Friday, February 18, 2011

Top Ten Poorest and Dangerous American Cities led by Democrats

What do the top ten most dangerous cities in America have in common with the top ten poorest cities in America? They have been under Democrat leadership.

Top Ten Most Dangerous Cities in America

1. St. Louis: 530 Democrat

2. Atlanta: 484 Democrat

3. Birmingham Alabama (tie): 380 Democrat

3. Orlando (tie): 380 Democrat

5. Detroit: 369 Democrat

6. Memphis: 361 Democrat

7. Miami: 346 Democrat

8. Baltimore: 339 Democrat

9. Kansas City, Missouri: 337 Democrat

10. Minneapolis (tie): 331 Democrat

10. Cleveland (tie): 331 Democrat

America’s Top Ten Poorest Cities

1) Detroit, MI (1st on the poverty rate list) hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1961;

2) Buffalo, NY (2nd) hasn’t elected one since 1954;

3) Cincinnati, OH (3rd)… …………………..since 1984;

4) Cleveland, OH (4th)… …………………..since 1989;

5) Miami, FL (5th) has never had a Republican Mayor;

6) St. Louis, MO (6th)…. ……………………since 1949;

7) El Paso, TX (7th) has never had a Republican Mayor;

8) Milwaukee, WI (8th)… ……………………since 1908;

9) Philadelphia, PA (9th)…………………….since 1952;

10) Newark, NJ (10th)… ……………………..since 1907.

Monday, February 14, 2011

No Need for Local Control of the SLPD

You’ve heard the saying. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” There has been a recent push by certain individuals to return the St. Louis Police Department (SLPD) to local control. Putting the SLPD under City Control is the first step towards STEALING the pension, because the City needs the revenue. The reason why the St. Louis Police Department’s Pension System is solvent and profitable is because it was not under City Control.  The proponents for local control give various reasons as to why the SLPD should be put back under local control such as crime statistics, corruption, accountability, taxpayer representation, but refuse to say it’s about the Police Pension Fund.  They claim it has nothing to do with the Police Pension Fund; however upon closer scrutiny it is always about the money. Anyone who can not see that needs better glasses.

Carl Bearden wrote, “The City of St. Louis does not control its own police department…there is a persistent and unrelenting crime problem in St. Louis. It’s no secret that St. Louis has unfortunately been ranked as the No. 1 crime-ridden city in the country…Your community would demand that action be taken to address the problem.” How does the police department being under City control change the crime problem?  What would the 28 Alderman do to change the crime problem?  Having the police department under City control would have no effect on the crime problem; in fact it may cause an increase in crime.

Carl says, the citizens/taxpayers of the City of St. Louis deserve City Control over the SLPD, because the people are not being represented. The police respond when people dial 911 for the police. The SLPD is working just fine under the current system, the people are being represented and protected.

   While Carl Bearden was a former state legislator it’s been said that he supported state control of the SLPD. When did Carl get this epiphany that the SLPD needs to be under local control? Was it when he became a lobbyist for Rex Sinquefield? Carl, how much are you being paid? Rex Sinquefield wants the SLPD to return to local control. Who is Rex Sinquefield? Why does he want the SLPD to be under local control? What’s in it for him?

Carl says another reason to return the SLPD to local control is corruption. There are corrupt people in the world and Carl points out the resignation of Vince Bommarito from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's Board of Commissioners, after Bommarito made a special request to have his nephew let out of jail after being arrested for a DWI. Bommarito was one of five members of the Police Board and I guess Carl is calling him corrupt, however using that type of logic try multiplying the possibility of corruption by 28+. Carl wrote, “… I haven’t seen pictures of aldermen or the mayor being arrested for corruption.” Maybe that’s because they do not have control of the Police Department. 

Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives, Republican Steve Tilley favors returning the SLPD to local control. Ironically, he received two hundred thousand dollars in campaign contributions from Rex Sinquefield. Could people say Rex Sinquefield is buying influence? Does anyone find this type of behavior troubling? I do.

