Your $7.00 monthly contribution will go a long way to helping us expand the coverage and services you enjoy.
GET THE LATEST PUBDEF NEWS 24/7:
ABOUT PUB DEF
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.
Do you have
a press release, news tip or rumor to share?
The Missouri Republican Party today slammed the Democrats for three elected officials' hig-profile run-ins with the law.
From the GOP press release:
In a stunning miscarriage of justice, Democrat Sen. Chuck Graham will not face the same mandatory revocation of his driver’s license that other Missourians would face after being convicted of drunken driving. Meanwhile, Democrat Rep. John Bowman is set to plead guilty in St. Louis on federal fraud charges while Democrat Jeff Smith is in court in Cooper County over his illegal entry to a Missouri casino.
“Missouri Democrats are a disgrace for violating the very laws they are sworn to uphold on behalf of hard-working Missourians. It is disturbing to most Missourians that an ever-increasing number of Democrat lawmakers are being exposed as lawbreakers,” said Paul Sloca, communications director for the Missouri Republican Party. “With their ongoing pattern of malfeasance, Missouri Democrats are the last people Missourians want to hear a lecture from regarding the behavior of elected officials. Even more disturbing is that the head of the Democrat Party, Jay Nixon, is the attorney general of the state.”
The Columbia Daily-Tribune reports that after a two-minute hearing, Boone County Associate Circuit Judge Carol England reinstated Graham’s license even though a mandatory suspension of his license is required because he refused a Breathalyzer test. Ironically, Graham serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee that hears bills proposing new Missouri laws.
“Obviously, there is one justice system for Democrats like Chuck Graham and another justice system for average, hard-working Missourians,” Sloca said.
Smith, who was charged last year for using a fellow Democrat lawmaker’s identification to enter the Isle of Capri casino in Boonville, is facing a hearing in Cooper County today on those charges. Democrat Joe Aull, who provided the identification to Smith, is scheduled for his hearing in February. Smith also serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Jeff Smith violated the law and now he must face the consequences, although Smith has spent months hiding behind his attorney’s legal maneuvering,” Sloca said.
The Turner Report today says that Bowman is going to change his plea from not guilty to guilty for his role in a bank and credit card fraud scheme in U.S. District Court. Bowman was indicted for agreeing to a scheme in which a bank executive took a lending program which provided money to small businesses by offering a $25,000 credit limit, then arranged with Bowman and others to apply for the loans, often with fictitious companies, in which the executive received kickbacks ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 on each loan. Incredibly, Bowman serves on the House Budget Committee which handles taxpayer dollars.
“John Bowman broke the public trust and must be punished as any other Missourian would be punished. Democrats must realize that they are not above the law,” Sloca said.
UPDATE: The Missouri Republican Party's response to the Dems new video game:
"While Democrats prefer to spend their time and donor resources on frivolous pursuits in a make-believe world, Governor Blunt and Republicans are focused on real world concerns like improving the quality of life for all Missourians, which is certainly no game.
"Missourians want grownups running the state, not children, which is why Republicans continue to be so successful and Democrats continue to play political games instead of offering solutions."
Democrat Mike Garman made his bid for the 2nd District Congressional seat official today. The office is currently held by Republican Todd Akin. Garman is the Vice Chairman of the St. Charles County Ambulance District, and he says his campaign will focus heavily on health care issues.
From the press release:
Mike currently holds elected office as Vice Chairman of the Saint Charles County Ambulance District and is the 6th District Director. The 6th District covers parts of Saint Peters and O’Fallon, as well as Lake Saint Louis, Wentzville and Foristell.
Healthcare will be a major issue for Garman’s campaign. With 19 years of experience in the field, Mike is acutely aware of the medical needs facing residents of his district and is an impressive advocate for patients. He noted recent changes in medical insurance that have placed an ever-increasing burden on the elderly and their families.
“Access to the prevention, treatment, and management of disease must be a right, not a privilege,” Garman said. “When I’m elected, I’ll make sure affordable healthcare is available to the good people of the 2nd Congressional District and everyone living in our nation.”
Mike is currently a Radiologic Technologist for Saint John’s Mercy and specializes in Urgent Care Diagnostic Imaging.
Just a couple of days after opening a campaign office here, Senator Barack Obama will be in St. Louis today at a rally at Union Station.
Organizers say they are undertered by the sprinkles of rain. "I think it's going to be a great crowd and a great event," said Mike Dorsey, the Obama campaign's state director for Missouri. "Rain or shine, we're fired up and ready to go!"
Doors open for the St. Louis "Countdown to Change" rally will at 5:00 PM at the south parking lot of Union Station. Tickets are $25 ($15 for students).
