November 20, 2007

What is St. Peters worried about?

"The first principle of a free society is an untrammeled flow of words in an open forum."
Adlai E. Stevenson
"There's no free speech in this chamber"
Former St. Peters Alderman David Hayes at a public meeting in February of 2006.

The radio station which airs Fish & Ships, KFAV, has for some time been the station which plays on St. Peters cable access station. Or I should say played. I was informed today that St. Peters recently told management at KFAV that it will no longer carry KFAV on its cable channel because of Fish & Ships. For those who don't know Fish & Ships is a 15 minute show which runs on Tuesday mornings on KFAV. My co-host, Lyn Schipper, and I cover a variety of topics but try to focus on political issues, especially those involving our listening audience in St. Charles, Warren and Lincoln counties. I am very proud of the work we have done in regard to stories on O'Fallon, St. Charles County, Dardenne Prairie and, yes, St. Peters.

St. Peters is a city in which the last mayor, Shawn Brown, is in federal prison for soliciting a bribe. The mayor before him, Tom Brown, had a judgment for $1,375,000.00 entered against him for violating a citizens due process and first amendment rights while he was mayor; an amount the taxpayers of St. Peters may have to pay. Current Mayor Len Pagano made it one of his first orders of business to honor Tom Brown for his outstanding service to the city. With this type of leadership its no wonder St. Peters has become a frequent stop for government watchdogs.

Fox 2 St. Louis has a popular segment, You Paid For It, which covers wasteful spending in government. "You Paid For It" reporter Elliot Davis has made St. Peters his second home. In his last trip to St. Peters, Davis reported that the citizens were paying over $42,000.00 for health insurance for its part time aldermen. The city also pays part of the insurance premiums for retired aldermen. My understanding is that Davis will be returning to St. Peters shortly to do another story.

The truth is that Lyn and I have spent very little time on St. Peters during our show. However, we have spent quite a bit of time discussing corruption in other parts of St. Charles and in particular in O'Fallon. As part of these discussions we have pointed out the primary beneficiary to the corruption; certain favored builders and developers. And my guess is that this is who is behind St. Peters action.

Since we began our show KFAV has received anonymous threats to cancel our show and threats from certain sponsors to pull ads. Thankfully, the ownership and management at the station have stood up to these cowards. What we have never received is a complaint that our allegations are untrue, a request for a correction or any claim we have misrepresented the facts. We encourage anyone who disagrees with us to correct our errors or challenge our opinions. However, we will never give in to those who want to silence us.

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