Mayor Francis Slay said, “This is about accountability to the people of St. Louis. They elect their officials and the (police) department should be accountable to them.” When people have a complaint against the SLPD they contact the Mayor’s Office. Mr. Mayor, you do sit on the Board of Police Commissioners, therefore you do have some influence on the decisions made about the SLPD.

Furthermore, the  Board of Estimate and Apportionment, (E&A) comprised of the Mayor, the Comptroller and the President of the Board of Aldermen reviews the proposed budget, holds hearings with departments and citizens whom may voice their concerns. The Board of E&A may recommend changes to the proposed budget. It then goes to the Ways and Means Committee of the Board of Aldermen, before going to before the Board of Aldermen for consideration. The Board of Aldermen may reduce the amount of any item in a budget bill, except amounts fixed by statute or ordinance obligations.

According to an article in the St. Louis Business Journal dated February 18, 2009, Chief Dan Isom of the SLPD requested a budget of $168 million for fiscal year 2010. The City of St. Louis allocated $151 million for the SLPD 2010 budget. According to the city’s records the actual budget for FY 2010 was $128,887,662 for the police and $11,813,173 for the Police Retirement System, which totals $140,700,835. Therefore, the City does have some control over the police budget. The day to day operations of the SLPD would remain the same under the current system or under local control with Chief Isom running the department.  

Jeff Rainford, Chief of Staff to Mayor Slay in St Louis wrote an editorial on the 24th State’s blog criticizing the Tea Party’s opposition to local control of the SLPD. He wrote, The third reason is the most puzzling. The Tea Party used to be against bailouts. It was against the Wall Street bailouts, the auto company bailouts, and the mortgage bailouts. But, apparently, it is willing to live with the possibility of a state bailout of the City of St. Louis. Because the police department is a state agency, it is likely that if the City of St. Louis were to become insolvent, the state would have to bail out the city.”  The City of St. Louis is having financial problems. Is Rainford suggesting the City of St. Louis is becoming insolvent? The proponents of local control say it is not about the money in the Police Pension Fund, yet one would have to become suspicious of the City’s intentions when one hears comments like Rainfords’ or Alderman Quincy Troupe’s regarding St. Louis’s financial shape.

Alderman Quincy Troupe said, “I get tired of people saying we (City of St. Louis) don’t have money and we don’t have police. We may not have money and we may not have police, and that may be due to the fact of the police pension fund, because the police pension fund has all of the money. The State Legislature gives them the authority to have unfettered access to the money. Right now the greatest love on the City of St. Louis is the police pension fund. And the pension fund is over - over funded in my opinion and the benefits are unbelievable and unrealistic and exceeds anything in the Metropolitan St. Lois area. So how you gonna sit and tell me we don’t have any money for crime prevention, but the State makes us pay unrealistic numbers to the police pension fund.”  

When Troupe said … “because the police pension fund has all of the money”… “gives them the authority to have unfettered access to the money”… “the greatest love on the City of St. Louis is the police pension fund.”  … “the benefits are unbelievable and unrealistic”…sounds to me like he wants to have control over the money to use as he sees fit.

The proponents of local control say that experts have testified that the City could not raid the Police Pension Fund; it is written in the bill to prevent that from happening. It depends on what side of the argument one takes and who is paying them, when it comes to expert testimony. Laws can be changed. There is a process in gaining access to the Police Pension Fund and the first step is City Control. It is always about the money!  The St. Louis Police Departments’ Pension System is solvent and profitable, because it was not under City Control and it should not be penalized for good management. The SLPD is working just fine under the current system, the people are being represented and protected. There is no need for it to be put under local control.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Say No to Claire in 2012

The 2008 Democratic convention in Denver generated $266 million in regional economic benefit and brought in 50000 people according to Denver officials. Even though bringing the Democrat National Convention to St. Louis would be an economic boom to the region Senator Claire McCaskill lobbied against bringing the convention here, because it would hurt her reelection effort. It is one thing to sit silently by and hope the Convention does not come to St. Louis, because of the perceived threat that it may hurt your campaign, but it is reprehensible as a sitting Senator to actively lobby against the Convention, which brings an economic benefit to the region. Of course, Claire denies that she lobbied against bringing the DNC Convention to St. Louis.

