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Charter Amendments On General Election Ballot

March 27, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Charter Amendments On General Election Ballot

A week from tomorrow is the general election in St. Louis.  I already posted about the School Board & Junior College Board races. We all know about the mayor’s race, and some of us live in a ward electing an alderman to a 4-year term. All of us have the following six items on our ballot:

PROPOSITION A AMENDMENT TO THE CITY CHARTER (Proposed by Initiative Petition)

A proposed ordinance submitting to the registered voters of the City of St. Louis an amendment to Article XV of the City Charter repealing Sections 4 and 5 and enacting in lieu thereof four new sections, Sections 4, 4a, 4b and 5, the purpose of which is to abolish the Office of Recorder of Deeds and consolidate the functions of that office with that of the Assessor, and place any realized cost savings in a special fund known as “the police body-worn camera fund” dedicated to the purchase and use of police body-worn cameras by the city Metropolitan Police Department subject to appropriation from the fund by the Board of Aldermen for the express purpose of the fund (the full text of which is available at all polling places).

PROPOSITION B AMENDMENT TO THE CITY CHARTER (Proposed by Initiative Petition)

A proposed ordinance submitting to the registered voters of the City of St. Louis an amendment to Article II of the City Charter repealing Sections 1, 2 and 3 and enacting in lieu thereof four new Sections 1, 1(a), 2 and 3, the purpose of which is to move the Primary Municipal Election date from March to August and the General Municipal Election date from April to November in even-numbered years, commencing in 2020 and continuing every two years thereafter, and providing for a transition to accomplish those changes (the full text of which is available at all polling places).

PROPOSITION C AMENDMENT TO THE CITY CHARTER (Proposed by Ordinance)

Shall Section 4 of Article XVIII of the Charter of the City of St. Louis be amended to add paragraph (f), which provides for the enactment of an ordinance establishing a residents’ preference to residents of the City of St. Louis upon successfully passing a civil service examination for civil service positions with the City?

Section 4. Ordinances to be enacted – The mayor and aldermen shall provide, by ordinance: (f) City Residents’ Preference. For a preference to be granted to residents of the City of St. Louis who successfully pass an examination for a civil service position.

PROPOSITION 1 (Proposed by Ordinance)

Shall the City of St. Louis impose a sales tax at a rate of one half of one percent for economic development purposes including (1) North/South Metrolink, (2) neighborhood revitalization, (3) workforce development; (4) public safety, and (5) to upgrade the city’s infrastructure, with annual public audits?

PROPOSITION 2 (Proposed by Ordinance)

Shall the use tax paid by businesses on out-of-state purchases and derived from the one half of one percent increased use tax, which corresponds to approval and levy of an Economic Development Sales Tax in the City of St. Louis, be used for the purposes of minority job training and business development programs, and a portion of construction costs, but not construction cost overruns, of a multipurpose stadium for soccer, local amateur sports, concerts and community events? A use tax is the equivalent of a sales tax on purchases from out-of-state sellers by in-state buyers and on certain taxable business transactions for which a sales tax is not levied. No taxpayer is subject to a sales tax and a use tax on the same transaction. The City shall be required to make available to the public an audited comprehensive financial report detailing the management and use of the portion of the funds each year.

PROPOSITION NS BOND ISSUE ORDINANCE (Proposed by Initiative Petition)

A proposition submitting to the registered voters of the City of St. Louis a proposed Ordinance authorizing and directing the issuance of general obligation bonds of The City of St. Louis, Missouri, not to exceed $40,000,000 principal amount in aggregate (of which no more than $6,000,000 in principal amount shall be issued annually) for the purpose of stabilizing, as limited by the Ordinance, residential properties owned by public entities, as described in the Ordinance, and authorizing the execution of an agreement relating to the expenditure of the sale proceeds of such bonds (the full text of which is available at all polling places).

I agree with the St. Louis American — no on A & B, yes on C.  Still reading pros & cons on the last three.

 

— Steve Patterson

 

April 4th Ballot: School Board & Junior College Board

March 24, 2017 Education, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on April 4th Ballot: School Board & Junior College Board

In a little over a week St. Louis voters will return to the polls for the general election — mostly a rubber-stamp of the Democratic nominees selected earlier this month. In addition to propositions that I’ll cover next week, there are two often overlooked nonpartisan races on our ballot (sample): local school board & junior college trustee.

