New ads reflect voter angst over Third Ward problems, old and new
COLUMBIA, 3/22/13 (Beat Byte) -- Voters looking for a clear choice between 3rd Ward Columbia City Council candidates Karl Skala and incumbent Gary Kespohl need look no farther than the two leading issues of the last two years, new political ads explain.

On Blight/EEZ and Ward gerrymandering, Skala would have voted NO and Kespohl did vote YES: Yes to create an Enhanced Enterprise Zone that blighted over 60% of Columbia; and Yes to approve Trial D Amended, a voter redistricting plan that gerrymandered neighborhoods out of the Third and Fourth Wards.
Had the plan succeeded, residents who voted against Kespohl and fellow Chamber of Commerce endorsee Daryl Dudley would have found themselves moved into the First Ward. "Karl opposes redistricting Benton-Stephens out of the Third Ward; declaring Benton-Stephens 'blighted'; and the use of Eminent Domain," a new ad explains.

Neighborhoods around Ballenger and Clark Lanes have also borne the brunt of Kespohl's bad record, Skala maintains. In another new ad, potholes, bad sidewalks, and crumbling streets dominate photos of rain-soaked throughways crumbling in Third Ward mud.
It's a problem familiar to both men.
Skala served on the City Council one term prior to Kespohl, and recently told Third Ward resident Linda Little that in 2008, he got Clark Lane road and sidewalks on the city's capital improvement plans. Kespohl told Little that he's been trying to make good on Skala's original promise -- that Clark and Ballenger Lanes would be improved.

"I have been trying to get this project moved up on the list but have not been able to," Kespohl emailed Little in January. "I am aware of the public safety issue with this project and will continue to work to get it completed as soon as possible."
"I appreciate any of Gary Kespohl’s efforts on behalf of the Third Ward, and especially for Clark Lane and its longstanding public safety hazards," Skala responded. "Unfortunately, his record to date has been rather disappointing."
Little, meanwhile, said she almost had an auto accident over road safety problems in the area. Pedestrian safety is even worse.
"This section of Ballenger Lane has NO place for anyone to walk along the road," she emailed Skala and Kespohl in January. "The Oakview Drive Neighborhood Association would love to be able to walk safely to the Timber Subdivision to walk their dogs and exercise. We would very much appreciate being able to safely travel north on bicycles to access Mexico Gravel Road to enjoy getting about Columbia’s north side."
"Since the City doesn’t seem to want to claim Ballenger, what entity will?" Little asked. "Does the City realize that most of Ballenger is within City limits?"