Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Red Herring Award

I will be awarding certain people and organizations the Red herring Award every week for their brazen attempts to have people look away from the real issues.

The first award goes to Rush, Hanninty, and for their exaggerated umbrage and phony outrage of's rather sophomoric newspaper ad. Once again, the Democrats in Congress are not setting agenda. Education, health care, and ending the war in Iraq are the issues. Not a newspaper ad!

The Republican echo chamber is alive and well. However, the blogsphere is alive and well and will take the neocons to the mat on the real issues when they try to change the debate.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

School board Selection Process

The following was sent out to be posted on all local blogs and listservs:

If you as, Taxpayers, Constituents and Parents are concerned about the School Board’s site selection process:

To show your concerns: be visible and attend either or both Monday's September 17th City Council Meeting at 7:00, City Hall, 701 E. Broadway, 4th Floor, and Tuesday's, September 18th School Board's Meeting at 6:30 in the District's Administration building, 1818 Worley St. with the School Board and Committee, which Phyllis Chase picked to rank and choose sites and which sites were brought to the School Board in a very short time frame by individuals in the community. It is unclear whether the public will be able to comment at this meeting.

Elizabeth Brixey, City Editor of the Weekend Missourian wrote: "Whether you have school age children or not, the quality of schools and the quality of education shape your community... We don't know which site is best, but we believe the best way for that decision to be made is with the addition of your input and insights by participating on our new blog on the high school site found at At last count we have had about 30 of them." From those interviewed: The public "were are concerned with finding the best spot for Columbia students as a whole". "It doesn't seem the public is really getting a say in this matter -- it's these appointed representatives who get to do that."

Some have said: Many of the "appointed representatives" on the School Board Committee which will rank the identified 5 sites, you always see over and over on many of the Committees, Commissions and Boards in the City, and on this present Committee, many seem to have a financial vested interest.

First there was the School Board and Phyllis Chase's unilateral decision to choose the site for a new school without transparency, no minutes and voting to buy the property in a closed session, violating the State's Sunshine Law/. Then under public pressure Phyllis Chase and the School Board acquiesced to another process, invited people with land to identify what they were willing to give/sell to the School Board, and then between September 10th when the properties identified were announced and this coming Tuesday, September 18th the School Board and Phyllis Chase said they wanted the Committee members to each rank the sites and then according to that ranking the decision will be made.

Columbia Missouri City Council's Partial Agenda: Monday September 17, 7:00 p.m., City Council Chamber

I. Introductory Items: Roll Call, Approval and Adjustment of Agenda Including Consent Agenda

II. Special Items: Selecting an artist of City Hall Expansion, Plaza and Streetscape Percent for Art Project; Authorizing a Percents for Art agreement with Howard Meehan

III. Scheduled Public Comment: Sid Sullivan Utilize portion of Cosmo Park for the third school

Below is some history of what has taken place using information from the Missourian, Tribune and other sources:

- "state law says (610.021): "… a public governmental body is authorized to close meetings, records and votes, to the extent they relate to the following: (2) Leasing, purchase or sale of real estate … where public knowledge of the transaction might adversely affect the legal consideration therefore," - emphasis added. In this case, the buyer and the seller knew what property was involved and the price. There was no danger of the price going up, so the school board had no legal authority to close the meeting."

- Critics said the first site does not have adequate roads or sewer services needed for a school. Some also have complained that the board did not seek input from city or county planners or the public before voting to use the site for a school.

- Sid Sullivan: "If voters are upset about what uncontrolled development has done to our infrastructure problems, they have to be furious at how the school board can naively create an even greater infrastructure gap. Superintendent Phyllis Chase should apologize for this colossal blunder and rethink this decision before any groundbreaking takes place. We need two changes in our state law to avoid future blunders. First, there should be a joint city/county planning commission for all land use within a two-mile periphery of the city limits for any city over 50,000. Second, there should be mandatory referral requiring all taxing districts to refer their plans for new facilities to the appropriate planning commission. This would create the full review process before a single body diverts all our future roadway dollars."

- There needs to be planning and action between the school district, the city, and the county. But apparently the School Board does not need to consult the City or the County when they choose a site, even though the City and County may need to fund the infrastructure to support the school in the area the school will be built.

- Choosing a site for a school needs to be done in an environmentally, economically and logistically sensible manner among all government bodies that will be affected.

- Stamper said it would be a "grave mistake" to build a school north for that reason. "That’s part of the logic that people aren’t getting," he said. "I think we want to keep Hickman from becoming an inner-city school or geographically landlocked." DeSpain reiterated that Columbia Public Schools boundaries don’t necessarily match city boundaries. The district is short from north to south and wide from east to west, she said. "There is not a lot of area north of Hickman before hitting the Hallsville district." The redistricting committee will work to redraw high school boundaries fairly, said Chairman Don Ludwig, a former board member. No matter where the new school is built, "we’re going to end up with three schools mirroring the population of Columbia as a whole," he said. "It won’t be perfect, but it will be close to being perfect. Rock Bridge is going to change, Hickman is going to change, and we’re going to have a new school."

