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Welcome to the 6th Ward Circus

December 18, 2006 Events/Meetings, Politics/Policy 14 Comments

Tonight I had dinner at the lovely Pestalozzi Place restaurant, conveniently at the same time the executive committee of the 6th Ward Democracts were having a dinner meeting. At issue were a large number of new members that Kacie Starr Triplett brought to the organization. The executive committee, including opponent Patrick Cacchione, have suggested something is not right and wants most if not all the new members banned from voting at the endorsement meeting next month.  Triplett has a brief comment on her campaign website.
I have to say, if Kacie Starr Triplett thought she had a chance at getting the ward endorsement over the committeeman, Patrick Cacchione, she was kidding herself. Yes, she is on the executive committee but not as the committeewoman. You see Kacie, this is St. Louis and here we dutifully wait our turn. Your hard work and dedication has been noted and that is why you were given a leadership position but it is the committeewoman and committeeman that are the next in line to become Alderman. Once the committeewoman decides she no longer wants the position you coudl have been considered so that you’d be next up. Basically Kacie, you are being insubordinate for stepping out of line — shame on you. But at least you are not as rude as that Christian Saller guy — he just blows off the ward stuff altogether.

This is not, I don’t think, about race. I don’t believe that Cacchione or the others have a problem with a large number of black members joining the group — they have a problem with a large number of people of any race joining the group with the intention of supporting Kacie Starr Triplett at the endorsement meeting in January.

And all you voters out there who think you actually get to decide the election in March don’t kid yourselves either. Here we have two out of the three candidates packing a partisan ward committee with new members so they’ll be the endorsed candidate by that committee. Does this make any sense? Why not just have non-partisan elections and let the voters in that ward weigh the pros and cons of each candidate and make a decision? Why must we go through this whole circus of holding a committee-level election simply to hold a ward-level election?

Christian Saller is the smart one of the three in all of this, staying clear of this party in-fighting. No wonder our city has declined to the point it has over the last 50 years, when our leaders are not passing legislation to add or remove a stop sign they are spending time debating by-laws relative to how to pack a ward committee for an endorsement. Give me a break…


Currently there are "14 comments" on this Article:

  1. Jim Zavist says:

    cynical but scary . . .

  2. progress this says:

    For anyone who thinks his or her contact at the board of aldemen is a progressive, have them read this post, and then realize they are all beholden to the machine.

  3. MH says:

    How much power does this “committee” actually have? Where is a break-down or a chart showing the levels of city government where this “committee” falls? I feel that I am much more involved in city and neighborhood issues than most residents, and I am much more involved in local development than a majority of people in my neighborhood, but when I hear about these kind of meetings (that aren’t really public) it makes me feel clueless as to whether my vote is really that powerful. How does this “board” speak for residents of the ward when I never even knew it existed? And I am active in the neighborhood organization.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — How much power?  Well, that depends on who you ask.  When I ran for alderman in the 25th I’d see voters on election day and they’d say, “I’m voting for the Democrat” which is really a silly statement given that is was the primary and not general election.  I’d reply, “We are both Democrats,” to which the person would have a strange look on their face.  They’d take the “sample” ballot prepared by the ward organization and vote as instructed.  So, depending upon how many sheep go to the polls on election day is how much power they have.]

  4. Lets form a committee to discuss the utility of the committee, thats what I say! Really, the idea of predetermining who gets to be on the ballot is ridiculous. When some wards get 300 votes, why go to a committee for approval? Go door to door and talk to the voters thereby ignoring the damn committee. Party affiliations will not effect how well the ward operates or is able to develop.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — one point of clarification, all candidates that file are on the ballot.  But each ward produces a “sample ballot” to tell the clueless voters whom to vote for.  You control the ward endorsement, you control the sheep.  Nice system we have huh?]

  5. progress this says:

    Neighborhood organizations are below ward organizations on the food chain.

    Ponder that one for a minute…

  6. Some wards (like the 15th with two competing Ward Organizations) actually produce TWO sample ballots. Since the inception of the “open” type ward organization, where the membership votes on endorsements, it has been more successful at predicting/promoting its candidates.

    Ward organizations serve as the republican’s and democrat’s smallest “grassroots” organization in the City. I believe an effective ward organization should be designed to GOTV in national and statewide general elections. I am less convinced that they should consider themselves big players in local elections, where party affiliation matters much less in policy and service delivery.

    The petty ward infighting is base and degrading and a time when our candidates should be spending their time debating issues and policies.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Agreed, a good grassroots group for state and national issues is fine but these organizations have been the backbone of local machine politics for decades.]

  7. josh wiese says:

    So if I’m to understand this right the power comnes from a sample ballot that the ward organization will be handing out at the polls on election day? what about volunteers and money for the candidate? Thats the real value- money and manpower.

    If more candidates ignore the ward organizations and actually win without there endorsement THEN you will start to see the tide change as far as the relevance of the ward organizations. Otherwise you join your wards organization, stock it full of supporters and win the endorsement by having more supporters than the other candidate. My guess with the 6th ward is that they dont have something specific in their by laws regarding voting eligibility- e.g. can you vote the night that you join? do you have to attend a few meetings prior? etc.. that leaves it grey enough to stock it full of supporters and win the endorsement.

    I dont know if most neighborhood organizations endorse or not but for our group, Clifton Heights Neighborhood Association, I try and bring in the candidates so that our members have a chance to hear the candidates speak about the issues and get to meet them one on one.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Yes, money has been an issue in the past as the ward group could uses its funds to help their selected candidate.  However, with the end of contribution limits as this coming January 1st, that will likely change.  In my race in the 25th it was the ward organization that had extra cash to help Kirner outspend me 5-1 but I had the manpower from volunteers working at the grassroots level.  Of course, I did not win but I think that was more a time issue than anything else.  

    In the 25th they did have some good bylaws. That is, you had to attend 3 meetings before you could vote — being allowed to vote on your third meeting.  As such, anyone seeking to increase the membership in their favor had to do so in advance and make sure the people showed up.  When I ran it was impossible for me to try to stack the membership roles as I filed for the race just two months before the election.]

  8. Craig says:

    Pestalozzi Place has a long way to go before it’s a decent restaurant. But, the wine is cheap there. You can drink all night and maybe forget about how mediocre the food is.

  9. James says:

    To continue the tangent…

    Craig, I wonder how many times you’ve been to Pstalozzi place. I live pretty close and have been there a number of times. Like any new restaurant, they seem to be having some consistancy problems. Of the times I’ve been (probably 8 to 10 total) there has been definitely one, maybe 2 times where the food was sub par. Bad enough that I wasn’t too excited by the prospect of going back. But, at later visits, I must agree with Steve. It is a lovely place and the food can be excellent.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Service can be spotty although I’ve always had good luck with the food.  The space is quite nice and the location is convenient.]

  10. Scott K says:

    Pestalozzi Place is a nice place – to relax with friends. The owners are nice people. Try again, maybe just a bad night.

  11. Craig says:

    Pestalozzi Place is charming in appearance. The owner was extremely kind. The prices on food and drink can’t be beat. It’s a new restaurant, so it certainly deserves some time. If it can get the consistency of the food and service down, it will be one of the great dining bargains in the region.

  12. Jim Zavist says:

    PP – tried once several months ago, place was ¾-empty, but was told with no reservation, the only place to sit was at the bar – left and haven’t been back . . . new or not, you only get one chance to make a good first impression!

  13. Tony says:

    This happened to me to. Went inside with 2 friends to have a drink (while waiting for another friend who lives down the block to get home for MNF).

    After ordering and being served our drinks in the dining room, we were told that we had to move to the bar unless we want to dine- it was their “busiest night of the week”, you see.

    The place was still half empty when we finished our (mediocre) hummus 30 minutes later. I will not be returning there. If you’re going to run your business like that, you don’t deserve my money.

  14. MH says:

    This thread went from something VERY important to something almost irrelevant. It’s a new restaurant and a great place to eat and socialize with friends. I have done so many times and never had a bad experience.


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