TITLE: 3rd District Tidbit
DATE: 12/12/2003 - [Link]
The ACC beat me to the punch, but I promised Barry's campaign I'd point out they hired Fraioli & Associates as a national fundraiser. Funds will be an important determinant of who besides Russ and Steve Stoll can be competitive in this race.
TITLE: 3rd District Endorsement Watch
DATE: 12/12/2003 - [Link]
Steve Stoll pulls in the National Education Association endorsment. NEA endorsements are important because they can generally provide lots of bodies to campaign and get out the vote.
TITLE: The Power of Incumbent Pork
DATE: 12/10/2003 - [Link]
Beating the drum for why Bond will be so hard to take down is pretty easy when he gets press releases issued as news stories. Via John Combest the Biz Journal details the projects in the Omnibus bill for which Bond is taking credit.
TITLE: Both Funny and Terrifying
DATE: 12/10/2003 - [Link]
Go read the Legends threat at Coptalk also Funny Roll Calls and Legends; cont
TITLE: Speaking of the East Side
DATE: 12/10/2003 - [Link]
The problems in District 189 continue. Yesterday, the Belleville News-Democrat reported that six demoted administrators will maintain their salaries in their positions as teachers and desk job administrators. The longer story does point out that if they stay at those jobs during the next year they will be returned to the level of pay for the positions. The good news here is that the District is holding principals and special ed administrators accountable for results.
TITLE: Speaking of Other Publications
DATE: 12/10/2003 - [Link]
The Commonspace Blog points out a couple interesting developments....
The Public Defender appears to have some sort of on-line presence. As Brian points out, the question remains if Antonio will give Joe Daus his money's worth.
Amanda points out Mike Seely's well done article on the political machinations at KDHX. I'm in danger of giving good press to the RFT two weeks in a row--and with the conflict of interest of being the minor subject of one of the articles. Hopefully the trend continues. While I've been skeptical of some of the changes, this is a good sign.
-------- TITLE: Synergy Alert AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 12/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: (shamelessly stolen title from Eric Zorn)
I have an article on the absurd complaints about the suspension of site-based management in the SLPS in the Arch City Chronicle. Full story is only available in dead tree edition. Think of old grandmother's warnings about shacking up if you wonder why.
For those looking for a great Christmas gift, consider the ACC and The CommonSpace membership together for the fabulous price of $60 -------- TITLE: Sherffius Gone AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 12/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Romanesko has the memo
John Sherffius, the Post-Dispatch editorial cartoonist for the past five years, has resigned effective immediately. This was John's decision, saying he did not feel his work was a good fit for the paper any longer.
I'm going to indulge a little and poke whitefolks in the eye for a minute. But I'll be more specific and poke whitefolks from St. Louis who voted during the 80s. Every once in a while blackfolks get accused of being paranoid about race. But then somebody like say, Mark Fuhrman, gets outed and blackfolks say, where the hell were all you good whitefolks whan this person got power?
"The strong language shows a lapse in civility but doesn't paint him as a white supremacist," says Baum. "It doesn't sound like Earl. He must have been imbibing when he did that. As far as the rhetoric is concerned, I don't go along with that."
"The strong language shows a lapse in civility but doesn't paint him as a white supremacist," says Baum. "It doesn't sound like Earl. He must have been imbibing when he did that. As far as the rhetoric is concerned, I don't go along with that."
Dr. Deval Patrick
Several years ago, the magazine Heterodoxy ran an article about Dr. Deval Patrick, the negro who replaced Alan Bakke at the University of California-Davis Medical School as a result of its ?Affirmative-Action? program. Mr. Bakke sued California?s Board of Regents in what eventually became a landmark Supreme Court Case, Bakke v. Board of Regents of the University of California.
Dr. Patrick managed to graduate from Cal-Davis? medical school, and became a plastic surgeon in the Los Angeles area. To date, Dr. Patrick has at least one kill to his record.
It seems that Dr. Patrick performed liposuction upon a woman patient in his office, who later developed a severe infection and died from it. When the woman upon whom he performed the liposuction returned to his office a few days following her surgery -- rather than take her to the emergency room of some hospital -- instead, Dr. Patrick had his "nurse" (i.e., girlfriend) take this patient to his own house, whereupon she died. He was obviously trying to hide her condition from medical authorities by treating her, "privately."
You see, serious infections following liposuction had previously occurred with at least two other patients of his, and not only were these two patients in the process of suing him, but Dr. Patrick?s license was under review by the state at the time of his ?kill.? He has since lost his medical license.
There should be a law requiring any advocate of Affirmative Action (such as Teddy Kennedy) to use only black surgeons, airline pilots and attorneys who participated in an affirmative action program at their respective graduate schools.
Earl P. Holt III
Deval Patrick is not a physician; he is a former Assistant Attorney for Civil Rights and is still deeply involved in civil rights law. The physician he is referring to is the late Dr. Patrick Chivas, and his account of the events are only half true. There is also little evidence that he was admitted instead (not replacing) Bakke. A rather amusing mix-up.
For someone with an IQ of 130, this is probably the dumbest error that could have easily been checked.
500,000 people leave the city and this guy stays?! Makes me want to leave the city.
The indictment also says several high level political officials knew about a vote fraud coverup.
One of those high level types: St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green, who allegedly sat in a February 2001 discussion about destroying the fake voter cards to stymie police investigators.
Criminal investigators say Green listening to a conversation about destroying evidence in a criminal case is not a crime. However, a well known politician, when asked about Green's conduct, was surprised she didn't contact police when she learned of the scheme.
At one high school, the entire food service staff did not show. The district delivered frozen meals for students. Elsewhere, city health inspectors would not let cafeteria workers prepare food because they had no hot water to wash their hands or utensils.
still dont believe it, but i will when i hear it; and i must have said "different", too? it must have been hyperbole and i just didnt remember it; apologies to jake for doubting his accuracy, tho final judgment will wait until i hear the tape; just when i thought the week couldnt get any worse; all part of god's plan somehow; boy, she must be really mad at me for something. thank, i think, bill
I just heard the interview tape. You said "20'' not ''4.''
yea yea yea; i get it; that'll teach me to use figures of speech, and i've always been a literal kind of guy; the case can me made that you shouldnt have used a hyperbole without making it clear that that's what it was; otherwise, people who havent read the email, which is all the post readers, wouldnt know; but nothing i can do now. i'll listen to the tape.
Check your voice mail, hombre ...
Regarding the editorial criticizing my recent email to my friend Superintendent Bill Roberi:-------- TITLE: To the Right are Links to Requested Stories AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 10/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: I can't send e-mail right now, but for those who have asked for the links to the original e-mails from Haas to Roberti and the curse letter look to the right and click the appropriate links. -------- TITLE: Haas Files: "Unfocused" AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 10/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: the unfocused part should be my call; and as i figure you had at least 5 times that much to trash me. hardly seems fair but typical for your department.
First, I did not apologize to Bill Roberti. He can take care of himself, called me the next morning to tell me not to get upset; it wasn?t until your paper called him for comment that he starting making noises about a lawsuit. I thought you were supposed to report the news not make it. I have, on the other hand, apologized to Karen Marsal (if my email inappropriately hurt her feelings. I would never mean to do that.
As for the email itself, your editorial called it ?profane? (yes), ?insulting? (yes), ?possibly libelous? (not according to the lawyers I?ve talked to), ?absurd, self-centered rantings? (you must have been reading one of your own editorials by mistake), and a ?tirade? (yes) ?filled with sexual innuendo and unsubstantiated allegations of sexual impropriety? (NO, NO, NO!), and ?with one mote of legitimate complaint?. Well, actually, it had several good ?motes?:
-. I told him that with all the problems the district had, I was surprised he didn?t have better things to than send me the sarcastic email I received from him.
-I said that if we were going to pay our consultant another $500,000 for their work in the reorganization, what were we paying his firm $4,000,000 for?! (And I used the ?f? word twice for emphasis, which by the way the FCC has just ruled is not obscene in a non-sexual context.)
-I told him that his blaming recent layoffs in the payroll department for the recent snafu of overpaying district employees $350,000 was a cheap shot and failure to take responsibility for their own actions since he and Karen Marsal had been in charge of the district for 6 months and ordered the layoffs!
-Finally, I said that it seemed that Karen Marsal and Vince Schoemehl were running the district and it was unfair for him to have to take all the public criticism. Didn?t he have enough money to just retire and leave this aggravation behind him and spend time with his lovely family? (And I used a vulgar graphic metaphor to express how I thought Vince and Karen were treating him.)
A few final thoughts:
-As recently as a month ago, editorial page editor Christine Bertelson emailed me to ask for my opinion of what?s really going on in the district and how and what I think we should do better. That was a great honor, and would seem to belie their general criticism of me.
-I know my email was a little rough. I was angry then and I am now, at what they are doing, how they?re doing it, how they?re treating people, and my being left out of the loop of decision-making. . It was the first time in my six years on the board I expressed myself like this. It?d do it again with modifications if I had it to do over. I was venting anger in the hopes that the embarrassment and discomfort it might cause would change their behavior somewhat. We can always dream. And it?s always good to stand up to bullies.
-Finally, the editorial board sort of called for my resignation. I?ll tell you what: I?ll resign when they resign ? they first.
Bill Haas, Member for the foreseeable future, St. Louis School Board
Regarding the editorial criticizing my recent email to my friend Superintendent Bill Roberi:-------- TITLE: Haas Files: The Apology AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 10/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: I have apologized generally to Karen Marsal, during a recent schoolboard's executive session, for some of the things I said in my email of earlier this week. I thought I should apologize to her again in an email to those who received the original email.
First, I did not apologize to Bill Roberti, as reported in the editorial and elsewhere, nor do I intend to. Until now I have always treated him with respect in public and private, even tho sometimes it wasn't easy. He was recently sarcastic to me twice, once in person and once by email Sunday night, to which my email was in response, as well as raising other issues. Bill Roberti can take care of himself. As far as I'm concerned he and I are cool, and I consider us friends until he tells me otherwise. The morning after I emailed him that vigorous email he called me to tell me not to get so upset it wasn't good for my blood pressure (something I always tell him), and that we should do coffee more often. Then I asked him a favor about something and he said he'd do it. I thought he took that hit pretty good. It wasn't until your paper called him for comment that he starting making noises about a lawsuit. I thought you were supposed to report the news not make it.
I have, on the other hand, apologized to Karen Marsal (twice) if my email inappropriately hurt her feelings. I would never mean to do that. I would welcome the opportunity to apologize to her again.
Ok, let's get to the email itself: your editorial called it "profane" (yes), "insulting" (yes), "possibly libelous" (not according to the lawyers I've talked to, tho no one wants to test that in litigation), "absurd, self-centered rantings" (they must have been reading one of their own editorials by mistake), and a "tirade" (yes) "filled with sexual innuendo and unsubstantiated allegations of sexual impropriety" (NO, NO, NO, and my lawyers and I may be discussing whether that violates the standard for libel of a public figure of knowingly false or in reckless disregard of the truth; maybe too much drugs during the 60's, I'm thinking - them, not me) and "with one mote of legitimate complaint". Well, actually, it had several good "motes":
-My email was in response to a sarcastic one he sent me late Sunday night about essentially nothing. I told him that with all the problems the district had, I was surprised he didn't have better things to do than send sarcastic emails to a board member.
-I said that if we were going to pay our number crunching consultant $1,000,000 for their work in the reorganization, what were we paying his firm $4,000,000 for?! And I used the "f" word twice for emphasis, which by the way the FCC has just ruled is not obscene on television when used in a non-sexual context. (Otherwise I wouldn't have used it.)
-I told him that his blaming our payroll department peole and recent layoffs for the recent snafu of overpaying district employees $350,000 was a cheap shot and failure to take responsibility for their own actions since he and Karen Marsal had been in charge of the district for 6 months and caused the layoffs!
-Finally, I said that it seemed that Karen Marsal and Vince Schoemehl were running the district and it was unfair for him to have to take all the public criticism. He didn't need this aggravation, it wasn't good for his blood pressure, didn't he have enough money to just retire and spend time with his lovely family? And I used a vulgar graphic metaphor to express how I thought Vince and Karen were treating him. (And I didn't call him stupid several times as has been reported. I did say that "he seemed like a nice guy if not very smart." That was more or less teasing, tho he?s not always as smart as I would like him to be; neither am I. He's very smart, and we?re in good hands all things considered.)
In the interest of honesty, in my first reference to Karen Marsal, I referred to Bill Roberti and his "girlfriend" Karen Marsal. I was sure that no one familiar with the district would think I meant "girlfriend" literally. I meant it figuratively, sarcastically and dismissively. And when I heard that some crazed talk show host was trying to make something more out of it, I emailed everyone I had originally emailed to emphasize that?s not what I meant, and that as far as I knew or cared Bill Roberti wasn't dating Karen Marsal, Vince Schoemehl or anyone else except his wife, and that it wasn't any of my business, and I didn't care what people did anyhow, as long as they got their work done and didn't do anything in the street and scare the horses.
A few final thoughts:
-I was angry then and I am now, at what he and they are doing, how they're doing it, how they're treating people, and my being left out of the loop of decision making, which seems in my opinion to include Vince Schoemehl and not many else. That's not how an elected board is supposed to operate. I was venting anger to express myself and in the hopes that the embarrassment and uncomfortableness it was designed to cause might change their behavior somewhat. We can always dream. And it?s always good to stand up to bullies, though there are always risks to doing so.
-Since the editorial board has been a knee-jerk supporter of this ruling cabal from the get-go, I think they should recuse themselves from any criticism of myself and Rochell Moore, the loyal opposition to the cabal running roughshod over everyone and everybody.
-As recently as a month ago, editorial page editor Christine Bertelson emailed me to ask for my written opinion on what's really going on in the district and what I think needs to be done to change it for the better. That was a great honor. How bad can I be?
-I know the email was a little rough. It was the first time in my six years on the board I expressed myself like this. It'd do it again with modifications if I had it to do over. You know, Vince Schoemehl gets in trouble sometimes for his mouth. Maybe it's the company I've been keeping.
-Finally, the editorial board sort of called for my resignation. I'll tell you what: I'll resign when they resign - they first.
Member for the foreseeable future, St. Louis School Board
A firm run by a former St. Louis School Board member has received a $62,900 no-bid consulting contract with the school district to train principals.
Former board member Madye Henson Whitehead, who served until April, is president of a firm called Strategic Vision Inc. The firm is slated to provide the training classes and a leadership development program over an eight-month period beginning this month.
Whitehead said she originally was approached by school administrators to provide the training. Superintendent Cleveland Hammonds Jr. said that when he learned of it, he suggested that the training be conducted through the district. He approved the selection of Whitehead, and the board agreed to the hiring last month.
Hammonds said he knew from the outset that the contract would raise questions. He said he pointed out at a school board meeting that Whitehead ran the company.
"Madye wouldn't be one of the board members I would want to reward anyway," Hammonds said. "She was not one of my staunch supporters. She voted against renewing my contract."
When Hammonds' contract came up for a vote in 1999, Whitehead was one of two board members voting against the renewal. The other was Bill Haas.
Consulting contracts do not have to be bid.
However, board member Amy Hilgemann said the district should still bid such projects and former board members should be barred from doing business with the district for a year after they leave.
Whitehead said her clients have included Anheuser-Busch, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Whitehead said she avoided any conflicts during her six-year tenure on the board and added, "I clearly didn't approach the district. I was approached. I'm always sensitive to conflicts."
St. Louis is one of 12 districts in the country that received the grant, worth about $1 million for up to five years. But last year, the Wallace Foundation voiced concerns about how the money was being spent in St. Louis and threatened to cut funding for the district's project.
"Unless there is significant improvements in both the rate of implementation, the quality of the work itself and the alignment of the plans to support the LEAD objectives in the next five months, the continuation of St. Louis as a LEAD district is highly questionable," Wallace's former director of education programs, Mary Lee Fitzgerald, wrote to then Superintendent Cleveland Hammonds Jr. in June 2002.
The letter, obtained by the Post-Dispatch through a public information request, says the school district had veered from the original proposal.
"When the review panel rated the proposal St. Louis submitted, it gave high marks to the plan," Fitzgerald wrote to Hammonds. "In the last six months, however, there is little evidence that plan has been followed."
Henson, who has no classroom teaching experience, was interim director of the LEAD project at the time. Several months later, she was made permanent director, despite Wallace's request that the job go to an experienced educator.
"It is highly desirable to have someone in the position who has been a superintendent, a principal or has a background in teaching and student learning," Fitzgerald wrote.
-------- TITLE: Taking Bets on How Many Haas E-mails will come from this AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 10/08/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Looks like the P-D thinks the letters weren't suitable for a family newspaper. But they have editorialized on Haas and Moore today.
But Wallace officials have criticized the results. A critique titled "Progress Report Feedback" sent to the district last year criticized Henson's work for containing vague goals and incomplete principal surveys and for failing to answer a list of questions submitted three months earlier.
Fitzgerald, in a November e-mail, also questioned Henson's compensation - about $110,000 a year. "The project director's salary in St. Louis is out of line with other LEAD directors," Fitzgerald wrote. "We suggest a cap of $85,000."
Henson says her contract is more because, as a consultant, she does not get employee benefits. Her contract ends in December.
The school district's new management team has shifted Henson's duties to staff member Larry Hutchins, the district's accountability officer.
Wallace has awarded St. Louis a second year of funding, largely because of the district's new leadership, said Richard Laine, who replaced Fitzgerald in April.
"We recognized St. Louis as a district with a lot of potential," Laine said.
WHEREVER THE BOUNDARIES of propriety lie, St. Louis School Board member Bill Haas stepped way beyond them this week by sending a profane, insulting, possibly libelous e-mail to interim Superintendent William V. Roberti.
The subject field of the e-mail Mr. Haas sent was "YOU CAN KISS MY A-." Much of it was a tirade filled with sexual innuendo and unsubstantiated allegations of sexual impropriety, unpublishable in a family newspaper. The rest was the absurd, self-centered rantings - with one mote of legitimate complaint about the rising costs of the consultants' work - that have long characterized Mr. Haas' communications.
Mr. Haas apologized to Mr. Roberti and said he didn't mean anything by the allegations of sexual impropriety. One could sigh and dismiss it as another example of Bill Haas being Bill Haas. For all his eccentricities, Mr. Haas has occasionally seemed like one of the more rational School Board members, asking necessary and pointed questions about sex education, guns in schools, the hiring of a pedophile priest and the cost of hiring Mr. Roberti and his firm, Alvarez & Marsal.
But Mr. Haas, together with board member Rochell Moore, have created more disruption than any board, community or employee should have to bear. In the past six months, Ms. Moore placed a curse on the mayor, called for her supporters with guns to stand up for her and continued to disrupt meetings. No sane visitor from outside St. Louis would understand why the city puts up with this appalling conduct. Mr. Roberti and his colleagues - and other board members - have a tough enough job to do without being verbally abused by their employers.
The School Board is one of the most important public bodies in St. Louis. It is responsible for the future of our children. That involves difficult issues about which there is plenty of room for strong disagreement. But Mr. Haas and Ms. Moore too often express their disagreements in ways that throw the entire process into turmoil, undercutting their own credibility and any legitimate points they raise.
State law permits two board members or 10 citizens to sue for the removal of a board member. But that process is generally limited to misuse of funds. The board itself does not have the power to vote off a member, but it can censure one. At a minimum, the board should censure Mr. Haas and Ms. Moore for unprofessional behavior.
If the two of them are not willing to act more civilly, the community would be better off if they resigned to pursue other interests that don't involve a deliberative body and issues as important and urgent as the education of 40,000 children.
During the height of such active audience participation, Greg Johnson allegedly jumped on the table the Board was sitting around as others moved toward it. Mr. Johnson is a parent of children being victimized by the Board. Police handcuffed and arrested several people, including Green Party Co-coordinator David Sladky, who had been sitting near Mr. Johnson.
According to Green Party spokesperson Kim Jayne, who was at the meeting, "David Sladky was not doing anything when police handcuffed him. He might have been targeted because he was wearing a t-shirt with 'MISSOURI GREEN PARTY' in large letters and he had been passing out Green Party newsletters before the meeting began."
Ms. Jayne sees conflicts initiated by the School Board as reflecting much larger problems. She says that "The Democratic Party of St. Louis is carrying out an experimental program at eliminating public schools that politicians in other cities are watching closely. If they get away with it here, you can watch it spread across the country like a disease. Charges against everyone arrested tonight at the St. Louis School Board meeting should be dropped. The criminals are the School Board majority, their management teams and all the politicians who find unlimited money to fund sports stadiums and war for oil while attacking school children and school employees.
Activist Jamala Rogers, who earlier this summer promoted a boycott of the first day of school, had a $4,800 contract from the school's development office for an anti-violence workshop. A company owned by Anthony Shahid, an ally of former Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr., was awarded a $38,700 contract to counsel students at Turner, Stevens and Northwest middle schools.
Shahid said he did not think political ties or activism helped him get the contract - most of the time, he said, his views are a hindrance to business.
"I guess we got it because we know what we are doing," Shahid said. "Most of the time people don't want to deal with me because I am politically active."
A key selling point for all the turnaround firms that applied for the job was that they would be outsiders, capable of making the tough decisions and heading home.
But the team running the city schools has found that running a school district is not as simple as running a business. The reality is that patronage and politics have been institutionalized in St. Louis and many other urban school districts. That's a lesson the management firm is learning.
"That's part of the cost of business," Roberti said. "There isn't a city in the United States of America that doesn't have some sort of patronage. Name one - can you?"
KISS MY BILL: St. Louis School Board member Bill Haas is known for his inflammatory e-mails and outrageous comments. But an e-mail he sent out Monday that included personal attacks on interim Superintendent Bill Roberti and consultant Karen Marsal of Alvarez & Marsal may have gone over the edge. "I think he should be punished," Roberti said. "He may have broken some laws. We are both totally incensed by this. He has slandered us. We have no other choice" but to turn the e-mail over to legal counsel. For her part, Marsal said: "This is harassment. This man (Bill Haas) is my boss, and this is harassment. This is defamation of character."
If Hageman is not expressing the opinion of the Mayor, then he needs to step in and try to resolve this issue. The hard-nose political reality is that unless a well-funded black candidate emerges who can challenge Slay, he is almost certain to be re-elected. But what kind of tenure will he have if over half of the population thinks that he is insensitive to racial discrimination? By the way, if it should turn out that Chief of Staff Jeff Rainford's fingerprints are on this dubious decision, the EYE would be far from surprised.
The Board of Education reaffirms its commitment to foster an environment in the St. Louis Public Schools that is conducive to both excellence in education and attainment of career goals. It is the policy of the board that all students, faculty and staff have a right to a working and learning environment free from all forms of discrimination, including sexual harassment. The Board of Education prohibits sexual harassment. "Sexual harassment" includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical conduct or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when:
1. Submission to such conduct or communication is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individuals employment or education; or
2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct or communication by an individual is used as a factor for employment or educational decisions affecting an individual; or
3. Such conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of unreasonably or substantially interfering with an individuals employment or education or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment or educational environment.
This prohibition applies to sexual harassment of other staff members and of students. This prohibition extends to sexual harassment which takes place either on or off school premises.
Employees who violate this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal.
BE IT RESOLVED:
THAT THE BOARD ASK ITS ATTORNEYS, KEN BROSTRON AND LASHLEY BAER TO OBTAIN AN INDEPENDENT OPINION FROM AN INDEPENDENT COUNSEL, OR RECOMMEND TO THE BOARD AN INDEPENDENT COUNSEL FROM WHICH THE BOARD CAN OBTAIN AN INDEPENDENT OPINION, WHETHER:
VINCE SCHOEMEHL AND THE LAW FIRM OF BRYAN CAVE MAY HAVE COMMITTED THE TORTS OF INTERFERENCE WITH A BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP, INTERFERENCE WITH A CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIP, AND/OR INTERFERENCE WITH ANTICIPATED BUSINESS, AND/OR RELATED CAUSES OF ACTION, BECAUSE OF THEIR ACTIONS IN OBTAINING AND PROVIDING, INTER ALIA, RESOLUTIONS (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE RESOLUTIONS PROVIDING FOR REORGANIZATION OF THE DISTRICT AS PROVIDED TO THE BOARD BY THE 4 NEW BOARD MEMBERS AT ITS FIRST MEETING, AND PROPOSED BY-LAWS CHANGES FOR THE BOARD, WHILE THEY KNEW OR SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT THE BOARD AND DISTRICT WERE CURRENTLY REPRESENTED BY COUNSEL IN A CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIP.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT PURSUANT TO A LEGAL OPINION FROM THE MISSOURI SCHOOL BOARD ASSOCIATION, THAT BOARD MEMBERS SCHOEMEHL, CLINKSCALE, JACKSON AND ARCHIBALD, SHALL NOT BE ENTITLED TO A CONCOMITANT RESOLUTION REQUIRING THEM TO OBTAIN INDEPENDENT LEGAL COUNSEL AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE IN THEIR LITIGATION WITH LIZZ BROWN ET AL, AS WELL AS BE PRECLUDED FROM VOTING ON THIS RESOLUTION, AS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST PROHIBITED BY MISSOURI LAW.
WHEREAS BOARD MEMBERS SCHOEMEHL, CLINKSCALE, ARCHIBALD AND JACKSON ARE CONTENDING IN THEIR LAWSUIT WITH LIZZ BROWN ET AL, THAT CERTAIN ACTIONS WERE NOT IN VIOLATION OF THE SUNSHINE LAW BECAUSE THEY HAD NOT YET BEEN SWORN IN AS BOARD MEMBERS; AND-------- TITLE: Support the Wire AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 10/06/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Dear Friends:
WHEREAS ANY SUCH DEFENSE WHICH RELIES ON ALLEGATIONS THAT THEY WERE NOT BOARD MEMBERS COVERED BY THE SUNSHINE LAW DOES NOT WARRANT REPRESENTATION BY DISTRICT COUNSEL WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY IS TO REPRESENT BOARD MEMBERS IN THEIR ACTIONS AS BOARD MEMBERS;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED:
THAT SAID BOARD MEMBERS OBTAIN THEIR OWN COUNSEL NOT AT DISTRICT EXPENSE TO REPRESENT THEMSELVES IN SUCH LITIGATION WITH RESPECT TO THOSE CLAIMS RELATING TO SUCH ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE MISSOURI SUNSHINE LAWS FOR ACTIONS THE BOARD MEMBERS CONTEND WERE TAKEN BEFORE THEY WERE OFFICIALLY BOARD MEMBERS AND THEREFORE ALLEGEDLY NOT COVERED BY THE SUNSHINE LAWS.
although people from whom i received feedback on my previous email, including bill roberit, seem to have taken it in the business not personal spirit it was intended, it has been pointed out to me that at least one person, lizz brown, may have been wondering whether my email was meant to imply a romantic connection or involvement between Mr. Roberit and Karen Marsal. OF COURSE NOT, WHAT COULD ANYONE HAVE BEEN POSSIBLY THINKING? my position is that i have no romantic involvement with anyone, so no one else should either. I hope this clears up any non-confusion.
and just in case, as a postscript, i should make clear that i didnt mean to imply that Vince and Mr. Roberti are or were personally involved either, although they're both fine people in their own right and anyone would be lucky to have them; all references in the email of a romantic, sexual or related nature were metaphorical, not literal, and presumably even lizz brown realizes that now; tho she's and smart and fine and feisty womanperson and lawyer in her own right, and as far as i can tell very much on the side of truth, justice and the american way on issues educational; so i presume that reports that she misinterpreted my original email were erroneous.
and for the record, my position as a board member on liaisons, romantic and otherwise, is that people can do what they want as long as it's consentual, that they get their work done first, and that, as we used to say in England, they dont do it in the street and scare the horses, residents of st.patricks center behind the administration building, or other innocent bystanders or people of a sensitive nature.
i sent a feisty email last night (this morning) to my friend Bill Roberti, responding to something he wrote me in response to something i wrote board members and him; i copied you all on my response. At least one person told me that Bill's email to him was not attached to my reply to him, so they didnt even know whom i was sending it to, let alone why. It's a mystery to me; perhaps it has something to do with the settings on her computer, or mine, as in the past I've received replies to my email that didnt have the original email so i did even know what they were talking about.
in any case, this should clear up any latent mysteries about my original email, and would welcome hearing from anyone who got me original email (entitled something to the effect of "you can kiss my .... . .") but didnt have anything attached to it, so i know how common this is and how i can avoid it; the person in question about whom i'm speaking didnt even have to whom i sent it on her email.
anyhow, email mysteries and thanks; good times
if kwmu doesnt start giving some balance to their programming on the current school board complexities, people need to contact the new chancellor and threaten complaints to the fcc on their license. mcnary's commentary was in praise of those do nothing know nothing see no speak no hear no think evil castrated buttboy sheep darnetta bob ron, and vince schoemehl who is at least trying, even tho he has, as we know, considerable limitations.
Jerry: regarding your "itiem" (?) in Sunday's column on Cher: "the groupies . . . caught whom they thought was the artist"! Even my comp I students at Harris Stowe and East Central College know that it is "who" they thought was the artist - "who" being the subject of the subordinate clause "who was the artist", not the direct object of parenthetical interjection (?), "they thought". We even have an exercise in my classes with virtually the same sentence.
What are you and your editors possibly thinking?! You've always been like a god to me! How are you and they going to win a Pulitzer this way? Maybe the way you and the others down there have been bending over the last several months for Vince, Karen Marsal and her strap-on, and their ilk, has cause too much blood to rush to your respective heads or, uh, whatever, and has caused you to become dizzy.
love as always, Bill
peter, others: what the hell meeting with the board of alderpeople; if the board is invited, no public notice or notice to board members has been given is required; can someone enlighten me tho i would have a teaching conflict and might not be able to attend; if it's adminstration, that would be different, tho if the board members might show up, if 4 or more show up, they cant hold it; the alderpeople notice wouldnt suffice for board purposes. did you ever get my check for my subscription and that of the post? you dont have to acknoledge that magnanimous gesture in your newsletter; knowing i did the right thing is always reward enough for me; tho being elected to a paying public office once before i die would be nice, too; can anyone say Mayor Haas? (actually Mayor Bill, or just Bill, will be fine, thank you).
methinks it violates the missouri nepotism statute since alvarez and marsal have a contract to run the district and roberti is their employee; what you cant do directly you cant do indirectly in this case, it would seem; essentially Brian Marsal thru his employee/partner Bill Roberti, has appointed his wife to a position with the district. Ken? Rochell (I got the idea from Rochell's memo on Hutchins.
Peter Downs wrote:
You and your leading questions. Did anyone tell you she is a relative thereof (the thereof being Brian Marsal)?
From: Bill Haas
Subject: missouri nepotism statute
Date: Sun, Oct 5, 2003, 2:24 PM
can someone please tell me if karen marsal, our COO, is the Maral of Alvarez & Marsal or a relative thereof?
I'm glad the district's in such good shape that you have time to write stupid emails. And by the way, kiss my ass.
And your stupid comment the other day after my apologizing that I was sorry if i inadvertently embarrassed you at the board meeting, that "That's ok, I know what side you're on", is stupid even for you.
Further, the appointment of your girlfriend (actually, you would seem to be her girlfriend, but that's a technicality for these purposes), Karen Marsal as chief operatin officer of the district would seem to be a violation of Missouri's nepotism statute since her husband's a managing partner of the company running the district and you're their employee. If I'm right, and her days with the district are numbered, that's good news for the st.louis public schools.
And by the way again, your comment (and others) that the payroll stafus are the "fault of the payroll department employees and their large turnover, is a new low even by your standards. You've been here 6 months, your strap-on girlfriend is the chief operating officer of the district. That's her responsibility. I dont care if her husband is tired of her and needs to get her out of his way and city for a while and make some extra money for the family and company in the process (i'm tired of her, too, and havent said two words to her except the two emails i sent her that she never bothered to answer; she would appear to be unable to type, too): if she cant handle payroll, she ought to resign. Buck stops at her desk, and yours. Failure to take responsibility for such incompetence is a sure sign of that incompetence. If you guys dont have a handle on payroll by now, when will you? And who's fault is it that there's been such a large turnover in payroll that the people there cant handle it, if that's the reason?
And finally, if we're paying Sharon Murphy's firm, those incompetents who did that piece of shit "school consolidation report" a $1,000,000, what the fuck are we paying your firm's stupid asses $4,000,000 to do?
You'll want to think twice before you write me or any other board member you ever work for another stupid, sarcastic email, won't you, sparky? Now go take your blood pressure medicine and retire. You should have enough money by now, i hope; you seem like a reasonably nice, if not very smart, guy, this gig will always be the nadir of your career however you and A&M try to spin it; you're way over your head; and you shouldnt need this aggravation. Whatever Karen (and indirectly Vince) is paying you to bend over and take publicly the brunt of criticism for her (and his) incompetence, it cant possibly be worth it.
Bravo I am glad to see you haven?t changed your thinking.
From: Bill Haas
Sent: Monday, September 29, 2003 3:00 PM
Subject: Re: Certificated (Teacher) Hearings Date
Here essentially is my position: I think that the four members who on their first night on the board slapped 5 resolutions establishing the reorganization of the district and said "we'll be passing these now", and havent listened to anyone else since, including other board members, should, along with their affiliate, amy hilgemann, handle the responsibility of all personnel hearings themselves. With the responsibility of leadership comes such obligations. Tomorrow is my birthday, i'm definitely not coming. I'm not saying I wont consider coming to one another time if I have nothing better to do, but why dont you guys plan on handling these yourself for a while. After some important vote where you all dont vote as a monolith and someone besides Vince exercises some independent thinking, I may reassess further. Good times. Bill Haas
Wanda L Penrose wrote:
President Clinkscale and Board Members:
Ken Brostron and Lisa Stump, Lashly and Baer, asked the Board Office to remind the Board Members of the certificated personnel hearings scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, September 30, 2003, 4:00 p.m. The hearings will be held in the Foundation Room of the Administration Building. Mr. Brostron and Ms. Stump also asked that we remind you that a quorum must be in attendance for the hearings to proceed. If you are unable to attend tomorrow evening, please call the Board Office.
you take a hit pretty good. and i asked you a favor and you gave me your word you'd do your best; you're almost impossible not to like, but i'm still working on it;-------- TITLE: Promising Southtown AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 10/03/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: It looks like the Southtown Coalition is going to get their wish and have stores that are not currently represented in the City of Saint Louis at the site. Six stores have been announced including PETsMART, OfficeMax, DelTaco, EB Games, Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar and Starbucks.
as you said, we should do coffee more;
and i stand by everything i said in my email.
kind regards, and for low blood pressure for us both,
the other bill
A one-name newspaper byline, "Garbo," on a Tempo commentary "Will `Lesbian Eye' be next? It's unlikely anytime soon."
A one-name byline is automatically pseudonymous in our culture--a handful of celebrities excepted--though one-name and pseudonymous (and anonymous) writings go way back and include "Publius," the name under which Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers.
The practice has been rare in American letters and journalism over the last century or so, but I wonder if the internet culture isn't giving it a big boost.
My 13-year-old son and his friends all IM each other using elaborate names for themselves even though in some cases they could use their own names or simple versions thereof; I'd guess that about half of the web logs and 80 percent of the message board postings I've looked at are written anonymously or pseudonymously, the ethic being that it doesn't matter who you are, but what you say.
