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Readers Rejected Apology From Lewis Reed Before Email Campaign Dramatically Altered Poll Results

It was nearly seven years ago I began posting a new poll question every Sunday. These polls are non-scientific, but some of us find them interesting. The polls were open for an entire week.  Most votes came on Sundays, except when an email campaign would dramatically alter the more natural outcome of the regular readers.

In November 2014 I switched the poll from lasting a week to just 12 hours: 8am to 8pm each Sunday. Since then no poll has been the subjected to mass voting as a result of an email campaign. Until this past Sunday.

At 3pm, my daily nap time, the vote was still progressing like usual — 30 votes after 7 hours. A few hours later the total vote count had ballooned to well over 125. Thankfully I checked the results on my iPad — leaving the 3pm results on my computer untouched.

Here are the results as of 3pm — 30 total votes:

Q: Lewis Reed has apologized for his appearance on Bob Romanik’s radio show last month. Do you accept or reject Reed’s apology?

  • Strongly accept 3 [10%]
  • Accept 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat accept 4 [13.33%]
  • Neither accept or reject 4 [13.33%]
  • Somewhat reject 1 [3.33%]
  • Reject 8 [26.67%]
  • Strongly reject 7 [23.33%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 3 [10%]

Just over 23% accepted, more than half rejected. The remainder were unsure or fell into the middle.

A few hours later the results looked dramatically different — 159 total votes:

  • Strongly accept 113 [71.07%]
  • Accept 10 [6.29%]
  • Somewhat accept 5 [3.14%]
  • Neither accept or reject 4 [2.52%]
  • Somewhat reject 2 [1.26%]
  • Reject 12 [7.55%]
  • Strongly reject 8 [5.03%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 5 [3.14%]

Seven hours to get 30 votes, but another 129 came in the last 5 hours. A Reed staff person found out about the poll through a mass email. See screenshots of both here.

Here’s the problem I have with Reed’s apology: timing. Reed said he was trying to get Bob Romanik to stop by using a note/sign while on the air on January 11th. I too would’ve been shocked & speechless. If he was truly upset and embarrassed about what was said he’d have tweeted he’s feelings following the broadcast. But he didn’t.

A series of apology tweets didn’t come until nearly a month later, February 8th, after more people listened to the show on YouTube. An apology letter was posted on Facebook at 8:34pm on February 9th.

I’d never heard of radio host Bob Romanik before February 8th. From a look at the official show website I don’t think I missed out.

Image for Bob Romanik's radio show click for link
Image for Bob Romanik’s radio show click for link

Here’s the official show description:

The Kraziest Son of a Bitch you’ll ever hear on the radio.  Radio like you’ve never heard it before and will probably never want to hear again. If you think the real grim reaper is scary, wait until you see and listen to Bob Romanik “The Grim Reaper of Radio!”. The Grim Reaper’s show will be like his face, very scary and very, very ugly. “On the Dark Side” is the most controversial show on radio today. “The Grim Reaper of Radio” is not politically correct or politically incorrect, he’s politically insane!!

After your Experience with Bob Romanik, “The Grim Reaper of Radio”, Death Just May be Enjoyable!

Reed was so upset with Romanik during his January 11th appearance that he came back on January 28th (@25:20) — sending out a tweet w/photo! I listed to the entire show but Reed didn’t let Romanik know his January 11th comments were out of line. Fifty-seven minutes I’ll never get back.

Reed has embarrassed the Board of Aldermen.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Do You Accept Lewis Reed’s Apology (UPDATED)

Please vote below
Please vote below

UPDATE:

This poll was manipulated by mass voting.

Last week a radio interview from January 11th began spreading like crazy on social media and the news:

For anyone who’s ever listened to Bob Romanik’s On the Dark Side radio talk show on 1190 AM, it should come as no surprise that a recent episode is drawing controversy. After all, the ex-strip club owner/police chief and convicted felon is always coming after his political and personal enemies with a mixture of wild insults and abhorrent threats, all book-ended by the show’s trademark rainstorm sound effects as though forecasting the flood of complaints that’s to come.

So it’s not exactly news that Romanik tried to discredit 15th ward alderwoman Megan Green last month by calling her a “good-for-nothing, skanky bitch” who, in his words, deserves to be literally flushed down the toilet and sexually violated by a storybook character. For veterans of Romanik’s radio wars, it’s more of the same. (St. Louis Magazine)

Romanik’s guest was Lewis Reed, President of the Board of Aldermen.

Short version: 2:50 minutes:

Long version: 12:34 minutes:

After this became controversial Reed apologized in a series of tweets:

Click image to view the top tweet on Twitter
Click image to view the top tweet on Twitter

Today’s poll question:

[results deleted]

This poll will be open for 12 hours, will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Approve or disapprove of financing plan for a new stadium up for final vote by the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday?

Last week a Board of Aldermen committee moved forward a plan for the financing of $150 million of a $1 billion dollar new stadium. Though our Edward Jones Dome is only 20 years old, St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke wants to move the team back to Los Angeles.

On Thursday, an aldermanic committee voted 7-2 to push the bill forward to a vote of the full Board of Aldermen.

The board could debate the matter as early as Friday, but procedural rules will require the board to come back next week for at least one special session to take a final vote. In order to debate the matter at Friday’s planned second reading, the aldermen will need to suspend the rules, requiring support from two-thirds of those present, and fast-track the bill. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

On Friday the bill wasn’t fast tracked so a special session will be held on Tuesday to meet the NFL’s end of the year financing deadline.

Please vote below
Please vote below

The poll closes at 8pm tonight, the answers are randomized.

— Steve Patterson

City Cars For Elected Officials — Part 1

A recent item in the Post-Dispatch las caused a lot of online debate:

Carpenter’s budgetary concern comes as she seeks a new city vehicle or a $700 monthly vehicle allowance. In her previous term as collector, she had a city car. She turned it in after leaving office.

In March, Carpenter wrote a letter to the city’s capital committee asking for authorization to purchase “a new vehicle for my use.”

“As I understand it,” Carpenter wrote, “The License Collector receives $700.00 per month for auto expense in lieu of a vehicle. This would be amenable for me.”

Carpenter, 73, is also requesting the $700 monthly vehicle expense retroactive to January.

Paul Payne, the city’s budget director, said Carpenter will get a car. (St. Louis recorder of deeds to get new city car, lays off one person)

Really!?!

Carpenter drove a city-issued Buick Lucerne before she resigned. Was this it?
Carpenter drove a city-issued Buick Lucerne before she resigned. Was this it?
This Buick Lucerne isn't on the city's most recent assignment list.  The Buick Lucerne was sold in the 2006-2011 model years, click image for the Wikipedia article.
This Buick Lucerne isn’t on the city’s most recent assignment list.
The Buick Lucerne was sold in the 2006-2011 model years, click image for the Wikipedia article.

The $4,200/mo pension and $97,000 annual salary isn’t enough? As many said, why does the Recorder of Deeds need a city car? For that matter, why does the License Collector?

Autotrader has an article on 7 Great Luxury Sedans You Can Lease for $500 per Month:

  1. Acura RLX
  2. BMW 528i
  3. Cadillac CTS
  4. Hyundai Genesis
  5. Jaguar XF
  6. Lexus GS 350
  7. Volvo S60 T6

Ok, these lease deals don’t include insurance and require a down payment. Still, a new BMW 528i, for example, starts at $49,950.

I began wondering where it was authorized that elected officials would get cars, or a hefty allowance. I made some inquiries and was directed to an ordinance, the following quotes are from St. Louis City Ordinance 68716 from 2010.

First an exemption for personal licensing or use:

4.13.020 Personal licensing or use–Exemptions.

The prohibitions on the use of Missouri state license plates contained in Section 4.13.010 shall not apply to passenger automobiles assigned to and used by officials or employees of the Metropolitan St. Louis Police Department. The following passenger automobiles are exempted from the prohibitions on the use of Missouri state license plates contained in

Section 4.13.010:

A. One automobile assigned to the mayor of the city for his personal use;

B. One automobile assigned to the comptroller of the city for his personal use;

C. One automobile assigned to the president of the board of aldermen for his personal use; and

D. Such other automobiles as may be specifically designated by the board of aldermen by resolution upon the recommendation of the board of estimate and apportionment.

Any such resolution shall clearly identify the automobile or automobiles for which Missouri state license plates are sought, the person or persons who will use such automobile or automobiles and the conditions of such use and shall justify the need for Missouri state license plates for each such automobile.

So the above means the three listed in A-C, and any added via resolution in D, can be used personally and may have a regular “Missouri” rather than “City of St. Louis” license plate. One other exemption:

4.13.040 Identification of city automobiles–Exemptions.

The requirement of the clear identification of city-owned automobiles contained in Section 4.13.030 shall not apply to passenger automobiles assigned to and used by officials or employees of the Metropolitan St. Louis Police Department. The following passenger automobiles are exempted from the requirement of clear identification of city-owned automobiles contained in Section 4.13.030:

A. One automobile assigned to the mayor of the city for his personal use;

B. One automobile assigned to the comptroller of the city for his personal use;

C. One automobile assigned to the president of the board of aldermen of the city for his personal use; and

D. Such other automobiles as may be specifically designated by the board of aldermen by resolution upon the recommendation of the board of estimate and apportionment.

Any such resolution shall clearly identify the automobile or automobiles for which an exemption from this requirement is sought, the person or persons who will use such automobile or automobiles and the conditions of such use and shall justify the need for the requested exemption.

The same three are exempt from being identified as City of St. Louis vehicles, plus any added by resolution, don’t need to have “City of St. Louis” in letters on the side of the vehicle.

One more quote:

Section 4.13.050 Use of City Motor Vehicles

No official or employee of the City shall possess or use any motor vehicle owned or leased by the City except for those officials or employees who are specifically designated by resolution of the Board of Aldermen, upon the recommendation of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment. Any such resolution shall clearly identify the person who will use such motor vehicle, their title, their job classification, the conditions of such use, and shall justify the need for such use.

So I found Resolution 259, adopted in December 2010. Here’s a quote:

WHEREAS, Ordinance 68716 requires that the Board of Aldermen approve a resolution adopting the City of St. Louis Vehicle Policy Manual (herein attached as Exhibit A) the following, which includes possession and use of City motor vehicles and reimbursement for personal motor vehicle usage; and

WHEREAS, ordinance 68716 further requires that the Board of Aldermen approve possession and use of City motor vehicles and reimbursement for personal motor vehicle usage, by title/job classification and nature and conditions of use (list attached as Evhibit B).”

Unfortunately the library has neither attachment. I contacted board clerk David Sweeney who located it and sent me a scanned copy.

Turns out Attachment B isn’t a list of any specific elected offices that get cars, as I expected. It was just a spreadsheet with people and the cars they were assigned. I reviewed the 2010 list and found only two elected officials:

  • Comptroller Darlene Green: 2009 Mercury Grand Marquis
  • Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter: 2007 Buick Lucerne

The Vehicle Policy and most recent Assignment Survey are online here. maintains The current list is for FY2014, as of 10/14/2013 — long before Carpenter resigned last summer to avoid charges of nepotism. The only elected official on the list is Comptroller Darlene Green with the same 2009 Mercury.  The webpage notes:

This survey is conducted in accordance with paragraph 3.1 of the City Vehicle Policy. Vehicle listings and employee assignments are as of July-August of each year when appointing authorities complete the survey.  The new version is posted after acceptance by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment on or about October 1st and provision to the Board of Aldermen.

The Board of Estimate and Apportionment (aka E&A) is comprised of the Mayor, Comptroller, & President of the Board of Aldermen.

Ok, let’s dig into the Vehicle Policy to see if that sheds any light:

2.2. Specifications/Options

2.2.1. Individually Assigned

2.2.1.1. Elected Officials are typically provided new, well-equipped, full-sized sedans or advanced technology vehicles. These vehicles may include luxury packages and options at the discretion of the elected official.

