- Written by Heart Beat Staff
"The First Ward and CoMo need John Clark"
COLUMBIA, Mo 02/21/15 (Beat Byte) -- The John Clark campaign for First Ward Columbia City Council received another boost this week from an important source.
City Hall fairness advocate Bill Weitkemper -- one of Columbia's most trusted voices on municipal policy -- has endorsed Clark. Clark and Sal Nuccio also won the first of several candidate debates.
"The residents of the First Ward need John Clark," Weitkemper explained in a letter of support that characterized Clark as the candidate "best for the City of Columbia."
"The residents of Columbia need John Clark. The City Council needs John Clark," Weitkemper wrote.
A public works superintendent who retired after nearly 40 years with the City of Columbia, Weitkemper won the inaugural Edward Robb Public Servant of the Year Award for going public with longstanding utility bill inequities at City Hall.
Through complicated deals with large users, including Mizzou, city-owned utilities shift millions of dollars in costs to homeowners, renters, and individuals. Unfair billing practices are one reason, Weitkemper has discovered, utility rates rise every year, squeezing average budgets more than ever.
In Clark, Weitkemper sees "more experience, more knowledge, more ability, and more commitment than any other First Ward candidate. John will hold himself to a high standard of accountability and will encourage city staff, the City Council, and various stakeholder groups to hold themselves to such high standards."
Well known for his neighborhood association leadership and appearances before the Council on policy issues, "Clark will be prepared and put in the time needed" to represent his constituents, Weitkemper adds. "He has lived in the First Ward for over 40 years, and for the past 25 years, has worked tirelessly to improve Columbia and the First Ward."
First Ward residents known for their policy knowledge agree. Patricia Kelley, Jeff Barrow, Verna LaBoy, Ken and Linda Green, Dee Dokken, Greg and Julie Baka signed Clark's filing petition. Gene Robertson -- the Missourian columnist and one of Columbia's most trusted social justice voices -- also signed on with Clark.
Weitkemper concluded his endorsement with a pitch for donations, upon which candidates can sink or swim.
"In these local races, early contributions are often the most important," says Weitkemper, who ran for 4th Ward City Council in 2013 Send donations to:
Clark for First Ward
Patricia A. Kelly, Treasurer
403 N 9th Street
Columbia, MO 65201