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PUB DEF is a non-partisan, independent political blog based in the City of St. Louis, Missouri. Our goal is to cast a critical eye on lawmakers, their policies, and those that have influence upon them, and to educate our readers about legislation and the political processes that affect our daily lives.


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New Black Caucus Officers

By Dan Martin

Filed Tuesday, May 01, 2007 at 11:32 AM

The African American Aldermanic Caucus met last Friday to elect new officers. The new officers are as follows:

Chairman - Ald. Terry Kennedy (18th ward)
Vice Chairman - Ald. Bennice Jones King (21st ward)
Secretary - Ald. Kacie Starr Triplett (6th ward)
Treasurer - Ald. Gregory Carter (27th ward)
Sgt. at Arms - Ald. Frank Williamson (26th ward)


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Comptroller Presses Forward, Seeks Clarification on Caucus Deal [Updated]

By Antonio D. French

Filed Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 12:17 PM


Still suffering the calls of "obstructionist" from critics of her decision not to support BJC's proposed expansion plan two weeks ago, Comptroller Darlene Green is continuing with meetings to create a better deal which all sides can agree to.

This afternoon Green will be hosting the third meeting between her office and representatives of BJC HealthCare and Citizens to Protect Forest Park. This follows an earlier meeting Green had with members of the Aldermanic Black Caucus meant to clear up confusion about a deal brokered by the Caucus to ensure north St. Louis would benefit from the proposed lease extension as well. That deal has been threatened by Green and Aldermanic President Jim Shrewsbury's refusal so far to support BJC's expansion.

In meetings with Black Caucus members before the vote of the Board of Aldermen, BJC and Mayor Francis Slay privately agreed to dole up the annual $1.6 million in general revenue freed up by the new terms of BJC's lease of a portion of city park land in the following manner:
  • $1.2 million for capital improvements in city parks, with half going to northside parks;
  • $300,000 for recreational programs for children; and
  • $100,000 to cover low-income kids' access to fee-based recreational programs.
BJC also agreed to work with the Black Caucus to open a 24-hour emergency/trauma center located in north St. Louis.

The aide said Green supports all of those things, but she would like to see them specifically written into the lease agreement; not just as a non-binding attached letter.

An amendment passed by the Board of Aldermen did include the $400,000 for recreation programs and $1.2 million for park improvements, but it did not specifically say that 50% of the improvement funds were to be spent in northside parks -- a point vital to the agreement.

Green's office has proposed the following language be added to that amendment: "...with at least 50% of the One Million Two Hundred Dollars ($1,200,000) to be spent on parks that are located north of Delmar Boulevard in the City".

Green's continued action on this matter suggests that the deal is not dead yet and, with certain amendments and concessions, may soon come again before the Boards of Aldermen and Estimate & Apportionment.

Click here to view the amendment with Green's new addition.

Click here to read a memo obtained by Pub Def from the mayor's chief staff outlining the agreement between the Black Caucus and BJC.

Click here to view a letter from BJC to the Black Caucus agreeing to develop a 24-hour emergency/trauma center in north St. Louis.

UPDATE @ 6:45 p.m.: According to sources in the Comptroller's office, today's meeting was positive and "there is now light at the end of the tunnel."

"We are closer today than we were a week ago and the Comptroller expects a positive outcome by Friday."

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Wrong Bowman on Front Page

By Antonio D. French

Filed Tuesday, January 30, 2007 at 12:16 PM

The Post-Dispatch put a picture of the wrong John Bowman on the front page of today's paper.

In their story on the state representative's indictment yesterday, the Post mistakenly published a photo of Bowman's son, John Bowman, Jr.

In 2002, Bowman, Jr. ran for his father's 70th District State Rep seat against Matt Muckler while the elder Bowman ran for state senate against Rita Days. Both lost.

Two years later, Bowman, Sr. defeated Muckler to regain his House seat.


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Combest: Bowman & McCaskill

By Antonio D. French

Blogger and middle-of-the-road Republican John Combest says yesterday's indictment of Black Caucus Chairman John Bowman may affect one of the state rep's recent clients, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill.

