Letter To Central Committee On Proposed By-Laws Conflicts With State Law

365px-democratslogoEmailed 8/19 to St. Louis Democratic City Central Committee, copied to Missouri Democratic Party Chair Steve Webber, Democratic National Committeewoman Megan Green, 8th Ward Alderwoman Annie Rice

Information on 8/21 Central Committee Meeting where vote will take place on Proposed By-Laws Draft #6.

Central Committee Colleagues: I’ve done a quick review of the proposed By-Laws with regard to State Law, which enables political parties to organize and participate in elections, and am passing along what I have found so far.
1) State Law Supersedes Political Party By Laws: By-Laws May Not Conflict With State Law. It’s important to note that Central Committee, and State Party Chair, if he approves Central Committee’s By-Laws, are subject to litigation for any provisions in the By-Laws that are in conflict with State or Federal law.

Section 115.627 RSMo“…Such constitution or bylaws may have any provisions not in conflict with the laws of this state.”

2) State Law Supersedes Political Party By-Laws: Central Committee May Not Overturn An Election. State law prescribes the election of political party committees and appointment to fill vacancies caused by death, resignation, or lack of residency. State law recognizes no other cause of vacancy for political party committeepeople, including a county committee overturning the election of a committeeperson, and provides no mechanism to fill any such vacancy.

115.617 RSMoVacancy, how filled. — Whenever a member of any county or city committee dies, resigns, or ceases to be a registered voter of or a resident of the county or a city not within a county or the committee district from which he is elected, a vacancy shall exist on the committee.”

There is, perhaps, some confusion in this matter (certainly was in 2009) because State law allows State Committee to remove State Committee members. In doing so, however, the State Committee members who are committeepersons retain their status as committeepersons. State Committee is not empowered to undo the election of a county political party committeeperson.

115.624 RSMoState party committees may remove members, when. — The members of the state committee of a party may remove a member of such committee upon a two-thirds majority vote of all state committee members voting thereon.  Upon certification to the secretary of state by the state committee that a two-thirds majority of its members have elected to remove a member, such member shall forfeit his or her office and a vacancy shall exist on said state committee.”

Proposed By-Laws Article X (c) to remove committeepeople who run as Independent candidates would violate State law. Central Committee, and State Party Chair, if he approves Central Committee’s By-Laws, would be subject to litigation in this matter.

Proposed By-Laws, Article X (c): “Upon a two-thirds majority vote of all Members present and voting (within a quorum setting), the Members may remove a Member of The Committee at any time during his/her four-year term of office for running for office in any capacity other than as a Democratic candidate; again, this obviously does not include offices such as City School Board or Junior College District Board etc. Upon certification to the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners by The Committee’s Executive Board that a two-thirds majority of its Members have decided to remove a Member, such Member shall forfeit his/her office immediately, and a vacancy on The Committee shall be deemed to exist from that point in time. The vacancy shall then be filled per Article IV ByLaws.”

3) Junior College was replaced with Community College by statute in 2008. Junior College is now considered a pejorative for Community College. There is a reference to Junior College in Proposed Article IX and Article X (c) and should be amended to Community College. 

4) State Law Supersedes Political Party By-Laws: Central Committee May Not Restrict Committee Voting Rights of Committeepeople. State law prescribes the right of political party committees to nominate in the case of death or withdrawal of candidacy and special elections. It is the right of every committeeperson to cast a vote in such matters.

See 115.617 RSMo above; 115.363 RSMo Party Nominating Committee To Select Candidate, When; 115.365 RSMo Nominating Committee Designated As To Certain Offices.

Proposed By-Laws Article X (a) and Article X (b) would violate State law by prohibiting censured committeepeople from voting on nominations. Central Committee, and State Party Chair, if he approves Central Committee’s By-Laws, would be subject to litigation in this matter.

Proposed By-Laws Article X (a) Censure and Removal: A Member of The Committee who has publicly endorsed or supported a candidate (on any ballot in Missouri) who is not the official Democratic candidate shall be subject to an Administrative Hearing. The Officers of The Committee shall hold an administrative hearing to determine the validity of any such complaint. The Member shall be allowed the opportunity to speak on his/her own behalf at this hearing. If the majority (at least three) of the Officers determine that the complaint is grounded, the Officers shall present their findings and recommendations at the next (regular or special) Committee meeting. The Members may censure the relevant Member (strictly based on the findings and recommendations of the Executive Board) with a two-thirds majority vote of all Members present and voting in a quorum setting. Such a censure may include but is not limited to such measures as the relevant Member not being recognized to address The Committee, forfeiting his/her right to vote on matters before The Committee and/or ineligibility for financial assistance from The Committee. The recommendations of the Officers as presented will determine the severity and duration of the censure, but in no case shall it exceed six (6) months.”