The school board hasn’t been critical for a decade, but that may soon change since the district regained state accreditation:

Many in the education scene are closely watching this particular school board election because the St. Louis elected school board, which has sat by for about a decade with no powers, could regain governance control of the district in the near future.

The elected board was replaced by a three-member appointed board in 2007 after the district lost accreditation. Some expect a transition back to the elected board will happen soon, now that the district proved it’s improving when it was fully accredited by the state last week.

Several education leaders do not wish to part quickly with the appointed board, which has been credited with returning the district to stable ground in terms of leadership, finances and academics. But others argue the district, on democratic principle, needs to be governed locally by an elected board. (Post-Dispatch)

FOR MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION (FOUR-YEAR TERM — VOTE FOR THREE)

  • BILL MONROE
  • NATALIE VOWELL
  • DAVID LEE JACKSON
  • DOROTHY ROHDE-COLLINS
  • BRIAN P. WALLNER
  • JAMES IRA REECE
  • SUSAN R. JONES

For more information on the 2017 school board election see Ballotpedia.

St. Louis Community College at Forest Park

There are three candidates for one seat representing much the city on the regional body overseeing the St. Louis Community College system:

Three candidates have filed for the Subdistrict 2 seat. Incumbent Hattie R. Jackson will not seek re-election. The candidates are Pam Ross, Patrick J. Burke and Ciera Lenette Simril. (STLCC)

FOR TRUSTEE FOR SUBDISTRICT 2 OF THE JUNIOR COLLEGE DISTRICT OF ST. LOUIS – ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI (ST. LOUIS COMMUNITY COLLEGE) (SIX-YEAR TERM — VOTE FOR ONE)

  • PAM ROSS
  • CIERA L. SIMRIL
  • PATRICK J. BURKE

Please take the time to research the candidates in the two races before voting in the April 4th general election.

— Steve Patterson

 

Some Local Media Confused On Write-In vs Independent Candidacy

March 17, 2017 Featured, Media, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Some Local Media Confused On Write-In vs Independent Candidacy
Vintage photo of the former offices of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners. From my collection

Late last week new state rep Bruce Franks Jr. was considering a run for mayor as a write-in candidate, but half a day later he decided not to leave the 78th district that elected him to replace Penny Hubbard.

Today’s post isn’t about Franks or the mayoral race — it’s about write-in vs independent candidates. Some local media understands the difference, some do not.  Below are three reports when Franks was considering a write-in campaign:

Post-Dispatch:

Under state law, Franks has to sign a declaration of intent and deliver it the Board of Election Commissioners by March 24 to become certified as a write-in candidate. 

Fox2:

Earlier Thursday afternoon, Franks sent a tweet posing a simple question: has St. Louis elected a write-in candidate as mayor?

Franks has until March 24 to obtain the necessary signatures, sign a declaration of intent, and deliver them to the Board of Election Commissioners to appear on the ballot.

And KMOV:

In order for Franks to be on the April 4 ballot, state law requires franks get necessary signatures, sign a declaration of intent and deliver them to the Board of Election Commissioners by March 24. 

The last two mention required signatures but the first doesn’t. All three mention a declaration of intent. So what’s the deal? Let’s start with Fox2’s last sentence:  “Franks has until March 24 to obtain the necessary signatures, sign a declaration of intent, and deliver them to the Board of Election Commissioners to appear on the ballot.” (Emphasis added)

Yes, signatures are required if a candidate wants to appear on a general election ballot as an independent (non-party) candidate. A write-in candidate, however, is trying to get voters to write-in their name because they’re not on the ballot.

I shouldn’t be surprised some media didn’t get this right, the St. Louis Board of Elections page How To File For Office fails to explain th three types of candidacy: political party, independent, and write-in.  The Missouri Secretary of State website does a much better job of explaining this to candidates:

Primary Election August 7, 2018
The 2018 primary will be held on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 (the 1st Tuesday after the 1st Monday in August for even numbered years, Section 115.121.2, RSMo.). The filing period for candidates for the August 2018 primary election is from February 27, 2018 and ends at 5:00 p.m. on March 27, 2018. (Section 115.349, RSMo.) Individuals voting in the primary election may select a party ballot of his or her choice. 

Voters who do not wish to select a party ballot may request a ballot containing other issues, if their jurisdiction’s ballot contains issues.

The five established parties in Missouri are: Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, Green, and Constitution.

 

Independent Candidates
Deadline for submitting petitions for independent candidate nominations for the November 6, 2018 election: 5:00 p.m. July 30, 2018 (Section 115.329.1, RSMo.)

