group claims in an open letter to media outlets. "Many cases indicate that officers are using TASERs not to protect themselves, the suspects, or citizens in 'imminent danger.' but often as a time-saving convenient means to control suspects—and, in a few instances, to punish."

-- Mike Martin for the Columbia Heart Beat

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