My feeling, as one whose name is always attached to his words, is that accountability is an important promoter of responsibility and accuracy. And who you are does matter to the reader. On the other hand, it would be nice to have a dashing nickname for an alter ego:
This article is most slanderous and malicious in it's intent. You are not a medical doctor nor are you licensed to give an opinion on someone's health. It was Charlene Jones who placed cocaine in my coffee on October 21, 2003. She came to the hospital and told them I was paranoid and delusional. I have the records to prove it.
If you are going to tell the story, tell it correctly. Please refrain from referring to me as mentally ill. Because of your writings and tone, you too can be added to the letter sent to Francis Slay
"The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto Francis Slay and anyone who helps him, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it," she writes, modifying a passage found in Deuteronomy 28:21. "The Lord shall smite Francis Slay and anyone who helps him with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword and with blasting and with mildew; and the angel of the Lord shall pursue Francis Slay until he perishes."
Bill: This was discussed in open session at the special meeting about ten days ago when we voted to retain ADP to handle our payroll. What was not reported was the fact that the mistakes in payroll were widely discussed by teachers during the campaign (they hate this sort of thing because they get over-paid and then have to get under-paid; very big complaint among less than 12 month employees) and Alvarez & Marsal estimate that our payroll error rate has been averaging about 6.5% with the nation average at about 1%.
(St. Louis-KMOX) A payroll mistake by the cash-strapped St. Louis Public School District put too much money into the pockets of hundreds of employees.
District officials say the payroll goof was made earlier this month and overpaid about 1,000 employees.
St. Louis Schools Chief Financial Officer Sajan George tells KMOX News the district has already reclaimed the overage, about $352,000.
George says a 100% turnover in Payroll Dpartment management probably contributed to the error.
A outside firm has been hired to take over the district's payroll services, a move that was in the works before the overpayments.
I'd like to know who from administration and board knew what and when did they know it, and why did sajan and roberti seem to keep this information from among others, board members like myself.-------- TITLE: How to Attract Quality Teachers to Urban Environments AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 9/29/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Via Haas, Via Bill Purdy, comes Matt Miller's Atlantic Monthly piece, A New Deal For Teachers . Miller proposes a plan to improve teacher pay in poor districts,
Directed specifically to Bill Roberti (and Karen Marsol of Alvarez and Marsol, our chief operating officer) I think it would be in everyone interests to be upfront and completely and fully candid in your reply to this email; i hope you agree.
If the quality of urban schools is to be improved, teaching poor children must become the career of choice for talented young Americans who want to make a difference with their lives and earn a good living too. To achieve that the federal government should raise the salary of every teacher in a poor school by at least 50 percent. But this increase would be contingent on two fundamental reforms: teachers' unions would have to abandon the lockstep pay schedules, so that the top-performing half of the teacher corps could be paid significantly more; and the dismissal process for poor-performing teachers would have to be condensed to four to six months.
Urban school districts are losing out on the best teachers because they are mired in layers of policy and practice that postpone hiring until after most of the best applicants have accepted jobs in suburban systems, a report released here last week contends.
The study by the New Teacher Project challenges the perception that city school systems are strapped for teachers because too few people want to teach in high-poverty schools. On the contrary, the authors found that with good recruiting strategies, urban districts can draw five or more applicants for every opening.
James Buford, president of the Urban League and founder of the Black Leadership Roundtable, said the controversy exceeded anything he could have expected.
please note that: in honor of his birthday (9/30) and the money he won playing the lottery for the day his cocker spaniel Homer went to heaven [after a yearlong brave fight with kidney disease and 12 years putting up with me when any othe dog would have turned on me and killed me in my sleep years before] - 8/26 - the number 826 came up 9/24 - bill haas is finally sending in his $15 subscription to the newsletter plus an additional $30 for a postdispatch subscription because presumably those cheapskates havent bought one yet, or if they have this will be an additional subscription because it goes to lots of people (even tho jerry berger and deb peterson still just print the jingoist lies they are fed in support of the new board members and unfairly criticizing the loyal-------- TITLE: On the Wire AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 9/29/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Jim Shrewsbury 7:30 on KDHX 88.1 FM> -------- TITLE: Is Kelvin Out? AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 9/29/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The Kansas City Star is reporting that Kelvin Simmons may not run for State Treasurer
opposition of which i'm a proud member, and who wouldnt print a critical morsel about the dysfunctional new board members and administration to save their lives [either the columnists' or the board/administrations'] but who i will always love very much because he (jerry berger) was nice to my mother [who is still doing fine and says hello])
- because of the fine and objective and well researched editorial writing and reporting of the paper (ok, peter downs on a bad day outwrites and reports almost all of them together on their best, but they are still god's children and doing the best they can and will no doubt all win pulitzers and be hired by the new york times anytime now).
The inside word last week was that Kelvin Simmons, a former Kansas City Council member, had abandoned his plans to run for state treasurer next year.
The move pokes a giant hole in the Democratic lineup. Democrats are eager to offer an African-American in their statewide lineup to stir black turnout in November 2004.
The apparent loss of Simmons puts those plans on ice.
On Friday, Simmons, chairman of the Missouri Public Service Commission, wasn't talking, although he didn't deny the report. He promised an announcement early this week.
"There are some leaks that are out there," he said. "I want to give my staff an opportunity to know what I'm going to do first."
SAUGET -- Lingerie. Home appliances. Weight loss products. Dinner parties at St. Louis steakhouses.
Those are just some of the scores of purchases Mayor Paul Sauget has charged to village taxpayers on village credit cards, according to a Belleville News-Democrat review of credit card statements.
Between December 2001 and August 2003, Sauget racked up $38,407 in expenses, according to billing statement copies obtained under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
The statements for the village-issued American Express and Citi Platinum cards show that Sauget's expenses have spanned a wide gamut.
They include: $57 for a People magazine subscription in December 2001; $5,010 for medical services at the Midwest Head and Neck Center in St. Louis in May 2002; $25 for mail order vitamins in October 2002; and $35 for coins from the Franklin Mint in New York, the receipts show.
Also included were scores of items bought from vendors catering to a female clientele.
They include: $117 for cosmetics from a Bloomingdales catalog in December 2001; $165 for women's clothing from Victoria's Secret in February 2002; $228 for women's underwear from Dillard's department store in Fairview Heights in October 2002; $275 for the L.A. Weight Loss Center in O'Fallon; and $45 for a trip to USA Nails in Cahokia in August 2002, the receipts show.
Sauget, 78, has served as mayor of the village -- population 249 -- that bears his family name for more than three decades.
If the village is known for anything, it's for the hulking chemical plants and popular bars and strip clubs planted along Illinois 3. The internal workings of village government usually keep a low profile.
Yo, mainstream news media, where are you? President George Bush came clean about Iraq's noninvolvement in the 9/11 bombing. I'm sure viewers would eat it up. What's the hold-up?
I mean, when President Clinton came clean about the Monica Lewisky sex scandal, you all were over it. I guess a disingenuous declaration of war isn't as newsworthy as a commander in chief's infidelity. Oh, you all also dropped the ball when the only weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were the ones that the U.S. was sending over there. And that's the Unfair and Unbalanced News of the Week.
the chief operating officer ms. herndon is referring to is karen marsal of alvarez & marsal; i've also heard reports of her being abusive to employees; word is that she is actually running the district, and personally chose larry hutchins' daughter as our director of curriculum, our highest academic officer, even tho she would not seem appropriately qualified for it; another downside of this appointment is that it seems to be compromising the fine work that larry has always done and is still trying to do for us. billhaas
"Ladies and Gentlemen of the Board, my name is Helen Louise Herndon. I am a product of the St. Louis Public Schools. I am a 20-year employee of the St. Louis Public Schools, and I am a taxpayer for the St. Louis Public Schools.-------- TITLE: Charter School Policy AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 9/26/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The other issue to be addressed by the Board that I didn't mention was a Charter School policy. Up until Tuesday's meeting, charter school proposals were examined on an ad hoc basis. Amy Hilgemann proposed and the Board approved, making a Charter School policy to ensure that any proposals before the Board are evaluated according to a set of standards.
At the beginning, I was in favor of the management team and had hoped they could make us fiscally sound and root out any graft, greed and corruption. My favor and hopes were short-lived.
Mr. Roberti wrote the employees at the onset of the Reduction in Force. He assured us we would be treated with respect and dignity. Alas, that did not take place. No respect was given to the time-honored longevity rule. At the 11th hour, among clerical staff, titles of positions were changed to protect those with lesser seniority and sometimes with lesser abilities and competency. Such actions proved objectivity, respect, and dignity took a back seat to favoritism and gross incompetency, causing in many cases havoc and disarray.
It is not too late for the honorable members of the Board to revisit the
cuts and displacements which took place and to restore honesty, justice, and dignity.
In another vein, I would like to address the issue of the Acting
Superintendent not being certified. This I feel is inconsequential. What concerns me more is that the district is inundated with reports that our new Acting Superintendent and Chief Operating Officer use such vulgar and foul language as to embarrass many of our administrators and those within hearing. Once again, if true, it shows a lack of respect for one's fellow man.
We are not a business. We are not the military; we are an educational
organization focused on children and families. We have policies which restrain the use of foul language. No child should be offended or assaulted if he or she should pass by the leadership of a school district. Certification is not necessary on a temporary basis, but good, clean English usage is. More importantly, genuine respect for one's fellow man should rule all conversations or discussions.
How can we promote respect and dignity unless leadership models it?
We are at a crossroads, not only here in St. Louis, but in public school
education nationally. I fear, however, that we have allowed our school
district to lead the way in the destruction of the moral fiber necessary to achieve sound, quality education. We have lost our moral compass in the way employees are treated, in the way language is used or abused, and in the use or misuse of public funding.
The pioneers of public school education would be chagrined to see our
contamination of a precious commodity, the public school education of America's children.
It is up to you, the men and women of the Board, to restore self-respect
to our district, to give priority to respect for employees, parents and
children, and overall respect for one's fellow man. Such respect is based on honesty, integrity, justice and dignity. We have a long way to go, and only you can lead the way."
Solicitation would be limited to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. No one 16 or younger would be allowed to solicit unless accompanied by a person who is 18 or older. People couldn't solicit a driver of a motor vehicle while it's being operated on a city street or stand in the street or alley even with a permit.
Talent concedes that there aren't any successful programs in operation right now that encourage marriage to which the federal government could look as a model.
President Bush's uncle will be heading his re-election effort in Missouri. State Republicans announced today that Bucky Bush of St. Louis will serve as campaign chairman for the Bush-Cheney re-election effort in the Show-Me State.-------- TITLE: High School Career Paths AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 9/22/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: One of the great mistakes of wringing hands over education is to assume every kid should be targeted for college. The P-D joins the chorus today with an editorial sermonizing about how every kid should take the appropriate classes to get into UM-Columbia. Don't even get me started on UM-C as the standard.
PETER: VINCE SCHOEMEHL AND THE PRESIDENT OF RANKEN ARE GOOD FRIENDS, I UNDERSTAND, AND HE HELPED THEM GET THEIR STATE CERTIFICATION FOR GED; IT MIGHT BE A GOOD PROGRAM, BUT IF IT'S FINANCIALLY BENEFICIAL TO RANKEN(THEY'RE PRIVATE NOT FOR PROFIT), THE CLOSE FRIENDSHIP SHOULD BE DISCLOSED PRIOR TO A VOTE, AND HE SHOULD ABSTAIN, I MIGHT THINK.-------- TITLE: Haas Files--Purdy Open Meeting Complaint AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 9/19/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Below is an e-mail that Bill Haas forwarded from Bill Purdy. It is a legitimate complaint, but from the looks of what Haas is passing along this is a case of Vince acting before thinking. This is another example of having to think before acting by some of the new Board Members. While it might seem like a technical problem, repeatedly doing small violations eats away at the protections we have in place.
Mr. Roberti: If no dinner is being provided because you expect we will be getting out early. That is fine...however I do expect food next Tuesday. Tonight I trust we will have something to drink...are you buying the sodas? Ah
Wanda L Penrose
President Clinkscale and Board Members:
Just a reminder that tonight's meetings begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Foundation Room. Also, so you will know in advance, there will be no dinner or snacks provided at tonight's meeting. If you have any questions, please call.
Last week WGNU radio talk show host Lizz Brown led several bus loads of people to Jefferson City to elicit the support of members of the Missouri Legislature in their effort to fire Alvarez and Marsal and reverse the decision to close 16 schools.
Brown and her supporters visited with Gov. Holden and several state legislators including, Republican Senator Pro Tem Peter Kinder. Notwithstanding the fact that it was the Republican-led Missouri Legislature that has thwarted every effort by Holden to increase public school appropriations. This has helped exacerbate the fiscal crisis the St. Louis Public Schools and less affluent school districts throughout the state face. Brown has targeted most, if not all, of her harsh criticism at Democratic elected officials. Which leads the EYE to question where Brown is getting the money to pay for the live remote broadcasts and bus trips? It is clear to the EYE that someone is subsidizing Brown's constant negative attack on Democrats. It has been reported that Brown was on the SLPS payroll during retired Supt. Cleveland Hammonds' regime which might explain her silence about the projected $55-million deficit he announced last Spring, along with his plan to lay off 158 teachers, close at least six schools and eliminate all athletic programs. The EYE has previously opined that Brown may be an agent provocateur for Chuck Norman, WGNU's owner. Norman spent his own money to purchase the billboards seen in the black community extolling the virtues of U.S. Sen. Jim Talent in last year's close election against incumbent Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan (she lost on less than 22,000 votes) . And Brown dutifully urged black voters to not vote just as she is now urging that parents not send their children to school. Just a thought.
Michael Alesandrini, director of environmental affairs for the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association, says St. Louis is making progress.
"I would ask anybody who would challenge the quality of our air to visit with federal or state regulators (who) tell us we're doing a good job," he said.
Ken McKoy, ACORN's executive director, blamed most of his group's bogus cards on four temporary employees who have been fired after admitting that they filled out the cards themselves with fake names, addresses and Social Security numbers. The four were among 39 people hired for the drive. McKoy said the workers were paid $7 an hour and had to meet a daily quota of filled-out cards. "We warned people that it was a crime to turn in bad cards," McKoy said. "We are working with authorities to make sure this doesn't happen again, and to make sure that the people responsible are prosecuted."
However, the board noted that on-site reviews of many of those addresses - including a 2001 survey by the Post-Dispatch - had determined that most of the so-called vacant lots actually had houses on them. The board is asking the aldermen to check out all targeted lots in their wards.
of Education Jim Horne has already tightened the rules for private schools that accept the vouchers by requiring them to file more information with the state. But the Republican appointee of Gov. Jeb Bush is facing heat from opponents, who claim his agency has been loose with its oversight of voucher money and the schools that receive it.
Allegations in two Florida cities have thrown fuel on the voucher debate.
First, two men were accused of funneling money for a terrorist group through one private school in the program. Then, the state realized $400,000 in scholarship money was missing from an organization in Ocala.
Yesterday, KMOX re-ran an interview they did with Sen. Dolan last week, I think it was Thursday, in Jeff. City, where he clearly stated the Senate majority fund was paying for the bulk of the trip. So when the Post says he didn't admit it until Saturday, they are just wrong.
No public relations campaign could ever persuade a community to accept the closing of 16 schools and layoffs of more than 1,000 employees with a smile. But Fleishman-Hillard, the ace corporate public-relations firm representing the School Board, has shown staggering ineptitude in its sorry attempts to help the board reach out to parents and leaders in North St. Louis.
-------- TITLE: Missouri Tax Assessments AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 9/15/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: While the entire policy area is terribly complex, the clear thing that comes from the P-D's story on tax assessment appeals is that those who do best under the system are those who know enough to challenge the State or County. A truly fair system would safeguard everyone, not just those that challenge their assessments. -------- TITLE: Generally Concerns Over Pimp Juice AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 9/15/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: aren't worth a post, but I thought two different takes on Nelly's Pimp Juice endorsement were sort of interesting,
Ms. McCaskill's companion performance audit also might help shed light on long-term inefficiencies in the district and whether Alvarez & Marsal's changes are in line with best practices for a school district. The audit will also examine whether the previous School Board and former Superintendent Cleveland Hammonds Jr. were good stewards of the public's tax dollars.
It was reported by a person who attended the canceled school board meeting on Tuesday that Amy Hilgemann was observed leaving with two boxes. I just read the account from the Deb Peterson column that only mentioned Bill Haas and Rochell Moore. This is another gossip column hit that was a cheap shot and low blow, below the dignity of the Post-Dispatch.
It is reported that $8,000 or more was spent with Tom Johns for food for four days with the Literacy Coaches. The person responsible for this bill was Larry Hutchins. It seems eating and meeting continue to be allowed. I was told breakfast was also served. Can't people eat breakfast before going to a meeting?
Friends in the media and others:
As previously reported, the current board and management team that is running the St. Louis Public School system is spinning erroneous information and the media is accepting and reporting it without question. Please examine the information and determine if the claim of a two percent increase in student attendance over last year is correct or false. On September 24, 2002 (last year) Dr. Amy Hilgemann requested and received first day attendance figures from Dr. Hammonds and you will see that first day attendance for 2002-2003 on September 3, 2002, was 76.56%. The announced percentage by the management team for 2003-2004 (this year) was 76.4% (less than last year)
Immediate Past President
St. Louis Board of Education
-------- TITLE: Saint Louis School Watch AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 9/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Given I'm betting some read this, can I suggest getting a blog or some other way to post the Saint Louis School Watch? Even though I disagree with, well just about everything, I'd be willing to link to it. Formatting it from e-mails after having it forwarded is too difficult. Perhaps that would defeat the subsription concept, but just a suggestion.
IT IS MY UNDERSTANDING THAT THE POST HAS NOT PAID FOR ANY SUBSCRIPTIONS to this newsletter yet, and some members of the newspaper have asked me to take them off the list since the post wont pay for a subscription as long as people are receiving it for free; it's a very good newsletter, I think, and I'm not one to talk since I havent got around to joining yet, but you would think the post could spring for a few or corporate subscription: a $100 should include everyone at the post who finds this informative. Is that ok, Peter?
Now I have mixed feelings about taking Post people off the list since I want them to know what's going on, but if anyone responds by asking to be taken off until the post buys a subscription, I will do so. Are you listening, Post? Are you listening all other news organizations that are benefitting but havent subscribed yet? Thanks, good times, Bill Haas
p.s. everyone read the book "Cracked" by Dr. Drew Hinsky of Dr. Drew and Adam fame (105.7fm the point, sund-thurs 10pm-mid), and Post people ask the book department to review it if they havent done so.
Upcoming Events-------- TITLE: Haas Response Team AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 9/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Deb Peterson Takes a Snarky Shot at the Board. When you get to the end of Haas' missive--just ask yourself why reporters aren't taking him seriously. It's self-explanatory by the end.
Monday, September 15: Special Parent Assembly meeting at Yeatman/Liddle Middle School, 4264 Athlone Ave., 6:30 p.m. Col. McCreary, the director of safety and security; Wayne Fisher, commissioner of buildings and grounds; and Deanna Anderson, director of transportation are expected to be there to answer questions.
Wednesday, September 17: St. Louis Board of Education Administrative meeting followed by a Special Board meeting, 801 N. 11th, Foundation Room, 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, September 18: Regular Parent Assembly meeting, Metro High School, 4015 McPherson, 6:30 p.m. Interim Superintendent William Roberti and some of the school board members are expected to attend.
I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP: The St. Louis School District took guff over its $444,975 Salad Bowl bill after the management team closed the district's account. But it's hard to kick the bowl habit. Tuesday night's board gathering was a Salad Bowl-catered affair: a dozen box lunches, an assortment of sandwiches, chips, dessert, bottled water and soda. And the meeting didn't even happen! It was canceled because it was not properly advertised under the state's Sunshine Law. Still the food didn't all go to waste. Nine meals were consumed; board members Rochell Moore and Bill Haas each left the nonmeeting with a sandwich package. Three meals were left for the trash
School Board President Darnetta Clinkscales's quote in your paper that "We strongly support an audit of the school district by Ms. McCaskill" is the height of the disingenuous, self-serving sanctimonious hypocricy typical of school board leadership: I made this same motion, to ask Auditor McCaskill's office to audit the district, at a Board Meeting (by telephone) almost three months ago, and it was voted down 5-1. As Casey Stengel would say, "You could look it up."
"As a p.s., i believe the audit will confirm much of the administration's figures, but nevertheless an independent audit is long overdue. And people should note that the board majority has already spent district money hiring someone to do an "independent" audit: someone who, I believe, was the accountant for their school board campaigns! My protestations that this was an inappropriate if not illegal, and certainly wasteful, conflict of interest, fell on deaf (and dumb) ears - as usual."
A management team was hired to fix the city's schools. They come from New York, so they're outsiders, too. They were shocked by the animosity and anger their mission stirred among black residents. Unfortunately, they followed the traditional lead of St. Louis' political and civic movers and shakers. They operated in secrecy and by dictate.
Mayor Francis Slay called the turnout "not perfect but good." Slay said now that the school year had started, it was time for Gov. Bob Holden to call for a state audit of the district. He said an audit would put to rest the allegations that the district's dire fiscal picture has been exaggerated.-------- TITLE: It's a Wash? Huh? AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 9/09/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: While fully admitting no one's hope for a good turnout was realized, how is it a wash as Peter Downs is claiming?
September 8 -- The first day of school for St. Louis Public Schools this
year was both like and unlike any other. This first day had become the
ground for a David and Goliath battle between a ragtag group of disaffected parents, school staff, and community activists against the economic,political, and religious elite of St. Louis. The result, however, was an opening day much like other recent opening days.
It may well be that the broad corporate and political efforts to get
children to school, and the campaign the corporations paid for, would have
significantly raised attendance if it not for grassroots calls for a
boycott. Or, it may be that the problem is too deep-seated to be erased by
motivational phone calls and Sunday sermons.
There is one opening day issue that does appear to be new, or perhaps more widespread: class size. Ms. Bonnett, a fourth grade teacher at Farragut Elementary, marched with protesters to School Board headquarters and then down 12th St. to City Hall this morning. In 10 years of teaching, she had never seen a class so large, she said. "We have two fourth grade teachers and 65 children on the roster," she said. In past years, neither teacher ever had more than 21 children on a roster, she said, "and the class usually leveled off at about 20." Her complaint echoes similar complaints heard from dozens of teachers in the last week.
September 8 -- The first day of school for St. Louis Public Schools this
year was both like and unlike any other. This first day had become the
ground for a David and Goliath battle between a ragtag group of disaffected parents, school staff, and community activists against the economic,political, and religious elite of St. Louis. The result, however, was an opening day much like other recent opening days.
At a 6 p.m. news conference, Assistant Superintendent Charlene Jones
announced that the preliminary attendance for the first day of class was 76% of the projected enrollment of 38,433. That was slightly above the
previously reported average first day attendance for the last six years of
First day student attendance figures in St. Louis Public Schools tend to
jump up and down from year to year. Over the last six years, first day
attendance has varied from 72% to 79%, with attendance hitting a low point
last year. As recently as 1996, first day attendance was reported at 89%.
The turnout Monday allowed both sides to claim victory, or at least avoid
defeat, while obscuring other first day issues.
Two weeks before school opened, school board member Bill Haas said that if
attendance on the first day was less than 75%, it would amount to a stunning repudiation of the school board's policies. That did not happen.
The editorial writers of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch called for a high first day turnout to show support for the school board's policies. That did not happen either.
In June, Interim Superintendent William Roberti promised a smooth first day free of the problems that have plagued the opening of school in St. Louis in the past. He did not quite get that either.
It may well be that the broad corporate and political efforts to get
children to school, and the campaign the corporations paid for, would have
significantly raised attendance if it not for grassroots calls for a
boycott. Or, it may be that the problem is too deep-seated to be erased by
motivational phone calls and Sunday sermons.
High school attendance was up at 7 of the district's 10 high schools,
following a national trend in urban school districts that was discussed
recently on the Tavis Smiley Show on National Public Radio. School board
members and district managers were clearly elated that attendance at Vashon jumped to 85% from 37% a year ago, but since they failed to tell whether the projected enrollment was the same, it is hard to gauge how big the improvement really was. Last year Vashon was a new school and the district expected a big jump in enrollment that never materialized.
Improvements in attendance were less widespread among middle schools, and
Jones admitted that the results from elementary schools were "a little
disappointing." KSDK reported that attendance at Shepard Elementary, for
example, was about 70%, and KTVI reported that attendance at Simmons MEGA
Magnet Elementary was less than 60%.
Elementary school attendance should improve in coming days as parents of
children enrolled in magnet schools claim their spots. Children lose their slot in a magnet school if they do not show up at school within 5 days of the start of school. Kathi Bentley, for example, is one of several magnet school parents who kept their children out of school today and attended the protest against the board. For her, the boycott was a one day protest designed to get the attention of the school board so that it starts working with the community to solve problems. She intended, however, for her daughter to be in school on Tuesday.
Other first day issues became obscured by the focus on attendance.
At the press conference, Roberti admitted that there were some
transportation problems, much as prior superintendents had done on the
opening days they oversaw. Roberti specifically acknowledged problems at
Stix and Gateway Elementary Schools, but there appear to have been more.
Parent John Kintree reported that no bus came to pick-up his daughter to
take her from her assigned bus stop to Wilkinson School. The first two times he tried to find out why, the district's transportation office was so overloaded with complaints from parents that he was told to call back later.
That is not unusual. And, much as previous superintendents had done, Roberti said the problems were being addressed.
Jones implicitly admitted that getting all the books to all the schools
proved to be harder than anticipated. Nearly all of the school had
"essential books and supplies," she said, perhaps unintentionally echoing
comments made by former superintendent Cleveland Hammonds a year ago.
Hammonds said then that all schools had the books and supplies they needed
except for a few algebra books in a few schools.
Jones characterized the preparations for opening school as "quite an
accomplishment," but they are less than Roberti had promised. Whether they
compare favorably with the accomplishments of past years will be determined in the coming weeks as parents and students sort out experience from hype.
There is one opening day issue that does appear to be new, or perhaps more
widespread: class size. Ms. Bonnett, a fourth grade teacher at Farragut
Elementary, marched with protesters to School Board headquarters and then
down 12th St. to City Hall this morning. In 10 years of teaching, she had
never seen a class so large, she said. "We have two fourth grade teachers
and 65 children on the roster," she said. In past years, neither teacher ever had more than 21 children on a roster, she said, "and the class usually leveled off at about 20." Her complaint echoes similar complaints heard from dozens of teachers in the last week.
Protesters may claim victory in keeping Roberti from fulfilling his promise, or the board from claiming that parents have ratified their policies. Roberti, however, was clearly relieved that attendance was not worse, and he said he will wait another two to three weeks for things to settle down.
If the protesters intended to send the school board a message that could not be ignored, that did not happen either. Asked at the press conference if the board was ready to dialogue with the protesters, school board President Darnetta Clinkscale hesitated for a long while before saying "We're open to dialogue with everyone."
"Everybody was talking about all of this stuff in the past," recalled one of the black members working with the turnaround firm, Alvarez & Marsal. "People weren't really talking about education. That's when I recognized the real problem. St. Louis hasn't enfranchised the black community.
"I was amazed. You guys have some serious racial problems. You guys are dealing with issues we dealt with in the South 15 to 20 years ago."
But according to the 2000 Census, a majority of the city's African-Americans now live south of Delmar.
Additionally, only three of the district's 94 schools - Buder, Oakhill and Warner elementary schools - are predominantly white. So, black children and their parents could have been just as affected if all of the shuttered schools had been in south St. Louis. Even after the closings, the district has 46 schools north of Delmar, 33 south of Interstate 44 and 17 in the central corridor.
Some critics dispute the whole notion that the district was in need of a complete turnaround. Dropout rates fell and some test scores began to climb under Mr. Hammonds' watch, although not fast enough for the school board's new majority. Supporters of the former schools chief say state cuts, not mismanagement, caused the system's deficit.
FULLY BONDED: U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, accelerating into re-election mode, has lured the National Brownfields Conference to our town for its annual convention Sept. 20-22. The federal administrators and their local counterparts will operate out of the Renaissance Grand Hotel, itself a Brownfields tax credit project that Bond helped develop ...
Here's the story behind the headline "Ballot fraud spurs new election" in the current edition of Webster University's newspaper, the journal. The newspaper reports that student government president Daniel Lisella and former student Liz Brockmann admitted tampering with an April vote count, along with senior candidate Charles Folks. Some of those involved in the school shenanigans blame faculty adviser John Ginsberg for leaving the ballots for the students to count themselves. WebsterU administrators have voided the student election and assembled an interim government. No word yet on whether this counts for an extra credit in political science course.-------- TITLE: Yeah, But Is She Legal? AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 9/07/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Ray Hartman is getting married,
AISLE SAY: The columnist felt a slight tingle in his ticker when Ray Hartmann confirmed that he has popped the question to Kerri Swasey. Hartmann, co-owner with Mark Vittert of St. Louis Magazine, has shed his digs in South Beach for his house in U. City. He presented Swasey with "my (late) mother's engagement ring that had been in a safe for 34 years." Swasey is a Lancome rep at Dillard's; Hartmann, a regular on "Donnybrook," founded The Riverfront Times. Nupts are not yet set.
"This is almost the case study of the history of St. Louis catching up with itself," said Jones, who in the past has served the city as deputy mayor, alderman and development director. "This is why this problem is so intractable right now."
The financial and academic issues facing the School Board already were daunting. But Jones and others said the situation reached near meltdown because of a legacy of racial mistrust that most other major cities had addressed long ago.
In those days, almost nobody came to board meetings. A few members of the media, maybe. Perhaps a teacher or two who were getting some kind of commendation. Possibly a few proud parents whose children were receiving an award. A vendor seeking a contract.
It is a story about the failure of white leaders to share power and black leaders to wield it effectively. It is about black city residents mentally locked in a historical reality that no longer holds true and about real cultural wounds that still fester decades after they were first opened.
But ultimately, both black and white leaders acknowledge, it is about a community so locked into a cycle of hurt and suspicion that nearly every effort to fix one of the city's problems becomes smothered by the issue of race.
He says the amount of integration of African-Americans into the higher levels of government, business, nonprofit organizations, charities and various groups that make a city function is much lower in St. Louis than in those cities.
Salci says white institutions have failed to include African-Americans, who, he says, have been too willing to accept token gains.
In fact, minority contractors this year accused Metro of racism and tokenism because only 5 percent of its contracts for the cross-county MetroLink extension were going to minority-owned firms. Last month, Salci reached an agreement to steer 20 percent of the project's remaining four contracts - worth about $31 million - to minority-owned firms.
Despite years of minority-contracting programs, Salci says minority contractors in St. Louis do not have the numbers or size to match the region's building needs.
"The capacity here is much lower than it is in other cities," Salci said. "What does that say? That there have been a lot of front companies. So, they don't build any capacity in the African-American community. You don't have the thriving businesses.
"And yet everybody's happy. The majority companies are happy because they're getting the big contracts and the minority companies are getting paid but they aren't doing the work."
But in 1998, Civic Progress, a collection of the heads of the area's top 30 corporations who put their money and muscle behind various community projects, decided to restructure and rewrite its primary goals. To the surprise and disappointment of 17 black members of the dialogue committee, those goals did not include improving racial relations or racial inclusion.
The black committee members asked Civic Progress, which had only one black member, to include their concerns as goals, but the organization initially refused.
"They were saying, 'We're CEOs of companies. We can't fix race,"' said Buford, one of the 17 participants then. "We said that if race or racial inclusion is not part of the issue, then why are we here? Why do we have dialogue then? We said race is imperative, and you didn't respect us enough to make it a part of the overall agenda. So, we walked out.
"That's the problem in St. Louis - a limited respect of black leadership by whites which turns into a limited trust of white leadership by blacks."
Both the leaderships don't really respect each other. For instance, Civic Progress would say to us, 'What is the agenda in the black community?' And we'd say, the agenda in the black community is the same as in the white community, we want good jobs, the schools, a good quality of life. "But we were an afterthought. There was not an agenda for the entire city that included African-Americans. They would develop the city's agenda and then an agenda for blacks."
Andrew Taylor, chief executive of Enterprise Rent-A-Car and past president of Civic Progress, held private meetings at his company in an effort to bring the black members of the committee back to the table. He succeeded by getting Civic Progress to include race in its goals. The organization now has a racial economic progress committee designed to increase diversity at St. Louis corporations and to increase the number of black vendors doing business with those companies.
Taylor said he believes the issues are important ones. "When you get more diversity, you get a better representation of the population of the city at your company and you get a work force that is more competitive," he said. And Taylor thinks the situation has continued to improve.
"We have done much better in the last couple of years," he said.
Bond, R-Mo., planned to introduce today an amendment to the Environmental Protection Agency's spending bill for next year that would prevent states from imposing small-engine emission rules more stringent than those under the federal Clean Air Act.
In past years, Armstrong said union representatives were only able to speak to a representative for then superintendent Dr. Cleveland Hammonds, Jr., and decisions had to be dispatched to back to him before anything was final.
It was time consuming and didn't allow us to speak directly to the person running the district, Armstrong said.
"Now we can talk directly to Roberti and George and bargain directly with the leadership and sit across the table from them."
The federal government's signature program to promote pedestrian andbikeway transportation alternatives -- ways to spare us a 100-percent asphalt future -- teeters on the edge of extinction in a U.S. House vote scheduled this Thursday.-------- TITLE: Teachers Against the Boycott AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 9/03/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: I'm assuming this is in reference to Local 420, but KMOV is reporting they are urging parents to send their kids to school on the first day.
The House will have to decide whether to restore funding for the
Transportation Enhancements program, a favorite of environmentalists and
local communities, that its Appropriations Committee left unfunded in favor of still more billions for standard highway projects.
Ironically, the moment of decision follows release of major new
research scientifically linking, for the first time ever, the United States' pattern of highway-driven, sprawling, road-dependent development with the alarming epidemic of rising weight and obesity that the country's been experiencing.
The peer-reviewed study, published in the American Journal of Health Promotion and the American Journal of Public Health, relies on federal Census figures and health data based on 200,000 Americans living in 448 metropolitan area counties. Its finding: Americans who live in spread out, totally auto-dependent communities routinely walk less, weigh more (an average of six pounds), and are more prone to high blood pressure than residents of the most densely populated places.
A less-noticed, companion piece of research, published
simultaneously by the American Journal of Public Health, suggests there is a public policy solution to the dilemma of spread-out development that makes us ever more auto-reliant sedentary, fatter, and unfit.
Tested for several decades in Europe, the alternative stresses
serious government investments in expanded walkways and bikeways, making
intersections safer for pedestrians, establishing physical barriers to fast city and town auto traffic and planning villages and communities friendlier to pedestrians.
The Dutch more than doubled their already massive network of bike
paths and lanes between the '70s and '90s, while the Germans almost tripled the extent of their bikeway network. Almost all paths were connected with practical destinations for everyday travel -- town centers, schools, parks, office complexes, light rail stops -- rather than the recreation attractions most popular for bike paths in the U.S.
Companion traffic-calming measures -- first reported in this column from Delft, the Netherlands, in 1978 -- feature zigzag curves, speed bumps and artificial dead ends that give pedestrians, cyclists and playing children as much use to residential streets as motor vehicles.
The results, report John Pucher of Rutgers University and Lewis
Dijkstra of the European Commission in Brussels, are spectacular. With a
more hospitable environment for non-auto travel, walking and cycling account for 34 percent of urban trips in Germany, 46 percent in the Netherlands.
By contrast, only 10 percent of Americans used foot or bike for urban trips in the '70s, and by 1995 the figure was down to a mere 6 percent. Even Canada, more like us geographically, now registers almost twice our number of walking and biking trips.
Walking and cycling have yielded the Europeans the health results
you'd expect -- much lower rates of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension than the United States. With that come healthy life expectancies 2.5 to 4.4 years longer than the U.S., even though European per capita health expenditures are only half ours.
With U.S. obesity levels rising rapidly and our gigantic baby boom
generation soon to reach its retirement years, sensible federal policy would be to emulate the European practices and make walking, cycling and transit options at least the equal of outlays for standard roads and bridges.
Instead, the Republican majority on the House Appropriations
Committee wants to decapitate the enhancements program, which amounts to
just 10 percent of federal transportation funding anyway.
The decision clearly doesn't sit well with Democrats, who are almost unanimous for the enhancements. Nor, it turns out, with Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.), chair of the Transportation subcommittee considering renewal of TEA-21, the country's basic transportation law, which expires Sept. 30. Petri warns that if enhancements are killed, the broad coalition of interests that now favor the entire TEA-21 renewal package may collapse.
There's little doubt most Americans favor transportation choices. A nationwide poll last spring, for example, showed 53 percent favor increased federal spending on bicycle facilities -- new paths, reserved lanes, better signals -- even if it means that less collected in gas taxes goes to new road construction.
Check Europe again and you see the massive potential payoff. We
have hostile main arteries, fewer sidewalks and strip malls hazardous to
unmotorized visitors. On a per-mile basis, an American pedestrian is threetimes more likely to get killed and a cyclist two times more likely to get killed than his German counterpart.
Provide safe environments and peoples' behavior does change. Germans and Dutch 75 and older, for example, make half their trips on foot or bike, compared to 6 percent of Americans 65 or older. Result: valuable physical exercise, independence, socializing, enhanced quality of life.
Please, Congress, think again!
Armstrong said negotiations will resume on Thursday. Up until now, the sides have discussed what Armstrong called "non-economic issues," demands such as changing the district's grievance policy, giving teachers more planning time and requiring each school to have an in-school suspension program, which gives teachers more flexibility in disciplining students.
"We have not even talked money issues," Armstrong said.
Still, it was those issues that seemed most on the mind of teachers who attended Tuesday's meeting at Vashon High School. A proposal by the management team would require teachers to pay more out of pocket for health insurance. Quality of benefits, teachers say, keep educators in the city despite higher pay and better work conditions elsewhere.
St. Louis, MO 63117
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One option not on the table is a strike, since they are not legally allowed in Missouri. Instead, many teachers were in favor of not showing up for the first day of school.
Teachers could also take a job action that could threaten before school and after school activities. That would happen if teachers decide to only work the hours stipulated in their contracts, which would eliminate most extracirricular activities.
I recently had an illuminating experience.
Watching television I learned that the St. Louis School Board had just held a special meeting to reduce property taxes. George Cotton, a leading critic of School Board actions, was then shown emphatically stating that you just don't reduce taxes when you are in a financial crisis.
Next someone was shown calmly explaining that state law required the reduction in the property tax rate, otherwise the recent 10% increase in city property values would result in the schools receiving a 10% increase in property tax revenue, rather than the maximum 2.2% increase that state law allows. It was truly an illuminating experience.
For their part, opponents of the school board's reorganization moves may have more riding on Local 420's meeting than the school board itself. A decision to keep working and talking to the board's representatives, absent any other decision, will undercut claims that the school board's policies put children's safety at risk and lower the quality of classroom instruction. The school board will spin that absence of resistance as a tacit acceptance of the school board's policies. Parent and community opponents of the district's reorganization will likely feel abandoned by Local 420, which a month ago castigate the school board and said that "school will not open" if the school board adopted the reorganization plans. Support staff and clerical directly affected by the cutbacks and layoffs, and workers in other unions, may feel betrayed by Local 420 takes a do-nothing stance to the school board's actions.
Much is at stake for all sides. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. It will be at
Vashon High School, 3035 Cass Avenue.
Recently, Liu went to Missouri to talk to officials about instituting the state's first-ever growth plan. Missourians are not, she says, people who will be swayed by talk of preserving open space. "It's Fox News country, it's Jean Carnahan carrying a gun country. They are anti-government, anti-tax. They love their property and they hate the word 'planning,'" says Liu. Last year, when governor Bob Holden, a Democrat, tried to create a smart-growth commission, it was quickly killed by suburban Republicans. But thanks to Liu's savvy, the commission was recently revived, in part by co-opting the language of the right and refusing to mention "smart growth" at all. Instead, it's now "a growth agenda for the state that controls costs and grows the economy," Liu deadpans.
No matter what it is called, the Missouri plan strikes a hopeful note for those who want their growth to be both smart and inclusive, as building where infrastructure already exists makes it much easier to keep housing prices down. Stripped of loaded terms, even homebuilders are getting behind smart growth, er, "cost-controlling" policies. "People in homebuilder associations are tired of the wingers, they know the future of the American consumer is under the smart-growth principle: Walkable communities with integration among people," says Liu. "They know they can make money off of that."
George points to other savings that, taken together, add up to millions. Thousands spent on ordering new phone lines instead of adding extensions to existing lines. Hundred spent insuring cars not in use. In one case, the school district continued to pay premiums on a 1998 bus that was sold four years ago to a north St. Louis County hospitality company.
Sewing guesses that part of the reason school employees were such steady customers was the Salad Bowl was one of the few places that offered the district credit and tolerated its slow payments. Payback would take "months and months, sometimes even longer," Sewing said.-------- TITLE: A Mix of the Important and The Ridiculous AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 9/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: 5 Questions posed by Matt at Punitve Art. Comment if you want me to question you. I'll send them to you and you post them on your blog.
"I have talked to many of my suppliers, and they won't deal with them," Sewing said. "They would never get their money."
St. Louis Public Schools spokeswoman Rita Holmes-Bobo acknowledged that Julie Hutchins' appointment did not follow normal procedures, which include advertising job openings, but she declined further comment.
Teachers and staff in the school district, however, do have more comments.
They are calling Julie Hutchins' appointment the biggest case of nepotism in the district in a long time.
I remain distressed that 16 schools were suddenly closed, hundreds of children are being shifted to new schools, teachers, teaching assistants, and principals are being indiscriminately moved or fired, transportation schedules modified and routes eliminated, custodians and food service workers rumored to be replaced by contracted outsiders who may or may not be given background checks, and all the while there are some reported 700 teaching vacancies and many parents are not informed as to which schools their children will attend.
One news story appeared in the Saturday, August 16th Post-Dispatch followed by an editorial on August 20th referring to comments credited to me encouraging a boycott of first day classes in city schools. Both the news article and the editorial suggested that I had called a press conference to encourage a boycott of the opening day of school September 8 thereby causing chaos.-------- TITLE: Police Residency Rules Relaxed AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 8/20/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: City officers who can demonstrate City police board relaxes residency rule for health reasons family health concerns can now seek waivers. This is probably the worst outcome given it will sow anger over who gets waivers and who doesn't. A compromise of 10 years or 5 years and out is the best long term solution for City officers. -------- TITLE: Missouri Sprawl AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 8/20/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: In a strange tip given the source, Mother Jones (which I generally don't even read) has an article that addresses sprawl in Missouri.
The fact is that almost 150 black school board members from throughout the nation who are members of the National School Board Association were holding an annual conference at the Hyatt Hotel at Union Station. A leader of that organization, Mr. Ron Price, a member of the Dallas Texas board of education wanted to hold a press conference to share his views regarding the situation in St. Louis. I was contacted and asked to notify the St. Louis media about the Ron Price press conference. During that press conference Mr. Price forcefully denounced the actions of the St. Louis board of education and declared that parents should boycott the opening of schools. He was critical of both the clergy coalition and the mayor.
Following the remarks of Mr. Price, several reporters quizzed the other school board members who were present, along with myself and several parents, retired teachers and principals. All of us were quizzed regarding the statements made by Ron Price, as well as our personal views on a first day boycott. My brief comments began by emphasizing that I would never presume to tell parents that they should or should not send their children to the school, this year, on the first day. When pressed further on the issue, I emphasized that I was speaking only for myself and that I was not calling on any parent to keep their children at home. I emphasized that this important decision must be made by parents and not by others. I indicated my personal observation that parents must first feel comfortable and assured that their children will receive a quality education and be taught by a qualified teacher in an orderly and safe environment. I went on to lament that as a former student, parent, and grandparent, and then a teacher, principal, and a 12 year member and president of the board, that it was quite painful for me to honestly say that I would not send my own child on the first day unless I was confident that the school was prepared to receive my child.
I remain distressed that 16 schools were suddenly closed, hundreds of children are being shifted to new schools, teachers, teaching assistants, and principals are being indiscriminately moved or fired, transportation schedules modified and routes eliminated, custodians and food service workers rumored to be replaced by contracted outsiders who may or may not be given background checks, and all the while there are some reported 700 teaching vacancies and many parents are not informed as to which schools their children will attend.
Finally, I indicated that only when I felt comfortable that the school was prepared to accept my child in a safe and productive instructional environment, then I would take my child to school. In the meantime, I would look for alternatives. I refused to lie and say that I would send my own child, especially if he or she was a kindergartner, on the first day, unless I felt comfortable with that decision. However, I never told anyone to boycott anything. Again, I was asked what I would do with my own children and I answered the question. The most hurtful part of the editorial is to declare the I do not care about kids or the schools.
The Post Dispatch never made reference to the school board association meeting or the remarks of Dallas board member, Ron Price. I was never contacted by the editorial staff at The Post to confirm that I had indeed, supported a boycott of the schools. Finally, it is regretful and insulting that no member of the St. Louis board, or the mayors office, ever participated or welcomed this national organization of school board members to our city. Hundreds of board members spent almost a week in our city and spent their money in our restaurants, hotels, and stores without anyone from the either the city or the board of education welcoming or recognizing this group for coming to St. Louis.
Sen. John Russell, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said Tuesday he remains skeptical about the state's continued financial responsibilities in the St. Louis desegregation case.
Although the MBC?s Burnett told the Sun-News that the MBC?s board was advocating that Genesis be taught as fact in theology classes but not in biology classes, the chair of the MBC?s executive board, the Reverend Jay Scribner, was quoted as saying that creationism was appropriate for science classes as well: ?Any Christian school needs to embrace and espouse the tenet of creationism.?
Yes. This Friday, August 15, is Fair And Balanced day on the Internet. You are all hereby instructed to use the words Fair And Balanced in very creative ways on your various websites. My cosponsor in this effort, Atrios, informs me that many of you are already using "Fair And Balanced" in your taglines. Very good. Sometimes, I swear you don't even need instructions from me. But we can go further. Tell Fox News to take its Fair And Balanced slogan and shove it up its Fair And Balanced hole. Feel free to be more subtle than that, if you wish.-------- TITLE: Not Just Technical Fixes AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 8/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Otis White at Governing addresses the air quality problems many cities are facing again and shockingly the problem is too many cars regardless of technical fixes.
The Return of Bad Air-------- TITLE: Fair and Balanced Week Here at Blog Saint Louis AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 8/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY:
This has been a terrible summer for air pollution, and it?s probably just the beginning. Take Los Angeles. In 1983, there were 152 days when ground-level ozone reached unhealthy levels. By 1998, that number had dwindled to 40. But by mid-summer this year, the number was at 36 ? with the bad-air season just beginning. Same problem in Denver, which was celebrating in 2002 for having conquered its air-pollution problems. There, air pollution monitors recorded the greatest spike in ozone since 1986. Ditto in Washington, D.C., which is suffering through its worst summer of pollution in years. What?s going on? A hot summer, to be sure, but a much more troubling trend: Air quality experts say that the technical fixes that worked so well in the 1980s and 1990s (catalytic converters, on-board car computers, reformulated gasoline, etc.) have run their course. ?I?m amazed at how we are getting to the end of technology to reduce emissions,? said an air-quality official in L.A. ?It takes more work now to get the same progress.? The technology masked the basic problem of big cities: too many people driving too many cars. In L.A., 70 percent of the pollution comes from cars and trucks, and the number of vehicles has grown steadily. In Washington, some officials blame pollution that blows into the area from the Midwest (it?s called ?transport?), but others say that?s only a small part of the problem. Says one Washington city council member, ?Ozone transport is an issue, but so are our emissions. If we weren?t putting up as much gas as we do, we wouldn?t be arguing about the transport.?
These developments have caused Richard Mark, chairman of the three-member state oversight panel that has monitored district spending for nine years, to call for a full investigation.
"We are completely in the dark. We don't know what really happened. We are just trying to piece this together," Mark said on Monday.
"State law requires them to take the low bid," he said.
With school starting next Tuesday, Mark said the oversight panel's first priority will be to make sure students are fed. The second will be to find out why the bidding process and especially Chartwells' low bid was canned.
Chartwells' spokesman Katie Moosbrugger said, "We followed the rules. We put our best foot forward. Our bid is still on the table." Chartwells supplies food to school districts across the state.
The school board's reasoning for tossing the bids, according to a three-page letter from its attorney, Garrett Hoerner, is that board members forgot that they had previously extended Sodexho's contract when they voted to solicit bids that were received in May.
Don Cole, who takes Highway 40-61 from his St. Peters home to his job near West Port, said he would be eager about the extension opening if he thought it would make his commute easier. The area's growth leaves him skeptical.
"What they gain in traffic relief they're going to lose with all the apartment complexes they're building along there," said Cole, a sales representative. "I honestly don't think it's going to provide much relief."
On Target: U.S. District Judge Charles Shaw did not mince words in granting a temporary restraining order on the city's attempt to condemn a Target store and parking lots at Hampton and Chippewa.
He wrote that the court set aside its customary reluctance to interfere in the city's exercise of eminent domain because of "the serious and highly unusual nature" of the allegations.
The property, owned by New York real estate investors, has been leased to Target since the early 1970s. St. Louis wants to take control and to allow Target to build a store there.
In a plan set in motion last fall by Alderman James Shrewsbury, the city named Target the redeveloper and in the spring moved to condemn the property after the owners turned down a $2.9 million offer.
In June, days before the condemnation hearing was scheduled, the owners asked for a stay. They argued that St. Louis and the retailer were in cahoots to maximize profits for Target at their expense and the loss of several million dollars in tax revenue.
Among the allegations that Shaw said warrant "more deliberate investigation" are that Target threatened to abandon the store under false pretenses and that the city decided to condemn the properties to appease Target.
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals will rule on Shaw's opinion in October. Dana Berliner from the Institute for Justice, a think tank in Washington, says the case is part of a nationwide trend of courts becoming more skeptical about government use of eminent domain.
The open letter, sent to the press and signed by board member Rochell Moore, is filled with Biblical references. It says the Lord would smite Slay and anyone who helps him because of the position he has taken against the city's public schools. It says, in part, that "the angel of the Lord shall pursue Francis Slay until he perishes."
Needed: the Five-Car Garage
The Cost of Poor Transit
Critics like to portray public transit systems as wasteful extravagances that live on through a combination of nostalgia and civic ego. Not so, says a new study of transportation spending around the country. Not only does public transit save riders money, it may even save money for those who don?t take it. How transit saves riders money is easily understood. The average American family spends $7,233 a year owning and maintaining a car, and getting to and from work accounts for about $1,280 of that sum. Public transit is much cheaper: about $765 a year on average, a 40 percent savings. But how does public transit save money for those who don?t take it? Because, says the study by the Surface Transportation Policy Project, where there?s little or no transit, there?s greater sprawl, and sprawl multiplies the cost of transportation. (Reason: You can?t walk to stores or restaurants, carpooling is impractical and you drive miles to buy a loaf of bread.) Result: The percentage of the family budget that goes to transportation varies widely around the country. Where do people spend the smallest shares of their income on transportation? In order, New York, Honolulu, Washington, D.C., Portland, Ore., and Milwaukee. And where do people spend the greatest percentage of their money getting around? From the bottom, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth and Cleveland. A spokesman for the Tampa transit system said he wasn?t surprised by his area?s dismal showing. ?There are people in my neighborhood who have five cars,? he said. ?They?ve got more sitting in their driveway than the value of their home.?
If you were to lay out a bus system from scratch, how would you do it? Probably not the way most are configured now, with long routes that meander through neighborhoods in seemingly random patterns. Is there a better way? Maybe, say transit officials in Los Angeles who are studying the way airlines have traditionally laid out their routes, with "hub and spokes" systems. The idea, as it's taking shape among L.A.'s transit planners, is to create 19 "hubs," or transit centers, around major destinations (UCLA, the Warner Center in the San Fernando Valley, etc.), and feed riders from short routes into these hubs. The system, then, would have two kinds of routes: Lots of short routes, mostly four miles long, connecting neighborhoods to the hubs, and longer routes (10 to 20 miles long) connecting the hubs to one another. Key to making this kind of system work, transit planners say, is to speed up the "hub-to-hub" buses, probably with dedicated bus lanes. Advantages: Possibly a speedier ride, an easier system to navigate, and maybe some amenities (transit officials are thinking about restrooms, coffee shops and newsstands at the hubs). Disadvantages: Lots of transfers, maybe two to get to your final destination, and the difficult task of persuading state and city highway officials to turn over some lanes to buses only. The upside: Transit officials think they can create a faster, more logical and pleasant system, they can lure many more motorists out of their cars. "We've got to beat our competition, the car," said one. Outside observers like the idea. Said one academic, who studies transit systems, "The only way you can get people to make a choice to use [the bus] is to give them speed, and this is something that appears to have the chance to do it."-------- TITLE: Budget Calculations for the SLPS Closings AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 7/31/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Are up at the Arch City Chronicle -------- TITLE: Blog Roll Additions AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 7/31/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: New additions to the Blog Roll
-------- TITLE: Bill Haas Commentary I AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 7/28/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: For everyone's amusement I'm posting a commentary that Bill Haas wrote that was forwarded to me,
First, so I dont seem like a hypocrite, I should say
that when I first read your editorial that Vince
Schoemehl should resign, I reached out to him in a
voicemail saying that if he wanted to fight the
community outrage with his behavior and try to survive
this, I would stand with him, but on the condition
that changes be made in the way the board majority
conducts itself. As usual, he hasnt responded to me;
that ought to tell you something.
No one has been harder on Vince Schoemehl and his
gang of five than I have, but I wont take a position
on whether he should resign. But I have called for
the removal of him and his cronies by court action for
breach of the public trust, or walkout of parents and
staff until those four dysfunctionals do resign, and I
stand by that position. I've called them bad and
dangerous people, at least in their public life, and I
think that's true more often than not.
But I'm writing most to make some observations that
people (St. Louis American, Black Leadership
Roundtable, the community) should keep in mind during
these troubled times.
1. If Vince resigns, Fran Slay and his cronies will
just appoint someone like him or worse in his place.
If and when he/they do resign, the community should
insist on the Mayor letting it/us name his/their
successor(s); either the community or the Mayor should
get a veto, but it should be a collaborative effort.
Definitely no more of the same!!! Peter Downs would
be my choice for the first one of them to resign.
2. If only Vince resigns, the board will be
rudderless, which may be worse than a bad, at times,
rudder. The other three newly elected members follow
Vince like sheep; not an original idea among them in
three months. Ron seems afraid to vote against Vince
(there are those who say that because Ron's job may be
funded by the Danforth foundation, he may not have the
independence to vote against these people, but I dont
know that for a fact), Darnetta seems unwilling to for
whatever reason, and as far I'm concerned the less
said about Bob Archibald the better. Tho I dont
usually indulge in ad hominem attacks in public or
private, suffice it to say that when the board was
discussing (at my initiative) how to reach out to
Rochell Moore to make her feel more fairly treated,
respected and heard, so that she might be more
peaceful in return, only Archibald opposed the idea
with disdain ("I'm amazed we even have to talk about
this", I believe, is the direct quote); that ought to
tell you alot. He may personally be a nice guy, and
good with dead people as head of the Historical
Society, but he seems way over his head here. He has
on more than one occasion voiced his opinion that he
doesnt want so many papers to read, that he's not
concerned with the details of what's going on, he
trusts Vince and the new administration, and he just
wants to vote on the big and interesting things; and
he votes basically the way Vince decides we should
from my observation.
By the time things get to the board they're a fait
a complis, already done by Vince and Roberti, and the
board just rubber stamps it except Rochell and I. The
closing of the schools is a good example. The board
wasnt even going to let the public comment on the
announced school closings at the meeting where the
vote was to take place, and then when vince and
darnetta finally relented after public pressure, they
left no time for reflexion or processing, and they
went ahead without caring what others thought and
said; they didnt care then, and as far as I can tell,
they dont care now.
3. Finally, Darnetta's letter to the Black Leadership
Roundtable seems to me the height of hypocricy, and
very much a "confirmation conversion" (you pretend to
agree with people only when they're about to judge
you). First she says the "we understand the need to
verify projected shortfalls". I made a motion to this
effect a month ago; Vince and the other four (huey,
looie, dewey, screwy and whoever; i dont have the time
yet to decide who is of the five) voted it down.
Next, she promises to reconsider decisions that have
been made. People from all over, including myself,
have been telling her to be open-minded to this for
months; she hasnt listened to anyone except Vince [and
for the record, Robbyn Wahby is probably telling him
what to do most of the time; she didnt have any wisdom
when she was on the board before (including being
asleep when accused, now convicted, child-molester
James Beine was taken out of library services and
stuck back in schools with kids under Mahan's
administration), what makes anyone think she's any
smarter now] since she got on the board, why should we
believe that all of a sudden now she sees the light?
Because she realizes she lost the support of the
roundtable? If she's not smart and independent enough
to figure out for herself what's right and best, the
roundtable telling her we're messed up isnt going to
change things in the long run. (By the way, it's my
understanding that the five resolutions Vince brought
to the first board meeting, none of the other new
members had seen before they decided to vote for them,
tho they may have been aware of the concepts. That
ought to tell you something.)
Finally, she promises to rework our processes for
citizen engagement. Isnt that what they've been
telling us they've been doing all along, with their
high-powered p.r. flacks from civic progress? They
dont have a clue up to now; I despair of them ever
And most importantly, even tho Vince calls the
shots, Darnetta is supposed to be the President (at one of
our meetings, Vince called her "madam secretary"; that
ought to tell you something); if we're messed up, she
has to take responsiblity for that. She hasnt even
publicly criticized Vince for his behavior. Maybe
she's the one who should resign.
My own opinion is that I have no confidence in any
of them. Roberti and staff are smart, but they need a
firm, full board which involves the community to reign
them in and focus them in the right direction. I dont
think the current majority will ever be able or
willing to do this. At the very least they ought to
resign as officers. I've always thought I'd make a
great president of the board, deserved it, and should
have been elected, but that's another issue. For the
moment I'll settle for anyone but the current 5 in
St. Louis School Board Member
-------- TITLE: 3rd Districts Rumors and Such AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 7/28/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Rumors abounding put Joan Bray only $9,000 in debt potentially opening up a chance to run seriously for the 3rd District. She has sent out an exploratory letter as well and one person puts it about 90% sure. If she gets in, that will probably mean the end of potential candidates with some such as the Wash U. Law School Smith probably being lost in the muck.
I wanted to comment on at least one aspect of your
recent school board editorial. At one point you say
that the "school board has asked the state department
of education to verify the budget numbers stated by
the new administration", or words to that effect.
Well, I'm pretty sure that I'm still on the board, and
i'm damned sure that I havent been asked the state
department of education to do anything, since no such
proposal has come before the board. So either Robbyn
Wahby of city hall has told vince schoemehl to tell
Darnetta Clinkscale to request that of the state,
which is the usual way things seem to be running
without the formality or inconvenience of asking the
rest of the board what they think, or someone has told
you something that is inconsistent with the facts (not
the first time that has happened either).
Moreover, in an article in the same paper, Darnetta
is quoted as saying we will ask independent auditors
to verify the administration's budget projections.
People should know that I made a similar proposal over
a month ago that was voted down by all five majority
board members. Their latest attempt to do the right
thing seems to me too little too late, and very much
in the nature of a "confirmation conversion", which is
when you do or say the right thing only when you're
about to be judged, or in this case dumped by the
community. As far as I'm concerned, these five people
are incapable of wisdom, growth, open-mindedness, the
ability to think independent of Robbyn/Vince, caring
what others think, building consensus, or of doing the
right thing on their own, and the sooner they're
dumped from the board the better for the district and
all concerned. I understand that the Post-Dispatch
can not make an independent judgment on this since the
paper supported them unconditionally during the
Finally, tho I am reluctant to be prideful since
there's enough of that going on, it would be nice if
someone in the media (I think the public knows this
already) acknowledges that I've been essentially right
on every major issue since these keystone cops were
elected, and the last three months would have been
substantially different and better had I been elected
President of the Board as I think I deserved.
In a deposition July 16, Hammonds said, "I would - in my opinion, if there were a cash flow problem, for example, in December or November, and property tax funds were coming in January, that would be a proper use of money if it's repaid."
"Separate accounts mean separate accounts," said lawyer William A. Douthit. "A separate bank account was what was intended and how we interpreted it."
Douthit represented the original plaintiff in the desegregation case, Craton Liddell, and his family.
Douthit also said he was concerned that the money was borrowed without consulting his client.
"My client's constitutional rights were violated. This is one of the cures for that violation. Those dollars are closely monitored and observed by us," Douthit said. "Obviously we should have looked a little closer a little sooner."
The management team running the district is looking to present its new organizational structure soon, perhaps by Aug. 5. The plan likely will call for a purging of hundreds of administrative employees. The reduction in force will be so large, said Interim Superintendent William V. Roberti, that the school district could sell its downtown headquarters, at 801 North 11th Street.
"When I get done with my restructuring, I'm not going to need 801," Roberti said in his deposition. "It's going to be way too large for the administrative staff of this school district."
"This isn't just to fill the budget gap," Crew said. "The real crisis is, many children are reading far below grade level and writing far below standards. This is the opportunity to address that."
Crew took a page from the success at the district's Laclede Elementary School, which used to have an instructional coordinator but in last school year had a literacy coach.
Three years ago, 42 percent of Laclede students scored in the bottom two levels of the state on the Missouri Assessment Program communication arts test. A year ago, 2 percent of Laclede students scored in the bottom two categories and 61 percent reached the top two scoring levels - proficient or advanced - on that test.
LaVena Tomlinson, the literacy coach last year at Laclede, said she had visited each class once a day. Students were tested periodically to see what help they needed.
For Schoemehl to call for the "hall to be cleared" and use terms like "Nazis," "Brown Shirts" and "a mob" is shameful. His follow-up performance during a Post-Dispatch editorial board meeting the following day with fellow board member Ron Jackson at his side confirmed that Schoemehl took some attacks personally and responded with little concern for the damage created by his remarks. While a veteran of politics, he has shown his is not willing or able to "take the heat" that the SLPS decisions have created. Schoemehl has apologized, and said he has learned from the experience. This is good, because in the future it might help him as he directs the Grand Center renaissance. However, he has poisoned the debate and stirred racial suspicions. His presence on the board is disruptive, he has proven he is not fit to serve on the SLPS board and should resign the post immediately for the betterment of all St. Louisans, and the children entrusted to the St. Louis Public Schools in particular.
Unfortunately, to the dismay and disappointment to all those who thought that Schoemehl could change, the comments he uttered last week comparing the people who are protesting and questioning the decision of the Board of Education to close 16 schools to "Nazis and a mob" proved that Schoemehl is still the same egotistical, out-of-control bully that he was before. Until the point that Schoemehl made these comments, a number of reasonable people were trying to give the decisions and actions by Schoemehl and four other members of the school board, the benefit of the doubt. But all of the good intentions of his colleagues were jeopardized when Schoemehl's smug, arrogant, his way or the highway attitude empowered a group of nihilists whose only interest in this current issue is to get publicity further their personal political agents. Schoemehl's comments gave Lizz Brown and her narrow group of naysayers' credibility far beyond any acceptance they could have ever established in the broader community by themselves. Vince Schoemehl's actions are the equivalent of political hari kari and the EYE can only hope that he completes the ritual and resigns immediately to allow Mayor Francis Slay to recruit an adult to replace him, a spoiled unruly brat who has no sense or appreciation for the need for elected officials to be tolerant of others views.
he St. Louis School Board's fiscal crisis did not began with this new group of Board members or the management team that they hired to manage the School System. Recently retired St. Louis School Superintendent Cleveland Hammonds announced early this spring the school district faced a $55 million dollar deficit and recommended closing at least 6 schools as one of the ways to save money. The current problem with the school system is not what they are doing but how they are doing it. The perception that most of the people that the EYE has talked to believe that the school board's biggest problem is the seemingly indifferent attitude that has been displayed in communicating the problems facing the school system and what they see as a solution. ....
They ducked and dodged an obvious issue by simply requesting a delay in the closing of any schools and asking the state of Missouri to allocate more money to the St. Louis Schools. Earth to the Roundtable, Gov. Bob vetoed two education bills and called a special session of the Missouri General Assembly in an unsuccessful attempt to get more money for state schools.
Board member Robert Archibald, president of the Missouri Historical Society, spoke to the Round Table on Monday. He said Tuesday that the shift in support from the Round Table is "a real call to action" that the board must have better communication with the public.
"We need to find better ways, and this has been said before, of conducting dialogue and exchange with the community," Archibald said.
July 22 -- With a grant of authority from the St. Louis Board of Education and Interim Superintendent William Roberti, Floyd Crues and David Flieg are remaking the instructional side of St. Louis Public Schools. Taken together, they are removing or transferring 43 school principals.
Crues, the assistant superintendent for middle school and high school, said today that he is naming new principals to half of the high schools and up to eight middle schools. Besides Vashon, where the principal's position is vacant, he is naming new principals to Central, Gateway, and Sumner. The middle schools getting new principals include Gateway Middle, Stowe, Fanning, and Langston.
All of the principals he is removing have been the focus of many complaints from parents and teachers, he said. Complaints about Central's principal even boiled over into a student walkout and protests at board meetings last year.
"What we're looking for in a principal is someone with a vision that accords with the mission of the school," Crues said.
In elementary education, Flieg said six principals will be sent back to the classroom and 25 are being moved to new schools "where I think they will be a better fit," he said.
Another change at the elementary school level is the elimination of all instructional coordinator positions. Instead, each elementary school will have a literacy coordinator, who will not necessarily be the same person as the instructional coordinator.
The hodgepodge of teaching curricula such as Success for All and Little Red School House that characterized elementary education in the district in recent years is gone, said Flieg. "Every school is going to a literacy based curriculum," he said. That involves theme, or project based teaching, he explained, in which spelling words are part of the math or science lesson, for example. Instead of teaching the four core academic subjects separately, they will be taught in an integrated fashion that boosts reading for understanding.
"We'll have the same curriculum everywhere," he said. "We need that because of the mobility in the district. So, when a child moves from one school to another, he will be familiar with what his new class is doing."
Both Crues and Flieg said no regular classroom teachers will be laid off. "In K-2, the pupil/teacher ratio actually will go down by one," Flieg said.
Crues said that Roberti is working on incentives for administrators so that they will retire instead of bumping teachers.
St. Louis is facing what may be the dreary future of other big cities: the massive downsizing of its airport. American Airlines is eliminating half of its daily flights at Lambert Field and shifting many of the remaining to smaller airplanes. Result: St. Louis will be harder to get to and from in the future. Already businesses are bemoaning the cutbacks. "We have people who need to go to projects every day," said one architect. "We have clients who come here. It's going to make it a lot more inconvenient and a lot less immediate." Don't live in St. Louis? Pay attention anyway: This could be coming to your city, said an official with a business travel association: "I think when we look back in five years, [the downsizing at Lambert] is going to be phase one." Two things are threatening big-city airports. First, the airlines are losing a ton of money, more than $20 billion since 2000 with no end in sight of the red ink. Second, airlines have decided there are too many convenient but expensive hub airports (where more people pass through than enter or exit). Lambert was an American Airlines hub; technically it will continue to be a hub, but a much, much smaller one. St. Louis' next move: Recruit other airlines to fly there. But almost certainly no other carrier will establish a hub. "Nobody is looking to open a new hub," said an industry consultant. Footnote: American is ending non-stop service to 27 cities from St. Louis, including flights to New York's JFK, San Jose, Calif., Portland, Ore., and Lambert's sole European connection, to London.-------- TITLE: Missouri River Fight AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 7/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: With contradictory Court Rulings, the Missouri River situation is up in arms. One of the interesting things about this fight isn't that it pits environmentalists against the Corps Of Engineers (truly a dog bites man story), but that it pits economic interests versus economic interests.
-------- TITLE: Steve Conway Channels Ross Perot AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 7/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: With his 8-year-old son at his side, St. Louis Alderman Stephen Conway went on a tirade, blaming "these people" for trying to derail the efforts of a new, private management team hired by the St. Louis School Board to make sweeping changes in the city schools, which are the state's largest school district.
Panel rejects complaint
involving School Board
The Missouri Ethics Commission has dismissed a complaint against a political action committee that supported the slate of four successful St. Louis School Board candidates.
School Board member Bill Haas alleged that the St. Louis Education Coalition violated campaign finance laws by coordinating spending with the four candidates, who were elected in April.
In a letter to the committee's treasurer, Ethics Commission Executive Director R.F. Connor wrote that there was no "consent, coordination or control" between the committee and the candidates.
Conway spoke during debate on a resolution proposed by Alderman Freeman Bosley Sr. demanding an apology from School Board member Vincent C. Schoemehl Jr. - the former mayor of St. Louis. At a meeting this week to discuss closing 16 schools, Schoemehl compared disruptive audience members to Nazis.
Bosley said the reference was "unconscionable," but his resolution died on the floor.
Three-quarters of the district's annual expenditures are to pay the salaries and benefits of more than 8,000 employees. Any significant reduction of the district's expenses will certainly involve significant cuts in personnel.
We propose to address the remaining deficit by suggesting sharp streamlining of the district's non-classroom personnel, and elimination of some non-classroom services. For example, an audit of the district's headquarters found more than 700 non-teaching employees in the facility, an annual payroll of $35 million. We believe that number could be reduced significantly. The prior superintendent had over 120 direct reports. We have streamlined the administration to 6 direct reports. A copy of our proposal will be ready for public discussion early next month. We believe substantial economies can be realized without increasing the current teacher-pupil ratio.
Mr. Walker's main qualification is that he is the cousin of the president's father, who you may remember was also our president.
This is not meant to question Mr. Walker's qualifications. There is absolutely no doubt he is the first cousin of former President George Herbert Walker Bush.
Mr. Walker (I keep addressing him as mister because it seems the ambassadorial thing to do) would no doubt also probably think it's fair for me to mention he is chairman emeritus of St. Louis-based Stifel Financial Corp. and Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., a regional brokerage and investment banking firm. He also graduated from Yale and has a law degree from Harvard.
This suggests Mr. Walker has many qualifications; probably even his own tuxedo.
But let's be real. This is a family favor.
A state audit released today accuses St. Louis Sheriff James Murphy of usurping state law by opening secret bank accounts, taking money from evidence envelopes and spending it without anyone else's approval.
In addition, the audit found that Murphy overbilled the state for moving prisoners by padding travel and manpower costs, failed to track evidence he's supposed to hold, sold state property in a land sale for delinquent taxes when the state is tax exempt and maintained a secret slush account for private process server fees without notifying the city's comptroller
AND MORE TO THE POINT, THIS PROPOSAL IS CLEARLY DESIGNED TO STIFLE DISSENT ON THE PART OF ROCHELL AND MYSELF AND WILL INEVITABLY LEAD TO VIOLENCE.