Also tonight, city Democrats — young and old — will be putting on the make-up and wigs for their annual Halloween Party.
The St. Louis Democratic Central Committee and the Young Democrats of Greater St. Louis host their annual party tonight from 6:00 to 10:00 PM at the Glazier's Union Hall, 5916 Wilson Ave. (Southeast of Hampton and I 44). Tickets are a less-than-frightening $15 per person.
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards will address the National Urban League conference being held at the America’s Center this week. The conference goes from Wednesday the 25th through Saturday the 21st, with the candidates scheduled to address attendees Friday morning.
Local Edwards supporters will hold a rally outside of the Center, at the corner of 7th Street and Convention Plaza, on Friday at 8:00 a.m.
UPDATE: Speaking of John Edwards, here's a video of him receiving a "Father of the Year" award in New York last month. You'll notice he's introduced by none other than St. Louis Cardinals great Ozzie Smith.
Press release from the Missouri Democratic Party...
Blunt’s 2nd Quarter Finance Plan: Sell State Government for $478,250 in Campaign Contributions
Jefferson City, MO --- Less than a year after getting rid of campaign contribution limits in Missouri, Gov. Blunt’s fundraising strategy is becoming crystal clear: sell off state government piece by piece in exchange for unlimited campaign contributions.
This quarter alone, Gov. Blunt raked in $478,250 in contributions from appointees to state boards and commissions; fee office operators or their families; companies with state government contracts; and even the railroad company to which he gave rights to the Boonville Bridge. A glance at Blunt’s quarterly report reads a little like the old American Express commercials:
Selling Booneville Bridge Rights to Union Pacific: $25,000 (in campaign contributions)
Selling Appointments to Boards and Commissions: $130,500
Selling lucrative fee offices: $80,250
Selling state government contracts: $242,500
Total sale of state government to campaign donors in 2nd quarter alone: $478,250
Selling your integrity: Priceless.
"In his zest to fill his campaign coffers, Matt Blunt has continued to sell state government to special interests and wealthy corporations at the expense of Missouri families," said Jack Cardetti, Missouri Democratic Party spokesman. "Missourians deserve a governor who will restore integrity to state government by focusing on health care and college affordability, instead of auctioning off state government to the highest campaign contributor."
Sources tell Pub Def that Ken Franklin will be named Executive Director of the Missouri Democratic Party later today.
Franklin is currently an aide to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and a former state party staffer. He will be the first African-American to ever hold the influential position.
Check back later for more...
UPDATE: Over the course of several months, a field of 32 potential candidates for the E.D. job was cut down to 16, then 5, then just 3. Of those three candidates, according to Missouri Democratic Party Chairman John Temporiti, Franklin was the unanimous choice of state party officials.
Readers will recall that there was speculation that the sudden resignation of Democratic Party Chairman Roger Wilson back in January was the result of a clash between him, the Legislative Black Caucus, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, and Attorney General and Gubernatorial candidate Jay Nixon over who should be the next E.D.
According to sources, all sides agreed that it was time for an African-American director, but who?
Brandon Davis, McCaskill's former political director, interviewed for the job and actively lobbied officials for weeks. But Wilson told Black Caucus members "no way" on Davis.
But it was the manner and tone in which Wilson told the Caucus "no" that some speculate quickly led to his resignation.
In February, Davis accepted a job as political director for the SEIU MO/KS State Council, taking his name out of the running for E.D. (and saving Wilson from embarrassment should Davis had been appointed despite his stern objections).
Today's appointment of Franklin both satisfies one promise to the strongest part of the Democrats' base and places the Party in the hands of a capable, well-liked director who may be able to build bridges across the state to help the Democrats retake the Governor's office next year.
UPDATE 2: It's official. At 12:45 p.m. the Missouri Democratic Party sent out the following press release.
The Missouri Democratic Party today announced that Ken Franklin from St. Louis will be the party's new Executive Director. The selection was made by Party Chairman John Temporiti and approved by the Missouri Democratic Party's Executive Committee at the quarterly state party meeting today in Jefferson City. Franklin has served since May 2005 as St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay's Deputy Legislative Director and formerly ran Gov. Bob Holden's St. Louis office. Along with his experience in government, Franklin has also served as Political Director for Mayor Slay's successful 2005 re-election, Base Vote Director for Sen. Jean Carnahan's 2002 campaign, and Press Aid for Freeman Bosley, Jr.'s 2001 mayoral campaign. He has also participated in the St. Louis RCGA's Public Policy Council and the St. Louis Downtown Partnership's Legislative Affairs Committee. Franklin previously worked at the Missouri Democratic Party from 2001-2002 as the Director of Voter Outreach. "Ken's experience both in government and politics in Missouri make him the ideal choice to continue the momentum the Missouri Democratic Party has built over the last election," said John Temporiti, Missouri Democratic Party Chairman. "Ken brings both the background and enthusiasm to help Missouri Democrats win up and down the ticket in 2008 and beyond." Ken graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia with a degree in political science. Before entering government and politics, Franklin taught social studies and language arts for two years at Holy Cross School in St. Louis. Ken lives with his wife and one-year-old daughter in St. Louis, where his father, Robert, is a pastor. He replaces Corey Dillon who left in February to join the U.S. Senate office of Claire McCaskill. Franklin will be the first ever African-American Executive Director of the Missouri Democratic Party when he starts work the week of May 14.
NEW HQ, OLD BS -- St. Louis City Democrats will be opening their new temporary headquarters Thursday to stage campaign activities for the November general election. The new digs will be located in the St. Louis Marketplace on Manchester. Interesting location, considering the gigantic failure of leadership that the Marketplace represents to so many locals.
Developed in 1992 with the use of eminent domain, $15 million of public money, and a familiar promise to "spur development," most of its life has been spent near vacant and as an ugly reminder of what happens when BS from overly optimistic politicians doesn't line up with the reality of Joe and Jane Public, who haven't dropped much dough at the Marketplace in over a decade.
The Dems better hope Joe and Jane are more generous with their actual votes than they are with their dollar votes.
BETTER ON DAY TWO -- St. Louis Public Schools reports nearly 84% of students expected to attend school today were in the classroom. These Day Two numbers reflect a big boost from the 72% attendance on Day One.
"We are certainly pleased to see an increase in the attendance for day two," said Interim Superintendent Diana Bourisaw in a statement released to the media. She added that district leaders still want "all of our kids in school tomorrow."
The total enrollment for St. Louis Public Schools today was 27,620 compared with the first day enrollment of 23,558.
SHE'S STILL GOT GALL! -- Jamilah Nasheed, who is running unopposed in north St. Louis' 60th State Rep District after winning the primary three weeks ago, is recuperating tonight after having her gallbladder removed earlier today. We're told she came through the surgery fine and was back on her cell phone within the hour. Bladder or not, we're sure Nasheed's trademark boldness and "gall" will be back to full strength in no time.
Fight May be Brewing for City Dems Chairman Post, Committee Meets Tonight
By Antonio D. French
As the Democratic committee-men and -women of the City of St. Louis prepare to gather tonight to elect their officers, rumors are circulating about a possible battle for the top spot of that occasionally influential body.
Some are suggesting a challenge to the chairmanship of 7th Ward Committeeman Brian Wahby will come from the northside -- possibly from the 1st Ward.
When reached by phone, 1st Ward Committeeman Talibdin El-Amin said that he definitely would not be seeking the chairmanship. But Mr. El-Amin would not say whether his wife, Committeewoman and outgoing State Rep. Yaphett El-Amin, would be seeking the office.
Mrs. El-Amin could not be reached for comment, but her name has come up most frequently when we called around on this story. Considering some of the still fresh wounds from her campaign for the state senate, which ended last week in a loss to upstart Jeff Smith, it isn't clear if she would have enough support even among northside black committee members to stage a strong challenge.
Wahby said he isn't worried. "I'm pretty confident in my support," he told PUB DEF.
Tonight's meeting at The Cedars, 39 Lebanon Drive, at 6:00 p.m. will also try to serve as an after-Primary "coming together" to begin to heal those wounds in the name of making a strong push for the Democrats' statewide nominees -- most notably U.S. Senate candidate Claire McCaskill.
Many of last Tuesday's Primary winners have been invited to attend tonight's meeting, including: the next License Collector, Mike McMillan; the next Collector of Revenue, Gregory F.X. Daly; the next 60th District State Rep, Jamilah Nasheed; and the next 4th District State Senator, Jeff Smith.
VIDEO: Dems Mingle at The Royale, Carnahan Rallies the Troops
By Antonio D. French
Friday, August 04, 2006 at 10:05 AM
Elected Democrats and Democrats trying to get elected took some time last night to relax, loosen the neckties, and mingle.