 

Write-in Candidates
Deadline for submitting a write-in candidate declaration of intent for the November 6, 2018 election: 5:00 p.m. October 26, 2018 (Section 115.453(4), RSMo.)

A write-in candidate is a person whose name is not printed on the ballot (Section 115.453(4-6), RSMo.) and who has filed a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate for election to office with the proper election authority prior to 5:00 p.m. on October 26, 2018 (Section 115.453(4), RSMo.) It is not necessary to file a declaration of intent if there are no candidates on the ballot for that office (Section 115.453(4), RSMo.)

 

Establishing a New Party
The deadline for submitting petitions for new parties and candidate nominations for the November 6, 2018 election is 5:00 p.m. on July 30, 2018 (Section 115.329.1, RSMo.) Please contact the Elections Division for more information at 573-751-2301 or email at [email protected]

Locally officials don’t want the public to know how to run, but the April 4th ballot includes 6 candidates for mayor.  Writing in a name for someone not officially declared as an independent candidate doesn’t count — even if that name got the most votes.

— Steve Patterson

 

Moral Crusader George Peach Charged In Prostitution Sting A Quarter Century Ago

March 13, 2017 Crime, Featured, History/Preservation, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Moral Crusader George Peach Charged In Prostitution Sting A Quarter Century Ago

The following is a slightly updated version of a post I did 5 years ago…

A year and a half after I moved to St. Louis a huge scandal broke — 25 years ago today:

The chief state prosecutor for the city of St. Louis, who has spent most of his 15 years in office crusading against obscenity, pornography and prostitution, was charged today with a misdemeanor offense of patronizing a prostitute.

[snip]

Since being elected as circuit attorney in 1976, Mr. Peach has led a fight to rid St. Louis of pornography and prostitution. In the 1980’s he was responsible for closing the city’s major pornographic book and video stores. Last June, he endorsed changes in city ordinances that would make jail mandatory for prostitutes, pimps and customers who are second-time offenders. (New York Times)

Peach was busted three days earlier, on Tuesday March 10, 1992,  in a hotel in St. Louis County. In the days immediately following his arrest on the misdemeanor charge local officials were debating if he should resign or run for a 5th term as prosecutor.

ABOVE: AP story from 3/15/92, click to view article

A January 2004 story in the Post-Dispatch recounts many the sorted details including more criminal activity:

In an eight-month Post-Dispatch investigation in 1992, reporters disclosed that Peach financed his extracurricular activities with cash from a confidential city checking account he controlled. He also took money from a fund set up to aid crime victims. (Link no longer available)

A number of years ago an independent hollywood company began raising money to produce a film about Peach’s downfall, myself and many others donated money to help get the film made:

Heart of the Beholder is a 2005 drama film that was written and directed by Ken Tipton. It is based on Tipton’s own experience as the owner of a chain of videocassette rental stores in the 1980s. Tipton and his family had opened the first videocassette rental stores in St. Louis in 1980. Their business was largely destroyed by a campaign of the National Federation for Decency, who objected to the chain’s carrying the film The Last Temptation of Christ for rental.

The film won “Best Feature Film” awards at several film festivals. Critic Ryan Cracknell summarized the film, “There’s no shortage of material for writer-director Ken Tipton to work with here. That alone makes Heart of the Beholder a film of interest. It is in many ways a politically charged film as it touches on issues of freedom of speech, religious beliefs and all out fanaticism. Still, I didn’t think it was charged with enough balance and I think a large part had to do with the film’s inconsistent pacing.” (Wikipedia)

As one of thousands of uncredited producers I got the film on DVD, but here’s the trailer:

You can watch the entire film online, view chapter 1, do not watch at work! The film is also available on Netflix.

I recall a video store on the south side of Olive between Compton & Grand, now part of Saint Louis University’s campus, that closed in the early 90s. I only visited the store once, not sure if it was one of Ken Tipton’s Video Library stores or not.

– Steve Patterson

 

Status Quo Affirmed In Recent Primary

March 10, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Status Quo Affirmed In Recent Primary

St. Louis resists change, and with a few notable exceptions, the status quo was affirmed in Tuesday’s primary election. It’ll get rubber stamped in the formality known as the April 4th general election.

