Monday, November 11, 2013

St. Louis County Executive Bits

First, Steve Stenger remains on a rolls with the string of $5K+ checks.  One tipster says that it won’t be surprising to see the trend continue for Stenger.  Meanwhile, incumbent Charlie Dooley’s filing have been absent.

Now the gossip…

One plugged-in individual acts certain that more bad news is in the wings for Dooley.  “Stenger is just going through each county department bit by bit – very systematically and finding things and then releasing to media.”

But does Stenger need Dooley to stay in?  A different observer thinks that if Dooley gets out, it may “become a free for all and for sure then Jake Zimmerman would jump in.”  This person shares the other gossiper’s view that “Stenger has been behind all the dirt coming out on Dooley – and he’s been very strategic about the timing but it almost seems like he has to execute his plan perfectly or it all just blows up.”  He has to continue to wound Dooley without doing so much that he withdraws.

And

Last re-election Dooley ran as “AAA Charlie.”  That is, he had kept St. Louis County’s bond rating at AAA.  It was short-hand to project the image of competence, prudence, and being fiscally responsible. See the commercial here.

In the continuing paper-cuts to Dooley though, last week Standard & Poor cut the county’s rating to AA+.  See the article here.

St. Louis Business Journal: Lesson from KC Research Tax Debacle?

The St. Louis Business Journal’s editorial last week cast an eye across the state to Jackson County’s failed research tax question.

“Earlier this week, Kansas City voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposed half-cent sales tax that would have funded medical research. The vote was 5-to-1 against. Proponents of the measure that would have allocated the money to two private hospitals and the University of Missouri-Kansas City for ‘translational’ research (whatever that means) spent more than $2 million on their losing cause or about $83 for each of their 12,066 votes…

“There are implications of the vote for this region. For those who look to St. Louis City and St. Louis County to continue to support tax increases for the ZMD (Zoo Museum District) while St. Charles County residents enjoy the largesse without the price tax, the Kansas City vote might be instructive.

“On the other hand, there have been quiet conversations about our region addressing our own problems rather than aligning our future with the vagaries of the state Legislature. That’s what we did to pay for massive improvements to the Arch grounds and local parks. Why not use the same mechanism for a regional transportation tax?...

“Still, if there’s a regional transportation sales tax vote in our future ... and we kinda hope there is ... it would benefit civic leadership to take a ride down Highway 70 to Kansas City to see what happened to the medical research sales tax.”

Minimum Wage Upped

“The Missouri Department of Labor announces the state minimum wage rate for 2014 has been established, according to state law, at $7.50, effective January 1.  All businesses are required to pay at minimum, the $7.50 hourly rate, except retail and service businesses whose annual gross sales are less than $500,000. Per state law, the minimum wage rate is calculated once a year and may increase or decrease based on the cost of living as measured by the previous year's Consumer Price Index…”

Vahey for House 69

John Vahey started a campaign committee to run for House 69 as a Republican.  The current incumbent is Rep. Margo McNeil.  It’s a safe Democratic (65% DPI) district.

Cunningham’s Response to Eliot Davis

In response to the Fox 2 News story about Monarch Fire District, Jane Cunningham wrote this:

“Shame on FOX 2 for running a hit piece designed by the fire union on Monarch Fire District and having the chutzpah to call it an ‘investigation.’

“The vote for badly needed Monarch Directors and Officers insurance policies was unanimous, including the board member Russell Lake (the complainer in Elliott's hit piece) supported,  Director Steve Swyers.   

“Legal fees would be 40% higher if the Monarch Board had retained the previous attorney hired by the then union controlled board whose hourly rate was 40% more expensive than the present attorney.  Additionally the Monarch Board is required by law to meet and confer with the fire union in collective bargaining negotiations.  We are meeting in good faith now but the negotiations take months.....something that did not take place last year since it was a two-year contract.  Meeting that pro-union statutory mandate requires expert legal counsel during the entire complicated and lengthy process… 

“Notice who is picketing with Russell Lake.....the fire union members.  They are not the ‘concerned citizens’ of the district as described by Elliott Davis.  Remember this when Russell Lake is the union backed candidate at the next election.  Watch his financial campaign records when he runs and see donations from lawyers and the union just like his friend, Director Steve Swyers and Cole McNary also received. Remember Swyers was the Director who made the motion and voted to raise taxes in 2011 by an unprecedented $1 Million....eventually reversed after protests from then Senator Jane Cunningham and angry citizens. 

“The union does not want to give up control of this district and they are putting up a good fight and show against the taxpayer mandate that the public wants to be in charge.  That is why taxes did not go up this year.  Had Jane Cunningham not won in April, taxes would have been raised and union salaries would have jumped even higher than they are already.”

New PAC Formed

Last week the Joplin Progress Committee was formed. See the Missouri Ethics Commission filing here.

It does not appear to have been formed in response to any specific ballot initiative, so it’ll be interesting to see how it evolves.  The treasurer is Clifford E. Wert, a regional president for US Bank.

Lampe Appointed to Missouri Commission on Human Rights

Former state representative Sara Lampe was appointed to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, which “investigates, conciliates, holds public hearings and litigates complaints of discrimination in housing, employment and places of public accommodations.”

Governor Jay Nixon also appointed Anna E. Crosslin, president and CEO of the International Institute of St. Louis, to the Commission as well.  Both are Democrats.

Help Wanted

House Legislative Assistant

“The House of Representatives is accepting resumes/applications for the position of Legislator Assistant. This is a highly responsible, professional administrative position providing general public information and office support to a Member of the Missouri House of Representatives.”  See ad here.

House Research

“The Missouri House of Representatives is accepting applications for the position of Legislative Analyst-Attorney in the House Research Division. This position is responsible for staffing House committees, analyzing and summarizing legislative proposals, drafting legislation, preparing legal and policy research and assisting Members of the House with lawmaking duties.”  See ad here.

Senate Budget Analyst

“The Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee Staff is seeking qualified candidates for the position of budget analyst. The employee in this position assists in the development of the state budget, serves as primary staff for the Appropriations Committee, and provides budget and program analyses to the committee and to individual members. Analysts are expected to develop a thorough knowledge of state agency budgets and programs.”  See ad here.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Nikki R. Strong deleted City of Woodson Terrace, and City of Edmundson.

Brian Crouse deleted Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Ginger Steinmetz deleted Bluebird Media LLC, and Pollard Banknote Limited.

$5K+Contributions

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $5,001 from J.M. Marschuetz Construction Co.

Missourians for Koster - $10,000 from Ameren Missouri PAC.

Missourians for Koster - $10,000 from Operating Engineers Local 101 Political Action Committee.

Missourians for Koster - $10,000 from RightCHOICE Managed Care.

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst (66), and former Reps. Tom Shively (67) and Terry Young (56).