Saturday Sen. McCaskill Town Hall

claire9 am Saturday, January 27, 2018
Town Hall Meeting with U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill
Emerson Center, Harris-Stowe University
Open to the Public

The Senator will take written questions from the audience.

1/25/2018 St. Louis American: McCaskill to host town hall at Harris-Stowe on Saturday


We Won! City Hall DMV Office Remains Open!

This post is to save information on the issue for future reference on county offices.

Thank you to everyone who already signed the petition and wrote letters.  5th Ward Committeeman Rasheen Aldridge and I changed the January 21st event to a 5th & 7th Wards Downtown Happy Hour/Meeting at 314 The City Bar, Downtown and the January 28th Letter Writing Party was changed to a 7th Ward Seed Swap Happy Hour at Nadine’s. 

dmv32-4 pm Sunday, January 21st, 2018
Downtown Save City Hall
DMV Letter Writing Happy Hour #1
314 City Bar, 1137 Washington

RSVP by 10 pm January 20th, 2018

Sponsored by 5th Ward Committeeman Rasheen Aldridge7th Ward Committeewoman Marie Ceselski7th Ward Independent Democrats

Contact: *Marie Ceselski 314-630-7599

Attendance Prizes
Cash Bar

Please join us to write letters to State officials in support of retaining the State of Missouri Motor Vehicle License Fee Office at City Hall.

Stationary, pens, and postage will be provided. But bring your own if you’d like. 

In lieu of a handwritten letter, if you’d like to write and print a letter in advance to bring with you, see addresses of State officials below.

There is also Save City Hall DMV Letter Writing Happy Hour on Janaury 28th.

If you can’t make it to any of the Letter Writing Happy Hours, there is also an online form to use.

The St. Louis City Collector of Revenue has run the DMV License Office at City Hall for 17 years without issue. Now the State says the office hours are a problem. City Hall is only open 8 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday, no evening or Saturday hours.

Collector of Revenue Gregory F.X. Daly’s DMV License office serves 60,000 customers a year. They are obviously doing something very, very right.

Last month, the State awarded the DMV contract to someone in Florida for an office location yet to be announced. Wherever it is, it will not be as convenient as the City Hall office. This is a fact.

Customers rave about the services and convenience of Collector Daly’s DMV License Office. A fair number of customers are from St. Louis County.

Eliminating the City Hall DMV License Office inconveniences people who need a copy of their Missouri Birth Certificate to do business with DMV.

  • You must bring a certified copy of your Birth Certificate to renew/update a Driver’s License or obtain/upate a Non-Driver Photo ID. The City Hall DMV and Recorder of Deeds Birth Records Department are both conveniently located on the same floor at City Hall. Everywhere else in the State, you have to go to two buildings.

Eliminating the City Hall DMV License Office inconveniences people who need a copy of their St. Louis City Issued Marriage License to do business with DMV.

  • If you marry and want to take you spouse’s surname or hyphenate surnames, you must bring a certified copy of your Marriage License to DMV. The City Hall DMV License Office and Recorder of Deeds Marriage License Department are both conveniently located on the same floor at City Hall. Everywhere else in the State, you have to go to two buildings.

Eliminating the City Hall DMV License Office eliminates an important resource for charities assisting people who are unhoused.

  • You need a Photo ID to apply for job training, jobs, housing, aid, and to vote. St. Louis Area Charities partner only with the City Hall DMV to provide Photo IDs to the unhoused. This partnership is unique and only possible because the City Hall DMV and Recorder of Deeds Birth Records Department are located in the same building.

Eliminating the City Hall DMV License Office will suppress voting in the City of St. Louis.

  • The State now requires a Photo ID to vote. Instead of making it easy to get, moving the City Hall DMV away from the Birth Certificates needed to obtain the Photo ID makes it more difficult.

Eliminating the City Hall DMV License Office inconveniences people without internet access who need a Copy of their Property Tax Receipt to renew license plates.

  • The City Hall DMV and Collector of Revenue are both conveniently located on the same floor at City Hall. Everywhere else in the State, you have to go to two buildings.

Eliminating the City Hall DMV License Office inconveniences people who need a Personal Property Tax Waiver to renew license plates.

  • The City Hall DMV and Assessor are both conveniently located on the same floor at City Hall. Everywhere else in the State, you have to go to two buildings.

Eliminating the City Hall DMV License Office inconveniences people who pay Personal Property Tax in person before they renew license plates.

  • The City Hall DMV and Collector of Revenue are both conveniently located on the same floor at City Hall. Everywhere else in the State, you have to go to two buildings.

Instead of eliminating convenience, the State should be looking at how to replicate the convenience of St. Louis City Hall services- DMV License, Birth Certificate, Property Tax Waiver, and Property Tax Payment services all on the same floor, same building.

About The Letters

At Sunday’s Save City Hall Letter Writing Happy Hour. we’ll be writing to four State Officials. In lieu of a handwritten letter, if you’d like to write and print a letter in advance to bring with you, here are the names and addresses:

Hon. Eric Greitens
Governor of the State of Missouri
201 West Capitol Avenue, Room 216
Jefferson City, MO  65101

Joel Walters, Director
Department of Revenue
Harry S. Truman State Office Building
301 West High Street, Room 670
Jefferson City, MO  65101

Tracy McGinnis
Commissioner’s Office
Office of Administration
State Capitol Building, Room 125
P.O. Box 809
Jefferson City, MO  65102

Carla Duppong
Division of Purchasing
Harry S. Truman State Office Building
301 West High Street, Room 630

Jefferson City, MO  65101

Again, if you can’t make it to any of the Letter Writing Happy Hours,there is also an online form to use.

*Disclaimer: Marie Ceselski, a host of this event, is a City employee in the Recorder of Deeds Office. She is hosting the event as the elected 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman, not as a City employee. She does not represent the Recorder of Deeds or City of St. Louis on this or any other matter.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

Wherein I Ask For A Copy Of Minutes For One City Meeting

0f17fd2b197f0ea69688f292fe66f060--louis-brandeis-coffee-quotesThe thing you need to understand about the City of St. Louis is that it is not in the public information business. You cannot ask the City for information. How much did that cost? Who is the person responsible? When did this happen?

In order to obtain an answer to a question from the City, you must phrase it in the form of a public records request.  You make a Sunshine request for a Report, Meeting Minutes, copy of correspondence, etc. that might have the answer you seek.

In most cases, these records should be posted online and easy to find in a search. But this is St. Louis, and it must be dragged kicking and screaming to #OpenGov and transparency.

Our Board of Aldermen are considering placing a $50 Million Bond Issue on the August 7, 2018, ballot. The proposal was initiated by the City’s Comptroller and was sent to Aldermen by the City Capital Committee. That committee is created by 5.35.040 of the City Code and consists of…

1) City Budget Director (who chairs)
2) Director, Community Development Agency
3) President, City Board of Public Service
4) Lewis Reed, President, Board of Aldermen (or designee)
5) One Alderman appointed by Board President: 16th Ward Alderman Tom Oldeburg
6) Board of Aldermen Ways & Means Chair (or designee) – 26th Ward Alderman Frank Williamson
7) Comptroller Darlene Green (or designee)
8) One management staffer @ Comptroller Office
9) Mayor Lyda Krewson (or designee)

While researching the Capital Committee, I came across 5.35.030 of the City Code which creates the Citizens Advisory Committee for Capital Expenditures. This committee consists of…

2 members appointed by each of the City’s 28 Aldermen
4 members appointed by Mayor
4 members appointed by Comptroller
4 members appointed by Board President

The Advisory Committee’s duties are “to review and assess capital needs and to advise the Capital Committee on the development and recommendation of the Capital Improvement Plans (CIPs) and corresponding Capital Budgets and to review the City’s accomplishments with respect to the Capital Budgets approved in previous years.”

Those Reports, along with Meeting Minutes, should be available online. But they are not.

I’m not interested in the Reports. I’m interested in finding out who is on the Committee and talking with some of them about their input on the $50 Million Bond Issue.

In order to find out who is on the Committee, I made a Sunshine request for their most recent Meeting Minutes. The member names will be in the attendance paragraph of the Minutes.

Easy Peasy.

Not so much.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018, I made the request.SunshineCapitalAdvisory1102018

Tuesday, January 16, 2018, the City Counselor’s Office responded with a copy of the most recent Meeting Minutes for the City’s Capital Committee- the wrong committee.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018, I asked for the Meeting Minutes, again, and attached a copy of my previous request showing I gave correct information.


Tuesday, January 23, 2018, City Counselor’s Office responded and said, I am paraphrasing here, “When hell freezes over.”