"Just one month ago, the St. Louis American took a look at the McCaskill campaign finance reports. The paper followed the national money through a Missouri Dem fund and noted that 'Bowman’s Consulting' took 'a lot of jack' from the Missouri Democratic State Committee," wrote Combest.

"To Claire, Bowman wasn’t just a workhorse — he was a show horse, too. When she went after Jim Talent on race, she had lots of black faces to choose from — and she chose John Bowman."

Combest predicts Sen. McCaskill will "wash her hands of Bowman faster than an obsessive-compulsive at a leper colony. And expect the people who have been waiting to nail Claire for her first snafu to have a field day with the campaign finance paper trail that ties the indicted to our junior Senator. "

Click here
to download the actual indictment from STLToday.com.


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By Antonio D. French

Filed Monday, January 29, 2007 at 3:18 PM


State Representative John Bowman has been indicted, along with 16 others, on bank fraud and credit card fraud charges.

U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway announced today that Bowman and former Bank of American Vice President Robert Conner were among 17 people indicted that were allegedly recruited as borrowers in a $1.2 million bank fraud and credit card fraud scheme. Four other people, including a former Pine Lawn Police Officer and a Wentzville doctor, have previously pled guilty to related charges and await sentencing.

"Rather than assisting fledgling small businesses with lines of credit, Connor is accused of taking advantage of a well-intended program to line his own pockets," said Hanaway.

Between June 2005 and November 2006, it was part of this scheme that Conner, then a Vice President of Bank of America at its Chesterfield branch, provided the 16 co-defendants, including Bowman, an opportunity to submit false applications for small business lines of credit with Bank of America.

The lines of credit were in the form of credit cards. According to law enforcement, in exchange for approving the fraudulent credit line application Conner demanded a cash kickback payment of $2500 to $5000 from each applicant. After the fraudulent credit applications were approved by Conner, he had the credit cards sent directly to him rather than to the applicants to facilitate his receipt of cash payment kickbacks at the time he provided the card to the applicants. Typically, the first transaction on the fraudulent credit cards was a cash advance, the proceeds of which were used to pay Conner a kickback.

Borrowers fraudulently applied for credit lines in the names of various business entities, many of which did not exist as legitimate businesses. The applications contained fraudulent information such as the business entity name, its status as a legitimate business, and the amount of time the business had been in operation; the annual income of the applicant; and the gross annual revenue of the entity listed on the application. Conner knew the borrowers were not personally credit worthy at the time the false credit line applications were submitted.

A total of approximately $1,213,970 in fraudulent charges were made on cards fraudulently approved by Conner.

The 37-count indictment was returned Thursday, January 25, but remained sealed until earlier today to facilitate the arrest of defendants. They are expected to appear in federal court Monday, February 5, before United States Magistrate Thomas C. Mummert.

Indicted today:

Robert Connor, 44, 11000 block of Bristol Rock, St. Louis;

John Bowman, 50, 4200 block of Minoma, St. Louis;

Robert Baker, 52, 12000 block of Rush Creek Way, St. Louis;

William Hart, 27, 4000 block of Shenandoah, St. Louis;

DeAmon White, 26, 5900 block of Minerva, St. Louis;

Gerald Maurice Rankin, 36, 1800 block of Claudine Drive, St. Louis;

Monica Gholson, 30, 4400 block of Lee Avenue, St. Louis;

Jacqueline Green, 41, 3900 block of Salvation Road, St. Louis;

Jerry Brown, 61, 700 block of Mendocina Court, St. Louis;

Ulas Green, 39, 3900 block of Salvation Road, St. Louis;

Joanna Davis, 30, 15000 block of Debridge Way, St. Louis;

Glenda Chambers, 57, 2200 block of Colfax, St. Louis;

Lois Gholson, 54, 4400 block of Lee Avenue, St. Louis;

Regina Davidson, 49, 1900 block of Elkins, St. Louis;

Ronald Mason, 39, 1000 block of Sweepstakes Lane, St. Louis;

Karl Peters, 52, 300 block of East Olive, Royal Oaks, Illinois; and

Max Davis, 37, 15000 block of Debridge Way, St. Louis.

Besides Robert Connor, who is charged in every count of the indictment, each defendant is charged with one felony count of bank fraud and one felony count of credit card fraud. Additionally, count 37 is a forfeiture charge, wherein two of Connor’s vehicles; a 2006 Hummer and a 2006 GMC Yukon, are subject to forfeiture.