Proposed By-Laws Article X (b): A Member may also be subject to censure for conduct unbecoming of a Member of The Committee. This includes but is not limited to bullying, personal attacks and/or physical intimidation of another member. The process for censure will be the same as in paragraph (a).”

5) Effective Date of New By Laws. The effective date of St. Louis City Democratic Central Committee new By-Laws is not the date of passage. The effective date is when the State Chair approves the By-Laws or 60 days after the State Chair has received the By-Laws but failed to take any action, which ever comes first.

Missouri Democratic Party By-Laws, Section 7.12 Rules of Order: “… The State Committee is authorized to examine all Democratic county rules and all amendments thereto and no such rules or amendments shall be effective until approved by the state chair; provided, however, that if the Chair fails to take action approving or disapproving the proposed rules or amendments within sixty (60) days after the date on which they are received for consideration, the rules or amendments shall automatically become effective.”

The proposed punitive action for nonattendance, censure, removal, new powers of Executive Board, etc. are not activated by Central Committee vote alone on August 21st. 
If State Chair does not acknowledge receipt by the 60 day window, the effective date for the proposed By-Laws Article X (d) on required attendance moves to the next meeting after October 20th meeting.

Proposed By-Laws, Article X (d): “We the Members of The Committee hereby acknowledge that physical attendance at meetings is extremely important. A Member must have physically (i.e. in person) attended at least two out of the four preceding meetings (which includes the relevant/instant meeting) to be eligible to vote on matters before the Central Committee at a meeting. In fulfilling this attendance requirement, submission of a proxy for any of the preceding meetings does not equate to ‘physical presence’ and, thus, does not count. Record keeping related to this paragraph (d) shall begin with the first meeting following passage of these bylaws. Therefore, no voting eligibility restrictions will take effect until that future meeting which takes place four (regular or special) meetings after the passage of these ByLaws. It is also hereby acknowledged – while not forgetting that the Membership feels physical attendance is very important – that such a rule requiring presence at only two (instead of three) out of four previous meetings is not only generally reasonable but also lenient enough to take into consideration the overwhelming vast majority of each Member’s potential for emergencies and other exigencies.”

6) The right to vote is enshrined in Article VIII, Section 2, Missouri Constitution. The right to vote also means the right to have that vote counted and the most votes, or majority of votes as set by law, prevails as winner of an election. While there are provisions in State law for the removal of elected officials for violating laws and in doing so overturning voters choice, no such provision exists for undoing the election of a political party committeeperson, let alone having that election overturned by vote of a county political party. Disenfranchising voters is not and should not be a Democratic Party value.

Marie Ceselski
7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman
7th Ward Independent Democrats



Airport Privatization News & Commentary Feed Has Been Updated

stlnotforsalelogoTwo St. Louis Public Radio news stories added this week 

Also, 6-8 pm Tonight, Wednesday, August 8 is STL Not For Sale Petition Drive Office Hours @ 3203A S. Grand, upstairs

This is the weekly opportunity to pick up petitions to collect signatures, turn in petitions, get information on this effort to require a public vote prior to any privatization on Lambert Airport. Notary present.

Facebook Event

Who Do You Ride With? Democratic Candidates & Donors, Primary Eve Edition

followthemoneyRight-Leaning, Bad Ideas, Failed Administrations, and Legal Money Laundering Donors as of 8/06/2018

1st Congressional District
$7700 to Lacy Clay from Michael Kelley $2700; Paul Joseph McKee III $2000; McEagle-OFallon $1500; Christopher McKee $1000; Northside Regeneration $500
$0 to Cori Bush

St. Louis City Collector of Revenue
$6250 to Gregory F.X. Daly from Regional Progress PAC $5000; SLPOA $250; Francis Slay $250; Lyda Krewson $250; Nancy Rice $250; Northside Regeneration $250

St. Louis City License Collector
$481.05 to Mavis Thompson from Jeff Rainford $481.05
$0 to Dana Kelly-Franks

St. Louis City Recorder of Deeds
$8350 to Michael Butler from Roy Pfautch $2,500; Claude Brown $1500; Regional Strategies $1000; Jeff Rainford $500; Show Me Victories $500; former Mayor Vince Schoemehl $500; former Mayor Jim Conway $500; Nexus Group $500; SLPOA $250; Jane Dueker $250; Strategic Capitol Consulting $250; Ed Rhode $100. (Note: Butler’s Treasurer recently filed a new PAC- Progressive Pipeline PAC but it has reported no receipts or expenditures)
$0 to Sharon Quigley Carpenter

4th District Senate
$1150 to Jake Hummel from Regional Strategies $1000; Francis Slay $150
$0 to Karla May (Note: no July Report as of 8/06/26/2018)

66th District House
$0 to Khalil Abdul Mumin
$0 Tommy Pierson Jr

76th District House
$0 to Marissa Brown
$0 to Chris Carter
$0 to Damon Haymer
$0 to Cydney Johnson (Note: reporting Limited Activity 2017-2018 as of 8/6/2018)

77th District House
$1800 to Steve Roberts from Ed Dowd $1500; SLPOA $250; Joe Roddy $50
$0 to Kimberly-Ann Collins

78th District House
$0 to Bruce Franks Jr.