The City Counselor’s Office will get back with me, at the earliest, by February 15, 2018, but will give me the price tag by February 12, 2018. The City is taking more than a month to produce a copy of one Meeting’s Minutes. I’m not asking for it to be set to music and performed on stage.

The City Counselor’s Office says my request involves research and more than one City department. There is someone in the Mayor’s office who is in charge of appointees. You contact this person to find out who the Mayor’s appointees are and who is in charge. Or you ask the City’s Budget team because it’s highly unlikely the Advisory Committee meets without them in the room.

The City Counselor’s Office says they might need to redact information. It’s a committee of 58 volunteers. There’s no secret information being shared with them. There’s no hiring, firing, or disciplinary actions going on.

The whole thing is preposterous.

The City of St. Louis is not above Missouri’s Sunshine Law. The City Counselor’s Office works for Mayor Lyda Krewson. I don’t know what the Mayor is hiding here. But I will continue to pursue answers.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

Sunday Ward Meeting: MoLeg, Elected School Board, City Hall DMV, Downtown Policing, GO Bond Ballot Issue

happyhour2-4 pm Sunday, January 21st, 2018
5th & 7th Wards Downtown Happy Hour
314 City Bar, 1137 Washington

Sponsored by
5th Ward Committeeman Rasheen Aldridge
7th Ward Committeewoman Marie Ceselski
7th Ward Independent Democrats


Legislative Updates from
78th District State Rep. Bruce Franks, Jr.
79th District State Rep. Michael Butler

Collector of Revenue Gregg Daly will give a report on the recent City Hall DMV controversy

School Board President Susan Jones will discuss this week’s decisions to support return of SLPS governance to the elected school board

SLMPD 4th District Captain Renee Kriesmann will update on crime and crime prevention

Discussion on August 7th $50 Million GO Bond Ballot Issue

Discussion on Charter Amendment to Repeal City Residency Rule

Food Collection for our Brothers & Sisters on Strike at Christian Care Home.

Sign the Audit St. Louis Petition at this event if you have not already done so.

Register to Vote at this event.

Cash Bar
Attendance Prizes – Some great gift cards

This event is in lieu of Save City Hall DMV Letter Writing Happy Hour which is unnecessary because we already won!

By Thursday- Send Letters Of Support For Elected School Board

schoolBy Thursday, January 11th, 2018: Please send letter of support for Elected School Board, transition from Appointed Special Administrative Board back to Elected Board, to either the SAB directly (address below) or to AFT (, which is collecting letters for delivery to AFT. Here is the letter that I emailed.
Task Force on Alternative Governance
Special Administrative Board
801 N 11th
Saint Louis, Missouri 63101January 9, 2018

Dear Task Force Members:

I ask that you support return of governance for St. Louis Public Schools to our Elected School Board.

Governance of a school district by an appointed board is taxation without representation. Children are taught in our public schools that taxation without representation is wrong and led to the American Revolution. It was wrong in the 18th Century and it is wrong today.

As someone who attended one of the special meetings by the Task Force, my read on the room was it was overwhelmingly supportive of returning control of our schools to our Elected Board.

As an elected Democratic Committeewoman, I can tell you that voters in my ward overwhelming support our schools being governed by our elected School Board.

As someone who has spent considerable time in rural Missouri, I can also tell you that drama and financial intrigue happens to school districts big and small, urban and rural districts alike. The solution, for all districts, is better training for Board members to ensure excellence in their oversight of our tax dollars and education of children.

Please support the people of St. Louis City as we call upon you, in a loud, commanding, but respectful voice, to give our schools back to us, the voters.

Marie Ceselski
7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman
1911 S 11th
Saint Louis, Missouri 63104

Meeting #1: $50 Million GO Bond 2018 Ballot Issue

yTkejEGTEPrevious post at 7th Ward Independent Democrats blog on today’s City Capital Committee Meeting for proposed $50 Million GO Bond ballot issue in 2018.

Heavily borrowed from Gerry Connolly’s live tweeting of the meeting. Can’t thank him enough for this public service.

Before we get to the money…

This is a process. Today’s meeting appears to have been the first ever City Capital Committee meeting with a public notice that the pubic saw and in turn attended. When the Capital Committee is finished, the proposal must go through Board of Estimate and Apportionment (Mayor, Comptroller, Board President) and Board of Aldermen before going on ballot.

I made a Sunshine records request regarding the Citizens Advisory Committee for Capital Expenditure to find out what happened to it.

Info on ballot timing, who is on Capital Committee, and Citizens Advisory Committee are in previous post on 7th Ward blog. 

The Capital Committee may meet again 2 pm Friday, Jan. 12th.

The Board President filled (announced today) the Ways & Means (Budget) Committee chairmanship vacated by Alderman Steve Conway, who was appointed Assessor. The new Chairman is 26th Ward Alderman Frank Williamson and he was present at the Capital Committee meeting. There should be a second alderman on the Capital Committee. It was rumored to be 16th Ward Alderman Tom Oldenburg (elected April 2017) but not confirmed. It’s important that all the people who are supposed to be on committees, such as this, participate for checks and balances.

The money. There was a Draft 1/4/2018 circulated at the meeting but immediately revised. Revisions are noted.

$1 Million of the proposed $50 Million Bond Issue would go for the cost of issuance.

Fire Department Vehicles/Stations
(deleted- proposed $300,000 for 6 First Responder Vehicles, 4×4 crew cab)
$   192,000 for 4 Command Vehicles (first proposed as $141,000 for 3)
$   125,000 for 1 Heavy Duty Truck (Air)
$   209,000 for 1 Heavy Duty Truck (Fuel)
$1,300,000 for 100′ Aerial Platform
$1,250,000 for 5 Ambulances (Med Duty)
$9,495,000 for 9 Pumper w/ 75′ Ladder
$1,600,000 for 2 Pumpers
$   250,000 for 1 Foam/Chemical Truck
$     70,000 for 1 Fire Investigation Unit
$     60,000 for 1 Service Truck
$     60,000 for 1 Tire Truck
$1,100,000 for Fire Station Roofs
$   592,000 for Fire Station Generators

Police Department
$6,500,000 for Radio Equipment (placeholder amount- SLMPD radio vendor- Motorola- informed City late 2017 that it would be discontinuing service & parts supply for the units in 2018.)
$1,300,000 for Property Custody/SWAT HQ (that stands out because the 2015 GO Bond had $2,100,00 earmarked to retrofit a bldg for SLMPD property custody storage)

Corrections Department
$   165,000 for Plumbing Repair
$   200,000 for Showers & Toilets
$1,200,000 for Video Security Equipment Upgrades
$3,229,000 for Air Conditioning @ Dorm, Chapel, Gym, Pods, Kitchen, Cafeteria (temporary AC units will be used 2018)
$     12,000 for Sprinkler Heads (Pods)
$   900,000 for Sprinkler System (Dorm)
$   800,000 for Boiler Replacement Courts and Juvenile Detention
$5,000,000 for HVAC

City Hall & Other Municipal Buildings
$1,000,000 for HVAC
$1,300,000 for Restroom Upgrades (City Hall) – personal note, City Hall is not ADA compliant, the plumbing is a mess, and there’s only one secret bathroom with a baby changing table
$1,600,000 to Replace Electrical Switchgear & Panel Boards (City Hall) Oddly, ongoing leaking roof at City Hall, is not on the list.
$1,000,000 for Miscellaneous Building Repairs
Accounting & Payroll System $5,000,000
ADA Transition Plan $1,000,000 (first proposed as $1,500,000)

Bridge Projects $2,500,000 (Southwest @ Columbia; Compton; $1 M+ needed for the Kingshighway viaduct, McRee to Manchester)

Again, this was the first meeting. Nothing is written in stone yet. There’s a recitation on GO Bonds in City, a history, at the beginning of this 2015 Board Bill.

Here’s the 2016 $25 Million GO Bond Board Bill.  In 2016, voters were told the money would be spent as follows…
$15,000,000 for 10 Fire trucks, 7 Ambulances, Roof & HVAC repairs to some Fire Houses, New Roof + Generator @ FD HQ
$  2,100,000 to retrofit a City Bldg for property custody storage for SLPMD
$  1,300,000 to repair Rec Centers
$  2,000,000 in matching funds for bridge repair
$     500,000 for repairs at city buildings, including City Hall
$     500,000 for Corrections Department, including new locks
$  2,500,000 to upgrade Assessor’s computer system
$     300,000 for other computer upgrades
$  1,000,000 for 4 Trash Trucks

Here is the progress report on the 2016 Bond Issue.

Make your voice heard on this bond issue? Contact your elected officials.
Contact Mayor Lyda Krewson
Contact Information for all Aldermen and Board President Lewis Reed

–Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman