About That City Democrats Meeting

hot-mess-raise-walking-disasterThis Draft of the Minutes of the January 27, 2018, Meeting of St. Louis Democratic City Central Committee shows discussion AND action relating to Independent Candidates occurring after Fundraising and before Right to Work reports. The sequence of events is incorrect.

The issue and heated exchanges began earlier when By Laws were discussed. The Independent Candidates issue was not on the Agenda for the meeting. I was under the impression that the issue was tabled until another meeting. This misunderstanding was largely due to the failure of the group to use microphones, which I had previously requested.

I left the meeting during General Discussion, after Redistricting came up

That evening, I was informed that the Independent Candidates issue came back up in General Discussion and there was a vote to request 8th Ward Committeewoman Annie Rice to resign.

Committeewoman Rice was at her MICA Board meeting instead of the Central Committee meeting. Again, she was not on the Agenda.

I had her proxy and should have been the person to speak on her behalf. Again, she was not on the Agenda. I feel very bad for not being there to represent her and cast both of our votes against the resignation motion.

It appears that Central Committee will amend its By Laws to censure or request resignation from all of us who support Annie. I have already written the Committee on this.

Notresigning

Annie Rice is a Democrat and I am proud to support her.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman11272018AMinutes

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Central Committee Should Support Treasurer Jones Against Takeover By Board of Aldermen

I have written St. Louis Democratic City Central Committee requesting the Committee seek a veto from Mayor Krewson on Board Bill 92 to reduce authority of City Treasurer Tishaura Jones and to support any lawsuit by the Treasurer to strike down the legislation.

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The Votes by Aldermen are not available on the BOA website yet.

As mentioned in the email, Central Committee previously opposed elimination of Recorder of Deeds and state legislation to reduce authority of our elected Sheriff.

Consistency dictates if Central Committee will defend two elected county offices against takeovers, it should do the same for a third county office, and all county offices.

Board Bill 92 is sponsored by 22nd Ward Alderman, and perennial citywide candidate, Jeffrey Boyd, who came in 5th of 7 candidates for mayor in March of this year. He received only 1,439 votes. Jones came in 2nd with 16,374, only 888 votes separating her and winner 28th Ward Alderwoman Lyda Krewson.

Boyd came in 3rd of 4 candidates in the August 2012 Treasurer election in which Jones won her first term.

In August 2014, Boyd ran and lost to Mavis Thompson for City License Collector.

Perennial Candidate, that’s Jeffrey Boyd. Sore Loser.

Suggested reads…

6/22/2-17 St. Louis American: Using reserve funds is only a quick fix

7/6/2017 St. Louis American: Political payback still holds St. Louis back

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

My Email Tonight To Central Committee On 28th Ward Candidates

Dear Central Committee Colleagues: Yesterday on St. Louis Public Radio, we found out Missouri Senate Pro Tem Ron Richard (R-Joplin) would carry the ball for Rex Inc.’s anti-St. Louis Agenda, including selling off St. Louis Lambert International Airport and forced re-entry of St. Louis City into St. Louis County.

Rex Inc. is negotiating privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport with no input from aldermen or public. The pro-privatization website by Rex Inc. appears to be saying this is the greatest thing ever and nearly a done deal.

We need to know who are our friends at every level of government, who we can depend on to stand with us against Rex Inc. That includes the Board of Aldermen.

We have an opportunity to vet 28th Ward Alderman candidates and find out where they stand on issues, including Rex Inc. related issues. We should take it. I am asking, again, that St. Louis Democratic City Central Committee invite all candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for 28th Ward Alderman to our Thursday meeting to answer our questions.


One candidate will get the nod from Central Committee and one or more rejected candidates will file as Independents. By vetting each of the candidates now and making this information known to the public, we would be providing a public service– information on citywide/regional issues that likely might not even come up within 28th Ward-only forums.

We should find out where each of the 28th Ward Alderman candidates stands on, as examples,…
1) Forced re-entry of City into County
2) Privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport
3) Privatization of City Refuse services
4) Privatization of City Water Department
5) Re-Vote on Ward Reduction
6) Maintaining our County elected offices as elected

I understand this is hard for many of you, breaking with tradition, the idea that we not merely nominate the chosen alderman candidate of the ward’s committeeman and committeewoman. But this is an opportunity to find out where candidates (plural) stand on issues important to our future as a party, a City, and a region. I think that is our responsibility here, not rubber stamping a nominee.

Also, I have consolidated the Rex ballot issues information to a new Say No To Rex blog and Twitter account @SayNoToRex to keep track of Rex-related news.

Marie Ceselski
7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman
313-630-7599

Central Committee Revisionist History

As a follow up to You Should Go To Saturday’s Closed STL City Democratic Party Meeting, some members of Central Committee and I have very different recollections of how Central Committee has done its business.

My recollection is that I brought Sam Cummings to one of my first Central Committee meetings. Then Central Committee Chair Mattie Moore told us that he could not attend the meeting because our meetings were closed.

My recollection of Central Committee is that we once had a website (via NationBuilder) and Central Committee meeting notices were never posted on that site.

My recollection of Central Committee is that there was a meeting at Humphrey’s, the meeting where we discussed whether or not everyone supported efforts to bring a Democratic National Convention to St. Louis (which it turned out not everyone did), and at that meeting I was berated for bringing up the subject of open meetings. I was told, repeatedly, that meetings had always been closed and that all county committees operated this way, which I knew was incorrect.

I have been fighting for open meetings ever since.

We have also been told by party leaders over and over again not to reveal meeting information or Central Committee business on social media.

 
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That today’s meeting time and location were publicized by not just myself but others as well appears to have hit a nerve with some on Central Committee.

I also have a different recollection on the filling of committee vacancies. Committee vacancies are not solely decided by the remaining committeeperson. Under the law, Central Committee members elect someone to fill a vacancy. The remaining committeeperson nominates and then Central Committee members vote on the nomination. By tradition, the nomination is always accepted, or has been as long s I can recall.

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I have not been to a Central Committee meeting in quite some time. I don’t attend because I am deaf, the result of flu complications in the winter of 2013. I do pretty good with one on one conversations where I can read lips. In a group setting, however, I need someone to come with me to clue me in on what is going on, and take notes in case I want to follow up on something. But, we have had, until perhaps today, closed meetings. I am not special, I just have a hearing impairment. If meetings are closed, meetings are closed for all non-committee members and we should not pick and choose who gets to bring someone and who doesn’t. A committeeperson’s challenger in August should have just as much right to attend Central Committee meetings as someone I bring to be my ears. And when I am certain that the meetings are open, then I will start going to the meetings again.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

STL City Democratic Party Needs Open Meetings

365px-DemocratslogoOver the next months you may hear from some St. Louis City candidates for Democratic Party Committeewoman and Committeeman about opening up St. Louis Democratic City Central Committee meetings to the public, providing greater transparency on political party business, and making an effort to encourage more participation in party activities and elections.

Presently, to attend a Central Committee meeting, you must be an elected member of Central Committee or the invited guest of…, well…, I am unclear on exactly who is authorized to do the inviting. The rules are not written down and there are a number of opinions.

I have argued for open meetings since  I was elected the 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman four years ago.

Other county Central Committees have open meetings. I know they often have county Democratic Party clubs that they meet in concert with, usually monthly, and there’s often an inexpensive meal or snacks, and a keynote speaker. When needed, before or after the open event, the elected township committeewomen and committeemen meet briefly to conduct internal business. I know these open meetings take place because I have been to some. It provides transparency and encourages participation. I favor that format for St. Louis City Democrats.

And so does Alison Dreith, candidate for 6th Ward Democratic Committeewoman. Alison was Moderator at last week’s 6th & 7th Wards Circuit Attorney and Sheriff Candidates Forum. Alison told the audience that she had attended neighboring county Central Committee meetings- open meetings- and wanted that for St. Louis City. I have heard other candidates for committeewoman and committeeman voice their support as well.

Central Committee and County Democratic Club websites or Facebook pages provide information on open meetings for County Democratic organizations in 36 Missouri counties: Bates CountyBoone CountyCaldwell County, Callaway CountyCape Girardeau County, Cass County, Christian County, Clay County, Cole County, Cooper CountyFranklin County, Greene County, Howard County, Howell County, Jackson County, Jasper County, Jefferson County, Lafayette County, Lincoln County, Linn County, Miller County, Moniteau County, Morgan County, Newton CountyPhelps CountyPlatte County, Pulaski County, Randolph County, Ray County, St. Charles County, St. Francois County, St. Louis CountyScott County, Shelby CountyVernon CountyWayne Counties.

Online newspaper articles or online calendars provide information on open meetings for County Democratic organizations in another 15 counties: Cedar County, Dade County, Dallas County, Douglas County, Madison County, Maries County, Pettis County, Pike County, Polk County, Saline County, Stoddard County, Stone County, Washington County, Webster County, and Wright Counties.

I did not perform an exhaustive search and would not be surprised that I missed some.

Most counties in Missouri are small, under 25,000 population, and most of them do not appear to have Democratic Party Central Committees with an online presence. But neither does the St. Louis Democratic City Central Committee. There is a committee working on it. A committee.

According to longtime party leaders, St. Louis Democratic City Central Committee meets only in closed session because: 1) No county Central Committees in Missouri have open meetings; 2) This is the way it has always been done; and 3) Republicans might attend and hear our secrets.

Reason #1 is a myth. In fact, I have not found a single Central Committee in Missouri that only meets in closed session. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. Saying it’s rare.

Reason #2 is just plain sad.

Reason #3 is laughable. Even in the most Republican of counties in Missouri, Democrats meet at the steak house or courthouse in open session. And the Republican Party barely has a pulse in St. Louis City, in large part the State and National GOP’s doing. The Republican agenda is anti everything so many of us in St. Louis City hold dear.

The real reason Central Committee continues to meet only in closed session is there aren’t enough committeewoman and committeeman votes to dump the arcane policy/rule/tradition. That could change this August 2nd. I hope so.

A presidential election with so much candidate-driven volunteer energy is a great opportunity to add hands and hearts to the Democratic Party. Opening up Central Committee meetings will invite both participation and transparency. We need both.