79th District House
$2850 to J.P. Johnson from Jeff Rainford $1500; Francis Slay $250; Mary Ellen Ponder $250; Atlas Strategy Group/Gregg Keller $250; Nancy Rice $100; David Leipholtz $100; Eddie Roth $100; Patrick Lynn $100; Scott Faughn $100; Ed Rhode $50; Nick Pistor $50
$2600 to LaKeySha Bosley from TheLouPAC $2600
$0 to Reign Harris
$0 to Maxine Johnson

80th District House
$600 to Peter Merideth from Regional Progress PAC $500; SLPOA $100
$0 to Mariah Vandiver

81st District House
$500 to Steve Butz from SLPOA $500
$0 to Travis Estes

82nd District House
$2100 to Donna Baringer from Regional Progress PAC $500; SLPOA $300; Regional Strategies $300; Lyda Krewson $250; Jeff Rainford $250; Mary Ellen Ponder $500
$0 to Fred Kratky (Note: started campaign with $44,186.72 from previous account)

83rd District House
$0 to Gina Mitten

84th District House
$1950 to Brad Bakker from George Herbert Walker Bush $1000; Jeff Rainford $500; Nancy Rice $250; Martin Casas $200
$0 to Wiley Price IV

91st District House
$0 to Sara Unsicker

93rd District House
$250 to Bob Burns from SLPOA $250

Complaint Filed With AG On License Collector Mavis Thompson

confirmI made the following online complaint on License Collector to Missouri Attorney Josh Hawley.

The I have used links in this post. The actual complaint has addresses following sentences.

I am writing in the matter of the breach of security, release of personal information, and violation of an ethics law by St. Louis City License Collector Mavis Thompson and requesting your investigation and prosecution.

License Collector Mavis Thompson is an agent of the State of Missouri for purposes of the State’s Merchants & Manufacturers Tax. As an agent of the State, she is subject to the provision of Section 150.090 RSMo prohibiting the release of Social Security Numbers.

License Collector Mavis Thompson released the Social Security Number of an election opponent, Dana Kelly-Franks, to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board in violation of Section 150.090.

7/31/2018 St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial: Democrats should reject both candidates for St. Louis license collector

7/31/2018 Dana Kelly-Franks statement on the breach of security via Facebook

7/31/2018 Dana Kelly-Franks interview by KMOV-TV: St. Louis official accused of leaking sensitive information about election opponent

Further, Licenses Collector Mavis Thompson released the Social Security Number and other personal identification documents of election opponent Dana Kelly-Franks for personal gain, seeking the endorsement of the St. Louis-Post Dispatch toward re-election and continuance of salary and benefits of public office, in violation of Section 105.452 RSMo.

Marie Ceselski
1911 S 11th Apt C
Saint Louis MO 63104

Protect Your SSN, Elect Dana Kelly-Franks & Sharon Quigley Carpenter

Carpenter2danaProtecting Social Security Numbers and other important identifying information is a big deal at the State and County level. There are laws, rules, policies in place to prevent their release. Or so I thought.

That there are either no such provisions to protect Social Security Numbers and other personal information on records at the License Collector’s Office or License Collector Mavis Thompson does not abide by them are equally alarming.

Actions have consequences. Or at least they should. But the Post-Dispatch Editorial Board failed to acknowledge the victim’s side of the Mavis Thompson Security Breach story. It failed to look into the ethic’s violation of Mavis Thompson using her office for personal gain. It failed to call for Mavis Thompson’s resignation. Instead, the Editorial Board chose to use the appalling action by Mavis Thompson as an opportunity to continue its generic and unproductive hating on county elected offices and Black women in particular.

In addition to streamlining the business license process and beginning the conversation (conversation, can we at least have the conversation) on consolidating License Collector functions with the Collector of Revenue, I trust Dana Kelly-Franks to follow the law on security of personal information while increasing transparency on public information.

If necessary, I know Dana Kelly-Franks will lobby the Missouri General Assembly and/or Board of Aldermen for any changes needed in laws affecting the License Collector. She is fierce and will not take no for an answer.

I know some things about public records v. closed records and redaction of sensitive information from public records because I work at the Recorder of Deeds Office. I do not represent the office or the elected Recorder here. I have not discussed writing this post with anyone at the office.

I was a whistle blower in the 2014 Recorder of Deeds saga, survived the return of the Recorder that I helped cause to resign and be audited, and I am here to say that I am very pleased with changes and progress made. It’s been a long, strange journey. If I honestly did not think Sharon Quigley Carpenter was the best candidate, I would say so, and loudly.

The challenger, Michael Butler, however, gives me great concern, particularly regarding sensitive personal information and changes he wants that will reduce revenue to St. Louis City.

Michael Butler’s website states, “Currently, citizens are unable to access their birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage licenses online through the Recorder’s office. Michael will allow citizens to apply, purchase and receive these vital records online within 12-24 months.”

First of all, Marriage Licenses are not Vital Records in Missouri. Marriage records are public records in Missouri and open to everyone. We heard this same mistake from proponents of 2017 Prop A.

 St. Louis City-issued Marriage License Indexing is already searchable online and copies may be purchased online. Grass Is Always Greener St. Louis County does not provide online search of its marriage index but does use the same online purchase service as City Recorder.

Michael Butler’s claim that you have to go to the Recorder’s Offices for services is false. With the lone exception of applying for a Marriage License in person, which is a requirement of state law, every service is available by mail and many services are available online.

City-issued marriage records are not downloadable because they contain Social Security Numbers and, as of the end of August, will include copies of Driver’s Licenses.

Michael Butler would make that personal information public. Here’s how. Marriage Licenses, their Applications, and attachments such as Parental Consent forms and Affidavits, are public records. There is no Vital Records requirement for family relationship to purchase a copy. Since current Missouri law allows anyone to purchase a marriage record, allowing anyone to download marriage records means no redaction of Social Security Numbers or the attached scanned images of Driver’s Licenses.

If State Rep. Michael Butler had wanted to make public marriage records closed records, like Vital Records, he would need to convince the Missouri General Assembly to change current law.

In 2015, the Missouri State Archives released older Death Certificates online and free to the general public. It is of great service to genealogists but came at a price to counties, reduced copy fee revenue. Unfortunately, it was also done without redacting Social Security Numbers.

Before that, the Missouri General Assembly turned over every county’s cash cow- chattel mortgages, Uniform Commercial Code filings, to the Secretary of State. The SOS made a spectacular roll out of the online filing system and public database. And then it was abruptly shut down when someone bothered to ask if thousands of Social Security Numbers being made public was legal, let alone a good idea.

I remember when the Illinois State Archives gloriously went live with its online statewide marriage database and it imploded from the traffic within hours.

And the list of great publicity events regarding government records followed by an “oops” goes on and on.

Michael Butler would have a decent, though possibly overwhelming, grasp of what the City Recorder’s Office does and does not do and the how, why and why not of it all, the physical and environmental issues, the money, the staffing (the place is the most cross-trained office in City government), and more, if he had taken a day and spent it at the Recorder’s Office. The offer was made. He never showed up.

If he had taken the tour and picked brains, he would know that the State will only allow online access to Birth and Death Certificates via VitalChek. The City Recorder in her role as City Vital Records Register doesn’t use VitalChek because it costs customers more, takes much longer, and would mean a loss of $1 Million in revenue to the City. How is that possible? Because the default location for service is the State. A customer would have to click on St. Louis City from the menu, probably at the end of the list, in order for the service and money to stay in the City. The State would love to get that $1 Million and we cannot afford to lose it.

Recorder of Deeds Sharon Quigley Carpenter has decades of experience in preserving public records, providing public access, and protecting personal information- Social Security Numbers and Driver’s License copies relating to marriage records, Military Discharges recorded in the office, Birth and Death records, and more.

I want Sharon Quigley Carpenter to have one more term as Recorder. I believe she has provided residents, businesses, and taxpayers with excellent customer services and great progress is being made on records preservation and public access. I want her to have the opportunity to secure Passport Services at City Hall and expand the high school internship program.

Most importantly, I trust Sharon Quigley Carpenter to protect my Social Security Number on a record in her office. 

I also want to give the Recorder’s Office under Sharon Quigley Carpenter and License Collector’s Office under Dana Kelly-Franks an opportunity to work together. The Recorder’s experience on records security might help Dana right the wrongs at License Collector. And I know Dana has an interest in some technology independence from the City via a technology fund similar to what all County Recorders have in Missouri.  I realize the two are not on the same political team at the moment but I really do foresee a positive relationship.

For License Collector, Elect Dana Kelly-Franks
For Recorder of Deeds, Re-Elect Sharon Quigley Carpenter

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman