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BEAT BYTE: Is Columbia's youth justice system working?

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  • Mike Martin
    THE COLUMBIA HEART BEAT -- 6/3/13 Our 8th year as Columbia s All-digital, Alternative news source http://www.columbiaheartbeat.com 1) DANGEROUS CONFUSION:
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2013
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      Our 8th year as Columbia's All-digital, Alternative news source
      1)  DANGEROUS CONFUSION:   City administrators misunderstood scope of Providence Rd. hearing
      2)  BLEAK HOUSE:   Is our justice system working for young people?
      3)  PAPERS, PLEASE!   New city law authorizes warrantless search of renter information
      4)  UNFRIENDLY FIRE:    A CoMo area Army Vet remembers a mass murder in Iraq, Parts 5 and 6
      5)  HEAR YE!  HEAR YE!    Muleskinners this month

      "The one great principle of the English law is, to make business for itself
      There is no other principle distinctly, certainly, and consistently maintained through all its narrow turnings.
      -- Charles Dickens, Bleak House  

      Best viewed in HTML format. All links in bold.   Sometimes listserv software will inaccurately rewrite web links.   If story links do not work, either cut and paste them directly or read the stories on our home page at http://www.columbiaheartbeat.com

      DANGEROUS CONFUSION:   City administrators misunderstood scope of Providence Rd. hearing  
      Push to approve demolition of eight historic homes gets muddled
      COLUMBIA, Mo 6/3/13 (Beat Byte) -- City administrators either misunderstood the scope of a November 19, 2012 public hearing on a plan to widen Providence Road, or misled the public about their intentions, emails obtained by the Columbia Heart Beat have revealed.

      The City Council meets tonight to reconsider the same plan, now known as Option IX.   The plan would invoke eminent domain, so clarity about its scope is critical. 

      The emails indicate public works director John Glascock thought he would get permission for a 2-phase, nearly $7 million project to demolish 8 historic homes and build over a small vacant lot on Providence abutting the Grasslands neighborhood.  
      The Nov. 19 public hearing, however, covered Phase 1 only, which required demolition of two historic houses -- 903 and 905 S. Providence -- at a cost of roughly $3.2 million.   Council approved that plan but rescinded it in April.


      BLEAK HOUSE:   Is our justice system working for young people? 
      From felony pranks to frustrated victims, a legal bureaucracy and the injustice of inconsistency

      COLUMBIA, Mo 5/29/13 (Op Ed) -- A 17-year-old Hickman High School student is arrested on suspicion of a felony over a sophomoric prank -- changing the name of a classmate in the yearbook from "Mastain" to "Masturbate."
      The same month -- this May -- two victims of a mass vandalism -- Columbia residents Steve and Kathy Keithley Johnston -- took to Facebook to catch the perps, allegedly teens who staged a party that destroyed the Johnston's house.

      The lesson -- regardless its legal underpinnings -- seems to be that some young people get felony charges and mug shots in the newspaper for stupid pranks;  others guilty of graver offenses leave their victims frustrated enough to take justice into their own hands.   If the two stories seem inconsistent, it may be because the guiding hand of a bureaucracy is behind them.   

      PAPERS, PLEASE! New city law authorizes warrantless search of renter information
      Tenants in Columbia are no longer secure in their "papers and effects"

      COLUMBIA, 5/23/13 (Beat Byte) -- A Columbia city ordinance that took effect in February violates the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights, critics say.

      The so-called "Occupancy Disclosure Ordinance" of 2013 makes it "unlawful for any owner, operator, agent or property manager of a rental unit to fail to immediately exhibit, upon request by a police officer or city inspector investigating any code violation, all lease, rental payment, tenant information and the zoning occupancy disclosure form pertaining to the unit."

      The clause clashes head on with the Constitution's Fourth Amendment guaranteeing "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures."  

      UNFRIENDLY FIRE:   A CoMo area Army Vet remembers a mass murder in Iraq, Parts 5 and 6
      Lt. Colonel Mike Jones left Columbia, Missouri for several tours of duty in Iraq as a combat psychiatrist.   This is the story of his last tour, which did not end until last week, 4 years after it began. 

      Part 5 of 6 parts

      Monday morning began much as Sunday for Jones, who walked from the cans to his office around 6:30.  

      Camp Stryker Chaplain Peter Keough telephoned, records say around 7:50 a.m.  “Dr. Jones, I have Sergeant Russell in with me,” Jones quoted the Army captain.  “He’s distraught.  He’s talking about harming himself.  We’ve disarmed him and consoled him, but I think you need to see him.”

      PART 6 (Final)

      Messages suggesting Jones was about to find himself on trial in the court of public opinion started darkening his digital doorstep in late May.    A reporter for Bloomberg, Elliot Blair Smith , took an almost passive-aggressive approach to get Jones to talk.  

      Though he sounded sympathetic, Smith’s questions were anything but.    He led with comments about a 2008 stateside DWI (driving while intoxicated) arrest, mentioned something about Jones “lying to the police,” and then expressed concern about how difficult everything must have been.

      “He sounded like he had a pre-determined angle he was pushing,” says Jones, who refrained from commenting.  

      Smith’s August 1 Bloomberg/Business Week story bears out Jones’ concerns.   With little personal context and even less indication how it affected his military duties, Smith drops in a few ad hominem paragraphs about that DWI.   His story calls it a second offense, but court records to which the story links show a complaint amended to reflect a first offense only.

      While bemoaning the combat stress that befell Sgt. Russell after three tours of duty, the story never mentions Jones’ five tours, or anything about the dozens of soldiers he helped on the front lines.



      HEAR YE!  HEAR YE!    Muleskinners this month

      Muleskinners' Presents

      Representative Stephen Webber
      District 46
      "2013 Regular Legislature Session - Review and Wrap Up: Whats Next?"

      Everyone is welcome!

      You can arrive around Noon
      Program starts after 12:15 this Fri, June 7

      Columbia Country Club
      Old Rte. 63 North at 2210 North Country Club Drive

      Coming up in June

      6/14/13  "New Opportunities for Mental Health Services for Children: Moving Forward.” Karen Miller, District 1 Boone County Commissioner .

      6/21/13  "Beyond The Drug War Approach to Addiction/Effective Treatment" Jeremy Duke MA LPC.

      6/28/13  "Positive Youth Development: A community approach to providing the tools young people need to lead successful lives ” Becky Markt, Director of Resident Services/Director of the Youth Community Coalition, Columbia Housing Authority.

      There is an optional buffet lunch available for $11. Students will receive a discount. If you have questions, please contact Scott Cristal at (573) 999-3871.


      Stories by Mike Martin unless otherwise noted. 

      The Columbia Heart Beat

      CIRCULATION:  Roughly 14,000
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