Antonio French has Alderman Lewis Reed's two new campaign ads on his site, PubDef.
The first is a positive piece pushing Reed's experience: investment, jobs, and his support from the majority of the city's aldermen in his quest to become the President of the Board. It's the strongest of the three ads Reed has released to date.
The second of Reed's two new ads hits once again on his assertion that current BOA President Jim Shrewsbury failed to support increased funding for the circuit attorney's office. Reed has returned to this issue again and again.
Shrewsbury has repeatedly said he fully supports the circuit attorney's office but that he has not always agreed with every budget request. He has tried to deflect the issue by noting that he has forgoes a city automobile which he directed to be used by the circuit attorney's office. He also likes to note he is the only city-wide elected official without a city-supplied vehicle.
In St. Louis, the reality and perception of crime have been major roadblocks, both to growth and politicians popularity.
Reed's has handled the emotion/perception angle deftly. His comment during an interview on St. Louis On The Air last week pointing to the role a vibrant bike community can have on people's perception of safety higlights this (he also plugged his role in founding Bike St. Louis).
Shrewsbury's detail-oriented response focusing on good governance and personal contribution is a detail-oriented, greater-good approach voters appreciate. Shrewsbury quickly grounds issues by focusing on their details and impact. It may not make for the smoothest pitch, but you can trust the mechanics ensure the ball hits its mark.
Combined, the issue provides a window into the two candidates approach to their work.
The endorsements from the Post-Dispatch (Reed) and South Side Journal (Shrewsbury) say a little more about each candidate.
Mike Chance says Dems vulnerable if only they can find a GOP candidate for the 64th.
Citizens to Elect Craig Schmid: $4,045.00 contribs, $1,282.75 loans from Schmid, $525 in-kind, $2,433.47 expenses, $1,746.55 repaid loans to Schmid, $2,605.41 on-hand, $0 debt.
Citizens for Gondolfi: $2,530.00 contribs, $0 loans, $0 in-kind, $3,053.79 expenses, $463.93 on-hand, $0 debt.
No filings yet for 20th Ward Democratic Organization or 20th Ward Residents for Progressive Change.
Committee to Elect Bill Waterhouse: $10,055.00 contribs in, $0 loans, $0 in-kind, $15,831.86 expenses, $100 contrib out, $6,238.56 on-hand, $0 debt.
Committee to Elect Tom Bauer: $7,465.00 contribs in, $0 loans, $636.90 in-kind, $6,254.85 expenses, $0 contribs out, $3,497.11 on-hand, $0 debt.
No filings yet from 24th Ward Regular Democratic Organization, 24th Ward Regular Democratic Club-2 (Bauer is deputy treasurer), or Friends of the 24th Ward.
Friends of Kacie Starr Triplett: $9,495.00 contribs in, $0 loans, $0 in-kind,
$7,945.94 expenses, $238.00 contribs out, $10,706.99 on-hand, $0 debt.
Cacchione for Alderman: $21,140.00 contribs in, $0 loans, $150.00 in-kind,
$21,836.64 expenses, $0 contribs out, $5,103.40 on-hand, $5,000 debt.
Christian Saller for Sixth Ward Alderman: $3,340.00 contribs in, $0 loans, $100 in-kind, $4,401.54 expenses, $0 contribs out, $4,635.55 on-hand, $0 debt.
No filing yet for 6th Ward Democratic Organization (they're missing lots of reports, last one was Jan. 2006).
New development in South City.
tonight will be attended by the folks who have been protesting his office lately, asking him to commit to no more war funding.
> Good evening,
> Here's an opportunity to take part in an action
> Monday at 6:30 that builds on steps taken over the
> past two weeks and could move us forward.
> Rep Carnahan is delivering a public State of the
> District address at 7:00 at the Affton Fire
> Protection District. Details and map below.
> Our Action:
> 1. Gather at 6:30 with banners and signs. Talk to
> people as they arrive and hand them a leaflet that
> describes what's been happening over the past two
> weeks and encourages them to put this question to
> Carnahan: "Will you make a public commitment to
> oppose any new funding for the war?"
> 2. Attend the talk. Display a large poster-sized
> pledge to oppose new funding. During the question
> period put the question to Carnahan.
Missouri Pro-Vote is asking voters to contact their State Representatives and encourage them to vote against the Betty L. Thompson tax credit/scholarship program (SB 808).
The bill is scheduled for debate in the Missouri House today.
The program would provide tax credits for 65% of funds donated by individuals to "education assistance programs" which will fund scholarships for under-achieving kids (under 2.5 GPA) from low-income families (families whose income is just above the eligibility level for reduced-fee lunches). The bill targets Missouri's larger urban districts, St. Louis and Kansas City.
The tax credit can not exceed the donor's Missouri tax liability and the "education assistance programs" (the programs who would administer the scholarships) would be restricted from collection more than $40 million. In addition, the taxpayer making the donation is restricted from donating on behalf of a dependent.
Opponents of the program argue that it constitutes a voucher program and that the credits take money away from schools that need it and give it to schools that are better off, or to private and parochial schools.
As it is currently written, the scholarship would be limited to an average of $5,000 which would be given to the district accepting the student. Money is distributed to school districts based on their enrollment figures, thus if the district has a net decrease in students, the funds also decrease.
However, the accepting district accepts the scholarship in-lieu of the standard amount they would receive from the addition of students.
Based on data from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education the average spent on Missouri students in 2006 was $8,221. St. Louis City: $10,872.00; Clayton (a district a number of St. Louis students attend through the voluntary transfer program): $15,248.31; Kirkwood (again with a number of city students): $10,133.52.
An article in St. Louis Commerce Magazine estimated figures for private education in the area. Parochial elementary schools $3,800 to $5,000; Parochial high school: $5,700. Non-parochial high school $3,500 to $8,900 [a commenter said tuition runs more in the $8,500 to $10,000 range].
Currently districts accepting students through the voluntary transfer program (VICC) receive funds equivalent to what the state would give their home district.
Financially the program may seem like a better deal for parochial and private schools, but a number of districts have demonstrated strong support for the VICC program despite the reduction in funds the students bring with them.
There are philosophical disagreements and fiscal impacts that have not been evaluated yet. There are also a lot of details to be worked out, the "education assistance programs" have not yet been created, though their limits are defined in the law.
Tues. Feb. 27th at 7:30 and Friday March 2, at 8:00 on channel 9 - KETC our PBS station.
In a post on MayorSlay.com, the Mayor's chief of staff, Jeff Rainford, presses the point that the dispute between Comptroller Darlene Green and Slay is in fact a difference in policy between the Aldermen and the Comptroller. Slay was, in this case, merely the messenger.
It was, in-fact, the Aldermanic Black Caucus who proposed spreading the BJC-Forest Park lease revenue based on wards, not geography, and Slay noted he was offering the amendment at their request.
Alderman Terry Kennedy, 18th ward, chair of the Black Caucus, said after the meeting Friday that there was no ill will between the aldermen and Green for her preference for her plan over theirs.
"She's just trying to make sure we get where we are trying to go," said Kennedy.
Slay also voiced his agreement with BOA President Jim Shrewsbury's insistence that the language Green wanted was part of the process that lay exclusively with the BOA and should be dealt with there. A position Green dismissed as a technicality saying the Board of Estimate and Apportionment's support would give guidance to the aldermen when it comes before them.
That said, the back-and-forth between Slay and Green was, for all those present, as charged as any.
Green stood her ground, and certainly took the Mayor to task for his lack of support for her language, going to far as to accuse Slay of "not being serious" about getting the lease. Given Slay's consistent support, its hard to see him willing to take a gamble on the deal.
Because of the hours of time and substantial effort Green and her office have put into hammering out the best deal possible (and they certainly earned the city a far better deal), it is clear why Green wants to make sure the commitments she made in exchange for supporting the issue make the final cut.
Slay later said that though he supported Green's language in order to gain her approval for the lease, there were no such stipulations in the lease agreement; nor would their likely be.
Green's language will go before the Board of Alderman and she and her office have publicly taken a tough bargaining position and can claim victory in bringing the city a better deal. They can also point to publicly holding the lease to a higher standard by calling for more stringent regulations on the lease, use or purchase of park land.
That win-win-win situation may help ease the burden of proof with some who oppose the deal on principle. Some, however, they will never bring along, such as the Citizens to Protect Forest Park who are opposed to the sale or lease of any park land unless vote on by the voters.
"Such issues need to be determined by the people in the polling booth, no politicians and powerful special interests in back rooms," the group said in a release.
The group wants any lease or sale involving park land to go to the voters, a move the Mayor and others say is flawed and may result in all manner of standard practices to go before the voters: practices such as rental fees, physical changes or short term agreements such as a recent one with Shakespear in the Park which will allow them to build some semi-permanent facilities.
I have to steal Charles Brennan's line on the BJC-Forest Park deal from Donnybrook last Thursday night: "It's not easy being Green."
It didn't get any easier on Friday.
If the first Board of Estimate and Apportionment meeting on the BJC deal was marked by Comptroller Darlene Green's silence, Friday's meeting on the same issue was marked by her fury.
The special meeting, called by Green, was intended to approve the BJC lease, with Green's new conditions; but it ended with threats to pull the plug on the deal.
At issue was how the funds freed-up thanks to BJC's $2 million lease would be spread among the city's other parks.
