Thursday, March 23, 2017

STL Mulls Airport Transaction

St. Louis Business Journal reports that the “city of St. Louis has submitted a preliminary application to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Privatization Pilot Program, which could allow it to privatize operations of St. Louis Lambert International Airport.”  See it here.

Pull Quote: Mayor Francis Slay said in an interview Wednesday that the move could free up millions of dollars more from the airport, perhaps helping the city invest in projects like a north-south MetroLink expansion. The city, which owns the airport, currently receives about $6 million from the facility per current law, he said. Travis Brown of Grow Missouri Inc., which is partnering with the city on the project, said that figure could increase by four to 10 times under a public-private partnership. Grow Missouri is a political action committee funded by billionaire investor and activist Rex Sinquefield….  Grow Missouri has agreed to cover the costs of hiring legal and financial professionals to work on the process, the city said.  If St. Louis is accepted in the program, it could take well over a year to make the change, Slay said, and the city, airlines and the FAA would have to sign off…

This appears part of the continuing effort by Sinquefield to restructure the city of St. Louis’ finances to better position it to re-enter St. Louis County and eliminate its earning tax.  He firmly believes that is the path to prosperity in the future.

Meanwhile new taxes on the ballot next month in the city to fund a possible soccer stadium and the start of a new Metrolink line would be a set-back for that goal as it would collapse other funding possibilities to replace the earning tax.


Trouble in Kinloch

Two days ago… “Darren Small and Jayna Small, husband and wife of Kinloch, MO, have been charged by complaint with conspiracy, access device fraud and wire fraud in connection with their alleged theft of funds from the Kinloch Fire Protection District. Darren Small is the Chief of the Fire Protection District, and Jayna Small is the President of the Board of Directors for the District.” (See it here)

Yesterday… Auditor Nicole Galloway issued a report on St. Louis County Fire Districts, and Kinloch was the only one not in compliance. (See it here)  Galloway’s office is starting a full audit of the district.

Kinloch is just to the east of Lambert airport.


Staffing State Parties

The Missouri Democratic Party announced that Sam Newton is joining their team as press secretary. Newton will handle the party’s day-to-day media relations and strategic communications efforts… Newton has previously worked as Communications Director for U.S. House candidate John Plumb in New York’s 23rd Congressional District and as Deputy Director, Corporate Communications at the Motion Picture Association of America….”


Earlier in the week, Missouri Republican Party has hired a Louisiana political operative to serve as its new executive director. The party announced Monday the hiring of Austin Stukins, a retired Marine and Iraq War veteran who currently serves as a policy adviser to Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.  See it here.


One observer finds the GOP’s choice of ED to be curious.  Todd Graves as party chair is part of the Jeff Roe tribe of Missouri Republican.  “The exec director they just appointed is a Chambers/Ayers guy... Why did Roe give a rival consultant a beach head in Missouri? Those guys will be against each other on the next presidential primary.  One has Pence the other had Cruz…”  Are they really playing nice here?


Looking Ahead to Next Week

When the legislature returns from Spring Break next week, the focus will be immediately on the budget.  The House will be working to reshape their bills, and get them over to the Senate.

The Senate – after spending the first half of the session methodically hitting their tort and labor agenda – will likely yield to outside pressure to move other bills.  There are groups wanting to pass education reform, utility reform, ride sharing framework and ethics reform, among others.  They’re hungry for some more floor time.  And they’re nervous.  They see the prevailing wage issue as potential dynamite which could blow up the Senate.  They don’t want that to happen before they have a chance to pass their items.


More Martin

Post-Dispatch reports on a lawsuit from one of Phyllis Schlafly’s daughters that her “inheritance was earmarked to go toward paying for litigation against her.”  It just won’t end.


Jeff Mazur on Twitter does the slow applause: “Now, I may have said unflattering things about @EagleEdMartin once or twice, but the man is a goddamn genius…..”


McCaskill to the Middle

One building denizen is ready to take bets that Sen. Claire McCaskill will vote to confirm Neil Gorsuch.  “You can take that to the bank…. she is making a hard turn to the middle for her re-election….”


Post-Dispatch reports “environmental and consumer groups are trying to pressure Sen. Claire McCaskill and other Democratic senators up for re-election next year to not sign onto a regulatory rewrite bill that opponents say would greatly weaken federal food safety rules.”


Greitens for Vets

On Facebook Governor Eric Greitens announced that “we took an important first step on our mission to make Missouri the best state in the country for veterans… Today, Missouri's Board of Nursing approved the Air Force's practical nurse education program. This program will make it easier for qualified enlisted medical personnel to become licensed nurses here in Missouri…”


Russell Passes

Jim Russell, a long-time lobbyist who retired a few years ago, died on Tuesday.  Russell had been business partners with Nancy Giddens in the years before his retirement.

From the obituary:  Jim was raised on a farm near Savannah, Missouri. He graduated from Savannah High School and earned a B.S. Degree from the University of Missouri Columbia in 1960 and a Master's Degree in 1967… For almost 30 years, Jim was frequently seen in the hallways of the State Capitol, elected to the Missouri House in 1974. He represented Andrew, Atchison, Holt and Nodaway Counties from 1974-1982, and served as Chairman of the House Commerce Committee…  After leaving the legislature, he became President of Missouri Agribusiness Association, a trade organization of agribusinesses. He held that position for 25 years. He also represented the interests of various businesses and organizations in the legislature… Jim was well-known for the best smoked, dry rub ribs in Missouri! His hobbies included cooking, fishing, golfing and gardening, as well as his ability to balance five spoons on his face at one time!...

A memorial service will be held at 2PM on Saturday at Grace Episcopal Church, 217 Adams Street.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to a scholarship fund established in his name by sending them to The Jim Russell Foundation, c/o Missouri Agribusiness Association, at P.O. Box 1728, Jefferson City, MO 65102.



NYTimes reports on Republican governors pushing back against the Trump budget plan.  See it here.  No Greitens mention, as he’s not doing any pushing.


Looks like Waylene Hiles has been added the Senate Administrative Rules staff. Hiles was previously director of administrative rules for Jason Kander in the secretary of state’s office.


WalletHub ranks cities “most affected by TrumpCare.” And St. Joe ranks #15.  See it here.


Today’s Events

Powered by Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Sen. Scott Sifton reception – CJ Muggs in Clayton – 5:30PM.


Help Wanted

OA seeks Public Information Officer/Communications-Summer Internship.  “This Summer Internship position with OA/Commissioner’s Office can expect to perform or assist with a variety of entry-level or mid-level professional informational and communications work for a state agency. Will primarily work on social media, legislative affairs, content development, writing, editing, events and government relations, although any number of marketing or journalist tasks could be assigned…  Approx 20 hours per week, mid-May through mid-August… Salary is $10.00 an hour….”  See it here.


$5K+ Contributions

Progress KC PAC - $10,000 from Kansas City Regional Association of REALTORS.



Happy birthdays to former Rep. Tom Loehner (the big 60).