Monday, February 28, 2011

Ed Martin's Inaugural Obamacare Hearing

Ed Martin, Republican candidate for US Senate in Missouri, hosted the first in a series of Obamacare Hearings in downtown St. Louis near the Arch in mid-February. Participants in the panel discussion included Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, Phyllis Schlafly, and Bill Hennessy.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Photos from the Jeff City Tea Party

St. Louis Tea Party photographer JD Wilson sent in the pictures above from rally in Jefferson City. Today's event brought together conservatives from across the Show Me State to stand together with Gov. Walker of Wisconsin. The GatewayPundit (Jim Hoft) and Rep. Todd Akin were among the all-star cast of conservative speakers. A Traditional Life Lived covered the event live. GatewayPundit also has a post up: Face-Off at Missouri State Capitol- MoveOn Forced to Move Over. Look for more later!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

March on the State Capital

Photo from Camdenton Tea Party's trip to Wisconsin 
The left via and OFA are organizing protests in Jefferson City this Saturday, so the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition is joining the call from Tea Party and 9-12 groups across the state to counter protest on the capital steps.

When: 10:30AM Saturday, February 26th
Where: Steps of the Capitol Building in Jefferson City

Speakers are still being scheduled for Saturday. We will meet about 10:30AM to stake out our ground. The rally is scheduled to for noon. Bring signs, banners, and bottled water/snacks.

We have to draw the line now before the fiscal problems in the country worsen. With Right-to-Work (RTW) legislation pending in Missouri, we have to support our conservative legislators. We can do that Saturday as we stand with fellow patriots from around the state to show our support for Gov. Scott Walker and the conservative legislators of Wisconsin who are trying to restore fiscal sanity.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Union Protester "Gets Elbowed" in St. Louis

The always entertaining confronted the organizer of a union protest outside of Claire McCaskill's office Wednesday afternoon. Sharp's got the documents that show 1) the organizer used his .gov email address to coordinate with the protesters and 2) instructed the protesters NOT to use their government email accounts to respond. Nothin' like organizing for more of your money on your dime.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Good Governance for the St. Louis Police

"In questions of power, then, let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." -- Thomas Jefferson

Last November the people of St. Louis voted to return control of the St. Louis Police Department to the city of St. Louis. Jamilah Nasheed and Speaker of the House Steve Tilley introduced HB 71 which would return local control by striking the existing state statute that establishes the Board of Police Commissioners in the city of St. Louis, but leaves intact the Board of Police Commissioners in Kansas City. The five member board which includes the mayor would be replaced by the structure defined in the St. Louis City Charter. Instead of the Police Chief answering to the board of commissioners, the chief would answer to the Police Commissioner who answers to the Director of Public Safety who reports to the Mayor.

This governing structure is inadequate for the city of St. Louis. First, the addition of two layers of beauracracy between the Mayor and Police Chief guarantees that the Mayor will never be held accountable for problems with the police department. Since those bureaucrats serve at the Mayor's discretion, they are easily scapegoated and dismissed in the event of bad press. Second, eliminating the board would politicize the police department. The state controled police board helps to ward off the political influence exerted by the city's aldermen.

Now I want to contrast this with the core argument put forth by the other side:
If one thinks the people of St Louis City can be trusted with their own PD then they should be sufficient oversight. If one believes that the people of St Louis City can't be trusted with oversight of their own PD, then what oversight would work?
I've seen that repeatedly from United for Missouri. They're implying that you must not trust the voters of St. Louis if you do not support HB 71. The irony is that supporters of the bill, like United for Missouri, have repeatedly shown that they do not trust St. Louis voters. First, they did this by circumscribing with statute the police pension fund. Apparently, United for Missouri does not trust the voters of St. Louis and their elected Alderman, like Quincy Troupe, with the pension fund. This past Thursday, an amendment was added to the bill making it a felony for police officers to make arrests at gun shows if the officer is in plain clothes. The purpose is to prevent the sort of stings that anti-gun zealots like Mayor Bloomberg in NYC have tried, but again this amendment demonstrates that supporters of HB 71 do not trust the voters of St. Louis and their duly elected Mayor.

In the previous paragraph I am poking fun at United for Missouri because I know that they do trust the voters of St. Louis; however, they temper that trust with legislation designed to foster good governance. This is an implicit indication on their part that the state does have an obligation to define good public institutions. This principal is also implied in Article 4 Section 4 of the US Constitution which guarantees a republican form of government to the states.