Green focused on the geography and wants at least half of the $1.2 million the city currently spend on Forest Park to go to parks north of Delmar.
Mayor Francis Slay attempted to forward language supported by the Aldermanic Black Caucus that focused on the ward boundaries and distributed the funds based on the wards; the 14 wards represented by African-American aldermen and two with majority African-American voters (the 17th and 20th).
Green argued the change defeats the point of promising the north-side parks greater attention since redistricting could move wards across town. This most famously happened in the contentious redistricting in 2001 when the 20th ward move from north city to south of Gravois Rd.
The move seemed to outrage Green who accused Slay of not being serious about passing the lease. Slay initially abstained from the vote on Green's proposal.
"You're not voting on the first item indicates you are not serious about the lease with BJC," said Green.
"This is outrageous," said Green after the meeting. She referred to Slay's amendment as "onerous".
And so it went, with feint and dodge Slay and Green parried with procedure. Slay and Green faced off with the only weapon they had, the BJC lease.
Slay's attempts to explain his position were often overrun by Green who insisted on an up-or-down vote on the whole package. As an added incentive, Green's language also included a $2.5 million penalty if BJC further expanded into Forest Park. A deal, she insisted, BJC supported.
All the while, Shrewsbury stood aside. He has made his opposition to the lease known. That said, he opposed Green's proposal saying it was a "purely legislative" move that is the exclusive purview of the Board of Aldermen.
In the end, Slay approved Green's language in order to gain her approval for the BJC lease.
"I changed my vote for the good of the cause," said Slay after the meeting.
Slay's half-hearted support was not lost on Green. Green assured the assembled that she would refuse to sign the lease if the Board of Aldermen do not include her conditions. According to Mayor Slay, Green does not have that ability.
"This is a ministerial act and she does not have the discretion to sign or not to sign," said Slay.
The Board of Aldermen has been asked to hold two special meetings to address the legislation creating the BJC lease.
Despite apparent forward progress towards passage, the lease deal has been a bruising process.
Opponents of the deal were not happy with Friday's events.
"Back room politics is running the city today," said Carla Scissors-Cohen who heads-up Citizens to Protect Forest Park.
The debate has even brought old faces to the table.
"This is all politics," said Irv Clay a former alderman who now works in municipal recreation on the East Coast. "If it's so important, why not let the people vote."
The Board of Aldermen will have the final approval, but the last vote on the issue was 24-2 in favor; 4 more than necessitated by the city charter for major leases. Given the likely support for the Black Caucus' amendment (how many will vote against kudos for their colleagues?), Green is not likely to find satisfaction.
Green has gambled away her final bargaining chip by signing off on the BJC deal. Despite her threat not to sign the lease if it is passed by the board without her language, she will have to debate whether she wants to take it all the way to the courthouse.
From campaign committees, we're looking at three primaries so far. Two GOP, One Dem.
In 7, Jane Cunningham and Neal St. Onge will battle for Loudon's seat.
In 13, Tim Green will have to deal with Tom George.
In 33, Purgason will face Randy Angst.
Terry Briggs, the O'Fallon Democrat running this April for St. Charles County Council's 4th District has filed a campaign committee to run next August for St. Louis County Council's 4th District.
Went to Shrewsbury tonight.
Habitat for Humanity St. Louis is building 25 new homes in the Mark Twain neighborhood in the City's 1st ward this year. The "1st wall raising ceremony" is set for tomorrow, 2/23 at 10:00 a.m. at 4969 Ashby. The closest big intersection is Kingshighway and West Florissant. Congressman Clay, Mayor Slay, Senator Jeff Smith, Representative El-Amin and Alderman Troupe are all supposed to be there.
>Subject: A message from Pat and Bev Dougherty
>Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2007 08:22:36 -0600
> We were not going to send out this message until next week but
>received literature that we believe is incorrect, misleading, and
>"dirty" from the opponent of our long-time friend, Jim Shrewsbury, we
>sending out our message today.
>As you probably know (or have at least noticed the signs all around
>City), Jim is running for re-election for the President of the Board
>Alderrman on Tuesday, March 6th. While this is an especially
>office (head of the City's legislative body and one of three members
>Board of Estimate and Apportionment which has "yea" or "nay" powers
>regarding the City's finances and other important issues), it has
>an even more important role in light of the turmoil in the St. Louis
>Schools Board of Education. The President of the Board of Alderman
>have the authority to appoint one of the three people to advise the
>and who probably will end up taking the place of the Board of
>It's important that the person who holds this office is a person of
>We think so much of Jim that we designated him and his wife to be
>of our daughters when they were minors.
>We can't think of a better statement of our trust of his judgment than
>We hope you will vote for Jim on Tuesday, March 6, even if it is a
>blustery day. If you want more info on Jim and his campaign, go to
>Bev and Pat Dougherty
SLACO conference is coming up. Mayor Slay will give the introduction in the morning, Peter Raven is the keynote, and Senator McCaskill will speak at lunch. Workshops in between.
Cities make you skinny.
Kotkin on affordable cities.
Shrewsbury touts the Carpenter District Council endorsement.
The Reed Media Update:
Please be advised that last night, we were officially advised by the campaign that Alderman Joe Roddy of the 17th Ward has now officially endorsed Lewis Reed's candidacy for Aldermanic President. This now makes 16 Alderpersons. There are several wards yet to make endorsements. We will keep you posted.
KMOX's "Charlie Brennan Show" will play host to former Democratic National Committee Chairman and author Terry McAuliffe in a live broadcast from the James J. Eagan Center, #1 James J. Eagan Drive, in Florissant from 9 to 11 a.m. on March 5, 2007. The public is invited.
McAuliffe's memoir, "What a Party! My Life Among Democrats," details his
behind-the-scenes work raising $550,000,000 for the Democratic Party.
Published in 2007, it is a national bestseller.
He will field questions from the audience.
A reservation is required and may be obtained by calling 314-444-3205.
Jeff Smith will lead the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.
Pretty funny stuff.
Another link here.
PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMAN CANDIDATE'S FORUM
Sunday, February 25, 2007
3:00pm - 6:00pm at the Beaumont High School Auditorium located at 3836 Natural Bridge Avenue.
This forum will feature a moderator and a four person panel. The panelists include: Mark Kasen and Onion Horton of the "Show Down" and Attorneys Ruby Bonner and Robert Kenny, MCBA. Appropriate questions will be taken from the audience.
Former Missouri Senator Jim Talent spoke at an event convened by the conservative Heritage Foundation Friday. Talent's address focused on the President Bush's proposed troop increase for Iraq, expansion of the active-duty military and increased defense spending.
Click here to watch.
Talent signed on with the Heritage Foundation in January as a distinguished fellow focusing on defense issues.
Don Calloway says he's sending in his papers to start a committee today. Haywood is termed in 08.
Black aldermen lobbied Green to pass BJC deal.
What Kincaid really said.
Dolores digs Davis.
Included in a press release from Governor Matt Blunt's office communicating the Governor's desire to see bipartisan support for his bucks-for-bricks MOHELA plan was an interesting passage.
The governor made it clear that without bipartisan support it is likely the original project list for colleges and universities included in the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative will change. This action could mean that some education facilities might not achieve the initiative’s full benefits.Someone on the Gov's staff may not realize that this weapon isn't loaded.
Last week a Republican-controlled Senate Education Committee already took it upon themselves to cut a number of projects from the $350 million MOHELA plan. Democrats, including St. Louis State Senator Maida Coleman, were quick to point out that most of the $115 million in projects that hit the cutting-room floor were all proposed for institutions in Democrat-controlled areas. In St. Louis that meant cuts of $5.5 million from a CORTEX-related facility at Harris-Stowe State University and $5.5 from the Center for Emerging Technology at UMSL.
The Republican leadership already demonstrated they are willing to cut millions from Democratic districts, any chance the Governor's statement will encourage their support?
In addition, the same day those changes were made in the committee the Governor's office released this statement:
“I am pleased that the Senate is moving forward with important higher education reforms and the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative."It's most likely that the Gov's office may have seen a belated chance to try and juice some lemons. Each week that passes seems to punch a little leak in Blunt's Discovery Initiative.
Democratic skepticism is far outweighed by conservative opposition over the potential that the buildings may one day be used in stem-cell research. Sam Lee of Campaign Life has been a major thorn in the side of Blunt's plan to boost Missouri's role in biotech research. Despite the deep cuts made by the Education Committee, pro-life groups are still unconvinced.
Now word comes today that a financial advisor to MOHELA has turned the light from green to yellow while changes in student loan programs at the federal level are straightened out. The potential impact could reduce the deal's value by millions.
Originally a chance to parlay the assets of a successful program into funding to give Missouri an expanded role in the Biotech race, the Governor's program seems to have heightened old tensions and risks the possibility that the MOHELA assets may be squandered on investments that don't reap the rate of return, political or financial, the Governor wanted.
Governor Matt Blunt's State of the State call to increase in-home care funding by $53 million opened the door, now Rep. Maria Chappelle-Nadal wants to bring 'em in.
Chappelle-Nadal wants to see the availability of in-home care to seniors and the disabled expanded. She cites the better health outcomes and quality-of-life issues that in-home care can provide, if it's available. Her plan focuses on those who fall in the grey middle; just outside the eligibility requirements, but without the assets to provide it themselves.
