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October 8, 2007 

Keep 'Em Rolling 

The St. Louis Public Schools promise to keep the buses running during the driver's strike.

From SLPS spokesperson Deborah Sistrunk:
St. Louis – School continues as usual for the St. Louis Public Schools, despite an unauthorized work stoppage by Laidlaw bus drivers. Union leaders will be meeting with the bus drivers today at 1 p.m. Meanwhile, SLPS is doubling and tripling routes to ensure that all students are taken to school.  The district has arranged for more drivers to report to work this afternoon. Expectations are high that the strike will end quickly.

Posted by: at 11:20 am | Category: News Stew  |  Link & Discuss (1)

October 7, 2007 

Sherman and the Third Term 

What little trust and regard Black St. Louis ever held for this mayor and his advisors has been shattered, probably beyond repair. – American Editorial 10/4/2007

Dr. Donald Suggs defines the modern urban civil rights movement. While a large contingent of the African American civic leadership has remained rooted in the past, searching for the next Selma, Suggs’ editorial voice has grasped and articulated the fact that civil rights in 21st century is about economics and education.

Others have become stars of “calls for action” that faded within hours of packing up the press conference podium.  Suggs, through his paper the American, has been different. He’s been truly counter-cultural, bucking the easy blow-horn politics of racial division.  Instead he’s provided a vision of the justice that can be seen in a growing and thriving black middle class.

There is earthy wisdom to the crass pursuit of economic gains. Honest analysis admits that 4% growth in the local economy will do more to improve quality of life in the urban African Americans than the parade of protests against the indignity du jour.

When someone of his sensibilities, who’s taken up the mayor’s flank in successive unpopular endeavors – charter reform, school reform – writes a scathing editorial, serious political watchers must take note. On the matter of Sherman George, Suggs’ frustration seems to have boiled over.

Two political conclusions seem evident from the editorial. The first is the preeminence of mayoral chief of staff, Jeff Rainford. He has ascended to head boogey-man, a full partner in Slay’s misdeeds.

The second is about the Mayor’s political future.



The fall-out from the demotion of Fire Chief Sherman George is not a recall of Mayor Francis Slay. In fact a recall effort based around this issue would be a boon for Slay. It would energize his base, and alienate the central corridor.

Nor is the George fall-out likely to result in electoral defeat for Slay in 2009.  License Collector Mike McMillan is Black St. Louis’ best hope to unseat Slay.

In addition to McMillan’s famous cautiousness, there are three strikes against Mike in ‘09. First is money. His golden rolodex draws heavily on the business and development community. If those donors are forced to choose between the mayor and McMillan, they’ll choose the mayor. 

Second, despite winning a city-wide contest, McMillan doesn’t have a city-wide organization.  Without money, you need field.  Field can be built, but it’s not there right now.  

Finally the ultimate power in black-white contests is still the central corridor. The fire chief is hardly a central corridor cause celebre. Regardless of the unfortunate upsetting of the liberal impulse for racial parity, asking a Fire Chief to have leadership in the field is simply good government.

The fall-out from Sherman George is a difficult third-term for Slay.



The third term will begin with the departure of Jeff Rainford. He’ll go and make some money. Still even after that pound of flesh, Slay will find his third term conforms to the pattern of St. Louis politics where his friends dwindle, and his enemies circle.

Little things he pushed through easily will become struggles and laborious. And so his eye will turn elsewhere.

Assuming the Slay administration has financed its way out the pension sink-hole and set its various development projects chugging through their calendars, the third term will be about foreign policy.

The city agenda will become a regional agenda.  Slay will exert serious effort with County Executive Charles Dooley and find the places where the city and county can merge their services.  Rather than arm twisting and coalition building, the effort will be wonk heavy.  It’ll be position paper driven and typical to Slay’s style won’t sound particularly bold.  

As he eases toward retirement and candidates emerge to replace him, voters will seek the anti-Slay. Competence and hard work will be tedious attributes; vision and charisma will carry the day.


Posted by: at 12:26 am | Category: Sunday Essay  |  Link & Discuss (6)

October 5, 2007 

Bosley: "Oh shut your mouth" 

As with any fire, emotions have a tendency to flare back up when left to smolder.

Much of the fight over Fire Chief Sherman George's demotion to deputy chief happened while the board was out of session, and since then, it has continued behind closed doors.

The tensions brewed by the battle spilled over into the Board of Aldermen today, Bill O'Reilly style.

"Oh shut your mouth," said Alderman Freeman Bosley, Sr., Ward 3, in response to an interjection from Alderman Stephen Conway, Ward 8.

Bosley was asking the board for a moment of silent prayer in recognition of the racial issues that have often divide this city. Conway interjected with a point of order, but was drowned out by Bosley's retort.

Board President Lewis Reed asked the members to refrain from debating each other.

"It's not between me and the alderman from the third ward," said Conway. "It's the decorum of the board."

Reed asked for calm, acknowledging the tension that has arisen in the wake of Slay vs. George. He asked that all the members work together to ratchet down the animus and granted Bosley his moment of silent prayer.

Conway followed with his own announcements which, he pointedly noted, was the point of the announcement period.

"[This is] not a time for political commentary," said Conway.

Alderman Quincy Troupe, Ward 1, stood behind Bosley's statement saying that the statement may have been out of the proper order according the board's rules, but that it was in order when considering the larger mission of the board.

"It is our legislative duty," said Troupe. Troupe said it was necessary to address racism, that is was the disease that is, "destroying the marrow of this city."

After the meeting Reed said the board was facing some increasing tension, but that the board has faced down divisive issues in the past, such as the caustic 2001 redistricting fight that is still a source of anger for many board members.

"I am completely confident we can work through this," said Reed.

Alderman Fred Wessels, Ward 13, said the last four years have been calm for the board of alderman. He cited the departure of some board members as well as the city's broadening success as factors.

"Mayor's have made appointments they have regretted," said Wessels. However, he couldn't remember a time when a department head publicly refused a direct order from the Mayor.

Chief George was appointed by Mayor Francis Slay's predecessor, Mayor Clarence Harmon, but Slay retained George despite some differences.

Posted by: at 1:45 pm | Category: News Stew  |  Link & Discuss (0)

Cunningham Fundraiser w/ a Democrat on Drums 

Later ths month Rep. Jane Cunningham will have a fundraiser to support her senate campaign.

The honorary host committee for the Oct 27 event shows lots of support in her district: state senator Scott Rupp; former county executive candidate Craig Borchelt; Town and Country mayor Jonathan Dalton; Creve Coeur mayor Harold Dielmann; former state senator Franc Flotron; Representatives Allen Icet, Charles Portwood and Timothy Jones; Fenton mayor Dennic Hancock; Chesterfield mayor John Nations; Peter Herschend; Ethelmae Humphreys; Joan Langenberg; Sam Licklider and Menlo Smith.

The theme is Rock Around the Clock and the band is the Facts O' Life, featuring former Democratic state representative Fred Kratky.


Posted by: at 11:54 am | Category: See You There  |  Link & Discuss (3)

October 3, 2007 

58th District 

I've had a chance to meet both declared candidates in the 58th District, Sam Coleman and Reverend James Morris.  They're running to replace Rodney Hubbard. It's shaping up as a good race as both are passionate about the issues and are respected in the community.

It is said that Coleman will have most of the elected officials in the district behind his campaign. Expect a good turn-out of from those endorsers at his kick-off, October 16.

Morris, meanwhile, boasts endorses from Alderman Terry Kennedy and Congressman Lacy Clay.


Posted by: at 4:11 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (0)

October 2, 2007 

Mayor Recall 

Backlash from the George demotion has started talk of a mayoral recall.

Here are the specifics: Per Article III, Section 2, of the City Charter, a recall petition directed at a citywide elected official must contain the signatures of at least 20% of the registered voters in the City of St. Louis at the time of the last mayoral election (i.e., 43,456), and include the signatures of at least 20% of the registered voters at that time in each of at least 2/3 of the wards (about 18 wards) in the city.  As you may recall from previous recall efforts, there is currently no legal requirement that proponents of a recall officially notify the Election Board (or anyone else) that such an effort is underway, nor is there any restriction on how long proponents can be gathering signatures before they submit their petition.


Posted by: at 10:18 am | Category: News Stew  |  Link & Discuss (4)

Combest Gets Engaged 

Great news for John; bad news of his traffic. All the teens that were flocking to his site each day will be distraught that he's no longer their single dreamboat and find another stud blogger to idolize.


Posted by: at 10:18 am | Category: People  |  Link & Discuss (0)

October 1, 2007 

Young Dems Mixer 

 Young Dems
Fall Social
Wednesday, October 3rd
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Laclede Street Bar & Grill
3818 Laclede
St. Louis, MO 63108
Free Admission
Free food and 2 for 1 drink specials.
Spread the word - Bring your friends - Enjoy a fun evening with fellow
Young Democrats
For more information about the YD's email [email protected]

Posted by: at 2:58 pm | Category: See You There  |  Link & Discuss (1)

F.I.R.E. Statement on George Demotion 

Mayor Slay has demoted Sherman George. Jake has the story here.

And here is F.I.R.E.'s statement. It calls the demotion "lawless" and says that the "Mayor puts politics, ego and personal gain ahead of the law and the safety our citizens."

According to the Properties function on the document, it was authored by Lizz Brown.


Posted by: at 12:42 pm | Category: News Stew  |  Link & Discuss (2)

Harris Announcement in 86 

BatJan and robinRobin Harris had his kick-off last weekend. Harris is running in District 86, currently represented by Jane Cunningham. Cunningham introduced Harris as someone who would "represent the district well."

In a previous post, I referred to the 86th as a safe Republican district. One of my Democratic friends took issue with that assessment, writing: "I disagree with that characterization.  It leans GOP but is not safe in an open seat race.  If we recruit a good candidate (an open question, admittedly), it will be worth paying attention to."

You can read Harris' announcement speech here. The issues he cites are: continuing economic growth, addressing the rising property taxes, and dealing with illegal immigration.


Posted by: at 11:23 am | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (0)

Hub gets Clay Endorsement 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO) announced today his support for State Representative Rodney Hubbard for State Senate.

Citing Hubbard’s experience and proven leadership, Congressman Clay,  a former state senator himself, said St. Louis would greatly benefit from having Hubbard in the senate.

“I’ve known Rodney for several years and I’ve watched as he’s been able to bring diverse people together to benefit the people of his district,” said Congressman Clay.

“St. Louis needs Rodney’s passion and energy in the Missouri senate fighting for jobs, economic development, and educational opportunities for the people of the 5th District,” said Clay.

State Representative Hubbard said he was honored to have the congressman’s support. “I am blessed to have Congressman Clay’s support and endorsement, as well as the support of several other elected officials, including President of the Board of Aldermen Lewis 
Reed and License Collector Mike McMillan. These are people who I respect greatly and I am proud to have their support in my campaign for state senate.”

Clay also echoed the sentiments of many others in noting the importance of keeping a St. Louis’ legislative delegation diverse.

State Representative Rodney Hubbard has served in Missouri House of Representatives since 2002. His district is composed of parts of Downtown, Old North St. Louis, and Central West End.


Posted by: at 8:10 am | Category: Endorsement  |  Link & Discuss (0)

September 30, 2007 

Looking for a Banjo Player 

Every year, we get the band back together.  The Dave Drebes Players.  (Originally we were going to be called Dave Drebes and the Dave Drebes Players, but that seemed a bit much.)

The first year, I did it by myself, layering sounds into an eight-track.  The second year. Kurt Groetsch and Jenna Bauer joined on guitar and bass.  The third year Jeff Smith joined on drums and Fred Hessel on guitar. And it really feel like a kickin band. Last year, the fifth year, Kraig Schnitzmeier took over durms and Matt Siemer replaced Groetsch (who went to China) on guitar and Brian Werner joined with his mandolin.

I spend the first six months of the year writing music, trying to find five or six songs.  Now is the point where we get together and start to work on the songs. Rehearse and record them.  Then we usually play one show.

During the writing process, there’s usually one song that helps me define the year’s project.  Last year the song was Blue. The mandolin made the song whole and bringing in a new instrument helped the band I think.  You can hear Blue here.


Driving down the highway to where that river is,

Drop by drop I slowly lose the night.

Even in my sleep I swear I never can forget

The random punishment that’s in this life.

I was sleeping in the waiting room I was

Waiting in my sleep.

I stayed up all night just to hear some news

Couldn’t help but circle back to those thoughts I shouldn’t think like

I was the cause of this happening to you.

Blue’s the color of my ink.

I sketch you even in my sleep.

I write it down

I write it down in blue.

Blue’s my love and blue’s my mourn.

Blue’s my shape I’ve become


Everything I do I do in blue.



This year the song that has me mildly captivated is called Goofin.  And I think a banjo would juice it up a bit.  If you play banjo, or know someone who does, send me an email .


