Write State School Board Today To Support Elected School Board

The Missouri State Board of Education meets tomorrow morning (Tuesday, February 19th).

Governance of St. Louis Public Schools is on the Agenda.

Please write to the State Board of Education at sbe@dese.mo.gov and request that they vote to approve returning governance of St. Louis Public Schools to our elected School Board.

My letter to the State Board of Education:

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman




Elect Jamilah Nasheed

5bfc404c28ab5.imageOne of the things I am most proud of is my work with others in the 7th Ward to improve voter registration. There is a lot of apartment swapping and couch hopping going on in the 7th Ward. We have to provide opportunities to register and update registration year round.

My number one concern right now for St. Louis City is the disenfranchisement of City and St. Louis County voters on the proposed City-County consolidation ballot issue funded by billionaire Rex Sinquefield. I did not help register people so that their vote on local matters could be overruled by voters who don’t live here.

It’s important to me that the person elected President of the Board of Aldermen is someone who will go to the mat to defend the right of City and County voters to decide what kind of local government we will have. We are, after all, a home rule charter city and the County is a home rule charter county. What does home rule mean if not self determination?

The candidate who has shown the most commitment to fighting for our right to vote on City-County Consolidation is State Senator Jamilah Nasheed

Senator Nasheed and I have more than a little negative history. A lot of people know we sparred on a ballot issue funded by Rex Sinquefield and unflattering words were said later on another matter. But what few know is that Nasheed apologized to me, repeatedly. It was thoughtful, heartfelt, and we were able to move on and together have amazing conversations on what St. Louis needs because of it.

Senator Nasheed has also admitted making mistakes. It’s refreshing to have a politician who says, I screwed up, I shouldn’t have done that. St. Louis City has some very tough times ahead. We need a leader who will be as honest with us as she is with herself. Real talk. That’s Jamilah Nasheed.

I was deeply depressed about the disenfranchisement part of the City-County consolidation proposal before it was even revealed, worst kept secret in town. Senator Nasheed called me on January 8th when I had hit rock bottom about the future of the City. I told her that I didn’t think the election mattered because of the ballot issue. Rex Sinquefield would win. We would be no more. Who was Board President when it happened was of little consequence.

Senator Nasheed’s response blew me away. She said it was far from over. She said come to Jefferson City right now and we’ll talk to legislators so they can get word out to their constituents about this. She said we would fight this statewide.

Senator Nasheed quickly followed up that she would have someone drive me to the Capitol. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to repeat to people that I do not drive. The fact that Senator Nasheed remembered this detail meant that she had heard me and not merely listened. We need more of that from our elected officials.

The next week, Senator Nasheed filed SJR 17, a proposed constitutional amendment for City and County voters to retain the right to decide changes to the structure of local government.

January 28th, Better Together submitted their initiative petition for City-County consolidation and it was confirmed our disenfranchisement was indeed being sought. That same day, Senator Nasheed filed SJR 19, same as SJR 17 but adding a 60% majority vote requirement to adopt changes.

What we have here are the makings of a plan to counter disenfranchisement.

Work with legislators across the state to educate voters on the issue.

Work to put a competing constitutional amendment on the ballot.

That’s leadership from Jamilah Nasheed.

And we need her to bring checks and balances on Mayor Lyda Krewson’s state legislative agenda as much as well as on appropriations, bonds, and contracts before the Board of Estimate.

Senator Jamilah Nasheed is the only candidate for Board President with the bi-partisan relationships necessary to not only fight off disenfranchisement on the City-County Consolidation issue but also forge a successful state legislative agenda as Board President.

As it turns out, I am going to be spending more time in the Ozarks over the next year, in one of Governor Mike Parson’s home counties. My plan is to engage lake house neighbors on the statewide ballot issue. Jamilah Nasheed, as State Senator or Board President, is the person I choose to work with on the City-County Consolidation issue here and in Hickory County.

March 5th, I urge you to vote for Jamilah Nasheed and work with her to protect our right to vote and decide what kind of local government we want.

More later on why I believe Senator Nasheed will make a great Board President.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

Port Authority Expansion: What Happens If They Hire Their Own Staff?

portboundariesUPDATE: On Thursday, Transportation Committee amended the bill further but the public has no access to the two amendments.

The St. Louis City Board of Aldermen Transportation Committee will meet today and likely vote “Do Pass” on Committee Substitute for Board Bill 104 for St. Louis Port Authority Expansion.  The expansion would make it a citywide development agency and possibly give it substantial new revenue. 

The Substitute is the byproduct of negotiations with aldermen concerned about giving the Port Authority expanded citywide powers for eminent domain, tax abatement, and new acquisition or lease of City property. The Port Authority currently only has powers over the City’s Mississippi Riverfront.

The Substitute says that the St. Louis Development Corporation employees who staff the Port Authority will get advance approval from the Board of Aldermen for eminent domain, tax abatement, and new acquisitions or leases of City property, before they bring said proposals to the Port Authority Commission.

The Substitute does not say that the Port Authority Commission will get approval from the Board of Aldermen for these potentially controversial items. It says the SLDC staff will get approval.

What happens if SLDC no longer staffs the Port Authority?

According to Board Bill 104, SLDC has provided staffing for the Port Authority since 1989 and continues through an Administrative Agreement.

State law does not require this arrangement. The only thing State law says about Port Authority staffing is that it can hire and contract for services.

RSMO 68.025. Powers of port authority. — 1. “(20) Employ such managerial, engineering, legal, technical, clerical, accounting, advertising, stenographic, and other assistance as it may deem advisable. The port authority may also contract with independent contractors for any of the foregoing assistance;”

Attached to the Board Bill is a Cooperation Agreement between the City and SLDC with a recitation of the Board Bill’s provisions on SLDC employees getting approvals from the Board of Aldermen. And, then, the Cooperation Agreement clearly says that Agreement is contingent on continuation of the Administrative Agreement between Port Authority and SLDC.

So, again, what happens if SLDC no longer staffs the Port Authority?

If the Port Authority hires its own staff or contracts with another entity for staffing, there would be no requirement to obtain approval for eminent domain, tax abatement, and new acquisitions or leases of City property from the Board of Aldermen.

This Committee Substitute should be voted down and a new Substitute written to require an agreement between the Port Authority Commission and City for approval of controversial Port Authority business by the Board of Aldermen.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

Krewson & Stenger Agree To Help Rex Sinquefield Disenfranchise Local Voters

rexcNo more City Water
No more City Trash Service
No more City Police Department
No more City Fire Department
No more Aldermen
No more Liquor Petitions
No more City Historic Districts
No more City of St. Louis

No more because the Rex Sinquefield Plan is a Kill St. Louis Plan. It involves disenfranchising voters of St. Louis City and St. Louis County and forced annexation of City into Unincorporated County via a statewide ballot issue.

Neighbors, Welcome to Unincorporated St. Louis County via the voters of Joplin, Poplar Bluff, Hannibal, and St. Joseph, all because we, the voters of St. Louis City, refused to give Rex Sinquefield what he wanted- getting rid of the City Earnings Tax. Over and over again.

Let’s get something straight here. The Missouri Constitution gives St. Louis City and County the right to consolidate any departments or services. The Constitution gives City-County voters the right to annex the City into the County as a municipality or into Unincorporated County. The latter would fail locally.

Why does Rex Sinquefield want to dissolve the City and annex us into Unincorporated County? Why not just push a local vote for municipal annexation? Because becoming a City in the County does not get rid of the Earnings Tax. The Earnings Tax is enabled because we are a Constitutional Charter City.  Get rid of the City and its Charter, get rid of the Earnings Tax.

You may email ✍️Mayor Lyda Krewson at krewsonl@stlouis-mo.gov

12/12/2018 McPherson: Proposal Moves Closer For “New” St. Louis of 1.3 Million People
12/28/2018 St. Louis Business Journal: Goodbye, city and county: St. Louis would get new government entity in Better Together plan
01/03/2018 St. Louis Public RadioKrewson, Stenger open to using statewide vote to decide on proposed city-county merger


Monday Drinking Liberally Happy Hour

Join the Left Leaning Community for lively discussion at the next Drinking Liberally Happy Hour 6:30 pm Monday, December 3rd @ Nadine’s on the patio, 1931 S 12th in Soulard. RSVP to mtceselski@aol.com

We’ll have a Panel Discussion on November 6th Election and Future of Democratic Party. We’ll pass the mic around and everyone will get a chance to vent and make a contribution to the conversation. Our Panel includes:

  • Rev. Darryl Gray, Chair, Missouri Democratic Party Progressive Caucus 
  • National Democratic Committeewoman and Alderwoman Megan Green
  • Newly Elected State Committeeman (from 5th Senate Dist.) and 5th Ward Committeeman Rasheen Aldridge

DLphoto3 - CopyUnfortunately, we changed the date and that created a schedule conflict with Newly Elected State Committeewoman (from 5th Senate Dist.) and 79th Dist. State Rep.-Elect LaKeySha Bosley. She’ll be at freshman legislator orientation and unable to join us.

December 17th is our Festivus Happy Hour. Guest speaker will be Heather Taylor @ Ethical Society of Police  and then we will spend most of the evening on Festivus “Airing of Grievances.”

Attendance Prizes will include a Globe Prize Box.

sockdriveDLOur Charity Collection this month will be warm winter socks for Winter Outreach 

We will also have Voter Registration Applications and the Prop V Initiative Petition for a Public Vote on Airport Privatization.


The Myth Of Turnout For McCaskill In St. Louis City

In a New York Times article, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill says she did not have a problem getting Democrats to vote for her.

Let’s look at the numbers here in St. Louis City.

McCaskill received 91-97% of the vote in 11 of 28 Wards in the City. She received 83-89% in another 9 of 28 Wards. In 6 Wards, she received 70-77% of the vote. She was under 70% in 2 wards.

Unfortunately, the wards which voted the highest percentage for McCaskill were the lowest turnout wards. The wards which voted the least percentage for her were among the highest turnout wards.

Many Black Voters stayed home. Everybody needs to admit that and figure out why.

The number of votes rather than percentage are what really counts. When you look at that, you see that it was a mistake for McCaskill to GOTV in St. Louis Hills while ignoring strong Democratic Party constituencies in Black wards.

Did McCaskill do well in parts of St. Louis City? Sure. But we needed a strong turnout in all the wards, not just some.

Let’s look at the data. Let’s reflect on what needs to change.

We don’t need the Democratic Party and its candidates to move to the Right. We need it to appreciate its base, including Black Voters. Let’s actually try it and see what happens.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman