Monday, June 20, 2011

Monster Tilley Quarter Coming?

Still a week left until the deadline, but the whisper number for Speaker Steve Tilley is growing larger and larger.  Look for $250,000, maybe more, reported this quarter. 


To understand how huge that is, you have to consider two additional factors besides the fact that number will probably only be behind Governor Jay Nixon, Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder and Attorney General Chris Koster


First, he didn’t hit the phones until after session, so it’s a six-week number.  And second, his big fundraiser (July golf tourney) isn’t until after the deadline.



Finding an Opportunity in a Disaster

Former state senator Chuck Graham writes in the Joplin Globe that rebuilding should done with ADA standards.  Graham does consulting for  the Americans with Disabilities Act Center.  Read it Here



What most people don’t know is that there are new 2010 ADA standards for building construction that just became effective March 15 of this year.


In other words, if government buildings, school buildings and public accommodations (i.e., businesses open to the public) build or rebuild, they have to comply or they are open to litigation.


Two years ago the city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, had a major flood and had to rebuild most of its downtown, which FEMA funded. It’s in the FEMA contracts that recipients have to rebuild to ADA standards, but it offered no assistance and advised them to just rebuild it the footprint. Our office, which is not an enforcement agency, offered assistance and was turned down.


The United States Department of Justice has a program in its Civil Rights Division called “Civic Access,” with which it sues communities that have a pattern or practice of ignoring ADA compliance. It is currently suing Cedar Rapids for not complying when it rebuilt.


But I had bigger ideas beyond just complying and avoiding litigation, although that was and is my main concern. I don’t want to see Joplin become the next Cedar Rapids….


There are 8,000 homes gone (of which only those that are government-owned have to be accessible), 800 businesses and several schools, churches (which are also exempt), etc. Because of the volume of destruction, it will take time to plan and rebuild all of these buildings, which creates opportunity.


What if instead of looking at accessibility as something we have to do, what if we looked at it as something we want to do? What if the good people of Joplin said: “We want to become the most accessible city in the country.”


Baby boomers are aging and want to stay in their own homes and not move into nursing homes, and like it or not they will accrue disabilities as they age.


Modifying existing homes is expensive, but building by using “universal design” adds less than half of 1 percent to the cost of construction. You don’t put the grab rail in the bathroom, but you add the two-by-four in the wall so you can add it later if and when you need it….


Joplin has an opportunity to set itself above and beyond any community in the nation for the inclusion of people with disabilities. This can’t be my vision; it has to come from the good people of Joplin…



What Am I Donating To?

Politicos were straining their eyes to see between the lines of Rep. Russ Carnahan’s latest email fundraiser blast… was there a hint of a run at the 1-CD or is that 2-CD coming through? 



“For months, the media speculated on my future in Congress. Redistricting, they said, will make it near impossible to keep my seat serving you. Republicans, they warned, don’t want such a strong, progressive voice to call out against tax breaks for oil companies and against cuts to Medicare…


“And your message was heard clearly: St. Louis needs someone who is going to stand up to big banks and big oil companies, someone who will preserve the promises we made you on Social Security and Medicare.”



Turner Burner

Last week Sen. Jane Cunningham, and Reps. Sue Allen, Scott Dieckhaus, John Diehl, Don Gosen, Andrew Koenig, Cole McNary and Dwight Scharnhorst hosted a “Legislative Town Hall meeting on the Turner Fix” at the Chesterfield City Hall. 


One source says that most of the attendees were from Ladue where the Turner scare is in full force.  The mood was said to be “rougher” than a similar town hall they’d held before.  But as one on-the-ground GOP operative explains – Reps don’t get voted out from bad votes, they get voted out when they don’t communicate and explain why they voted the way they did.



Jefferson-Jackson Bits

The usual crowd was assembled.  Of note: former state representative Vicki Englund still circling for her next race, was present.  And Rep. Tishaura Jones in DC meeting with President Barack Obama, was represent by father Virvus Jones.  AG Chris Koster was missing.  His flight from NY was canceled.  When Party Chair Susan Montee mentioned him, the response was lukewarm.  While State Treasurer Clint Zweifel lapped up a standing O.



SOS Robin Carnahan didn’t erase the question-mark surrounding her 2012 plans, by saying explicitly or implicitly that she was running for re-election. 



Claire Watch:  While a video played of the Wisconsin protest, Sen. Claire McCaskill was one of the folks in the room actually watching the video, while a lot of people continued their side conversations.  But when it came time for Governor Jay Nixon to speak, she was seen fiddling with her iPhone…



No one demonstrates the up and down, in and out nature of the game better than Dem fundraiser / gunslinger Matt Lieberman.  Once on the outs with the Nixon crowd (“Ken Morley must wake up every morning and hit that link ten times…”), Lieberman was doing a victory lap, back on top as the Party’s preeminent money-man.



2nd Congressional Bits

Bold names at Ed Martin’s Trivia Night (among the crowd of hundreds) …  Missouri Club for Growth’s Allen Icet, Sen. Jim Lembke, Reps. Cloria Brown and Marsha Haefner, former Rep. Cynthia Davis, Tea Party standard bearer Bill Hennessey, and former congressional candidate Bill Federer.



It’ll be a smaller crowd, but a larger payload at Sam Fox’s house next week just before the quarter deadline (June 29).  Fox, Steve Brauer and Bert Walker are inviting their chums to meet Ann Wagner and contribute $1,000 to her congressional bid.



And…. rumor is that former GOP Speaker Catherine Hanaway has been lassoed to chair Wagner’s campaign.




From Politico’s Morning Money – a electoral college map with relative unemployment rate.  See it Here.  Their point: unemployment isn’t as bad in swing states in play.  My point: Missouri isn’t considered a swing state like it was four years ago.



Hard to see how House GOP overcomes Governor Jay Nixon’s Voter ID veto.  No Dems defected during session on the vote, and the bill is particularly noxious to the Black Caucus which is where Speaker Steve Tilley was able to find his redistricting override votes.



And Sen. Jane Cunningham’s Superaide Kit Crancer was named one of the 30 under 30 hotshots by the St. Louis Business Journal.



$5k+ Contributions

PFHC Political Action Committee - $14,250 from Patients First Health Care LLC.

Missourians for Koster - $25,000 from Labaton Sucharow LLP.

HealthPAC - $220,000 from MHA Management Services Corp.

Jay Nixon for Missouri - $25,000 from Missouri Drive Fund.




Happy birthday to Sen. Eric Schmitt.  He’s a spry 36 today.  But just back from vacation, he may be feeling a bit older…  You do the math… 14 hours in the car with 3 kids... probably feeling more like 45 right now, I’d say.