Friday, December 16, 2017

Clearing out the in-box… just bits  this morning… no order…


Post Hits Jones On Felon Connection

Post Dispatch reports that “an investment banker convicted of felonies in 1995 and imprisoned for almost three years — in a case that also landed former St. Louis Comptroller Virvus Jones in jail — now is an executive with a firm doing millions of dollars in business with Jones’ daughter, city Treasurer Tishaura Jones…”  See it here.

Jones fired back on Facebook: Next News Flash!! My father is not running for Mayor, I am. And my father doesn't run the Treasurer's office, I do.

When I became Treasurer in January 2013, I banned the box. I evaluate people on their ability to do the job and I evaluate proposals on their ability to save the city money.

I could go on and on about the public process in which all the firms were hired and reveal my inner nerd, but I won't (It's on the Treasurer's website). What I will tell you is that I believe in inclusion before exclusion. And including minority firms who brought me ideas on refinancing the city's debt saved the city over $4.6 million…  It all boils down to a simple virtue, forgiveness. We either believe that people have paid their debt to society and deserve a second chance, or we don't. It's as simple as that.


Thunder Cats Dinged on Pre-Game Stunt

Local Fox News affiliate reports that “a Missouri school district has apologized for the ‘unsportsmanlike’ and ‘insensitive’ conduct of its white students after one of them displayed a Trump sign before a boys basketball team Monday night.

The incident took place during player introductions of the opposing team from Center High School, where all of the players are black or biracial, according to the Kansas City Star.

In a video that has more than 6,800 shares on Facebook, the white students are seen turning their backs as the black students are being introduced… The Warrensburg district's superintendent Scott Patrick said in an interview with the Star that the tradition of the student section turning its back on the opposing team is a longstanding one, but that this incident was different… Despite the incident, the students from Center High School went on to win the game, 66-62.”

Sen-elect Denny Hoskins fired back on Facebook: The "Thunder Cats" are the student section fan club at high school sporting events. The Thunder Cats turn their backs to the basketball court when the opposing team is announced at home basketball games. They have done this for several years and have turned their backs for all white player teams, all black player teams, all catholic player teams, all private school player teams...EVERY team they have played against regardless of color, religion, sex, age, gender identity, etc..

While turning your back on the opposing team may be unsportsmanlike, it has nothing to do with being racist.  The Thunder Cats turning their backs on every team has been a non-story for many years and I'm unsure why it is a national story now.


Roe to Trump Tower

Politico reports that “Jeff Roe, a prominent Republican Party strategist who managed Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, has been seeking a job in the Trump administration – possibly as political director, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.  Roe, a hard-charging, Missouri-based operative who has also worked for a number of congressional Republicans, was spotted in Trump Tower on Wednesday. Several of his friends said that in recent weeks he had expressed serious interest in joining Trump’s team, and two sources close to the transition said that Roe had embarked on an aggressive push for the political director job. Neither Roe nor a Trump spokesman responded to requests for comment….”  See it here.


Dems Try To Understand Clinton’s Loss

Again from Politico… See it here.  Highlights…

The anecdotes are different but the narrative is the same across battlegrounds, where Democratic operatives lament a one-size-fits-all approach drawn entirely from pre-selected data — operatives spit out “the model, the model,” as they complain about it — guiding [Robby] Mook’s decisions on field, television, everything else. That’s the same data operation, of course, that predicted [Hillary]Clinton would win the Iowa caucuses by 6 percentage points (she scraped by with two-tenths of a point), and that predicted she’d beat Bernie Sanders in Michigan (he won by 1.5 points).


People at the DNC and in battleground states speak of angry, bitter calls that came in from Brooklyn whenever they caught wind of contact between them, adamant that only the campaign’s top brass could approve spending or tactical decisions.  “Don’t touch them. Stay away,” one person on the other end of the call remembered Clinton campaign states director Marlon Marshall saying after hearing about a rogue conversation between a battleground operative and an official at the DNC.


A battle against Mook’s direction took hold, with multiple people plotting ricochets, complaining to people like Chief Administrative Officer Charlie Baker and longtime Clinton confidante Minyon Moore in the hopes of getting the campaign manager overruled.


[T]here also were millions approved… under a plan devised by [Donna] Brazile to drum up urban turnout out of fear that Trump would win the popular vote while losing the electoral vote, got dumped into Chicago and New Orleans, far from anywhere that would have made a difference in the election.


“I think it’s true, they executed well. I think it’s true that the plan was accomplished,” said a former labor leader in the state. “But the plan was not the right plan.”





St. Louis City Sales Tax Rate

St. Louis Business Journal reports that the city of St. Louis’ sales tax rate, at nearly 8.68 percent, is currently 24th highest out of 474 Missouri taxing districts… Mayor Francis Slay is pushing a 0.5 percent sales tax increase to pay for a host of projects, including a starter fund for a north-south MetroLink expansion and a Major League Soccer stadium west of Union Station. The hike would generate roughly $20 million annually and would trigger a corresponding rise in the city’s use tax. That would generate another $4 million annually, according to Slay’s office.

