Columbia City Council hears from Race Matters organization at meeting

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COLUMBIA - A local racial equality group challenged the Columbia City Council Monday night to improve race relations in the city.

Traci Wilson-Kleekamp spoke on the behalf of a local organization, Race Matters. She said the group has contiuously reserved public comment slots during council meetings in an effort to get the organization's voices heard.

Race Matters' mission is to get the community engaged in resolving local racial desparites. Wilson-Kleekamp said her goal on Monday was to open discussion about race within the council.

"We want a cultural shift in our city government, and a cultural shift in our city and on campus," Wilson-Kleekamp said.

She took the podium during the meeting and spent her five minutes explaining her formula for overcoming racial disparities.

Councilwoman Laura Nauser said the mayor's task force against community crime is listening.

"And we are listening to them, but you know speaking of what we’ve been doing on the Mayor’s Task force for community violence," Nauser said. "We are moving ahead with an update. So, we’ll have an opportunity for the community to come and see just where we are on that timeline."

Wilkons-Kleekamp said the organization plans to continue this push at the Columbia Human Rights Meeting Tuesday.

There were also a slew of changes at Monday's meeting.

Members voted to change the speed limits on portions of two popular roads. The limit on Providence will go up, from 35mph to 45mph.

Meanwhile, the limit on Route K will go down, from 55 mph down to 45 mph.

These changes will go into effect starting when the new signs are installed.

Before changing speed limits, the council made changes to job positions in the city.

John Glascock officially took office as the new Deputy City Manager of the city of Columbia. He's the city's second and will join Deputy City Manager Tony St. Romaine. The new budget created this new position along with Tad Johnsen's new position as the Director of Utilities, and Dave Nichols' new position as the Director of Public Works.

All three were sworn in during Monday night's meeting.