Friday, April 8, 2011

EXPLOSIVE COUNCILMAN EMAIL: "Lions of Liberty," among April election intrigues

An unusual attack from a sitting Council member alarms candidate's supporters
COLUMBIA, 4/8/11  (Beat Byte) --  A last-minute email bombshell (click images for larger versions) from First Ward Columbia City Councilman Paul Sturtz that accused his predecessor, Almeta Crayton, of accepting influence from land developers to endorse City Council candidate Mitch Richards was one of several intrigues Tuesday's elections generated.
Fred Schmidt defeated Richards to replace Sturtz on the Council. 
"I have sources that say Donnie [Stamper] and his friends are helping behind-the-scenes, and I very much believe it," said an April 4 email from Sturtz about Richards' campaign and Central Missouri Development Council director Don Stamper, a longtime Sturtz antagonist.   "They know that being above-ground would be poison for Mitch in the First Ward," Sturtz asserted. 
In an April 2 email, Sturtz again referenced developer support. "They've paid for Richards' yard signs, advertised his fundraiser, delivered supporters, and raised stakes in his campaign."
Then, the bombshell:  "They likewise persuaded Almeta Crayton to endorse Mitch," Sturtz wrote.   

"It is defamation of me, Mitch and Almeta," Richards supporter Mark Flakne told the Heart Beat. 
Favorable in the Fifth
Though a similar controversy erupted in Columbia's Fifth Ward that Missourian columnist George Kennedy opined upon today, attorney Glen Ehrhardt didn't lose Tuesday's election because Firefighters campaigned for him, or his Chamber of Commerce endorsement, or because a "backlash against developers" pushed voters in a new direction (former Councilwoman Laura Nauser was generally regarded as "developer friendly" but with thoughtful reservation.)
The story of this year's Fifth Ward City Council race is that Helen Anthony won because she was a better candidate, with enough presence and panache to become Mayor some day.  
The Lions of Liberty
First Ward candidate Mitch Richards and the Lions of Liberty -- despite the establishment brush off -- are here to stay, and deserve recognition for a fine effort, not only in the First Ward election, but all over town.  
Seems like old uns always bitchin' young uns aren't involved enough -- too much apathy among today's youth, they say.  But not this group.  
They are providing a much-needed counterpoint to an Orwellian, camera-loving City Hall push that seems designed more to raise revenues than protect public safety (see Heart Beat story on the pending parking price-out).  
Other stories from Tuesday's election include voters finally giving Columbia City Council members credit for their hard work.  If any backlash was afoot, a growing discomfort with unelected senior staff decisions at City Hall may have played a role in the resounding victory Council pay received at the polls. 
Polling Predictions
Finally, the Columbia Heart Beat's online poll narrowly beat the Columbia Tribune's online poll by one election this year.   With 473 votes cast, Heart Beat readers rightly predicted a solid Helen Anthony victory in the Fifth Ward, 56% to 43%, not far from the actual 53-47% split. 
The Tribune poll wrongly predicted a Glen Ehrhardt victory, 61% to 39%. 
Unscientific and informal, both polls showed solid victories for the eventual school board winners, Helen Wade, Jonathan Sessions, and Tom Rose.  Both polls were wrong in the First Ward, with Mitch Richards beating Fred Schmidt by a few percentage points.
Columbia Heart Beat Polls
Vote Columbia City Council, Ward 1
Mitch Richards -- 200 (47%)
Fred Schmidt --  187 (44%)
Pam Forbes -- 23 (5%)
Darrell Foster -- 10 (2%)
Total votes: 420
Vote Columbia City Council, Ward 5
Helen Anthony -- 266 (56%)
Glen Ehrhardt -- 207 (43%)Total Votes: 473
Columbia School Board, vote for 3 (three)
Helen Wade -- 169 (59%)
Tom Rose -- 155 (54%)
Jonathan Sessions -- 188 (65%)
Liz Peterson -- 48 (16%)
Sara R. Dickson -- 48 (16%)
Dave Raithel -- 40 (14%)
Columbia Daily Tribune Polls
Who will get your vote in the first ward race?
Pam Forbes 7% 32 votes
Darrell Foster 3% 15 votes
Mitch Richards 47% 194 votes
Fred Schmidt 41% 168 votes
409 total votes

Who will get your vote in the fifth ward race?
Glen Ehrhardt 60% 346 votes
Helen Anthony 39% 228 votes
574 total votes
Which three candidates will get your votes for Columbia School Board?
Sara Dickson 5% 51 votes
Liz Peterson 7% 67 votes
Dave Raithel 7% 68 votes
Tom Rose 25% 221 votes
Jonathan Sessions 27% 233 votes
Helen Wade 24% 212 votes

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