THESE ARE BAD, DANGEROUS PEOPLE, AND AS FAR AS IıM CONCERNED, THE SOONER PEOPLE OF THE CITY WHO CARE ABOUT THE DISTRICT GO TO COURT TO REMOVE THEM, OR PARENTS OF CHILDREN IN THE DISTRICT WALK OUT UNTIL THEY RESIGN, THE BETTER.
"A group of disruptive, self-interested people shut down a public meeting. I will tell you that's how the brownshirts worked. That's how the Nazis, that's how the Nazis took control," Schoemehl said at a meeting with the Post-Dispatch editorial board. "That is un-American. It is just flat, plain, un-American."
Jackson interrupted: "You're just putting coals on the fire, Vince, man, you know that? You're just asking them to do this. You're just, I mean, you're just inflaming, you're just inflaming. You are going to make them want to come out. They are going to recruit their friends, their next-door neighbors next time. Is that what you want to do?"
Amiel Cueto, the imprisoned, yet soon-to-be-released southern Illinois political boss, recently received a coming-out present.
His enemy, Miriam Miquelon, the woman who put him behind bars for using his law license to protect the gambling rackets, is now out of her job as U.S. attorney of the Southern District.
So, as Cueto prepares for one of those welcome-home red meat political dinners, Miquelon leaves the prosecutor's office under a cloud.
American Airlines to downsize St. Louis hub Nov. 1
St. Louis Business Journal Staff
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said American Airlines will downsize the St. Louis hub, cutting daily departing flights from 417 to 207 effective Nov. 1.
The airline will also close its St. Louis reservations center Sept. 15, which employs about 500 workers in downtown St. Louis.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is making the announcement this morning. Missouri Gov. Bob Holden is scheduled to fly into Lambert on an American flight from Chicago this afternoon to make an announcement.
42 0.62% brown
42 0.62% the
41 0.61% richard
41 0.61% john
39 0.58% east
39 0.58% shebron
36 0.53% callow
36 0.53% braun
34 0.50% senate
33 0.49% chicago
30 0.44% lizz
29 0.43% mosely
Bicycles have been around for a long time and brought joy to many. If used responsibly, a bicycle is a wonderful source of exercise and recreation. But are we being prepared to be forced to use bicycles for our major mode of transportation? Could it be this activity is purposely being placed into an elitist status with no restrictions and licensing in an effort to lure people into this mental mode?-------- TITLE: Just Shaking My Head AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 7/15/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: I don't begrudge the woman the lawsuit or what she won for being run over by a Metro Bus and then having the bus stop on top of her, but her quote is a bit unseemly,
"I bought a big Mercedes-Benz G500 (a sport utility vehicle)," she said. "It costs $74,000. Nobody's going to want to run over me in that."
As an investative reporter, you should be ashamed for
accepting, without verification, the flawed data from
a gossip column. The 700-plus figure that you cite
from Berger is absolutely, wrong. Check it out!
From Berger, "Bill Roberti's team have moved on to
their next unpleasant task: evaluating the hundreds of
administrative positions the city school district has
accumulated over the years. School HQ sources aver
that Roberti's team will recommend that up to 450 of
the 700-plus nonteaching administrators in the
district's central office alone will be faced with the
choice of retirement or layoff."
The fact is that there are fewer than 400 employees
total, at the central office which includes security
personnel, custodians,engineers, technicians, and
support personnel for all system functions
technology, finance, human resources, library
services, community education, alternative programs,
career education, early childhood, development,
insurance risk management, the Parsons Blewett fund,
instructional and other support activities, in
addition to staffing to assist the superintendent and
"Even (if) Cueto's acts did constitute obstruction of justice and conspiracy ..., those acts were not in violation of any of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct"
We made Hammonds our scapegoat for an achievement gap we don't know how to close and for social problems we can't find the political will to fix. Among other things, we accused him of presiding over a costly and bloated bureaucracy top heavy with administrators. His rebuttal: Look at the numbers.
I did. On average, Missouri's student-to-administrator ratio is 209 to 1. The city school system's ratio is 219 to 1. A bit higher, but not out of line, given the caliber of student this school system has to work with. "No matter how much progress we made, people said the improvement wasn't fast enough," Hammonds says.
The board's avowed goal of streamlining district operations to use resources more efficiently and improve classroom performance has become more difficult with the discovery of this crippling deficit. The board is attempting to deal with a desperate situation and they have made some bold moves that this page feels were necessary. Their choices might be unpopular, but tough decisions are necessary.
Incumbent board member Amy Hilgemann joined the new board majority in hiring Alvarez and Marsal and she believes that they "are on the right track, but we haven't convinced the public."We agree with her including her caveat that, "If we can take these necessary actions openly, and after appropriate communication with the wider St. Louis community, we can regain the public's confidence."
For most of those opposed to the hiring of Alvarez & Marsal, the money is the issue: The firm cost too much and its compensation is not linked to any academic improvement. From the start, Lizz Brown's morning talk show on WGNU (920 AM), recently expanded to four hours, has provided a constant drumbeat against the board's action. Brown's been more than a vocal partisan in the debate: She recently filed a lawsuit with six other plaintiffs seeking to block Roberti's appointment and void the Alvarez & Marsal contract. A hearing in circuit court is scheduled for July 21.
"What is so twisted and wicked about the argument is no one can argue that the city schools are so bad it doesn't matter what we do," Brown says. "But yet and still that's the argument that is being made here, that it doesn't matter what we do, just do something. That's bull."
Brown reserves special criticism for the Black Leadership Roundtable, the African-American organization that threw its support behind the school-board takeover. Key roundtable members include Jackson, now the school-board vice president, and publisher Suggs. Brown contends the group's out of touch with the African-American community. "No one in that group was elected, no one was chosen by the community," Brown says. "These are largely black businesspeople who are getting a hustle from the deals that they cut as being the gateway to black people."
Jackson's response is direct: "That's bullshit."
"Does Lizz Brown represent the black community?" Jackson asks. "Who represents the white community? Who determines the real representative of any group of people? Who's the legitimate leader of the black community? If the people on the Black Leadership Roundtable are the heads of the major black organizations in the community, they represent those people. Some might say they're leaders."
Almost immediately, the firm discovered a $90 million shortfall in the schools' budget. Slay then quickly accused school officials of spending like drunken sailors. Perhaps, but recently retired Superintendent Cleveland Hammonds noted that the mayor appoints an independent firm that audits the school district annually. Shouldn't he have known if school spending was going off the deep end?
The motion was part of several briefs filed with U.S. District Court Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh as part of the district's attempt to borrow some of $180 million promised to the district as part of a 1999 desegregation settlement.
That settlement says the funds could be used only to acquire land or build new schools, but the current school board is arguing that money is needed now or the district could shut down.
Essentially, Limbaugh is being asked to weigh a strict interpretation of the settlement agreement against possible immediate harm to the school district. A ruling is expected early today.
Also on Monday, in a separate decision involving the desegregation settlement, a judge in St. Louis Circuit Court ruled that the state violated the agreement when it changed the formula by which the district receives financial aid. The district could get as much as $16 million from the order, but the money might stay in limbo if the state appeals the circuit court decision.
The contentious debate about the appropriateness of hiring a private business restructuring firm to address the challenges of a dysfunctional bureaucracy and lagging scholastic achievement in the St. Louis public schools has been sobered by the announcement that the district is insolvent.-------- TITLE: Please, No Whining About How Poorly the City is Run AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 7/03/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: After ruining a good police officer's career because that police officer did his job, Arnold is thinking of rehiring the disgraced chief. -------- TITLE: SLPS Lawsuit Filed AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 7/03/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: To be specific given the large number of lawsuits surrounding the SLPS, plaintiff's lawyers from the Desegregation case have filed to stop the SLPS from using Desegregation Capital Funds to temporarily cover the insolvency problem.
It is reality time. Interim Superintendent William V. Roberti says that without money from restricted settlement funds from a federal desegregation lawsuit, there will be no available dollars to cover general operating costs of the city's public schools including salaries and summer school that are due immediately.
The school board agreed on Tuesday to a brokered deal between Roberti and Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon that would inject up to $30 million or more of these restricted federal funds. This agreement is highly unusual and may not withstand a legal challenge. The district's federal crisis (mandated reserves for the district have been depleted) should temper some of the criticisms as the board desperately seeks to avoid a complete financial meltdown. Although final details are still not available, a variety of factors have contributed to the current financial crisis that is far worse than anyone anticipated. But this is no time for trying to establish blame.
The previous administration warned that there would be a budget deficit of more than $50 million. We are now told that that figure is likely to be up to $90 million. If that estimate is correct, the budget shortfall is 25 percent of the operating budget of approximately $360 million (the remaining revenues are restricted).
There is an obvious need for a broader public discussion about an ongoing strategy to improve operations and classroom instructional quality of the city's public schools. But, there is a need for reasonableness and forbearance to fashion the optimum response to the ominous threat to the educational futures of tens of thousands of our children. There are many stakeholders in the future of the public schools, but the threat is most serious for the students.
Any discussion will be largely moot if the district is unable to forestall bankruptcy, so the community must understand and accept the urgency of the current situation. The anxiety of parents and employees of the district is understandable, but the real difficulties, including the impending financial crash, that face public schools are deep and there will be no solutions without radical change.
A bumper sticker on an office door reads "A bad day at the lake is better than a good day at work." Inside that office, which was empty late Wednesday morning, are about 30 pictures of women in bikinis and other revealing garb, circa 1985. Above the photos, a magazine cutout reads "Black Starlets."
A floor below, where thousands of textbooks are stored, someone has scrawled "Book Worm Department." Over the bathroom, another sign: "Jimmy's Office."
The ancient freight elevator - which rumbles like a giant clearing his throat - has its own prose. "Clean me sometime?" one scribble suggests. On a faded sign describing workers' compensation rules, one word - "JOKE."
The problem though, Lanier said, is that it is not organized. Most warehouses, he said, assign inventory numbers which are arranged in sequential order. But at the warehouse, Lanier said, stack "4981" is next to "5175" which is next to "5269."
"Just in time" delivery, where supplies arrive just before they are needed rather than being stored.
Contracting with a distribution company.
Setting up a computer-based system that sends supplies right to the schools.
Armstead knows he is likely to lose his job if the management team shuts down the warehouse, perhaps as early as next week. Armstead doesn't hold that against the team members, though. They have a job, too, he says.
"But if your job affects other people," he said, "maybe you should get another job."
The contract to promote the city district through on-air plugs and interviews ran from last fall to Jan. 31.
The $91 million figure bandied about in other press reports is the estimated
operating deficit in December, before property tax receipts roll in in
January and February. An estimated payment of $22 million is due to the
pension fund in December. George said the board cannot pay December's bills with money it does not get until January, but according to pension fund trustees, board has done just that in the past: it would take out a short term bank loan in December and pay it back in February.
Every one of Moore's actions has been precipitated by the dysfunctional, unlawful, self-righteous, sanctimonious, hypocritical and self-serving actions of the four new board Nazis, whom you have a vested interest in defending. I don't see you writing scathing, foaming-at-the-mouth hyperbolic, disingenuous editorials criticizing them or asking them to resign.
Thank you Bill. Thank you for speaking up for me and supporting me after all the Post-Dispatch, the Danforth Foundation and Robert Koff, Mayor Francis Slay, the Hilgemanns and BJC have done to me.
As I said before, I believe in prayer, and since the Post-Dispatch and Christine Bertelson have attacked me, not only will I pray, but I call upon my colleagues and fellow believers all over this nation to pray for me.
"If all the spending had resulted in dramatic increases in student achievement, more pay and better working conditions for well-trained teachers, I would better understand. I'm not surprised or disappointed. Those words are too mild. I'm angry.
"To say that they spent money like drunken sailors is an insult to drunken sailors everywhere. At least drunken sailors spend money that they already have."
But interim Superintendent William V. Roberti said the district has gone through reserves of $51 million in three years and is now in a "liquidity crisis." The district may not even be able to meet its normal payroll, he said.
He says the management team's figure is misleading because its looks at spending month to month, rather than annually.
Hammonds said the turnaround team is engaging in "psychological warfare," with tactics such as suspending all travel, even those trips paid for by outside sources such as federal grants.
-------- TITLE: SLPS Round-Up AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 6/25/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: So I leave town and all the fun breaks out.
WHO'S THE IDIOT who came out with this no smoking anywhere in prison? Their mind was weak to fall for all these lies. There's no such thing as secondhand smoke. There's nicotine in potatoes, and I have proof if you're a smoker you're less likely to get Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Don't let these TV guys put out all this stuff and brainwash you. That's what communists do to see how quick we can be brainwashed. There's nothing wrong with smoking. If a smoker gets sick, so what. That's their choice. But as far as secondhand smoke, that's a lot of bull.
Bosley said he wanted to get more information on the possible effects of the changes on school transportation and traffic, especially if the school desegregation program ends. But the complaints soon widened to an overall condemnation of the interim management team of Alvarez and Marsal.
Bill Monroe, founder of Thurgood Marshall Academy, said: "We are angry about this being forced down the community's throat with no participation."
That so many members of one political family are employed by the district hints at the political connections facing the New York management firm that recently took over district operations.
The Bosleys' role in education, though, cannot be explained simply as patronage.
Three School Board members want an investigation of the firm's hiring.
FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS -- Lydia won't sit next to Pat. Pat won't move. And Harvey doesn't want to talk about it.-------- TITLE: Virvus is Having a Bad Day AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 6/05/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: In the Mike McMillan campaign commercial being passed off as commentary, Mark Wilson cites
What started with one city alderman's desire to change seats last month evolved into a public spat that has been the talk of the City Council as much as any item on its agenda.
"You read things about this in other areas and think it doesn't happen, but apparently it does," said Ward 5 Alderman Bonnie Crosley, a City Council newcomer. "I think that there are a lot more pressing issues to address."
Ward 3 Alderman Pat Baeske made the seat-switch to a vacated spot next to fellow Ward 3 Alderman Lydia Cruez before the City Council meeting on May 6.
"It should not be a big deal," Baeske said. "I could never see when someone gave a presentation. After four years, I decided I wanted another seat."
The action provoked City Clerk Harvey Noubarian to try to switch the seats back -- a move that resulted in a public debate with Baeske over the issue before the meeting started. The exchange caught the attention of the public in attendance.
"Some business developers and chamber members were sitting in the public area laughing at these proceedings," said Charles Kassly, who attended the meeting and wrote to Mayor Gail Mitchell about it. "The council meeting that followed was tense and strained at best."
Cruez, who has sat in the same seat for 22 years, moved to the other side of the room during the seating arrangement drama. "It was not a big deal to me," Cruez said. "I moved because I don't think two aldermen from the same ward should sit side-by-side."
The confusion continued May 19 when no name placards were present and again on Tuesday when all the placards were set out in one place, allowing aldermen to place them where they wanted. Baeske returned to the seat she took last month.
When asked about the city's rules on seating arrangements, Noubarian said, "There is no rule." He declined further comment about the affair.
"I just think it blew out of proportion and I don't think there's any controversy anymore," Ward 1 Alderman Gil Klein said. "I think it's going to blow over and there's a lot more bigger issues that we need to discuss."
Other guests at the fundraiser included Fire Chief Sherman George, former Sen. Jean Carnahan and daughter, Robin, retiring SLPS Superintendent Cleveland Hammonds, Jr., famed attorney Frankie Freeman, Dr. Leslie F. Bond Jr., Dr. Henry Givens, Michael Roberts, Chuck Caldwell, Russell Simmons of the Missouri Public Service Commission, Shaun Carr and World Wide Technology CEO David Steward.
The proof: A court order stating he must vacate his 1207 Washington Avenue location by June 30. The property's landlord, David Jump, won a court judgment in January forcing Amitin to leave. Jump, who owns a large section of property on Washington Avenue, did not return phone calls requesting comment.
Amitin's frequent flirtations with extinction - the Post-Dispatch has reported its imminent closing three other times - has made some customers skeptical that this time it's real.
-------- TITLE: When Pork and Good Policy Meet AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 6/04/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Kit Bond is often at the center. It is hard to tell if he realizes this or it is just lucky. Either way, Bond has secured $9 million in housing funds
Amitin said thousands could wind up in a Dumpster if he can't find homes for them.
"It will compare to Berlin in 1933, only instead of burning books we'll be throwing them in a landfill," he said. "It'll be a bibliocaust."
Brooks agrees with Amitin that the store's closing reflects the declining importance of reading and literature in today's world.
"If it was baseball memorabilia, they'd find out about it," he said.
The city of St. Louis will get more than $9 million in federal housing funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said U.S. Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.).
The funding is a partial allocation of the $23.2 million the city will receive in 2003 fiscal year formula program funds. More than $7.1 million will be a Community Development Block Grant; more than $1.3 million will be in HOME Investment Partnerships; $269,000 will be in emergency shelter grants; and $321,000 in housing opportunities for people with AIDS.
"For low-income families, families in crisis, or a person suffering from AIDS, this help will be critical," said Bond, in a statement.
Bond is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee that funds HUD.
-------- TITLE: Televangelist Watch AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 6/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Does anyone know if Success-N-Life by Bob Tilton plays in St. Louis? It looks like it was pulled from BET--meaning the only entertaining show is gone. -------- TITLE: Linda Tucci Interviews Rollin Stanley AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/30/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Good reading, check it out -------- TITLE: Ron Legget MIA AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/30/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: At least Nancy Farmer shows up to work, Ron Legget, the City Collector of Revenue does not. Deb Peterson sheds some light on the worst kept secret in Saint Louis City government,
-------- TITLE: Ronnie White is Chomping at the Bit AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/30/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Forget Kelvin Simmons, Ronnie White wants a crack at Kit Bond. Rumors are starting to bubble up that White would love a shot at Kit Bond in the US Senate race and he recently told one person that he is chomping at the bit for the shot if the Democratic Party will only ask.
GONE TOO LONG: St. Louis Collector of Revenue Ronald Leggett is getting flak for being away from his city office. "He's never there," said one observer, who added that watching Leggett's personal parking space to see whether the collector's car is there has become a Silly Hall pastime. Curtis Royston, 29th Ward committeeman, publicly criticized Leggett last week at a central committee meeting for absenteeism and mentioned that he had gotten complaints from African-Americans about unfavorable treatment.
Leggett, 69, said Thursday: "I'm out this week because I have an upper respiratory infection. ... I put in at least enough time to get the job done, if not more." As for the complaints from employees: "There have been a couple of incidents where there was a letter, but it's all anonymous. I've made a couple of changes. There were some points in there that I really needed to look at. I'm doing the best I can." Leggett said he will not run for re-election in 2007, when his term expires. He has been the city revenue collector for 26 years.
What the hell is taking so long--ask dammit.
White is at the center of a controversy during the Clinton administration concerning judicial nominations. Clinton nominated him to the Federal Bench, but John Ashcroft claimed White was soft on crime, a suggestion that is problematic given White's record is similar to judges Ashcroft appointed on criminal matters. Ashcroft led a successful effort to defeat White.
During the 1998 Missouri Senate election, Kit Bond made overtures to many African-American leaders who were upset with Attorney General Jay Nixon's attempts to end the desegregation settlement. Bond received the support of several prominent African Americans including Dr. Leslie Bond and Dr. Donald Suggs, publisher of the influential black weekly, The Saint Louis American. Part of the courting process by Bond was an assurance that Ronnie White would receive consideration. African-American supporters insist Bond told them he would vote for him, Bond and allies have suggested that White would get a fair shake, but not necessarily his vote. Whomever is technically correct, Bond miscalculated and angered the African-American community by voting against White, ensuring the nomination would be defeated.
Anger over Ronnie White helped push African-American turnout in St. Louis City during the 2000 election and certainly helped defeat John Ashcroft.
Running White against Bond would certainly improve black turnout in 2004. Many 1998 supporters are still sore over 2004 including Donald Suggs. In fact, the wound is especially deep for him because staff members warned him Bond might do exactly what he did.
While White would face an uphill battle defeating a long term incumbent, White might just enjoy the race. Bond would be a favorite, but as he gets older, a spirited race could be hard on him.
UPDATE: Of course, Deb Peterson reported this already in today's column -------- TITLE: Interim Superintendent Chosen AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/30/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: And he is retired Army Reserve Colonel William V. Roberti. Since retiring, Roberti has held a series of positions in troubled companies.
Many question the introduction of a business executive or Army officer into an academic setting and in the long term, criticisms that the mission is fundamentally different are serious concerns. But it misses the point of hiring a turnaround firm. The SLPS lacks institutional capactity to carry out basic administrative functions. Given this specific problem, hiring a firm to introduce modern business practices makes perfectly good sense. A recent Commonspace article points out the difficulties within the SLPS.
Army experience is especially relevant given the strong logistical background many Army officers have. In fact, a retired Army General is who turned Sears' property control and distribution system around returning them to profitability in the 1990s.
Specific tasks for Roberti and the firm include,
The team coming to St. Louis proposes a 52-week, four-phase plan for the city schools. The first seven weeks call for a budget review and analysis that includes "identification of essential people" and creating a "complete non-instructional restructuring plan." The next eight weeks are marked by "immediate non-instructional reductions in force and costs." The final two phases call for implementation and review of the group's plan.
Rudy Crew, former NYC Chancellor, is also on the team. Below Peter Downs relays some information regarding Crew who was only moderately effective in New York. -------- TITLE: Premcor Suit AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/29/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The State of Illinois is finally taking on Premcor and going after the Hartford refinery environmental problems. While Premcor wasn't the primary owner when the problems started, they are the responsible party now. The RFT did a fairly good job on the issue previously.
This is the second refinery Premcor has had a problem with in the Midwest with Blue Island, Illinois being the other. In both cases, Premcor didn't start the problems, but bought problem refineries and failed to adequately clean them up. The IEPA refused to act strongly, presumably because of concerns that jobs would be lost. What the IEPA missed is that the jobs should have been lost on outdated and dangerous refineries that had no business being on-line.
Don't even start on the Port Arthur refinery. -------- TITLE: A Story To Keep An Eye On AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/29/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: is the movement into the area of bike gangs.
Special gang unit investigators with the Illinois State Police said they are not only concerned that the clubs will engage in criminal enterprises, but that turf battles may erupt.
Sgt. Don Yann, with the Illinois State Police's organized criminal activity unit, said that the top leadership of the Outlaws suffered a severe blow last year after a five-year investigation by the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and state police who infiltrated the club with informers.
Federal prosecutors charged dozens of Outlaws, including international president James "Frank" Wheeler, with crimes ranging from racketeering to murder, extortion, drug dealing and obstruction of justice. The indictment included allegations that Wheeler tried to have members of rival gangs, including the Hells Angels, killed.
Rumbles between the Hells Angels and members of the Pagans and the Mongols left at least five bikers dead last year.
"The Outlaws have declared the Alton area to be their turf, but you've also got the Great River Road running through that area, and that's one of the most popular motorcycle routes in the area," Yann said. "What happens on the day that the Outlaws and the Hells Angels both decide they want to ride that road? Judging by past history, it could be a very ugly scene."
While police often overreact to gangs, the increase in biker violence over the last few years is worrisome to say the least. -------- TITLE: McConnell, Jones, Lanier & Murphy Audit in Knoxville AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/29/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: MJLM has worked with previous districts in reforming their school systems as well--in one case, Knox County, Tennessee the report was fairly mild as reported by the local alternative weekly.
An executive summary is available here and the full report here.
It looks like there are enough differences between the two districts to make comparisons difficult. While they have similar sized budgets, the Knox County District is not simply an urban based system. And the services the SLPS is seeking to contract for are far more inclusive than a performance audit.
On the good side, they discuss basic businesses practices that a government agency should have adopted by now.
On the big downside MJLM seems to recommend larger schools. While the impact of class size is often overstated, school size is very important. Students tend to get lost in larger schools even though they may finanicially be more efficient--they aren't efficient where it counts--educating kids.
Many thanks to South Knox Bubba who gathered up the info for me. -------- TITLE: Home Rule Organizes AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/29/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Mike Jones is heading up the effort to reform city government under home rule powers.
I suppose we'll hear a lot about bottom up and top down stuff. Just fix the damn city government--like the schools I just don't care.
-------- TITLE: Kit is Teaching Him Well AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/29/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Let's face it, the junior Senator from Missouri would never have come up with a pork project like issuing $50 billion in transportation bonds before joining Kit in the Senate.
And I think it is a fine idea, but let's face it--it'll be pork. -------- TITLE: Beautiful Immigrants AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/29/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: As the Bosnian supply dwindles with the refugee program finishing up, Saint Louis is seeing the next group of immigrants making their way to Saint Louis, Somalians
In the 19th century, Arab slave traders seized Bantus from their ancestral homelands in Mozambique and Tanzania and sold many to plantation owners in Middle Eastern and Persian Gulf countries, including Somalia.
Even though emancipated by the Italian colonial government in the early 1900s, some Bantus remained in virtual slavery in Somalia until the 1930s. Others were treated as second-class citizens, discouraged from sending their children to school, owning land or political representation.
Even after emancipation, the Italians forced most Bantu to abandon their own farms and work as laborers on more than 100 plantations owned by the colonial government.
The Bantu people fared better under British occupation during and after World War II but saw a return of discrimination once the country became independent in 1960. Some Bantus established farms or moved to larger cities to find work.
From the late 1970s until the early 1980s, the Somali government forcibly conscripted Bantus to serve in its war with Ethiopia.
When Somalia disintegrated into a war among rival clans in the early 1990s, the Bantu people became a target for attacks, rapes and killings. They joined the exodus of tens of thousands to neighboring Kenya.
But even in the refugee camps, Bantus from Somalia reported being treated "as serfs by their neighbors," according to a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
They refused to return to Somalia.
For the last dozen years, they have languished in mud homes and under tarp-covered branches in Kenya's arid high desert while nations argued over their fate, said Frushone, who visited the camps in May 2001.
Isn't freedom cool? Anyway, on the other part of the upside, this can only mean more diverse dining is on the way. -------- TITLE: Now That's What I'm Talking About AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/29/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The Political Eye points out the problem of slating Robin Carnahan is Kelvin is left without a spot. The solution could be to point out that Nancy Farmer is a figment of the state's imagination and have someone run for the Treasurer.
The problem with that is that Farmer is on display as the sole Democratic statewide woman elected to office now that Claire is officially persona non gratis in the Democratic Party.
This challenge is looking more ill-conceived all of the time. While Claire would most likely be a stronger general election candidate, it is looking like the Party apparatus is never going to let that happen. -------- TITLE: SLPS Turnaround Firm Selection AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/29/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Peter Downs of CEE Change sent out this e-mail concerning a friday meeting to select a management firm for the District (links added by me),
The St. Louis Board of Education will hold a special meeting this Friday at 7:30 am to pick the management firm that they will outsource the district to. The meeting is set for the Foundation Room at the SLPS headquarters, 801 N. Tenth St. Come if you can.
According to the Suburban Journals, the board will pick from three firms:
Alvarez & Marsal; FTI Consulting; and McConnell, Jones, Lanier & Murphy.
Members of the board and their select advisory committee heard presentations from the three firms last week.
According to someone who attended the presentations, recommendations from
the firms included consolidating schools, and firing everyone who is not
involved in instruction and contracting with private firms to perform their work.
Alvarez & Marsal's team includes former New York City Schools Chancellor
Rudy Crews. According to a NY educator, "He did not succeed in imposing much control over districts, although he did try to rein in some of the
most egregiously corrupt districts [There are 32 districts in the New York
City School System]. He did not change the system dramatically or move it
forward. He pushed summer school, and the decision to end social promotion (and send those who weren't promoted to summer school) was made while he was chancellor, but I think it was Giuliani, not he, who pushed it. And he did not execute it.
"I don't recall him as a strong advocate for the children or the system and he was not successful as a change agent, should he have wanted to be one (and he did sometimes imply that -- but who wouldn't, in NYC's
"He brought a team with him, including Judy Rizzo, who served as his no. 2, the one who actually paid attention to what was going on in the classrooms, and who stayed when he left. She is now in North Carolina."
Alvarez & Marsal will charge more than $3.5 million for running the district for 13 months.
McConnell, Jones, Lanier & Murphy drew up a "road map" for the Dallas School District. According to Journal writer Ekaterina Pesheva, Sharon Murphy, the company's managing partner, said St. Louis spends too much to educate students and too much on managing the schools. Her company will charge $2 million for 18 months work.
The third company, FTI Consulting, has never worked in education. It would
charge the district $500,000 a month.
It is hard to tell from these descritions what we are actually looking at, but it is safe to say that firing everyone in non-instructional posts wouldn't be a bad start. Much of the SLPS managment is so poorly done, rebuilding the bureaucracy from the ground up would be an improvement.
Functional tasks like payroll and textbook distribution are hopelessly fouled up now. It is hard to imagine in the long term how this would save money, but it would allow a restructuring of the District administrative functions from the ground up and that should be the first priority. -------- TITLE: Mayor's Office Budget Cut Fax AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/28/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: With another Arch City Chronicle exclusive, Dave Drebes posts a anonymous fax that has been making its way around City Hall and political circles in the City of Saint Louis.
You'll have to read through it and check the math and assumptions yourself. With the different pots of money, I'm finding it hard to make any sense, but I guess that is the point in the first place. -------- TITLE: Sad News AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: KSDK is the highest rated 10 PM newscast in the country--and it only gets worse below them in the ratings here. -------- TITLE: Dog Bites Man AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The Saint Louis Business Journal reports that Missouri and Illinois rank on a measure of lobbyist influence in policy-making.
Um...Duh. -------- TITLE: It's All Fun and Games Until Someone is Hit with An Audit AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Carl Officer has opened his administration calling for two investigations. The first was one to look into the circumstances of a city officials recent death which seems a bit strange. The second is to investigate East Saint Louis' grant making offices including Tax Increment Financing and Community Development Block Grant funds for potential improprieties.
Good for Carl.
(Did I just say that?)
(Why yes I did)
Good for Carl. I don't know of any specific problems with these departments and it could be Officer being Officer, but a good lookover by Federal and State officials would do the town well. -------- TITLE: The Edison Odyssey AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Edison Schools will be opening the first of its Saint Louis charter schools next fall, increasing Charter School Enrollment in Saint Louis to around 3,300.
Edison's performance has been uneven at best and the opening of this school has faced a number of challenges both internally and externally. The location is probably ideal with Old North Saint Louis undergoing a significant amount of development. -------- TITLE: Kelvin-Carnahan Race? AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Deb Peterson reports that Robin Carnahan is Robin Carnahan is considering run for Missouri secretary of state and forming an exploratory committee.
IN THE GENES: Robin Carnahan, 40, daughter of Mel and Jean Carnahan, said Thursday over lunch at King Lou's (also known as King Louie's but not as King Louis's) that she has formed an exploratory committee as the first step in her run for Missouri secretary of state next year. The lawyer and former international election monitor said she wanted to focus on upgrading election technology and ensuring fairness in Missouri's elections. Carnahan is a graduate of William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., and the University of Virginia law school. After law school, she worked for the Thompson, Mitchell law firm and as a trade specialist in President Bill Clinton's administration.
Ironically, her competition for the job might wind up being Kelvin Simmons, chairman of the Missouri Public Service Commission and former Kansas City councilman. Gov. Mel Carnahan appointed Simmons, of Columbia, Mo., to the commission in May 2000.
To be a broken record, Kelvin or another serious African-American candidate needs to be on the ticket for 2004. Outstate party leaders have not taken African-Americans seriously and a strongly supported candidate is needed. This is vital for the Governor's race and the Presidential race-and potentially for a challenge to Bond. -------- TITLE: Veto # 4: Public Schools Budget AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Again, with all stipulations that this is a cynical game between both the Republicans and Holden, he is right ,
The education budget that legislators approved cut basic state aid by $185 million compared to what was set aside for this year. The new budget also cuts money for technology, the A-Plus college assistance program, the safe schools program, vocational education, state achievement tests and the Parents as Teachers early childhood program
The technology and safe schools program are discretionary, but the Parents as Teachers program, vocational ed and achievement tests are critical to building a decent workforce.
This budget would inhibit the ability of districts to institute effective testing schemes and undercut accountability. -------- TITLE: Really Funny Mistake Below AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Be the first to point it out. -------- TITLE: Town Talk AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: This one really nails it:
TO ANYONE WHO calls in to tell people to "get a life": Why are you reading Town Talk? This is a column for people to express whatever is on their mind. I love all the topics and opinions. So if anyone wants us to get a life, please take your own advice because I love Town Talk. Thanks, Journal. Keep up the good work." -------- TITLE: Veto Number 3 AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Holden vetos the social service budget.
And while I understand the cynical game being played here, he is right when he points out,-------- TITLE: Education Budget Veto AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Isn't too surprising and it is setting up what both sides think they can win, a government shutdown.
Holden specifically cited a cut that will reduce the Medicaid eligibility threshold for low-income parents to 69 percent of the federal poverty level -- or $10,529 for a family of three -- down from the current threshold of 77 percent of the poverty level. The cut is estimated to eliminate Medicaid services for 13,000 adults.
``Taking away this health-care coverage will result in Missourians moving from work to welfare, and that's the wrong direction for this state to take,'' Holden said.
Both sides are being dishonest in not addressing what they think the level of tuition should be. College education is a shared expense between the society that benefits and individuals who benefit individually. The level of each contribution should be debated to determine what the most fair and effective level is. Neither side is willing to do this and Eldon Brand seems to have set up the lege (probably without realizing it) to take the fall. He proposed an inflationary rate increase only and asked the Lege to back it up. They didn't and now Holden has a hammer to hit 'em with.
My sense is Brand wishes to stay on good terms with both parties for a potential political future, but the Lege may have just ruined his plans. -------- TITLE: Turn-Around Firms Apply to the District AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Apparently 'losing' the shipping number didn't stop a lot of applications to run the SLPS, and it will be expensive.
The thing is, they are brought to bring basic standards of management in and then they leave. Updating the systems and practices of the District won't take very long, once the system is, ummmm...,purified?
This will also reduce the effectiveness of political protection for employees. -------- TITLE: Fox overlooking the Hen House AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Not Amiel, the convict, but his brother Lloyd was appointed to the Courts Commission that oversees judicial behavior.
Dandy. -------- TITLE: Speed Up the Strip Club Licenses AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Washington Park can't pay the employees of the town. -------- TITLE: The Flying Rutabega (sic) Circus Review AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The Post-Dispatch mildly slaps the hand of the SLMPD and Joe Mokwa this morning. The editorial is far too mild. The SLMPD appears to be heavy-handed and incompetent. Not a reassuring combination for those who depend upon them.
In describing the Flying Rutebega Circus arrests, The Post-Dispatch states,Its members describe themselves as a "rag-tag ensemble of circus acts, puppet shows, jugglers and musical numbers" who bicycle across the country to protest genetically modified food. Last Friday, the Rutabegas were riding down the center of Arsenal Street when police handcuffed them and took them to the police station for riding bikes without a license. The City Counselor's office acknowledges that the ordinance isn't enforced, and the city won't press charges.
There is no question here whether that ordinance is on the books. It is not. The ordinance was repealed two years ago More troubling is the cyclists were hit with Impeding Traffic charges which is a charge cops pull out to harrass cyclists and is, in most cases, a violation of state law that treats bicycles as vehicles on roads. Indymedia and the Missouri Bike Federation are outperforming the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch in accuracy.
