Forum Focuses on Growth
Candidates gathered to talk about issues ranging from affordable housing to protected parks, but Columbia's growth and infrastructure reigned supreme. Candidates said growth is an issue of planning and maintenance.
"We simply have to go back to the drawing board. We have some problems with streets in the third ward, and we have some power lines that need to go underground," said Gary Kespol, city council candidate.
To sum the forum up in three words: growth management planning.
"We need a broader set of development policies," said Jerry Wade, city council candidate.
Candidates often agreed with each other during the forum, and say that the city council campaigns have been respectful.
The Columbia Board of Realtors and the Smart Growth Coalition sponsored the event. While the two groups have some opposing viewpoints, officials with the Board of Realtors say that makes for more honest answers from candidates since catering to one group would mean alienating the other.