Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Imagining Mayor Krewson

Unless there’s an unprecedented and stunning upset today in St. Louis, Alderwoman Lyda Krewson will be elected the city’s first female mayor.  I talked to a few St. Louis civvies over the past week to get their thoughts on how a Mayor Krewson will differ from the past sixteen years of Mayor Slay.

The one thing that pretty much everyone mentioned was her relationship with County Executive Steve StengerFrancis Slay and Stenger never really hit it off.  There was no sense of partnership that Slay and Stenger’s predecessor Charlie Dooley had established.  It’s said that Krewson and Stenger have genuine affection and respect for each other.

Additionally some think that this type of “reset” won’t be limited to the city’s relationship with the largest county.  It could also extend to the new governor, to whoever the new US Attorney is, to the Bi-State board, and on and on.  Slay’s relationships with many entities – in Jefferson City as well – were ultimately weighed down with sixteen years of baggage.  What Slay did or didn’t do or say, what the city did or didn’t do, in various episodes piled up.  As former mayor Vince Schoemehl famously quipped: your friends come and go, but your enemies just accumulate.

Krewson starts fresh.

Most people describe Krewson as “nice,” but the insiders who know her think that folks will be surprised how tough she is.  They won’t be surprised if she takes on some controversial issues or powerful interests; in fact, they expect it.  Confrontations might not have the brashness of Jeff Rainford, but below the surface, it will be very similar steel.

She’s an intense listener who is more wonk-ish and data driven than Slay.  Look for her to be in the weeds and details of policy proposals that her office puts forth.


This gem: “Slay knows the words to every Pink Floyd song. Krewson knows the words to every Taylor Swift hit. Slay is more likely to use social media. Lyda is more likely to use email. Slay had a favorite restaurant. Krewson will be every restaurant’s favorite…”


Education Fight

Post-Dispatch reports on fight ahead between the House and Senate on education funding.  See it here.  House Budget Chair Scott Fitzpatrick calls fully funding the foundation formula his #1 priority.  But Senate Appropriations Chair Dan Brown is nervous that it will spike costs associated with early childhood funding.

Years ago then-Sen. Joe Keaveny passed a seemingly quixotic bill that if the formula was ever fully funded, districts could get funding for early childhood. At the time, the formula was so massively under-funded it seemed like a feel-good, no-pain bill.

But with a restructuring of the formula and Fitzpatrick’s determination, it’s a very real possibility this year.

Interestingly there seems to be cultural difference between the House and Senate on this issue also.  The Senate has a few older senators who are skeptical about the benefits of early childhood education.  And the House has a few younger reps who “true believers” about the power of early childhood resources to change the trajectory of lives.


March State Revenues

March tax receipts were depressingly flat, -.19%.  That brings the year to-fiscal-date total to a positive, but hardly robust, 4.31% growth.

Within the month’s tax numbers: individual income barely budged; it was up a meager 1.71%.  Refunds meanwhile rebounded.  After being down significantly last month they were up 11.15%.

Budget watchers caution that the tax receipts this time of year are volatile.

And April is obviously a big month.  A lot hinges on the next couple of weeks.


Follow-Up On Treece-Rowden

Last night the Columbia City Council voted unanimously (with an abstention by Mayor Brian Treece) to add support for SB369 (Sen. Caleb Rowden’s Bussing Bill that Treece testified against in committee) to the city’s lobbying agenda…


State Employee Moves

Michelle Hallford has joined the Office of the Governor as Executive Secretary.  She moved from Office of Administration where she worked for the Chief Information Officer for 11 years.

Brian Bear joined the Department of Economic Development as chief counsel.  Previously he was with Spencer Fane LLP for a year, and before that the Attorney General’s Office for 5 years.

Rochelle Reeves re-joined the Department of Revenue, where she was before spending 7 years in the Attorney General’s Office.

Katie Jo Wheeler joined the Department of Natural Resources as legal counsel.  Previously she was with Spencer Fane LLP for 5 years.

Khristine Heisinger has joined the Office of the Secretary of State as Elections Counsel.  She was previously with Stinson Leonard Street for 11 years.

Colette Neuner joined the Office of the Secretary of State as Securities Counsel.  Previously she was with the Attorney General’s Office for 3 years.

Jason Dunkel joined the Office of the Attorney General as an assistant attorney general.  He was previously with RUNNYMEDE Law Group for 3 years.  Before that he had interning stints with the Eastern District U.S. Attorney, the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney and the Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney.


Other Moves

According to LinkedIn, Brittany Burke is now a communications specialist with Clayco; former Tony Dugger LA, Ross Branson, is now Associate Director of Legislative Affairs at U.S. Department of Commerce; and Matt Lieberman is the Development Officer at Jewish Family and Children's Services of St. Louis.



On social media now… Balance the Scales.  See the twitter account here. And Facebook here.  “We need to BALANCE THE SCALES for our families. Together, we'll make sure corporate scoundrels who are rigging the system unfairly against our neighbors and friends are held accountable…. Balance the Scales is a project of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys.”


The House approved HR1400 to limit tomorrow’s budget debate to 6 hours.


With President Donald Trump rolling back some online privacy protections, Route Fifty wonders if state will step into the void.  See it here.


Governor Eric Greitens appointed Patrick White, of Frontenac, Saint Louis County to the Missouri Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Council.


Lobbyists Registrations

Kelly Carnago added Google Inc.


$5K+ Contributions

Make Saint Louis Safe - $19,000 from Great St. Louis Inc.

STL Votes! - $16,000 from Great St. Louis Inc.

Southern Missouri Professional Firefighters PAC - $6,100 from IAFF Fire PAC.



Happy birthdays to Rep. David Wood, Theresa Garza, and former St. Louis City Alderman Matt Villa.