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Readers Not OK With Legislators Introducing “Bait” Bills

March 27, 2019 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Readers Not OK With Legislators Introducing “Bait” Bills
Missouri Capital, Jefferson City, MO, April 2011

When I first read about a Missouri legislator’s bills requiring gun ownership I quickly became upset. I became more upset when I read he’d introduced them to “bait the left.” Then I remembered applauding when I heard about a bill in Georgia:

HB 604 would amend Chapter 1 of Title 35 of the Official Code of Georgia so that “any male 55 years of age or older shall immediately report to the county sheriff or local law enforcement agency when such male releases sperm from his testicles.”

The bill was sponsored by five female Democratic representatives, including Rep. Dar’Shun Kendrick (D-Lithonia). 

Kendrick made waves online after she tweeted she intended to introduce a “testicular bill of rights” that would seek to regulate male sex organs. It was in response to the House’s passage of HB 481, dubbed the “heartbeat abortion bill,” that would ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected – usually at around 6 weeks. (WCNC)

Most likely this is a case of people object to such bills when they’re opposed to the point being made. Although the Georgia bill is in response to other legislation that had passed, that’s not the case with the Missouri bills.

Here are the non-scientific results of the recent Sunday Poll:

Agree or disagree: I’m OK with legislators introducing bills simply to “bait” those with opposing views.

  • Strongly agree: 1 [3.57%]
  • Agree: 2 [7.14%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [3.57%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 2 [7.14%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 2 [7.14%]
  • Disagree: 5 [17.86%]
  • Strongly disagree: 15 [53.57%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

— Steve Patterson


Sunday Poll: OK With Legislators Introducing Bills To Make A Point

March 24, 2019 Crime, Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: OK With Legislators Introducing Bills To Make A Point
Please vote below

A Missouri legislator, Andrew McDaniel,  recently made national news. Prior to the recent shooting in Christchurch New Zealand he’d introduced two bills in the Missouri house:

35 year-old Andrew McDaniel, a state representative from southeast Missouri, has received global attention for a bill he’s introduced called the “McDaniel Militia Act” that would require every person in the state between the ages of 18 and 35 to own an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

He also has a second measure, the “McDaniel Second Amendment Act”, that would require everyone over the age of 21 to own a handgun. (Source)

After the NZ shooting McDaniel’s bills got lots of attention.

McDaniel was forced to clarify that he didn’t — technically speaking — support his own bills, at least not as written.

He wants the tax credits for firearms purchases, but that part about requiring everyone to own a gun? It was a tactic to try to bait the left.

“I wanted the media and the other side to jump on it, to show that our Second Amendment rights are under attack,” McDaniel said. “I don’t actually support mandates, hardly ever.”

But he didn’t expect the national media to get involved, a development that has cast a harsh light on his efforts, he said, because of the timing of the mosque attacks in New Zealand. (Washington Post)

So today’s poll is NOT about his bills, it’s about introducing bills that have zero chance of passing…using them to bait others.

Today’s poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson


Researching for the General Election April 2, 2019

March 22, 2019 Education, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Researching for the General Election April 2, 2019

I’m preparing to mail in my absentee ballot for next month’s general election. Yes, another election. Remember, last month was just so the various political parties could select their nominee. Next month nominees will face each other in the general.

At least they would if we didn’t live in a one party city.

It continues to be foolish why continue having a partisan primary followed by an even lower turnout general election.   The democratic nominees for president of the board of aldermen and the 14 even-numbered wards will all win, only a few have any marginal challenge.

But on the upcoming ballot is two open school board seats, one junior college trustee seat, and a proposition. See sample ballot.

St. Louis Public Schools headquarters, 801 N 11th


Seven candidates for two school board seats:


This election is more important than many prior school board elections.

Seven candidates are running for the St. Louis Board of Education next month. It’s very likely those elected to the board on April 2 will be handed back power over St. Louis Public Schools later this year. After nearly 12 years of state control, the state school board is expected to vote to reinstate the elected board in April.
(St. Louis Public Radio — recommended)

None of the seven are incumbents. I’m still researching, I’ve eliminated three so far. The West End Word has a brief summary of all 7 here. Vote411 has info here.

JUNIOR COLLEGE (only applies to some city voters)


Vote411 has info on both here.


Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District Proposition S
Simple majority required.

Ballot wording: Shall the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) charge a Stormwater Capital Rate upon all customers, whether public or private, within the District based on the amount of impervious area on the real property of each customer for the purpose of providing revenue to fund capital improvements for flooding and erosion control, as set forth in the following schedule? Single-family Residential (per month) for the following tiers, Tier 1 (200-2,000 sq. ft. of impervious area) $1.42 Tier 2 (2,001-3,600 sq. ft. of impervious area) $2.25 Tier 3 (3,601-6,000 sq. ft. of impervious area) $3.74 Tier 4 (over 6,000 sq. ft. of impervious area) $6.84 Commercial and Multi-Family Residential (per month) $2.25 per 2,600 sq. ft. of impervious area.

Summary:  The measure would allow the district to impose a new stormwater charge to generate money to addressing local and regional flooding and stream erosion that threaten structures, roads or yards. The charge would be based on the amount of a property’s surface area that does not absorb rainwater. Funds would be used for property buyouts, rain scaping, natural creek bank stabilization, stormwater drainage systems and other improvements. All public and private property in MSD’s service area, including properties owned by governmental or nonprofit entities and those not receiving MSD wastewater services, would be subject to this charge.  If passed, the charge would raise $30 million annually and the average residential property owner would pay an additional $27 per year. 

Proponents say that the increased revenue is necessary to address local and regional flooding, erosion issues and to improve water quality for stormwater. They also say that the proposed rate imposes a fair and reasonable burden on all classes of ratepayers with an incentive system. Opponents say that there are no detailed engineering plans on the proposed projects and that there is insufficient funding for the projects proposed. They also say that the projects are not required by any regulation or law. (Vote411)

No clue how I’m going to vote on this.

— Steve Patterson



Opinion: St. Louis Region Needs To Seriously Look At Our Low Voter Turnout Problem

March 13, 2019 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Opinion: St. Louis Region Needs To Seriously Look At Our Low Voter Turnout Problem
Vintage photo of the former offices of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners. From my collection

The recent Sunday Poll was about voter turnout:

Q: Agree or disagree: Nothing will increase voter turnout in St. Louis’ local elections, it just is what it is.

  • Strongly agree: 2 [8.7%]
  • Agree: 1 [4.35%]
  • Somewhat agree: 2 [8.7%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 3 [13.04%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 2 [8.7%]
  • Disagree: 6 [26.09%]
  • Strongly disagree: 6 [26.09%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [4.35%]

To those who agreed with the poll’s statement — wake up! There’s lots of ways to increase voter participation. First, we must step back and determine why exactly that eligible voters don’t bother for races other than the national election every four years.

One group is taking a step.

A group called Show Me Integrity is launching a petition drive to gather about 20,000 signatures to make a change to the St. Louis charter instituting “approval voting” in a nonpartisan primary for mayor, aldermen and other city offices. Under that system, recently adopted in Fargo, N.D., voters can cast a vote for as many candidates as they want. The top two vote-winners would advance to a runoff that would replace the general election.
St. Louis is among only a handful of major cities that still uses a partisan system allowing a plurality of voters through a party primary and general election to choose leaders.
“That’s increasingly rare,” said Rob Richie, executive director of FairVote, a Washington-based organization that advocates for election reform.

Most big cities have election systems established so more consensus can emerge from a crowded field. Chicago is gearing up for a runoff election with the top two vote winners after whittling down a field of 14 candidates in February. Next month, Kansas City’s nonpartisan mayoral primary will send the two top candidates out of a field of 11 to a June matchup. Closer to home, Maplewood and Richmond Heights hold runoff votes if candidates don’t receive a majority. (Post-Dispatch)

This is new to me, so I’m not yet sure how I feel about it. That said, I welcome their action and the civic discussions it’ll cause.

I’ve been a longtime supporter of ranked-choice voting, aka instant runoff voting.

Ranked choice voting (RCV) makes democracy more fair and functional. It works in a variety of contexts. It is a simple change that can have a big impact.

With ranked choice voting, voters can rank as many candidates as they want in order of choice. Candidates do best when they attract a strong core of first-choice support while also reaching out for second and even third choices. When used as an “instant runoff” to elect a single candidate like a mayor or a governor, RCV helps elect a candidate that better reflects the support of a majority of voters. When used as a form of fair representation voting to elect more than one candidate like a city council, state legislature or even Congress, RCV helps to more fairly represent the full spectrum of voters. (FairVote)

Fair representation voting looks interesting:

Fair representation is the principle that a legislature should reflect all of the voters who elect them. Like-minded voters should be able to elect representatives in proportion to their number. In contrast, most elections in the United States are winner-take-all: instead of reflecting all voters, our legislators reflect only the biggest or strongest group of voters that elected them, leaving all others unrepresented. The use of winner-take-all voting methods in our elections for state legislatures and Congress is a central reason for major problems with our politics: gerrymandering, partisan gridlock, no-choice elections and distortions in fair representation all have roots in the inherent problems of winner-take-all methods. (FairVote)

See FairVote’s look at Open Ticket Voting, Cumulative Voting, Single-Vote Method & “Limited Voting”, and Districts Plus here. Other ideas include switching to non-partisan elections, thus eliminating separate partisan primary that’s the real election — the general election a month later just a costly formal confirmation of the Democratic primary.

We need to find the root problem(s) that cause voter turnout through much of the region to be low. Then we need to consider adopting solutions to solve those problems — without causing new problems.

— Steve Patterson


Sunday Poll: Can Anything Be Done To Increase Voter Turnout In Local Elections

March 10, 2019 Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Can Anything Be Done To Increase Voter Turnout In Local Elections
Please vote below

Voter turnout in last week’s St. Louis partisan primary was low, ranging from 10.09% (5th Ward) to 28.02% (8th Ward) — source.

St. Louis voter participation is always the lowest in the region.

Among the eight counties in the St. Louis region, voter turnout tends to be highest in Monroe and St. Charles counties and is often lowest in the city of St. Louis and in St. Clair County. In the 2018 mid-term election, voter turnout among registered voters was highest in St. Charles (64.1 percent), St. Louis (60.8 percent), and in Monroe counties (60.5 percent) and lowest in St. Clair County and in the city of St. Louis (both 51.9 percent).  During the 2016 presidential election, voter turnout was highest in Monroe County (78.4 percent) and lowest in in city of St. Louis (59.2 percent). — source.

Today’s poll is about voter turnout.

This poll will close at 8pm, come back Wednesday for the results and my thoughts on the topic.

— Steve Patterson