Nevertheless Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times contradicts McCaskill’s denial and reported the following: “Ms. McCaskill, one of the president’s closest friends in the Senate, took her concerns directly to the White House, according to party leaders familiar with the selection process. She argued that her re-election could be complicated if the convention was held in St. Louis, because the Democratic gathering will almost certainly attract protesters and compete for fund-raising.”

Who are we to believe? Should you believe Claire McCaskill or a New York Times reporter? A tough call, however, if you look into Claire’s past you may give the benefit of the doubt to the reporter. While investigating abuses at nursing homes, Claire McCaskill met a rich owner of one, dropped that investigation and eventually married him.

Claire is out for Claire. She will do and say anything to stay in power. She will take both sides of an issue for political expediency, like she did with Obamacare. She voted for it when they needed the sixty votes, then voted against it when only a simple majority was needed for passage.

As an elected official, you are supposed to be a representative for your constituents and do what is in the best interests of the people. Lobbying against a convention that would benefit the region economically is not in the best interests of the people. The citizens of Missouri do not need someone like Claire McCaskill, who puts her self interests ahead of the people to be their representative in the United States Senate, anymore. People of Missouri wake up and FIRE Claire McCaskill in 2012.

Friday, February 4, 2011

It’s Not a Money Grab?

In an article about red light cameras in the February 3, 2011 issue of the Leader newspaper, Arnold Ward 2 Councilman Jim Edwards said he wants the city to hire a collection agency to try to recover approximately $410,830 in unpaid red-light camera ticket charges. Arnold City Administrator Matt Unrein said it is not economically feasible because the collection agency wants 40% of the money collected and it would all come out of Arnold’s share. Edwards said he would continue to pursue the collection effort because anything is better than nothing. He then said people need to realize it’s going to hurt them if they don’t pay it. It will go on their credit and they won’t be able to get a loan. I thought it wasn’t about the money, it was about safety. I also thought in this country you were presumed innocent until proven guilty.

When Jay Nixon was the Attorney General he questioned the legality of the cameras. He stated in order to run a red light it takes a vehicle and a person. The method they’ve established in this area deals only with the machine. He also stated that State Law doesn’t allow the use of automated enforcement. At that time City Attorney Bob Sweeney disagreed. He believes the evidence would be sufficient to make the tickets hold up in court. If a vehicle were registered to more than one person the ticket would go to whoever’s name appears first on the title. If that person can present indisputable proof that he or she was not driving it would go to the second person or be dropped. People have a Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves. It is not up to the people to present indisputable proof they were not driving, it is up to the government to prove the individual did the violation.

According to the article the prior three-member Jefferson County Executive Board began working on the installation of more red-light cameras in Jefferson County at the request of Sheriff Glenn Boyer. This board consisting of Chuck Banks, Pat Lamping and Ed Kemp wanted to make sure none of the money would go into the county general fund to alleviate the impression that the red-light cameras are a money grab. Kemp proposed giving 30% to the Jeffco Express bus service 50% to the Sheriff’s Office and 20% to the Municipal Courts. Kemp, who was against the red-light cameras in the beginning stated, “The biggest complaint I heard was that this is a money grab. I thought giving the money to the sheriff and public transportation would alleviate some of those thoughts.” Wwhaaaat? The reason for the cameras is to produce revenue, i.e. “a money grab,” and by distributing the money to the Sheriff’s Department and a bus service does not change that fact. It is all about the money.

Sheriff Boyer wants the money to hire additional deputies. Dennis Murphy, the project coordinator for Jeffco Express wanted the money for the fledgling bus service. Murphy was promised the money by the prior board and was told, “We really want to overcome this perception of a money grab, that’s why we want to give it to you.” Sheriff Boyer and Dennis Murphy already started to count and spend the money, so naturally they support red-light cameras. But wait, I thought the reason for the red-light cameras was about SAFETY and not the money. Let’s just say that it worked. People drive more safely and responsibly and no longer run the red lights. Now, where are Sheriff Boyer and Dennis Murphy going to get the revenue for the deputies and the bus service?