If convicted, each bank fraud count carries a maximum penalty of thirty years in prison and/or fines up to $1 million; each credit card fraud count carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000.

Four other people have pled guilty in connection with this case, and await sentencing:

Dr. Pearleatha Phillips-Washington, 40, Homeshire Drive, Wentzville;

LeMoyne G. Thomas, Jr., former Pine Lawn Police Officer, 32, Homeshire Drive, Wentzville;

Arthur Thomas Webb-Carr, 30, 11700 Clarksdale Drive, Maryland Heights; and

Angela Webb-Carr, 48, 3800 block of Park Place Est, Bridgeton.

UPDATE @ 5:55 p.m.: According to the AP, Bowman is alleged to have met with Conner at a Bank of America branch office in Chesterfield in January 2006 and submitted a fraudulent credit application in the name of Bowman Consulting.

"Bowman is accused of obtaining a $4,050 cash advance using the fraudulent credit line, and also of obtaining things in value of $1,000 during a one-year period." reports the AP.


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Bowman Says Caucus Split Over Vouchers, Nadal Points to Bowman's Ego

By Antonio D. French

Filed Monday, November 13, 2006 at 4:48 PM


State Rep. John Bowman told PUB DEF today that under his leadership the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus (MLBC) will continue on the road to becoming an influential player in the State Capitol, despite several members leaving the organization and forming a new caucus last week.

He disputed reports that there are now more African-American House members in the newly formed spin-off organization than are left in the MLBC. "That's inaccurate," said Bowman.

PUB DEF was the first to report last week that what was expected to be a normal fight for caucus chairmanship between Bowman and State Rep. Rodney Hubbard ended in several House members accusing Bowman of cheating and using strong-arm tactics to silence his colleagues.

Within hours of Thursday's meeting, a new organization called the Urban Progressive Caucus (UPC) was being formed, with at least nine state representatives defecting from the MLBC.

Bowman said the state's three African-American senators (Maida Coleman, Rita Days and Yvonne Wilson) are still in the MLBC, as are the caucus' "most effective legislators".

Bowman said those state reps that are criticizing his leadership "never came to meetings" and "never put any work in" to build the organization.

Bowman said he did what he had to do to prevent the caucus from being led by those focused on a single issue -- school vouchers. Hubbard and his close ally, State Rep. Ted Hoskins, have been vocal supporters of a form of vouchers (or "school choice"). Both are now members of the new UPC.

But State Rep. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, also a defecting black caucus member, has been a vocal critic of vouchers, even helping to oust Hoskins from the chairmanship back in April in large part over his strong support of the issue.

In the past, she and Hubbard have been seen as bitter political enemies. But last week the two put their differences aside.

"For Rodney and I to come together would not have happened unless for these extraordinary conditions," Nadal told PUB DEF.

"This has nothing to do with school vouchers. It has everything to do with [Bowman's] failed leadership and ego," she said.

When asked how Nadal's involvement fits into his description of a single-issue agenda causing this fight, Bowman said, "I can't explain what Maria does from minute-to-minute."

"I refuse to even try to understand her anymore," said Bowman.

Nadal points to herself and at least five other members of the new caucus that are anti-vouchers -- State Reps. Jamilah Nasheed (St. Louis City), Connie Johnson (St. Louis City), Martin Rucker (St. Joseph), Michael Brown (Kansas City), and Leonard Hughes (Kansas City).

Hughes agreed that what happened had nothing to do with vouchers.

"It's about a breath of fresh air in the new millennium," said Hughes.

"I don't think John Bowman is a bad leader. I just think it was a bad situation for everybody."

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Bowman Retains Chairmanship, But Methods Lead to Organizational Split

By Antonio D. French

Filed Thursday, November 09, 2006 at 1:03 PM


Some legislators left today's meeting of the Legislative Black Causus angry and frustrated. After delaying and rescheduling the meeting at least once today, St. Louis County State Rep. John Bowman was able to retain his chairmanship by means that some members found objectionable.

"The Black Caucus is split now," one legislator told PUB DEF. The elected official said Bowman ran today's meeting with an iron fist, refusing to allow others to make motions or even to vote if their dues were not current.