To do so, Chappelle-Nadal proposes to increase the amount of non-exempt cash assets an individual or couple is allowed to have and still qualify for in-home care. Currently the limit is $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a couple. Chappelle-Nadal doesn't specify an increased figure.
A second step would increase the individual income eligibility level to 300% of the poverty level. The current cut-off is just over the individual poverty level, or $12,636.
"As an advocate for seniors and the disabled, I plan to introduce legislation that will address the eligibility guidelines for in-home care. This bill is progressive and will aid in planning for our population’s future." said Chappelle-Nadal in a letter to constituents.
Read the complete letter after the jump.Continue reading "Rep. Chapelle-Nadal wants to expand eligibility for in-home care"
Galen Gondolfi, candidate for alderman in the 20th ward, received the endorsment of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO, Local 2730.
From the release sent out Tuesday:
In recognition of the work that Galen Gondolfi has done to better the lives of St. Louis’ working families, the executive board of AFSCME Local 2730, chaired by Pres. Quincy Boyd, has voted to endorse Galen Gondolfi in the March 6th Democratic primary.
The rest after the jump.Continue reading "AFSCME Endorses Gondolfi in 20th Ward Race"
Internal BJC letter here.
Unscientific it may be, but there are a lot of Bauer signs on McCausland between Clayton and Manchester. Perhaps more than there were before the 2005 special election in which he was ousted following a contentious and litigious recall campaign.
Visibility? Of course. McCausland gets the signs because of the traffic and thus may be a wildly inaccurate evaluation of support.
That said, there were a lot of Waterhouse signs in 2005, there are only a couple now. Could be nothing, but Bauer has been running for alderman for a long time.
Update: Chuck Miller, 24th ward committeeman, responds in the comments. "On the surface, it looks like Mr. Bauer is winning the "sign war." After a little critical thinking, you realize that many of the Bauer signs are in front of rental properties where the owner lives out of town, on vacant lots, or placed at property lines where you aren't sure whose lot the sign is on." Read more.
A service will be held in honor of former Lt. Gov. Harriett Woods Saturday morning at Powell Symphony Hall, 718 N. Grand Blvd. from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
The trailblazing Woods, 79, died last Thursday of leukemia. Woods is survived by three sons, a sister, nine grandchildren and countless women who credit Woods as an inspiration and mentor.
Among them is the first woman elected Senator from the state of Missouri, Claire McCaskill [Note: Thanks to Antonio for the correction. Sen. Jean Carnahan was the first woman Senator, but she was appointed to finish the late Mel Carnahan's term after his posthumous victory in 2000 before being defeated by Jim Talent in 2002]. McCaskill is rescheduling a Congressional trip to Iraq to accept an invitation by Woods' family to speak at Saturday's service.
“Harriet Woods was an amazing woman who taught me lessons that I use each and every day. I am honored and humbled to be able to talk about what her wisdom and leadership meant to Missourians,” said McCaskill in a press release.
File under Small Pond:
The treasurer of Kennedy's newly-formed statewide committee is James A. Majewski. He's is also deputy treasurer for "First Senatorial Political Party." The treasurer of that committee, Christopher Schoemehl, is also husband and treasurer for State Rep. Sue Schoemehl, cousin to former Mayor Vince Schoemehl, and of IBEW.
Zweifel new Dem Brain:
House Minority Jeff Harris has appointed state Rep. Clint Zweifel as chairman of the Strategy and Policy Development Committee of the House Democratic Caucus. In this newly created role, Zweifel will take a key role in formulating innovative legislation based on Democratic principles and priorities. Zweifel, who is serving his third House term, represents the 78th District, which includes parts of Hazelwood, Florissant and Bridgeton in North St. Louis County.
Willis in 26 is touting an endorsement from the St. Louis Labor Legislative Club.
While the MO Leg debates various anti-immigrant policies, the Southside Bosnian Services Collaborative reports that the Southwest Bank at Kingshighway and Chippewa has recently hired Bosnian-speaking employees to better serve the Bosnian community with new account creations, loans, etc.
Congressman Russ Carnahan, D-3rd, is podcasting his State of the District Address today at 4 p.m.
Click here to listen to the podcast.
Update: Updated to correct some information.
Match the state senator with the car.
1. Frank Barnitz
2. Joan Bray
3. Scott Rupp
4. Brad Lager
5. Luann Ridgeway
Though John Bowman, D-Northwoods, hasn't set foot in court yet, speculation has already begun on who might replace the recently indicted state rep if he is found guilty on criminal charges.
The St. Louis American's Political Eye column took a peek at possible a candidate last week for the still-occupied 70th state house seat.
Indictment doesn't mandate resignation for Missouri legislators. That decision–if warranted–will be made by Bowman; barring that the legal case doesn't force his hand sooner.
Bowman was indicted last month in a credit card fraud case along with 16 others including a Bank of America VP.
Open Letter to the St. Louis American Newspaper:
In the most recent Political Eye, the St. Louis American saw fit to engage in the kind of reckless journalism and scurrilous name-calling it often accuses others of when they disagree with the newspaper or its publisher.
With no documentation and no follow up to confirm its story, the American reported that the Organization for Black Struggle (OBS) had endorsed James Shrewsbury in his re-election bid for President of the Board of Alderman. This is an absolute lie!
On behalf of our members and our many supporters, we demand a written and public apology for your malicious attack.
To erroneously report on an endorsement is one thing. However, to use that as a basis for attacking our history and credibility is quite another. The scandalous attack on the reputation of the Organization for Black Struggle was totally unfounded and to use the Americans own words,reactionary. There was only one half of one sentence in the whole piece that was accurate and that is OBS began its existence as a radical revolutionary group.
OBS has worked tirelessly in the interest of the African-American community for 27 years. There are no back-room deals or under-the-table payoffs in our history. Our operations are transparent and our integrity has endured the test of time.
We have participated in the advancement of black political power for many years and in that process endorsed many candidates. OBS has never, ever endorsed a white candidate over an African-American candidate.This is more than can be said of the St. Louis American.
The Board celebrated Black History month in its last session before the spring break. Part of the celebration included the recognition of James R. Clark, Eugene "Teddy" Willingham, Khaleed Munir, James Moton, Bessie Will Taylor Morehouse, and Elder Ernest A. Byrd. The resolutions are here.
Alderman Lewis Reed was recognized by his colleagues this morning. The alderman, whose 6th ward seat was up for reelection this year, gave up his position to run for President of the Board of Aldermen against the incumbent, James Shrewsbury.
During an action by the board recognizing the work of former State Senator Pat Dougherty, Alderman Steven Gregali, 14th ward, lamented the imposition of term limits that drove the St. Louis Democrat from office. He was followed in his 4th District seat by Jeff Smith.Dougherty praised the board's work saying they deserve a "greater debt of gratitude."
Alderman Matt Villa's WiFi bill swept through the board of aldermen this past week. Introduced last Friday, it was given its second reading Wednesday and passed this morning. Alderman Lewis Reed asked to be added to the bill.
It should be noted that when passing the legislation authorizing Ball Park Village, two alderman kept a low profile; Aldermen Quincy Troupe, 1st ward, and Lewis Reed, 6th ward. The two aldermen were present at the meeting, but cast no vote. The two aldermen voted in favor of the bills on Wednesday.
Several armloads of gift boxes from the tony Saks were delivered to the Alderwomen of St. Louis this morning. They arrived courtesy of one of the board's most popular former alderman, License Collector Michael McMillan (Cupid he may be, just don't call him cherubic).
McMillan has earned a reputation for his generosity around holidays. Ida Goodwin Woolfolk noted Macmillan's legendary gift list at his swearing-in ceremony last month saying it numbered near 3,000.
No details on what lay beneath the bows, but chocolate and cookies have been popular in the past.
In response to flyers handed out at City Hall this morning warning of plans to "Bulldoze the Ghetto", Alderman Freeman Bosley, Jr., 3rd ward, said the concerns were overblown.
The anti-eminent domain groups are going, "off the chain," said Bosley. He said their actions were instigating fear among residents.
Bosley said no action to blight the land can happen without aldermanic approval and neither he, nor the other aldermen in the area have been asked.
"They are just wrong," said Bosley.
The flyers were passed out by members of Citizens for the Near Northside. Topped by the headline "Plans to 'Bulldoze the Ghetto'", the flyer includes a map sketching out a rough trapezoidal area bounded by Delmar to the south, Natural Bridge to the North, Interstate 70 to the East and North Grand to the west. The area at risk includes Bosley's 3rd ward, April Ford-Griffin's 5th Ward and the currently vacant 19th ward (soon to be occupied by Committeewoman Marlene Davis who is running unopposed).
The organization says the Blairmont Group–made up of a dizzying array of small real estate companies–is poised to reap the benefits of future development in the near north side. Northside urbanist and dedicated observer of developement, Michael Allen, has mapped out the numerous properties attributed to the group and written a history of his search on his blog.
The alleged linchpin in the effort is the future of the Pruitt-Igoe site. The 34-acre, city-owned property, is slated for future development and the St. Louis Development Corporation is expected to request proposals later this year.
Harriet Woods passes.
Myrtle French passes.
Rachel Storch will head the HDCC (not Jake).
Clint Zweifel is looking at the Treasurer's race.
Margaret Donnelly is looking at the AG race.
Sam Page is looking at the Lieutenant Governor's race.