In fact, the Post-Dispatch misses its own reporting on the subject from June 10,2000
Aldermen also voted Friday to eliminate the city's long-ignored bicycle license requirement and to ban motor vehicles from bike paths except for emergency purposes.
Continuing on in the editorial,
Mr. Mokwa isn't apologizing for a questionable search of two houses - one on Cherokee Street and one on Illinois Avenue - where some of the protesters were staying. He said neighbors had complained and that some protesters had taunted police.
First, if only the City was the efficient at dealing with code complaints all of the time this might pass the smell test. Second, taunting the police is not against the law. Indeed, I've done my share of taunting though usually in relation to asking officers why they feel traffic laws don't apply to them. For some reason they never want to arrest me.
The chief used a building code violation to send officers and housing inspectors into the homes. There they seized a box of roofing nails - a type not used in rehabbing old buildings, the chief said - a bucket of rocks, a slingshot and some torches.
Some nails, some rocks, a slingshot and some torches. The horrors. The horrors I tell you. Given I recently had a lead paint inspector in my apartment, I might have everything but the torches. I don't know where my slingshot is.
Police also hauled off two eight-foot wooden dolls used in protests (one a caricature of a police officer and the other of an alderman). Police arrested more than a dozen people.
Now here, shouldn't we consider impounding Tom Bauer for being a caricature of an Alderman? I mean really-what is the bigger threat to the city?
Under normal circumstances, housing inspectors and police officers need a warrant before searching a home. Arrests and searches for minor charges can help clean up cities Giuliani-style. But these tactics shouldn't be used to target protesters.
I'm actually a big fan of targeting nuisance crime, but the protesters weren't being nuisances--at least in the legal sense. In one case they were cycling and in the other case, they were, ummmm...in their homes. The point of targeting nuisance crime on the street is to clean up street crime and make it inhospitable to criminals, not people living in their homes.
But the real story appears to be picked up by Indymedia, a group I'm not fond of in terms of their coverage. Via Unsubscibe Indymedia reprints the St. Louis Coptalk threads pulled by the moderator. While one should never take CopTalk too seriously, the thread seems to indicate the police were a little too far on edge for the city's own good.
Another issue that I am unable to confirm is that the condemnation order of the building searched was only issued the morning of the search.
This was a heavy-handed smackdown of dissent. Dissent by those I'm not particularly sympathetic to, but that is the point. They might be silly, they might be stupid, they migh smell real bad, but they have a right to peacefully assemble and to date the SLMPD has shown virtually no credible evidence that widespread violence was likely.
Being prepared is good. Being paranoid and letting that paranoia reduce the ability of individuals to practice freedom of speech is intolerable.
-------- TITLE: ACC Scoop! AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/20/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Dave Drebes passes along a hot scoop ahead of Deb Peterson and Berger, Berger:Sylvester Brown will take the column vacated by Greg Freeman's death,-------- TITLE: Old Tasty! AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/20/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Old Tasty has a Blog--and it is Old Tasty. A little bit of Da Lou in China for now. -------- TITLE: Maxwell Unlikely to Take on Bond AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/20/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Deb Peterson reports that Joe Maxwell is not going to challenge Bond for the US Senate seat. Unfortunately, the union forces don't seem to understand what this means for the Democratic Party. They are reportedly trying to recruit a white legislator from Columbia to run if Maxwell does avoid the race instead of concentrating on getting an African-American on the statewide ticket. Never, ever short your most loyal voters. -------- TITLE: Anarchists! AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/20/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Sherffius nails the police overreaction today. -------- TITLE: Budget Veto AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/19/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Since Chip Taylor is fleeing the state I suppose I should report on the budget.
according to sources at the Post-Dispatch. Brown will officially join
the staff on June 2nd, but a formal announcement could happen any day.
Brown founded Take Five Magazine, a black monthly, in 1987 and has
been publisher of that magazine. The last issue of Take Five is due
out next week. He is arguably the best writer in town.
The veto of the health budget is excellent assuming Holden's figures are correct.
The Democratic governor said his review of the budget passed by lawmakers on May 9 indicated services would be reduced or eliminated for 5,800 developmentally disabled people. He claimed the cuts also would reduce or eliminate psychiatric services to 3,200 mentally ill adults and 800 emotionally troubled children.
Besides snarky jokes about the St. Louis Public School Board, this would be devastating and lead to an increase in other social services--costing more money in the long run. Perhaps we can ship some homeless folks to Hannaway's nabe.
Of course, this gives red meat to pro-choice activists as well and helps Holden in a potential primary versus McCaskill.
-------- TITLE: Talk About Overkill AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/19/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: It appears the St. Louis Police bought into the fears a bit more than they should have and couldn't quite find real laws being broken.
Additionally, Holden said the Legislature's elimination of state family planning grants would deny primary health care to about 30,000 women.
Police took bicycles Friday from a group pedaling through Tower Grove Park. Police told the cyclists that anyone older than 12 needed a license to ride a bicycle in St. Louis, the cyclists said.
Unfortunately for the officers, that ordinance was repealed a few years ago. Oops.
The rest of the story isn't much prettier, the search warrant was obtained partially because of a bucket of nails in a house being rehabbed. Uh-huh.
-------- TITLE: Town Talk Hits AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/16/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Towntalk Tidbits:
Note to CofCC Members, try and match trade agreement to the right countries.
-------- TITLE: The Officer Returns to Duty AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/16/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Is up at Political State Report. Of course I'm referring to Carl Officer, former and current Mayor of East Saint Louis. -------- TITLE: Probable Hoax AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/15/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: While I suppose it is possible there will be some damage this seems a bit overwrought--50,000 anarchists? In St. Louis? That takes more organization than anarchists allow.
Where have the jobs gone?
MY FATHER WAS killed fighting Communists in Korea. I never knew him. He spent two tours of duty in Vietnam fighting Communists. Now the company I work for is closing its plant and moving it to Communist China because people are willing to work over there for $3 a week. What's the North American Free Trade Agreement all about? Did Congressman Gephardt vote for NAFTA? I'm just curious. We're losing more and more jobs to China, and it doesn't make any sense.
Editor's note: NAFTA is a comprehensive treaty that loosened trade restrictions between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. The U.S. Congress passed NAFTA in November 1993. It took effect in January 1994. The agreement only concerns trade between those three nations. Gephardt has opposed NAFTA. One may read the entire North American Free Trade agreement at www-tech.mit.edu/Bulletins/nafta.
Hat tip to Tim for sending it in.
Subject: FW: Caution - May 18th-20th
> > As you may have heard already, the media has advised that
> approximately 50,000 anarchists have a trip planned to St. Louis for
> May 18th-20th. They will be looking for targets of opportunity, e.g.,
> large corporations, industry, SUV owners, etc. If you see large
> groups of people, it may be a good idea to avoid the area and/or take
> an alternate route. If you drive an SUV (even the smaller versions),
> or other vehicle that uses a lot of gas -- you may want to be extra
> cautious. (This group is against 'gas guzzling' cars and they've been
> known to destroy vehicles, break windows, etc. In Seattle, this same
> group created about $17M worth of damage.)
> Please be alert and cautious over the next couple of weeks -
> - - thanks!
-------- TITLE: Someone else's meth problem just became my problem AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/15/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Apparently in the infinite wisdom of the Missouri Lege, sudaphedrine is likely to be more regulated at the point of sale. Those of us with chronic sinus problems should salute them with diry hankies. -------- TITLE: Washington Park Follies AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/15/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Apparently the don't really know if they have a budget problem or not--well there is a budget problem in that there really isn't one and city officials spend more than is authorized.
Rational government at work. I'm sure more strip clubs will solve the problem. -------- TITLE: Dumb And Dumber AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/15/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Wow, the Lege really outdoes itself with a proposed bill to make it illegal to photograph livestock operations.
Not only is the content stupid, but the bill would end up being a nice paycheck to the ACLU when they sue for it being a violation of the First Amendment, strike it down, and are awarded court costs. -------- TITLE: St. Clair County HiJinks AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/15/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: St. Clair County has some interesting scandals brewing, two of which I report at the Political State Report -------- TITLE: The Ambassador Of Mirth AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/15/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Bob Jamerson, the Ambassador of Mirth, the Baton Guy of the Central West End has a blog.
There is even a picture section and it seems to me that Bob is most likely to create a traffic accident...
I love cities. -------- TITLE: The SLPS Welcome Mat AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Berger let's us in on an event that was all to easy to predict.
USE MINE: New St. Louis Board of Education President Darnetta Clinkscale has gotten her first taste of the challenges facing the new, reform-minded majority on the board. Clinkscale and her fellow members voted at their first meeting last month to launch the search for an interim superintendent no later than May 8. However, Clinkscale discovered Tuesday that the completed Request for Proposals was still sitting on a school administrator's desk. The holdup? No one at the district's central administrative office could find the school system's billing number for overnight shipping and didn't report the problem, fumed a Clinkscale aide
I've lost billing numbers. You know who will help you out? The shipping company. They have an interest in an organization being able to ship things. -------- TITLE: Don't ask AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Back tomorrow night or Wednesday -------- TITLE: Vice Watch AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/09/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Brooklyn and Washington Park make the news.
Brooklyn fires the officer who lost control of his vehicle and hit a suspect trying to flee. It is truly remarkable to be fired from the most corrupt and incompetent police force around.
The Washington Park follies continue with the Mayor being allowed to use an official vehicle for official duties. Glad to hear that could get settled while Washington Park considers granting two new strip club licenses. From the Post-Dispatch on April 18th,
Washington Park, already home to the most strip clubs in the Metro East area, four, has approved permits for two more.
The village has been struggling financially, and the two clubs approved Tuesday by the village board will bring in more than $100,000 a year, officials said.
"We need the revenue," said board member Charlie Byrd, one of five board members who voted to approve the licenses. "We're a poverty-stricken village. If we don't increase the revenue, we're going to have to start laying off police officers."
The licenses were awarded to Doug Talley, owner of a Washington Park trucking company, and Stephen Romanik, whose father, Robert, is former Washington Park police chief and a one-time strip club owner.
Are these two screaming racketeering clowns to anyone else?
Romanik's father, Robert, has said in the past that he was acting as a consultant for his son's business. Robert Romanik was placed on probation in 1997 for lying to a grand jury during the Thomas Venezia gambling and racketeering investigation.
With just three days to go on a sentence of probation in the Venezia case, Romanik was charged in 1998 with bank fraud for concealing from a bank the true nature of loans used to build topless clubs in Washington Park and Centreville.
He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 months in prison.
Under the plea agreement, Romanik agreed to sell his Washington Park c lub, which is now the Hustler Club.
And with all Metro East nefarious connections, unindicted co-conspirator Jerry Costello is only separated by one degree.
What adults do is their business, but the particular form of businesses in Metro East catering to adults are inextricably linked to racketeering and corruption. -------- TITLE: Moore Editorials AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/09/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Both the Post-Dispatch and the Political Eye address the Rochell Moore situation. It seems to me that both strike the right tone. Get help and if not, the community needs to consider relieving her of her duties. -------- TITLE: Council of Conservative Citizens do Cinco de Mayo AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/06/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Gordon Baum and his band of racist ne'er do wells showed up to protest immigration at Cinco de Mayo at, I kid you not, West County Shopping Center.
Wait a sec.
Okay, really, it was in Des Peres.
A note of caution--these aren't pretty people.
A couple theories here:
1) They thought they were protesting the French immigrants in Des Peres
2) Because they are inbred they assume Cherokee Street is full of Native Americans
3) They figured the hard working and wonderfully talented immigrants around Cherokee might kick their ass -------- TITLE: Metrolink Revenue Enhancement AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/06/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: More tickets for Clayton who issued 24 speeding tickets on Wydown and Forsyth Before Noon.
Metro complains that the buses were running late due to extra traffic.Some Metro bus drivers said the traffic made them run 10 minutes or more behind schedule. Linda Ross, a spokeswoman for the Metro transit agency, said that was in part because Metro altered the Clayton-Ballas route to accommodate the light-rail construction. Also, six bus routes that stop at Forsyth and Central Avenue encountered heavier traffic.
The problem is there is no way to determine if this is a typical occurrence or due to congestion. Bi-State doesn't track on-time arrival and departures for buses. -------- TITLE: SLPS Board: Really Just Sad AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/06/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Rochell Moore is contending she was dosed with cocaine as part of a conspiracy to, well, control the Board or something. That she had mental health issues isn't that new to most close observers of the Board. Many a person with ties to the SLPS have received long rambling diatribes on the answering machines alleging various conspiracies.
While this certainly adds to the circus atmosphere of the Board, one should pray for Ms. Moore's mental health and hope the rest of the Board simply moves on with an agenda for reform.
Hat Tip to the One-Armed Baseball Player Pete Gray -------- TITLE: Dean Meetup Wednesday AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/05/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: May I recommend the Dean Meet-up at the Tap Room on Wednesday May 7th . Photos from the last are available here.
I won't be there, but I will have a Schlafly or two while engaged in other pursuits. -------- TITLE: Good News and Bad News for Kiel Opera House AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/05/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The good news: It may well be open by 2005
The bad: Clear Channel will operate it so there may be many songs relating to putting a boot up someone's ass. -------- TITLE: East St. Louis Financial Woes Continue AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/05/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: And the head of the Oversight Panel has had it. After dealing with years of foot dragging he is stepping down out of frustration.
Reading the article it seems clear the City is uninterested in spelling out a serious budget. -------- TITLE: Pete Parisi is Immortalized on the WWW AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/05/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Frightening, and truly terrifying. I'm amazed. And apparently videos are available on-line as well. -------- TITLE: Very Cozy AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/05/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: A.G. Edwards has all of the SLPS Bond Work for 10 years.
The St. Louis Public School District usually receives five or six proposals from underwriters for bond issues, said George Byron, treasurer for the district. A.G. Edwards has always stood out because of its experience, its presence in Missouri, its number of brokers and the minority participation on its finance team, he said. "They're the best. Why not select the best?" Byron said.
I guess it depends on how you define best--if getting a good value for the money is how we define best, it isn't clear that is the case.
I don't mean to simplify this issue given the ability of AG Edwards to get a better rate at times, but jeesshh...no one even wants to examine if that is necessarily true. -------- TITLE: TIF Stupidity AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/05/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The Biz Journal reports on the Brookings Study critical of the St. Louis region's use of TIFs.
Most of the article speaks for itself, but I loved this line:"That was a site that had been known in the development community for many years as a prospect, but no one could put anything together that made any sense," Sansone said. "There were 150 homes. To go in and buy those without assistance -- there was no way a developer could afford to do that."
Shockingly, the market might be telling everyone to develop the land on a different scale then. Call me crazy, but a Circuit City and a Borders either can afford the property or they can't. -------- TITLE: Wellston School Woes Continue AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/05/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Wellston students will get to transfer. Sort of. The District has to pay for transportation to one district, but there has to be a district willing to accept students. Districts can probably refuse if they don't allow other students to transfer in. Of the three surrounding districts (I think Jennings might be as well, but that isn't much help) St. Louis is in trouble and doesn't allow transfers in except in rare cases. U City is possible, but frankly more weight than it should have to bear. U City has a system that tries hard, but is inundated with poor kids as it is. Normandy is doing better over the last few years, but has a lot of challenges.
Students can attend other schools as well, but have to pay for transportation which can be prohibitive. For older students it would be possible given Metrolink and the bus routes, but by then it is too late.
The next installment of urban education woes will discuss the problem of geography, but even a school choice plan will face this problem. Transportation may well become one of the largest outlays for a true choice system.
Ultimately, towns like Wellston probably do not have the capacity to govern their own schools.
Other good news comes in the Approval of the State Accountability Plan by the Department of Education. Even better, the state kept reasonable standards despite the challenge they present to school systems:Two weeks ago, the State Board of Education voted to retain the current "proficient" definition that is used to evaluate student performance on the MAP exams, even though this standard is more rigorous than the standards used by some other states.
Update: Chip Taylor got there first.
I'm not as negative about the entire system as Chip is, but there are a great number of challenges that require us to rethink how we organize public education. -------- TITLE: House Democrats Wake Up AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/05/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: And realize the importance of black voters if they hope to win any statewide races next year or, well, ever. The Political Eye Reports:
Freshman state Rep. Robin Wright-Jones (63rd District) has become the first black to be elected Democratic Minority Caucus Chair in the Missouri House of Representatives. Representative Wright-Jones succeeds Rep. Russ Carnahan who resigned as Democratic Caucus Chair in anticipation of a run for Dick Gephardt's 3rd District Congressional seat.
One of the big issues after the Republican takeover was the outstate dimwits hadn't figured out that African-Americans are an important constituency and they received no leadership positions in the Democratic leadership. Black leaders than threatened that if they were not to be taken seriously, their votes might go elsewhere. Or nowhere. Carnahan apparently entering the 3rd's race opened up this spot and the Party members got a clue.
-------- TITLE: Repeat After Me: AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/05/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: You Can't Discriminate Based on the Content of the Speech even if the Secret Service says so.
This is quite disturbing and Andrew Sullivan even pointed it out last week.
Essentially the Secret Service is getting local police agencies to move demonstrators to free speech zones out of view of the President and the people supporting the President, but not doing the same for those who are supporters of the President or demonstrating about another issue. You can't do that.
While you might be able to quarantine everyone--why should we? The security threat isn't that great and there is nothing wrong with dissent. As the article points out, a smart assassin wouldn't be advertising the dislike of the President--even a dumb one could figure that out.
I talked with one of the arrestees and surprisingly, they weren't looking to be arrested in an act of civil disobedience, they were literally trying to be seen around the event. In fact, they were quite surprised at the system set-up to control war protesters while other protesters were ignored.
While I question the efficacy of such protests, they must be allowed. Even worse for the localities is that they will lose monetarily if these cases go to court. So will the Secret Service, but it can afford that penalty, many local police departments cannot.
What is even more amusing is that in St. Charles a few people are charged with trespassing on private land while also being charged with blocking a public highway. A judge with half a brain would see the contradiction, but in St. Charles they don't pick judges on that criteria and thus, the charges were allowed even though they contradict each other. -------- TITLE: NetFlix Resolves Dearth of Hard to Find Movies AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 5/05/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Cool, Netflix is coming to St. Louis.
I was happy with my trial experience before they were going to set-up a local wharehouse. Now they will be even quicker which is a huge bonus for independent movie fans not satisfied with Hollywood and Blockbuster. -------- TITLE: Pseudophedrine is my friend AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/28/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Back Wednesday or Thursday. Check out Chip Taylor for good coverage of the state budget mess. -------- TITLE: First Quarter Crime Down AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: While Mokwa can't account for larger trends, certainly we can all take soem comfort in these numbers and the direction of public safety in the City of Saint Louis. -------- TITLE: New Metro Budget AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Is unveiled with no increases in price or decreases in service.
But can someone explain this to me:
Next year's operating budget is tentatively pegged at $172.7 million, an increase of $9.2 million over this year's. To get there, Metro officials are proposing two main ideas to the commissioners: First, use money that would have been paid as interest to investors in the cross-county MetroLink line; and second, trim labor and benefits costs, partly by shifting several full-time bus drivers to part time.
How do you shift interest? I'm completely confused. Perhaps it is bad reporting, but neither solution is a long term solution.
Most disturbing is that the next push for a line is out to West County when the next Metrolink lines should be north or south to take advantage of natural density in the city near suburbs. -------- TITLE: New Rest Stop AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: For $7 million, $1 million per mile away from an interestate -------- TITLE: Slay's Budget AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Looks to be not too bad. Some cuts in jobs, but no significant public safety cuts. While structural issues are still a question, the Mayor has done a good job buying time to set up more significant cuts if necessary. Of course, home rule will ultimately be needed to reshape the bureaucracies throughout city government. -------- TITLE: 1 Hour--5 Motions AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Impressive efficiency by the Board of Education. Not only that, but it looks like a working coalition of 5 or 6 members. Only Rochelle Moore is standing in the way of reform. -------- TITLE: The Smell Test AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: is something AG Edwards can't pass with the School Bond Issue. Chip Taylor covers it well here -------- TITLE: Bellefontaine Neighbors Neighbors Dispute Continues AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: I just love this story. -------- TITLE: Bad Start AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Changing the tone of stupidity in the SLPS requires a bit more care than the Slay Slate demonstrated by meeting in secret.
I'm convinced this won't be a regular pattern, but the hope would be that they would include Amy Hilgemann in these sort of meetings--and of course that such meetings be open. While Amy may not be on the same page, they should be prepared to work with her.
Some good news is that there is serious talk of a financial advice board that will look at the expenditures until the capacity is built up within the district and perhaps forever. One of the serious problems in a one body oversight of $444 Million is that no one has time to examine the particulars. Amy Hilgemann almost killed herself trying. By having a financia board to examine all of the contracts, the non-controversial can be put on the consent agenda and the Board can work on accountability for the rest. -------- TITLE: Hold Harmless Sinks In AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Via Chip Taylor
The Hold Harmless portion of the desegregation settlement has hit a bunch of legislators on the head. There is already a lawsuit by the SLPS and VICC to enforce this provision for this year.
Some of the legislators complaining are a bit clueless:Many districts will find St. Louis' deal outrageous, said Ray Patrick, executive director of the Missouri Association of Rural Education.
"There are some districts around the state that are going to either end up closing their doors or they are going to have some really big increases in their (tax) levies," Patrick said.
As would a significant reform of the school funding system. Many rural districts underfund their operations because they refuse to raise taxes. While there are problems with the funding system being based on effort of districts, this isn't something new. There are good arguments to be made that raising property taxes is especially problematic in rural areas, but if they didn't like this, they could have pushed for reform of the system.
The Senate's leader, Peter Kinder, a Cape Girardeau Republican, and other legislators hope the order allows the state to extricate itself from the deal.
"I can't see it holding up if the funds are not there," said Sen. Mary Bland, a Kansas City Democrat. "We were not in this financial situation then. I would think there is some safeguard."
But Ken Brostron, a long-time attorney for St. Louis public schools, said there is no such escape clause.
"That's why we put this provision in there -- so they could not change the funding unilaterally," he said.
Exactly. SB 781 was written for exactly this purpose. The State of Missouri was settling a lawsuit for which they had been found to have violated the civil rights of its citizens. The Courts oversaw the SLPS operations and required extraordinary funding. The State was unhappy with the situation because it created a series of problems so they looked to settle the case. The state had to fear continued court oversight and the plaintiffs had to fear a court decision to declare the District as unitary and end all extraordinary funding. So a compromise was reached, called a settlement agreement of which much of its funding provisions were codified in law on top of being legal agreement. Both sides chose a reasonable settlement to avoid potential worst case scenarios. Now, the state legislators want to back out of that agreement. Some are new and probably don't remember SB 781 very well. Kinder has no excuse. Regardless, the State of Missouri owes the money because it was a party to the agreement.
The money is targeted in two primary ways. The first is an increase in high poverty districts that meet a specific level of self-funding. This affects many districts and the point was to have the state pay for additional costs they incur that other districts don't incur. Special ed, ESL, and other urban educational programs. The second is infrastructure money to specifically redress past infrastructure problems in African-American schools. The second wouldn't be affected by the budget crisis--it is not discretionary. The first is not discretionary either because the plaintiffs would only enter into an agreement with a guarantee. What is disturbing is that the state legislators' are that clueless.
The District and Plaintiffs are upholding their end of the settlement, so should the third party. If the state tries to get out of this arrangement it will lose and Judge Limbaugh has lost any sense of humor with the State over these issues. -------- TITLE: Trying to Walk and Chew Gum Can Be Difficult AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/18/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: For the Post-Dispatch Editorial Board. Let's take a look at today's attempt to make sense of the Wellston School District.
On the one hand they attempt to address how much the Wellston Superintendent makes and on the other hand they attempt to address how poorly the District has performed. And the editorial concludes, the district needs to think about things.
Let me take a stab at it--the Superintendent is paid just below the SLPS Superintendent. The Wellston District is about to lose accreditation. The Wellston Superintendent has held the job since 1984.
From this I can conclude, the Wellston Superintendent should be fired. Call me crazy. Nearly 20 years and his biggest impact is proceeding over a district that losing accreditation should come with some accountability.
The thing is, the Post-Dispatch cannot say that. Why not? I don't know. They seem to imply it, but an editorial about a crisis in one of the worst school districts with some of the poorest kids doesn't need to be danced around.
Chip Taylor has some suggestions concerning the Wellston School District as well. And Chip is correct in stating that Wellston parents need a choice now. The problem is how do we provide that choice and there it gets complicated. We could and should find a way to circumvent the district. There are several problems in doing so.
First, we do not really know how to educate poor kids with high levels of lead poisoning, few family resources, 90 % eligibility for free or reduced school lunch (a reasonable approximation of poverty) and high mobility. The problem is that we don't know how to pull a quick reform. There isn't a simple model we can implement to improve performance quickly.
Second, there aren't any other public school districts adjacent that are equipped to take on a significant number of students from Wellston. University City is challenged with a fairly high number of poor students and while it is making improvements, more poor students would overly burden it. The districts to the north face similar challenges and the SLPS is in no position to institute immediate change given the condition of schools in the Northwest part of the City are as poor as the Wellston schools. To give students an effective choice, students would have to be bused to districts that are not immediately adjacent to Wellston, dramatically increasing the difficulty and the costs of any such program. Public school choice is an expensive proposition with logistical nightmares.
Private school choice isn't very realistic (at least om the short term)for many of the same reasons. The private schools in the area are close to full and getting them ot private schools farther out present two problems. One is the transportation problem, the other is many such schools are incapable of dealing with special populations. While I don't see the number listed at DESE, the likely special ed rate is at least 25% of students or more in Wellston.
Finally, any solution has to assume parents won't be likely to make alternative school choices in significant numbers. This may seem counterintuitive to many, but given the choice to have their children transfer, many poor parents choose not to transfer their kids. Why this is the case is complex. Many parents of kids in such districts do not understand the choices available to them and have little ability to make informed choices. I would actually argue this is true of the vast majority of parents, but most parents have the economic wherewithall to choose nicer neighborhoods and in doing so utilize rules of thumb provided by the press, real estate agencies (though often defective) and friends as to what constitutes a good school.
In the SLPS, the voluntary transfer program for African-Americans has never been fully subscribed. And in many cases, the number of African-American slots in the magnets have not been utilized forcing the SLPS district to reduce the total number of students going to the magnets. Such parents often are intimidated by schools and school officials even when such people are welcoming (and Wellston is not) largely because they had such poor experiences in school themselves.
So how does one solve the problem? Good question. No one really knows. However, in cases like Wellston, or Brooklyn, IL, or other small poor inner-ring suburbs taking over the district by the state has to be the first start. Increasing school choice is a long-term strategy, but in the short-term, giving fewer choices is probably necessary for most students.
The problem in Missouri is the State doesn't want to do it. First, it doesn't know how to solve the problems of poverty and learning. Second, it takes money and if the State is responsible and determines an expensive course of action is needed the State is on the hook.
Let's consider this the first in the series on urban education problems.
UPDATE: Posted on both sites with some editing for clarity.
-------- TITLE: Nice Advance Work AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/17/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: But Smith added: "The timing for the president's visit couldn't be worse. On Friday, 238 of my members are getting laid off . . . because of lack of work."
-------- TITLE: Steve Neal Slobbers over Howard Dean AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: But that is okay, so do I. More over at the Dean Call to Action Blog.
Remember the Dean Meet-up is May 7th. I'll announce the location here as well (though you should go to the Meet-up site if interested), but currently the Missouri for Dean e-mail discussion list is having an inane discussion over where the event should take place. Other details will be posted to the Missouri for Dean site.
While I haven't made up my mind who I'm supporting in 2004 yet, Dean is up top right now. -------- TITLE: Smarth Growth and Cross Dressing AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: All a part of deception. How? Hell if I know, but Joyce Morrison pulls off another spectacularly incoherent column. Oh, and the American Planning Association is in on it too... -------- TITLE: Arch City Chronicle---Eddie Roth on Residency AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: For those interested in City politics, check out the Arch City Chronicle. It is available only as a dead tree version, but is worth it.
Press Release sent in from Dave Drebes:Residency rule repeal could weaken public safety, race relations,
former police board president says.
Former St. Louis police board president Eddie Roth, in a commentary
piece published in the April 15th edition of the Arch City Chronicle,
warns of the "obvious pitfalls" in proposed legislation to repeal the
police residency requirement.
"Americans are spending billions each year on homeland security, with
a special emphasis on so-called first responders," Roth writes. Yet
under the proposed legislation, policemen and women may end up
residing in the far exurbs.
"How long," Roth questions, "should St. Louisans wait for officers to
slog their way across the Blanchette Bridge or up I-55 (in the event
of an emergency requiring mass mobilization)?"
Roth also worries about the legislation's affect on race relations.
Roth supports amending the residency rule but argues for state
legislators to "think these things through" and pay greater attention
to the legislation's unintended consequences.
Other news reported in the current edition:
- Dave Drebes analyzes the components of the Four For Our Future
school board campaign sweep, comparing it to other campaigns in which
Mayor Slay has been involved.
- Attorney Charles A. Lowenhaupt comments on perceptions of St. Louis
as ?equivalent to Rochester, a declining city without class appeal,?
and what the city should do to overcome this perception.
- Current research on urban issues such as living wage,
transportation, costs of sprawl and development policy is surveyed.
-------- TITLE: Gun Control or Lawsuits? AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The Post-Dispatch makes a few good points in their rant against a bill that would end lawsuits against gun manufacturers. I generally don't view such a strategy as effective in reducing gun violence, though this is a different question from whether manufacturers are negligent.
The thing is, the Post-Dispatch views lawsuits as effective gun control, and they aren't. Lawsuits won't effectively deal with straw purchases because of the largely unregulated secondary market. At best, such lawsuits will make it harder for decent gun dealers to stay in business and that is a shame. Most FFL holders are good, decent and law-abiding.
Some of the clowns with FFL's have Karmic retribution coming their way as did the fool, Henry J. Cernicek. Henry got caught selling to obvious straw purchasers a little while after he was profiled as an example of how guns save lives. He was held up by an armed man and was able to shoot the would be robber. Of course, you have to be an idiot to rob a gun store at gunpoint. It is an excellent way to end up dead. But everyone got a nice lesson in irony from this incident because the robber's gun was purchased through Cernicek's store in a straw buyer purchase.
Willy-nilly lawsuits aren't likely to hit those who are willing to traffic in illegal gun sales like Cernicek. Sure, he might have to do it another way, but this clown would have violated the law one way or another. Instead such lawsuits will hit law abiding gun dealers who are conscientious about the law.
An effective strategy to reduce straw purchase sales is a national registration program. That is a non-starter in Congress for the foreseeable future. Regulations need to be national to be effective or you simply have people leaving states to skirt the law. However, there must be an incentive and method to track sales of firearms used illegally back to their point-of-sale and determine who are the problematic dealers. This isn't a job for a tort system, it is a job for federal law enforcement. An effective ATF would be a start, but even then, Members of Congress try and inhibit the ability of the ATF to track illegal sales. That must change. -------- TITLE: Is American Obsolete? Are Hubs? AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Well, the Post-Dispatch doesn't know, but writes an editorial about it anyway. To their credit they are starting to question the orthodoxy surrounding hubs, but the editorial successfully communicates nothing. -------- TITLE: Why GM Pisses Me Off AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: This ad. The thing that really pisses me off--in St. Louis it is all too accurate. So really the axis of evil is GM and Bi-State. -------- TITLE: Cyclist Thought for the Day AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: From http://www.mprfl.com
I wish these drivers would blow me a kiss when they cut?
me off, push me off the road because I usually get a kiss
before I get screwed?
-------- TITLE: Too Much Democracy? AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Governing argues that the region has too many governmental bodies.
What do I think? Governing is right, but they don't explore the real problem. Fragmentation would be okay if citizens had the ability to be well informed. Citizens are notoriously poorly informed and by setting up so many public institutions the press can't cover public processes well (even the biggies--see below). Combining the two, people are woefully underinformed when it comes to voting and there is no effective oversight. The low participation actually probably minimizes the problem by creaming the crop of voters to just sort of woefully uninformed instead of amazingly woefully uninformed. -------- TITLE: Slay's Success AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: While below I give the credit to the operation for the success of Slay's slate, I think it would be unwise not to understand that the election was in many ways a very positive referendum for Mayor Slay. He has had his missteps and I think the OPO plan is a long term mistake. Fair enough.
On balance he is performing amazingly well given a budget deficit of nearly $50 million. He hasn't shied away from tough cuts and he has been brutally honest. On top of it he set clear priorities about how cuts will be distributed.
Beyond that, his intervention in the fiasco called the St. Louis Board of Elections stopped another nightmare--a nightmare Bob Holden was happy to sit back and watch.
And he is getting good mentions in Governing. Of course, if he can fix his technology initiative the goo-goos at Governing will be even happier. -------- TITLE: Things That Bring A Smile To My Face AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: A Green Candidate got about 30% of the vote against Tom Bauer. A very flaky Green Candidate. The smile quickly leaves my face when I realize the city is stuck with the moronic Bauer for another 4 years. -------- TITLE: A Victory for the Kids and A Defeat for A Free Press AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: It is official, elections in the City of Saint Louis are less about organization these days and a hell of a lot more about advertising and public relations. The Slay Slate won handily.
Don't get me wrong--I endorsed three of the slate members warmly and I'm comfortable with Bob Archibald. Traditionally, local elections are decided by outworking your opponents by attending more neighborhood meetings and getting more ward organizations supporting you. In this race, the result was determined by a sophisticated operation by local standards that polled on every messsage--and it worked. While this specific result is good news for the very troubled SLPS, the larger issue is troubling.
What is more troubling is the Post-Dispatch's coverage which focused on tactics and personalities without ever seriously addressing the complex and difficult issues this new board will face. The editorials were little more than warmed over press releases. I suppose that is a credit to Richard Callow, everyone's favorit whipping boy, who ran much of the campaign. Of course, it is his job to try and influence the press and so this is no criticism of him (indeed it is a compliment I suppose), their job is to be critical. The press wasn't.
With DJ Wilson being phased out at the RFT, there will be almost on critical coverage of the district outside of the Arch City Chronicle and the American on those days that Alvin Reid can squeeze out a story.
And while the new slate should improve things dramatically, no public institution should be that devoid of critical coverage. -------- TITLE: Residency Bill Fight AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The fight over police residency continues with outstate legislators seeming to think they know better how to run the Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department. While I think a compromise is prudent with the police officers, that is a decision for the city to make--or should be. -------- TITLE: Wingnut Invitation AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Why don't some of the less evolved members of the Missouri Lege take on SMSU over research that involves the Earth being over 6,000 years old.
Why you ask? I like being entertained by morons.
On another note, that was one crappy piece of science reporting. -------- TITLE: Secretary of State has all of the Action AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Of all of the races, the Secretary of State race is attracting the most speculation. For the Democrats, the open secret is the party is counting on Kelvin Simmons to run. Desperate for a decent African-American candidate given the outstate good 'ole boys couldn't see fit to grant a leadership position to the party's strongest constituency, African Americans. Simmons has the bonus of being electable as a moderate and well-spoken man who is youthful.
