Monday, December 21, 2015

CitiesStrong Formed

St. Louis County municipalities are announcing today a new group to push back against what they feel has been consistent efforts to curtail their governance.

The press release: Former and current city leaders in St. Louis County have launched CitiesStrong, a nonprofit alliance that supports a balance of regional collaboration with local decision-making.

"CitiesStrong will be a reliable source of information about the roles played by our cities and the importance of willing collaboration in making the St. Louis region stronger," said Bert Gates, former mayor of Shrewsbury and president of the CitiesStrong board of directors. "We are for regional collaboration while preserving local decision-making and pride in our hometowns."

The board of CitiesStrong is comprised of more than a dozen current and former municipal officials. Their alliance combines decades of experience in city halls across St. Louis County...

Jim Brasfield, former Crestwood mayor and vice president of CitiesStrong, said the new alliance will oversee research and analysis about the roles, costs and scope of St. Louis County’s municipal governments in relation to the greater St. Louis region. CitiesStrong's allies include college professors whose academic research centers on issues, challenges and life in the region…

CitiesStrong’s initial funding support is from the St. Louis County Municipal League. The League responded to requests by former and current city officials to create an independent forum to provide credible information about local municipalities and regional collaboration….

What It Means

The St. Louis County municipalities have had a couple of tough years. Sen. Eric Schmitt’s SB 5 called out the bad actors who are using traffic fines as a funding mechanism; the uniform policing standards would force some departments to disband; and behind it all there’s been a steady stream of studies from Better Together, sometimes simply showing the disparities between the County’s many municipalities, and sometimes putting a spotlight on bad practices.

This is the first step in organizing a coherent defense, or perhaps just an attempt of some municipalities to get the message out: “hey, we’re not all f**ked up.”

CitiesStrong will be publishing their own studies, and will likely define Better Together as a Rex Sinquefield-funded, tying it at least by implication as a group with Sinquefield’s broader  agenda. As one observer warns, “Municipalities know Rex is not their friend, ever since the 2010 earnings tax campaign…”

The press release also says that “CitiesStrong notes the St. Louis Region is well-served by several types of regional collaboration. For example, the Great Rivers Greenway brings together decision-makers from across the region to oversee parks and trails. And the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District works across city boundaries…”

That would seem to indicate that this group will bill itself as open to new partnerships and new proposals that don’t surrendering their self-governance.

We’ll see….


Hancock on Staffers Moonlighting as Consultants

KC Star’s Jason Hancock has an article about the staffers in Jefferson City who also help on political campaigns.  See it here.

The lede… “For nearly seven years, Yancy Williams was chief of staff to one of the Missouri legislature’s most influential members, Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer. During that time Williams also earned hundreds of thousands of dollars moonlighting as a political consultant for various candidates and campaigns, including a political action committee funded by the Missouri Association of Realtors. Williams’ side job may be more lucrative than the side jobs of many fellow Capitol denizens, but he’s hardly alone. And that fact troubles those who worry the Capitol is awash in campaign money…”


Renew MO’s IPs

Andrew Linhares filed nine IPs.  You can find them here: Petition 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188 and 189.

Linhares is on staff with Renew Missouri.  And, as I previously reported, he is the treasurer for a campaign committee, Access Clean Energy, to support a statewide initiative…


MRL’s Wishlist

In their latest email blast, Missouri Right to Life says they’ll be supporting Sen. Bob Onder’s SB 644, and a soon-to-be-filed bill from Rep. Kathy Swan which will include “pro-life language for donation of fetal tissue, tissue reporting, physician privileges, ambulatory surgical center reporting and abortion facility inspections…”


Panel Announced

Press release: The Twenty-Second Circuit Judicial Commission announced the panel of three nominees to be submitted to Governor Jay Nixon to fill the associate circuit judge vacancy in the city of St. Louis created by the appointment of Judge Michael W. Noble as a circuit judge.

Those nominated by the commission are:

Jason M. Sengheiser… He is currently a law clerk for Judge Robert G. Dowd at the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District.

Craig K. Higgins... He is currently an associate city counselor/attorney manager for the Office of City Counselor, Municipal Prosecution Division in the city of St Louis.

Teneil L. Kellerman… She is currently an attorney at Growe Eisen Karlen in St. Louis….

Sengheiser received five votes, Higgins received five votes and Kellerman received four votes.

The members of the Twenty-Second Circuit Judicial Commission are: Judge Lisa S. Van Amburg, chief judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District; Steven L. Groves; Rita Burlison; Tiffany Franklin and Thomas K. Neill.



John Brunner on Syrian refugees to St. Louis… “The refugees being forced on our community are part of a wave of refugees that ISIS has said to have infiltrated with radicalized murdering terrorists…”


C-SPAN has named former Sen. Jeff Smith’s Mr. Smith Goes to Prison one of the year's best books, and the network's "Washington Journal" will feature it live this morning from 9:00-10:00AM E.S.T on TV or via live-stream.

Senate website gets a facelift… see it here.


eMailbag: Loophole for Patriots?

Since Eric Greitens isn't officially a candidate until he files, does the law about expenditures against a candidate apply?


eMailbag on Accountability Committee

Of course the "Accountability Committee" effort could backfire.  Since Missouri doesn't have party registration and the Democrats likely won't have more than one compelling primary (AG), the ads could generate union sympathizers who are Democrats or who rarely vote in primaries to vote in the GOP primary for those reps and for Anne Zerr.  It might save labor some money since they won't have to remind their supporters as much of how those reps voted.


Help Wanted

Washington Missourian seeks government reporter.  “Experience in covering city and county government required. We are a 15,000 paid circulation paper located 50 miles west of St. Louis in historic Washington, Mo….”  See the ad here.


Lobbyists Registrations

Jessica Petrie added Penman & Winton Consulting, and their various clients.

David McCracken, Richard McIntosh, Zach Brunnert, and Franc Flotron added Lincoln University.

Rodney Gray and Tami Holliday added Clean Line Partners.

Peter Levi added Jackson County and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce; and deleted Intermedix Corporation, and Olin Corporation.

Susan Henderson Moore, Rodney Gray, Tami Holliday and F. Chase Simmons deleted Fike Corporation.

Roxsen Koch deleted The Kansas City Star.

Robert Nagel deleted Kansas City Life Insurance.


$5K+ Contributions

Eastern MO Laborers Education & Benevolent Fund - $10,864 from Political Action Committee of Laborers Local No. 42.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $10,000 from McBride & Son Management Co.

United Food & Commercial Workers Local #655 Elect Political Action Fund - $6,513 from UFCW Local 655.

Greitens for Missouri - $25,000 from Paul Melnuk.

Greitens for Missouri - $5,001 from Craig Frazier.

Baker for Missouri - $5,100 from Hilda Jones.

MO Republican Party - $5,001 from Pfizer PAC.

Koster for Missouri - $30,000 from Supporters of Health Research & Treatments.



Happy birthdays to the peerless John Combest, Reps. Andrew Koenig and Don Rone, and Virginia Young.



To Drue Duncan on the passing of his mother, Inez.