Robin Wright Jones takes reins of Black Caucus.
Carnahan office sit-ins to continue today.
Washington Post's Fix on Blunt-Nixon.
Insiders say Temporiti is front-runner for MO Dem Party Chair.
The discomfort was palpable in the silence following Mayor Slay's motion that the Board of Estimate and Apportionment sign off on legislation approving the BJC-Forest Park deal.
Neither Aldermanic Board President James Shrewsbury or Comptroller Darlene Green, Slay's two colleagues on the city's top board, moved or uttered a sound. Slay's request hung there until Slay, clearing his throat, continued on with a short statement acknowledging the sincerity and hard work of all the groups involved, for and against.
Slay thanked Green for her and her office's efforts in negotiating a deal with BJC, even if she didn't support it in the end.
"Thanks to you and your office, this bill is much better than it was," said Slay.
Though gracious in defeat, the Mayor couldn't hide his wish the deal had passed.
"I can't tell you how disappointed I am," said Slay. He noted it was ironic the decision would come on the same day the New York Times ran an article recognizing St. Louis' efforts to foster the biotech industry in the Cortex district. BJC is a major partner in the district.
"I was unaware of the Comptroller's position when she walked into the room," said Slay when asked after the meeting if he was surprised at the Comptroller's decision.
That said, Slay seemed a bit ruffled at the outcome of the meeting.
On the flip side, opponents of the deal were ecstatic.
"We did it!" said Carla Scissors-Cohen of Citizens to Protect Forest Park, who called her husband to tell him the news. "This is a victory for the citizens of St. Louis."
"You can fight city hall," said Scissors-Cohen. "You can fight city hall if you feel the city is doing something not in the interest of the city."
Green said during the meeting that her decision not to support the deal was influenced by Protect Forest Park's successful petition initiative. In April voters will decide whether the sale of park land should be put to a city-wide vote, or be left in the hands of elected officials.
"I believe in the democratic process," said Green. "I don't believe it is the time to vote in lieu of the petition."
Afterward, Green said she would continue working with both parties to find a compromise position saying there must be "give and take on both sides."
Scissors-Cohen, however, said there would be no sale of any park land. City leaders, she said, would have to find another way to fund park maintenance.
Proponents of the BJC-Forest Park deal say it is an effort to help BJC expand its patient facilities and offices and that the millions given annually to the park by BJc were part of the price, funding park maintenance did not drive the deal. The section of park south of the main building–which BJC currently has a lease on and is home to an underground parking garage–was the most convenient place to add more hospital rooms and offices.
Given the orthodox position of the Protect Forest Park supporters, its is unlikely that Green's "middle ground" exists for them and they will put the pressure on anyone who supports any expansion onto the parcel.
Alderman Joe Roddy, 17th ward, was disappointed the deal failed. BJC is in his ward and he has talked at length about the enormous positive impact they have had in his ward which, not long ago, teetered on the brink.
"I hope we can salvage some of the construction projects," said Roddy, on his way into the Board Chambers. "I hope we can salvage some of the jobs."
One Night in December
By Dave Drebes
This is the story of one night on the campaign trail with Lewis Reed, candidate for President of the Board of Aldermen. It occurred during the crush of Christmas parties that define St. Louis political life in December. There were six events on Reed’s schedule. Starting at 5pm and ending at 1am. It’s the political equivalent of working a second eight-hour shift. This is the story of those hours; it’s a story of St. Louis politics.
5:00 p.m. – The Campaign Office
This is campaign life. Lewis Reed’s dinner hour is fifteen minutes long, spent sitting in his drab campaign office with a sorry-looking sandwich. And except for two volunteers, one on the phone, the other sort of loitering, he is alone. While he eats he looks over the voter contact data. Volunteers, paid workers and friendly ward organizations have been phone banking for Reed for weeks, identifying voters. The caller will ask who they plan to support in the race, and then mention some reasons they should support Reed. They then mark the sheet from 1-5, a ranking used to reflect their judgment of the voter’s likelihood to vote for Reed. If you give a politician – a real politician, someone who’s political in their core – a sheet of field data, they lose themselves, entering the world of the sheet. Same thing with polling data. It’s like a drug to politicians. They can’t get enough of it. Reed has that look. He finds himself for a moment, looks up at me, smiles, and declares, “Looks good!”
In my phone calls to people who know St. Louis politics, not one thinks Reed will win. A few have ventured scenarios where he could possibly win, but Jim Shrewsbury is the consensus favorite. Shrewsbury is the incumbent with more money in the bank and higher name recognition. He’s run city-wide four times before. That means that whereas Reed has to do huge phone banking and door knocking to find supporters, Shrewsbury already knows where his people are. It’s like starting on third base.
Compounding this disadvantage is the fact that this campaign is about two months long. Everyone else in the city is thinking about Christmas and New Year’s now. Reed has January and February to find and persuade thousands of people who have never heard of him that he’s their guy. Two months. And then it’s March 6: Election Day.
But Reed’s biggest problem might be the simple fact that Shrewsbury has done a decent job. No scandals, no gaffes. He’s a solid politician.
This is what I see. But Reed is seeing something different. His field-sheets say that Shrewsbury is vulnerable. Also there’s a map. It’s in the corner of the office, one of those standard city maps with the wards boundaries. This map is more interesting though. It’s full of color-coded strips of sticky paper to indicate which aldermen, committeeman or committeewoman have committed to them. There are lots of sticky papers on that map.
I start asking about all those sticky papers… but they shoo me away. It’s time to go.
5:53 p.m. – The Roberts Brothers Party
The Roberts Brothers are two former aldermen turned millionaires by way of sharp business acumen. They develop buildings, invest in companies, operate a TV station. They’ve found lots of way to make money. And the center of the Roberts Brothers empire is a hulking building on Kingshighway that has the interior of a bee hive. It feels like it’s been carved out into cubicles and hallways – a conference room here, a kitchen there. And as they are re-sculpting the building, the Roberts Brothers are doing something else. They’re bringing it up to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards. They’re transforming it into a showcase of environmentally friendly construction. Former comptroller Virvus Jones works for them now. He spots Reed and begins a one-on-one tour of the latest environmentally significant modifications they’ve made – the concrete kitchen counter, the waterless urinals, the wool carpet and bamboo floor. Jones’ enthusiasm for the construction changes is infectious, but watching Reed and his campaign manager Bob Rice, I notice a little restlessness. They need to work the crowd; they need to find money-people and influence-people. They don’t have three hours to work this crowd; they have thirty minutes. And that means they don’t have thirty minutes to learn about wool carpet. Not tonight anyway.
The swirling political Christmas parties are one part paying tribute to the host, one part being seen and sometimes one part appeal – like seeking an audience with Don Corleone on his daughter’s wedding day. Sometimes. Tonight, Reed appears to be on a quest for some part of all three parts. He’s courting the Roberts Brothers’ support. He needs to be seen. His campaign needs visibility. He needs to ramp up his profile or he risks belly-floppying like Irene Smith. Smith was alderwoman from the 1st ward when she decided to run against Mayor Slay. But mention her name and no one knows her. Worse, within political circles there’s a healthy number of people who think that she’s left town. “Does she still live here?.. I heard she was leaving town…” She’s still in town. She appears regularly on Lizz Brown’s caricature show on WGNU weekday mornings.
Reed eases his way out of Jones’ tutorial. He starts mingling, shaking hands. Shrewsbury passes him in the hall. Shrewsbury and Harold Brown.
Reed greets Mike Roberts, Don Suggs, other VIPs, but they are running behind. Too much time there, not enough contacts. They leave the party at 6:45pm. Once in the car, Reed starts in about Harold Brown. “Scam artist,” “Hustler.”
Harold Brown is the consummate urban political operative: he takes no prisoners, he knows where the bodies are buried, and he asks for cash up front. Besides his Democratic affiliation, Brown doesn't seem captive to the typical constraints faced by St. Louis campaign operatives. He's worked for pro-choice and pro-life candidates, for liberals and for conservatives, for blacks and for whites. But what really sets him apart is his penchant for working for multiple candidates – in the same race.
After serving as former 4th District Senator Pat Dougherty's loyal district assistant for over 5 years, Brown decided that 2006 would be an opportune time to capitalize on his extensive knowledge of the district and its neighborhoods. So he let it be known to three of the candidates in the race that his services as a campaign consultant were available. He also let it be known that these services would not come cheap. After negotiating early in the race with ultimate victor Jeff Smith but failing to come to terms, Brown hooked up with the team of former state representative Yaphett El-Amin.
He was paid during one pay period by the El-Amin campaign, but soon thereafter was overheard telling people that Team El-Amin was disorganized and more than a little shady, and severed his ties to the campaign. A few months later, he was introducing Smith around at north side senior centers, helping establish contacts for Smith in unexpected places. One Smith staffer recalls Brown's salary negotiations with amusement. "He'd asked for an outrageous sum at first, but with just a few weeks left, he didn't have much leverage, and we came to terms. Don't get me wrong, he still got three times more than any of us kids got. Hell, Jeff even paid for his daily supply of fruit."
In the end, the Smith staffer wasn't sure if Brown was worth the money, but noted that once campaign manager Sam Simon paired Brown with a young and attractive female partner, his productivity increased dramatically.
Given that history, few insiders were surprised when Brown switched allegiances at halftime of the Reed-Shrewsbury match-up. Having accepted either $500 or $1,000 (depending on which side you believe) to consult briefly for Reed, Brown moved over to Shrewsbury's campaign. But squiring Shrewsbury around the north side, it probably didn’t take long for Brown to see the difficulty in his task: if selling the young Smith felt tough at times, the famously mechanical Shrewsbury was an entirely different ball of wax.
The North Side Parties
The next three stops are north side wards holding their annual Christmas parties. For those who don’t understand the racial divide in St. Louis, ward organizations’ Christmas parties are a great place to start. It’s as if they’re not in the same city. The white ward Christmas parties are held at bars or restaurants; there’s lots of drinking; it’s a rowdy, backslapping review of the year, an alcohol-induced seasonal group-hug. Children? No way. Just adults, members of ward organizations, neighborhood presidents, resident VIPS and the usual treadmill of politicos.
The black ward Christmas parties, on the other hand, are in churches. They’re family events with bike giveaways for the kids; there’s no alcohol; there’s no finger food. Instead, there’s an honest-to-God meal. A real meal. Maybe plastic plates and spoons for easy clean-up, but a real sit-down meal nevertheless. And the room isn’t filled with politicos and developers on the make, it’s just folks who live in the ward.
These three wards are meaningful – 2, 26, 27 – because tonight, it will be clear that Lewis Reed has the endorsement of all three wards. At one time, Shrewsbury thought he had them or thought he had a shot at them. And he didn’t get a one.
His friends describe him as a reformer; they recall the story when he got beat up, sent to the hospital, going door-to-door in an area a rival campaign told him not to go. His detractors call him vindictive, tell stories of his morning-after calls to pols who were against him.
But he’s been working the political scene for decades. For all his work, he doesn’t have a single endorsement on the north side that he can rely on. He’s getting creamed on the north side. According to smart politicos he doesn’t really need it assuming he gets a big boost from his base. But there’s a scenario where Reed wins, and it’s based on Reed sewing up the north side and getting strong turn-out there. Does Shrewsbury have a map in his office like Reed has? Does he wonder where his sticky papers are north of Delmar? North of 44?
Meanwhile, if that wasn’t making Shrewsbury worry, the trifecta of his base – wards 12, 23, and 16 which together will deliver 25% of all the votes in this election – have cracks. No holes, but cracks.
In 12, there’s a Republican primary. Those Republicans are Shrewsbury voters. And if they’re taking a GOP ballot, they can’t vote for Shrewsbury. How many votes will that cost him? The optimists say 50, the pessimists say 1,000. Shrewsbury himself shrugs it off. If it’s that close, I will have much bigger problems than a Republican primary, he tells an ally. Of course he’s right. He’s going to win, everyone tells me.
But then there’s 23, Alderwoman Kathy Hanrahan has a Reed yard sign in front of her house. And there were rumors that neighborhood leader Dan Hagerty was working on bringing committeepeople to Reed’s side as well. How many votes would that be? Same answer: Between 100 – 1000. The rumors dissipate and committeepeople stay with Shrewsbury. No hole in 23, but cracks.
6:53 p.m. - The 26th Ward
Alderman Frank Williamson is presiding over this party in the basement of a church. I count 78 people in attendance. Reed enters the basement and immediately starts going table to table shaking hands. Williamson sees him and introduces Reed as a “young man,” “up and coming,” “intelligent,” finishing with the clear statement, “We are endorsing Lewis Reed.”
Reed takes the podium. “Why is this race important?” he asks the audience that looks more interested in the drawing for the bikes and the food baskets by the door.
“It’s about Resources,” he says. “They impact the quality of life.”
Then he starts an attack: “Should we be paying Jim Shrewsbury $82,500 a year to come to work 1 ½ days a week? That’s what we’re doing.” Reed promises to be a full time President, and quickly wraps up, speaking for only six minutes.
Charles Bryson, the mayor’s liaison for neighborhoods, starts speaking. The people are weary. And after Bryson, Jennifer Joyce, the circuit attorney arrives and is introduced as Jennifer Joyce Hayes (blurring her into her predecessor Dee Joyce-Hayes). She gives a wave to the crowd.
It’s 7:22, Rice and Reed are back in the car. Rice scolds Reed for not “bringing it home” in his speech. Reed agrees, says that he was cold out of the box, the next meeting will be better, stronger, he promises.
7:48 p.m. – The 2nd Ward
It’s another church, this time in the 2nd ward. Alderwoman Dionne Flowers is warm and effusive with her introduction of Reed. Shrewsbury’s camp had suggested to me that they thought they’d have Flowers, but that she was nervous of a challenge. Did Shrewsbury’s people really think Flowers was with them? She sounds incredibly genuine and affectionate toward Reed. There are about 40 people in the room.
Jennifer Joyce arrives right behind Reed. This is the last stop on her schedule. She started at the Pyramid party, then went to 26, and then to 2. Later in the car I’ll ask Reed and Rice if she isn’t working a bit hard? Maybe she’s a mayoral candidate in a couple years? No. They’re certain. I never ascertain how they’re certain, but they are. Joyce turns to Rice, asks about his mother. Word is that she is resigning from Vigilant.
Nancy Rice, Lou Hamilton, Vince Schoemehl
Nancy Rice and Lou Hamilton worked together under Vigilant Communications. Nancy, Bob’s mother, served in Vince Schoemehl’s administration and probably knows city campaigns better than anyone else. The thing about Nancy is that she has experience and she is current. There are a lot of old hands who figured St. Louis out a long time ago, but as St. Louis has changed they haven’t noticed or continued to notice the changes. They missed that blacks are moving into south city, that gays aren’t holed up in 28 anymore or that the young couples moving into the Hill might have Italian last names, but are voting pro-choice. Nancy sees those things. She knows the nuts and bolts of campaigns and she sees the big picture.
Lou Hamilton also worked for Schoemehl. They met as neighbors when Vince was alderman. Hamilton volunteered on his mayoral campaign and his political instinct and savvy blossomed. He met and befriended most of the political actors on the scene. In a city that travels in insular circles, Hamilton’s network defies the conventional boundaries. His sole criteria, it seems, for measuring a person is whether he can work with them. He likes pragmatists; people who are willing to compromise to advance an agenda, people who accept progress in steps. That’s his business, getting things done. Maybe not everything exactly as you dream, but gets it done.
Hamilton and Shrewsbury are natural rivals. Not only because, as New York Times columnist David Brooks’ asserts, high school cliques war across the ages of their lifetime, that the jocks (Hamilton) and nerds (Shrewsbury) can never live in peace. They are natural rivals because it is Hamilton’s job as a lobbyist to corral fifteen votes. And Shrewsbury’s position as president requires him to hunt for fifteen votes as well. When they’re on different sides, there just aren’t enough votes to go around. (Hamilton usually gets the better of the exchange because, except in the movies, there’s little justice for nerds in this world.)
Vince Schoemehl, meanwhile, is a Shrewsbury man. Maybe because he’s so different from Shrewsbury. (Schoemehl, by the way, is that rare breed – smart enough to hang out with the nerds, but cool enough to roll with the jocks.) Schoemehl is big picture and big vision. Shrewsbury is dotting i’s and crossing t’s and correcting subjective verb tenses.
But Reed’s camp has confidence that Schoemehl is sitting this cycle out. And what that means is that the 28th ward, one Shrewsbury thought he had a shot at, will probably endorse Reed. That’s one more piece of sticky paper on that map.
I’ll learn later in the night that months ago Bob did an exercise he must have learned from his mother, going ward by ward, estimating votes, percentages. He counted on winning the 28th. He looked at history, read percentages and turnouts. He sat down and did his calculations for this race hypothetically, for fun. He did them with his friend, Tim, who it happens is the son of Vince. And the picture comes into focus - two children raised in uber-political surroundings huddling over vote totals the way most kids collect baseball cards.
8:20 p.m. - The 27th Ward
It’s just a jump down the road, to the church where the 27th ward is having their Christmas party. Alderman Greg Carter was famously willowy in this race. First, he wanted to run himself, then he was mad when Reed ran, so he was going to endorse Shrewsbury, then he was behind Reed, then he wasn’t. But now he is. Reed has a letter from him to prove it, and that’s one more person Shrewsbury thought he’d have on the north side, but slipped away.
Again, there is a buffet line and a good solid meal: chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes. Connie Johnson, the committeewoman and state representative, and Curtis Royston, committeeman and state rep wannabe (Johnson is termed in 2008) are on hand. They give Reed their big public endorsement, take pictures with him. Carter is absent.
Shrewsbury, they say came by earlier, but only dropped in for a few minutes. Sat in back, they didn’t even have time to recognize him before he was gone.
Charles Bryson, once more, follows Reed’s talk to the crowd. They leave at 8:57 p.m., and Rice tells Reed that he’s on his own, but gives him specific instructions: go by the City Democratic Christmas Party before finishing the night at the Pyramid party.
Reed grumbles a little, as much as someone of his disposition is capable. Reed has a natural affinity for developers – people who have vision, who take risks. Those folks will be at the Pyramid Party. But Rice’s feeling is that he needs to be visible to the committeepeople, especially the south side committeepeople. That might land him wards like 25 where he is closer to alderwoman Dorothy Kirner than Shrewsbury is. 25, that could be one more of those sticky papers on the map in the corner of his office.
9:35 – 9:47 p.m. – City Democratic Party
The shortest visit of the night. The place is empty by the time Reed arrives. He shakes the few hands that are there and does a u-turn to head downtown. That’s where his people are.
10 p.m. – The Pyramid Party
The Pyramid Party is unlike anything else this evening. It is a statement. It is young. The music is not the classy jazz of the Roberts Bros, or the neighborhood recital of the 27th. It is loud dance music. Young professionals, sweating, happy, drunk and gleeful. An oasis of exuberance encased in the grand old ballroom of the historic Missouri Athletic Club. And outside, the quiet conservative streets of St. Louis don’t even know. A revolution is celebrating itself. The stodgy old bankers and builders who happily slept as St. Louis sank to the ocean floor have been replaced by a new breed of movers and shakers.
His story has been well told by now: a grade-school dropout who ran away from home, ended on the west coast as a monk living in poverty. The call of family brought him back St. Louis. He started rehabbing houses – one at a time – with Craig Heller. The two started a humble business, built it into a respectable player and then a thriving juggernaut – Pyramid Construction. Heller went on to do Loftworks. Steffen and he have transformed downtown.
They brought property when it was incredibly cheap. Incredibly cheap, except that no one in their right mind would buy a worthless piece of a dying downtown with terrible barriers to redevelopment built into the fabrics of the buildings themselves. But magic struck in downtown St. Louis. It wasn’t magic so much as the right five or six persons doing their thing, and the world played pet, as if on God’s own leash, behaving just as commanded. A lawyer named Jerry Schlitcher wrote state tax credit legislation that uncorked a development genie with no wish limit. An investment banker named Bob Rubin convinced a Democratic president to be a deficit hawk and brought interest rates to historic lows. A twenty-five year-old named Chad Cooper founded a group to make the city cool again that grew to be a thousand members strong in two years. A retired senator named Jack Danforth turned his monstrously wealthy family foundation’s eye inward and dedicated its resources to improving St. Louis. A haplessly incapable mayor proved the perfect foil for a hard-working, energetic mayor to take and tighten the reins of city government.
And it happened. Downtown happened. And when it did, people like John Steffen who had bet everything he owned and could borrow on downtown were on their surf board ready to ride the wave. He still is. With one difference. When he and Heller started rehabbing houses, they didn’t have any idea who the alderman was, or that there were aldermen.
And Steffen is still an outsider in the cozy downtown world created by the circles of old money. In 2001, when he put up $400,000 in earnest money to close on the Syndicate Trust Building, he scrambled to find financing. No fingers lifted. No municipal help. And when Steffen was unable to come up with the loan and he lost his money. Poof. $400,000 cash, gone. Pyramid reeled. Lay-offs and downsizing followed. But like a St. Louis Trump who flirts with implosion only to come out stronger (and more leveraged), Steffen returned.
And the Steffen of a decade ago – politically ignorant – has evolved into someone extremely political. He holds fundraisers for local, state and national politicians. He’s friends with Harry Reid, and has become a required stop in St. Louis for Democratic 08 presidential hopefuls. But he also keeps some Republicans in his orbit. Locally, he’s a prodigious campaign contributor. He’s close to McMillan. But gives to lots of city electeds.
So it was not just high drama when Steffen came to the city a month ago to receive a TIF on his newest and boldest project, that decaying vestige of yet another Schoemehl vision gone south – St. Louis Center. The ask and the answer were layered with meaning about his place in St. Louis. Is he in? Or is he out? Does this mean he’s finally valued? Or finally indebted?
Outside the ballroom, Aldermen Stephen Gregali, Jennifer Florida and Mike McMillan huddle. I look at them talking and nodding, and I see that map once more. I’m understanding a little more why Reed sees this race differently. Suppose he has eleven of the twelve African American aldermen. Add to that Jennifer Florida who endorsed him on Day One; and 28’s Lyda Krewson and 23’s Kathy Hanrahan. If he gets a Gregali or a Kirner or a Roddy, he’ll have a majority of the aldermen supporting him. Put another way, most of the aldermen want to get rid of Shrewsbury. That could help a fellow win a city-wide election.
11:26 p.m. - MAC Parking Lot
It’s like a bad spy movie. A dark, cold parking lot, I’m watching Reed and McMillan talk campaign details at the end of a long day.
This is McMillan’s move. The License Collector jump? No, that was a diversion. Reed’s race is his move. Win or lose, McMillan will possess two things he didn’t six months ago. A title and a target. He has been the prime mover to unify the African American political class. Reed’s north side appeal wasn’t a sure thing. Some were less than enthusiastic about Reed. He had voted for Slay’s redistricting plan. His wife is white. And the north side eternal internal feuds make it easy to divide. But McMillan, who has been collecting favors and working the scene for a decade, put his credibility on the line. He finessed, cajoled, flattered and intimidated to make it happen. As blacks regain some of the political clout they have gradually ceded over the last decade, it will be because McMillan stepped up at this time and put his whole effort into it. That’s his title.
He will also have an enemy in Jim Shrewsbury for the rest of his life. And for a young man who’s displayed such prudence (or caution), it’s a ballsy move to go after one of the most powerful politicians in the city. He willingly made himself a target. And so a new entry is made in his resume – steel. That will come in handy in the future, no doubt.
After the Party
Reed is hungry. He doesn’t drink and maybe that helps his stamina. He’s more animated at midnight than he was at 5pm. The place is called DBs. Reed insists that their chicken wings are amazing. I must get the chicken wings, he says. But then he orders a sandwich for himself.
He’s feeling good. It’s been a good night. He starts riffing a new stump speech. “Shrewsbury has his law office outside the city limits.” He’s working up new lines. “When I become president of the board, we’ll make the city so attractive to businesses that even Jim Shrewsbury will move his business into the city!”
It’s close to 1 a.m. Reed’s about to take a phone call. I thank him for the opportunity to shadow him, and say, half-confessing my view that he’s a long-shot – “You might win this thing.”
He laughs out loud. And shouts, “I’m gonna win this.”
BJC Statement From Alderman Lewis Reed, 6th Ward and Candidate for
Aldermanic President, City of St. Louis
"Residents all across the city, including myself are very discouraged by aldermanic president Jim Shrewsbury's inability to work with BJC, one of the region's largest employers. These employers put money into the city's financial coffers that go to pay for much needed services including our public safety systems. Jim has shown a lack of leadership on this very important issue. It is inconsistent of him to push for using park land to build a dog pound in a city park while opposing the BJC lease extension plan directed at health priorities for human residents, his priorities are in the wrong place. Shrewsbury's actions have also eliminated funding for important education scholarships for kids K thru 12, future opportunity for trauma center north of Delmar and funding for parks all across the city."
in the NYT.
Senator Coleman's Press Release:
For immediate release Contact: Chuck Miller
February 7, 2007
Coleman: Senate Republicans Practice Politics of Prejudice on MOHELA bill
JEFFERSON CITY - Saying today's committee vote was nothing more than
the politics of prejudice, Senator Maida Coleman, D-St. Louis, blasted
Senate Republicans for stripping college building projects from the
state's metropolitan areas and Columbia while only supporting projects
in rural, Republican-represented districts in a bill heard in the
Senate Education Committee.
Senate Bill 389, a Republican-sponsored measure, originally called for
the sale of $350 million of MOHELA assets to fund college building
projects around Missouri. During an executive committee hearing
today, Senate Republicans eliminated some college building projects
listed in the bill that were to be built on campuses in St. Louis,
Kansas City, and Columbia, areas represented by Democrats. College
building projects in Republican-represented areas were protected.
"What the Republicans did today was not only political but it smacks
of prejudice," said Senator Coleman. "Voters in the last election
sent a clear message that they want Democrats and Republicans to work
together. The Republicans slapped Missouri voters in the face today
while snubbing students in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia. I am
sickened by this blatant disregard for the people of Missouri."
About $113 million in construction projects were eliminated from
Senate Bill 389. Thos projects include Harris-Stowe State
University's CORTEX Accelerator Facility; the Business Incubator
projects at Mizzou and UMKC; the Health Sciences centers at Mizzou and
UMKC; and the Center for Emerging Technologies II at UMSL.
Construction projects that were protected included the Business
Incubators in Springfield and Cape Girardeau.
"Eliminating business incubators at Mizzou and UMKC while protecting
the one in Springfield and Cape Girardeau is the worst kind of
partisan, prejudicial politics," Senator Coleman said, "and there is
absolutely no other reason for it. Republicans exhibited contempt for
higher education and economic development today by catering to some
ultra fringe groups who oppose any research freedoms on Democratic
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rep. Sam Page
February 7, 2007
Representative Sam Page leads fight against Cervical Cancer
Jefferson City - Today Representative Sam Page, a medical doctor from Creve
Coeur, Missouri, filed HB 802, legislation to help stop cervical cancer in
women. The legislation would specifically require middle-school aged girls to
receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, the first of its kind to
build immunity against strains of HPV, which lead to at least 70 percent of the
approximately 10,000 cervical cancer cases in the United States annually.
?This is an opportunity to prevent cancer in women? said Page, ?That isn?t
an opportunity we have had very often, and we must take advantage of it.?
The vaccine was approved by the federal government in July 2006. Last
Friday Texas became the first state to require the vaccine, and at least 17
states are debating similar legislation.
