January 31, 2008

Hillary and Wal-Mart

ABC News has an interesting story about Hillary Clinton's tenure on the board of directors at Wal-Mart. Her position on the board should raise questions in and of itself since she was appointed to a "new" seat on the board while Bill was governor of Arkansas. After Hillary resigned her position it was not filled. The ABC story discusses how Hillary sat by silently while Wal-Mart pressed forward with anti-union policies. In discussing tapes of Clinton at board meetings the story states:
  • The tapes show Clinton in the role of a loyal company woman. "I'm always proud of Wal-Mart and what we do and the way we do it better than anybody else," she said at a June 1990 stockholders meeting.
However, in 2006, Clinton returned $5,000 in donations from Wal-Mart's PAC because of "serious differences with current company practices." What changed in 2006 to make Hillary turn on a company for which she was once so proud? Nothing, other than the Clintons decided Wal-Mart's money would cost them politically. In fact, I don't believe it is possible for the Clinton's to have a difference of opinion over issues or practices unless that issue is about the only things either of them care about, greed and power. Oh, and an occasional cigar for Bill.

Why would Hulshof want Jetton?

Missouri Political News Service (MOPNS) is reporting that House Speaker Rod Jetton will be Republican gubernatorial candidate Kenny Hulshof's campaign director. According to MOPNS the job will reportedly pay $3,500 a month. If this is true one has to question what Hulshof is thinking.

The Democrats have to be thrilled with the prospect of Jetton speaking on behalf of Hulshof. Jetton is known for making some strange comments, that is when his foot is not in his mouth. In addition, Jetton is probably best known for the village law he slipped into a lengthy bill. By making it easier to incorporate as a village, developers will be able to bypass a county's planning and zoning laws and other land control ordinances. It is through such laws that residents are allowed to voice their concerns over the negative impact a development might have on their land and the community as a whole The day after the Village law went into effect a wealthy developer and friend of Jetton's, Robert Plaster, filed paperwork under the new law regarding a controversial development in Stone County.

For his part, Jetton did the smartest thing of his political career when the Village law came to light, he quit talking for several months. Jetton refused to answer questions by his constituents and the press but, as expected, when Jetton finally talked he dug himself a deeper whole with a ridiculous explanation for why the bill was needed. No one believed Jetton and whatever credibility he had was lost.

If this is the type of people Hulshof is willing to work with, why would Missourians want Hulshof working for them?

Blunt still has more to accomplish

Back on January 8, 2008, Fired Up Missouri had a post asking if Blunt was going to reward a donor, Anne Wells, by appointing her as prosecuting attorney of Newton County. Wells donated over $29,000.00 to Blunt's campaign including a check for $25,000.00 in June of 2007. In addition, Wells father, Jerry Wells, and his company, Moark, donated money to Matt and Roy Blunts' campaigns. It turns out Anne Wells did not get the appointment but according to The Turner Report it wasn't because of lack of effort on Matt Blunt's part. Turner writes:

  • After Prosecuting Attorney Scott Watson opted to resign and take a position with St. John's Regional Medical Center, the Newton County Republican Central Committee refused to back down to Gov. Matt Blunt's demand that it help him pay back one of his major contributors by nominating the man's daughter to replace Watson.

From fee offices to positions in government, Blunt continues to reward his political contributors. And we can be sure Blunt will claim it is just a coincidence that his contributors just happen to be the most qualified people for those jobs. This story is just as believable as his reason for resigning, however, if he is lying about the appointments isn't this quid pro quo bribery? Maybe Blunt has more to accomplish after all.

January 30, 2008

Ramblin' Rick

    Some random thoughts:
      • If Barack Obama is the candidate of change why is the democratic establishment endorsing him? Why would he want them to?

      • Whenever a politician begins a statement with "my good friend from," you know he is about to attack someone.

      • Now that Rod Jetton has announced he won't run for governor will he run for mayor of Plasterville?

      • Charlie Shields has also announced he is not running for governor. Should I have my neighbor Joe announce he isn't running for governor?

      • What happens when Matt Blunt accomplishes everything he set out to do in his life?

      • St. Louis Post-Dispatch investigative reporters=The real American Idle.

      • Does anyone believe Shawn Brown was the only politician in St. Charles County accepting bribes?

      • Was Susan Montee Enron's internal auditor?

      • Was that UFO in Texas trying to take Ron Paul home?

      • Forget waterboarding. I say we make them listen to a speech by Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius.

Wake Up Call's endorsement for President

While my endorsement may not be worth 50 Cent's , a couple of people did offer me a penny for my thoughts so I decided to put my 2 cents in. My endorsement is for the candidate who:

  • Is running on his record, a record that has not changed depending on whom he is talking to or what office he is seeking
  • Has set forth a plan and a vision rather than cliches and platitudes
  • Is not beholden to special interests
  • Has set forth specifics on the policies and programs she would implement and provided an honest evaluation of the costs and benefits
  • Has an agenda that is similar to my beliefs
  • Will not use his office for personal or political gain
  • Focuses on what she is rather than on what others are
  • Will enforce the laws of this country in a fair and equitable way and work to change those laws he deems unjust
  • Is honest

Please let me know when we have a candidate that comes close to meeting these qualifications and I will endorse that person. As long as we continue to support a system that provides a choice between "the lesser of two evils" as candidates we will get "two evils" as candidates. Anyway, who cares about presidential endorsements? I doubt that and 50 Cent will buy you a cup of coffee anymore.

January 29, 2008

They steal roads don't they!

With Elliott Davis of You Paid For It about to put the spotlight on Koch Road and O'Fallon, I thought it might be a good time to try and explain how a public road can be stolen. I hope the analogy below helps explain this better and if anyone has questions you can post a comment or send me an email. I also have a listing of links regarding Koch Road on the right.

Let's say you hire a real estate agent to sell your house but later change your mind and advise the agent she can't sell the house. Despite your instructions, the agent enters into a real estate contract for the sale of your house with a good friend of hers. The contract, however, provides closing will not take place (when the buyer would actually own the property) until (1) a new home is completed for you, and (2) that new home is inspected and accepted by the city where you live.
Of course, you would be furious with your agent for entering into this illegal contract and you file a lawsuit to have the court set aside the contract. The law is clear that your agent could not enter into a contract to sell the house without your permission so you fully expect to prevail in court. Although the case may take months to wind its way through the system you have time because the conditions of the contract (i.e. the new house be completed and accepted) have not been met. However, to your shock, you wake up one morning and realize the potential buyer of your house illegally tore it down the night before.
When you turn to the city you live in for help you soon realize it will not do anything because it is also friends with the buyer. While it is quite clear the buyer violated the terms of the contract it is also clear the buyer committed a crime, however, your city, your agent and the county prosecutor refuse to do anything. In fact, despite its knowledge that the buyer has illegally torn down your house and does not own the property, the city gives its friend (the buyer) a permit to build a new house on your land.
The city is well aware of its role in this crime but instead of correcting its mistake it decides to write a letter to your agent in which it (flat out lies) says that your new home was completed and accepted. Your agent knows this is a lie but still tries to proceed on the sale of your house. While all of this is going on the Judge rules, as expected, that your agent had no right to sell your house and, therefore, the Judge sets aside the contract.
What are you left with? Your home has been destroyed and the new home they want you to move into hasn't even been finished. The buyer, with the help of the city and your agent, went ahead and built a new house on your land and sold the home to innocent buyers who were not told the original buyer did not own the land it sold. The innocent buyers move into their new home unaware it is sitting on property they do not own. When the new buyers find out they have been mislead they file a lawsuit against the buyer, and like your lawsuit against the agent, they have a great case. However, as expected, the city tries to the rescue its friend again and now claims it owned your land the whole time. Looks like you have to file another lawsuit.
While the names in this story have been changed, it was not done to protect the guilty but instead to (hopefully) better explain the illegal conduct regarding Koch Rd. Here are the actual players:
  • Your house=your road, Koch Road.
  • You=the residents of St. Charles County, the true owners of Koch Road.
  • Your real estate agent=St. Charles County
  • The illegal sales contract=The illegal ordinance passed by St. Charles County giving Koch Road to the developers.
  • The buyer (and friend of the agent and city)=Hyland Green/McBride & Sons
  • The city=O'Fallon, Missouri
  • The prosecutor=Jack Banas
  • The innocent buyers=innocent buyers

In the real world no one would think they can tear down a house they don't own, at least without paying the consequences. However, we don't live in the real world in St. Charles County where the builders/developers own more than just land. In our world, not only can a builder/developer steal a public road but our representatives are more than willing to help them.

For those of you who wonder why this story has not appeared in the Post-Dispatch and Suburban Journal (both owned by Lee Enterprises), I will be posting an update on an earlier post later this week.

January 28, 2008

I'm a Republican leaning, freedom fighting loony liberal

For those of you who listen to Fish & Ships you have probably heard my partner, Lyn Schipper, compare me to the "loony left." However, in a recent post on Life of Jason, my blog was referred to as "Republican leaning" and in the comments to the post, I am referred to as a "freedom fighter for the injustices of government." If I'm going to be labeled I would prefer the following: He's a poet, he's a picker--He's a prophet, he's a pusher--He's a pilgrim and a preacher, and a problem when he's stoned. The Pilgrim Chapter 33. Ramblin' Jack Elliott had a lot to do with this post.

Fish & Ships

As many of you are aware, our show last week did not air although it can be found on the O'Fallon Watchdog. We met with Steve Kaspar of KFAV prior to our show today and worked out the issues we had regarding the station's failure to air the show. On tomorrow's program we will discuss;
  • The St. Peters audit, and

  • Governor Matt Blunt's decision not to seek re-election.

You can hear the show every Tuesday starting at approximately 9:00 AM until 9:15 on KFAV, 99.9. If you can't hear the show live you can go to the O'Fallon Watchdog later this week to listen to the show.

ST. PETERS SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Fish & Ships contains information the city has deemed harmful to its residents.

January 27, 2008

St. Peters is a dirty city-Part 2

This is the second part (Part 1) of my review of the St. Peters audit. It should be noted that the audit was given to St. Peters officials weeks in advance of its release but that the residents were not provided a copy until minutes before State Auditor Susan Montee presented her findings. I have been told that Montee did not even provide a copy of the audit to the petitioners until right before her presentation. Of course, by doing this Montee did not give the residents a chance to question her on the audit, which, after reviewing her work, I can understand. Now back to the audit:

7. Lack of accounting controls: Montee pointed out several areas in which St. Peters fails to keep adequate records:
a) The city has not taken a physical inventory of its assets in at least 8 years.
b) Meals purchased by Mayor Pagano and others did not contain information such as what was bought, who attended the meeting or why it was city business.

c) 118,000 gallons of water (6% of total) were not billed and the city only found this out after being asked by the auditor to check the numbers.
d) The city owns 263 vehicles but does not keep logs to ensure that the vehicles are being used for official business.
8. City Administrator's vehicle: The city has the choice of either providing the CA a vehicle or paying him a $900.00 car allowance. The city pays the CA the $900.00 a month which is significantly higher than the cost to provide him a vehicle or pay him for his mileage.
9. Major Transactions not competitively bid: Montee notes that there are 45 contracts (she says involving major transactions) in which the city has options to renew. Montee stated these contracts do not contain any limitations or specifics as to the price which will be charged if renewed. Montee fails to mention that the failure to include this information makes these contacts invalid and illegal. In addition, these renewals violate the city's ordinance requiring competitive bidding. Montee's audit, however, provides the residents no information as to the costs to the residents.
10. Lease not competitively bid: Montee reports that the city entered into a lease with a business for part of the expanded Rec-Plex. The business was to provide exercising and training proposals, however, the city failed to put this out to bid (anyone see a pattern here?).
11. Lack of documents: Throughout Montee's report she talks about the city's failure to provide supporting documentation and failure to keep adequate records. In regard to the Lakeside 370 project, the city, in explaining why it did not seek formal proposals, stated it had "informally negotiated with several interested developers." Montee, however, stated the city could not provide supporting documentation. On a deal of this magnitude (50 million) there will be supporting documentation if there truly were informal negotiations with developers. The city is required by law to keep these records, therefore, is this another case of St. Peters violating the law or another case of the city lying?
12. Misrepresentations by St. Peters:

a) St. Peters claimed in a press release (regarding the city's refusal to air the auditors report on the city's cable access channel) that "we legally cannot provide the televising and recording services at no charge." This press release was emailed to me by Lisa Bedian, however, she provided no authority for this statement. In fact, I emailed Bedian and requested that she provide authority last week and she has failed to respond. That is because there is no law which prohibited the city from airing the meeting.
b) St. Peters stated in a press release that "the Auditor’s report contained no improprieties of any kind and confirmed that St. Peters follows Missouri laws, ethics rules, regulations and City ordinances." This is absolutely false. I have pointed out some of the "improprieties" contained in the audit in my posts. I have also pointed out violations of the law shown by the report. Finally, Montee stated in her report she was not issuing an opinion as to the legality of St. Peters actions.
c) St. Peters claims the "report confirms that the City was not guilty of any wrongdoing and is making a sizable profit on the sale of Lakeside 370." This is simply wrong. The auditor notes several problems with how the city has handled this situation. In addition, the auditor made no finding that the city is making a profit on this project but she did note the city's estimated profit was wrong and that the city could sustain a huge loss on this project.

d) St. Peters response to the audit is filled with misstatements, excuses and deception. Take for example how the city supported its $900.00 car allowance to the CA. The city used the sticker price on a 2006 Ford Crown Victoria and then calculated the payments on a 3 year loan including interest. The city then added on the monthly maintenance costs, sales tax and property tax on top of this number. Of course, this number has absolutely no relation to the actual cost since the city failed to mention (1) no one pays sticker price, (2) interest, sales tax and property tax would not apply if the city purchased the vehicle, (3) depreciation on the vehicle; and, (4) the car will have value at the end of the 3 years.
The fact is that Montee's audit was so poorly performed that you cannot determine how much money St. Peters is costing the taxpayers. When reviewing this audit think what would happen with a private company that operated in this fashion. The cavalier attitude displayed by the elected and appointed representatives of St. Peters to the taxpayers money would never be tolerated by a business. In fact, any employee who provided their boss with the lame excuses, misrepresentations and deceptive answers that St. Peters provided would be fired on the spot. It is time the voters in St. Peters remember who the real bosses are and take back their city.

January 26, 2008

Ehlmann endorses Paul McKee/Peter Kinder for Governor

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann announced that he is endorsing Peter Kinder for governor. Kinder was the first Republican to announce that he would run for Governor after Matt Blunt's surprising withdrawal from the race earlier this week. Kinder was one of the biggest pushers for the 100 million dollar tax credit many believe was drafted for one man, Paul McKee. Kinder has admitted McKee's lawyers helped to draft the legislation.

McKee, his companies and their employees are major contributors to politicians in Missouri and, especially, St. Charles County. While most of McKee's money goes to Republicans the true test of which candidates he and his companies support is where he plans to develop property. A review of the favoritism shown to McKee's companies in O'Fallon (one of his favorite places to spend money on candidates) shows McKee's money was well spent.

Steve Ehlmann is also one of McKee's favorite politicians. In the last reporting period Ehlmann brought in $27,450.00 of which $8,450.00 came from McKee, his companies and their employees. Ehlmann is not up for re-election until August of 2010. Ehlmann has used his position as County Executive to put his political cronies on the county payroll and he has been the latest errand boy in St. Charles for the builders and developers. Therefore, his endorsement of Kinder/McKee for governor comes as no surprise. however, it does leave me with one question, why would anyone care if one of McKee's lackeys endorses another one for governor?

You Paid For It to cover Koch Road

You Paid For It is heading to O'Fallon to cover the the story on Koch Road. You Paid For It, which airs on Fox 2 St. Louis, is a popular segment by Elliott Davis which exposes government waste. Koch Road is not only a story regarding government waste involving O'Fallon and St. Charles County, but it is also a story regarding the control builders and developers have over St. Charles County politics. The story on Koch Road is scheduled to air January 31, 2008 at 9:00 PM. The You Paid For It segments usually last about 5 minutes so there won't be enough time to fully expose all the parties involved in the corruption surrounding this case but I will set up a list of links to posts that I have done on Koch Road. I will also be posting a story prior to Thursday on Koch Road explaining the case in simpler terms and naming those who were involved in this debacle.

St. Peters is a dirty city-Part 1

Rather than accept the spin about the audit done on St. Peters, I decided to actually read the audit before I pronounced St. Peters a clean city. I have already posted about one glaring problem that was pointed out in the audit and in this post I will take a look at some of the other findings of the audit. It should be noted that I have relied on the grossly negligent audit done by Susan Montee's office and that her credibility has been called into question by her actions in this audit. Having said that here is some of what Montee found:

  1. Appraisals not done: The city is involved in a project known as Lakeside 370. As part of this project the city purchased 1552 acres of land, however, the city only obtained a formal independent appraisal on 249. 4 acres (or 16 % of the land purchased.) The audit states that "good business practices requires" an appraisal to ensure a reasonable price is paid. Montee failed to offer any evidence as to what was a reasonable price for the property.

  2. Purchase from former Mayor Tom Brown's son-in-law: As I reported yesterday, Montee noted that land was purchased from "a related party" which turned out to be Brown's son-in-law who received almost 3 times per acre what the other sellers received. The city did not obtain an appraisal to support the purchase price on this land. The Government Accounting Standards (GAS) under which Montee operates consider such a transaction "abuse."

  3. Bonds not competitively bid: Montee reports St. Peters failed to obtain competitive bids on short term bonds which were issued. Montee did not provide any information as to how much this cost the city but she did note competitive bidding "ensures the city receives fair value" and "helps ensure all parties are given equal opportunity to participate in the city's business."

  4. No request for proposal (RFP) on Lakeside 370: Montee reports the city did not formally request proposals on Lakeside 370. Montee noted a RFP ensures the best price is obtained and all parties are given an equal opportunity to participate. In addition, a RFP may have been required by law (see Section 99.820) and Montee fails to offer any details as to why an RFP was not required.

  5. Lakeside 370 does not have a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR): St. Peters has only received payment of 24.6 million dollars on the purchase price and the remaining amount due (25 million) is contingent on the LOMR. Montee estimates St. Peters will lose 15 million dollars if the LOMR is not granted. However, Montee fails to mention why the LOMR has not been granted but instead simply states the city should "continue to monitor the approval process to ensure the successful completion of the project."

  6. Large severance packages for Police Chief and City Administrator (CA): Montee reports the city entered into contracts with the chief and CA in June of 2007 which run through May of 2012. If the CA is terminated before that time he still receives the entire amount due under the contract and if he stays on he will receive a lump sum payment of 1 year of his salary. The city's liability is estimated by Montee to be over $800,000.00 to the CA. The city is obligated to pay the chief $107,000.00 if he is terminated before his contract expires. The city claims these contracts are necessary because of "efforts by non-residents to discredit and undermine the leadership of our CA and Police Chief." Montee completely ignores the numerous problems of these contracts as set below.

a) The full amount of the potential liabilities on these contracts must be counted against the budget each year since they could be accrued in any given year. Montee does not mention this in her audit and that this added revenue could make the contracts a violation of the Missouri Constitution.

b) Appointed officials in fourth class cities serve "at will" which means the city cannot enter into a contract which prohibits the termination of such an official. The city's reason for these contracts (pressure from non-residents) is an attempt to take away the right of elected officials to terminate these individuals. The city is well aware that "non-residents" have absolutely no right to fire anyone in the city and that power resides in the hands of elected officials. If the residents are unhappy with the performance of the CA and chief and elect people who share their view, the current alderman and mayor have set up a financial roadblock to democracy.

I will finish the rest of my review in Part 2 in which I will point out other problems noted in the audit, violations of the law Montee failed to mention and misrepresentations by the city in an attempt to mislead its residents. When reviewing the audit one should also consider that former Mayor Tom Brown was not only guilty of "abuse" regarding the land sale but Montee completely failed to mention that Brown and the city were found to have unjustly interfered with a local business because the owner dared to speak out against Brown and the city. This could end up costing the residents over a million dollars. Couple this with the fact that Tom Brown's successor, Shawn Brown, is in federal prison for bribery and you get a picture that St. Peters is not a clean city but instead it is one of the dirtier cities in the region. Based upon the facts, I challenge anyone to claim St. Peters is a clean city. And I haven't even gotten to the rest of the audit yet.

January 25, 2008

O'Fallon residents continue to pay cost of corruption

The widespread corruption that plagued the City of O'Fallon during the administration of former Mayor Paul Renaud (and current Council President Bill Hennessy, pictured to the right) continues to cost the taxpayers of O'Fallon. In a story which appeared in the Post-Dispatch today it was reported that:
  • In a ruling handed down last week, Circuit Judge Nancy Schneider said that under a June 2004 agreement between the city and Public Water Supply District No. 2, the water district exclusively controls new sanitary sewer users. Barring a reversal on appeal, the ruling means city officials won't be able to stop sewage from several customers, including the Meadows at Lake Saint Louis, a shopping center scheduled to open its first phase in August.

  • O'Fallon City Administrator Robert Lowery Jr. placed a freeze on hookups into the sewer system last fall because officials said the city's aging wastewater treatment plant on the north side of town was operating at capacity. Its discharge risked exceeding environmental standards, officials said.

  • The Meadows isn't the only new customer affected by the ruling. ­Schneider ordered the city to immediately take all measures necessary to ensure that its treatment facility has adequate capacity to receive and treat all wastewater transferred to it by the water district's users, present and future.

The end result of this will be that the taxpayers will be forced to pay the costs of upgrading the system to increase the capacity. How is this related to corruption? During Renaud's tenure the city gave away tap ons to our water and sewer systems to the preferred developers and builders. One of the builders who benefited from this was Renaud's employer McBride & Sons. The bill for these illegal giveaways has now come due.

When paying their taxes the residents of O'Fallon should be sure to remember to send Renaud a thank you note and while you're at it don't forget to include a note to Hennessy and former alderman (and current council candidate) Mark Perkins who supported giving your money to the developers. This is but one example of many "favors" Renaud/Hennessy/Perkins provided to developers/builders and we will be paying for this for years to come.

January 24, 2008

Is Pagano a Fann of Montee or an easy Mark for Bond?

An interesting post appeared on Show Me Progress today claiming Senator Kit Bond came to St. Peters recently to put heat on St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano. The post states:
  • "The substance of Bond's conversation with Pagano was: THREAT--according to a well connected birdie I know. St. Peters is waiting impatiently on FEMA funds needed to complete the Highway 370 project there. Bond said he could make those FEMA funds go away permanently. He also mentioned that there were still a few days left before the filing deadline in the mayoral race and that if Pagano didn't disavow endorsing Fann, the Republicans would find themselves a primary challenger.
    OK, that last (part) was not a very credible threat, but it made Pagano understand that Bond was seriously displeased. And naturally, he did what the senator told him to do; he wrote the local papers to complain that those words on the flier were not an accurate quotation of anything he had said and that he was not endorsing either candidate."

Why would Bond be threatening Pagano? According to Show Me Progress "The GOP is worried about the Fann race in house district 16, St. Charles County. Or at least Kit Bond is, since Fann's Republican opponent, Mark Parkinson, is Bond's protegee, and Bond figures the Republican mayor of St. Peters has been ... too kind ... to Tom Fann."

Is the Bond story true? Who knows, but maybe Bond heard the story that Pagano is playing nice with the Democrats in return for Democratic State Auditor Susan Montee's gift to St. Peters. Another reason why we need an alternative to the two self serving parties that run this country.

Susan Montee's audit of St. Peters should be investigated

The St. Peters audit is in and if you listen to what Montee had to say, rather than what she wrote, you might think St. Peters is the standard by which other cities should be measured. If that is the case we should all throw in the towel. Of course, based on Montee's comments, St. Peters issued a press release which claims nothing wrong was found in the audit. To make matters worse the media picked up on this theme and reported Montee found St. Peters was clean.

First, I suggest everyone read the report and come to their own conclusions, since what has been reported as the facts are not true. Then I suggest you take a look at the Government Auditing Standards (GAS) to which Montee was required to conduct the audit. I do not profess to be an expert in regard to government auditing but Montee's poor audit is as evident based on common sense as it is from reading the standards. I will be posting more details about the audit in another post but let me give you one example of what Montee believes is a clean city:

St. Peters is involved in a project known as Lakeside 370. The city began purchasing land for the project in 2000 and has purchased 1552 acres for a total of 9.1 million. Montee reports that the city did not obtain an appraisal on some of the land purchased, most notably 98 acres which was purchased from former mayor Tom Brown's son-in-law. (Montee did not mention the name of her fellow Democrat Brown but instead said one sale "involved a related party to the mayor in office at the time.") Therefore, the average price per acre for the land obtained from those not related to Brown was $5,227.00 while Brown's son-in-law received $15,306.00 per acre.

Montee offers no explanation for the large difference in price per acre and, for the most part, ignores this clear conflict of interest. The GAS provide as an example of abuse the following:
  • c. Misusing the official's position for personal gain (including actions that could be perceived by an objective third party with knowledge of the relevant information as improperly benefiting an official's personal financial interests or those of an immediate or close family member...)

The Brown land deal is a perfect example of "abuse" under GAS but to avoid making such a finding Montee simply ignores this part of her job. In the report Montee states "because the determination of abuse is subjective, our audit is not required to provide reasonable assurance of detecting abuse." Huh? I think this means Montee won't tell on her fellow Democrat Tom Brown.

January 23, 2008

Was Fish & Ships censored?

My apologies to those of you who tuned in to KFAV Tuesday morning to hear our show. We recorded our show Monday afternoon and after the recording was complete I posted what we discussed. One of the things we talked about was the refusal of St. Peters to televise the report of the State Auditor which was held at City Hall Wednesday night. St. Peters has a history of trying to silence dissent and actually removed KFAV from its cable access because of criticism it received on our show.

Apparently, St. Peters was afraid of what we might have said on our show Tuesday and, therefore, Lisa Bedian, PR director for the city, contacted station mangement with those concerns. I had a lengnthy discussion with Steve Kaspar of KFAV on Wednesday who confirmed he talked with Bedian and then decided not to air the show. Kaspar indicated that at the time he spoke with Bedian he had not heard our show and that there was not enough time to review it before it aired. I do not believe Kaspar reviews each of our shows before they air but he indicated he wanted to hear this show because of the concerns raised by Bedian. (While Bedian was concerned about our show she had not listenened to it when she called the station to complain.)

Kaspar has agreed to review his decision not to air our show and Lyn and I will be meeting with him prior to recording our show Monday, that is if we record another show. Not only do I stand behind what we said on the show about St. Peters desicion not to air the report but after my intial review of the audit and the reason giving by St. Peters for not airing the report I believe the city intentionally mislead its residents. I will post more about that later this week. In regard to our show, both Lyn and I our in agreement that we will not continue to do the show unless we are given assurances we will be able to discuss issues without our views being censored unjustly.

To be quite honest, it is my opinion KFAV has given in to St. Peters in hope of being placed back on the cable access channel, however, it should be noted Kaspar denies played a part in his decision not to air the show. In fairness to Steve Kaspar he has, for the most part, allowed us to do our show without interference. I also applaud him for allowing us to provide news and commentary that other media outlets refuse to cover.

As to our show, you can listen to it yourself on the O'Fallon Watchdog and since I know Ms. Bedian likes to check my blog I invite her to listen to the show as well. After you're finished Lisa, send me an email setting out any statements of fact which we made that were incorrect and I will post it on here. And after you're done listening to the show I have some other suggested reading for you and the powers that be in St. Peters, it's called the United States Constitution.

List of people who believe Blunt

I have achieved virtually everything that I set out to accomplish in this post and more.

January 21, 2008

Fish & Ships

Tomorrow's show we will be talking about:

You can hear the show every Tuesday starting at approximately 9:00 AM until 9:15 on KFAV, 99.9. If you can't hear the show live you can go to the O'Fallon Watchdog later this week to listen to the show.

January 20, 2008

St. Peters won't televise audit

St. Peters just doesn't get it. The Missouri State audit conducted on the city is set to be released in a meeting at City Hall on Wednesday at 7:00 PM. However, the city has decided not to televise the meeting on its cable access channel. The lame excuses offered by St. Peters for not televising the audit continue a pattern of actions taken by the city to keep information from its residents. Whether it be eliminating dissenting viewpoints from it airwaves, interfering with citizen comments or taking action to keep residents off its televised meetings, the city is not a friend of open and honest government.
What makes this even more interesting is that elected officials claim the report is good news for the city. While it should not matter whether the report is good or bad it is an opportunity to provide the residents a window into how their local government works. This is the purpose we have local cable access channels and I would suspect the Auditor's report would be watched by more residents than a regular council meeting. Perhaps this is why Mayor Len Pagano and others at city hall want to keep this off the air.

Who was Jeff Roe's source?

As reported by the Turner Report, Jeff Roe has removed the libelous statements he posted about Joe Brazil back in August of 2006. The post reported that back in 1982 Brazil was drunk when he was involved in an accident that resulted in the death of his friend Norval Pierce. The post was a flat out lie but before I discuss that let me give you a little background:

In 2006 State Senator Jon Dolan resigned to take a job in the private sector. As a result of Dolan's resignation an election was to be held to fill Dolan's seat until the next general election. Under the law each party had to pick a candidate to run for the seat and several Republicans actively sought the position. Among those were Scott Rupp, a Republican member of the house, and Brazil, a Republican St. Charles County councilman. The candidate would be selected by members of the various Republican committees within the senatorial district. While the district includes parts of various counties it is mostly comprised of St. Charles County.

The Republican party in St. Charles County is controlled by the builders and developers who pour millions of dollars into local elections, however, there remains a faction of the party fighting the corruption, giveaways and control the builders/developers have over the party. As the election approached it became clear that Rupp was the candidate of the developers while Brazil had been fighting for years against the developers control over the party. One of Rupp's leading supporters was Paul McKee ( the 100 million dollar tax credit Paul McKee) and Mckee was also a supporter of Blunt.

Prior to the vote, members of the Republican committee were being lobbied to support Rupp by people from the Blunt team. Despite the support of Blunt, Brazil won the first vote but, because the vote was split between several candidates, he did not receive the required majority to secure the nomination. A run off was held between Rupp and Brazil which Rupp won 10-9. Rupp went on to beat the Democratic candidate, however, the general election was just months away and this time there would be a Republican primary. Brazil announced he would be running against Rupp in the primary.

While Rupp had a huge advantage in money the Republican party apparently did not have confidence he would win and decided to go on the attack against Brazil. Enter Jeff Roe, the undisputed king of gutter politics and mud slinging. Roe and other Republicans began looking for dirt on Brazil. This research included looking into the 1982 accident which resulted in Norval's death.

Apparently, someone from the Republican party (I Believe it was Buddy Hardin) went to the Florissant police station to look at the police report on the accident. Meanwhile Roe posted a story on his web site, The Source, that claimed Brazil was drunk and that was the reason Norval was killed. Roe relied in part on a story that appeared on the Darwin Awards, a site which tries to put a humorous spin on people who die in odd ways. Roe made no mention of the police report which indicated alcohol was not involved.

However, it wasn't just the police report that indicated Joe was not drinking, those who were with Joe that night will all tell you alcohol was not involved. I know because I am one of those witnesses. Joe and Norval were both close friends of mine and I was one of the pallbearers at Norval's funeral. The night of the accident was supposed to be our "senior prank" night and we planned to pour sand over the teachers parking lot and have a beach party. Joe and several of our friends had gone to get the sand prior to the accident and we did not have a drop of alcohol that night.

When we arrived at school we began dumping the sand and I was in the dump truck right behind Joe and watched as Norval either slipped or jumped off the truck Joe was driving. Joe kept driving, unaware Norval fell under the wheels, and the truck ran over Norval. The police and other emergency personal arrived on the scene and while many of us went to the emergency room, Joe went with the police to explain what happened. Norval was pronounced dead at the hospital that night, just 3 days before our graduation.

While this was a horrible tragedy for everyone involved one thing that helped all of us cope was the kindness shown by Norval's family. The Pierce family opened up their home to all of us, including Joe, and to this day we remain in contact with the family. When Joe first ran for office in Florissant, Norval's parents put his signs up in their yard. There had never been any mention that Joe was drinking by those of us who were with Joe that night and witnesses, the police report and the Pierce family are consistent on this point. Therefore, we were all shocked when Jeff Roe's post appeared.

As soon as I read the Roe story I emailed Roe and the Darwin site. I learned the Darwin story had been submitted by someone who graduated with our class but neither Joe, myself nor any of our friends knew this person (we had a class of over 600) but we did know the writer was not with us and the story was false. Another friend of ours who was there that night also emailed the Darwin site and explained the story was not true and the story was removed from the Darwin site. Roe, however, not only refused to remove the site but he continued to defend his post with contradictory stories about his source of information.

One thing that I was curious about was how Roe had come across the Darwin story since it did not mention Joe by name. As I read about Roe on the Internet I learned of his (lack of) character and ethics and I found the connection. One of our classmates and friends in 1982 was Leslie Hickock. While I had not seen Leslie in years, I remembered seeing her at a class reunion (I think our 20th in 2002) when she proudly introduced me to her husband, United States Congressman Sam Graves. Of course, I now know of the connection between Graves and Roe and I am sure Roe talked to Leslie about the accident. (In fact, he refers to a conversation he had with a close friend about the incident in one of the stories written about his post.)

While I am not sure if Leslie was there the night of the accident I am sure she was not with us prior to the accident or when it occurred. . Therefore, I am left with this question, did Leslie simply tell Roe about the incident and he took it from there or did Leslie lead Roe to believe Joe was drinking? Either way Leslie has an obligation to set the record straight, a chance I am sure she will get in the libel case.

I often wonder how people like Roe end up that way, were they simply corrupted by greed and power or is it some personality trait they were born with? Depending on how Leslie explains her involvement in this case I may have a better understanding.

January 19, 2008

The real candidate for change

My fellow Americans, after I woke up this morning and changed my clothes to come here I realized what this election is about; Change. It was at that point that I realized why I am the most qualified candidate to lead this country in these ever changing times. While other candidates may talk about change I live a life of constant change. As I told you earlier, just this morning I changed my clothes and while driving here I actually changed lanes and radio stations several times. Changing is not new to me as I have lived a life of changing to get to where I am today and that will not change if I am elected.

My career as a public servant shows my commitment to change as I have changed my stance on many issues and I am willing to change my position on those issues again if this change will help you to change your mind and vote for me, the candidate of change. With my new changing view as to what is important in this election let me clearly lay out my positions:

  • It is clear that we need to change our policy on the war in Iraq to help change the direction of this war unless you are happy with the direction in which case I will work to change the views of those who want to change our policies.

  • With many experts advising us we are heading into a recession it is clear we need to either change the economic policies that may be leading us into these troubled times or change the experts we listen to about the economy.

  • On other important issues facing this country, I have heard the clear mandate of the people that change is what is needed and once the citizens of this country quit changing their minds on what issues are important, I can promise you I will implement my position of change on these issues as well.

While my advisers and I have spent hours putting together our detailed plans to change the course of this country we are, of course, willing to change our minds if you believe further change is needed. In fact, if you decide change is not what you want but instead you desire stability and continuity I can assure you that my position on change has been a consistent and stable feature of my life which will not change. While I may have changed clothes, lanes and positions this morning, I do this every day and, therefore, I really haven't changed anything at all.

Paid for with change by Citizens for Change, We are in the process of changing treasurers.

January 17, 2008

Audit on St. Peters to be released

The audit performed by the Missouri State Auditor's office on the city of St. Peters is set to be released next week. A meeting will be held on Wednesday, January, 23 at 7:00 pm at the St. Peters City Hall to discuss the findings. I will provide a link to the report as soon as it is available.

I'm back

For various reasons I have not posted in several weeks but I am back and ready to post again. I will be making a change to the format in that I will not be linking to all the local news on a daily basis but instead I will link stories which interest me whether state, local or national. If anyone has any suggestions or comments regarding a story or format change send me an email at rfisc82376@aol.com.