Posted by: at 9:55 am | Category: Sunday Essay  |  Link & Discuss (0)

September 29, 2007 

Saturday Stew 

Here are a couple of tid-bits from various state rep. campaign around St. Louis:

  • Robin Harris will hold his kick-off tonight. He's running to replace Rep. Jane Cunningham, who's running for state senate. Harris, a pilot, is the only person to come forward for that seat so far. It's a safe Republican district.
  • Stacey Newman will hold her kick-off tomorrow night. She's running to replace Margaret Donnelly, who's running for attorney general. That looks to be a lively primary with two other announced candidates, Steve Brown and Gina Mitten.
  • Deb Lavender has her website up. Lavender is a Democrat running against Republican incumbent Rick Stream in South St. Louis County's 94th District.

Posted by: at 9:02 am | Category: News Stew  |  Link & Discuss (0)

September 28, 2007 

Board Recognizes Fire Chief George's 40 Years 

 A resolution recognizing Fire Chief Sherman George picked up some additional co-sponsors after being introduced this morning.

Aldermen Craig Schmid (20th), Lyda Krewson (28th), Stephen Gregali (14th) and Stephen Conway (8th) all asked to have their names added to the resolution which was put forward by the Aldermanic Black Caucus.

The resolution come before an upcoming celebration honoring George for 40 years of public service.

"This resolution would put the board on the record," as honoring George's "exemplary" service, said Alderman Terry Kennedy (18th).

The resolution had the potential to spark some controversy. The ongoing struggle between George and Mayor Fracis Slay over Fire Department promotions has tapped into one of the cities most persistent and deep fissures: race.

The measure wasn't all pleasantries; apparently potential disputes were put down in private. There was some displeasure expressed that the board passed a resolution last week praising Police Chief Joe Mokwa in his time of troubles, but did not put forward one for George.

There have been accusations others have concluded that the two situations have been treated differently because of race: the white police chief vs. the African-American fire chief.

The resolution supporting Mokwa in the face of a "no-confidence" vote on the part of the police union was seen as a safe bet. A position borne out by less than 50% of the members even participating in the vote which went against Mokwa.

The struggle between George and Slay was a bit harder to pin down. Support for George could imply opposition to Slay, a Mayor who finds some, but far from overwhelming support in the African-American community backing George. Slay's support does matter, however, in parts of the South Side where the sympathy leans towards Slay in what they say is a personnel dispute between a superior and subordinate.

While some may dispute George's decision to stand firm, or Slay's decision to issue a direct order, no one can knock George's experience or accomplishments. Thus the honor is a far easier needle to thread. 

Posted by: at 12:24 pm | Category: News Stew  |  Link & Discuss (0)

Board Backing George? 

The Board of Alderman in taking up a resolution this morning sponsored by the Black Aldermanic Caucus that would voice support for Fire Chief Sherman George.

Members of the caucus stood with supporters last Friday in a rally before City Hall in support of the chief. 

Posted by: at 10:20 am | Category: News Stew  |  Link & Discuss (0)

Archdiocese v Sex Drugs & Rock N Roll 

As reported by the PD, Archdiocese steps in to halt revue at former church, Thursday's opening night for New Line Theatre's Sex, Drugs & Rock and Roll at Ivory Theater, formerly St. Boniface, was blocked by a restraining order. The Archdiocese seeks to enforce restrictions found in Exhibit A, page 4, of the 2005 Special Warranty Deed (11012000-0263 St. Louis City Recorder) from St. Louis City Catholic Church Real Estate Corporation to Rothschild Allen LLC. A.2.(f) prohibits "live performances directed to an adult audience rather than the general public". Some of the other restrictions, (a) the property may not be used for religious activities by Roman Catholics "not possessing the express ecclesiastical approval of the Roman Catholic Church" or (d) a massage or tattoo parlor. 

Posted by: at 9:40 am | Category: News Stew  |  Link & Discuss (2)

September 27, 2007 

Wartime Contract Review Commission Gets Support 

Sen. Claire McCaskill's promise to bring a Trumanesque contract review commission is moving closer to a reality. Co-sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb, the ammendment would expand oversight and create a bi-partisan commission that would oversee any and all wartime contracts.

Of the many contractors likely unhappy about oversight after all these many years,
Blackwater is likely to complain the most. A provision in the ammendment would study the effect of the increasing outsourcing of wartime activities.

The ammendment was attatched to the Senate version of the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill today. The bill still has to be voted on in the Senate before it goes to he house.

“Never before in U.S. history have we seen such waste, fraud, and abuse, costing the American people billions of dollars.  This amendment is not about politics; it’s about reform.  It is about looking forward and finding a way to contract that is fiscally responsible while still protecting the strength of our military,” said Senator McCaskill in a press release.

The ammendment is potentially controversial and it may still be dropped from the final bill.

The total number of private contractors in Iraq rivals the U.S. military. Blackwater alone has tens of thousands of troops providing security while others work on reconstruction, support and logistics. 

Posted by: at 9:40 pm | Category: News Stew  |  Link & Discuss (4)

Gunn's Event Last Night 

Kevin Gunn, running in the 15th Senate District, had a packed house last ngiht at his kick-off.

The cars were parked for blocks around, and inside there were elected officials, candidates running for other offices and lots of neighbors and residents of the district.

Democrats think that this seat could turn Democratic this year. Republican incumbent Mike Gibbons is termed out.

My most interesting conversation was with a man who moved into Webster Groves in 1982. He says at that time his yard was the only one that sported a Democratic sign around election time. Slowly he's seen the neighborhood change. There's a whole row of Democratic yard signs on his street now, he says.

It'll be a long campaign, but Gunn's off to a strong start.


Posted by: at 4:08 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (3)

Lizz Brown Off the Air - For Now 

As Frank notes over on his Media Watch, WGNU ownership changed yesterday 3pm. 

They've suspended regular programming as they make significant changes to the operations. They sent letters to the regular hosts indicating the new direction.

They will be offering Christian music during the daytime, and gospel music in the evening with transition talk between 7-9pm. Some of the old hosts will be invited to participate in that time slot. They are also seeking new hosts. The talk will be urban oriented, but not necessarily Christian.

Will Lizz find a home in this new time slot? or somewhere else? 



Posted by: at 4:36 pm | Category: Media Matters  |  Link & Discuss (0)

Newman Announced Support from Holden 

Brown announced McCaskill; Newman has Holden.

Here's the press release:

Stacey Newman, candidate for State Representative in the 73rd district, formally kicks off her campaign this Sunday, September 30. 

Headlining her endorsements are Governor  Bob Holden and former First Lady Lori Hauser Holden.  Many other elected officials and  community leaders are also voicing their support.

“Stacey  Newman’s tremendous commitment and support of Democratic values prove that she  has the type of leadership that we need in Jefferson  City to take  back control of the House,” said Holden.   “She has  ‘been there’ working on many issues and is not just ‘talk’.   Stacey is committed to public education  funding and healthcare access and has demonstrated she is a team player by her  work on behalf of countless Democratic
candidates across the  state.”

“Lori  and I are very enthusiastic that she has announced her candidacy.  Stacey has worked tirelessly and  passionately on behalf of women’s health and child safety.  We both know that her strong leadership  will be an asset as women ’s increased participation in government is badly  needed,” added Holden.

Judge  Debra Carnahan, wife of Congressman Russ Carnahan and national board member of  Planned Parenthood, also endorses Newman, citing her work on behalf of numerous  women’s and children’s issues, such as access to birth control, HPV anti-cancer  vaccine availability and children’s access to firearms  legislation.

Additional  endorsements include State Senator Rita Heard Days – 14th District,  State Representatives John L. Bowman, Sr.  – 70th District, Jeanette Mott Oxford – 59th District, and Robin Wright -Jones – 63rd  District, St. Louis; Alderwoman Lyda Krewson, Police Chief Carl Wolf,  Alvin Brooks - former Kansas City Mayor  Pro Tem and Rev. B.T. Rice, New Horizon 7th Day Adventist Church.

They  all worked with Newman in Jefferson  City  on a variety of issues including advocating for domestic violence firearm  protections and fighting the conceal and carry legislation that was pushed  through despite the 1999 vote of the people against concealed  weapons.

Newman,  currently the executive director of the Missouri Women’s Coalition, is also endorsed by the following former elected officials:  Ken Jacob, former Senate Minority Leader;  May Scheve Reardon, former Missouri Democratic Party chair; and Sheila Lumpe,  former State Representative – 72nd District.

Newman  formerly worked for the DNC and the Missouri Democratic Party and is married to  Burt Newman, an attorney in St.  Louis.  Their daughter, Sophie, is a freshman at Clayton High  School.

Her  campaign kickoff will take place Sunday, September 30, 5 to 7  pm, at her  home in Richmond Heights.  


Posted by: at 11:10 am | Category: Endorsement  |  Link & Discuss (6)

September 26, 2007 

Nasheed Announces "In It 2 Win" Ribbon Cutting 

On Monday, October 1, 2007, the newly formed In It 2 Win Coalition will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Turner Middle School to launch its plan to reclaim as many as 2,000 dropouts from the St. Louis Public Schools that will enable them to finish their high school educations.

