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Columbia Missourian FRIDAY & SATURDAY, March 26-27, 2010 — Page 5A


Should a moratorium be put on city travel expenses?
Third Ward candidate Gary Kespohl released a campaign ad this
week that publicly criticizes incumbent Karl Skala about the travel
expenses he accrued during his first three-year term.
The ad says, “Skala has been on a three-year, taxpayer-funded
spending junket — traveling and eating like a king.” The Johnny Cash
song “I’ve Been Everywhere” plays in the ad, too.
Skala defended his spending, saying the expenses were legitimate. A
portion of his travel was to attend conferences of the National League
of Cities which has met in New Orleans; Orlando, Fla.; San Antonio;
and other locations over the past three years.
Council travel budgets from city records show that Skala spent more
than other council members on travel during each of his first three
years on the council. Each ward representative is allotted $4,500,
while the mayor is given $10,000 for travel expenses.
There are guidelines for these expenses but no specific rules. The
Finance Department determines if expenses that exceed the suggest-
ed amount are justified.
Kespohl said he feels city officials should be more specific when
spending taxpayer money.
Should a moratorium be put on city expenses? What do you think of
Kespohl’s ad targeting Skala’s travel?
— Kourtney Geers
Tell us what you think
E-mail your comments to
Or mail them to: Idea of the Day, P.O. Box 917, Columbia, MO 65205

State could lose money

with back-only licenses
L Republican
et’s face it, we all get a bit
nervous when we see the red
and blue lights of a police car
keeping the idea alive as an amend-
ment to SB781.
SB781 is a comprehensive bill
shines in state Capitol
when we are driving. “What did I concerning the regulation of motor
do wrong?” is usually followed by vehicles. You most likely know this
“this time” for those of us who tend as the bill that would outlaw texting
to have a heavy right foot. while driving for everyone, not just
Even when the lights are burning drivers 21 years old and younger.
into your rear view mirror from The amendment, effective Aug.