My chief complaint about HB 71 is that it fails to do that. It fails to define a reasonable path to local control and merely removes the board of police commissioners causing control to revert to the city charter (see my recommendation at the end of this post). The resulting mess will take years to sort out (for instance, do the St. Louis Airport Police get folded into the St. Louis city police force). It also creates lengthy bureaucratic hierarchies that prevent elected officials from being held accountable.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Steve Tilley's Astroturf at Lincoln Days

Speaker of the Missouri House, Steve Tilley (R), is fertilizing some astroturf at this weekend's Lincoln Days event. Last December he offered to help cover the part of the cost of St. Louis area Young Replicans if they would agree to wear a Tilley t-shirt. In light of Tilley's recent association with the New Black Panther Party, I'm looking for photographs of attendees wearing the complete ensemble: both the Tilley t-shirt and a black beret. Extra credit will be given to anyone that gets a photo of Tilley diving behind a table to avoid beret wearing "supporters".

The Wisconsin Political Trainwreck

It looks like there may be a high political price for Democrats to pay for the public union protests in Madison:
Politico’s Ben Smith and Maggie Haberman report this morning on how the unions’ high-risk Wisconsin strategy may come at a potentially steep cost: “Some strategists and labor officials watching the protest conflagration from the outside are beginning to fret that a large-scale defeat in Wisconsin will have a devastating ripple effect, weakening labor state by state throughout the rest of the country.”

Missouri AG Chris Koster Considering Healthcare Lawsuit

Missouri AG Chris Koster (D) is considering joining the lawsuits that have been brought by other states against Obamacare. MissouriNet reports on the story and has audio from an interview with Koster:
Koster has told Missourinet affiliate KWIX that he expects to make a decision in the next few weeks about whether Missouri should join the legal challenge of the health care law.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Busing Union Protesters in WI

A friend emailed the picture to the right of union protesters in Masison, WI, getting on school buses after a long day of protests. With the schools closed due to union protests, I guess the children didn't need 'em. President Obama's has, of course, sided with the unions, so perhaps his Organizing For America is financing those buses. Below are more pictures of union members waiting for and getting onto buses.

John Fund has written about the protests in The Wall Street Journal and indicates in his closing paragraph that similar protests may be coming to Missouri:
Mr. Walker's argument—that public workers shouldn't be living high off the hog at the expense of taxpayers—is being made in other states facing budget crises. But the left observed the impact of the tea party last year and seems determined to unleash a more aggressive version of its own by teaming up with union allies. Organizing for America is already coordinating protests against proposed reforms in Ohio, Michigan and Missouri.

Update: Thanks to Gateway Pundit for the link! I got an email from my source for the photos. The email reads:
Pics were taken at the corner of Wisconsin Ave. and E. Dayton St. near Madison Concourse Hotel just before 6pm not only did I see new buses in the pics but older model buses were picking up protesters with most wearing red shirts. Wish I could have got more information but as I said last night I wasn't exactly welcome...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Steve Tilley's Dereliction of Duty

Jamilah Nasheed and Steve Tilley's local control bill, HB 71, was "perfected" Thursday and is scheduled to be voted on next Tuesday. The bill would strike the existing state statute that establishes the five member police board in St. Louis. As a result, control of the police department would revert to the structure specified in the St. Louis city charter.

A little history sheds a lot of light on the issue of Local Control of the St. Louis Police Department and why the pending legislation in Jefferson City is a dereliction of duty on the part of the GOP leadership, and Speaker Tilley in particular.

In 1861, the Confederacy sympathizing Governor of Missouri, Claiborne Jackson, seized control of the police in both St. Louis and Kansas City out of fear that they would be used by the Union. St. Louis and Kansas City both sympathized with the Union. Jackson's power grab was a clear abuse of power and violation of the principals of local governmental control. It needs to be undone, but not in the negligent fashion currently being proposed.

Most municipalities in the Show Me state are part of a county. County government provides a check to balance the police powers of their subordinate municipalities. The problem is an ancient one: who watches the watchmen, who polices the police. A few weeks ago I posted video of Gary Fuhr talking about the role of counties in balancing municipal police powersIn 1876, the people of the city of St. Louis voted to leave the county of St. Louis. St. Louis city is not part of a county; therefore, there is no offsetting check to balance the city's police powers. Tilley's support for Local Control and his parliamentary maneuvers to pass it show a disregard for good governance.

