Love kicks off campaign for city council, accuses Trapp of corruption

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COLUMBIA – Residents of the Second Ward heard from the newest candidate running for the council seat in Columbia Monday night.

Paul Love is challenging Ward 2 Councilman Michael Trapp in the April 3 election. Trapp won the first match-up between the two in 2015 by 83 votes.

Love, 47, said he is running for office this time because he is upset with how Trapp has used his office.

"I don't like 'Mike millions for millionaires' being my representative," Love said.

Trapp said the claims are false and wants the campaign to be about policy.

"I hope he engages around the issues instead of a series of unfounded personal attacks," Trapp said.

Love's accusations stem from a December 2017 council vote to approve $2 million in tax increment financing (TIF) for the Broadway Hotel. Love claims Trapp was influenced by the Downtown Community Improvement District because the group paid him $100 per hour to do outreach to the homeless.

"That's just not true. I've never received anything of value for any of my votes," Trapp said, "I've made my policy decisions based on what I think is in the long-term best interest of the city."

Love also hopes to distinguish himself from Trapp on policy issues surrounding public safety. He said he wants the city to hire more police officers and firefighters. He cited a 2017 survey from the Columbia Police Officers' Association (CPOA) that showed more than 80 percent of police officers viewed their work environment as "toxic." 

CPOA Executive Director Dale Roberts said things have improved since the Columbia Police Department reduced shift length from 12 hours to 10 hours.

The CPOA endorsed Love's candidacy.

Love also said he believes the government needs to run more efficiently and reduce the size of the city's government.

"What you're going to find is that [Trapp], throughout most of his tenure on the city council, has been more regulation and higher taxes," Love said.

"I believe that the government has a role in improving people's lives," Trapp said. He called Love "an extreme believer in limited government."

Love works as a technical engineer at Carfax. He has lived in Columbia since he enrolled at University of Missouri in 1988.

Love said he considers himself to be a political independent.