one mile back, the nerves still raise 28 if passed, says that only one
a few hairs on the back of your license plate will be issued for a e know that God must our elected rulers is so strong that,
neck, and as you pull over to the private vehicle unless you want to love idiots because he as the Missourian reported Tuesday,
made so many of them. the Senate Insurance Committee
right lane, you
hope and pray
pay an additional $15 for the front
plate. If you order a vanity or “spe- What’s less clear is why George approved a bill prohibiting the pur-
that the state
trooper does not
cial” plate, two will be issued auto-
matically. Will they also charge the
they seem to congregate in our state
Kennedy chase of insurance that covers abor-
tion. We already have more restric-
join you. extra $15 automatically? If you’ve doubted that we’re being tions than all but three other states.
So having a First, the problem is the loss of governed largely by the less gifted, Not tough enough, say the senators.
box on a lamp funds from traffic tickets by the I call your attention to events of the Kinder is out of touch Meanwhile, offered a chance to do
post at a busy various municipalities and the past few days. Most, but not all, of some actual good, Republican lead-
intersection state that use red-light and speed the idiocy was touched off by the with reality but in step with ers have blocked, again, Rep. Mary
David that takes your
picture if it
cameras for enforcement. Without
a front plate, how can you properly
passage Sunday night in Washing-
ton of a law that will extend health his fellow Republicans. Still’s attempt to limit the predatory
practices of the payday lenders.
Rosman perceives you
have violated the
identify the violating vehicle? The
Missouri State Highway Patrol says
insurance coverage to 30 million of
our fellow citizens, limit the abuses those expansive Medicare Advan-
We have looser rules and more of
those predators than our neighbor-
rules concern- you cannot. of insurance companies and trim tage policies and move toward ing states. It seems certain to stay
ing red lights is unnerving. Is that The Highway Patrol says the loss the federal deficit by billions of dol- closing the “doughnut hole” in our that way. Perhaps coincidentally, the
legal? Can a private company oper- of the front plate “could reduce an lars over the next decade. It’s not prescription drug coverage. Columbia Daily Tribune reported
ate these cameras, evaluate the officer’s ability to detect a violation perfect, but our country is a giant You can be pretty sure he has that payday lenders have contrib-
pictures and then send those that by 50 percent, would have a nega- step closer to catching up with the blocked from his memory the real- uted $383,050 to legislators in the
appear to have drivers violating a tive impact on personal property rest of the developed world. ity that the individual mandate he’s past three years.
state law to the controlling police, tax collection, mandatory insur- Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who opposing is actually a Republican To close on a positive note, there
sheriff or state patrol office for ance compliance, as well as the col- fortunately has no real power, and insurance industry idea that may yet be grounds for hoping that
further action? lection of license fees.” immediately announced that he is used to be supported by the likes our leaders at least sense their limi-
The same reaction comes when How will municipalities, which joining the lawsuit filed by 14 state of John McCain and Mitt Romney tations.
you know that you just passed an have already spent hundreds of attorneys general — all but one before they were lobotomized by the I discovered on a conservative
innocuous van parked on the side thousands of dollars on camera Republican — challenging the fed- tea partiers. Web site the news, unreported by
of the road that might have a speed equipment, recover lost expendi- eral government’s power to require The lieutenant governor may be the mainstream media as far as
camera inside attached to a speed tures and revenue? everyone to have health insurance. out of touch with reality, but he’s I can see, that the legislature has
gun. Will municipalities have to spend Mr. Kinder, already running for in step with his fellow Republican decreed a period of prayer for wis-
Both of these situations might additional money to readopt the governor, said he’s doing this in fantasists in the legislature. Down dom to begin at noon Monday in
lead to the increasing paranoia of current camera systems to catch his role as designated advocate for the marble corridor from his office, the Capitol Rotunda. The Illinois
opening your mailbox to find a traf- the front (the driver’s picture) and senior citizens. the House has already endorsed a Review reports that Christians are
fic ticket. Where’s a cop when you back (the license plate) of the vio- You have to wonder if he real- state constitutional amendment that being asked to pray and fast for 40
need one? lating vehicle? izes that we senior citizens are purports to exempt Missouri from days, until the legislative deadline
For any of these cameras to work Will the bill really save the generally highly satisfied with our the federal law. The Senate is eager for passing the state budget.
properly, an automobile needs to state that much money? The fis- Medicare (which is, contrary to the to join in. Wisdom for this bunch may be
have a front license plate. At least cal impact note to the bill says the looney tunes shouters and unlike It’s as though they never heard of a stretch, even for the Almighty. I
for the time being. state will lose $1.44 million imme- the new law, real government insur- that dust-up called the Civil War, or suppose it can’t hurt to ask, though.
Now here’s the rub. Along with diately. That’s the cost of license ance). You have to wonder if he maybe they’ve forgotten who won.
We haven’t heard much about nulli- George Kennedy is a former managing
various lawsuits ranging from plates and tags already in stock. understands that the new law will editor at the Missourian and professor
which court should handle these In fact, the fiscal note says that strengthen the financial health of fication since then — until now. emeritus at the Missouri School of
remotely issued tickets to the con- there is “no way to estimate the Medicare, relieve us of subsidizing The anti-health care mood among Journalism.
stitutionality of not being able to full impact of this legislation, it
confront your accuser, the Missouri assumes an unknown impact.”
General Assembly is now looking SB781 will cost Missouri money,
at the elimination of front license not save it.
plates. The second problem? Who in
A quick search on the House their right mind would be willing to Guidelines for election letters
and Senate Joint Bill Tracking spend an extra $15 so the munici-
site shows that five of 12 proposed pality can mail you a ticket based The Missourian will publish letters and guest columns about phone number, but we will publish a general description of
bills concerning license plates on a picture? the April 6 elections for City Council, the Columbia School where each writer resides.
involve removal of a vehicle’s front To paraphrase an old saying, Board and city ballot measures at no charge.
plate. Republicans and Democrats “Stupidity is nine-tenths of the Letters generally run around 400-500 words. Longer pieces
law.” Letters must be received by April 1. The last day for let-
alike think that stamping only one will be considered for guest columns.
license plate instead of two will David Rosman is a award winning editor, ters to appear in print is April 4. The last day for letters to
save the state money. All of these writer, professional speaker and college appear at is April 5. Questions? Contact us at 882-5743.
instructor in communications, ethics,
efforts died either a quick death or business and politics. You can read more All letters will run online at Every
have not seen action in more than of David’s commentaries at InkandVoice. MAIL: Letter to Editor, P.O. Box 917, Columbia, MO 65205
effort will be made to publish them in the print Missourian
a month. Yet Sen. Matt Bartle is com and The New York Journal of Books.
by April 4. E-MAIL:
Anonymous letters will not be accepted. Please include a FAX: 882-5702
daytime telephone number and address with your letter for
verification purposes. We will not publish your address or DROP OFF: 221 S. Eighth St., 2nd floor newsroom
General Manager Executive Editor Managing Editor Opinion Editor
Daniel S. Potter Tom Warhover Jeanne Abbott Jake Sherlock DOONESBURY by GaRry Trudeau
potterds@ warhovert@ abbottjm@ sherlockj@

“I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected
with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for
the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is
a betrayal of this trust. I believe that clear thinking and clear statement,
accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.”
Walter Williams, founding dean,
missouri school of journalism
WRITE: Letter to Editor, P.O. Box 917, Columbia, MO 65205
FAX: 573-882-5702 CALL: 573-882-5744 OR CALL: 573-882-9951