Monday, February 13, 2012

Barnes’ Committee to Report on Mamtek

Rep. Jay Barnes’ Special Standing Committee on Government Oversight and Accountabilty will release their “Mamtek Report” today.


The report will likely draw several conclusions, but refrain from endorsing any specific legislation.  However look for bills to be filed to address each of the “conclusions.”  This committee is expected to hear each of these bills going forward.


One source says that acceptance of the report will likely be unanimous or very close to unanimous.


Mamtek Report Conclusions

Information Sharing – The report will suggest that the Department of Economic Development and local development officials be required to fully share their information.  The report tells of points where DED indicated some tentativeness about Mamtek. But without sharing all the information they had, it wasn’t enough to avert the eventual debacle.


Department Culture – The report will question whether DED employees felt pressure to push on with projects even when they have doubts, and call for a “duty to dissent” when they find troubling information.


Due Diligence – The report will suggest that DED’s procedure for conducting due diligence is not rigorous enough.  It will offer several standards – third-party verification of financials, background check of key individuals etc.


Duties of Third-Party Professionals – The report will likely show the conduct of third-party professionals was basically unprofessional and that their testimony was “less than credible.”  Possible remedies include requiring codifying that third-party professionals ascertain the viability of the project and/or require insurance for municipal bond projects.


Conflict of Interest – The report will show that Armstrong Teasdale represented the bond underwriter and also employed DED’s China consultant.  Look for some calls for legislation to avoid such potential conflicts of interests.


Spend Money to Do Real Due Diligence – The DED director testified that DED contracts do not include provisions allowing the recovery of travel costs.  That will be addressed.


DED Should Make Moberly a Top Priority – After this debacle, the report will say that DED focus on making Moberly a “top priority” of its efforts.


Clarify DED’s Due Diligence Process to Local Communities – The report will recommend that DED explicitly tell local communities their due diligence process so as not to mislead communities about the actual viability of a project when they send out a request for proposals.


Speed and Lack of Public Notice Are Enemies of Due Diligence – Noting the speed with which the Mamtek bonds were issued, the report will suggest that time standards be adopted or sunshine laws be amended to create more time in the process, and allow further review.



The Entitlement Map

From the New York Times, check out this pretty fascinating “entitlement map” of America.  You can zoom into Missouri.  There’s something for everyone here.


Republican will note – through the nifty time feature – that the Untied States population has grown ever more “dependent” on the exploding entitlement programs of food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.


Democrats will point out that many of the places enjoying the highest transfer payments are the same ones that pretend at the ballot box to deplore big government.


For example in Missouri, it’s several reliably Republican rural areas that benefit disproportionally from these government programs.


Hickory County leads the state.  Over 46% of that county’s income comes from government transfer payments.  Benton, Carter, Dunklin, Ozark, Oregon, Ripley, Reynolds, Wayne, and Wright Counties all land in the highest category as well, with over 40% of their counties’ income derived from government entitlement payments.


The liberal coasts of St. Louis City (25.6%), Jackson County (18.9%) and St. Louis County (13.6%) register at levels much lower.



The Rex Files

Last week when I mentioned Rex Sinquefield’s address at Lindenwood University, I didn’t bury the lede.  I missed it entirely.  I focused on the possible delay in their ballot initiative, missing entirely the KKK-public schools controversy.


But it was picked up everywhere else:

Tribune: Sinquefield calls public schools a Ku Klux Klan conspiracy

Star: Rex Sinquefield draws sharp rebuke from Missouri teachers union

KMOX: Rex Sinquefield’s KKK Comments Draw Ire of Educators

PoliticMO: Teachers group blasts Sinquefield education comments

Post-Dispatch: Rex Sinquefield apologizes for quote linking KKK, public schools

RFT: Sinquefield Under Attack for Comment Tying Public Schools to KKK



Obviously the political fall-out – despite Sinquefield’s speedy apology – is to harden the opposition to the Sinquefield agenda and alienate independent-minded forces.


But beneath the gaffe, there’s a serious challenge for Sinquefield and the “reform” movement.  They have to abandon their easy thinking and adopt a more nuanced view of the world.  Mentioning the KKK created a lightning rod, but the underlying belief that the public school system is a failure lies at the heart of the disagreement.


Critics of its failures must also acknowledge its successes.  Supporters of the public system are not all the villains they imagine – shills of the entrenched interests of the teachers’ union.  Most in fact rel believers that the public education system has achieved amazing results during the past century.


While it has clearly failed in specific times and places, the wholesale attack embodied in the KKK imagery demonstrates an unwillingness to accept the system has worked fine without the heralded “competition” in most places during most of history.



Who is Jeff Roe?

The Independent Platt runs an entertaining Q&A with warlord Jeff RoeRead it Here.


Pull Quote on Helping the Zoo Tax: “I’m from a very small town. Kansas City was a big town, growing up. I’ve lived in St. Louis, Washington D.C., and I love Kansas City, I really do. So there’s a part of me that wants to play a role locally in the promotion of Kansas City. I’m not going to be the guy that takes every pro-tax campaign just because I wanna have a penguin that I brought to town. But if it makes sense for this city and it makes sense as something that we want to be a part of, we’ll take some of those. I’ve been all over the place, I’ve lived all over the place. And I really do love this place.”






$5K+ Contributions

Slay for Mayor - $10,000 from Sam Fox.

Missourians for Ed Martin - $6,000 from Drury Development.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $5,000 from BNSF Railway Company.

Clint Zweifel for Missouri - $5,000 from UAW Region 5 PAC.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $5,000 from Dealers Interested in Government.




Happy birthday to Missouri Journal’s Brian Hook (41).