The electric signal and or the cameras will not protect you or prevent an accident from happening. It’s the other vehicles that will hurt you. If they are truly concerned about safety and minimizing accidents at electric signals, they should discuss physics. In physics an object that is in motion takes time to come to a stop; wherein an object that is stopped is not in motion and takes no time to stop. People need to stop thinking they are at a drag strip, watching for the lights to turn green and immediately giving it the gas crossing through the intersection. People need to pay more attention to the other vehicles and make sure they are stopping before proceeding through the intersection. This would reduce the amount of accidents at electric signals. The goal should be to prevent the accidents from happening. The best way to do that would be to educate people into driving defensively. That is why I support the new Jefferson County Council when they voted 6-0 to repeal the red-light camera ordinance that was approved in September by the former county administration. The proponent’s original intent of red-light cameras supposedly was to reduce accidents at the signals; however in reality red-light cameras are about the money not safety!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Response to "Leader" Editorial on Ed Martin

Pat Martin,

The following letter is my response to your editorial about Ed Martin posted in the Leader, January 27, 2011. What I said is backed up by facts, but I did not send them to you because I did not want to pay the extra postage. Therefore, you will have to look them up yourself. It is your paper and you will decide whether to print the letter or not. If you decide not to print the letter I will post it on the other credible sites.


Greg Zotta

Pat Martin, you still can not get over the results of the November election. After a majority of your endorsements lost you discovered that you are not a “King maker,” and apparently took exception to that with your subsequent biased editorials and “news” reports.

Pat you wrote, “…It’s hard to make a Martin shut up…the only way to accomplish the deed with a Martin was to cut off his head and hide it.” Cut off the head of Ed Martin? In this era of “civility,” what would your idol Barack Hussein Obama say about that?

Pat you wrote, “…Ed has kept an unusually high profile for a guy who lost an election.” It seems you are concerned with Ed Martin still seeking a political career by possibly running against Claire McCaskill for the US Senate. Ed Martin would not be the first or only candidate to lose an election and then run again. Abraham Lincoln lost several elections before winning and eventually becoming President. Ronald Reagan lost some elections before becoming one of the greatest Presidents ever. Even Claire McCaskill did it. So Pat, why the concern with Ed wanting to run again? Is it because of your ideology you do not want to see a conservative in office?

Ed lost a very close race and was leading most of the night until the ballots came in from the City of St. Louis at the end of the night. Question, why is the vote tally from St. Louis the last to come in? Makes you wonder if they are waiting to the end to see how many votes they need. FYI, there has been voter fraud in St. Louis in the past. Does it not concern you that in every statewide election St. Louis City’s vote tallies are the last to be counted, even though all of the polls across the state close at the same time?

You snipe that Ed attended the Jefferson County Council inauguration and his friends surrounded him in the lobby after the event. Don’t you have any friends Pat? Are you jealous? The Jefferson County Council inauguration was a historic event and many of the members are Ed’s friends, so why wouldn’t he be there? Then again, many of the new members were not endorsed by you.

You constantly bring up and are fixated on the email controversy regarding Ed Martin. Ed has addressed and answered the questions regarding the situation, but apparently his answers are not up to your expectations. Yet, you never mention Russ Carnahan helping his brother receive over a hundred million taxpayers’ dollars for a wind farm. Nor do you mention Claire McCaskill who was investigating abuses at nursing homes until she met a rich owner of one and eventually married him.

Pat Martin, you are a poor excuse of a journalist and you fail at your responsibility of being the watchdog over government afforded to you under the First Amendment of the Constitution. It is a good thing there are alternative methods and more credible sites to get the TRUTH to the people, instead of relying on your biased paper the “Leader.”