If HB 71 passes and Local Control is returned to the city of St. Louis, control of the police will revert to the structure specified in the St. Louis city charter. Ah, the city charter, ancient hallowed document that's almost a hundred years old. The charter was adopted in 1914. The police were under state control in 1914. Nonetheless, the charter provides that the Police Department be directed by a Police Commissioner who serves at the discretion of the Director of Public Safety an existing position effectively putting two additional layers of appointed, patronage bureaucrats between the elected Mayor and the police chief.

A setup like this was tried once before in KC. It empowered the Pendergast machine and was eventually undone when Missouri's Attorney General stepped in to clean out the corruption. This structure is also similar to the setup in the Windy City. Of course, Chicago has a bit of a reputation for corruption. The patronage system there probably helped misplace the recordings of Rahm Emmanuel.

What is lost if HB 71 passes are the four St. Louis civilians on the police board. Local Control will shield the Mayor from accountability with bureaucracy and remove citizen oversight of the police while adding a plum patronage position for the Mayor to appoint. In short, Jefferson City is trying to cut St. Louis city loose to sink or swim on its own; however, one party machine politics in the city combined with a poor governing structure will ensure that the city stews in its own political juices.

Each successively higher level of government, each larger governmental jurisdiction, has a moral obligation of good governance to its smaller jurisdictional subdivisions. The problem with the pending Local Control legislation is that it abdicates this responsibility. That is why Steve Tilley's support of Local Control is a dereliction of duty. As speaker of the Missouri House, he has a duty to "do no harm", a duty to ensure that the governing structure of the police department has minimal political influence, appropriate civilian oversight, and Mayoral accountability while the police themselves are unhindered by politics in their public safety role.

A Path to Local Control

The St. Louis Tea Party has not come to a consensus on local control for the city; however, I do have an idea of how to get there from here. I'm opposed to the pending legislation because, like Governor Claiborne Jackson's seizure of the police department and the city-county split, I think it's ill conceived and poorly thought out legislation that will have significant negative consequences. My first priority in a return of local control is to define a workable system in advance of removing state control. Here's what I would like to see.

St. Louis county's police force is currently overseen by a police board. I would like to see that board granted jurisdiction over St. Louis city's police department. This provides the check on the city's police power that offsets the check currently provided by the state. Obviously, the St. Louis county board would need to be modified to include city representation. Ideally that would include both St. Louis civilian and Mayoral roles on the county board. Because at least three jurisdictions are involved (St. Louis city, county, and the state of Missouri), this will be a politically hard road to take; however, there is interest in the area for a city-county merger. I see this as a down payment on that merger.

In fact, I believe that a city-county merger will be more successful if it is orchestrated in a piecemeal fashion like this. An incremental approach enables the county and the city to consider the pluses and minuses of each step of the integration.

Chip Wood for St. Louis County Assessor

"Chip" L. K. Wood (R) met with myself and a few other members of the St. Louis Tea Party Thursday evening. Chip has stepped up to run for the office. He has a lifetime of experience as a realtor in the St. Louis area. Mark Reardon interviewed Chip and his opponent Jake Zimmerman (D) Thursday afternoon.

I plan to post video over the weekend.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why has Missouri House Leadership aligned with the New Black Panthers?

Over the past month, St. Louis Tea Party bloggers have made their case against local control of the city's police department. Bill Hennessy set forth that the US Constitution grants no standing to political divisions smaller than a state. Numerous arguments have been made at ranging from the principled, (Who Polices the Police?) to the pragmatic (St. Louis Police Pension: A Pot of Gold) and everything in between (State Control of the City of St. Louis?).

A vote on the local control bill (HB 71) could come as early as today, 2/17/2011.

The Speaker of the Missouri House, Steve Tilley, has been a leading advocate for local control of the St. Louis Police Department. In his zeal to pass local control, he's gone so far as to appoint an ally of the New Black Panther Party to a House leadership position. As committees were formed, Tilley assigned Jamilah Nasheed (pictured below) to chair Urban Issues. That's the same committee to which he later assigned the Local Control bill. This raises serious questions about Tilley's judgement.

Make no mistake, this is not about Rep. Nasheed who's personal story ranges from tragic to redemptive. If the people of Missouri's 60th house district want her to represent them, so be it. However, that does not mean that a Missouri House dominated by Republicans should place her in a leadership position. Speaker Tilley has demonstrated a lack of judgement and opportunistic leadership in his rush to get the Local Control bill passed.

