Friday, November 22, 2013

Air Cabin Fever

The governor’s office issued a press release yesterday saying that Jay Nixon had met with top Boeing executives about Missouri pitching for 777x production. 

“Gov. Nixon said his administration would work quickly and aggressively to meet the company's accelerated timeline and secure this unprecedented project.”

This produced two reactions among political types I talked to.

First, it got the blood pumping.  These are good jobs.  Talk has even started circulating that the governor might call for a special session.  Next month, baby!  The case for a special session is that you want to show Boeing you’re serious.  If their “accelerated timeline” means a decision in January, you want to have something concrete on the table.  Plus if you wait until regular session, you worry about tax credit reform, land assemblage, angel/data center/ MOSIRA etc all possibly complicating a focused economic development package for 777x.

The second reaction is skepticism.  Are we being played?  Are we a pawn in a larger play?  Are the Boeing executives flying around the country pretending to be interested in other places, just to put a little fear into Seattle, and force more “incentives” from the Washington State lawmakers?

Nicasto Draws Fire

Day Two of Collusiongate brought fire on DESE topper Chris Nicastro from a variety of sources.  It may be time to start a political death watch on the embattled commissioner.

Sen. Maria Chappelle Nadal in tweets threatened to start block appointments in the Senate.

@MariaChappelleN

“Looks like there are new reasons for senators to hold up all gubernatorial appointments...Chris Nicastro! #DripDrop #DripDrop”

“NOTICE TO HERSHEND: This issue is about transparency. 1) Follow Sunshine law, and 2) Don't alter fiscal notes that cost billions of dollars!”

The three big teacher groups, MNEA, MSTA and AFT, issued a joint statement:  “As educators we are disturbed by Commissioner Nicastro’s covert communication with a registered lobbyist, her potential disregard of open meetings law, and the circumvention of input from anyone involved in the day-to-day operations of public schools. Published reports indicate Commissioner Nicastro actively assisted a special interest lobbyist in crafting language for an amendment to the Missouri Constitution and ordering DESE staff not to post items to the State Board of Education’s public agenda. Nicastro assured special interest groups the fiscal note outlining the financial impact would be favorable…  Government officials have a duty to act in an open and transparent manner for the benefit of the citizens of the state of Missouri – Commissioner Nicastro’s actions fall short of that duty.”

More damning though was their release of the Sunshine request which shows Nicastro handwritten changes to proposal.  See it here.

Martin’s Modest Proposal

Republican State Party Chair Ed Martin sent an email yesterday that had politicos scratching their heads.  He used the teen novel series Hunger Games as a launching off point to propose federal departments be dispersed into small towns across America. 

It brought this snark from one Republican: “Nothing improves fundraising like sending out emails that make it appear you are under-medicated.”

Dear Friend,

 Fans of the Hunger Games know what “The Capitol” is. It’s the capital of the nation of Panem, and the center of all power, wealth, food, and comfort. The privileged people living in The Capitol bask in a fullness of life while impoverished citizens of the 12 Districts of Panem struggle to eek out a meager existence working in whatever type of labor their District specializes in….  See the whole email here.

St. Louis Bits

St. Louis County Gravois Township GOP Committeewoman Jennifer Bird has established a Stop the City County  Merger Facebook page.

Progressives are not yet united behind a single challenger to Rep. Penny Hubbard (House 78). In  2012, Hubbard won re-election with 46.4%.  Another vote split between progressives Ruth Ehresman and Samuel Cummings, her 2012 opponents, would guarantee Hubbard a third term.

Rumor  is Martin Casas, 2012 candidate for House 79, may be on tap to run 15th Ward Alderwoman Jennifer Florida’s campaign to unseat St. Louis Board President Lewis Reed in 2015. This could leave Rep. Mike Butler with no primary opponent.

Rep. Mike Colona (House 80) might have a GOP opponent next year, Robert Vroman Sternberg.  Sternberg’s LinkedIn page says he is running. Sternberg, who prefers the name Vroman, is an avowed anti-government Libertarian serving on the Missouri State GOP Committee. He received 15% of the vote last year against long-time City Sheriff Jim Murphy.

Rep. Karla May (House 84) is said to be interested in running for Recorder of Deeds next year instead of re-election. May was previously seeking appointment by Governor Jay Nixon to City License Collector. The Recorder’s race may be crowded. Others mentioned as potential candidates include 7th Ward Alderwoman Phyllis Young, 6th Ward Committeeman Damon Jones, and a yet unnamed member of the Hubbard Family. Finally incumbent Recorder Sharon Q. Carpenter has held the post for 27 years and is thought to be running again.

In the 2014 License Collector race, Mavis Thompson, appointed by the Governor six weeks ago, has yet to form a committee or get her name on the door of her office at City Hall. In addition to declared candidate 22nd Ward Alderman Jeffrey Boyd and 16th Ward Alderwoman Donna Baringer expressing an interest, other potential opponent names circulating include 13th Ward Alderman Fred  Wessels, 23rd Ward Alderman Joe Vaccaro, and former Circuit Clerk Mariano Favazza, who ousted Thompson from the Circuit Clerk office in 1998.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

James C. Bowers, Jr. added Cabinrock Investments LLC, Chris Valentine, Energy Systems Group LLC, and Anton’s.

Patricia R. Jensen added Cabinrock Investments LLC and Anton’s.

Reginald Edgar McElhannon added Missouri Department of Social Services.

Michael T. White added Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission.

Nancy Giddens and Shannon Cooper deleted The Doe Run Company.

Nicholas P Heberle added Missouri Department of Public Safety.

$5K+Contributions

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $5,005 from CHIPP Political Account.

Birthdays

Happy birthday to former Rep. Therese Sander (65).

Saturday: Team Kinder’s Brian Bunten, and former Rep. Cynthia Davis (54).

Sunday: Ryan Nonnemaker (33), and former Rep. Dennis Wood (59).