Despite St. Louis being overwhelmingly Democratic, we hold partisan primaries followed a month later by a general election that’s a complete farce. Why? Because voters wouldn’t know how to vote otherwise…or so I’ve been told. None of the people I voted for won, however, if I were a gambler I could have easily predicted the winners in most races.

MAYOR:

I like Lyda Krewson personally. She was the only mayoral candidate to ask me for my vote. A few days before the election I saw her at an event and she asked it I had endorsed anyone. “No”, I said. Krewson asked if she’d get my vote Tuesday, but I told her I already voted absentee. Her next question is obvious, did I vote for her?  “No”, I said again.

In the 7-way race Krewson was the winner with only 32.04% of the vote. That means a majority of voters wanted someone else to occupy room 200. This is why I said before the primary that St, Louis needs Ranked-Choice Voting. The final outcome may have been the same — or it may have been different — just depends on how voters ranked their 2nd & 3rd choices. Given how close Tishaura Jones was the result may have been different.

The general election on April 4th will be a 4-way race. Republican Andrew Jones, Libertarian Robb Cunningham, and Green Jonathan McFarland will lose to Democrat Lyda Krewson.

COMPTROLLER:

I like Darlene Green well enough, but there’s no Rolex watch for longevity in office. Darlene Green will decimate the Green party candidate in the general.

ALDERMAN:

This year was the odd-numbered wards — plus the 16th to fill a vacancy after Donna Baringer was elected to the state house in November.

Ward 1: Sharon Tyus was reelected in a 3-way race with 44.25% of the vote — most voters wanted someone else.

Ward 3: Brandon Bosley won the race usually occupied by his father. But 29.33% of the vote in the 6-way race shows a majority voted for someone else.

Ward 5: Disappointingly, Tamika Hubbard was reelected. Like other races, a majority of voters picked one of the other 5 candidates in the race. Hubbard got 43.23% of the vote.

Ward 7: The Democratic & Green primary candidates were unopposed, Democrat incumbent Jack Coatar will win April 4th.

Ward 9: This was the one big upset of the primary. Longtime incumbent Ken Ortmann was handily defeated by Dan Guenther. Ortmann for years refused to use email to communicate…relying on phone calls or face to face. Good riddance. Guenther got 64.2% to Ortmann’s 35.8%. Guenther will face Green candidate Katie Gore in the general. Gore was unopposed in the primary — she got ONE vote! This is why partisan primaries for local office are a waste of time & money — money that could be spent actually making our city better.

Ward 11: For the first time in years the 11th ward alderman will not be named Villa — because no Villa ran.   Sarah Martin, endorsed by Tom Villa, easily defeated her two challengers with 65.52%. The Green candidate got 3 votes in her unopposed primary race.

Ward 13: Incumbent Beth Murphy was unopposed in her primary, as was the Green candidate. The latter received 4 votes.

Ward 15: Voters overwhelmingly rejected Jennifer Florida’s bid to once again represent them in city hall. Megan Green got 66.1% of the votes in the 2-way race. Florida resigned a few years ago when appointed to finish the term as Recorder of Deeds, but she lost the election for a new term.

Ward 16 (Special election): Ald Donna Baringer was elected to the state house to replace termed-out Michele Kratky. Kratky then ran for the aldermanic seat vacated by Baringer — but Thomas Oldenburg defeated her. Republican Abigail Niebling faces an uphill battle in April even in the conservative 16th ward.

Ward 17: Joe Roddy won yet another 4-year term by defeating one primary challenger, he is unopposed in the general.

Ward 19: Sadly, Marlene Davis defeated her primary challenger. with 70.09% of the vote, she is unopposed in the general. Status quo maintained.

Ward 21: With Ald Antonio French in the mayor’s race, this became an open seat. John Muhammad won the 3-way race with 44.66%, 2nd place was close with 42.83%.  Muhammad is unopposed in the general.

Ward 23: Vacarro wasn’t challenged, is unopposed in the general.

Ward 25: Cohn wasn’t challenged, is unopposed in the general.

Ward 27: Ald Chris Carter didn’t seek another term. Another Carter ran in the 3-way race, but Pam Boyd won with 48.01%.

PROPOSITION S:

The $5,000 annual fee for short-term (aka Payday) loans was passed citywide but the vote was split along race/geography.

  • Wards that voted no: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 18, 19, 21, 22, 27
  • Wards that voted yes: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28

The 26th ward was the only ward mostly North of Delmar to vote yes — by just 32 votes. This says to me many are unaware of cheaper alternatives such as this and this.

 

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