Under Page?s legislation, parents would be allowed to opt their daughters
out for medical or religious, as they can do now for other required vaccines.
Facts about cervical cancer and the vaccine:
* The vaccine blocks infection by common strains of human
papillomavirus (HPV) which also causes genital warts, and is the most common sexually
transmitted disease in the country.
* The American Cancer Society estimates there were 9,710 new cases of
cervical cancer in the United States in 2006 and the Food and Drug
Administration reports it kills about 3,700 Americans a year.
* Worldwide, cervical cancer is the No. 2 cancer in women, causing
over 470,000 new cases and 233,000 deaths a year.
* In Missouri, the 1996-2000 Surveillance, Epidemiology and End
Results (SEER) program reports that the incidence rate of cervical cancer in
African-American women in Missouri (15.7 per 100,000) is nearly double the rate for
white women (9.8 per 100,000). Death rates from the same SEER program report
among African-American women (5.7 per 100,000) are more than two times
higher than among white women (2.5 per 100,000).
* The vaccine is only effective if administered before infection; the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the vaccination
for females ages 11 to 26.
* The vaccine is not effective in men, who can get cancer from other
strains of HPV.
The mayor just brought a motion before the Board of E&A and instead of a second, there was silence.
The mayor then graciously thanked the Comptroller's Office for helping to make the deal better, said he didn't question the motives of the opponents and reiterated that there is strong support for the deal.
UPDATE: Emotions run high. An alderman just passed me in the hall saying, "We need to find a candidate for comptroller."
The protest to demand a public statement from Russ Carnahan opposing the surge is continuing at this hour in the Congressman's Manchester office.
There are about a dozen protesters outside the office and five women, including ACC contributor Angie O'Gorman, are inside and refusing to leave. The lone staffer, Carnahan communications man Glenn Campbell, hasn't yet called the police to forcibly remove them, apparently content to wait them out.
Who will win this duel of patience?
UPDATE: 10pm - Police are on the scene.
(Via the Kansas City Buzz Blog)
Maria, a three-month old toy poodle, is backing the Funk in this month's Kansas City Mayoral primary.
KC Candidate Mark Funkhouser is turning to one of his newest supporters, Maria, a 3 month-old toy poodle, in a web ad for his campaign.
In a Mr. Ed style move, Maria (aided by a dollop of peanut butter and a voiceover by an 8 year-old girl) sings Funkhouser's praise in the ad.
The KC candidate will likely bring the sunshine with him. Funkhouser was the city auditor from 1988 until his retirement in 2006. The former social worker is also a regular columnist for Local Government Auditing Quarterly, a journal he edited for eight years.
Kansas City Star columnist Steve Kraske wrote Sunday that Funkhouser is a solid second place. A good thing in the KC system where the top-two primary finishers go on to the general election in March.
You can watch the ad on Funkhouser's website.
Group wants Carnahan to make a stronger anti-surge statement. Rally at his office this afternoon.
As PubDef noted, the Board of Estimate and Review will hold a special meeting Wednesday at 10 a.m.There is no agenda posted online, but the BJC-Forest Park deal is likely the matter at hand.
The three-member Board of E&A must approve sign off on the deal for it to pass.
Question is, will this issue impact the race for President of the Board of Aldermen? Incumbent Board President James Shrewsbury opposes the proposed deal while Alderman Lewis Reed, 6th Ward, voted in favor of Board Bill 376CS which authorizes the lease between the city and BJC.
The group Protect Forest Park rounded up nearly 28,000 signatures, more than enough to swing the election one way or the other (and likely not far off the turnout for this March). The question is, will those who signed the petition vote? And will the candidates make an issue out of it?
Historically, the March primary has a low turnout. This election is likely to be close and a handful of votes in each ward could make or break a candidate.
Those green "Our Park is Not For Sale" signs are all over the city, in Shrewsbury strongholds as well as Reed's ward.
The issue seems tailor-made for the Shrewsbury, if he wants to make an issue of it. It's not a simple A or B situation, but "save our park" has a bit more zip than "investment and protection". Throw in an activist group working the television cameras everywhere they can, pushing the message, and the fact that it may draw in a few new voters and there may be a couple hundred votes in your favor.
Turning the issue against Shrewsbury may also be tough. Alderman Steven Gregali, Ward 14, called out Shrewsbury over his seemingly contrary positions when it comes to public space. Gregali asked how Shrewbury could support the creation of an animal shelter on a portion of Arsenal-Ellendale Park but oppose BJC expanding onto a portion of Forest Park.
Shrewsbury's response: The BJC deal is, essentially, giving public land to private interests while the animal shelter addresses a public need and no public money would be spent on it (construction is financed by the Animal House Fund. Operations will be paid for by the city which will transfer them from the old shelter once the new facility is open).
Shrewsbury really squares the circle by pointing out that the old shelter will be used to store materiel currently stored in Forest Park, freeing up greenspace in the park.
That said, the BJC deal will funnel $3.8 million a year into maintenance and upkeep for Forest Park, freeing up $1.6 million a year in city funds for other city parks. The deal would also allow the city's largest employer to expand its mammoth campus. The expansion will add more hospital beds to the busy hospital.
Will it be an issue? Or will the outcome of the E&A meeting give it the feeling of inevitability or victory, sapping it of any electoral weight?
House Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill, pulled the committee assignment of a fellow Republican over a change in Jessica's Law. The legislator, Rep. Scott Lipke, R-Jackson, removed 14 words in the law that would have banned gay sex in Missouri. The removal also weakens regulations banning adoption by gay couples.
The Columbia Daily Tribune has a copy of the letter Jetton sent explaining his decision to remove Lipke from the Crime Prevention and Public Safety committee. Jetton said no one caught the change in the final version when the 46-page law was passed last year. Lipke's change was removed in the Senate version, but Lipke reinstated it when it came back to the House.
Jetton conceded that Lipke's assertion that the law was unenforceable because of a 2003 Supreme Court ruling was correct, but said the move was a "big deal" because it makes it easier for gay couples to adopt.
Jetton ended saying that legislators felt they couldn't trust Lipke because of his failure to alert anyone to the original change, or his decision to reintroduce the change after other legislators removed it.
This Saturday, February 10, Senator Barack Obama will be at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, IL. In his own words, Senator Obama will outline his vision for a stronger America.
The event is free and open to the public.
WHEN: Saturday, February 10th -- Gates open at 9 AM
WHERE: Old State Capitol -- 6th St. and E. Adams St., Springfield, IL 62701
DETAILS: Please do not bring any bags or signs. Also, please limit personal items. This event will take place outside, so please dress warmly.
For further information, please call 217-544-0808.
While the overwhelming vote of the speakers gathered at Harris-Stowe State University last Tuesday was opposed to a possible state takeover, there was one dissenting voice that thrilled at the prospect: Board President Veronica O'Brien; who occasionally laughed to herself, rocking back and forth, seeming to enjoy the audience's boos, hisses and outbursts.
Though she said it was important everyone involved feel they have a chance to speak, her mind was made up.
"It can't come soon enough," said O'Brien before Tuesday's hearing.
As a publicly elected official calling for the dissolution of the office for which she has been elected, O'Brien is in a unique position. Additionally, oppposition to the takeover from parents, teachers and community leaders adds to her precarious position. A petition calling for O'Brien's resignation has even popped up (as of today, Steve Patterson's petition has reached 197 total signatures including Bill Purdy and Bill Haas). [Note: the petition only asks for her resignation from the board president position, not the board itself.]
That said, O'Brien is not backing down from her position on the board. Last Monday the school board voted 4-3 to give the board secretary, Flint Fowler, the legal power to sign off on contracts. A growing stack of unexecuted contracts tipped the scales in favor of the decision.
Before last Tuesday's public hearing O'Brien said the move changed nothing and that her signature, as board president, is still required. She contends that the board will now have to run down two signatures.
"If [Board Vice President Bill Purdy] and the others are trying to expedite [the process], its not happening," said O'Brien.
Asked about O'Brien's comments later in the evening, SLPS Board Member Peter Downs disputed her claim. Downs said the board secretary now has the legal authority to sign off on contract and that only one of the two signatures is required.
The Board President said the Monday meeting (at which her authority was watered-down) was a clear example of the need for a transitional board. She also said the board members were attempting to "govern by resolution" and that improving the district's health required more than a "few simple political tricks."
O'Brien emphasized that the district is not a legislative body, but a community of children whose futures are at stake. If the members want to play a parliamentary games, they should run for a city or state office, she added.
During my visit to Jefferson City last week, I found a remarkably strong bipartisan following to the scenario that Governor Matt Blunt might not run for re-election.
Support for this theory came from: 1. His poll numbers are so bad, yet he's not taking any bold or energetic action to lift them. 2. He has connections to make a graceful exit. 3. There's no political motive for not announcing his re-election intentions, so he must really be undecided.
In the Governor's office itself, these rumors are laughable. They actually laugh about it. They're running in 08. And they make two other points: 1. They claim that their internal polling has them running about 8 points above the widely-cited SurveyUSA polls. 2. They think the talk will die down when people see their April fundraising numbers which will not show a governor sitting on his hands, but one obviously preparing for his re-election.
Rod Jetton, Peter Kinder and Sarah Steelman all are poised to run for governor should Blunt decline. It would be a brawl.
Alderwoman Lyda Krewson, 28th ward, delayed the final passage of her scrap seller ID bill, which attempts to cut down on the number of scrap thefts that plague the city, to address scrap dealers' concerns over payments made by check.
Krewson's scrap thief crackdown measure will require scrap yards to keep detailed descriptions of materials purchased and the sellers, including the seller's license plate number, their photo, and a copy of their id. Those who fail to comply would face a $500 fine, 90 days in the city workhouse, or both, for each violation.
The delay did not keep the rest of the aldermen present from simultaneously asking to be a co-sponsor of the measure. Almost before Krewson had completed her description of the bill, several alderman were at the microphones.
Alderman Kenneth Ortmann, 9th ward, after requesting to become a co-sponsor, applauded a bill and described the type of situation the bill attempts to eliminate. Ortmann described an incident in his ward in which a suspect was caught by police after he was witnessed absconding from a building with copper downspouts. Police found several receipts from the sale of scrap metal to a local yard.
Krewson said she hoped to finalize the details next week.
From my recent visit to Jefferson City there seem to be at least five Republican senators against or leaning against the MOHELA legislation. Some positions are fluid, but right now it puts the GOP count at 16 votes, two shy of passage.
The senators against appear to be: Bartle, Ridgeway, Lager, Purgason, and Loudon. Bartle, Purgason and Loudon's opposition is considered consistent with concerns of the Missouri Catholic Conference which fears money being used for the construction of medical facilities that do stem-cell research.
Lager, meanwhile, is said to be open to the legislation, depending on how much his district would benefit. Complicating his vote may be his association with northwest Missouri's "Graves" faction of the GOP which tangles from time to time with southwest Missouri's "Blunt" faction.
Governor Blunt has been meeting one-on-one with Democratic senators trying to peel some off. Republicans speak confidently that some senators like Chuck Graham (D) will have to vote for the bill because it would funnel so much money into their districts.
But with the restrictions on stem cell, Graham is quite clearly a No vote, according to good sources and from his own statements. Furthermore, with the Flagship Council against the current proposal, and rumors are that the university's Alumni Association will also side against the legislation, Graham has enormous cover to vote against the funding.
In theory, if the above-mentioned five GOP senators defect, Blunt only needs one Dem to create a tie - 17-17 - which could be broken by Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder. In practice, a Democratic senator, like for example Harry Kennedy, would "take a walk," be absent for the vote, denying the GOP of a tie and of the necessary 18th vote. So he needs two, which is twice as hard to get than one.
Jake Zimmerman is the front runner to head the DHCC next cycle.
There are only three names in the pool right now and it'll likely be some combination or team. The other names mentioned are Margaret Donnelly and Rachel Storch. All three from St. Louis!
But both Donnelly and Storch have been mentioned as potential AG candidates which would be impossible to juggle with this responsibility.
There’s only one knock against Zimmerman: he’s not battle-tested. He ran unopposed and some folks think the experience of a tough campaign is helpful for the job. He will definitely be part of the team though with Donnelly or Storch, and may even head it up.
Clint Zweifel, meanwhile, gets good reviews for his effort last cycle – as does Storch who helped him. But he’s going to focus on some legislative action. He’s taking a lead in fights to stymie the GOP efforts of MOHELA and the Social Security tax cut.
Mayorslay.com has this news up.
Matt Villa (11) is introducing a bill this morning at the Board of Aldermen.
The build-out, which has an estimated cost of $7 million, would start this year, beginning in Downtown heading west to St. Louis University and Harris Stowe, extending north and south in the second year and eventually covering the entire city by 2010.
ATT is bearing the entire cost of the project; the city is contributing no funds. According to the arrangement - the first 20 hours per month of access would be free, beyond that users would have to pay. ATT is betting that people paying for more hours will cover their cost for providing the rest of the city's free wireless.
This is not an exculsive arrangement, and doesn't proclude another service provider from entering the market.
February 1, 2007
Majority of Aldermen Support Reed
(St. Louis, MO)--With tonight's addition of Alderwoman Lyda Krewson and the 28th Ward Organization to the Reed team, it became official that most of the city's aldermen want a change in leadership at the Board of Aldermen.
Krewson joins alderpersons from 14 other wards in supporting Lewis Reed as the new President of the Board of Aldermen.
Wards currently supporting Lewis Reed for President of the Board:
Ward 1 Charles Quincy Troupe
Ward 2 Dionne Flowers
Ward 3 Freeman M. Bosley, Sr.
Ward 4 O.L. Shelton
Ward 5 April Ford-Griffin
Ward 6 Lewis E. Reed
Ward 14 Stephen Gregali
Ward 15 Jennifer Florida
Ward 18 Terry Kennedy
Ward 19 Mike McMillan/Marlene Davis
Ward 22 Jeffrey Boyd
Ward 23 Kathleen Hanrahan
Ward 26 Frank Williamson
Ward 27 Gregory Carter
Ward 28 Lyda Krewson
In an effort to avoid the possibility of a divisive caucus split during an election year, the GOP's State House Caucus will elect a Speaker-elect this September who will then be Jetton's successor when he is termed in 2008.
Leading candidates for the job are Allen Icet from Wildwood, and Ron Richard from Joplin.
Molly Ivins-columnist, satirist, political firebrand, unabashed liberal and all-around excellent writer with a personality large enough to match her home state of texas-died yesterday at the age of 62.
The Star-Telegram, one of her early homes, remembers her.
My apologies to Kacie Triplett who's bio lost a couple of sentences in the print edition (bad jump). Here is the entire article by Brian Werner:
As Lewis Reed makes a bid for President of the Board of Alderman, three candidates now vie for the 6th Ward seat.
The 6th Ward is one of the City’s most diverse wards. It includes the western part of downtown and stretches from Arsenal to Martin Luther King Drive, taking in neighborhoods as different as Compton Heights and JeffVanderLou. The population of the ward is a majority African-American, but registered voters are of almost equal numbers African-American and Caucasian.
The three candidates, Patrick Cacchione, Christian Saller, and Kacie Starr Triplett present themselves to voters in varied fashion:
Patrick Cacchione is the President of Advocacy Strategies, a political consulting firm. A longtime participant in the Democrat Ward Organization, Cacchione is currently the Democratic Committeeman. He ran for Alderman in 1999, losing to Lewis Reed. In this race Cacchione has chosen to highlight his political experience, “the choice, I think is very clear. Do you want someone with over 20 years of public policy experience or not?”
Christian Saller worked for the St. Louis Development Corporation until resigning to run for alderman. Saller focuses on very specific ways that he would deal with development and other issues based on his experience with SLDC. He also asserts that, “the fact that I’m willing to dedicate myself full time to the job is something the other candidates can’t offer.”
Kacie Starr Triplett takes a much different approach. Triplett, who most recently worked for Congressman Russ Carnahan, speaks in broader, ideological terms. She talks about vision, energy, and new ideas.
“A lot of people don’t feel that their voice is being heard,” said Triplett. “It’s time for new direction.”
Ward Member Controversy
The 6th Ward Democratic Organization is an “open ward” which means that the organization’s endorsement is decided by a vote of its members. The endorsement in a “closed ward” is determined by the ward’s committeeman and committeewoman. Both Cacchione and Triplett have sought to gain the endorsement by bringing new members into the Organization, and a conflict ensued.
Triplett submitted a list of names for new members along with payment of their membership dues. However, Cacchione took issue with Triplett’s methods. Cacchione said that a precedent existed in the Organization of residents joining on an individual basis, either in person or by mail.
Whether Triplett broke any rules is unclear because the Executive Committee has not been able locate the Organization’s bylaws, which presumably would address the question. The Committee was aware that the bylaws were missing before this situation arose and, according to Cacchione, had already created a Committee to create new bylaws based upon an earlier draft.
“We were unable to locate our bylaws…absent those bylaws, I chose to operate on precedence…someone else decided to forego precedent and make up their own laws.”
In an attempt to settle the dispute, the Executive Committee, which Cacchione and Triplett are both members of, met on December 18th. The day before the meeting, Triplett said on her website:
It appears there is an attempt underway to remove over 100 members from our organization. Unfortunately, it is no coincidence that a vast majority of these members are African-American. This is an attempt by the current committeeman, Mr. Cacchione, to change the rules at the last minute and guarantee the endorsement for himself.
At the Executive Committee meeting, Ward President Mary Entrup and committeewoman Bev Bucheit took issue with this characterization, arguing that as new members were submitted as a list of names, they had no way of knowing the race of new members.
The Executive Committee was not able to reach a decision on the 18th, but Triplett and Cacchione reached a compromise days later, agreeing that all recent additions to the Organization would be accepted and the deadline to join the Organization would be extended another week.
Triplett believes that some of the opposition she has faced is from people who think she shouldn’t be running for the seat.
“Here in St. Louis we have a process…there’s a whole belief where you wait your turn,” said Triplet. “There are some people who are upset that I’ve skipped the line.” Saller, who has not been as involved in the 6th Ward Organization, said he has not felt any of the same opposition as Triplett. Saller stayed out of the new member controversy focusing instead on reaching voters in other ways.
All three candidates did speak at the ward endorsement meeting, and Cacchione won the endorsement handily with a reported vote count of over a hundred to Tripletts’ fifty-some votes and Saller’s single digit tally.
Though all the parties would have probably preferred to avoid the controversy, the big winner was clearly the 6th Ward Organization which is now probably the biggest in the city.
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