- The property is outside Columbia city limits and lacks access to, city water or electricity. Local nearby roads are paved Road are paved, but they are considered "inadequate for a significant increase in the volume of traffic," said David Mink, director the Boone County Public Works Department. Both roads also lack sidewalks.

- School Board President Karla DeSpain said but those issues would likely be concerns at any vacant site, regardless of the location, "Any place you have that much land, there is going to be some concern," she said. "There are not many locations with enough land for a high school that would have pre-existing infrastructure. "We’re not going to find property with infrastructure all ready to go. We have to see what’s available, what’s appropriate and what would best serve the district."

- The first phase of the new high school, school is expected to open to ninth- and 10th-grade students in the fall of 2010. It will house ninth through 12th grades, . No decision has been made/ It would include classrooms for about 600 students and common areas such as a cafeteria and media center. That structure would be built with $22 million from the $60 million bond issue package voters approved in April. Voters would be asked to approve two additional bond issues to complete the high school. The new high school would house only ninth-graders the year it opens, and additional grade levels would be added as classes move up. Students attending other Columbia high schools won’t be asked to transfer into the new building. Columbia’s new high school is expected to open in fall 2010 and be completed in three phases.

- "This decision is too important to exclude the public. " "Opening deliberations to the public would remove the veil of secrecy and provide assurance that all important issues are thoughtfully weighed. " With the new committee appointed to review and rank the 5 sites offered (most to be bought) by individuals or groups, will there be enough time so that all important issues in the choice of the school are weighed? Has there been enough time to search for land? Why hasn't the north west sector of the city been included in the search? Phyllis Chase said: "I would like to get the word out that if anyone has 80 to 100 acres of property in the eastern quadrant of the district, the district would be willing to look at it," she said. "The site has to be on the east side of the city because of the boundaries of our district. Certainly it could be further north than the Vemer property, and if anyone has land in that vicinity to trade or sell at a reasonable price, let Dr. Chase know."

- Chase said she couldn’t guarantee (road) improvements would be made, historically, she said, "the city and county has worked with the school district to ensure student and staff safety."

- As one of our Columbia Board of Education members said about another matter, let’s think outside the box. Just because something has always been done one way does not mean there is not a better way to do it.

- Chase said a comprehensive high school needs 80 to 100 acres to allow space for football, softball, baseball and soccer fields and parking lots. Locating a high school in that area (Vemer) could force growth that way, but it could also address growth that’s coming regardless of the school’s location, Chase said. Public Water Supply District 9 and Boone Electric Co-Operative serve that area, and officials from both entities have said they’re equipped to handle the school. But Chase acknowledged there are challenges at the site that must be addressed. "Sewer is a major issue that we need to talk about and plan for," she said.

- Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Phyllis Chase stands by the decision to locate a third major high school southeast of Columbia despite lingering concerns that it doesn’t meet the needs of the city’s northern growth patterns.

- Avoiding potential conflicts of interest with staff or students is difficult, Chase said. "As the third-largest employer here in Columbia, and with 17,000 kids and one in five adults a part of our school system, that - probably whatever we were doing, selling or whatever - would have an impact on someone we know or someone who works for us or with us."

- Assume that the new high school houses 1,500 people. Assume that they travel 10 miles farther (round trip) than they would have if the board had sited the school for a shorter commute rather than a bargain price. What will this additional transportation cost? Some students will ride the bus, but most will drive or be driven, and many will make multiple trips for extracurricular activities. Assume an average of one daily round trip by car per person. At $3 per gallon and 20 mpg, this added driving will cost Columbians $2,250 per school day. The savings on land will be quickly swallowed by transportation costs, and midway through the second year we will be in the red, losing nearly $400,000 per year in unnecessary gas money. Meanwhile, we will be dumping into the atmosphere an unnecessary 15,000 pounds per day of carbon dioxide.

- Superintendent Phyllis Chase has repeatedly said the property, partially donated by Turner Vemer, was the only affordable option, but she said this morning she’d be willing to consider alternatives. "I think I’m on record as saying should we find any other more suitable land, certainly, we and the board would consider that," Chase said. Local Realtor John John said, however, the district turned down a more suitable site less than two years ago. Businessman George Godas offered to donate the school district 30 acres of the 200 acres he owns north of Interstate 70 just east of Route Z, then increased the offer to 50 acres and was willing to sell the district additional acreage, John said. The donation came without any stipulation of how the land had to be used, John said, although Godas offered $200,000 for naming rights to the school.

- John said district administrators didn’t look hard enough for other sites. "If they had, they would have found them," he said. "I guarantee I could have found them a half a dozen sites. For $500,000? Probably not. But when you add infrastructure costs, probably the overall cost would have been less." Boone County Northern Commissioner Skip Elkin said district administrators might have known about the additional costs had they asked county officials before making the decision. But he said no one from the school district asked the county for input about the site. "They might have saved $500,000, but it’s going to cost five times that to get all of the infrastructure out there," Elkin said. "Is the school district saving? Maybe. Is the community saving? I don’t think so. … I don’t want to second-guess the school administration, but today, with the lack of infrastructure and facilities in that area, I don’t think it’s an appropriate site today. Ten years from now? Who knows?"

