Tuesday, March 30, 2010

WADE'S DILEMMA: Mayoral campaign faces multi-sided criticism

Few people represent what used to be the political face of 4th Ward Columbia City Council member and now Mayoral candidate Jerry Wade like Catherine Parke, Ph.D.  
An English professor emeritus with a Stanford University pedigree who taught at Mizzou for 30 years before retiring in 2002, Dr. Parke won the William T. Kemper Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching.  She is an expert on 18th-century literature, has an art studio at Orr Street, and a history of volunteer service to Columbia that is nearly unmatched, a trait she probably inherited from her father James, who founded the Veterans’ Administration Volunteer Services program. 
Time and talent have also been kind to departing Columbia Board of Realtors director Carol Van Gorp, who for the past seven years has helped transform a comparatively low-key professional organization into a politically-engaged, broad-reaching powerhouse that not only represents folks who sell houses, but encourages its members toward 
positive community impacts. 
On most local political issues, Dr. Parke and Mrs. Van Gorp couldn't be farther apart.  But on their mutual criticism of Mr. Wade's Mayoral campaign -- and a mailer he recently distributed -- they've found ironic common ground, albeit for different reasons they've written about below.   
Dr. Parke says Mr. Wade has become a hollow man, forced into political hypocrisy because -- at critical moments -- he's failed to stand behind what he claims are his guiding ideals. 
Mrs. Van Gorp blasted Mr. Wade for attacking her constituents in his mailer, in which he asks if voters want big developer/Realtor special interests running the town -- or Jerry Wade.  The Columbia Tribune reports that Mr. Wade has apologized, but not before ruffling the feathers of nearly every real estate professional in town. 
Between June and August 2008, Mr. Wade did two things his "core constituency" has never forgiven:  He became the lone City Council swing votes that approved CrossCreek -- now a barren, clearcut mud slick -- and the Lemone/Maguire project, a $5.5 million road extension critics have contended will have massive, long-lasting adverse environmental impacts.  
Mayor Hindman, and fellow council members Chris Janku and Laura Nauser also voted for the projects.  But they hadn't promised their constituents the same rose garden Mr. Wade promised his constitutents during his 2007 4th Ward race against Mike Holden and for many years prior. 
Mr. Wade said bad laws forced his legislative flip flops. 
"Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Wade, who was the only council member to change his CrossCreek vote from March, said although he still might not like the nature of the development, the city is bound by its laws," the Columbia Tribune reported.  "This project is probably going to have more of a long-term impact on policies in Columbia than any other project we’ve seen," Wade said. "It will probably result in more changes to our governmental process than any other, and that will clearly benefit our community."
The rhetoric behind them forgotten, those changes never occurred, leaving Mr. Wade dogged by a conundrum:  How to re-engage his disaffected "political" base during his Mayoral campaign.   
In a February interview, the Columbia Business Times picked up on Mr. Wade's dilemma, implying he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't. 
"You’ve been the swing vote that ensured the passage of several initiatives backed by the business community," the Business Times reminded Mr. Wade.  "Nevertheless, based on candidate petitions, leaders of the Chamber of Commerce and other representatives of the local 'business establishment' are backing Bob McDavid.  Why do you think they haven’t openly backed you, and what are you doing to get votes from the business community?"
"As a councilperson, I have voted on issues after carefully weighing the facts, listening to the pros and cons, doing my best to understand the impact of the vote on Columbia, and deciding what I believe would be best for Columbians in both the long and short term," Mr. Wade answered. "As mayor, my approach to issues will not change."
In other words, Mr. Wade believes his swing votes to approve the Cross Creek and Lemone/Maguire Bridge projects were best for Columbians in the long and short term.  Voters will either agree or disagree with his position, and can judge his potential effectiveness as Mayor accordingly. 

WADE HYPOCRITICAL:  On development/special interest issues      by Catherine Parke, Ph.D.
In a recent campaign mailing, Jerry Wade claims to distinguish himself from another candidate by offering a clear choice with regard to his record on (1) sound planning/development; and (2) being free of influence from special interests/high-stakes developers.
But Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting Minutes (2004) and of City Council Meeting Minutes (2008), during Wade’s tenure on both bodies, present different facts. 

As a member of Planning and Zoning Commission, Wade voted (on 11/04/04) AGAINST the motion to deny rezoning of property at West Broadway and Fairview.   This property subsequently became the West Broadway Walmart Supercenter.

As 4th Ward City Council representative, Wade voted (on 08/18/08) FOR the Crosscreek Development.
These votes show Jerry Wade not offering the choice Columbia needs -- and that he claims to offer -- with regard to sound planning and development and supporting the interests of all.
Particularly in difficult economic times, we must have a Mayor and other elected officials who are substantially informed, experienced -- and grounded in the courage of their convictions -- to work successfully on our behalf. 
Mayor candidate Sid Sullivan offers a record of well-informed, thoughtful, successful work, a base of knowledge and experience in both public and private sectors, and thorough-going honesty. 
Sullivan’s two successful careers in the public sector (social services and corrections in Springfield, IL, and Cook County, IL) and private sector (high-profile, competitive business career with Roche Diagnostic Systems) demonstrate the capabilities he will bring to his work with and for our city.   
Sullivan offers voters the genuine choice for Mayor.
West Broadway Rezoning for Walmart Supercenter
Planning and Zoning Commission
11/04/04 Meeting, pp. 5-44. 
Crosscreek Center Development Plan
Columbia City Council  Meeting Minutes (8/18/08, pp. 15-37, B228-08)http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/Council/Minutes/2008_minutes.php
WADE V. REALTORS:  Board prez Carol Van Gorp cries foul
On receipt of the same mailer from the Wade for Mayor campaign Dr. Parke received, Columbia Board of Realtors president Carol Van Gorp (left) responded.
Dear Jerry:
First of all, let me say how much we appreciate you taking the time to speak to our members for Net week.  The interview can be seen on www.columbiarealtors.tv.   We privately discussed some of the negative turns that other campaigns have had, and I assured you that our organization was very neutral in the mayoral campaign and had not participated in any disparaging efforts.
However, I was very dismayed when I received a copy your recent campaign literature, which said this: 
Your Choice for Columbia’s Mayor Could Not be More Clear
A candidate recruited by Fred Parry, Don Stamper and the Central MO Development Corporation…or Jerry Wade
A city of urban sprawl, strip malls, fast food chains, and run-off….or Jerry Wade
A city run by and for special-interest Realtors and high-stakes developers…or Jerry Wade.
Come on, Jerry -- you’re killing me! 
First of all, that is a very low-blow and insult to Jason Thornhill who is the only REALTOR® (yes, it should all be in caps with a registration symbol) I know who has any part in running the city. 
And there is Doug Wheeler on Planning and Zoning.  Did you mean him? 
Why would you insult them?  
And who are "Special-interest realtors"?   What is their special-interest?   Did you mean all of our members who volunteer their time at various civic and philanthropic organizations so that our city can grow and prosper?  Or did you mean my members who work really hard to help families find a beautiful, safe home and neighborhood?
Just who did you mean, Jerry?
Carol S. Van Gorp, RCE, CAE, CIPS, e-Pro
Chief Executive Officer
Columbia Board of REALTORS
2309 I-70 Drive, N.W.
Columbia, MO 65202

1 comment:

  1. Anyone who insists that the word "realtor" be spelled in all caps with a registered trademark symbol is someone not to be taken seriously.