From left: Jamalah Rogers, Talibdin El Amin, Jamilah Nasheed, and an unidentified member of the New Black Panthers

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dana Loesch at CPAC

From 2011 CPAC People
Dana Loesch, talk show host, contributor to CNN, and co-founder of the St. Louis Tea Party, spoke at the 2011 CPAC meeting in Washington, DC about the state of journalism. She emphasized new media and the role of the new minuteman in gathering, reporting, and distributing emerging news stories. While she credits by name Patch at P/OedPatriot, Rob Brenner, and myself, the three of us are only examples. Her highest praise is for the countless contributors laboring behind the scenes. I've met many these new minutemen through As a Mom as well as Tea Party events: Gretchen, Molly, and Angie over at MissouriEducationWatchdog, Jacque who discovered a neighbor in need and a breaking story, Arlene who emails me news tips... These and many, many others are the new minutemen.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rep. Allen West (R-FL) at CPAC

From 2011 CPAC People

I took the picture above during Rep. Allen West's (R-FL) keynote speech at this year's CPAC gathering in Washington, DC. The video below is of the first ten minutes of that speech. His complete speech is available at (free registration required).

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Andrew Breitbart on Pigford at #CPAC

Andrew Breitbart was taking questions about the Pigford case at CPAC. Above is the video I got of him answering those questions.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mitt Romney Flirts with Presidential Run in #CPAC Speech

Mitt Romney speaking at CPAC 2011
Mitt Romney alluded to a possible 2012 presidential run in his Friday morning speech at CPAC. The speech also included several good one-liners; however, he oddly omitted the crowning achievement of his tenure as governor of the Bay State. There was no mention of Massachusetts state paid healthcare system.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dana Loesch Speaks about New Media at #CPAC

Co-founder of the St. Louis Tea Party Dana Loesch speaks at CPAC
Dana Loesch joined a panel at the 2011 CPAC conference to expound on the role of new media in journalism. Earlier in the day, CNN announced that Loesch would be joining them as a political contributor.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The St. Louis Police Pension Fund: A Model for the Nation

There's a battle brewing in Jefferson City over "local control" of the St. Louis Police Department. It's a local issue that is always played out at the state level because of the history of St. Louis. In 1861, the state government seized control of the police forces in both St. Louis and Kansas City out of fear that those police would be used by the union against confederate interests.

The fear today comes from St. Louis policemen that worry that their pension will be looted by city hall. Those fears are justified given that city government has tried desperately to cut corners on the firefighters pension and, as the video above illustrates, at least one Alderman has designs on the police pension fund. The city is trying to strong-arm local control through in Jefferson City.

While that battle is being fought, the news story that isn't getting any play is the strength of the St. Louis Police Pension Fund. Day after day we hear about the problems of public employee pensions, but here's an example of a fund that has been run well. The fact that city government is walled off from the pension by the state is a strong argument for leaving the current oversight structure in place.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Soup Line at Claire McCaskill's Office

JD sent in some pictures he took at today's Soup Line protest in front of Claire McCaskill's office in St. Louis. In the picture above, Bill Hennessy is carrying the colors for the group. The Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft, was the point person on this protest. Over at his blog, you can see a picture of him ladling soup for the protesters. The message of today's protest was that Senator Claire McCaskill's efforts to discourage the DNC from choosing St. Louis to host their 2012 convention has cost the city both jobs and tax revenue. Patch Adams and Michelle Moore provided video coverage of today's festivities. Patch's video coverage is on his blog P/Oed Patriot. As always, Michelle covered the event live on both Twitter and UStream.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Federalism in Education

Kudos to Gretchen and Kasey for leading the fight for education reform. They're featured in the video above that was produced by the Heritage Foundation. Gretchen blogs at Missouri Education Watchdog.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Socialist Underpinnings of Egyptian Revolution

Over at The Graph, Brooks Bayne has written about The Socialist Roots Of The Egyptian Protests:
These Egyptian grassroots political activists, most of them socialist/Marxist/unionist, used the momentum of the recent “revolution” in Tunisia to kick-off their January 25th protests. But who was behind the protests in Tunisia? Were the same people responsible there? If you look at the people who were appointed to the new Tunisian government, that should be obvious. Socialists.
Interesting stuff. I'd like to see what P/Oed Patriot has to say on this. He's unearthed socialist and communist roots here in the US.

Gary Fuhr on Local Control

This past Saturday I caught up with State Rep. Gary Fuhr (R). Fuhr is a former St. Louis city police officer, so I was interested in his perspective on the local control legislation pending in Jefferson City. If you are unfamiliar with this issue, I recommend that you watch the first video below and then the second one. The first video reviews the history, politics, and current events that play into the issue of local control. The second video presents Gary's arguments against local control.