Unfortunately, Jo Mannies reports he doesn't sound all that interested. The Party needs to make sure he is interested even (actually especially) if that means he wants future support for a safe run at something else. -------- TITLE: I'm Moving to Illinois AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Why? Well there will soon be a much better transit infrastructure even with the same transit body. -------- TITLE: It Is Official, One Can Go on A Brewery Tour for Good Beer AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: All too often people get excited to visit the AB excrement plant and talk about how they got their free beer (in years past it was more like free whatever you can drink), but now, Schlafly has gone local and will be brewing in Maplewood. -------- TITLE: Wednesdays are Busy AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/09/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Back Tomorrow with election post-mortems and more. -------- TITLE: The Democratic Trainwreck is Described AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/07/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: by Jo Mannies here.
Just make sure Kelvin is on the ticket somewhere. OK? -------- TITLE: April Fool's Day in East Saint Louis AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/07/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: I've been trying to put together a list of the best of Carl Officer, but it was done by Pat Gauen
My personal favorite was the day he gathered the press to announce that he was filing a federal suit to stop Gov. James Thompson from using the National Guard to seize the city. When I broke the news to Thompson's press secretary, I thought the poor man would laugh himself into a stroke. No troops ever showed up.
Or maybe the best was the time Carl began a speech by greeting me from the podium, by name, but then complained the next day to my editor that the resulting story was unfair because he wouldn't have spoken so candidly had he known a reporter was present.
No, I think it was the opening of an obstetrical unit to help deal with the community's soaring population of unwed mothers. Carl, a bachelor, publicly announced that he was personally going to start work on populating the place that very night.
Oops, I almost forgot the major MetroLink ceremony where Carl wiped the smile off every face by vowing to block the project because he wasn't consulted. (Civic leaders unanimously insisted that Carl was invited to every meeting but never once showed up.)
You've surely heard about how Zaire un-invited Carl to help fine-tune its government after he announced that he would take his own blood supply, so if he got sick he wouldn't depend on its "monkey blood."
Perhaps the best was when he got stopped by police doing 108 mph in a Jaguar borrowed from a convicted drug dealer. Carl bitterly denied the cop's version, insisting he really had been doing 140.
Is there no end to it?
I haven't gotten to the bodyguard with the Uzi. Or the $2,200 Carl claimed for trips never taken. Or the consulting contract the city council approved for $545,000 but Carl signed for $1.3 million. Or Carl's hearty endorsement of a $450 million riverfront development plan long after everyone else, including a federal grand jury, figured out that it was just a big scam.
On the one hand: I'm gonna have a lot material.
On the other hand: Roll 'em up. -------- TITLE: School Board Endorsements AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/07/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: I believe this election is the last that the citizens of Saint Louis will be able to determine the outcome unless they choose a slate that will be agents of change in a system stuck in the 1970s. Both the state and federal government are pushing the system towards accountability. Finally. And now it is the City of Saint Louis' turn to step up to the plate.
Reform must happen now. No Child Left Behind is about to kick in with serious sanctions that force the district to transfer students from failing schools to successful ones, reconstitute failing schools, and institute demonstrated models of school reform. New members of the Board must be able to grasp this issue and act swiftly to meet the new rules.
Administrative and fiscal oversight must be improved. For too long the tail has wagged the dog in the SLPS and the administration has set the agenda. The Board must now set the agenda and see it implemented successfully.
Finally, a dynamic leader must be hired, given his orders, and then the Board must get the hell out of the way. For as long as I've followed the SLPS, the Board has micro-managed the district and functionally castrated the superintendent.
Of the individuals running, many are good and decent people. Some are, well, whacked. Bob Volz is probably a great grandfather, but probably shouldn't be allowed out on his own. Kintree seems to think whiz bang gadgets teach. Tom Simpson has one hell of a voice box. Bob Archibald needs Delta Force to find him. Mary Ann McGivern probably needs to stick with peace-making activities. I'm not sure what that means, but I'm not sure she could explain that or her views on schools in any concrete way.
Those running tomorrow who deserve consideration include Curtis Royston, John Oleski, Peter Downs, Antonio French, Vince Schoemehl, Ron Jackson, and Darnetta Clinkscale.
Of those, some stick out as both involved and informed. Ron Jackson and Vince Schoemehl clearly understand the institutional problems and challenges facing the district. Jackson can speak at length about several complex issues facing the District including the ins and outs of the No Child Left Behind Act and Tom Bauer's proposed Student Bill of Rights. Surprisingly, most other candidates seem to have a limited understanding of the Bill of Rights and such lack understanding is a significant weakness given the Board will be facing hard choices starting this summer. Jackson also understands the importance of not just having a program, but ensuring a program can be implemented by the administrative structure.
Schoemehl has followed the District since he was Mayor and understands the outlines of the desegregation settlement and where the District must get. In addition, he has the best experience trying to control a large and unwieldly bureaucracy.
Downs and French are strong candidates who are better informed than most other candidates and care deeply about reforming the system. Downs, is smart, and has set with French, clear goals for the short term. But their priorities don't reflect the reality of the SLPS. The SLPS is on a deadline from the state and federal governments to improve performance and meet specific standards. Meeting those requirements must be the first order of business. If those requirements are not met quickly, the District will be legally liable and find itself in further lawsuits. Downs is prone to arguing that those requirements don't necessarily make sense. And he is right, but that doesn't mean much. The District has no choice. To his credit, French understands that the District can't hope for changes to occur and must act now. French and Downs also demonstrate a propensity towards what could easily become micromanaging. French is interested in specific reading programs, thus putting the cart before the horse. If either were running for a four year term they would be given stronger consideration.
Oleski is a strong candidate in a strong field of three year term candidates. His one key weakness is he sees the Superintendent as an instructional leader. This is simply a fundamental misunderstanding of what a superintendent does in a district such as the SLPS. The superintendent must oversee a budget, an administration, and educational programs. He should not be involved in instruction other than setting broad goals and strategies and ensuring implementation is sound. If Oleski was in the four year term category he would compliment others.
Curtis Royston engages in too much speculation as to how the state or federal governments need to change things. John Mahoney made an 18 year career out of blaming everyone else for the District's problems. And while there is some truth in that, such claims do nothing to improve the District's performance. That being said, Royston has a strong understanding of the district's operations and in a weak 4 year term category, that is enough. Royston should be elected.
The third member of the Slay Slate is Darnetta Clinkscale. Deceptively quiet, she often seems unengaged. This is not true, and when she discusses specific issues, especially those dealing with finance which is her specialty, she demonstrates an understanding that has been lacking on the Board for years. She is endorsed along with Schoemehl and Jackson with Jackson earning the warmest endorsement. -------- TITLE: The Challenge of Reducing Crime AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/07/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: A fascinating statistic is found in this editorial by Kevin Horrigan. 47 percent of violent crime in the City of Saint Louis occurs in 12 neighborhoods.
Of course, one of the worst is College Hill and Horrigan mentions it in the article. It is a beautiful neighborhood on hard times. And worse, there are beautiful children in it. We fail them by not targeting crime there, and finally we have city officials doing just that. -------- TITLE: Another Bridge to Wait In Traffic On AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/07/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: As the Page Avenue Extension gets closer to being finished, perhaps we should start taking bets on induced traffic? -------- TITLE: It's All About Appearance at MODOT AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/04/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: On the heels of a scathing report, MODOT claims it is an appearance problem.
I think we all recognize this issue ... is all about appearance,'' Anderson told fellow commissioners. ``The use of aircraft is very appropriate for MoDOT business. We recognize, however, that there is a cost.''
An appearance of stupidity. -------- TITLE: Fred Phelps Returns AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/03/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: He'll be protesting The Laramie Project at Webster University--or at least some from his chur...err organization will be. His schedule is here.
Phelps has visited St. Louis many times, primarily provoking pity at the intertwined family tree his followers exhibit. -------- TITLE: Who Not To Vote For in the SLPS Election AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/03/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Bill Purdy endorses three including John Mahoney, Alice Bell, and John Oleski.
Hey Dave, what up with Purdy endorsing Oleski? -------- TITLE: Washington Park Follies AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/03/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Continue. It would be funnier if the poverty stricken population of Washington Park wasn't being held hostage to this tomfoolery. -------- TITLE: Town Talk AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: is quite amusing this week:
I'M GETTING SICK and tired of hearing people complain about gas prices. Let me tell you why. Most of the people who complain are the ones who will fill up for $20 then quickly scoot their wide load behind into the gas station and spend another $5 on beef jerkys, lottery tickets and the 49,000-ounce diet Pepsi. If they would just realize how much money they waste inside the gas station they wouldn't be as concerned about how much they spend actually just getting gas.
My favorites are the ones that I can't figure out at all:
HERE'S TO ALL complainers out there (and by the way, complaining is bad for your health): I saw two polls last week on Fox News Network?what I call the conservative channel, which I don't watch too much. Poll question Number 1) Which president do you admire most? Reagan 19 percent; Clinton 68 percent. Carter and the elected Bush got very few. Poll question Number 2) If the election were held tomorrow who would you vote for? Bush, 42 percent; Democrats, 48. I rest my case. So here's some good advice for you complainers. Get a job. Do some volunteer work. In other words, get a life.
-------- TITLE: Warms My Heart AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: To see the community around Gravois Park making a go of it.
Drug dealing is a serious problem in that area and from observation, the drugs are being bought by people driving in. The neighborhood is really quite beautiful and with a little help it will come back. -------- TITLE: But there is a School Scandal! AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: AG Edwards was listed as a contributor to the bond issue through Civic Progress. Civic Progress and AG Edwards are claiming it was an accounting error, but the problem really is that the hometown business got the bid and it is working with the financers of the bond referendum. Officially, the SLPS is claiming that minority participation is the reason for choosing AG Edwards over Banc of America even though Banc of America bid $220,000 less. They also claim cost didn't matter because the state usually reimburses bond issuance costs.
In technical terms, the best that can be said of this situation is the state has created a perverse incentive. The best thing....
Even worse, the entire minority component of the deal is $100,000. In other words, the SLPS Board could have chosen Banc of America, gave the minority law firm $100,000 and still come out $120,000 ahead. Dandy. -------- TITLE: Ethics Complaints in School Board Referendums AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Tom Sullivan has filed complaints against the SLPS and the Clayton School District for using tax dollars to advocate for school referendum. It is my understanding that the campaign is run by the Saint Louis Public School Foundation and thus not violating the rules Sullivan is citing. There may be issues with the disclosure of campaign funds used though--given past faux pas. -------- TITLE: Washington Park Follies AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Not to be outdone, the Mayor of Washington Park is back in the news. Apparently, he was misusing a city motor vehicle and so the Village Board had it towed. When it was being towed, he made a scene, and when the O'Fallon, Illinois police paid the scene a visit, Mayor Sorrell indicated he had a 9 mm in the glove box. It did not meet Illinois laws for travelling with a gun and he was arrested for a felony, which if convicted for, will mean he will no longer be mayor of Washington Park.
To add a little more to the story, Mayor Sorrell has now taken to driving a village pick-up which the Board wants back.
The real problem is that anyone who replaces him will probably not be any better. -------- TITLE: Amiel Cueto's disbarment is STILL under discussion AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: What exactly does it take to disbar this clown. His patron, unindicted co-conspirator Jerry Costello can't even be covering for him so what is the deal? -------- TITLE: Roll 'Em Up AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Not that there was a good choice, but Carl Officer has won the East St. Louis Mayor's race. How unfortunate. -------- TITLE: We May Not Have A Budget AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 4/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: But we damn sure have a state grass and grape. -------- TITLE: Why Trying to Prop Up American is Stupid AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/31/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Conventional wisdom in St. Louis is that American Airlines must be saved to save the hub status in St. Louis. Regular readers know that I think this is incredibly stupid and anti-consumer, but more importantly, efforts to keep inefficient airlines alive hurt consumers by keeping inefficent business models alive. Fortunately, Daniel Gross at Slate agrees.
But maybe they shouldn't. What if we're in the midst of a several-years-long era of lower demand, transparent pricing, and rising competition from upstarts free of expensive contracts and airplane leases? These airlines might emerge from bankruptcy with lower debt loads and better union contracts and find they still can't compete. They might be setting the stage for a round-trip journey to Chapter 11?call it Chapter 22. Perhaps instead of trying to save all our airlines we should let some of them die off.
Amen. -------- TITLE: New Cab Rules avoid the Problem AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/31/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: There is no where to find a damn cab!
And they are overpriced compared to other cities. One could argue that these requirements would increase prices, but increasing supply did nothing to the price when more cabs were allowed at the airport. Essentially, there is little competition when you can only get a cab at certain particular spots in the area. -------- TITLE: Is It Worth It Guzy? AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/31/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: M.W. Guzy is missed as one of the sharper eyed writers on St. Louis politics, and can be seen trying to explain why there is $500,000 sitting around the St. Louis Sheriff's office.
Essentially, in the Sheriff's Office, nobody knows anything. -------- TITLE: Pot-Kettle Issues AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/31/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Carl Officer has gotten Attorney General election watchers for tomorrow because he is concerned Eddie Jackson might steal the election. Why, you ask, might Officer feel that way? Well he was the establishment candidate before and probably knows where all the bodies are buried in East St. Louis.
Roll'em Up! -------- TITLE: Finally AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/31/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The Post-Dispatch discovers that Carol Wilson ran on a racist slate in 1991. Glad to have such a liberal paper around town.
And they take a whack at Tom Bauer. Good for them. -------- TITLE: Bring on the Loons AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/28/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Via Berger:
Happy Times are here again...Head St. Louis GOP Loon Bill Federer is considering another race for the 3rd District.
In the same article, it looks like Carnahan might be entering the race making it a three-way with Stoll and Favazza. Of course, does one count Favazza as one person? Given his heft he might be worth three people or none given his lack of political heft. The interesting aspect of the development is that Carnahan had been rumored to be recruited for a state-wide run. His comments suggest he is headed for a try at Congress.
Back to the loon. One of Federer's more amusing tactics was to sue Gephardt for breaking into his and his brother's office. Who broke in on behalf of Gephardt? Unidentified individuals. Uh-huh.
He got into a tussle with a student intern that taped him at a parade--though he was acquitted of assault.
From the P-D 2000 coverage some other irregularities include:
* Mr. Federer's former campaign manager has met with Gephardt aides and allegedly told them that Mr. Federer had failed to report political gifts.
* St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch has asked federal authorities to investigate Mr. Federer's failure to report the proceeds from the sale of a book of religious quotes from national leaders.
* Attorney General Jay Nixon is investigating allegations of self-dealing between Mr. Federer, a Catholic charity his family runs and the Federer real estate company.
The Post-Dispatch did a good piece of investigative reporting in October of 2000. The last bullet above is the most interesting. The family runs a Catholic Charity and essentially what is a fundamentalist Catholic charity that owns a building which brings in income for rents of around $226,000. Those rents go directly to the Federer family real estate management company. Non-profits are prohibited from paying directors for services. Duh. The Federer's don't seem to understand the conflict and actually tried to defend the relationship. And Bill Federer was paid significantly for managing the property, yet many tenants claim not to have seen him for quite some time.
But he sued Gephardt for break-ins by unknown assailants. Uh-huh.
Federer is a social conservative who rails against teaching evolution and the usual litany of social ills. On top of that, he is a complete loon. I hope the Republicans run him becaue he is great political theater. And the Democratic candidate will have it even easier.
-------- TITLE: What Davis Is Good At AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/27/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Lord knows that Eliot Davis is a shabby excuse for a reporter. At best he finds amusing targets who react strangely. Now Hillsdale has played into his publicity desires and arrested him:
KTVI (Channel 2) television reporter Elliott Davis and a cameraman were arrested Wednesday at the Wellston School District administration office after refusing to remove a camera from the building, police said.
School officials called Hillsdale police about 10:45 a.m. to complain that the TV crew ignored signs at the entrances prohibiting cameras.
Sgt. Robert Kelly said he asked the cameraman several times to leave and arrested him for failing to comply with police when he wouldn't. The officer said Davis stepped in the way and was arrested for interfering with police. Both were issued municipal ordinance summonses.
Brad Remington, the news director for Channel 2, called the arrests an abuse of police power. He said police had threatened Davis with arrest a year ago if he returned to Hillsdale.
"The sergeant asked him to leave and when Elliott asked why, he pulled out his handcuffs," Remington said.
Davis is a weekend anchor at the station and reports on its "You Paid for It" series of stories about claims of wasted taxpayer money.
While the camera prohibition might be stupid, they may have a case against him. A long jail term would be desirable, if nothing else to keep him off TV. -------- TITLE: My Head is Akin AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/27/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: I'm glad that Todd Akin's biggest priority is to pass a bill to declare a day of prayer and fasting.
Really, I am, it keeps him from doing any real harm. -------- TITLE: Shocker: American Endorses Four for the Future AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/27/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Given Dr. Suggs was on the selection committee, this isn't surprising. -------- TITLE: Second Worthless Editorial AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/27/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Here.
Yes, the state legislature is, as usual, taking a punitive look at St. Louis specific legislation and that is bad.
However, the issue of residence for police officers is far more complex than the paper makes it. Part of it is an issue of morale, part of it is an issue of keeping good officers so maybe the force can weed out the worthless. There are compromises in the works and the City (or Police Board that is) should explore them. And we should explore carrots to get officers to remain in the city.
In the category of shooting himself in the foot, SLPOA President Gary Weigert:Right now a compromise isn't necessary because we're winning," Wiegert said. "I think that's why they want to compromise -- because they want to keep the whole thing from being passed."
Keep that up Gary, and you'll get nothing. Why does the SLPOA keep this idiot as their president? -------- TITLE: Worthless P-D Editorial of the Day AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/27/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Here
Yes, everyone knows we need to fix the schools, would the P-D offer any suggestions or just claim expectations have be set higher? No. This is a waste of paper. -------- TITLE: I Got Nothing AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/26/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Apparently, the news has taken the week off of reporting actual political news--wait, they never do it well locally anyway. I'm around and will post as appropriate. -------- TITLE: Washington Park Corruption AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/25/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Say it isn't so, the feds have indicted a local officer for leniency for sex.
Just maybe running a city on vice leads to corruption... -------- TITLE: Berger, Berger, Berger AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/24/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: From Berger
When a caller on Charles Jaco's morning drive-time show praised radio ranter Michael Savage on Wednesday, Jaco snorted in derision and then proceeded to savage Savage's qualifications as a pundit. What made the rip so interesting is the fact that both men's shows are carried on the same station - KFTK-FM (97.1).
Gotta love Jaco. His show has been pretty good with the war.
-------- TITLE: Hammer Hannaway? AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/24/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Hannaway is quite powerful for a first term speaker, on a bill concerning prevailing wage, a Republican lawmaker voted against the party position, and she removed him from the panel.
The bill is DOA because the Governor will veto it, but it may well provide another tool to motivate labor turnout which would be bad for Republicans in swing districts where labor is socially conservative, but economically liberal. Many such districts are where Republicans are picking up seats. -------- TITLE: Residency Deal Likely? AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/24/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: That is what SLPOA officer John Johnson is predicting. Given this issue will never go away without a compromise, something has to give. -------- TITLE: A Basic Question of Competence AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/24/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The SLPS just awarded the bond issuance for some of the air conditioning projects to A.G. Edwards at a 50% higher cost than Banc of America. While I'm not always a stickler for the lowest bidder, there doesn't appear to be any strong rationale for the decision. With a new Board coming in soon, these sort of problems should be taken care of soon enough.
That being said, the most disturbing issue is found further down in the article:Officials from several other local bond issuers ? Rockwood School District, Metropolitan Sewer District and Metro ? named other publications, primarily The Bond Buyer, a national newspaper published by Thomson Financial, as the typical venue for requests for proposals advertisements. These issuers said they received around 10 to 24 responses for underwriters after advertising in the Bond Buyer. None named the Argus or the St. Louis Daily Record.
This is not an issue of the Board, because the Board should not be making decisions at the level of in what paper to place public notices. It is an issue of the core problem of the SLPS, which is poor management practices. The bureaucracy is well behind even other public agencies in basic management practices and a perfect example is placing public notice in two papers that are least likely to attract significant response. I will not fault placing the item in the Argus if it was in addition to a more normal placement.
The SLPS desperately needs someone to come in and institute basic practices. -------- TITLE: Clergy Coalition Backs 4 for the Future AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: In what is increasingly looking like a clean sweep, the Clergy Coalition backs the Slay slate for the Board of Education. -------- TITLE: Dumb Attack of the Week AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Percy Green takes on Mayor Slay claiming it is his fault that the Election Board didn't pay the cell phone bill.
As the new mayor, Slay could have called for an audit of all areas that required city expenditures. Had he done so, he would have caught this outstanding expenditure early. Not doing so raises serious question about his competence to be mayor of this problem city.
Moreover, Slay's escape hatch is pointing the finger and calling for investigations. These investigations are always conducted by Slay's political allies who are in positions to assist him in eliminating decision-makers that he cannot manipulate, especially strong African Americans.
The catch here is that if Slay had called for an audit of the Election Board, he would be seen as 'calling for an investigation'. Did Percy ask the P-D editorial board to write this one for him? The internal contradiction of the letter might indicate so.
And can anyone name the decision-makers and strong African-Americans at the Election Board previously? -------- TITLE: Berger, Berger, Berger AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/19/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: From Today's column:
TOWNTALK: A slate of four School Board candidates assembled by incumbent School Boarder Amy Hilgemann has suffered a defection. Hilgemann is telling supporters that Yolanda Brown, pictured in the group's campaign literature, is no longer on her dance card.
Amy deserves credit for fighting the good fight over the last two years, but at some point people need to take a look at her ability to forge a working coalition. Fighting is necessary, but sometimes figuring out what one can work on with others is vital and this is another situation in which Amy has lost a working partner--this time before the election. -------- TITLE: Freedom Suits AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/19/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Via Virginia Postrel:
Somethine I take entirely for granted, the St. Louis Circuit Court Historical Records Project. This is a multi-university project along with multiple state agencies that preserve the Court Records from early in Missouri's history including the Freedom Suits. Not surprising to those in St. Louis, Wayne Fields has taken a significant role.
The LA Times does a piece on it today. -------- TITLE: Meet John Oleski, School Board Candidate AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/18/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: From Dave Drebes:
Please accept this invitation from Mary Lisa and me to
come to our home, 3505 Connecticut, Thursday March 27
(5:30-7pm) to meet John Oleski, Candidate for School
As some of you know, I publish a small broad-sheet on
St. Louis politics. Covering the school board
election, I have attended many of the forums and met
with a number of the candidates one-on-one. John
truly stands apart from the crowd. He has decades of
experience in education and has very specific,
concrete actions he thinks the SLPS should take.
If you have a chance to come by and meet him, I think
you will find it worth your time. This is purely for
educational purposes; there will be no solicitation or
expectation of donation to John?s campaign.
Here is what I wrote in the last issue of the Arch
Oleski: If you?re so busy April 8th that you can only
spare enough time in the booth to vote for one person,
this is the person for whom to vote. Oleski is the
only candidate who possesses both a vision of the
specific reforms needed to improve student achievement
and has the experience of designing and implementing
educational policy. None can know whether his
diagnosis of our troubled schools is right or wrong,
but between his vast experience and willingness to
articulate an agenda beyond the typical vague slogans
makes him a clear choice for the conscientious voter.
Please RSVP at email@example.com, or 865-4573 so we
have appropriate refreshments on hand.
-------- TITLE: Just How Clueless is the P-D Editorial Board? AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/18/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: In an amazing contradiction they don't seem to realize what the Southwest Airlines business model entails.
Low-cost, no-frills airlines, led by carriers like Southwest Airlines, prove that flying can be profitable if done right. They're eating the traditional airlines' lunch.
The rest of St. Louis will suffer if the big slim-down leads to the loss of the hub at Lambert Field. Hub status gives St. Louis direct flights to many cities across the country, and that's important to business.
Southwest doesn't use the traditional hub organization. That is one of the key reasons it is profitable. Hubs will only exist at the very largest cities, instead of trying to favor inefficient favorites because some large businesses prefer non-stop flights, St. Louis should prepare for the transition to non-hub status where low fares are a selling point to business instead of being a hub for reasons of 'status' amongst large corporations that simply aren't going to produce that many new jobs.
This goes to the very essence of the problem of St. Louis--instead of thinking about opportunities in economic changes, St. Louis attempts to stall those changes. -------- TITLE: The Not-So-Good News AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/18/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Is Tom Schalfly's commentary about looking to open a satellite brew pub. I'm a bit torn. First, the license collector problem is to be expected and city voters' completely dropped the ball by reelecting a racist and an incompetent.
On the other hand, having community input should be normal for businesses. However, it is clear the City needs to restructure that input to make it efficient. WIthout community involvement there would be an albatross at Southtown and Tim Boyle would be tearind down houses right and left. Of course, the Alderman was Bauer. Go figure.
This received a good amount of attention on StLouIST today and the hysterical comment was how Boyle has been harrassed and the author didn't see how come Boyle didn't just move out to do suburban strip malls. Well, okay. It is certainly better than strip malls on South Grand as he proposed with the original plan for the Bread Company/Streetside building. And if he divested on South Grand he might just find a buyer capable of developing the properties.
Even more interesting is that two bars now have 3 O'Clock licenses on South Grand, and it may well be he is passed by others with some actual urban vision. -------- TITLE: The Good News for Small Businesses in St. Louis AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/17/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: is covered in this story about Breve. A great coffee shop.
Of course, everyone should be reminded that People's Coffee will be opening in the Common Space and there will be free wi-fi. Look around, and maybe there will be a mysterious individual blogging from there in the future. -------- TITLE: Missouri Dems listen to NASCAR Democrats AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/17/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: And will lose. The parties are realligning around urban/suburban strengths for Democrats and rural/exurban strengths for Republicans. If Missouri Democrats only try a short term strategy of capturing some rural votes, they'll do fine, but the party building has to occur in the burbs. St. Louis County needs to be mined for larger and larger proportions of the votes as does suburban KC--well make that KC period.
The party isn't going to win with Joe Kreidler's, it is going to win with Joan Bray's. -------- TITLE: Could we bother you to AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/17/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: tell us why we paid you an extra $45,000?
I try and come up with funny stuff to describe this garbage, but the stories outdo any sense of satire I can come up with. -------- TITLE: Cover the Uninsured Week AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Continues at the Bloviator, click on the map to learn about the uninsured in your state. -------- TITLE: Surrender Monkeys AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Via Chip Again
The Springfield News Leader calls the House Republicans surrender monkeys.
As Chip says, they weren't cheese eating, but then again, we aren't Wisconsin. So the contest of the day is what can we add to Surrender Monkeys to make it uniquely Missourian. -------- TITLE: Strategery in the House AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: I posted this in comments in response to Dave Drebes' questioning why someone would run for office and then shirk their duty.
Pretty clearly they think they have cornered Holden. The stunning thing about it is that the House Republicans are actually worse at strategy than Bob Holden.
I'd compare the House Republicans to Wile E. Coyote, but there is no roadrunner in the damn race. It is contest to see who looks down first after they have run off the cliff.
Via Chip Taylor, this article seems to imply that Holden may be angling to get just the sort of budget the Republicans are proposing in the House. I'm not sure that he is that adept, but maybe.
If you notice, I don't comment substantively on most of the budget issues. The reason is I have such a jaded view at this point I don't take it seriously. There are some specific issues like MC+ and other healthcare issues where I think the state will shoot itself in the foot if it ends funding. Ultimately, those costs will come back in the form of emergency care or overburden systems that must be in place to provide care as the providers of last resort. But mostly, I'm more amused by the stumbling and bumbling. -------- TITLE: Further Strategery from House Republicans AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Though this is run of the mill stupidity that either party could partake in, Jack Jackson of Wildwood has invited Martz to speak on the budget because it might help legislators think outside the box.
I think after deciding not to pass a serious budget we've had enough, ahem, thinking outside of the box this week. Having an open mind is great until it is so open that Hannibal Lector starts eating. I'm pretty sure that would be light meal given the recent moves.
-------- TITLE: Too Cute By Half AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: In what appears to be a tactic to throw the budgeting priorities in the face of the Governor, the Republican House has decided not to make specific appropriations. I'm assuming their goal is to make Holden the guy who ultimately makes the cuts.
The problem is that then Holden can go back with a list of every cut and say he would have distributed the money differently and literally pick off nearly every interest group with such a tactic. Maybe I'm missing something in the strategy, but it doesn't seem like a sure fire idea to me. -------- TITLE: Slay Backs off Censoring of Video AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Ed Rohde is taking the hit after he claims Slay found out about it from newstories.
I imagine this is correct--while cynicism might lead one to conclude Slay is covering himself, I personally hope he isn't too worried about what is in a video on cable access and only found out when it made news. -------- TITLE: How do you celebrate being well paid? AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: If you are the Metropolitan Sewer Department, you make everyone better paid.
What is stunning is not that they overpay managers--I mean who would've guessed that, it is that they paid a consultant $135,000 to do the study and then completely ignored its findings. -------- TITLE: Just who the hell would listen to Barry McCaffrey AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: about winning a war?
He sure did a bang up job in the drug war didn't he? -------- TITLE: It's The End of the World And I Feel Fine AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Jello Biafra made Jerry Berger this morning. I swear to God.
Apparently he'll be making an appearance next Tuesday at 5:30 at Vintage Vinyl--and later doing spoken word at the Galaxy.
Did I friggen mention this was in Jerry Berger?
-------- TITLE: Purdy Blasts Slates for .... AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: having ulterior motives. What ulterior motives? Well, why get into specifics? I mean, just because he makes the claim, why the hell should he support his claims?
What is amazing is that he blasts candidates for leaking stories:
Purdy criticized release of some information from a school audit that the board has not yet discussed, a charge that the district might build a school in a city park and an allegation that the district might close schools early to save money ? all coming from people associated with one or the other of the coalitions.
But he never bothers to address the substance. Pretty typical for the current board, complain that charges are unfair and then ignore the actual substance. -------- TITLE: Via Chip Taylor Don't bills like this make the leadership twitch? The clown wants to require ind AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Via Chip Taylor
Don't bills like this make the leadership twitch?
The clown wants to require individuals to show ID before examining campaign finance records. I'm at a loss why public records should be made more difficult to view. Other than out of fear by a politician that they have something to hide. -------- TITLE: No Toll Roads AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Via Chip Taylor
The Legislature shows no interest in Toll Roads.
Oh the horrors of charging people for their use...
One question though:A report issued by the department in August suggested tolls could be feasible on several highways in Missouri, including Interstate 55 from Festus to the Arkansas border.
Does anyone actually want to go between Festus and Arkansas? -------- TITLE: Ouch! AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Poor Chris Thomas pulls in less than 10% of the vote and Dean Meredith gets beat by Bauer... -------- TITLE: Slay and Westfall Take on MSD AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: And it is about time. Locally, MSD makes up one leg of the unholy trio of Bi-State, the SLPS, and MSD.
Combined with this is pulling the proposed extortion tax increase that offered to increase your taxes more if you didn't vote for it. While one can hope this will work to restore MSD's credibility, there isn't much hope given their claims regarding storm runoff. What they are not saying and they should be is that storm run-off is actually a huge problem nation wide because of the chemicals on streets. They know this, but they are trying to hide it in a report that plays with the level of the problem. -------- TITLE: What does Eric Vickers have in common with Pat Robertson AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Bad theology.
Apparently Vickers suggested the Shuttle crash was a message from God and something about the first Israeli astronaut on board. How many occupations does Vickers have left at this point? -------- TITLE: Stupid and Clumsy Move by Slay AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Having comments critical of him censored on the city TV station is clumsy and stupid and censorship.
On one level, I want to be indignant, on another, I'm more amused that he created a flap over a channel that barely anyone watches. -------- TITLE: Calhoun County becoming a part of the MSA... AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Err....this is ridiculous. Calhoun County is the opposite of anything Metropolitan---though the Barefoot is a good time if one is on the river.
What is going unspoken in the article is that for the Illinois counties there are no jobs--the commutes are out of necessity because the job base is so poor in these other counties. Greene in Illinois may well join the gang after the next Census. -------- TITLE: MO Dems tie 2004 to Gephardt Run AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: I'm going to be sick...this is like tieing one's life raft to the Titanic...Gephardt is in trouble in Iowa, a state he is very popular in normally and a state where organized labor is especially influential in the caucuses. Despite all signs that his campaign is going down the tubes, the Missouri Democratic Party is tieing itself to him--brilliant
On the good news, well sort of, Jeremiah Jay is running for a fourth term of trying to advance his political career, errr--Attorney General. Other good news, it appears that Nancy Farmer has emerged from her undisclosed location.
May Scheve is considering a run at the 3rd district which would give Stoll a serious challenger as Favazza has taken on the role of, what the hell... Carnahan rumors are swirling--some say he may take on the 3rd, though this is possibly due to Scheve and him negotiating--but also multiple people have indicated he may be looking at something 'bigger'.
The problem with bigger is that there has to be an African-American on the statewide slate and with so many incumbents, that limits Russ's flexibility to run.
And McCaskill is still trying to decide what to do, but she isn't taking on Bond. -------- TITLE: Missouri's Very Own PanderBear AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Dick Gephardt starts his last campaign fully willing to embarrass himself with pandering of all sorts. In today's paper, he threatens Republicans with the notion that cancelling the primary would disenfranchise soldiers.
This comes on the heels of his clarification that he understands he can't control the Confederate Flag being flown on private property.
Gephardt is kidding himself if he thinks that a primary is going to improve his standing--home states are largely ignored by others--even Iowa was completely ignored in 1992 when Harkin ran. Winning Missouri will be of no strategic value in his race for the Presidency.
More disturbing is that while he has been a good Congressman to his district, his campaign has no theme, no message, and no strategy. He is bleeding labor support and without labor, he has no natural constituency on which to build a winning coalition. -------- TITLE: Tom Sell Really is a Nut Job AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/04/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: His case went before the Supreme Court today and the Justices will determine whether or not the government can force him to take anti-psychotic drugs, thus ensuring he is fit to stand trial.
Previously, his ties to the Council of Conservative Citizens have been discussed here as well as Tom Bugel's efforts to get Ashcroft to intervene...he must be too busy worrying about getting bongs off the street right now.
The legal issue raises important questions. While mentally incapacitated individuals need appropriate representation, it is unclear to me that such a determination should be made by the government. -------- TITLE: Election Board Hijinks Continue AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: It appears that Slay has decided to hand Holden a plan to reform the Election Board and expect Holden to allow Slay to decide on appointees. The only thing that got us through November was the Mayor's office holding the agency's hand. -------- TITLE: Slay Backs Bauer AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: A spokesman for Slay, Ed Rhode, says, "The mayor has a very friendly incumbent policy."
Apparently even for idiots...
The thing is Dean Meredith isn't going to be a strong Slay critic. -------- TITLE: Metro counts on a Magical Money Tree AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: They are planning out two different routes to the North and West, but they don't seem to have any clue from where the money would come. Unless they actually believe the 'stimulus' package will increase tax receipts. -------- TITLE: If Democrats are excited by a Gephardt boost in a Primary AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 3/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: They are deluding themselves. Jo Mannies claims the Dems think a primary may boost Gephardt, but the reality is that Missouri won't be news as long as he is in the race. Home states seldom have impact. Harkin is a perfect example. While candidates normally swarm Iowa, when he ran, the whole thing was over and they all went to New Hampshire. -------- TITLE: Slow for a couple days AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/27/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: So go to the Political State Report and check out some good postings by Chip Taylor, Ben DeClue, Tom Spencer, and Adam Case.