We're also told that newly elected legislators were not allowed to vote or even given by-laws to read. Already there is talk of a break-off group forming.

Though the caucus' rules have stated that the chairmanship should alternate between City, County and Kansas City legislators, Bowman lobbied back in September to have that rule changed so he could retain the chairmanship.

UPDATE: At today's meeting, Bowman said that September's rule change was also a vote to extend his chairmanship.

Even though Bowman was asking for the support of fellow caucus members as late as yesterday in anticipation of a challenge from St. Louis City representative Rodney Hubbard for the chairmanship, at today's meeting Bowman said the only positions that would be voted on were vice-chair, treasurer and secretary.

We're told Hubbard had the votes to beat Bowman.

In another twist, some members were told they could not vote in today's elections because their dues were not current. But one legislator tells PUB DEF that at least three members had their dues checks returned by caucus treasurer State Sen. Rita Days.

Already a letter is circulating announcing the formation of a new caucus. Members of the new Urban Progessive Caucus would include not only African-American legislators, but legislators representing areas with large minority populations.

More later...

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Caucus Fights Today [Updated x2]

By Antonio D. French

UPDATE: Coleman has retained her leadership position.

Democrats in the state legislature are in Jefferson City today to meet and select their leaders. For some time it has been rumored that State Sen. Maida Coleman, the current minority floor leader, will be challenged for her post. Back in September, Coleman sat down with PUB DEF to discuss this challenge.

Sources tell PUB DEF that Coleman's future might rest on the vote of her newest colleague, State Senator-elect Jeff Smith. A vote by Smith for Coleman would help insure his fellow St. Louis Democrat another term leading the Senate's minority party.

But if Smith were to instead vote for Sen. Chuck Graham, who is challenging Coleman for the position, it would help place control of the Democrat's House and Senate agenda squarely in Columbia, MO, which is where Graham and House Minority Leader Jeff Harris are both from.

The Democrats will meet to vote at noon.

And in the Legislative Black Caucus... there is word that State Rep. Rodney Hubbard (St. Louis City) will be challenging State Rep. John Bowman (St. Louis County) for the chairmanship.

Though the caucus' rules have stated that the chairmanship should alternate between City, County and Kansas City legislators, Bowman (who is the current chairman) lobbied to have that rule changed.

Check back later for more...

UPDATE: Coleman has retained her leadership position.

UPDATE 2: From Sen. Coleman's office:

After a two-seat pick up two days ago, Missouri Senate Democrats returned Sen. Maida Coleman (D-St. Louis) to her position as Minority Floor Leader during the first caucus meeting of the new Senate members.

"While Missouri didn’t make the dramatic gains of Democrats at the national level, picking up two Senate seats and five House seats is notable," she said. "Missouri is a cautious state, but we laid the groundwork for 2008."

Sen. Coleman said the Democrats look forward to working with the Republican majority, especially on key issues like restoring the Medical Assistance for the Working Disabled program. She added that she hopes the House can be convinced to pass the strong Medicaid provider fraud bill which passed the Senate last year.

Other leadership positions went to Sen. Chuck Graham of Columbia, Assistant Minority Floor Leader; newly re-elected Sen. Frank Barnitz of Lake Spring, Caucus Chairman; and Sen. Yvonne Wilson of Kansas City, Caucus Secretary.

Sen. Coleman emphasized that the Democratic caucus is strongly united and will be acting in the best interests of Missouri’s citizenry.

"Democrats will be outlining our legislative priorities more fully in the coming weeks," she said. "I hope Republicans will take notice of the changing political air nationally and in Missouri and focus on solving problems."

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Black Caucus Debates Chairmanship

By Antonio D. French

Filed Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 8:29 AM

At a meeting of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus yesterday in Jefferson City, legislators debated over whether current chairman, State Rep. John Bowman, should be allowed to keep the post during the upcoming session.

According to the organization's current by-laws, the chairmanship is to be passed to someone from one of three regions (St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and the Kansas City area) every two years. Bowman, who represents a part of St. Louis County, took over as chair after State Rep. Ted Hoskins, also from the County, was removed earlier this year. At issue is whether Bowman can continue serving as chair after Hoskins' term has expired.