2.2.1.2. Appointed Officials who require a vehicle to complete their duties are typically provided a mid-sized sedan or sport utility vehicle dependent upon job requirements. These vehicles are typically equipped with power windows and locks, tilt steering wheels and air conditioning. Luxury packages and options such as leather seats, automatic climate control systems, navigation systems and upgraded sound systems are prohibited even as part of an emergency purchase.

2.2.1.3. Civil Service employees are typically provided sedans, pickup trucks, vans or sport utility vehicles appropriate to the nature of their duties. New vehicles may be equipped with air conditioning, power windows and locks and tilt steering wheel for improved health and safety when necessary.

Ok, but which elected officials get cars? All of them? All 28 Aldermen?

3.3. Vehicle Allowance Criteria

  • 3.3.1.  Employees required to drive daily on official business but who are not assigned a City vehicle because one is not available shall keep a mileage log. Employees must also file a mileage reimbursement form on a monthly basis thru the accounts payable section in their Department.
  • 3.3.2.  In conjunction with the Budget Division the automobile allowance shall be established by the Comptroller annually in January for the next fiscal year. It shall be based on the IRS regulation, but not necessarily set at that rate.
  • 3.3.3.  Employees receiving the automobile allowance must sign a declaration annually that they possess a valid driver’s license, their vehicle is maintained in safe operating condition at all times and that they have the following minimum insurance coverage: $25,000 coverage bodily injury per person, $50,000 coverage bodily injury per occurrence and $10,000 coverage property damage or at the minimum levels required by State statute, whichever is greater.
  • 3.3.4.  Employees paid the automobile allowance may not use a City vehicle unless approved as part of a formal trip authorization.
  • 3.3.5.  Each year prior to October 1, the Comptroller will supply a report to the Board of Estimate and Apportionment and the Board of Alderman detailing payments made listing the employee’s name and payment history for the previous fiscal year.

Now that I’ve gotten the background out of the way, the next part will get into more specifics. I hope get answers to the following questions:

  1. Which elected officials, if any, currently have city vehicles? What kind? Are they issued a 1099?
  2. Which elected officials, if any, currently receive a car allowance? How much? Are they issued a 1099?
  3. Who has city gas cards? What measures are in place to ensure these aren’t used to refill personal vehicles?
  4. Why isn’t the Buick Lucerne used by the Board of Elections listed on the most recent assignment sheet?

A 1099 you ask? Yes, vehicles for personal use are taxable income that must be reported to the IRS! See fringe benefits communing rule.

I have a feeling the deeper I dig into city vehicles and their oversight I’m going to find a lot that many would like to keep hidden in the trunk.

— Steve Patterson

 

First Time All 28 Aldermen Are Democrats

St. Louis City Hall
St. Louis City Hall

History was made last month — for the first time in the history of St. Louis every alderman is a Democrat.  Yes, we all know the City of St. Louis is a Democrat city — to get elected you need to be a Democrat — at least a DINO. But up until last month at least one member wasn’t a Democrat.

In 1949 Democrats took majority control of the Board of Aldermen but Republicans continued to have multiple members, dropping to one in 1977 but up again to two in 1979 when Fred Heitert was sworn in. The number was back to one after Jim Shrewsbury defeated the GOP incumbent in the 16th Ward.  Republican Fred Heitert was an alderman from April 17, 1979 t0 April 19, 2011 — when his successor Larry Arnowitz, a Democrat, was sworn in. But that same day in 2011 an Independent, Scott Ogilvie, was sworn in representing the 24th Ward. Last month Ogilvie was sworn in to a 2nd term — this time as a Democrat.

So last month, on April 21, 2015, became the first time in St. Louis’ history that every Alderman was a Democrat. UPDATE 5/19 7:45am: Current seniority list.

How long will this last? If this is broken will it be by a Republican, an Independent, or a Green?

— Steve Patterson

 

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