I have a bunch of Illinois relevant posts up as well. -------- TITLE: Accessible Blogging AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/26/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Paul from CenterPoint points out a problem with blogger templates--quite often it overrides the ability of those with poor site to change text size when viewing a page.
This is an excellent point and I will make the changes the next time I work on my template as well as work on the darkness of my type. Thanks to Paul for pointing out this small issue that is easy to fix. Perhaps we all should take it into account. -------- TITLE: comments on Mac Diva's Comments AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/26/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: I just don't think the Confederate Flag means much in Missouri. Most of the people already vote Republican for whom it does and it doesn't have nearly the resonnance it does in Georgia.
I do think Gephardt was pandering though--because the only place a Confederate Flag belongs is over a Confederate Memorial or Burial Site.
Well, that and on cars of morons so I know to watch out for them.... -------- TITLE: Mac Diva Comments on Confederate Flag AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/26/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Mac Diva Sent me the Following:
Democratic Missouri governor irks Confederates
Former Democratic Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes blames his unexpected defeat in the 2002 elections on 'flaggers.' neo-Confederates who campaigned against him because he shrank the Confederate symbol on the Georgia flag. Now, Missouri Gov. Bob Holden, also a Democrat, is being targeted by the same movement, with the Sons of Confederate Veterans leading the charge. Until recently, two Confederate flags flew on state property in Missouri, at the Higginsville and Fort Davidson state historic sites.
The flags came down Jan. 14 after Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt of St. Louis - Holden's former boss - issued a statement in South Carolina [site of another battle over the flag] that the Confederate battle flag should no longer fly "anytime, anywhere."
. . . The governor said he believes the flag may be appropriately displayed in a museum, where it is subject to "historical interpretation."
Neo-Confederates object to the removal of the flags on the grounds that it was undemocratic and ignores their right to honor their ancestors.
Gene Dressell of Jonesburg, commander in chief of the Missouri Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans, said he was disappointed but not surprised by Holden's comments.
"A poll shows two-thirds of the people of Missouri say he is wrong on this issue. I suppose we will have to wait for a change in leadership in the Capitol, but the flags will go back up at some point," Dressell said.
The state's actions also break a promise to heritage groups, according to the SCV.
Dressell said the state's removal of the flags violates an agreement dating to early in the last century in which Missouri took over the privately-owned Higginsville Confederate home and cemetery.
As a result of the controversy, there was a colorful surprise at the state capitol on a momentous day for Gephardt.
Yesterday, as the Democratic congressman from St. Louis announced his intention to seek the presidency, [Neil] Block and his Huntsville neighbor, Dan Ballew, were marching in circles around the state Capitol. Each of them was carrying a Confederate battle flag, the "soldiers? flag" to aficionados, with the red background and blue St. Andrew?s cross flapping in the light breeze.
. . . Block, a Southern Democrat to the core, was marching in Jefferson City yesterday, making it clear that as Gephardt seeks national votes, he?s already lost quite a few in his home state.
Missouri's governor, who has refused to meet with the neo-Confederate leadership, appears to be unswayed.
Gov. Bob Holden said Thursday that his administration made "the right decision."
So do the neo-Confederates.
On Jan. 18, demonstrators protesting the flags' removal marched outside the Gov.'s Mansion. Dressell said they will return March 1 for another peaceful mansion demonstration "to let the governor know many Missourians, including many of his fellow Democrats, disagree with this decision."
-------- TITLE: Metro Looking to Sell System and Lease it Back AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/26/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The Post-Dispatch editorializes about it and successfully says nothing of any real substance.
But for all of the downsides involved the deal would only produce $31 million in a one shot deal. It does nothing to address the underlying problems faced by Metro. It might make sense if it was going to capital improvements, but it doesn't even do that.
Of course, there weren't any takers so this may be a mute point. -------- TITLE: I know, let's cut benefits for the working poor AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/26/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: That would be genius if the Republicans actually want to give the Bobster a fighting chance next election.
MC+ is an excellent program. It primarily target kids in families who have working parents, but who don't have health care as a benefit to their job. MC+ allows them to get care up front instead of overloading the emergency room systems. This is especially important because overloading emergency rooms overloads hospitals and increases the costs to everyone. By dealing with those costs upfront, the state does much better. -------- TITLE: Political State Report AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/26/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: I've posted on the East Saint Louis Mayoral Race on the Political State Report. Take a look at it and all of the posts. Four Missouri posters contribute quite a bit. -------- TITLE: Fighting Intolerance and Stupidity isn't Anti-Christian AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/26/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Long time principal in Kirkwood was lambasted in committee by a particularly dim-witted member of the lege.
Let me predict this will make the American. Franklink McCallie was a fervent supporter of student rights and quality integrated education in Kirkwood, where current St. Louis City Editor Alvin Reid attended high school. This attack is a cheap blow based based right wing theology that assumes it is the only voice for Christianity. Fighting against intolerance isn't fighting against Christianity nor is fighting against half assed theology claiming the world is 6,000 years old. Opposing luddites who want to institute a mid-19th century curriculum is a perfectly reasonable position for an educator.
The specific bill he was testifying against is also silly:
The bill at issue says that if school districts want to include in their discrimination policies any protections that aren't included in state and federal anti-discrimination policies, they must submit the issue to district voters.
Cunningham said that's a good idea because including gays in the policies would cause astronomical increases in school districts' insurance premiums to cover the liability. The committee is expected to vote on the bill today. If approved, it would move to the full House.
And the School Board would be in the position to make that decision. Clearly this is a stealth attack on tolerance for gay and lesbian teachers, staff and students. -------- TITLE: Rogue Bureaucracy Alert AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/25/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: It is always a challenge to figure out the most inept agency in Missouri. Would it be MODOT? Maybe. The SLPS? Possibly. Bi-State errr Metro? Likely. Or the Metropolitan Sewer District? Quite possibly given they are now offering a choice to voters. Approve a rate hike or face a larger one.
I mean that just takes cojenes to threaten that while a grand jury is investigating your expenditures. -------- TITLE: Hindu Temple Firebombed AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/25/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: But apparently the damage wasn't too bad.
I have some sense this is a dimwit trying to be angry at Arabs. If firebombing a holy place isn't stupid enough, that would just be icing on top of the stupid cake. -------- TITLE: Bob Wood's Unemployment Plan AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/25/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Last week I discussed the particular breed of clowns who had been holding up development in the Maryland Plaza area while they instituted their grand plans. This week, we see the third stooge trying to screw up another neighbhorhood with Bob Wood (also a Maryland Plaza owner-stooge) trying to throw out some productive businesses downtown.
Upbraided: The latest skirmish between public good and private interests pits Bob Wood, developer of the old Sporting News building, against St. Louis Braid Co., a 75-year-old shoelace manufacturer.
Worried about a cap on state historic tax credits, Wood is moving quickly to add two more buildings - St. Louis Braid and General Hydraulics - to the collection of blighted properties around Washington Avenue and 21st Street where he plans to create a mini-neighborhood of 200 apartments and condos. An amended blighting plan is on Mayor Francis Slay's desk for signing.
Chris Goltermann, owner with brother Tom of St. Louis Braid, has complained bitterly to City Hall and Alderman Lewis Reed. He says his company will go out of business if he has to move.
"I feed 43 mouths, we pay our taxes and we've been in the same location since 1929. We don't want to go anywhere."
General Hydraulics owner Rich Keuss seems resigned to duking it out with Wood in condemnation proceedings.
Wouldn't it be appropriate for Bob Wood to actually finish the Sporting News Building before throwing actual businesses out of their long standing locations? -------- TITLE: And Remember Death is Not an Option AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/24/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: MODOT or the SLPS?
On one hand there is the agency that was lambasted during a campaign to raise taxes for flying too much. What do they do? Continue flying and try and defend it with lame responses about how they only way to get a lot of people to be on the commission is to fly them to meetings.
If that is actually the problem, then we need to do away with the commission and make it a cabinet office instead of semi-autonomous agency accountable to no one.
On the other hand, the SLPS goes out and in one of the worst budget situations since desegregation began, decides to replace $150,000 in carpeting in the new office. I've been in the building and the carpeting isn't that bad. Of course, the SLPS Board didn't approve the expenditure until three weeks after work began.
Oh, and the state is cutting back on summer funding. Given last years offerings were small, this is especially problematic. $150,000 wouldn't pay for a lot of summer school, but it would be a start.
Summer school is especially essential for poor kids who don't have the opportunities over the summer to stretch their minds. One of the biggest problems in high poverty classrooms is that at least the first fourth of the year is spent catching up students from last years work they forgot (often more of the year than that). Getting rid of the summer funding is a major mistake by the state. What the state should be looking at doing is radically altering the school calendar and finding a way to finance the changes so that students are never out of the classroom for more than 6 weeks at a time. In the long run, this sort of calendar would greatly improve achievement in poor districts.
Interestingly, charter schools are just as effected by the current move. They should be the first to implement such changes in the calendar, but the funding formula won't allow them to easily.
Of course the reason the state won't do that is some of the rather dimwitted outstate reps who are wondering why their economies are floundering think children are more important as farm labor. -------- TITLE: State politics AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Go over to Chip Taylor for some good coverage of budget issues. -------- TITLE: At least they can vote AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: It was pretty depressing having a Board of Elections that couldn't really vote because there was only one of them, now there are three. This makes essentially the second time since 2000 that the Board has turned over--though one member is still hanging on from the first purge. -------- TITLE: Blighted Land Selling for Top Dollar AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: In another example of TIF abuse, the land across from the Galleria is being tiffed to the tune of $31 million. The absurdity of this isn't the degree of corporate welfare, it is that the point is to even out the economics so that truly blighted land better competes with expensive land. -------- TITLE: Brooklyn Officer has a history as they say AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: of abusing suspects and others. -------- TITLE: American Lays the Groundwork for Statewide A-A Candidate AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The Eye offers up a warning of the ghost of Senate Elections past. However, it seems increasingly unlikely that there won't be an African-American on the state-wide slate for the Dems. Where is still an open question depending on what Claire McCaskill does. If she challenges Holden, Kelvin Simmons, Chairman of the Public Service Commission runs for Senate if Bond runs, or if she runs for Seante or Bond doesn't, Simmons runs for Secretary of State. -------- TITLE: Shahid AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The RFT actually does a pretty good profile of Shahid. I'm not much of a fan, but it seems like a pretty balanced profile.
And Shebron was a joke. -------- TITLE: Too Dumb to Use Metrolink AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/18/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: This idiot claims that it would have taken him an 2 hours to get from Belleville to Lambert Airport by Metrolink. Sure-if he lived an hour from the Belleville station. The trip is one hour. Of my many complaints with Bi-State, Metrolink isn't one of them. However, there is a problem if some people are too dumb to read a schedule. -------- TITLE: I've Been Ignoring this story AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/18/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: because it was pretty silly. Not as silly as the US Attorney thinking it was dangerous. Can it go lower? -------- TITLE: MODOT Reform AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/18/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Chip Tayor linked to a story on Dolan's plans to reform MODOT as well. He takes a different view of how to reform MODOT. Notice that no one outside of the Highway Commissioners argue no reform is needed...
One reason it is nice to have Chip around is he comments on state politics and forces me to make clear my points. In this case, the reason I think making MODOT directly accountable to the Governor wasn't entirely clear. My argument would be that an appointee serving at the pleasure of the Governor with Senate Confirmation would result in a greater degree of accountability because the director's actions would directly be tied to whomever the Governor is and as such the Governor cannot shift blame to 'those damn bureaucrats'. More specifically, I come to this conclusion from Illinois where there is IDOT and the Illinois State Toll Highway Commission. IDOT is a reasonably well run agency directly accountable to the Governor. It does dumb things, but too many dumb things and the Director is gone.
On the other hand the Illinois State Highway Commission is a friggen disaster. It has a bloated budget, just bought itself a brand new spanking headquarters and little accountability. Commission members are appointed for a set term and absent malfeasance they serve out the term. Much like MODOT under Kling, there is little accountability and when something outrageous is done, politicians complain, but there is no easy recourse.
There are good reasons for commissions in some cases. If you need to insulate an agency from one branch or another, that might make sense. However, transportation planning and funding is a political process and probably serves the public best when electoral incentives drive it. In this case, isolating the agency from politics, isolates it from public pressures. -------- TITLE: Maryland Plaza Redevelopment AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/18/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Let's face it, the blocks surrounding Maryland and Euclid have attracted some of the most inept and colossally obtuse landlords in the area. A happening neighborhood that has rents and values increasing dramatically over the last 10 years and businesses keeping most storefronts full, the western block has been in disrepair during the greatest economic expansion in decades. Koplar has sat on properties for years, the Argyle partnership was a disaster of amazing proportions, and Bob Wood feels real bad about not keeping up his properties. Real bad. There is now some movement in the area with Pete Rothschild buying up a bunch of the properties while Koplar claims he is starting work on the old Saks building--really this time!
Rothschild comments:He knows he wants the tire-threatening cobblestones to go, the original curb lines restored and the fountain removed.
So much for making it pedestrian friendly shopping. One of the great things that should be a bonus for that block is natural traffic control by the fountain and the cobblestones. Without it there would be a direct line to Kingshighway and greatly increased speeds.
As for the townhouses, "all different and all lovely," the situation is complex. The most economic approach - "and it needs to be weighed" - is to tear them down and build new structures.
IOW, he isn't really the guy who should have bought them. They are fantastic housing that would be grabbed up immediately if well rehabbed. They provide a great mix of residential and retail the area thrives from and given anyone would be moving in after redevelopment-there would be no complaints about business uses around them.
I'm sure Koplar is a nice guy, but wouldn't it be nice to have someone who has a clear vision and actually does something? Oh, wait, he is wanting to tear out the fountain... -------- TITLE: Clang Clang Clang went the Trolley AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/18/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The Joe Edwards Trolley has some cash to get it rolling. What would St. Louis do without Joe Edwards?
And word is the Round 2 Empowerment Zones will receive $2 million each. -------- TITLE: Budvar Wins Again AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/18/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: And Budweiser loses its chance to bring crappy beer to the world under that name -------- TITLE: The Saggy Pants Saga AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/18/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Continues on Town Talk. Don't miss out. -------- TITLE: Ummmm...Federal Law Preempts Local Law AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/18/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: On Satellite dishes 18" and under and perhaps 24" and under. This bill sounds like a lawsuit ready to happen. -------- TITLE: Blunt about running AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/18/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Jo Mannies does her typical vanilla column on Sunday with a run down of the Republican Slate. Blunt will be tough, especially with a poor economy taking Holden's issues out of play. In this case winning may be the worst thing that can happen to an up and coming politician because Missouri is going to face a lot of unpopular choices in the next few years.
-------- TITLE: New Urbanism AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/18/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: In the hinterlands.
How does one keep a straight face while presenting this idea? -------- TITLE: Half-Ass Reform AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/18/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: So a state legislator is proposing a package of reforms for MODOT and it is half ass. Accountability is either an elected board (what a nightmare that would be in this case) or hired and fired with Senate Confirmation by the Guv. If they Commission screws around then the Governor can fire them.
Then again look at who he appointed to the St. Louis Board of Elections... -------- TITLE: Brooklyn's History of Corruption AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: just in the police department. -------- TITLE: Low Income Housing Tax Credits AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: What is becoming clear about the proposal to eliminate taxes on dividend income is that the unintended consequences may be quite great. The Trib runs John McCarron's column today on the problems for affordable housing production if the LIHTCs are affected by such a tax change.
Tax reform may be a good idea, but doing it piecemeal is likely to result in a host of unintended consequences for which we are not prepared. -------- TITLE: I should've read it AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: As an astute observer out there pointed out, the RFT story, Shebron's Truth is probably a joke.
Is this what New Times thinks will bring young adults to read the paper? This is lamer than the Chicago daily youth papers.
Those who resemble Richard Kimble's suspect are welcomed to the blog by the way.
-------- TITLE: Another Missouri Blog AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Chip, you should have told me sooner, I would've linked to you--I believe you've e-mailed/posted in comments previously.
Chip Taylor takes a Libertarian look at Missouri at chiptaylor.org
I'll add him to the blogroll, well, when I get around to it. -------- TITLE: Evolution of Neanderthals AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: hasn't stopped. Don't believe me, check out the P-D's Letters to the Editors.
And Tom Schlafly writes in with a correction. -------- TITLE: The Sound of Irony Dying AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: From Linda Tucci's column in regards to a study about why young people leave St. Louis:-------- TITLE: I take back my whining about Speedloader AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: He was actually better than anything in the current issue.
Fleming said Kotkin was here for graduate school at Washington University and hated it, ultimately leaving for California. "A little bit of cynicism is probably good, for the study, says Fleming.
Does New Times really think that high school basketball stories are going to attract young readers? -------- TITLE: Oh, So clear now AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The top headline at the Biz Journal is the new gossip columnist at the Post-Dispatch. What high school did she go to?
Central High School in Chicago. Don't we all feel better knowing that? -------- TITLE: Eastside Corruption Watch: Brooklyn AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: So the officer accidentally ran over this guy. In the wrong jurisdiction. and:The car crashed through a corrugated metal fence around the yard, stopping just short of a metal shed and pinning Harris underneath.
Uh huh. Sure. -------- TITLE: Crusading Police Board Member AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: ROTFLMAO. And they say the city is poorly run? -------- TITLE: Only the Tip of the Iceberg AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The Cleve circles the wagons as soon as the report hits the public.
The amazing thing is that the audits aren't concentrating on expenditures at all, but on financial practices. These were not expenditure audits yet they uncovered significant questions in expenditures.
The district is fundamentally incapable of tracking money throughout the system and no one is getting to the core of the problem which is the management system is non-existent instead relying on appeals to the Superintendent to resolve issues.
Some key points:
The audit also noted that the school district had "many outstanding checks in the checking accounts that were dated over one year ago" and never cashed.
One might wonder why vendors aren't cashing their checks. Are they in the business of giving the district free items? Or has anyone determined if the checks ever made it to the vendors? There are a number of vendors that have never been paid and cut the district off. Matching those vendors to the checks would be an interesting exercise. Most likely the checks never made it past someones circular filing system.
Also an issue in the annual financial report was the school district's compliance with federal grant requirements. For instance, the district received $3.14 million by the U.S. Department of Education to hire teachers to reduce class sizes. However, in a sample of 35 teachers hired, auditors found three teachers did not possess a valid Missouri teacher's certificate. And in a sample of 15 classes taught by the federally funded teachers, seven had more than 18 students - the maximum class size the grant allows.
Both of those violations could result in funding being pulled for the classes in question.
Similar problems plagued the district's gifted program. The audit found 9 out of 40 teachers sampled did not have the proper certification and 40 of 46 classes were too large to be considered gifted.
Who is responsible for federal grant compliance?
The problem is the Post-Dispatch focuses on small issues in the report. Flowers may be a problem, but they aren't the problem. They are a symptom of a system that lacks even the most basic accountability mechanisms. -------- TITLE: Bring on the Letters to the Editors AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The creationists are going to be pissed again. Boo Hoo. -------- TITLE: Strong Editorial Gone Bad AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: What is it about the Post-Dispatch's editorial board that they can never quite bring themselves to endorse a specific institutional change? The first portion of the editorial lists the problems with the institution as it is currently configured and it ends in a plea for better people. B does not logically follow from A. If the institution is poorly formed, then the solution is to change the institution. -------- TITLE: Fight the Good Fight AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: From Blog Saint Louis friend Dave Drebes (firstname.lastname@example.org):Hi old friends,-------- TITLE: note on postings AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Expect more at night and fewer during the day -------- TITLE: Kinda like the Dead Milkmen said about AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Taking Retards to the zoo.
One week from today, Wednesday February 19th, from 5 -
7pm, Charles Lowenhaupt and I will be hosting a
fundraiser for two young people who are campaigning
for aldermatic seats in next month's Democratic
primary. Chris Thomas is running for the 10th ward
and Dean Meredith is running for the 24th ward. Both
are past leaders of Metropolis and have important
visions of the city's future.
We are asking people to contribute $20 to their effort
- $10 for the Thomas camaign and $10 for the Meredith
campaign - and to listen to their message and consider
volunteering in their campaigns.
Please reply to me if you know you can or can't make
it next week so we may plan food, beverage and space
February 19th, 5-7pm, at the residence of Charles
Lowenhaupt, 801 S. Skinker.
-------- TITLE: Southtown Alert AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Joe Daus reports the Mayor will be at the unveiling of development plans for the Southtown site Wednesday. I know I'd do a recap of development there and at Chippewa and Hamption and I will get to it. Real life intruded on the best laid plans. -------- TITLE: Going out infamously AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/11/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Never one to let his past record of mediocrity be the standard, the Cleve has threatened to shorten the school year by nearly a month. Not lay-offs of non-instructional personnel, not even attempting to streamline notoriously inefficient operations, but cutting the school year. And cutting the school year when summer programs are being cut as well. Poor kids have especially significant problems retaining lessons over the summer and long breaks. Making that break longer isn't going to improve performance.
Perhaps I'm confused about what the goal is for the district hierarchy. Or perhaps the Cleve is confused about what his goal actually is. Kudos to the C.E.E. C.H.A.N.G.E slate (read not Slay's) for getting out and blasting the idea quickly. -------- TITLE: East Side Corruption AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/11/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: How does a small berg like Brooklyn produce $800,000 in profits from a small brothel? Because only the federal government bothers to enforce the law. St. Clair County sheriffs have checked out-probably while taking bribes, and the Illinois State Police refuse. That leaves Miquelon as US Attorney and she has her hands full with that one county. -------- TITLE: Rearranging Deck Chairs AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/11/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: While it is understandable that Holden doesn't want to come out and explain reality to the public, this bit of mutual fiction between the Governor and the Legislature completely avoids any serious discussion of the long term condition of this state.
I often joke about the St. Louis Region seceding from Missouri, but given the current situation, a partial secession is likely to result with separate taxing and spending abilities being built into the region while the rest of the state goes on its merry way to rot. -------- TITLE: 'Turn them off! Turn them off!' AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/11/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: As the details emerge, it is pretty clear we were headed for an emerging Election Fiasco if not for the efforts of Mayor Slay and Robbyn Wahby.
Where can I get a free cell phone? -------- TITLE: State of Misery Roads AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: We're Number Two, We're Number Two Behind Hawaii----
in the worst roads in the country. Even taking the waste in the Department of Concrete and getting rid of it, this problem isn't going to be solved without more money. Unless you want to reduce the necessary projects in the areas producing economic growth... -------- TITLE: Republican Slate shaping up AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: As is always a problem, I missed that Kinder had already ruled out a race for the Governor's office back in December. Thanks to Chip below for the heads up. I believe I'm in good company with several writers in the Post-Dispatch who kept his name alive. Then again, maybe that isn't such good company.
From another source it looks like Hulsoff may be waiting in the wings for the Senate Seat if Kit is too pickled to make a go of it. I find this disconcerting--there are far too few open drunks in Congress and Kit keeps it fun. BTW, I'm still looking for a copy of the 2000 bit so I can put it to music.
Kinder possibly for AG, or more likely Lieutenant Governor. Hanaway staying Speaker or moving to LG. Hanaway would seem to do best by staying as Speaker. I'm not sure where she is on the term limit clock though.
And Steeleman for SOS.
Thanks for the tips and corrections and keep 'em coming. I'll promise not to disappear for a week at a time. -------- TITLE: The Impending Election Fiasco AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Wasn't so far off after all. It appears Slay saved the Board from itself.
The ultimate responsibility here lies in the Governor's hands. The Board is appointed by him and he has treated it as useless despite the 2000 problems. Beyond that he appointed a former member of Thomas Bugel and the Metro South Citizen's Council school board slate to the Board. Who the hell does the vetting on these things? Perhaps Carol Wilson is a nice, but clueless person, but who the hell puts her in the position to affect African-American voting rights?
After the Governover fired his first Appointment head, this nonsense was supposed to stop. It hasn't. Isn't it time to get it together? -------- TITLE: Claire taking on the Bobster AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: As a source sent to me from Berger the other day:
PEOPLE PATTER: Missouri State Auditor Claire McCaskill is thisclose to
filing a campaign committee to explore her options in the 2004 gubernatorial
From what I hear out there this is causing a lot of consternation amongst the Governor's people as well as some Democratic Party officials. Claire fights hard and takes a no holds barred approach to campaigning--much like her office takes to audits. The concern is that if she takes on the Bobster, whoever emerged would lose the general after a bruising battle. This is especially true with the Republican field clearing for Blunt.
I'm a huge fan of McCaskill and have my concerns about the Bobster, but this does seem like group suicide. Labor strongly, strongly backs Holden and winning the nomination without union support and divided black support at best is nearly impossible.
While I haven't heard anything specific yet, I imagine we will be hearing that Peter Kinder is being shuffled down ballot to clear the way for Blunt's coronation.
Given the current fiscal condition of the state and the piss poor infrastructure, the best strategy might be to give the state to Republicans and just watch them try and find the 'bureaucratic waste' that will right the state's budget and allow them to make significant infrastructure improvements. -------- TITLE: Template fixed, etc AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/08/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Back sometime Sunday. Thanks for your patience. -------- TITLE: Fixing the Template AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/04/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Comments will be back soon.
While I'm doing maintenance--visit the new links at the right! -------- TITLE: Busy AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 2/03/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Back later today/tomorrow -------- TITLE: Powell off ballot AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/29/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Debra Powell, Mayor of East St. Louis and up in coming Democratic star, has been removed from the East St. Louis primary ballot and the decision was upheld by a St. Clair County Judge.
The stink coming from the St. Clair Democratic machine can't be removed from this one. She can't be controlled, so now they'll do anything to keep her out. Admittedly, she could have been more complete knowing they had it in for her, but damn...
No sane business would locate on the riverfront if the old guard takes the city back over. -------- TITLE: Cancer Breakthrough at Wash U AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/28/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: In an amazing breakthrough researchers at Wash U have identified a protein that causes cancer cells to self-destruct.
Via John Ellis -------- TITLE: Stupid Criminal Tricks AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/28/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Where is the last place one should steal money? The Prosecutor's Office.
Apparently, intelligence is inherited in the Shelton family. -------- TITLE: 3rd District Casualty AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/28/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: I was alerted by a sharp source out there, Rick Johnson is backing off of his challenge in to Steve Stoll. Given the challenge was ill conceived in the first place, Johnson is making a wise move that just might save his political career. -------- TITLE: More St. Charles Development Issues AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/28/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Assuming that businesses are correct in making their investments, the continued growth of St. Charles County can be expected to continue to the west. The Biz Journalpoints out big box retailers going west. While sprawl is always troubling, the issue here is just as I mentioned previously. If St. Charles continues there will be increasing tensions between eastern St. Charles County and western St. Charles County as the relevant issues evolve quickly with increased speed of demographic transitions under quick housing turnover. -------- TITLE: State of Misery: Education Cuts AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/28/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Here is the press release regarding the game of brinksmanship going on in the Missouri Budget:
Jefferson City - The Department of Higher Education was notified by the Division of Budget and Planning late Monday that if the securitization measure proposed by Gov. Bob Holden does not pass, colleges and universities woudl suffer 10 percent across-the-board withholdin from their budgets. Based on that information, the department has furnished the following data, assuming a 10 percent withholding:
Crowder College 450,464
East Central College 547,178
Jefferson College 802,857
Metropolitan Community College 3,335,459
Mineral Area College 526,016
Moberly Area Community College 502,002
North Central Missouri College 259,668
Ozarks Technical Community College 955,443
St. Charles Community College 648,148
St. Louis Community College 4,796,096
State Fair Community College 557,721
Three Rivers Community College 429,170
Community Colleges Subtotal 13,810,223
Linn State Technical College 473,064
Central Missouri State University 5,608,571
Southeast Missouri State University 4,567,090
Southwest Missouri State University 8,099,941
Lincoln University 1,744,994
Truman State University 4,247,851
Northwest Missouri State University 2,924,594
Missouri Southern State College 1,938,048
Missouri Western State College 1,988,917
Harris-Stowe State College 1,022,227
University of Missouri 41,475,642
4 Year Colleges and Universities Subtotal 73,617,875
Other UM Related 3,098,838
?Missouri families and businesses should recognize the severity of these potential cuts,? Quentin Wilson, commissioner of the Department of Higher Education said. ?This could mean tuition and fee increases, escalating class size and reduction of services. We should be recruiting more Missouri students to postsecondary education, not taking the risk of placing it out of their reach.?
?Electing to speed up the state?s reception of tobacco funds sustains higher education for Fiscal Year ?03,? Wilson continued. ?Securitization is the best approach I?ve seen yet for maintaining our investment in higher education. In fact, it?s the only plan we?ve seen.?
Securitization is the early sale of tobacco funds from the nationwide tobacco settlement.
?I urge the General Assembly to acknowledge the vital importance of higher education to the future economic viability of this state,? Wilson said. ?Higher education must be sustained if we are to reap the benefits in future years.?
I hear UMSL's cut is $5 Million and that is after a recent study demonstrating that it is already underfunded.
-------- TITLE: There may yet be an Airline at Mid-America AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/28/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: How many years has this taken? -------- TITLE: St. Charles and Housing Obsolescence AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/28/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The Biz Journal did a series of articles on the Real Estate Market and the opener caught my eye. A high proportion of St. Charles residents move from house to house:
nty's real estate market active by making inter-county moves.
According to recent census figures, 48.5 percent of St. Charles inhabitants are living in a different home than they were five years ago. Nearly 23 percent of St. Charles residents changed their residence within the County, while 25.5 percent moved there from a different county. Of the latter, nearly 17 percent relocated from a different county in Missouri, while 8.7 percent moved there from out of state.
These figures seem obvious thinking about them, but what happens when those houses that are consistently moved out of become less desired? In some ways this is to be expected over time, but the cycle is far faster now and the housing stock is often quite mediocre. In 20 years what is St. Charles going to be facing as far as a housing situation? Who is going to desire poorly built, often owned (and probably thus poorly maintained) housing? Demographically this seems to be a sign of serious long term challenges to maintaining high quality housing and a community that has stakeholders. -------- TITLE: Air Quality Comments AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/28/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: East-West Gateway is taking comments on the Quality Conformity Determination and Documentation. Information on how to comment on the issue can be found at East-West Gateway.
Regulation is a public process. Take advantage of it. -------- TITLE: Two Choices: Raise Rates or Raise them more AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/28/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: This is an intriguing strategy for a public body. MSD is threatening to raise rates more if a bond issue isn't passed that will raise rates. Damn, and I thought MODOT was arrogant. -------- TITLE: Green-Slay debate over Convention Center Deal Continues AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/28/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: It seems to me that this is far more smoke than fire and they both are coming at this from the wrong end. -------- TITLE: Danforth Foundation Cuts Staff AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/28/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The Danforth Foundation downsized its staff because the new focus on biotechnology will preclude any other projects for the next few years. The staff move is a natural after making the original decision, but the ever sharp Dave Drebes ventured into electronic pontificating on the StLouIST and pretty much nails the problem. While I think anyone would be foolhardy to criticize the Danforth's for not trying, $117 million just doesn't go that far. Combining it with some of the other resources such as the Center for Emerging Technologies and Wash U Medical School helps, but ultimately, the State of Misery will never make a significant effort to support the industry while other states have. In such a case, my expectation is the effort will produce far more modest efforts than concentrating on engaging the St. Louis community in a series of well thought out and executed development projects. -------- TITLE: Berger, Berger, Berger AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/24/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Missed him this morning, but some interesting stuff:
Loudest whisper in local Republican circles is that U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof's quiet withdrawal from contention for the GOP 2004 gubernatorial nominee was purchased for a promise: that Hulshof, would, in turn, have an uncontested shot at Kit Bond's seat if Missouri's senior senator decides not to seek re-election. ... Mere days after Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe jetted through the state and predicted that Missouri would have an African-American on its statewide slate of candidates in 2004, Dem state party topper May Scheve was spotted in earnest confab over lunch with Kelvin Simmons, a former Kansas City council member and chairman of the state Public Service Commission.
Poking around a bit more and it looks like the Republicans are all over this possibility already. The pseudonomynous Emma Goldman points out a bill is being introduced to stop Public Service Commission members from running for office. Link to actual bill in post.
The question of whether Bond wants to retire may well revolve around whether they can employee enough drink watchers at events and whether the good Senator is too pickled to make the run. I have to say the thought of Bond sitting at home with nothing to do but drink might be reason to vote for him.
-------- TITLE: SLPS, VICC sue Misery AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/24/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Funny thing about legal agreements is that the other party expects you to uphold them. Yesterday, the SLPS and VICC sued the State of Misery for not living up to the obligations of the Desegregation Settlement.
Accounting tricks are nice, but they don't actually solve public policy problems. In this case there is an legal agreement that requires full funding and the state, after it winds it way up the legal system, will end up paying.
One of the arguments about the desegration suits in St. Louis is that they often saved the State of Missouri from itself--apparently those suits still are. -------- TITLE: Kremlinology 101 AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Only the Eye could follow the Melinda Long recall saga. -------- TITLE: Does Slay Need a Sweep? AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Virvus argues he does, but I disagree. The three remaining Board Members are not stuck in the mud types. Moore is erratic and so is Haas, but Hilgemann is pretty sophisticated and can work with just about anyone not on the current board. All three are willing to radically question how the district is run and even if two or three of the Slay candidates make it, there will be a clear majority for significant reform. If all four make it, we'll see some changes very quickly.
Additionally, while I'm skeptical of two of the members of Hilgemann's slate, it may well be that they will be sock puppets for her. If this is the case, there will be a majority of reformer votes. What is concerning is that the outgoing majority is eerily quiet. One has to be concerned that they are trying to lay the groundwork to insert some like minded people under the radar of voters.
One final note is that there is apparently a fifth member of the Slay slate who is a back-up from what I'm hearing. John Oleski was also well received and so his election wouldn't affect the slate at all.
One interesting aspect is the consistent hype surrounding the visit of Dr. Arlene Ackerman. Perhaps Dr. Suggs has an idea of who he would like to replace the Cleve. -------- TITLE: A Giant Reality Sandwich AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Is served by the mouthpiece of the St. Louis Business Community to the Republican Lege. Either raise taxes or find $1 Billion in cuts. It is a double dog dare. -------- TITLE: So let me get this straight... AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The RFT thinks the most interesting issue in the region is whether a Bulgarian immigrant can be a gun merchant. Did speedloader lose a game of Russian Roulette? -------- TITLE: Tipping is allowed AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: I especially appreciate those who write in with tips whether anonymous or not. Sometimes it takes me a bit to get them up--I missed one because of the lag, but it is always nice. -------- TITLE: Bond Lacking Challengers AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Apparently the Democrats are having a hard time finding someone to challenge Bond. Even in the best of times, this would be a tough race and most traditional candidates are avoiding it. Some are suggesting a college administrator.
Of course, the 1998 race may have been tight if Jeremia Jay hadn't pissed off nearly every African-American on the north side of Saint Louis. -------- TITLE: Hulsoff out AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/23/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: In my absence, Kenny Hulsoff announced he was bowing out of the Governor's race leaving Matt Blunt as the prohibitive favorite for the Republican nomination and rap afficionados everywhere.
If Republicans can find someplace to stick Kinder, they could have an easy race. Given the current financial situation, this is not good for the Bobster.
Rumor has it from one source, that Hulsoff may face a far stronger challenge for his House Seat by Roger Wilson, former Lt. Governor and interim Governor. The race could well be a dogfight with Wilson very popular in the District.