The next region in line for the chairmanship is St. Louis City. Some members have told PUB DEF to look for State Reps. Rodney Hubbard and Connie Johnson to seek the post -- two members who, along with State Rep. Robin Wright Jones, are also mentioned as possible candidates to replace the term-limited State Sen. Maida Coleman in 2008.


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PHOTOS: CBC Awards Dinner

By Antonio D. French

Filed Sunday, September 10, 2006 at 11:27 AM

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 36th Annual Legislative Conference ended last night with their annual Awards Dinner. More than 400 tables -- at up to $750 per seat -- filled the Washington Convention Center as members of the CBC honored and were honored by current and former members.

It seemed that every black player in national politics was in the room last night. But no one drew the crowds -- or the opportunistic photo seekers (this reporter included) -- like U.S. Senator Barack Obama.

PUB DEF bumped into St. Louis State Rep. Rodney Hubbard among the thousands of people at the dinner and we followed him as he worked the room. See some of our photos from the night at www.pubdef.net/photos/cbc_weekend/9-9-2006.html

Again, see more of our photos from the night at www.pubdef.net/photos/cbc_weekend/9-9-2006.html

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VIDEO: Roberts Brothers, Wayman Smith added to Missouri Walk of Fame

By Antonio D. French

Filed Saturday, September 09, 2006 at 4:23 PM

PUB DEF is reporting this week from Washington D.C. where we are attending the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 36th Annual Legislative Conference.

St. Louis entrepreneurs Mike and Steve Roberts and Anheuser-Busch VP Wayman Smith were among the names added to the Missouri Walk of Fame in Washington, D.C. on Friday.

At a reception in the beautiful headquarters of the National Association of Realtors, Congressmen Lacy Clay (St. Louis) and Emanuel Cleaver II (Kansas City) welcomed the Roberts Brothers, Smith, Kansas City natives Dr. Gayle Holliday, Rev. Dr. Nelson "Fuzzy" Thompson, and Freedom Inc. founder Fred Curls into the two-year-old Walk.

Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean stopped by to show his support. Retired Congressman Bill Clay, Sr. was on hand for the evening with his family. From the Missouri House of Representatives, State Rep. Melba Curls (Fred's granddaughter) and State Rep. Juanita Walton (with husband Elbert) also attended.

See more exclusive PUB DEF photos from the event at www.pubdef.net/photos/walk_of_fame

See more exclusive PUB DEF photos from this event at www.pubdef.net/photos/walk_of_fame

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VIDEO: Cleaver on Katrina: Hezbollah did a better job than U.S. Gov't

By Antonio D. French

Filed Friday, September 08, 2006 at 1:51 AM

PUB DEF is reporting this week from Washington D.C. where we are attending the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 36th Annual Legislative Conference.

This afternoon, Kansas City Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II hosted a session on "The Evolution of the Black Church and the African-American Political Experience". Cleaver's co-panelists included former Congressman Rev. Dr. Floyd Flake from New York; Rev. James T. Meeks, a state senator from Illinois; and the very popular Bishop T.D. Jakes, whose non-denominational Dallas church boasts a membership of greater than 28,000.

Cleaver stressed what he said is the need for black politicians and religious leaders to work together. He told a room of several hundred -- mostly black -- people that no matter what their religious, economic, or other demographic differences, they all face a common foe in racism.

He told a story of a rabbit who was walking along when suddenly he was shot at. The bullet narrowly missed him and he darted into the first hole he saw. Inside the hole was another rabbit. That rabbit asked the first, "What's wrong?"

"Someone's shooting at me!" he answered.

"Why?" asked the second rabbit.

"I have no idea."

"Well, I'll go have a talk with him. Wait here." And the second rabbit calmly stepped out of the hole and walked towards the hunter. "Sir, why are you shooting at my..." Boom!!! The hunter's rifle sounded off, again barely missing its target. The rabbit darted back in the hole.

"That guy's crazy!" he said. "First he shot at you and now he's shooting at me!"

"I don't think you get it," said the first rabbit. "He's not shooting at me or you. He's just shooting at 'rabbit'."

"Friends, what's happening is happening to all of us," said Cleaver.

He pointed to the images of blacks starving and begging for water in front of the Superdome in New Orleans as evidence of African-Americans being in the same second-class boat.

"One day after Hezbollah discontinued bombing Israel, Hezbollah was passing out $12,000 checks in Lebanon," said Cleaver. "[And] we couldn't do it in New Orleans."

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Parties, Parties, Parties

By Antonio D. French

To some, the Congression Black Caucus Weekend is as much about play as it is about work -- Well, actually, depending on who you talk to, those work sessions are just excuses for "partying and hooking up" afterwards -- much like the Democratic and Republican Conventions every four years. Since this reporter is happily hitched, there won't be any hooking up. But my first night in D.C. did see plenty of parties.

We started off at the Hotel Monoco where the IMPACT Group hosted a CBC party in a beautiful outdoor courtyard filled with live music and upper class black people. There we bumped into Congressman Lacy Clay and his wife. We also rubbed elbows with Cousin Jeff from BET.

We then moved over to the exclusive ticket-only Fannie Mae party at Union Station. Crossing the street on our way to the shin-dig, we passed Senator John McCain in the crosswalk, just walking alone like any other guy. In the party we ran into Clay's aide, Darryl Piggee, and his wife.

From there we headed to the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, which we were told is the second largest government building in D.C. (the Pentagon is the first). With VIP tags hanging around our neck (hey, we know people), we rubbed elbows with NAACP President Bruce Gordon and lobbyists and executives from just about every kind of corporation you can think of. We left before Ashford and Simpson took the stage for a concert sponsored by Southern Company.

Then we hit California Congresswoman Maxine Waters' invitation only party at the Fairmont Hotel (she didn't invite me, but again, I know people -- don't hate). Also in attendance were Congress members Barbara Lee, Al Green and William Jefferson (whose legal woes have made news recently). Lee Brown, former Mayor of Houston, and Mayor Johnnie Ford from Tuskegee, Alabama were also spotted. After snapping a couple of pictures of Waters (a St. Louis native whose sister was my 8th grade teacher) and Jefferson doing the Electric Slide, we split.

But before heading back to our hotel room to do a little writing, we stopped by one last party at the Hyatt Conference Hotel (sponsored by Remy Martin, no ticket necessary) and made a quick pass through Butler's Cigar Bar. On our way out, we bumped into Congressman Emanuel Cleaver from Kansas City and Congressman William Jefferson again.

And as I write this, in my pocket is a coveted ticket to one of the most exclusive parties of the week, The Black Party at D.C. hot spot, H2O Restaraunt and Lounge. But too little sleep and too many drinks mean this ticket won't get used and will instead become just another momento of one memorable night.

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The Week Ahead

By Antonio D. French

Filed Sunday, September 03, 2006 at 5:20 PM

PUB DEF will spend much of this week in Washington D.C. for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 36th Annual Legislative Conference. We will also be in our nation's capital for the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks. We hope to bring you interviews with several members of Congress and key staffers as well as video reports related to 9/11 and its continuing impact.

While away, we'll be calling upon our eyes and ears around St. Louis to keep us up on all the latest. If you'd like to be one of those eyes and/or ears, jot down this email address and this phone number:

editor@pubdef.net (email us press releases & tips)
314-518-2364 (leave tips 24 hours a day)

Also, if you've got a video camera, a steady hand (for God's sake, use a tripod), and some editing software, you are hereby deputized. Go forth and seek knowledge -- then upload it to YouTube and shoot us the link.

Also this week... I will be co-hosting an event called Tastes for Tunes: A Restaurant Event to Benefit KDHX Community Media. On Wednesday, September 6, restaurants throughout the St. Louis area will donate a percentage of their sales to benefit KDHX 88.1 FM and KDHX-TV (Channels 21 and 22 in the City).

I'll be at The Royale Food & Spirits, 3132 S. Kingshighway, and would love your help in supporting the cause. To do so, all you need to do is show up and eat! (Pretty easy, huh?)

Come between 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. for good food, get your picture taken, whisper some tips in my ear, and help support independent community media in St. Louis.

