Register for Sunday’s 5th & 7th Wards Democrats Downtown Happy Hour

2 pm Sunday, August 27th
314 The City Bar, 1117 Washington
Contact: 314-630-7599

Sponsored By 5th Ward Committeeman Rasheen Aldridge and 7th Ward Committeewoman Marie Ceselski

Register for Attendance Prize Drawings- event drinks/appetizers and 5th & 7th Ward business gift cards

Open to the Public


7th Ward School Supplies Drive: Donate If You Can

school supplies7th Ward Independent Democrats are assisting Andrea Heugatter in Lafayette Square with her School Supplies Drive going on at Looking Glass Designs, her business, and at Lafayette Park Concerts.

The first delivery of school supplies went to Peabody Elementary School in Peabody-Darst-Webbe Neighborhood west of LaSalle Park Neighborhood. The second delivery went to KidSmart.

We are collecting new backpacks for kids and school supplies to help Andrea’s efforts. Here is the St. Louis City Public Schools School Supplies List.

You can drop off school supplies and backpacks at the olive green and white School Supplies container on the potting table at 1911 S 11th Apartment C, in back and upstairs.

You can also drop off at the July 17th Drinking Liberally Happy Hour.

Or drop off at Looking Glass Designs, 1917 Park or the next Lafayette Park Concert.

Call 7th Ward Committeewoman Marie Ceselski at 314-630-7599 with any questions.

This Weekend

fish-fryFriday Fish Frys

4:30-7:30 pm McKinley Hts: Holy Trinity Serbian Church @ 1910 Serbian Drive – Catfish, Tilapia, Cod

4:30-7:30 pm Soulard: St. Agatha’s @ 3239 S 9th & Utah – Tilapia & Polish Beer

bruceonfloor5-8 pm Soulard: American Legion BKZ Post 422 @ 2601 S 11th @ Sidney – Cod


9-11:30 am Saturday 78th District Empowerment Rally with State Rep. Bruce Franks @ 2720 Cherokee – Legislative Updates, Ballot Issue Speakers, Community Resources, Donuts – Free

9 am Saturday St. Louis Democratic City Central Committee Meeting @ Best Place Event Center, 5736 Dr. Martin Luther King Dr – Open to the Public


10 am Saturday McKinley Heights: Spring Planting Day @ McKinley Meadows, 2258 Missouri

1-3 pm Sunday Soulard: 7th Ward Seed Swap Happy Hour @ Nadine’s, 1931 S 12th (RSVP)

Leonard Johnson Should Quit His Job To Run For Alderman

city-hall3If Leonard Johnson wants to become 7th Ward Alderman, the first thing he should do is quit his job with the City Treasurer. Current 7th Ward Alderman Jack Coatar resigned from the City Circuit Attorney’s Office before he announced running for alderman. And he made a very big deal about it during the campaign.

Johnson is Deputy Chief of Staff, management, a salaried position. He’s not on a clock. Staying on while running for alderman is unnecessary, bad publicity waiting to happen.

This issue is sure to attract more than a little attention because the City Treasurer, Tishaura Jones, is running for mayor. Her election is my political priority, and fast becoming my personal priority. We do not need distractions such as Leonard Johnson.

So why would Leonard Johnson do this? Is he that selfish? Doesn’t he get it? Is he actually trying to help another candidate for mayor? I don’t know the answer but I am leaning more and more toward the last.

Why doesn’t the City Treasurer fire Johnson or force him to take a leave of absence? I would think it has to do with the City Treasurer being a patronage office, not Civil Service. Patronage employees have First Amendment rights that Civil Service employees do not have. It’s not the first time a patronage office employee has run for alderman. In the case of the Treasurer’s office, however, it appears that employees have a right to run for public office without any restrictions.

Leonard Johnson told me that his boss initially resisted the idea of his running but was now OK with it. In reality, the City Treasurer cannot legally stop him from running or force him to quit or take a leave of absence. I am not even sure if there is such a thing as a three month leave of absence for other than medical/family leave.

There is huge difference between being OK with the decision of an employee and not being able to do anything about it. In my book, Johnson was not honest with me.

And this is a personnel issue with legal consequences, so I certainly understand why the Treasurer is not in a position to say much on the matter.

Leonard Johnson first approached me over two years ago about his interest in becoming alderman. Rumors were circulating that Alderwoman Phyllis Young wanted to retire, would resign, and there would be a special election. And then I didn’t hear back from him until recently. My guess was he was only interested in being alderman if there was no primary.

Leonard Johnson had two years to lay a foundation to run in 2017 against Jack Coatar and he didn’t do it. He had two years to become active in every neighborhood association, meet thousands of voters, understand the wants and needs of his would be constituents.

When he called me about running in 2017, he asked me for information on the Kosciusko neighborhood association. He wanted to be alderman and didn’t know Kosciusko is the industrial tract in the ward. Again, he had two years to learn 7th Ward 101. He made no effort.

But Leonard Johnson doesn’t really want to be alderman. That’s part of the problem here. His boss is running for mayor. He figures there are coattails. He figures at least one organization that will go door to door for him. He figures the 7th Ward Committeewoman and Committeeman can be bullied into endorsing him. He doesn’t really like city politics but he wants to be a state senator. That’s what is going on. He thinks becoming alderman puts him in play to replace term limited Jamilah Nasheed. I really wonder where this ridiculous idea came from. It’s quite a leap from alderman to state senator, almost as big as from state senator to mayor.

Johnson was scheduled to work the 7th Ward’s Sigel School polling place on General Election Day. He was supposed to hand out the 7th Ward Independent Democrat‘s sample ballot and Draft Tishaura flyers. 7th Ward Independent Democrats was making its endorsement of Jones for mayor early morning on election day. We wanted to be the first ward endorsement.

Johnson was given instructions to hand out ballots as people went into polling place and Draft Tishaura flyers as they came out. After the election, I found out Johnson had been handing out the ward sample ballot and his own campaign literature, not the Draft Tishaura flyers. He was basically using us to campaign for himself. Yes. Why on earth would I think he is either very selfish or helping another mayoral candidate, or both?

The 7th Ward needs a good candidate against Jack Coater. Unfortunately, that is not Leonard Johnson. Fortunately, filing just opened Monday and I am optimistic that a real choice will be on the ballot.

–Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

WANTED: NonProfit Homes for Peonies & Iris

peachirispinkpeonyWANTED: One or more Community Garden, School, Church, NonProfit in/near a 7th Ward Neighborhood who would like to plant Free Peonies and Iris at their site.

Neighborhoods: Benton Park, Downtown & Downtown West, Fox Park, Lafayette, LaSalle Park McKinley Heights, Peabody Clinton, Soulard & Kosciusko, Tower Grove East.

These have been dug up from the garden of a loved one in Hickory County who has passed. We are looking for these plants to go to spaces that they will be well cared for and that we might, on occasion, visit.

The neighborhoods chosen are also most likely to be a warmer microclimate and it will be OK to plant them now. I have planted bare root plants and spring bulbs thru Thanksgiving in Soulard and never had them fail.

The Peonies are pinks and white. They are not color separated. We have about 25 of those.
Peony planting information…

The Iris are orange, yellow, peach, purple, white; mostly from iris collections, not junk/alley iris. These are not color separated. Some are shorter, more fancy varieties. We think we have them separated. We have about 100 total iris.
Iris panting information…

The Iris is the Official Flower of the City of St. Louis.

A Response To Some Sam Cummings Propaganda Circulating

Dear Sam Cummings Voter Who Is Not Related To Him:

7th Ward Independent Democrats had an over 30% turnout for our Endorsement Happy Hour. Drama brought by you and your candidate, Sam Cummings, was predictable. So, I was pleased to see anyone show up, and even more pleased that some stayed after they voted and enjoyed great pizza and craft beer despite your distractions.

