Reader suggests CoMo police chief should be an elected position

At the Columbia City Council meeting on Tues., Sept. 3, Council members voted to sign the natural gas (NG) fueling station contract with Boone Pickens' company, "Clean Energy". The contract is flawed because:

1) It protects Clean Energy by foisting the risk onto the City of Columbia, charging the city, for months and years, for a quota of natural gas, used or not. (See, City Council agenda, New Business item #1, supporting documentation, Exhibit III, Minimum Commitment.)

2) There is no provision to exclude sales of natural gas extracted by fracking, which makes this fossil fuel as dirty as or worse than coal. (Search articles and videos by leading rock fracking expert, Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, Civil Engineer, Cornell University.)

The public needs time to become aware of these issues. -- Linda Green, Columbia
Once upon a time, Ken Midkiff was honest enough to offer a wish list of rules, regulations and laws he would enact if he was in charge -- his vision of Utopia. It was published in the Tribune. Perhaps it was 10 years ago? Why don't you find those lists, run them again and see how many people agree with him? I doubt it is 1 percent -- even in Columbia. -- Howard Audsley, Columbia
[Ed. Note: The only article of this sort we were able to find has Midkiff arguing against utopia:
Ken writes: "This is not advocating a return to some non-existent utopia of the past, or a romantic quest for a Thoreau-vian paradise."]
About our Top Ten Reasons Crime is such a big problem in CoMo
Excellent. Extremely well done.
-- Sue Jessee, Columbia
Good breakdown. The top-down issue is really important, as the Police Chief is completely insulated in the strong City Manager style of government.

Here's an idea: Put a city ballot initiative that makes the police chief an elected position, similar to the county Sheriff. Then candidates for the job would have to visit all the neighborhoods, interest groups, etc. to get or keep the job. That's how the Sheriff can keep all of his deputies in line and not put up with the bullshit the CPD officers engage in. Seems a little drastic, but just the circulating of a petition might be the wakeup call city leaders and police chief Ken Burton need. -- Name Withheld by Request
I hope you are planning on writing something about the city's new service fee for on-line payments. Basically, in order to pay my $30 utility bill via eCheck, the city wants to charge me $4.60 (used to be free). If you look at the contract between the city and TWI, TWI does charge the city $4.60 for credit card payments, but only $1.50 for an eCheck payment.
I usually pay several city bills each month. When I go on-line to pay my bill, I can make one payment for several bills. But that is considered multiple payments now, so multiple $4.60 fees are assessed, even though it will most likely show up on my bank statement as one payment.
I think this has something to do with offsetting credit card fees by the really heavy users (like the university). Why not just charge a percentage of the total for those who pay via credit card? I guess so those dumb enough to to pay an extra $4.60 extra can subsidize big business.
This has got to be one of the dumbest things yet! Obviously, none of the City Council members pay bills on-line.
-- Laura Eggeman, Columbia

About John Meadows' letter to the community
You have put together a truly wonderful, touching, painful episode in this lead article in today’s Heartbeat. I cry as a father, as a guy, as an Ashlander, as a teacher, and as a person just stunned with how an entire life flies out of a room in an instant. Well done.
-- Kit Salter, Ashland
[Ed. Note: The Heart Beat titled, edited, and formatted the letter for online readership.]
Thank you for publishing this. I knew there was more too it. Keep up the great work.
Mike Poehlman, Columbia
In regards to not having a disabled person on the Mayor's crime task force: I was not aware that we have a bunch of disabled thugs creating problems in Columbia. -- Jeff Radel, Columbia
Is there a rule written somewhere that our community MUST piss away $20 Million plus per year? I first became aware of this apparent mandate with the Daniel Boone main library remodeling project. Expensive boondoggles like these -- and the BS surrounding them -- come up almost every year. -- W. T., Columbia
I suspect you are aware that another of Bob Lemone's best friends was former Columbia Mayor Bob Pugh. The Battle High School project has Pugh and Lemone fingerprints all over it. I have no idea how those two ended up so tight -- "birds of a feather" perhaps? -- Name withheld by request [Ed. Note: With Pugh's op-ed (above), we're aware of it now!]

About Bill Weitkemper's suggestion to stop subsidizing big business with residential utility bills (story above)
Please support long-time insider and expert on water and sewer, Mr. Bill Weitkemper. He is recommending policy needed to save money and water, adding sorely needed funds to our 'city's pocketbook' by charging 'fair rates' across the board that promote a safer water supply for future generations.
We want money for the budget. We purport we want fairness. We are tasked by the Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement to address all areas of climate change, keeping in mind extreme drought as experienced just last year. We say we want sustainability. We say we are conservative, we therefore understand the importance of conservation and, in this case, water.
All of which makes Mr. Weitkemper's recommendations a no-brainer in every aspect.
-- Monta Welch and People's Visioning, Columbia
Your op-ed was well said. I have not respected nor trusted Congress for some time; nor the corporations that own Congress members; nor the Supreme Court's big time screw-ups (i.e., the Citizens United decision to hand the government over to corporate money). Now, I'm having serious -- and I'm afraid justified -- doubts about the President and his minions.

The most valuable asset any government has is the trust of its citizens. If that is lost, it is very difficult to regain, and difficult to accomplish anything without. We seem very close to that. And while this is AFTER Dubya, he made very major contributions to this loss of trust as well.

This isn't the America I signed up for. -- Tom Wood, Columbia
Please be careful of your information, if not your opinions. Saddam Hussein had jillions of weapons of mass destruction -- and used them against the Kurd people for 10 years before we went to Iraq.
Before the UN could agree of sending inspectors to Iraq to look for weapons, they were moved. Like last time, the UN sent inspectors into Syria to find weapons of mass destruction (Sarin gas to be specific) and by the time they got there -- they were SHOT at.
Isolationism is a wonderful idea, but if we had followed that plan you wouldn't enjoy all of the freedoms that you now take for granted. Mussolini and Hitler and Hirohito would have seen to it in spades.
Before the last election, on Fox News network, Donald Trump said, in so many words that before the year is out, the President of the United States would start a war -- to take the minds of the citizens of this country off of the IRS, the Bengazi murders, the NSA using the Patriot Act to spy of citizens, etc.

So how can you be SO SURE of what you say ????????????????????
-- R. Lee Rogers, Missouri
Here is a new word I have created and put in my dictionary, one that is apropos to an ill-advised, premature, and illegal attack on Syria: NOBOMBA. -- Wendell Gideon, Columbia
Great Syria article. -- Sam Allison, Columbia

Outstanding op-ed on the Syrian boondoggle or whatever it is. Thanks, and thanks again! -- Judith L. Tharp, Farley, Mo
I cannot thank you enough! -- Connie Sullivan, Columbia

When are people going to finally have enough of City Hall? CoMo, when will you be tired of being sick and tired of City Hall and their in-the-back-pocket developer buddies sticking it to you, the tax paying citizens?

A petition signed by the citizens of CoMo should ask for an inquiry by The State Attorney General's Office. This would be a great project for Grass Roots Organizing, and ALL Neighborhood and Resident Associations. How many more times will you willingly allow yourselves to be burned?
-- Charles Dudley, Jr., California (the state)
I don't tell you often enough that you're publishing an unfailingly interesting, important online magazine. Thank you.
-- Steve Weinberg, Columbia [Ed. Note: Thanks a bunch, Steve!]

Is there any talk about the astronomical air fares that American Airlines is charging out of Columbia? To places I want to travel, ticket prices are always $200 to $300 more -- or double -- what Delta ever charged to fly out of Columbia. I haven't flown out of Columbia since Delta left. It's cheaper for me to drive, get a hotel and park in St. Louis than it is to fly out of here. I have a feeling I am not the only one in this town who stopped using Columbia Regional Airport. It is a real shame. -- Jen Rachow, Columbia
The Providence Rd. and Stadium Blvd. interchange should be grade-separated, with Providence running under Stadium. Should have been done many years ago. But that would be mega expensive and would affect MU football, so it will never happen. But that would forever fix the problem. Other proposed solutions are just bandages on a hemorrhage. -- Bob Brendel, Columbia
Is there some provision in city government to reverse a really bad idea? I refer to the planned roundabout at Rollins and Fairview. I've gone through that intersection hundreds of times both day and night and traffic is minimal. It just doesn't make sense. -- Roland Meinert, Columbia