- During a pre-council meeting , Second Ward Councilman Jerry Wade told schools Superintendent Phyllis Chase and board of education President Karla DeSpain he was "befuddled" by the site selection process. "We’re getting information on this after what appears to be a decision already made," Wade said. Chase and DeSpain had shown up to talk with the council about plans to build the district’s third traditional high school on 80 acres at New Haven and Rangeline roads partially donated by Boone County farmer Turner Vemer. Wade and others have said the site is problematic because it will be expensive to extend city services such as sanitary sewer to the site. "I don’t know where we’re going to have money within the next five years," he said last night. Chase responded that almost 1,500 people attended public meetings on the school plan and about 100 have served on committees. "There has been no concerted effort to keep this a secret," she said. The district held community forums last fall, but the forums did not seek input on where a high school should be located. Chase also told council members last night it would have been irresponsible to discuss infrastructure needs with the city before April 3, when voters approved a $60 million bond issue to pay for the first phase of the school, slated to open in 2010. School board members first publicly acknowledged plans for the Vemer site only a day before the board voted on June 21 to build a high school there. Last night’s meeting was the first time school district officials had discussed the site with city officials. Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala said it was important for the public to buy into the proposal. "Even handing out a map with boundaries of district schools would have gone a long way," he said. As the 20-minute meeting ended, Chase said, "Point well taken."

- Chase and school board members repeatedly said they had no specific plans for the Vemer land when the district acquired it in January, but Vemer said yesterday there was no question in his mind: He donated it for a new high school. "That’s what Dr. Chase and the lawyer told me it was going to be used for," Vemer said when reached by phone in New Mexico yesterday. This morning, Chase acknowledged she told Vemer in December the property would be used for a high school - six months before the school board voted on it. "We anticipated a high school everywhere we were looking for land. We shared that anticipation with Mr. Vemer," she told the Tribune this morning. Former Assistant Superintendent Chris Mallory, who first contacted Vemer about his land, said he’s spent the past year as a consultant for the district talking to developers, real estate agents and property owners about available sites. He said he mostly has looked east, not north, because district officials want the new high school to draw from both Hickman and Rock Bridge territories. "The district’s been looking to the east for the past 15 to 20 years," he said.

- Any future discussions about the location should involve the community, said Tom Rose, the newest member who was absent during the board’s June vote. "It’s important to have everyone’s involvement before we say, ‘Yes,’ " Rose said. "There will be lots of discussions. We have to have them. We have to be clear to the public and involve the public as much as we can." Nothing in Missouri statutes requires school districts to hold public hearings or involve other public entities when making decisions about facilities. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has no role in site selection or building projects, either, because the state doesn’t provide funding for school construction. "Some other states have more prescribed guidelines when it comes to buildings," said Tom Quinn, DESE’s director of school governance and facilities. "In some states, before a school is built, the design and site have to be approved. It’s different in Missouri. Buildings are a local effort. It’s up to local people." Unlike private developers, who have to go through a rezoning process requiring two public hearings, schools and churches can be built on any property, regardless of the zoning. The Vemer property is zoned for agriculture. The public has a say in school building decisions through the election process, board President Karla DeSpain said. "In the sense that school districts must get approval from the public to build buildings, districts and boards are not autonomous," she said. "Those buildings are placed according to the enrollment needs in the district."

- Voters in April approved a $60 million bond issue to build the first phase of a new high school. Two more $60 million bond issues in coming years will need to be approved to complete the building. It’s too early to know whether the unpopularity of the high school location will hurt the district’s chances of getting those bonds approved, said Bill Elder, a school-community relations expert and director of University of Missouri-Columbia’s Office of Social and Economic Analysis. - Mallory, a former assistant superintendent, helped the district acquire 80 acres southeast of Columbia from former Boone County farmer Turner Vemer. Mallory’s total salary includes an $18,750 finder’s fee for Vemer’s land, based on 1 percent of the 40 acres sold and 1.5 percent of the 40 acres donated. The rest of the charges come from $75 an hour for 128 hours of work. Superintendent Phyllis Chase hired Mallory last year. According to documents obtained by the Tribune, he began work on Sept. 1, 2006. The superintendent is not required to seek school board approval before hiring consultants

- Tom Burkett said: "It’s ridiculous to try to build where the population isn’t. It makes sense that a third high school would go where the population is now." "

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Democracy For Missouri First ACTBlue check

Not a huge check...$76.83, but it's a start :)

Follow up on the Iraq Forum

As expected, Kenny Hulshof was a no show at the Boone County Government Center. Over a 150 people were in attendance in the standing room only forum. there were many different excuses that the Congressman gave that he couldn't attend. One of them being that only people in Columbia care about the Iraq War. There were many people from Columbia, this is true, but we had people from Moberly, Mexico, and Fulton in attendance. The congressman needs to learn that he represents all of the district, not just the "friendly" ones. There were many different walks of life that made the forum. The most riveting speech was given by a wife of a veteran that suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome. She told a story of him waking up in the middle of the night screaming or getting jumpy during a thunderstorm. After she was done, the entire room gave her a standing ovation. I felt that any problems I might have to face, paled in comparison. Not only is she raising kids, she's dealing with a husband that the Bush administration has forgot. The VA does not offer help to those family members. This is the hidden cost to Bush's failed Iraq policy. We have a generation of men and women that will be scarred for their entire life due to a lie.

It was a great forum, kudos to Pro-vote for pulling it off :)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Latest from the Artisan

Bill Monroe let everyone know about the upcoming tabling for Barack Obama at the Twilight Festival in Columbia. Rebecca Schedler announced that she was starting up the local Edward's campaign here. More info on that as I get more on it. There will be a fund raising party for Democracy for Missouri at Craig's house on September 27th. Donations will be asked to donate a quarter every time a candidate mentions 9/11.

Blog's new look

Like my home, I get tired of looking at the same thing for too long :)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Will he or won't he?

Representative Kenny Hulshof has been invited to a town hall meeting about the War in Iraq. He was offered to name his date and time, but Pro-vote, which is sponsoring the event, was told that his schedule was full and he wouldn't attend anything that Pro-vote had its name on.

Mr. Hulshof, you are all the constituents' representative, not just your big dollar donors and the paid lobbyists. I'm sorry if you need a marketing consultant to have a focus group and hand pick your audience. You need to face the music on your record of supporting this increasing unpopular war. It's time to stop hiding behind the moniker that only Columbia liberals care about this war, it stretches all across your district

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Meeting at the Artisan - 2008 election buzz, War in Iraq.

Jane Whitesides of Pro-Vote at the DFMO steering committee held at the Artisan, tried to accommodate Kenny Hulshof so he could attend a town meeting on the "War in Iraq". Apparently his schedule is full for the rest of the time he is near the district. The town meeting is going to be on August 29, 2007 at 7pm at the Boone County government center. Please give Kenny Hulshof a call at 573-449-5111 and encourage him to attend and meet with his constituents. Let Kenny know that it is not only Columbia that is concerned about the war. Call Pro-Vote at 256-7701 for more information. Jane also encourages letters to the editor as well.

Brandon Costerison of the Nixon Coordinated campaign for mid-Missouri says he will be cleaning up the VAN (Voter Access Network) and will be phone-banking for Jay Nixon. He stated he wanted to start this early before the political buzz starts to rise.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


According to an article in the Columbia Tribune, a Cole county judge has thrown out the midwifery part of the health insurance bill, citing that since midwives can't bill insurance companies, their presence in the bill wasn't related to the purpose of the bill. Confused? Essentially there is a train of thought that midwives should be licensed and under supervision of a physician. While the proponents of the midwife measure believe that since midwives have been around for thousands of years and have safely delivered babies comparable or even exceeding the survivability of infants born in hospitals. There also point to the alarming rate of cesareans that are performed in the US. The rate is 29.1% of all births, according to the CDC. I do believe that women should choose where and how to give birth, but i do believe in some sort of oversight. It doesn't have to be a government entity. It can be a non-profit accrediting agency like CARF or any other reputable accrediting organization. The proponents will be appealing the judges decision

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

English Only?

Isn't our state motto in Latin? Does every state university with Latin in their seals have to change it to all English? Wouldn't every government building with a V instead of a U have to alter those letters? The English only agenda is nothing more than a wedge issue to drum of fear and racism towards immigrants.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

TDDs: Who's watching the money and who's calling the shots?

TDD or transportation development districts are used by developers to recoup for the cost of the added infrastructure needs their development generates. This is usually by charging an added sales tax to all the patrons of businesses that are part of that commercial development. Many see this is taxation without representation. Proponents of TDDs will tell those opponents they could shop elsewhere. But how many citizens know which developments have these special districts? It is not posted anywhere and only after a purchase is made will the consumer know of its existence. Another problem, brought up by Karl Skala, 3rd ward councilperson of the Columbia City Council during a campaign forum this spring, is that TDDs are dictating how Columbia is growing. He believes that the city should have more oversight and input on how Columbia should expand. So not only is this a taxation without representation issue, it's also an urban sprawl without city oversight issue as well.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

What's a metaphor?

A metaphor: a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money); broadly : figurative language

For instance, when someone says something like "call off the dogs", it does not mean people are dogs. It means to have those people stop hunting or searching for something or someone like search dogs.

It is funny because I heard from a friend that someone they knew with a lot of education took it literal. I hope the voucher people don't hear about this, they would want to privatize every school in Missouri. :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

YouTube and 2008

I am not really sold on the premise that YouTube will be a great influence in this next election. Many say that this might get young adults (18-24) interested in politics. Call me skeptical, but we've been trying to this for years. From Arsenio Hall to Rock the Vote, it seems that this young demographic hasn't realized their political power. If they realized what kind of power students have in other westernized nations, they may try to emulate this country. It seems that most of these students are suburbanites that have been taught that their way of life is ideal and there is nothing to really protest or complain about. It is appalling how many students have such conservative views about economics and life in general. Try to pin them down on a certain economic principle and sadly they will regurgitate Hannity, Rush, or some other talking head. The only way I see young voters coming together as a political force is they must have a common ideal, vision, or nemesis to fight for or against.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Campaign Limits: Will the courts punish those municipal elections?

A lot of the press has been focused on how certain statewide and state legislators will possible have to return some of their campaign contributions. Again I will like to know if further rulings from the Missouri Supreme Court on this issue will take into account the municipal elections that already took place this spring? There are certain city council and school board elections that have run it's course and these campaigns do not have money in their accounts to refund excess contributions. I do agree that those political offices that are to be determined in 2008 should refund excess monies. The reason being is that not everyone has entered the races and technically have till the end of March to run. Those folks will not have the chance to solicit uncapped contributions and therefore those who started the fundraising during the unlimited fundraising period would have an unfair advantage. On the bright side, Matt Blunt will have to refund tons of money. On the not so bright side, Jay Nixon will have to pay back a good chuck of money as well.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Local DFA gets coverage on Michael Moore's Sicko Blog

I'm really excited that Columbia Mo. got coverage on Moore's SICKO Blog. It feels real good that a small but passionate group of activists can make a difference and inspire others to see beyond what the mainstream media has been telling them and to use common sense. I am glad that Moore made this film. My sister told me she hates Moore, but what he said in his film was right on. I really don't care what people think of the messenger, as long as the message gets through.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Missouri Supreme Court Restores Campaign Contribution Limits: What now?

According to a Columbia Tribune article, campaign limits are now back in effect. Now most statewide, state senate, and state rep candidates will be able to return those contribution that exceed the limit. but what happens to those municipal races, city council and school board candidates, who already raised and spent that money. Granted, there are probably not many huge contributions, but most of these campaign committees do not have cash on hand after the election. Though it would probably be nice to see Gov. Blunt give back a $50,000 contribution back. it will be interesting to watch.


I just saw the movie Sicko by Micheal Moore Monday night. It is a shame that in this country life and death decisions are based on profit and not need. Many critics will point out that Cuban hospitals are crumbling and not well lit. However the point of the movie is that Cuba is a poor nation, but still provides health care on par with the US. In Missouri as in any state, we have great health care, but if you can't afford it, what good is it to you? People need to stop listening to the talking heads talking about government control of health care and the bureaucracy it will create. guess what folks, there is a huge private, for profit, bureaucracy going strong already. A message to the flag waving working poor. Wake up! As you are going bankrupt trying to pay medial bills, the republicans are enhancing their status with the health care industry. Quit helping the rich get more rich at your expense, time to fix this broken system.

Friday, July 13, 2007

ACTBlue can now help fundraise for county committees and organizations.

ActBlue now can help fundraise for local candidates, organizations, or county committees. You can even set up your own fundraising page.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

LTTE From the Democracy For Missouri Prez

I recall Memorial Days in my youth: a parade down Main Street to the Memorial Library, where solemn and patriotic speeches were made over the lawn covered with neat rows of white wooden crosses, followed by a 21-gun salute by the VFW - men who just 15 years before had freed the world from tyranny.

Sweet memories. So what have we today?

The Columbia Memorial Day Fly-in I attended bears little resemblance to a sincere memorial of war dead. This year’s headlined 10,000-square-foot "Virtual Army Experience" attracted participants lined up as if they were at Disneyland, to play soldier on widescreen video screens with a climax of realistic explosions. (No cries of the dead and wounded, no screams of women and children - just "Shock and Awe" explosions.)

When did war become a game?

When did Memorial Day become an obscene military recruitment tool?

As a member of Democracy for Missouri, I was present outside the VAE, helping to hand out more than 200 American Friends Service Committee DVDs on the truth about enlistment and military service. We are told that once inside, uniformed VAE personnel offered to break the discs. I pray that those who held onto their DVDs will watch and share them. Democracy breathes truth.

The "Fly-in" as organized was very poorly attended, and there were few old planes in evidence - just recruitment "rides." My hope is that organizers will have an epiphany about the true meaning of Memorial Day and stop glorying in weaponry and destruction.

Bill Monroe

505 E. 10th St.


Monday, June 11, 2007

DFA "Night School" meeting in Columbia

DFA is conducting 3 "Night School" Online/conference call classes in June starting the 12th. The focus is on campaign fund raising. To kick this off, we will be meeting in person at the Labor Temple with local funding experts, candidates and incumbents as well as grassroots volunteers. Please check out this site for details and to RSVP:

authored by Bill Monroe

Friday, June 08, 2007

Blunt picks pro-voucher candidate Gambaro to serve on Missouri Board of Education

Gov. Blunt nominated Derio Gambaro - a former State rep and a big voucher supporter. He is connected with a number of pro-voucher organizations such as All Children Matter and the Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri, which is based in Columbia Mo. Blunt once again has made an overt gesture to all who support public schools, that this institution will also be sold to the highest bidder. It has always been inappropriate in my opinion to use vouchers that take money away from the public schools so little Johnny can go to Jesus school. This author is well aware that these vouchers can be used for non-religious purposes, but the main push do come from religious groups. It is wrong to have someone on the State school board that has spent years trying to undermine it. Next Blunt will appoint someone who believes that man and dinosaurs roamed the earth together like the Flintstones. Actually the only thing I learned from the Flintstones was to use the same window the cat did to get back inside your house and never order the bronto ribs, it will cause your car to tip over

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Fluff and more Fluffy fluff

It is a sad day in the world of professional hockey where the last 3 Stanley Cups have gone to Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Anaheim. There hasn't been a Canadian Stanley Cup winner since 1993. Is this good for professional hockey? Here in Missouri, the Blues and a few good years, but usually choked in the playoffs, then I think Laurie unloaded the expensive players so he could sell the team. Your fluff is welcomed :)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

So Who Wants to be the Lt. Governor?

I never understood the lure of being Lt. Governor here in the state of Missouri. Except for Mel Carnahan, neither Ashcroft nor Bond used the position as a stepping stone to the governorship. Now we have a new candidate seeking the office. Rep Sam Page, a democratic representative from St. Louis county, is seeking the party nomination for Lt. Governor. It seems that this office is popular and already had candidates lined up prior to Page's announcement. Do all of them see a weakness with Kinder? What does a Lt. Governor do that would be scrutinized? Your comments and knowledge is welcomed.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Court Oks State Sponsored Murder?

Well, I want to let everyone know that since the state legislature is out of session, most of my focus will be on local Columbia politics with the occasional news story that affects Missouri. Besides the last couple of weeks have been emotional draining, but I am coming out of it with a sense of really what is important in my life. My friends and family. I do regret getting angry with someone very dear to me recently, but with time and reflection I hope our friendship can thrive. Now, this really has nothing to do with the death penalty...or does it? When a government executes a prisoner, it is final unlike interpersonal relationships. If you get angry at someone that doesn't deserve your invective, you can always apologize and make amends. If you execute someone and you are wrong, you really can't say you're sorry.

A federal appeals court ok'd lethal injection as an accepted killing device. In my opinion, if it is wrong for an individual to kill, it should be wrong for the state. To me the state is not this omnipotent entity that is above the moral law we all follow but a group of individuals. So you have this pomp and circumstance of court room procedure and 12 people choosing your fate, but still doesn't justify murder.

Anyway, cherish your family and friends and let them know that you're OK....So to those I know I want to let you know that I am fine :)

Friday, June 01, 2007


Columbia Mo is in the running for a Level 4 research (germ) lab. It will be located in the SE part of the city. For those who don't know what Level 4 means, it's the most secure facility classification. This facility will be able to research the most dangerous viruses and bacteria known to man, such as anthrax and Ebola. There is an anti-lab website that tries to address the concerns of many Columbians. Most of these concerns stem from the proximity of the purposed site to schools, neighborhoods, and subdivisions.

Sites are usually chosen where there is less resistance to having them built. So the squeaky wheel usually doesn't get a lab.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Rise of Teacher Unions in Missouri: Missouri Supreme Grants Collective Bargaining Power to Teachers

As reported in many Missouri including the Columbia Tribune, teachers now have the right to collective bargaining in the state. Though it doesn't compel the school district to meet any union demands, once a contract is made, the district cannot legally pull out of that contract. According to a news release from the MNEA, teachers will now have a voice on how decisions are made concerning them.

What effect will this have on Missouri school districts? The possibility of strikes comes to mind, especially in urban locales where the pay is low and the retention rate is poor. The court decision: Springfield vs. Clouse, that prevented teachers from collectively bargain, was made 60 years ago and now this author believes that the pent up pressure to organize will be released. Stay tuned, education policy will definitely be changing due to the recent court decision

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Politics of Mourning

Over the holiday, there was more parades and fighter jets roaring down Broadway here in Columbia. I get this feeling that we somehow bastardized the real meaning of memorial day, a day of reflection and remembrance. It has become of vehicle of muscle flexing and recruitment. It is ashamed that we choose remember those who have fallen by paying homage to our war machine

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Salute to Veterans Airshow: Rememberance of our fallen war dead or a recruitment tool

photo by Bill Monroe

I have been to the Salute to Veterans airshow off and on for the last 14 years and what I saw today was the most egregious show of disrespect to those who died for this country. Instead of having a tarmac full of old planes and stories by veteran pilots, it is now a show to recruit those into military service. All the military services were there. Their main demographic they were aiming at were children and young adults 13 or above. Not only did they have over sized mascots walking around, the Army had what was called the "Virtual Army Experience" This was a virtual reality game that one can go through and kill the "bad guys". In my opinion, this was very inappropriate. Memorial Day is a holiday to remember and mourn our war dead. When I was growing up, it meant going to the nearby military cemetery and paying your respects. Most of the time, we just went to the park and picnicked with family. But here at the Columbia Regional Airport it is about paying homage to our war machines. For those who would like the Wikipedia definition of Memorial day, just click on link.

Many military people were very friendly and insisted that they gave me the right to live free. Sorry folks, my constitutional rights are inherent, they are not given to me and especially not by the military. Comment and share your thoughts :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More Zoning options for Columbia.

According to an article in the Columbia Tribune titled: Local zoning ordinances in line for overhaul. There was a recurrent theme among candidates interviewed for Columbia's Planning and Zoning commission. That theme being that our zoning laws have become outdated. Many feel that the zoning laws does not take into account the push for big-box stores or mixed developments. The trend in many communities is to have mixed zoning in a neighborhood that blends single family homes, condos, apartments, and lofts along with nearby commercial property. The idea behind it is that it will allow people to work around in their communities and not have to drive 4-5 miles to shop, eat, etc. It is time to sit down and really figure out what zoning is appropriate for Columbia now and in the near future. Karl Skala, third ward councilperson, was quoted in saying that he would push for a periodic review of the zoning laws.

Blunt signs MOHELA bill

It looks like MOHELA is now the law of the land. Though it seems it is going to be held up in litigation for some time. It seems some students and bond holders might find this pork laden entity offensive. Rightfully so. It is a shame that the flagship university of this state was not slated for any of the "capital improvements" It is clear that this bill was meant to reward political loyalty than to improve higher education in this state. What many of these neo-cons don't know is not only are they "punishing" Columbia for being too liberal, but the many students who attend MU from around the state. Most of them reside in the St. Louis metropolitan area. I truly believe MOHELA will be litigated out and that those assets cannot not be used as political capital.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

McCaskill opens her new office in Columbia

Claire McCaskill was present at the grand opening of her new office in Columbia, Mo. She met with constituents and was greeted warmly by most. There were a number of people who questioned Claire about the Iraq War and her decision to keep funding it. During a brief speech, she did mention those concerns and reminded supporters that in a state that nearly was divided 50-50 last election, it wouldn't be political prudent to not fund the troops. This author suggested that she might help those in the House to start budgeting a redeployment. Of course, President Bush would probably veto the budget and a government shut down crisis would emerge.

The office is located at 915 E. Ash St. in Columbia. It on the corner of 10th street and Ash.
photo from

Friday, May 18, 2007

The 21st Annual James T. Blair Award

Governor Roger Wilson was the recipient the Blair Award tonight presented by the Cole County Central Committee. This honor is bestowed upon an individual that has shown to have served in public life with integrity, dignity, and reverence to the position they hold or once held. There were around 100 people that showed up at the Truman Hotel in Jefferson city. Among them were current office holders including Rep Judy Baker from the 25th District and Rep Jeff Harris from the 23rd district. Gracia Yancey Backer was the mistress of ceremonies and mildly roasted Gov Wilson a bit. Also speaking was former Senate Pro Tem Jim Mathewson who reminded the audience of more civil days in the legislature and asked for prayer for Gov Wilson's son Drew who has already served 3 tours in Iraq and can be called up again at any time. As Mathewson was making his closing remarks, he compared the cost of gas to the 300 billion cost of the Iraq war and called for the redeployment of troops back to the U.S.

Wilson's speech took us back to the days of compromise where tempers would flare, but concessions were made in the end and both parties respected each other. Gov Wilson pledged that he will do the best he can to get democrats elected in '08.

The Keynote speaker was Attorney General Jay Nixon, who is running for governor against presumably Matt Blunt in 2008. He campaigned on a platform of health care, education (from primary to higher education), and experience. He appeared fired up and ready to take on the governor.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Medicaid Drug Testing: A Conservative Attempt at Intimidating the Poor?

An AP story appearing in the Columbia Missourian titled Medicaid drug tests eliminated reports that a measure to randomly drug test medicaid recipients was strap due to the fact that such a message would cost the state millions in federal monies. However one must wonder why someone would want to put in a drug test in order for someone to receive medical care? Is it perhaps to intimidate those who are poor and might be struggling with drug addiction?

Besides violating the fourth amendment's protection from illegal search and seizures, it is also denying the poor the proper care they need to fight their drug abuse. Society and particularly the state need to realize that substance abuse is a medical problem and cannot be solved by cutting off their medicaid.

As a side note, the state of Missouri is projecting a 200 million dollar surplus, but instead of restoring the cuts that were made in 2005 and getting those who lost their benefits back on Medicaid, the Republicans want to cut taxes and give it to the wealthiest of Missourians. It is a shame that many Republicans in this legislature at best feel philosophically that helping the poor and disabled is not the role of government and at worst show contempt towards them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Great LTTE From DFMo Prez Bill Monroe to the Columbia Missourian

Below is a letter to the editor to the Columbia Missourian by Democracy for Missouri president Bill Monroe in response to J. Karl Miller's misinformed opinion piece about "voter fraud"

Mr Warhover,

J. Karl Miller has finally gone too far in his call to end non-existent "voter fraud" in Missouri, thru the use of Voter photo IDs. His thinly veiled racist referrences are over the top:
"The dense populations — which include an abundance of the lesser-affluent, least-educated and most-defenseless people — naturally attract a criminal element and provide a fertile ground for the incidence of fraud."

R epublican efforts to suppress Black voting in this Country are legion. The firing of Federal Attorney Graves when he refused to play ball with the Alberto Gonzales' agenda and pursue so-called voter fraud cases in Missouri is a recent example. Miller refers to this in his opinion piece. It has been shown to have no merit and may contribute to Gonzales being impeached. Republican Ohio's voter suppression of African Americans in the last two elections are well documented: Lines blocks long in the Black areas, and no waiting in the white suburbs.

J. Karl sites cases in which ACORN's paid registration people faked documents to increase their reimbursement. ACORN has acknowledged that this took place in a handful of instances. The pertinent question is, whether these faked people voted. Of course they didn't. There is not one case cited in which someone actually voted fraudulently.

The photo ID scheme is nothing more than an poll tax aimed at preventing the poor and handicapped from voting. It is racist and needs to be recognized as such. The "dense" populations of "most defenseless people" have every right to vote unhindered.

Bill Monroe
Pres. Democracy for Missouri
505 E 10th St
Fulton MO
573 592 8328

Nothing Like An Original Thought....

In today's Columbia Missourian, an editorial by columnist J. Karl Miller, a retired Marine colonel, is putting out the fantasy that there is rampant voter fraud and that picture IDs will solve this problem. Never mind that there is no evidence of anyone voting fraudulently and that this is nothing more than a push for voter suppression. Mr. Miller also plagiarizes the Employment Policies Institute, a right wing economics site. In the EPI article titled ACORN in Hot Water Again for Voter Fraud, the following paragraph is offered:

"Missouri – The St. Louis elections director estimated that after investigating 5,000 registrations turned in by ACORN, only 10 to 15 percent were legitimate and it had appeared that names had been copied from the phone book. More egregious violations include registrations for three dead people and one 16 year old."

Now below is a paragraph from Mr Miller's article:

"The registration irregularities came from duplicate, questionable and unreadable forms, names, addresses and Social Security numbers not matching official records and multiple voter applications signed by the same person. In St. Louis, cards in alphabetical order and obviously signed by the same person appeared to have been lifted from the phone book. ACORN admitted some discrepancies, but dismissed most as merely the product of sloppy work by a few temporary hires. That may have been the case; however, when weighed against its transgressions in other states and that it is funded largely by the decidedly conservative-unfriendly AFL-CIO, ACORN has earned a closer scrutiny."

As you can see, Mr. Miller is not only stating opinion as though it was fact, but does not cite the source he is using. The "phone book reference was not attributed to either the St Louis official that allegedly said it or the EPI article.

Let me remind everyone that there has not been one instance of anyone voting when they were not supposed to, period.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Kenny Hulshof, Next UM Prez?

I find it rather odd and not surprising that republicans on the MU board of Curators, most of them appointed by Blunt, have followed that dear old "conservative" motto: We don't need no stinking experience. Between Bush and the FEMA fiasco and Governor Blunt's appointment of "children" to high levels of government power. I don't know which is worse. I hope more rational people are running the university and are not making decision off of star or celebrity status. We shall see.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Don't trust anyone under 30

Well, it looks like Matt Blunt has done it again. He believes that a 29 year old woman who does not farm, her daddy does, should head our AG department. Been out of college of all of 5 years or so, this woman shoots up the ladder to head a major state agency. This is kind of like what Bush did with Fema, gave it to a political chum and didn't care about qualification. This will backfire on Blunt when dissention within the ranks takes its toll. There are many worthy candidates for that job, but since their daddy's aren't big Blunt contributors, they are out of luck.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


The best kitty in the world!!!

Voter Fraud and the Republican Agenda

Looks like the chicken are coming home to roost over the firings of those US attorneys. apparently they weren't giving the Repubs what they needed to push for "voter reform" Click on this article

Friday, May 04, 2007

MOHELA,'re breaking my heart!

I find myself wondering the state of our state and who let the inmates run the asylum. MOHELA is this confusing mess and no one knows if anything good is going to come out of it. It has given the opportunity for some politicans on the Republican side of the aisle a way to stick it to the Columbia liberals for "not playing ball". You see folks, a friend of mine reminded me of a very simple fact, Republicans can't govern because they want to rule. They feel that once they are elected, they interpret that as a vote for absolute rule, not a chance to serve citizens.