In the news

Campaign Rally, Policy Platform, and Facebook Page

December 9, 2018

Dear Constituent:

Please join me on Tuesday, January 29th at Shakespeare's West, to help me kick-off my 2019 City Council Re-election Campaign.

Whether you live in the Fourth Ward or elsewhere in the City or County, whether you consider yourself a liberal or a conservative, and whether you agree with my positions on City issues or not, your input to my campaign and your participation in this event are very welcome. Drop by the West location (3304 W. Broadway Business Park Ct.) between 5:30 - 7:00 pm to enjoy Columbia's best pizza, share your suggestions for improving our community, and hear about my evolving Policy Platform.

2019-2022 Policy Platform

Thank you for all of your feedback on my 2019-2022 Policy Platform, which I released about a month ago. Based on discussions with many of you, I have expanded this document in a number of ways.

In the area of Planning for Growth, I have stated my support for a financial audit of the cost of growth. Over the last 20 years, Columbia’s population has increased by 50% (80,000 to 120,000), while the City’s annual revenue, expenses, and “Pooled Cash Account” balance have all tripled - most likley, the result of large taxpayer subsidies for public infrastructure expansion. I believe it’s time to shift these costs to the new development that is driving them, and an appropriately defined financial audit will help shine a light on this issue.

I have also included my support for implementing a "Use Tax" on online purchases. While not a direct consequence of growth, the decline in sales tax revenue due to the shift towards online shopping has compounded the City's financial difficulties brought about the failure to adequately charge for the cost of infrastructure expansion. However, the good news is that, following a recent Supreme Court ruling, the State of Missouri can now authorize cities to collect "Use Tax" (equivalent to sales tax) on online purchases. I support efforts to convince the State Legislature to make that authorization and then ask then voters to approve a Use Tax.

Finally, in championing Equity in all Policies, I have emphasized the importance of Columbia's "Climate Action and Adaptation Plan." Climate change is an equity issue because its catastrophic impacts will disproportionately harm poor people and future generations - last year, I helped establish the Mayor’s Task Force on Climate Action and Adaptation Planning and adopt ambitious but achievable goals for reducing and eventually eliminating Columbia's greenhouse gas emissions – 35% by 2035, 80% by 2050, and 100% by 2060. I am a strong supporter of Columbia’s continuing role as a national leader in this effort – it will require increased energy efficiency, mode shift towards public transportation, and an end to sprawl development.

Please continue to review this Policy Platform and share your thoughts with me.

Campaign Communications and Donations

With many thanks to my campaign team, we now have an active FaceBook page - please "like" it! As the campaign progresses, I will be sharing my day-to-day observations through this platform, and looking forward to your responses!

I also want to express my appreciation to several Fourth Ward residents who have publicly endorsed me for re-election to the City Council. Thanks very much to Richard King, Kay Frymire, Axie Hindman and former Mayor Darwin Hindman (who are the parents of my wife, Ellen), and Kim Kraus.

If you support my goals for Columbia and if you believe I have been a good representative for the Fourth Ward, please consider making a finanical contribution to my campaign. This is likely to be a contested election, and I will need to communicate my positions on City issues through events, brochures, and TV ads, all of which cost money. You can make a secure online donation here or mail a check to:

Ian Thomas for Fourth Ward
P.O. Box 1986
Columbia, MO 65205

Finally, please let me know if you would be willing to host a yard sign, volunteer for my campaign, or assist with our "Get Out The Vote" effort in March.

A Note about Mike Matthes

As you have probably heard, the City Council met on November 19th in closed session and made the unanimous decision to ask Mike Matthes for his resignation, which he provided the following day. The remarks I made at that meeting were reported today in a Columbia Missourian article.

Ten days before that meeting, I reached my own personal decision that Columbia's best interests would be served by recruiting and appointing a new City Manager. I was very disappointed with Mr. Matthes' response to Resolution R 23-18, which was passed unanimously by the City Council and directed him to “Design a citywide community-oriented policing program for Columbia.” As I said in my remarks at the October 1st Council meeting, the "plan" he presented failed to present a new vision for the Columbia Police Department, failed to demonstrate an understanding of community-oriented policing philosophy, and failed to recognize the excellent work of Lt. Geoff Jones, Sgt. Mike Hestir, and the entire Community Outreach Unit (COU). After several readings of this document, I became convinced that we would not make any further progress towards community-oriented policing under existing leadership.

Nevertheless, I want to emphasize that I appreciate a lot of the work Mike Matthes has done over the last seven years. The poverty simulation he facilitated in 2015, which led to the “social equity” focus in our strategic plan showed vision and courage, and has had a positive impact on City government operations and in the city at large. He embraced the Vision Zero Policy passed unanimously by the Council in 2016, and oversaw the creation of a strong Implementation Plan with funding attached. And he has supported the establishment and operations of the Columbia Community Land Trust, which is expanding affordable housing opportunities for low-income residents.

Mike moved Columbia substantially forward on these issues. I thank him for his efforts and wish him the very best in his next appointment.

Constituent Conversations

My next Constituent Conversations will be held on Sunday December 16th, 2-4pm at Dunn Bros. Coffee, when I will devote the first hour to discussions of the Westbury Village development proposal for the intersection of Smith Drive and Scott Boulevard.

Upcoming dates are always available at my web site.

Cheers, Ian