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Missouri’s Sex Offender Registry Is Overcrowded

One might think the Missouri Sex Offender Registry would be a useful tool when determining where to buy a house, or let your kid walk to school.  Think again! Legislators tried earlier this year to change the requirements so the registry would have fewer listed and be more helpful to the rest of us:

Currently, Missouri has more than 12,000 people on its sex offender registry. Crimes range from extreme rape cases to consensual sex with minors. The new law could cut as many as 5,000 people in its first year and 1,000 people each year after, according to a fiscal study. 

Rep. Rodney Schad, R-Versailles, argued that public opinion has pushed the registry too far – adding people who are not threats to society – so that it’s no longer effective. (stltoday.com)

ABOVE: Registered sex offenders around Chesterfield’s city hall, blue dots represent work address and red represent home address.

JOPLIN, MO– An effort to change the makeup of the Missouri Sex Offender Registry misses the deadline. House Bill 1700 was approved by state representatives, but failed to come to a vote in the senate. The measure would have created a tiered system for sex offenders. It also would have removed some convictions from the list. Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder says the issue will likely return in the 2013 session. (source)

A person on the registry that had consensual sex with his minor girlfriend contacted me about the need to change Missouri’s law, I was shocked as I researched it. This “Romeo and Juliet” scenario is a common reason for ending up being labeled a sex offender, which greatly hampers employment prospects. Missouri’s age of consent is 17 so consensual sex between a 16 year old female and a 21 year old male is 2nd Degree Rape per Missouri statutes.

I searched for many addresses throughout the region and everywhere blue (work) and home (red) dots appeared. A dot nearby doesn’t mean your loved ones are in danger — the offender could just be someone that didn’t realize he was just a bit too old for his girlfriend — in Missouri. In other states the age of consent might be younger, or older, than Missouri.

You want to know about the Michael Devlin’s, not a young man that got caught with his girlfriend months before she’d have been legal.

— Steve Patterson


Poll: Which Candidate Do You Want To Be Elected The Next U.S. Senator From Missouri?

It’s been a crazy week with national media focusing on comments made by Republican Todd Akin during a local television interview:


Prior to Akin’s comments he held a comfortable lead over incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill. Just weeks earlier Akin won the GOP primary, defeating Sarah Steelman and John Brunner. Despite calls for him to withdraw. Akin decided to remain in the race and his campaign released a new ad asking for forgiveness:


The poll question this week is which of these two candidates do you want to see elected on November 6th. The poll is in the right sidebar.

 — Steve Patterson


Poll on Missouri Proposition B (Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act)

ABOVE: a dog gives Steve Patterson some love at the Lucas Park dog run in April
ABOVE: a dog welcomes Steve Patterson to the Lucas Park dog run in April

Next week voters in Missouri will decide if they want to pass Proposition B:

“Shall Missouri law be amended to:

  • require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, housing and space; necessary veterinary care; regular exercise and adequate rest between breeding cycles;
  • prohibit any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets; and
  • create a misdemeanor crime of “puppy mill cruelty” for any violations?

It is estimated state governmental entities will incur costs of $654,768 (on-going costs of $521,356 and one-time costs of $133,412). Some local governmental entities may experience costs related to enforcement activities and savings related to reduced animal care activities.
Fair Ballot Language:
A “yes” vote will amend Missouri law to require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, housing and space; necessary veterinary care; regular exercise and adequate rest between breeding cycles. The amendment further prohibits any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets. The amendment also creates a misdemeanor crime of “puppy mill cruelty” for any violations.

A “no” vote will not change the current Missouri law regarding dog breeders.

If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.”

The poll this week seeks to get a sense of how readers feel about this issue.

From the pro side:

“Missouri is home to an estimated 3,000 puppy mills, breeding hundreds of thousands of puppies, far more than any other state in the country. Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care, live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction, and are confined inside cramped wire cages for life. Dogs at puppy mills must endure constant breeding cycles. Dogs from puppy mills are sold in pet stores, online and directly to consumers with little to no regard for the dog’s health, genetic history or future welfare.” (source)

From the con side:

“As families in Missouri struggle to make ends meet, radical animal rights activists are using emotional ballot language to push economy crippling legislation. If Prop B were to pass:


While unemployment rates continue to rise, Proposition B will cause more small businesses to go under and put many Missourians out of their jobs.” (Source)

Further reading:

The poll is in the upper right corner of the blog.  The final results will be presented before the vote on Tuesday November 2, 2010.

– Steve Patterson


Today is the first day of some really troubling years ahead

November 3, 2004 Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Today is the first day of some really troubling years ahead

I stayed up way past my bedtime hoping for some good news from the election. With few exceptions, I was disappointed.

I was glad to see St. Louis’ Propositions A-D fail. Not because I don’t want to see some major changes at City Hall (I certainly do) but because I didn’t think those changes were designed for the best interests of the City in the big picture. At this point I don’t think it would matter if we kept 28 Aldermen or had 15 simply due to the fact they don’t seem to have a clue about how a great city is supposed to behave. The physical qualities and amenities that young urbanites seek are so foreign to City Hall the structure of government doesn’t really matter. St. Louis’ government and civic ‘leaders’ are stuck in 1950’s urban renewal thinking.

Granted, we are no longer seeing total destruction of areas for high-rise housing in a field projects. We are seeing total destruction of areas for low quality middle to upper income track housing. It is still massive destruction no matter how you look at it. Facing the new buildings with red brick and some shutters doesn’t make it appropriate. We are still seeing huge breaks for sports teams and major corporations while the corner store serving local residents is of little concern.

The leaders view corporate headquarters of A.G. Edwards as a great continuing investment in downtown while I see it as one of the most anti-urban parts of St. Louis. A suburban ‘campus’ complete with security guards, massive parking and lots of fencing to keep people (aka city life) out. Sure the city can boast of so many construction and permanent jobs as well as receive taxes on the large payroll. But is that what our leaders are seeking? Jobs and payroll taxes? What about creating a city that is so vibrant companies and their workers do whatever it takes to locate within its limits? Instead we create huge ‘dead’ zones of boring housing projects, boring office campuses, plazas and such that drain life from the city and do nothing to encourage A.G. Edwards’ employees from just getting on the highway and heading back to their equally boring suburban homes.

Where was the amendment to change the City’s urban-renewal era 1948 zoning code? Where was the amendment that would bring the people back to our neighborhoods?

Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved Constitutional Amendment 3 which will limit the use of existing fuel taxes to roads & bridges. Currently some of the money collected from fuel taxes goes to the general fund which can be used for other state agencies. Supporters say this will bring an additional $187 million dollars to MODOT by 2009 – money supporters claimed was being “diverted” away from roads. Then they said, and this is the best part, “this amendment has a zero net fiscal impact.” Well, this is quite true since taxes are neither being increased or decreased by the measure. But the last sentence of the proposition addresses the most critical question raised by opponents, “The indirect fiscal impact on state and local governments, if any, is unknown.” If by 2009 an estimated $187 million dollars is removed annually from our general fund it is certain both the state and local governments (and thus citizens) will feel the impact. Some combination of tax increases or budget cuts will have to be implemented to keep our state budget balanced as required by the Missouri Constitution.

But the more disturbing issue is the deliberate exclusion of these funds for mass transit projects. The money is for roads & bridges – not light rail systems. Several reasons exist but the main reason is mass transit systems would typically be for St. Louis and Kansas City. The out-state voters simply wouldn’t approve such a measure or so the thinking goes. Still, I would have liked to have seen some obscure phrasing that would have permitted MODOT from using some of these funds for other means of transportation – not a mandate but just an option. As an aside, I think cities such as Springfield and Columbia could also benefit from becoming less auto-oriented. Frankly, even the smallest of towns are becoming way to auto centric.

What does this have to do with urban matters in St. Louis you ask? More than you might think. In Richard Florida’s book “The Rise of the Creative Class: and how it’s transforming work, leisure, community and everyday life” he remarks on research into areas that are attracting creative and high-tech jobs, “The same places that were popular among gays were also the ones where high-tech industry located.” This is not to say that gays are proportionally in high-tech jobs but that high-tech job growth likes diverse and open places.

Today you can 11 more states to the list of places where gays, myself included, will think twice about living or staying. Maybe this is the strategy of the right-wing zealots? Get all the queers in California and New York so we can raise our families in wholesome environments with likes of Jerry Falwell or Rush Limbaugh. Don’t worry about locking your doors – just your medicine cabinets.

Over twenty years ago when I accepted the fact that I am gay I could not have imagined gay marriage would even be remotely possible in my lifetime. Seriously. It seemed like just trying to keep a job and not getting arrested for sodomy with a partner in the privacy of your own home would be enough of a hurdle to keep questions of marriage at bay. For the record, I’m in no hurry to get married to a guy. I would first need said guy, which I don’t currently have. Nevertheless, now that it is becoming legal in other countries and for the moment in Massachusetts I am thinking the time has come.

Kerry has just conceded the election to President Bush. Fuck! This is bad news for American cities including the City of St. Louis. We will see further division along racial, social and class lines. Sprawl will continue. The republicans promising smaller government will continue to drive the country toward bankruptcy with their big spending on military excess all the while putting our young men and women in harms way. They will now seek to establish a state religion by imposing their beliefs on gays, abortion and stem cell research. Millions of our tax dollars will be wasted on the drug war without any understanding of the underlying social issues that drive the drug trades. Legalizing pot would do more to solve the drug problem than the drug war ever will.

Indirectly, the right-wing has the “activist judges” judges in Massachusetts to thank for Bush’s reelection. The zealots reacting to some fear the entire world will turn gay had sufficient time to mobilize their troops. The sights of gay marriages in Boston and San Francisco prompted a huge backlash that gave Bush the edge needed to win over Kerry. All else being equal, had the gay marriage issue not come up during the election the outcome would have likely been different. I’m not saying the ACLU and others should not have pursued these legal avenues. Clearly, the timing was off.

CNN commentators are correctly observing new Bush appointments to the Supreme Court will have an effect over the next forty years. This must be the most depressing part of the election as my rights as a gay American and the women’s right to control her own body will be questioned. The zealots won’t question these “activist” judges.
Hypocritical fuckers. A state religion is being established.

Yes, it may not matter. We’ve got zealots here and zealots in the middle east. Their methods are different but the results will be similar. Bin Laden wants to bankrupt America and he will continue to “bait” the Bush administration to achieve his goal. America will continue wasting time and money policing the world and my bedroom rather than building on our strengths. Suburban sprawl and road building will continue largely unchecked.

The Bush administration will push for expanded oil & gas drilling in Alaska. They know this is not going to keep us in cheap fuel for decades to come but only to postpone the inevitable of high fuel costs that will wreck our fragile economy. But will it work? I’m afraid not. Any production from Alaska will be too little too late.

The world is quickly approaching peak oil production. Some experts estimate we will peak in the next 3-5 years. I’m not saying we’ll run out of oil in the world – we are not. What is predicted is a slow & steady decrease in maximum production while demand remains constant or increasing. This will cause increases in fuel costs including possible sudden spikes. Increases in fuel costs will increase shipping costs which will increase products and services. We cannot see fuel costs increase without effects on the world economy. in short, we will see a depression on the scale of the Great Depression from the early 20th century.

These same experts say a Kerry victory would have had very little, if any, impact on this doom & gloom expectation. American society loves our cheap gas, big SUVs and far flung suburban ranch houses separated from schools, shopping, entertainment and workplaces. This car culture is unstoppable until shocked into change.

I’m not going to elaborate on all the details of peak oil. Instead I will leave you with a reading list:

• The End of Suburbia (site for a great documentary film on the subject of peak oil)
• Post Carbon Institute: learning to live in a new energy world

Each of the above sites give you additional links and suggested reading. This is a serious matter that will have a profound affect on our cities, regions, country and world. The sitting President and Congress when this mess unfolds will be punished by voters. This could mean a major change in 2008.