The Young Democrats of Greater St. Louis hosted the "meet and greet" at the popular southside bar, The Royale. Among those politicos that came out: Congressman Russ Carnahan; former Carnahan opponent, state senate candidate Jeff Smith; current Smith opponents Derio Gambaro and State Rep. Amber Boykins; State Rep candidates Jake Zimmerman, Bill Haas and Joe Palm; State Reps Jeanette Mott Oxford and Rachel Storch; State Senator Pat Dougherty; "Collector" running mates Gregory F.X. Daly and Mike McMillan; and others [See the video]. From the blogosphere: Larry Handlin, Travis Reems, Doug Duckworth, and local vlogging pioneer Bill Streeter.
One of the highlights of the night was a speech by Carnahan, who talked about the Democrats' need to come together after the primary elections in order to "fire" Republican Sen. Jim Talent and take back control of Congress.
"There's a long list of reasons to fire his ass," said Carnahan standing on a chair on the bar's back lawn. "Not to mention the fact that he beat my mother -- but I'll set that one to the side," he joked, referring to Jean Carnahan's 2002 loss to Talent.
LATE STARTER BUILDING STEAM? Former Ald. Sharon Tyus announced over the weekend that she had accumulated several endorsements in her bid to re-enter politics as State Rep from the 60th District. Third Ward Committeepeople Lucinda Frazier and Johnny Saddler; 4th Ward Committeepeople Norma Leggett and James Clayborne; 18th Ward Committeepeople Ernestine Hill and Jessie Todd; and 21st Ward Committeeman Arthur "Chink" Washington, according to Tyus, have all backed her campaign against activist and frontrunner Jamilah Nasheed, former State Rep. Bob Bartlett, and Shaun Simms, husband to the current state rep, Amber Boykins.
DEM YUNGSTAS The College Democrats of America (CDA) are holding their national convention at Saint Louis University starting this Thursday. There will be speeches given by DNC Chairman Howard Dean, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, retired General Wesley Clark, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, Congressman Russ Carnahan, Congressman William Lacy Clay, and CDA's national leaders. This is the first time the College Democrats will have their stand alone convention outside of Washington DC.
OFF THE HOOK? The last vestiges of Mayor Slay's three-year control of St. Louis Public Schools went out the door with the exit of former Superintendent Creg Williams last week. For many, the manner of Williams' departure lets both him and the mayor off the hook when the consequences of their and the Darnetta Clinkscale-led school board's decisions start to show. Williams leaves smelling like a rose with a quarter million dollar parachute and Slay gets to say all the coming problems are the fault of the new board majority. Game, set, match. Nicely played, Mr. Mayor.
EXCUSE OUR SLACKING Campaign finance reports will be rolling in today and in the coming days. Click here to look up how much a Missouri candidate is raising and who's giving money to who. We're a little distracted by this schools stuff and probably won't get a chance to analyze the reports until later in the week. If you spot something fishy, or at least interesting, post a comment about it here or shoot us an email at email@example.com.
In a state that has elected more dead Democrats to statewide office than black Democrats, the question should be asked: Does the Democratic Party take black voters and elected officials for granted?
That's the question radio show Lizz Brown is discussing this morning with State Sen. Maida Coleman; State Reps. Connie Johnson and John Bowman; and Ald. Charles Q. Troupe. Listen to the show on WGNU 920-AM until 10:00 a.m. Or listen online at www.WGNU.net.
Congressmen Lacy Clay (D-1) and Russ Carnahan (D-3) will join 16 other Democratic members of Congress from five central states for what is being billed as a first-ever, regional e-townhall meeting.
Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., Congresspeople from Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Kansas and Indiana will team up to take e-mail questions on issues such as homeland security, the war in Iraq, rising gas prices, rising healthcare costs, college affordability, and immigration.
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.
Last chance to register early for College Dems convention at SLU
By Antonio D. French
Monday, April 24, 2006 at 2:31 PM
Early Registration for the 2006 College Democrats of America National Convention ends today. College Dems from across the country will converge on the campus of St. Louis University from July 20-23 for this annual event.
CDA Conventioners will hear from DNC Chairman Howard Dean and will receive trainings and participate in networking events. Interested parties can register early at http://convention.collegedems.com. Early registration is $40. Housing for Thursday through Saturday nights is $105 to $125.
15th Ward Democrats will be hosting a forum tonight for all the candidates in running in the August Primary election. The event is open to the public and will be at the Carpenter Branch Library (corner of S. Grand and Utah) at 7:30 p.m.
And via the Ecology of Absence blog: The Preservation Board will consider the demolition application for 30 homes in Forest Park Southeast at its meeting at 4:00 p.m. The location is 1015 Locust Street, 12th floor.
State Auditor and candidate for U.S. Senate Claire McCaskill will be speaking to the Washington University Young Democrats this evening at Friedman Lounge on Wash U's campus. The event is open to the public and starts at 8:00 p.m.