The city's 8.679 percent rate is merely a base, according to a review of state of Missouri data.

Fifty-seven areas of the city have a higher sales tax rate because of transportation development districts and community improvement districts that have been established. The rate rises to 10.67 percent in the “St. Louis Convention Center Hotel 3 CID,” for example. “Loop Trolley TDD,” the main instrument in Joe Edwards’ push to build a trolley in the city and University City, also has a rate of 10.67 percent. At Ballpark Village, the rate is 9.67 percent because of a community improvement district. The increase proposed by Slay would increase those rates to more than 11 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

A city restaurant tax, at 1.5 percent, and others can push rates even higher.

[Among] communities have a higher sales tax than the city of St. Louis [are]: Branson (9.6 percent), Excelsior Springs CID (9.475 percent), Downtown Kansas City (9.35 percent)…

Why It Matters

It matters in terms of St. Louisians wiliness to stomach higher taxes.  But it also matters down the road.  Rex Sinquefield has been seeking to eliminate the city’s earnings tax.  If he ever succeeds, a higher sales tax now will make it harder to find a way to replace that lost public revenue.


Lombardi Exits

George Lombardi resigned as director of the Department of Corrections.  See it here. One reader calls it a “scalp” for the reporting of the Pitch’s Karen Dillon, who blew open the story of the huge increases in lawsuits.

Pull Quote: In the wake of reports exposing a culture of harassment and retaliation in Missouri’s prisons, the director of the agency sent a resignation letter to agency employees Thursday. Although Missouri Department of Corrections chief George Lombardi remains on the job for now, his eight-year tenure as Gov. Jay Nixon’s point man on prisons will not be renewed by incoming Gov.-elect Eric Greitens. “We are going to replace him,” Greitens senior adviser Austin Chambers told the Post-Dispatch. In the resignation note obtained by the Post-Dispatch, Lombardi said he believes the initiatives put in place during his tenure have made Missouri a national model….


Schatz’ Survey

Interesting to see Sen. Dave Schatz’ constituent survey.  See it here. They are in favor of increasing the cigarette tax, opposed to reforming marijuana, concerned about transportation infrastructure and support a prescription drug monitoring program.


Ehlmann on I-70

Press release: One thing St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann and President-Elect Donald Trump see eye-to-eye on is that infrastructure is a priority. Across the United States, for Trump; across St. Charles County, for Ehlmann.

The county’s I-70 corridor is the economic engine of St. Charles County, Ehlmann says.  Data shows 48 percent of sales tax, 46 percent of jobs and 27 percent of residents are within one mile of I-70 in St. Charles County.

“The nation’s interstate system started in St. Charles County in 1956,” says Ehlmann. “It was not designed for the development that has occurred in the last 60 years. The time is now to plan for the future of the I-70 corridor.”

But leaders at the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) announced 18 months ago the intent to devote its annual construction budget entirely for maintenance and rehabilitation of existing and primary roads – not enhancing existing roads or constructing new ones. Long before that decision was made, MoDOT had embarked on a study of the Interstate 270 corridor, and more recently, had begun a study of the Interstate 70 corridor in MoDOT’s St. Louis District. But both studies were shut down, Ehlmann says, to reinforce the fact that no funds were available for highway improvements….



It looks like J&C BBQ – the beneficiary of a crowdfunding campaign after it suffered damage in the Ferguson unrest – is up for sale.  See it here.


One of the attorneys for Michael Goguen is Adam Simon of Dowd Bennet – the law firm where Jay Nixon will be taking a corner office come January.


Gov. Jay Nixon today appointed Ellen Wyatt Dunne, of St. Louis, as Associate Circuit Judge for the 21st Judicial Circuit, which covers St. Louis County.  You know the governor’s new firm will inevitably be in front of judges he appointed.  That bother anyone?



New Tax Credits

$292,526 in MDFB Tax Credit for Contribution to Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (St. Louis) for Forest Park Forever in Senate 5 / House 78.

$65,000 in MDFB Tax Credit for Contribution to City of Springfield for Ozarks Food Harvest in Senate 30 / House 132.


Help Wanted

Missouri Hospital Association seeks Associate General Counsel. “Must have three to five years legal experience in a law firm, corporation, association or government setting. Familiarity with health care policy and legal issues; intellectual property, trademark and copyright law; and state and federal legislative and regulatory processes preferred. Experience with HIPAA security rule compliance preferred….”

See it here.


City of St. Louis seeks Hearing Officer. “Conduct hearings relative to appeals filed with the CSC by permanent civil service employees from disciplinary actions… Hearing officers will be compensated at the rate of $100.00 per hour of work.  Hours billed for the preparation of recommendations and suggested findings of fact and conclusions of law shall not exceed three hours per appeal…” See it here.


Lobbyists Registrations

James Harris added Hobsons.



Happy birthdays to Rep. Jon Carpenter and Jennifer Durham.

Saturday: Former Reps. Talibdin El-Amin, Barney Fisher, and Sam Komo, and Kristian Starner.

Sunday: Former Reps. Dennis Fowler and Kevin Elmer, and Derrick Good.