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Thomas Jefferson Days start Friday

By Antonio D. French

Filed Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 8:04 AM

The St Louis County Democratic Central Committee will hold its 25th Annual Thomas Jefferson Days Celebration this weekend, May 19-20.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and Prosecutor Bob McCulloch are sponsoring a cocktail party on Friday at 5:00. Chairman John Bowman, Vice Chair Connie Johnson, and other members of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus will be welcoming guests Friday and Saturday night in their hospitality room, Suite 815.

The fundraising and networking event will be at the Doubletree Hotel St. Louis at Westport at Page and I-270. Click here to download a PDF of the schedule of events.

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Republicans praise ousted Caucus chair

By Antonio D. French

Filed Friday, April 14, 2006 at 3:35 PM

RightMissouri.com, a Republican blog, has praised the former chair and vice-chair of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus for their support of a bill that would trade tax credits for the funding private education.

"Huge kudos go out to State Reps. Ted 'Kick Their Butts' Hoskins and Rodney Hubbard -- both St. Louis Dems and the only Dems in Missouri with an ounce of principle and conviction," said the blog.

PUB DEF was the first to report yesterday that the Black Caucus, by a vote of 11-3, voted Hoskins out of its chairmanship. Hoskins, who sources say chose not to attend the meeting where the vote took place, was replaced by State Rep. John Bowman. Hubbard resigned his vice-chairmanship before a vote could be taken to remove him. He was replaced by State Rep. Connie Johnson.

The blog also quotes an article in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Hoskins commented only briefly Thursday, saying that he has decided to leave the caucus entirely. 'They don't do nothing, so I won't be missing anything,' he said."

Several members of the Black Caucus have told PUB DEF that the change in leadership is the best thing that could have happened for the group. They said that Hoskins' leadership style and questionable fundraising tactics had tarnished the group's reputation and steered them in a direction away from their primary mission.

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Black Caucus shake-up

By Antonio D. French

Filed Thursday, April 13, 2006 at 8:42 AM


By a vote of 11-3 last night, the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus has replaced State Rep. Ted Hoskins (D-80) as its chairperson.

Hoskins, who has drawn criticism from some fellow Democrats for his leadership style and his strong support of a "school choice" bill (labeled by many as a "school vouchers" bill), was replaced by State Rep. John Bowman (D-70). Bowman will serve out the rest of Hoskins' chairman term.

According to sources, State Rep. Rodney Hubbard (D-58), also a co-sponsor of the controversial school funding measure, "saw the handwriting on the wall" and resigned as Vice-Chairman before to the vote to remove Hoskins. State Rep. Connie Johnson (D-61) was elected Vice-Chairman.

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McCaskill meets with Black Caucus [Updated]

By Antonio D. French

Filed Wednesday, April 12, 2006 at 6:00 AM

State Auditor Claire McCaskill met with members of the Missouri Legislatve Black Caucus Tuesday to discuss her campaign for U.S. Senate. But sources say McCaskill's real challenge was to mend fences from her 2004 run for governor.

Some black elected officials felt that McCaskill was not a good friend to those that supported her when she was an underdog in that contentious primary race. State Rep. Amber Boykins was one of those that supported McCaskill against then-Gov. Bob Holden. But McCaskill has refused to support Boykins in her race for State Senate.

Others felt that the state auditor, along with the Missouri Democratic Party, undermined the influence of black elected officials by looking to black preachers and certain non-profit organizations to get out the vote in their home districts.

Sources tell PUB DEF that McCaskill expressed her wish that the elected officials would put all of their differences aside for the sake of the party and getting one more Democrat in the Senate.

UPDATE: Part of McCaskill's effort to mend fences apparently includes hiring staffers who worked for her 2004 opponent.

Present at Tuesday's meeting with the Black Caucus was Brandon Davis, the former political director for Gov. Holden's failed re-election campaign. In a press release sent out today, McCaskill formally announced that Davis would now be her political director.

In the same release, McCaskill announced that Richard Martin would be her campaign manager. Martin served as Holden's campaign manager in 2000. He was also the Executive Director for the Missouri Democratic Party from 1993-96 and State Director for the Clinton-Gore Campaign in 1996. His last job was as Director of Tax Policy for Sprint.

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The 23rd Annual Wine and Roses Ball

The 23rd Annual Wine and Roses Ball

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