One interesting question may be whether personal issues are present for Wilson who cited them when bowing out of the 2000 Governor's race. Some are saying that those were only financial, while some persistent rumors revolved around fidelity issues. -------- TITLE: But don't worry, no lay-offs AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/22/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The Cleve demonstrates where the priority of the SLPS is when he announces cutbacks in student resources, but assures everyone no one will be laid off. -------- TITLE: State of Misery AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/22/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Apparently, one particular twit in the State Senate seems to think laptops would be an affront to the dignity of the Senate.
The cock fighting debate pretty much killed any illusion of dignity, didn't it? -------- TITLE: 40 under 40 AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/22/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: This week's Biz Journal has the 40 under 40, but really shouldn't it be the 40 under 40, but over 30 and mainly between 35 and 40? -------- TITLE: How we will miss Greg Freeman AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/22/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Interestingly, the Friends and Advocates of Neighborhood Schools slate from 1991 has an alumnus running for the 16th Ward Aldermanic seat as a Republican. Carol A. Wilson is running for the spot vacated by Jim Shrewsbury when he ascended to the President of the Board of Alderman.
I've been snoozing though. Carol Wilson is also a member of the St. Louis Board of Elections and appointed to it by the Bobster. So apparently white washing one's background is a bipartisan affair here in Misery. Timothy J. Wilson, her husband is also a Circuit Court Judge in the City of Saint Louis.
Who cares? Well, the Friends and Advocates slate, despite sounding like a Quaker slate, was a slate backed by Thomas Bugel, former head of the Metro South Citizens' Council, in 1991. The Metro South Citizens' Council was the local variant of the Council of Conservative Citizens. She had nice things to say about her former slate members as well. From Jo Mannies March 17, 1991 column she said:'I'm proud of the people I'm running with.'
This must have included William J. Macke, cofounder of the Metro South Citizens' Council. It is unclear to me that even Macke's mother could be proud of him.
From January 20th:Macke is one of the founders of the Metro South Citizens Council, a group that he describes as ''an interest group of white citizens.'' But Macke denies that it is racist, saying the South Side group simply represents ''property owners who are conservative.''
White property owners that is.
From the March 17th article:slate. The Kids slate demanding that the treasurer of the Friends slate resign because he had made a $250 campaign contribution to David Duke of Louisiana. Duke is a former member of the Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party who now is running for governor. He ran a highly publicized campaign for the U.S. Senate last year. The Kids slate also took aim at a $1,000 contribution that the Friends slate got from a segregationist. Kids candidate Stewart said the Duke link and the segregationist's contribution demonstrated that the Friends slate was ''anti-black.''
Friends slate member Wilson and some of the board's anti-busing members accusing the Kids slate of being racist against whites. They pointed to endorsements the Kids slate got from Comptroller Virvus Jones and state Rep. Paula Carter, D-St. Louis. The Friends slate says Jones and Carter are ''black racists.'' Bugel alleges that Carter ran a racist primary campaign against Aldermanic President Thomas A. Villa, who is white. Bugel accusing Kids candidate Purdy of injecting ''gutter-level smear tactics into this campaign.''
Things not heard around here often, Bill Purdy had a hell of a backbone--too bad he couldn't use it to reform the bureaucracy.
Apparently she and her husband are fans of city living from this letter to the editor:
Once again the Post-Dispatch has confused its mission with that of the National Enquirer. The yellow journalism evident in the lurid "the city's sinking you better flee" front-page Sunday "news" story, accompanied by the article's supposed search for who is responsible, would be comedic if it weren't so tragic.
The Post-Dispatch used its journalistic freedom to construct a striking, large, front-page, color map, color photo story in its largest circulation day paper. You don't have to be a genius to understand the impact of a photo of a row of for-sale signs, a map with a colorful metastasizing cancer and a headline incorporating scare words like "bode ill," and "slide." The position of the story, the graphics and the headline diction were inflammatory. We are not asking the Post-Dispatch to sugarcoat the urban realities with Pollyanna puff pieces. But no rational purpose is served with bylines by Chicken Little. Tim and Carol Wilson St. Louis
Admirably, Francis Slay backed the Kids Slate in the '91 election even though his ward was considered a strong bastion of support for the Neigbhood slate. Will the supposedly liberal Post-Dispatch point out Wilson's checkered past? Or is it to polite to talk about ties to racists if it isn't Trent Lott?
-------- TITLE: slowwwww.... AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/22/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: until today, really... -------- TITLE: Back later in the day AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/21/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Sorry, been busy, back late in the day Tuesday.
--Kiel and the School Board Race
--Joyce suggests penalty for DNA misuse
--Transit chief reporting to the Governor
--Hulsoff bows out -------- TITLE: The Mayor's Slate AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/15/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: In comments below the following names are listed:
schoemehl, archibald, jackson, clinkscale
I'm assuming they will be the candidates. While I understand Hilgemann's reluctance to rely on big names, Schoemehl and Archibald will bring experience of dealing with large bureaucracies from their current and previous positions that is desperately needed. While I want to see the rest of the candidates, I believe these two would make excellent Board members.
All too often in the current system, the Board has focused on making the bureaucracy feel comfortable. It is not the administrations job to feel comfortable, it is to support educational personnel.
And let's hope they call for a full scale audit by Claire McCaskill. The SLPS desperately needs an operations audit. -------- TITLE: Slaying Landlords AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/15/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Finally the city is getting some backbone and going after slumlords. The first target is spending some time in the klink. Obviously not every mediocre landlord is going to get this treatment, but the worst cases needed an additional penalty. It is hard to tell whether this guy is clueless or just doesn't care. -------- TITLE: Budget Update AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/15/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Holden introduced his budget today and substantively it is the best he can, politically it is a mixed bag. It leaves enough there that the Republicans have to identify cuts if they try and reduce the tax increases, but it has tax increases. The article quotes some Republicans willing to compromise, but Hanaway sounds a bit more combative. The challenge for the Republicans is to identify spending decreases that Holden can't exploit in the election.
Kinder, on the radio, is trying to claim they are massive tax hikes. More reasons Matt Blunt will beat 'em. -------- TITLE: Hooah! AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/15/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Joe Frank has entered the blogosphere. Joe is entirely too nice, but has lots of information. I'll be updating the blogroll soon so send me any cool St. Louis Region/Missouri Blogs of which I may not be familiar. And for this sight, they don't have to be public affairs only.
Light posting for the next couple days. Unless we get really heated over architecture! -------- TITLE: Tips are rolling in AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: So one take on Carnahan is that he isn't calling around for the 3rd, but calling around for support for a possible run to be Secretary of State since Blunt is probably running for governor.
Some apparently see the 3rd as a waste for him because it is a safe seat and State-wide Democrats need some hope. Carnahan is seen as having a strong chance of at least stopping the Republican gains.
And thanks again to those who send in tips. Over time I'll add analysis to them, but generally I like to pass them along as I get them. -------- TITLE: Tips are rolling in AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: So one take on Carnahan is that he isn't calling around for the 3rd, but calling around for support for a possible run to be Secretary of State since Blunt is probably running for governor.
Some apparently see the 3rd as a waste for him because it is a safe seat and State-wide Democrats need some hope. Carnahan is seen as having a strong chance of at least stopping the Republican gains.
And thanks again to those who send in tips. Over time I'll add analysis to them, but generally I like to pass them along as I get them. -------- TITLE: Stick a fork in this guy AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Fred Lindecke rises from the grave again to bitch about the stadium deal. -------- TITLE: Finalists for the Slay Slate AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: 8 finalists make the cut. However, we find this on the editorial page and not in the news. Nice.
Anyway, of the known candidates, the bunch seems impressive, but not exactly in touch with what has been occurring in the SLPS.
Maybe that isn't so bad. It is disturbing that there are no north side candidates in the list, but the panel selecting them was diverse and Dr. Suggs would not take that lightly. One encouraging aspect is that the group doesn't look like ward organizations hacks who will defend the status quo in the administration.
Notably missing is Antonio French. I imagine that would be the case if he were elected anyway. -------- TITLE: Pulitzer criticizes ballpark design AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: But praises the current stadium.
If only the entire region could have the architecture of Busch Stadium, UMSL, and Eliot Hall at Wash U, we could then be a location for shooting scenes for movies set in the old Soviet Union. Look what we are missing out on. -------- TITLE: Air Pollution Follies AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The State of Missouri is going to require new cars to get emissions problems fixed immediately.
This is known as a waste of resources. New cars emit very low levels of pollution. The real problem spewing pollution are older cars on the road that we don't force to meet reasonable standards as long as owners spend minimal amounts of money to try and fix the problem. That and unlicensed cars.
Cars emit most pollution when they are out of tune and so a brand new car will almost never face a sanction. -------- TITLE: Carnahan Calls AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Russ Carnahan may not of announced yet, but different people are indicating he is making a lot of calls around town to drum up support. -------- TITLE: Stoll-Johnson Feud AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: A tipster sends in this story from the Jefferson County Leader which isn't available on-line:
Stoll already has challenger in race for Gephardt?s seat-------- TITLE: Favazza's Toilet AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/14/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Saving the rest of us from having to watch Eliot Davis stalk Favazza, Favazza's $10,000 private toilet was stricken from plans when he moved his office.
For most of his life Steve Stoll has been a runner. This week he decided to enter the race of his lifetime.
The 55-year-old state senator from Festus has come out of the starting blocks in the 2004 race for congressman from the 3rd Congressional District. He is doing so to get a jump on the field, which won't line up officially until a year from August when the Democrats and Republicans pick their candidates for the November 2004 election.
Those primary elections should be doozies, assuming that the Democratic incumbent, U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt, is either still in the hunt for president or, if he isn't, has decided that 26 years is enough time in Congress.
Stoll decided Monday that this could be now or never for him. He'll be 57 by Election Day, and there won't be many more chances after this one. An incumbent (see Gephardt, Richard) tends to stay awhile, and another 26-year stint by someone else would probably put the then 93-year-old Stoll out of contention when the seat opens up again.
That's one of the tacks that will be taken by second-term state Rep. Rick Johnson (D-?High Ridge) who announced later Monday that he also would like to be the next congressman from the 3rd District. At 33, he's younger and more energetic, he said, implying he was ready for a longer stint in Congress than the ancient Stoll ever could hope to serve.
Johnson is just as brash as he sounds. After he lost a close state rep race in 1998, a year after moving to Jefferson County, Johnson kicked off his second campaign in 2000 with a press release that described him as "a true American success story," citing his rise from poverty to Navy veteran to law school graduate.
This past campaign year, while running for his second term in the House, Johnson was the only county Democratic state rep who would not endorse state Rep. Mark Abel of Festus for Speaker. That's the top House job Abel might have had if the Democrats had held a majority in the House, which they didn't. Johnson was angling for the second fiddle Speaker Pro Tem position and knew the House would not elect a Speaker and a Pro Tem from the same county.
Johnson's colleagues in the House say it is impossible to overestimate his ambition. He appears to be smart, articulate, driven and not at all fazed by running against a man from his own county and party who has won threeterms in the House and two in the Senate. Johnson will not fail for lack of confidence.
South of Hwy. M, his challenge will be to overcome the label of the carpetbagging, smarty pants lawyer who might draw off enough votes to keep Jefferson County from having its own congressman.
The 3rd Congressional District has been creeping south ever since Gephardt was elected in 1976. Jefferson County was included after the 1980 census, plucking it from the old 10th District. After the 1990 census Ste. Genevieve County was added to the 3rd. No counties were added to the district after the 2000 Census, but the amount of space in St. Louis city and county continued to shrink.
At around 200,000 souls, Jefferson County now constitutes about a third of the 3rd District, although it is the largest area of the district. The sliver of St. Louis City and substantial chunks of south and west St. Louis County, however, make up the bulk of the district's population.
This is what Stoll and Johnson have to work with. That, and the less than 20,000 inhabitants of Ste. Genevieve County.
The Democratic primary could be a melee. It remains to be seen if the St. Louis city and county Democrats can agree on a candidate from their regions. As Stoll said, the more the merrier as far as he's concerned. A single Democrat from either of those regions would be hard for him to beat, especially with Johnson in the race. A bunch of them, however, could split up the urban and suburban vote.
The Republicans also will have to settle things in their own house. Former state Rep. Catherine Enz of south St. Louis County ran a respectable campaign against Gephardt this past November, which was widely viewed as a prelude to her running for state Senate in 2004 when her fellow Republican, Anita Yeckel, is term-limited out other seat, as Enz was in 2002 in the House.
But now with the Big Hoss retiring, Enz might be tempted to try for Congress rather than the state Senate. Of course, Yeckel will be out of a job, too, so who knows?
Maybe the irrepressible Bill Federer, who lost to Gephardt in 1998 and 2000, will make a comeback. What about Mack Holekamp or Debbie Wheelehan or Thor Heame or some other pretender Gephardt has vanquished in the last quarter century? What about Steve Miloscia, the Barnhart man who came within 24 votes of winning an eight-person Republican primary in 1996?
There could be a boxcarful of possibilities.
Here are some questions to ponder about Stoll and Johnson:
? Who will be able to raise the most money? Look for the other state reps from the county to rally behind Stoll. They don't consider Johnson a team player.
? When the big-shot national Democrats try to "help" form Stoll's positions, how will he react to being told the big wigs gen-
erally like pro-choice candidates even though Stoll is pro-life? How will the big dogs react?
? Stoll is popular in Jefferson County. Will that translate in St. Louis County and the city? Johnson will have to score big vote totals up there to have a chance.
? Is Jefferson County still considered too com-pone by St. Louis countians for them to vote for a candidate from the other side of the Meramec River?
Stoll said one of his constituents reminded him recently he might be a little too down-home. Stoll was wielding a snow shovel in front of his house when his postal carrier came by.
"My mailman Alien Siebert said, 'Senator, if you're going to seek higher officer, you're going to have to stop shoveling your own sidewalk,' ' 'Stoll said.
I'm not sure about that. Being able to wield a scoop shovel could come in handy in Washington.
Given his reason for running was to get rid of his office, I always found this story strange.
Thanks to the tipster. -------- TITLE: Hot Tip on the 3rd Race AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/13/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: An anonymous, but pretty right on so far tipster sends the following:
Rick Johnson, a state rep in High Ridge announced his candidacy for the
3rd district a few hours after Stoll did on Monday. It came as a very big
surprise to many people, especially given the fact that Stoll seems to
be Gephardt's pick to suceed him, given the timing of his announcement.
Johnson's already running a fairly negative campaign, attempting to
smear Stoll as an old man who won't hold the seat long enough to make any
realdifference in the area.
High Ridge is in Jefferson County, and, rumour has it, Rick angered
somepeople by challenging the Senior Statesman from Jefferson County,
Stoll. Stoll was elected to the state House in 1992, and elected to the State Senate in 1998. Johnson ran for the state House in 1998 and lost, but won his district in 2000 and again in 2002. What is upsetting people so much is his disrespect for not only Stoll, as a fellow Jefferson Countian, but for the entire Jefferson County state legislative delegation. Johnson was on the Carnahan leadership slate in the House, despite the fact that Rep. Mark Abel (D-Festus, 103rd) was running (and was sucessful) for Minority Leader.
It was a real slap in the face to many in Jefferson County.
Johnson has already recieved sharp criticism for not only being
unfaithful to his county, but also for his negative age-comparison tactic. The Jefferson County Leader's Editor, Patrick Martin, wrote an editorial on the subject that was quite scathing. The Jefferson County Leader is a county-wide paper that comes out once-per-week. (I'll see what I can't do about scanning the article later for you)
The stars really seem to be aligned in Jefferson County in near
unanimous support of Stoll (save Johnson of course), and it remains to be seen whether Johnson can be a viable candidate without the support of any of his fellow Assembly members and their fundraising contacts.
Had Johnson not jumped into this race, it seemed to many that he would
have been one of the two prime choices (McKenna being the other) to take
over Stoll's state Senate seat had Stoll won his bid for Congress. As it
stands now, a loss in the primary will at least severely damage if not spell the end of his once bright political career.
I always love tips so keep 'em coming. I'm not sure of the full implications of the above, but as the race unfolds this is good information to have. I think it is safe to say with a negative campaign already underway and a crowded field, this should be a fun race to watch.
-------- TITLE: Slate Wars AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Apparently not content to have differing opinions, everyone has decided to piss on everyone else's leg in determining what the slates will be for the next election. Other than some conspiracy theories, it appears that there are some issues where the two major groups disagree, but not that much. It isn't like anyone is proposing a return of the Gang of Four. -------- TITLE: Town Talk: Well if there were I'd have a point AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: From Towntalk:
ON MY PERSONAL property tax form there was a box to check if I want to donate money to the City of St. Louis to pay for the new stadium. The city is broke again. It has no money and needs my money, yet at the same time one-term Mayor Slay spends his time lobbying for the Cardinals instead of attending to city business. And he has puppets?all Democrats?on the board of aldermen to revoke the amusement tax on the sale of Cardinals tickets. This money could be used for paying for the dog pound and other civic improvements. It brings in thousands of dollars a year, yet Slay would rather give this to the millionaire owners.
Editor's note: St. Louis' Deputy Collector of Revenue, Tom Vollmer, says there's no such check-off box on the city's personal property tax form. There are, however, two boxes on the form where one may voluntarily donate to Forest Park Forever, a fund to improve the park, or donate to a fund to construct a new city animal shelter.
-------- TITLE: Favazza announces for the 3rd Congressional District AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Word is that Mariano Favazza announced his intentions to run for the 3rd CD tonight on Fox 2 news. While Favazza has never struck me as that slick or bright, his base of support in South City is strong and could mount a successful challenge. -------- TITLE: Purdy Please AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/12/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: So Bill Purdy, SLPS Board President, replies to a Bill McLellan column here. Some of the points are valid. The schools are not falling down. The actual building are in good shape.
That being said, as usual a Board Member is dismissing complaints from teachers about the level of support from the central office. Yet, when teachers call down there for administrative support, that support is non-existent. Applications are lost, benefits information is unavailable, and numerous stories are told of teachers being threatened with removal from the payroll after their paperwork has been repeatedly lost.
The textbook issue is still a problem as well. A simple automated inventory tracking system would do wonders.
Or the Board can make excuses. -------- TITLE: Ronnie White push AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Ronnie White is back in the news with Lacy Clay and Dick Gephardt pushing for his nomination to the federal bench. Why? Black turnout and to embarrass Ashcroft and Bond. Bond is up for reelection in '04 and one of his promises while courting African-American voters was that he would give Ronnie White a fair chance. He didn't. -------- TITLE: Federer Follies AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Bill Federer is the kind of guy who thinks that getting acquitted makes him look less foolish. -------- TITLE: Board decides to meet about meeting AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The woeful inability of the current SLPS Board of Education was on display again when they couldn't agree where to discuss finding a new superintendent.
Purdy wanted it to occur behind closed doors. Eventually, because of personnel issues, this would have to occur, but discussing the process of selection should be done in public. Choosing an urban superintendent is a very open process and the more discussions that occur in public, the better. -------- TITLE: The Cleve takes a body blow: But he was a weak, defensive administrator of a school system in which AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/10/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The Cleve takes a body blow:But he was a weak, defensive administrator of a school system in which a majority of high school students are tragically unprepared for life.-------- TITLE: You can't get blood out of a turnip AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/09/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: In the category of ill-timed demonstrations, state workers pushed for raises. Perhaps Hanaway and the union can join together in the search for the magical money tree. -------- TITLE: Boggling the mind AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/09/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Missouri proves once again that it knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. The State of Missouri seems (I say seem because the story is poorly written) to be giving up primacy over water body certification. I assume it will keep primacy of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), but this is a pretty amazing development.
States prefer having local control for several reasons. First, it allows states to determine the use of water bodies. Without going into a dissertation long discussion here, all water bodies in the US are designated for a particular kind of use by the EPA or state authority. State's benefit because they can be sensitive to local industry and preservation. Overall, the environment does better because the EPA is too understaffed to do the work well.
I am unaware of any voluntary choice by a state to give up primacy. This is a stunning example of how poorly this state is governed. For $99,000 a year, the State of Missouri is giving up a particularly important function.
-------- TITLE: The Betting Pool is Open AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/09/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: How long before Catherine Hanaway has to eat these words:JEFFERSON CITY - Don't balance next year's budget by relying on a tax increase, an expansion of gambling or the state's reserve account, House Speaker Catherine Hanaway warned the governor on Wednesday.
Unless she has a magic tree that grows money, this will come back to haunt her. -------- TITLE: Southtown Progress AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/09/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Joe Daus updated the StLouIST today on what development is likely to take place at the Southtown site:
Tonight at the Southampton Neighborhood Association's Candidate's Night 14th Ward Alderman Steve Gregali announced that of the following five businesses two have committed to Southtown with the other three under negotiations:
(milling around with Southtowners afterwards, word has it, Walgreens has
backed off their earlier desire to relocate on the Southtown site; it looks like they will stay put in their current location across the street on the Southside of Chippewa)
Gregali remarked that he hopes bulldozers will be out plowing dirt by the
end of February.
No word on the size or parameters of the expected TIF.
Kudos to Joe Daus and the other members of the Southtown Coalition. While a couple of these aren't my idea of great places, they are a great fit for the site and the neighborhood. This is exactly the kind of development that should be taking place in the city. -------- TITLE: Dos Tucci AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/09/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Linda Tucci proves once again that she can fit more into one column than any other reporter in St. Louis.
First, many retailers are finding their insurance premiums too high because of settlement cases. This is an interesting problem. How does on discourage the frivolous ones? And even more problematic, how does one discourage settling cases by the insurance companies when they are frivolous. If one almost always settles, then the incentive is never changed.
Second, Edison is finally getting its act together and it looks like they have a building in Old North Saint Louis. While Edison is a bit dodgy right now, more choices are always good for parents. -------- TITLE: Sen me in Coach AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/09/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Joe Bonwich has a glowing review for the new location of Sen, a fantastic downtown Thai restaurant. I have not had the opportunity to visit the new location, but you should. Go now. I mean now. Why are you still reading this? ..... -------- TITLE: The First Step AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/08/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The Cleve is retiring. I have a feeling there is more to this story, but the key is the search process can begin anew with the new Board of Education this spring.
This makes the election even more critical in establishing a clear strategy for the District and then hiring someone with the ability to carry it out. -------- TITLE: Stoll's record AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/08/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Steve Stoll's ratings by interest groups are available from Vote-Smart.
He is pro-life just as Gephardt was early in his career, pro-gun and mediocre on the environment. Typical Missouri conservative Democrat. Look for liberal challenges from moderately liberal Carnahan or Mae Scheve, Missouri Democratic Chairwoman. -------- TITLE: 10th Ward Round-up AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/08/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The 10th Ward, as mentioned previously, has three candidates for Alderman. And Dave Drebes was right in comments, Ferrario was charged with involuntary manslaughter, but acquitted while a City of Saint Louis police officer.
While one hates to make snap judgments, Ferrario seems to be a rather disgruntled white guy police officer. Don't we have enough? -------- TITLE: 24th Ward three way fight AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/08/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Dean Meredith has filed to run in the 24th. He would be a huge improvement over Bauer. I'm unfamiliar with Jamison, but Meredith has been an active St. Louisan for several years. Maybe with a miracle or two we could see him and Chris Thomas win. Oh come on, one can hope. -------- TITLE: Sharon Tyus runs in the 20th AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/08/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: In a move that will have no impact other than to convince the majority of the city she is a still pain in the ass, Sharon Tyus filed to run in the 20th presumably to challenge redistricting. One problem with challenging redistricting is that losing your seat because nearly everyone hates you in city government isn't a Constitutional Issue. -------- TITLE: Berger, Berger, Berger AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/08/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: In an actual piece of useful information, Berger reports Russ Carnahan is considering jumping in the race to replace Gephardt. -------- TITLE: Wait, don't we already have neighborhoods in which you can walk? AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/08/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Damn, there are all sorts of non-middle class white people in the city. So let's pretend we want to live in a real community! -------- TITLE: News at 11 AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/08/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Fred Lindecke is upset about the stadium deal. -------- TITLE: Speaking of Federer AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/08/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: God smiled on me today, with this nugget on the Federer Trial. Ahhh...Bill, how we miss your battiness. -------- TITLE: Why Yes Virginia, there is transportation chaos elsewhere AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/08/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Change the name to Misery and add three years and we can see into the future. -------- TITLE: The War of Highway Succession or Rural Agression if you will AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/08/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: End the Highway Wars? Hell no, this is just getting fun. Fleming makes it very clear the region is considering a separate taxing district.
Rural areas in most states are subsidized to a degree. Roads per person would simply be too much of a local burden when you have low population density. The difficulty here is that rural interests want low taxes and more than the usual subsidy. Welcome to the State of Misery.
The irony of the situation is that MODOT is trying to assuage rural interests upset over the 1992 plan, but may well alienate a larger block of voters in the states economic engine. Ultimately, MODOT needs a significant reorganization and a tax increase---but rural interests won't agree to that. Seccession with a separate regional road authority is the likely result. How you like dem bridges? -------- TITLE: New Police Commissioner AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/07/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Michael J. Quinn has been appointed by the Bobster as police commissioner, and he doesn't see the need for a civilian oversight board. -------- TITLE: Hill Aldermanic Race Shapes Up AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/07/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: From StlCoptalk
Three men will face off in the 10th Ward, which encompasses much of The Hill, including former St. Louis Police Officer, Joseph M. Ferrario, Christopher G. Thomas, an engineer and former president of Metropolis and Joseph P. Vollmer, a tavern owner who ran unsuccessfully for alderman four years ago. All three are Democrats.
Anyone know why Ferrario is called "Gun Boy Joe"? -------- TITLE: Transfer options for SLPS Students AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/07/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The SLPS is sending 6000 families notices that students may transfer to another better performing school.
The bizarre paragraph is:
Last August, city school officials sent about 7,000 letters to families of about half the district's 42,000 students alerting them to the opportunity to transfer to other schools. About 280 students applied to transfer, and just 38 of those students actually enrolled in other elementary schools, Harvey said.
Apparently the Post-Dispatch needs some remedial math. They also have Title IX referred to as Title X.
On the substantive end:
Harvey said several things prompted the low number of transfers in St. Louis this year. For example, thousands of letters were returned because of incorrect addresses and space was unavailable in middle schools to handle students who wanted to transfer, and many parents preferred to keep their children in their neighborhood schools, she said.
The problem is many parents don't have the ability to evaluate the quality of the school regardless of how deficient it may be. The ultimate sanction under the No Child Left Behind Act is to close down the school. This is probably going to have to happen with the most difficult schools because parents don't always possess the ability make informed choices. For parents that do, the district needs to welcome them and help them, but the great challenge in many of these cases is helping families who the least capable of helping themselves. If they were capable of helping themselves the transfer program or magnets would be fully utilized.
This is an important point when one thinks of school choice. Market based concepts of school choice face a huge hurdle. Most market solutions assumes perfect information and the ability to process that. Perfect information is almost always relaxed in any real study, but the assumption is made that people can use rules of thumbs to make up for imperfect information and still do well in the long run. Generally, this is correct. However, in dealing with significant groups of underachieving students, one gets heat in the head with the fact that the best predictor of underachieving students is that their parents underachieved as well. Meaning that the people we assume have the information to make an informed choice do not necessarily have the information nor the ability to process that information reliably.
If we know such a population exist, it may be part of a solution to not give some parents more choices, but instead give them fewer choices of higher quality. The challenge is distinguishing between parents who do have the ability to make wise educational choices and those that don't.
Of course, the interesting aspect of this entire fiasco is the entire school administration is befuddled and has no strategy to cope with mandatory transfers. Add to it haphazard reforms and the best answer appears to be that they are opening a new middle school. Opening a new school doesn't educate children, methods of teaching do.
-------- TITLE: Road Wars AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/06/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Dick Fleming lead the fight again today to preserve reasonable funding for roads in the Saint Louis region. Here is a hint to DOT--the region will create its own regional entity and stop supporting funding for you--meaning, don't play chicken with people who don't give a damn if they hit you. -------- TITLE: Scramble for the Southside AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/06/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Even with the close of filings for local elections, the last few weeks have left this pundit on the bored side. But today, Dick comes to my rescue and says he is stepping down.
Steve Stoll of the unfortunately named Festus is jumping in the race. Francis and McKenna aren't jumping at the shot. It won't open up much so there will be several contenders. Lyda Krewson would like to, but oops, she is in Clay's district--and Clay hates her. Mae Schaeve is another name being floated as well. My personal favorite probably won't make the run-Pat Dougherty.
The Republicans? Hmmmm....please God, bring back Federer, oh please. Who could be more fun than a fundamentalist Catholic who has so many crooked schemes going that no one is sure which one he is defending himself against. The Democratic ticket will get about 56-60% of the vote and the Republican ticket will get around 40 as has happened for years. -------- TITLE: One interesting aspect of the new Illinois legislative session is that one of the big four legislati AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/06/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: One interesting aspect of the new Illinois legislative session is that one of the big four legislative leaders is from Metro-East and Emil Jones' Majority Leader in the Senate is from the region as well. Given Blago owes his primary win to Unindicted co-conspirator Jerry Costello, Metro-East should see increased influence. -------- TITLE: Getting hit over the head AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/06/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: What does it take for Missouri to reform the unemployment trust fund? Apparently an Act of God. Despite efforts by Carnahan, the state legislature did nothing. It isn't a partisan problem, it is an institutional capacity problem. The legislature has no capacity for forethought. -------- TITLE: How to know you've been marginalized AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/06/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: In the lead in on the P-D web site, Rochester is referred to as 'The longtime gadfly writes book on education'. Can Bill Haas and Susan Turk be far behind? -------- TITLE: King Kaufman will be moving back to San Francisco... AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/03/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: once the St. Louis Bikefed tracks his St. Louis resident ass down for trashing cycling and Lance.
Before a sportswriter dismisses Armstrong, I suggest they should first have to try cycling up L'Alpe d'Huez, and then tell us how cyclists aren't amazing athletes. Sportswriters obviously can't do many of the things that the world's best athletes can do while competing, but whining that something isn't a sport because one is ignorant of the sport isn't much of an argument. -------- TITLE: The Political State Report AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/03/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Unveiling the Political State Report. Kos from The Daily Kos has the project up and running pretty damn amazingly. Yours truly is so far the only correspondent covering Illinois so if there are any Republicans or independents or just others out there (besides those stalking horses in the Harold Washington Party), drop a note to Kos and start contributing. I'm working on my first entry which will probably get posted over the weekend. Subject: Indictment Season in Illinois.
The site is quite ambitious. Kos is trying to gather bloggers on state politics from every state in the union. From those correspondents, articles on the political machinations of the state will be written hopefully with more context than typical national reporters are capable of delivering.
For my other beloved states, the ever capableThomas Spencer will be covering Missouri as will newcomers to me, David Barnes and Adam Case. Adam already has a good article up on the shift to a Republican Legislature and potential candidates for Governor. Tom discusses five counties suing the state for revenue decreases.
Iowa is uncovered--come on someone out there has to be able to talk about Iowa politics. I'm sure David Hogberg can be drafted upon his return, but what about the rest of you out there. With the caucus season starting this should be essential material.
For a fuller description, MyDD posted this:
Political State Report
Daily Kos has created a website, Political State Report, which has the bodacious potential to become not only a top-tier political website, but one that surpasses anything yet done on the web that deals with political campaigns and elections.
I wish to encourage many of the long-term posters here to e-mail Kos and join up to submit entries on the blog. Kos explains the conception, with which I concur:
Over at my weblog, I quickly found that the best insight this past election cycle came from locals sharing first-hand information on developments in their backyards. Sure, the information was often colored by partisan biases, but even that was better than the "unbiased" tripe spewed by the national media. So, the Political State Report was conceptually born.
When Kos first mentioned this a couple of months ago, I urged him on. The only caveat was that it would be one heck of a load of work. He's up for it though, and the end product is stellar. It's like stateline.org, but with a more ground-based viewpoint, and even further niched. Those Outflanked Democrats Wondering How to Catch Up in Media Wars could catch a serious clue from what Kos has developed.
What Kos has done is to extend the most valuable part of what went on here during the 2002 cycle; which is just fantastic, especially considering how the terrain is currently shifting.
The only serious impact that CFR seems to have, is shift the monetary funding epicenter from DC to the state political machines. This will have many repercussions, and it's tough to tell what the end result will be-- it probably differs from state to state. But as far as campaigns and elections go, one result will be that the DC-based pundits whom rely on the DC-based party structures for information, will become further removed from the action. This will be in tandem with the state party infrastructures gaining a much stronger presence in federal elections.
If Kos can manage the spectrum of contributors with an steady keel, while upping the quality of informed contributors, PSR ought to be able and ride the crest of this shift in power, empowering grassroots political reporting in a way it's never been broadcast before-- this is the kind of stuff that the internet was born for accomplishing.
-------- TITLE: Irving Clay to Step Down AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/03/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Alderman Irving Clay will not seek reelection in what would have been a cake walk.
I got nothing. What am I missing here? Is he running for for city-wide office? Could he be running against Shrewsbury? Is there a scandal brewing? Or is he really just wanting to spend some time with the family? -------- TITLE: Of all the Gordon Baum/CofCC stories--isn't this the laziest AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Nesbitt must have mailed this article in over the holidays. Of all the interesting angles, he hits none of them. Normally, Nesbitt does his over the top nickname bit that is pretty stale, but in this sense might add the appropriate sense of derision. -------- TITLE: Death Penalty Secrecy AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The RiverFront Times covers the secrecy surrounding executions in Missouri. I find such secrecy disturbing because if we are going to kill in the name of the state, shouldn't the citizens understand exactly what they are doing?
(posted on Blog Saint Louis too). -------- TITLE: Des Peres always did frighten me AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: The P-D reports five murders in the region already. And it is possible none of them happened in the city. One body was found there, but it sounds like a dumping.
One of the dead was a Matthew Hale, but alas, not the Matt Hale. -------- TITLE: Sound Off's Up AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: And there are too many to excerpt this week. Town Talk was boring.
I can't even tell which ones are serious this week. -------- TITLE: More taxis AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/02/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: And it about time. Competition has to help. The cost from Lambert to the CWE is as high as O'Hare to DePaul. There is no excuse for that in a city with a low cost of living. -------- TITLE: Murders down to 112 AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/01/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: It is hard to imagine that in Mokwa's first full year this isn't partly attributable to him and Jennifer Joyce working together. While there have been high profile police shootings, it appears the strategy is working well. -------- TITLE: Washington Park's bid to end self-governance AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/01/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Despite being a haven for vice and corruption the nonsense that emanates out of Washington Park never fails to amuse. To make it short, town trustee gets in fight with mayor, then found to not have a valid license. I mean, a license in Illinois is only a small bribe--being from Washington Park the trustee should have understood... -------- TITLE: East St. Louis hijinks AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/01/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: Debra Powell has been knocked off the ballot for filing at the wrong office. While this is a technical violation it smells of St. Clair County hijinks and the corrupt county machine trying to control East St. Louis' development. I'm sure this will further develop. -------- TITLE: Another Passing AUTHOR: archpundit DATE: 1/01/2003 - [Link] ----- BODY: I'm tempted to ridicule the P-D for noticing today, that on December 6th Craton Liddel passed away. Instead I'll say while his mother was always the driving force, Craton Liddel was the primary plaintiff in the lawsuit that desegregated the SLPS. In a sad twist of fate, this occurred while the soon-to-be-majority leader was trying to explain his connections to white supremacists who sought to derail integrated schools in St. Louis. --------