The In It 2 Win Coalition is a grassroots partnership organized by State Representative Jamilah Nasheed, which consists of the St. Louis Public Schools, Rev. Noella Austin Buchanan of St. James AME Church and several other St. Louis area churches, the St. Louis NAACP, and Alderman Sam Moore. 

The In It 2 Win Coalition’s mission is to have religious, political, and community-based leaders join forces and resources to reach high school dropouts between the ages of 14 and 21. The Coalitions’s Plan is to reach these dropouts through an organized grassroots campaign, which will involve a phone bank, door-to-door canvassing, and motivational interviewing.


Posted by: at 2:27 pm | Category: See You There  |  Link & Discuss (0)

Morris Kick-off Tomorrow Night 

Tomorrow night (Thursday) Reverend James T. Morris will kick-off his bid to replace Rodney Hubbard in the 58th District. Morris is pastor at the Lane Tabernacle CME Church.

The event will be 6:30 - 8:30 at the Sheldon Kemper Atrium.  His campaign is being staffed by Tonya Ogden.

The other expected candidates are Sam Coleman and Bill Haas.


Posted by: at 11:17 am | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (0)

September 25, 2007 

Huge Host Committee for Donnelly 

For her fundraiser tonight.

Jeff Harris - who announced the endorsement of  International Union of Operating Engineers Local 513 today - also has a fundraiser in St. Louis tonight; And Chris Koster has a St. Louis fundraiser on Thursday as everyone races to get checks in before the Sept. 30 quarter deadline.


Posted by: at 11:55 am | Category: Campaign Finance Filings  |  Link & Discuss (6)

September 24, 2007 

McCaskill Endorses Steve Brown 

In what is being described as a rare primary endorsement, Senator Claire McCaskill is endorsing Steve Brown in his bid for state representative of the 73rd District.

As far as I know, McCaskill had made no other primary endorsements.

Here is the press release

ST. LOUIS September 24, 2007 - United States Senator Claire McCaskill has endorsed Democratic Steve Brown, candidate for State Representative in the 73rd District.

            Although it is extremely unusual for an incumbent Senator to endorse a candidate in a primary, McCaskill cited Brown’s experience and character as reasons for her support.

“Steve Brown is a smart, hard-working public servant,” McCaskill said. “I know he will be a fantastic state representative and I strongly endorse his candidacy.  His experience as an assistant attorney general will serve him and his district very well.”

Brown, who served in the Attorney General’s office as Deputy Chief Counsel for the Eastern District of Missouri, is the nephew of legendary Representative Sue Shear, who represented the district in the 1970’s and 1980s. In the Attorney General’s office, Brown handled a variety of consumer protection and criminal cases, serving as the lead prosecutor on the “No-Call Attack Team” where he tracked violators of the state’s no-call laws and made sure they paid hefty civil penalties for harassing citizens.

“I am honored to have the support of Senator McCaskill,” Brown said. “Her election to the U.S. Senate represented a new era for the Democratic Party in Missouri. She has been a strong and outspoken voice for many of the progressive causes I will champion in the Legislature.”   

McCaskill is the second high-ranking Missouri Democrat to endorse Brown. In early September, Brown received the support of former State Treasurer Nancy Farmer, who cited Brown’s staunch support of public education and reproductive freedom.

Born and raised in St. Louis County, Brown graduated from Denison University in Ohio and received his law degree from Washington University.  He and his wife, Rebecca, have two children, 3-year old Ben and 3-month-old Sarah.


Posted by: at 2:27 pm | Category: Endorsement  |  Link & Discuss (7)

Latest Blunt Approval Ratings 

47% according to SurveyUSA; with 48% disapproval. 

Posted by: at 12:54 pm | Category: polls  |  Link & Discuss (0)

"Put it in Writing": New Rule for Lawyer's Contributions 

The St. Louis Business Journal reports that this past July, the Missouri Bar Association adopted a new rule explicitly stating what has been standard practice.

From the Journal:
 Rule 4-7.6 states "a lawyer or law firm shall not accept a government legal engagement or an appointment by a judge if the lawyer or law firm makes a political contribution or solicits political contributions for the purpose of obtaining or being considered for that type of legal engagement or appointment."
The rule has already been adopted by the American Bar Association. It appears to be a standard clarification of what is standard practice in all matters involving campaign contributions, whatever the industry.

The Journal story included this interesting passage: "Whether a real threat or a convenient excuse, the rule is being used by some lawyers to avoid making widespread political contributions as they have in the past. Other lawyers say it won't impact their contributions."

Is the new rule providing cover for individuals or companies that feel strong-armed into contributing to campaigns? Or is it merely a way to politely demur from answering a fund-raising call?

Most of the lawyers quoted in the piece say, "no change". So is it just a formality, adopting a national standard, or an effort to make sure the Bar is covered if improper behavior is discovered? 

Posted by: at 10:10 am | Category: News Stew  |  Link & Discuss (0)

September 23, 2007 

Let's Use the Arch Grounds 

After decades of public service, Senator Jack Danforth has one more present for St. Louis. 

Ten years ago, he turned his monsterous family fortune inward. They changes from trying to solve the problem of education around the nation, to trying to solve the problem of St. Louis.

Enter 2004, a Danforth bet that was more handsomely placed than rewarded. The effort spawned a new upper-middle class of organizers and consultants, and inadvertently installed a shadow government to rival the Bosley administration.  Many of the lofty goals never took off, others fell victim to the usual St. Louis turfism.

The successes however can still be seen. In particular Great River Greenway, and moving the fate of Downtown to center stage.

This latest plan continues on the success of Downtown’s rebirth. It’s pretty simple: Use the Arch Grounds better. 

As simple as it is, as I’ve spoken with people about the proposal, I’m surprised at the resistance. 

The Arch is deep in the St. Louis psyche and talk about changes to the ground on which it stands rustles the St. Louis attitudes.

For all the 2004 boosterism, the burgeoning loft district downtown, the reversal of population losses, the fabulous restaurants that endless spring up around town.  For all of this, St. Louisans just can’t brag.  And just can’t bring themselves to believe that there really is “gold in them thar hills.”

Often it’s the architecture that’s overlooked. In this case, it’s the river.

The Mississippi River.

Count the songs, read the books, imagine its history and future. That river is a muse, a work-horse and the reasoning that we are where we are.

You hear St. Louisans talk about it and they just don’t get it. They won’t acknowledge its power.  They won’t believe that it’s special. “Nah, it’s just the Mississippi.”

And maybe that’s the fault of our planners. The river is separated from the city, by barriers.  We don’t see it. We take it for granted. We forget it's even there.

But the Danforth plan is clear, we need the Arch grounds to make the river more accessible, to see and experience the river.  The Arch is a civic treasure.  But so is the river. We need to use both.

It’s a no-brainer to me. Use the land. Make the Arch more friendly experience and make the river another reason that St. Louis is a special place.


Posted by: at 11:42 am | Category: Sunday Essay  |  Link & Discuss (4)

September 21, 2007 

5 Minutes With Charles Bryson 

That's around how much time St. Louis Fire Chief Sherman George spent in the Public Safety Director's office this afternoon.

After being met at the front door of City Hall by a throng of chanting supporters, George was accompanied by his lawyer and City Marshalls as he ascended to the Directors office on the 4th floor.

Upon George's departure a few minutes later, he would only say it was a private meeting and that he had no comment.

Posted by: at 1:23 pm | Category: News Stew  |  Link & Discuss (3)

Let the Sunshine In 

State Rep. Jeff Harris, currently a contender for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General, pledges to create a Sunshine Law enforcement unit in the Attorney General's office if elected.

The new unit will act as a magnifying glass, focusing on complaints of Sunshine Law violations by state and local officials.
“Public officials too often openly disregard the Sunshine Law because they know the chances of an aggrieved citizen or media outlet taking on a rigorous court challenge are small,” Harris said in a press release. “By having a Sunshine Law Enforcement Unit within the Attorney General’s Office dedicated to investigating and prosecuting complaints, government officials will know that violating the law will carry real consequences.”
In 2004 Harris sponsored the Sunshine Law Electronic Upgrade Act which brought emails under the purview of the law, just like paper correspondence.

Emails have been at the root of a dispute between Ed Martin, Governor Matt Blunt's chief of staff, and the Springfield News-Leader.  The SNL is requesting emails from Martin, and the Governors office has replied that they are regularly destroyed, not preserved as the laq requires. 

Posted by: at 11:54 am | Category: News Stew  |  Link & Discuss (2)

Friday Stew - Reps, Bundlers and Others 


  • Reps. Talib El-Amin and Rodney Hubbard traveled to Louisiana to show their support for the Jena 6.


  • St. Louis is a prime place for top tier fundraisers. This website shows the bundlers for various candidates.  Hillary has Joyce; Obama has Bob Clark and Leslie Bond; Romney has Stephen Brauer and Jeff Fox; Guiliani and McCain have no local names.


  • Mike Colona's website is up.





Posted by: at 9:58 am | Category: News Stew  |  Link & Discuss (0)

September 20, 2007 

Pritt Pulls 8 Votes 

Drew Pritt received 8 votes in Tuesday's Little  Rock School District Zone 2 Election. He got on the ballot by  securing at least 20 voter signatures on a  petition.

Posted by: at 4:16 pm | Category: People  |  Link & Discuss (3)

September 19, 2007 

Fundraising Frenzy 

With a little more than a week left before the September quarter ends, it's fundraising frenzy among 2008 candidates.

Here's the invitation to Sam Page's KC event next week. He's lined up a lot of House members.


Posted by: at 2:20 pm | Category: Campaign Finance Filings  |  Link & Discuss (0)

September 18, 2007 

Couple of new candidate websites 

Sam Page. Democrat running for Lieutenant Governor.

Kevin Gunn. Democrat running for senate in Webster Groves.

Mark Zoole. Democrat running for the House in West County.


Posted by: at 4:30 pm | Category: Media Matters  |  Link & Discuss (2)

September 17, 2007 

Robin's Announcement 

Next week Rep. Robin Wright Jones will make a formal announcement that she is running for the 5th Senate District.

The seat is currently held by Sen. Maida Coleman.  Wright Jones will join Rep. Rodney Hubbard as the only formally announced candidates. Rep. Tom Villa is also looking at the race.

I wrote about this race about a year ago in the St. Louis Business Journal. Since then Rep. Connie Johnson has apparently decided to pass on the race.  This changes the dynamics somewhat. But there will still be two African American candidates and one white candidate, raising the possiblity that the city will have an all-white senate delegation, something we haven't seen in a long, long time.

Last November Matthew Murphy created a spreadsheet to gauge how this race would split. That post is here.


Posted by: at 2:43 pm | Category: 08  |  Link & Discuss (2)

September 16, 2007 

The Thing About Ed 

I first met Ed at a party with lots of people I didn’t know. We ended up in a shouting match.

For those of you who don’t know me, that’s doesn’t happen to me much. Actually it may have been the first and only time that’s ever happened to me.

I was part of a group Metropolis and we’d had a speaker from Planned Parenthood talk about leadership at one of our meetings.  Ed thought that was an outrage. I thought he was an outrage. We argued until we shouted.

A couple of years later I was publishing Arch City Chronicle and Ed emailed me out of the blue.  He offered to write a conservative column.  From the tone of his email, we were old chums even though at this point our only interaction had been shouting at one another at a party.

Reconciliation is always preferable to enmity.

And we did needed a conservative voice, and Ed couldn’t be a bad guy, he’s a friend of my brother-in-law.

So Ed was in. And he was controversial. He went after the judges; he went after the school board; he went after anything that moved. He generated more letters to the editor than the rest of us combined.  That’s the thing about Ed – he calls it the way he sees it; and he doesn’t apologize for speaking the truth – as he sees it.

Now here we are even more years later, Ed is the governor’s chief of staff. He goes into a meeting about immigration, thumps the table and lets loose some poorly-chosen words.

I might as well mention that my views on immigration veer toward the fringe. In fact, I’m so far left of Ed on immigration that I might even be to the right of him, if you know what I mean. I believe in open borders. I believe that the cornerstone of free society is the freedom to come and go as you please. Combest will call me “hippy-dippy”, but the land is God’s, not ours. “The land is Mine; you are but strangers resident with Me.” And we have no right to tell people they can’t come and live here.

My untimely position aside, Ed’s comments were seized on, piled on, and painted around. Then they mounted the charge that his comments were so disrespectful that he must resign.

That’s absurd.

The idea that we should force public servants to resign when they make politically incorrect comments during policy discussions is ridiculously misguided. It would mark the sinking of serious policy discussion, leaving participants handcuffed to cautious and calculated language, with little room beyond accepted group-think assumptions. 

Yes, Ed’s full of bluster here and there. But these are big issues. I’ll take table thumping over meekness any day – even when I disagree with it.

On the matter of emails, well, there’s no defense for that. Ed should keep his emails archived, no big deal.


Posted by: at 8:15 am | Category: Sunday Essay  |  Link & Discuss (10)

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