You and most of the entourage of your candidate, Sam Cummings, failed to purchase food and beverages at the restaurant, a requirement posted in the event notice. I called the meeting, so I felt obligated to compensate the restaurant for your bad manners out of my own pocket.

You and your candidate, Sam Cummings, disturbed customers with rude protestations and in your face taking of photographs. Pick on me all you like but it’s pretty low to take out your frustrations on dining patrons.

7th Ward Independent Democrats is a private organization, a club, but our Membership Applications have never been a secret. There’s a website. Earlier we had a Facebook page. Most ward organizations in St. Louis City do not have either.

In our organization, voting rights kick in upon paying dues, participating in two events, and verifying voter registration. Your candidate, Sam Cummings, has never made any objections to me regarding these requirements or brought it up at any of our events.

Most, if not all, open ward organizations in St. Louis City have similar requirements. As example, the 15th Ward Democrats require three meetings.

Most ward organizations here in St. Louis City are not open ward organizations. The committeeman and/or committeewoman make the endorsements without vote by a membership. 7th Ward Committeeman Brian Wahby has endorsed Jack Coatar, so his new committee, 7th Ward Regular Democrats, supports Coatar, without a candidate forum or vote or even having any members. He’s entitled to do that.

For 7th Ward Independent Democrats, voting on endorsements has been, with the exception of last Tuesday, weighted voting- the more you do, the more votes you get. Your candidate, Sam Cummings, and his family have cast their weighted votes on numerous ward endorsements and never voiced any concerns at any of our events.

In order to put to rest the ridiculous notion that your candidate, Sam Cummings, was somehow going to be robbed of an endorsement from our organization via weighted voting, I made the decision to carry out the endorsement vote using one man, one vote.

Your candidate, Sam Cummings, lost the endorsement vote and not all of us in the room even voted. I did not vote.

Your candidate, Sam Cummings, was not permitted to vote because he had quit the organization last year.


Sadly, your candidate, Sam Cummings, did not inform his family that he had quit. This led to more drama at the Endorsement Happy Hour.

7th Ward Independent Democrats sponsored a candidate debate open to the public. I do not know where people get the idea they have a right to speak at every event open to the public. It was not an invitation for the public to come and query the candidates. I understand that you and some others did not like the format. But the format was no secret. No one forced you to attend. There was no conspiracy to silence you.

I am deaf and was unable to adequately read your lips to understand what you were saying at the candidate debate. I thought you had asked if the debate was going to run democratically and I said, no. I have apologized for not hearing your actual question. Yet you continue to make a big deal about it. I am beginning to think you are merely trying to take advantage of my disability, which is something your candidate, Sam Cummings, has done.

I had worked in my paying job for 17 years before I ran for Committeewoman. I am a Committeewoman in spite of my job not because of it. 

You seem to be really wound up about Chelsea Merta making ends meet by borrowing her Mom’s old car with Indiana plates, a car bought in Missouri and taxes paid here. Your candidate, Sam Cummings, was still living with his parents a little over a year ago, was living with them when he ran for state representative. Unlike your candidate, Chelsea Merta hasn’t run for public office with someone else picking up the tab for rent, utilities, food, and laundry.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

Does The 7th Ward Need A Full-Time Alderman?

The recent 7th Ward Independent Democrats 7th Ward Alderman Candidate Survey asked the following question and received the following answers relating to work in addition to serving as alderman.

A9) Do you plan on working in a paid or volunteer position requiring 20 hours or more a week or running a business in addition to serving as alderman? If yes, please explain. (25 words or less)

John (Jack) Coatar: Yes, I plan on practicing law in addition to being an Alderman.

Chelsea Merta: I will work 56 plus hours a week as a full-time alderwoman and occasionally do some pro bono legal work for nonprofits.

Samuel J. Cummings, III: Yes, I believe politicians should have real jobs. Politicians who live solely on the taxpayers dime put personal careers over people’s interest.

Tell me what you think on this issue. Your answer should be specific to the 7th Ward. The Poll will be open until 5 pm Thursday and I will post results that evening.