Police Chief Finalists: Black Lives Matter Or All Lives Matter?

stlpoliceIt’s a fair question to ask the St. Louis City Police Chief candidates at the Finalists Forum this Thursday.

In 2016, 7th Ward Independent Democrats asked the same question of the Democratic Primary candidates for Circuit Attorney and Sheriff in both our survey and at the candidate forum.

In the Circuit Attorney race, candidates Mary Pat Carl, Kimberly M. Gardner (elected Circuit Attorney), and Patrick Hamacher, all said Black Lives Matter. Only Steve Harmon said All Lives Matter.

In the Sheriff race, candidate Vernon Betts (elected Sheriff) said Black Lives Matter. Candidates Johnnie Chester Sr., Kevin “Cap” Klupe, Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro, and Charley “Big Will” Williams, all said All Lives Matter.

It’s a question with an answer central to temperament. Black Lives Matter is commitment to change. All Lives Matter is commitment to status quo.

I have submitted to the question for the Finalists Forum.

What would you ask the next Police Chief of St. Louis City? Submit your question here.

The meeting is open to the public. Attend if you can.

6-8 pm Thursday, December 14, 2017
St. Louis City Police Chief Finalists Forum
Mayor’s Citizen Advisory Committee on New Police Chief Search
SLU Law School, Room 1208, 100 N Tucker City
Online Calendar Notice

Public Transit: #32 MLK; one block north of #99 Downtown Trolley (a bus, not a trolley), six blocks northeast of Civic Center Transit Center



Racial Equity Talk vs. Walk

Our Board of Aldermen’s Public Safety Committee meets Tuesday to hear from the Mayor Lyda Krewson’s Staff about St. Louis City’s Racial Equity Lens as it relates to Public Safety.

The City has failed miserably to incorporate racial equity, diversity and inclusion into our Public Safety Department. You cannot possibly use a racial equity lens on the City Workhouse and not see it for great injustice that it is. If there was going to be an announcement Wednesday about closing that hell hole, surely it would be coming from the Mayor and not Staff.

PropPdiversityProposition P is a good example of many City leaders talking the talk but not walking the walk on equity. Increasing diversity on the police force was one of the proponent arguments in favor of increasing sales taxes to pay for raises of police officers. I swear they threw in diversity as a sick joke.

Now that Proposition P has passed, the City is offering $500 bounties to Civil Service employees who successfully refer Police Academy recruits who graduate.

That’s not a diversity recruitment program.

Now that Proposition P has passed, Board Bill 194 was been introduced to eliminate the residency requirement for City employees, a St. Louis Police Officers Association (the white union) priority.

Police may already move out of the City after seven years service by act of the former St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners. Board Bill 194 could mean a police force where most call St. Louis County, Jefferson County, or St. Charles County their home.

If you think St. Louis City has problems now, imagine being the City that allows itself to be policed by people with little relationship, if any, to the people who pay the bills– no shared experiences of school, parks, church, neighborhood association, local small business shopping- no shared City living experience, the good and the bad.

A police force that does not live in the City is unlikely to look like the residents of a City that is half African American. We have that problem right now. Eliminating the residency rule would turn the Police Department into an occupying force.

The City eliminated its diversity recruitment program run by Ethical Society of Police.  I am not sure how the Mayor’s Staff can look members of the Public Safety Committee in the eyes and talk about the Mayor’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

ESOP’s successful pre-Police Academy Recruitment Program was appropriated $57,000 in FY2016. Only $17,000 used, the rest returned to General Revenue. A Bargain. In FY2017, funding for the pre-Academy program was eliminated. When Mayor Krewson was elected, she did not seek to return the funding.

Many of us in the #ExpectUs family contacted elected officials about funding for ESOP’s pre-Academy program. Funding was achieved but not from the City.

Thanks to the diligence of State Rep. Bruce Franks, Jr., the program has received funding from the St. Louis Regional Chamber. Not exactly a well known left wing organization.

Mayor Krewson’s Administration will continue to talk about racial equity, and study racial equity, and have meetings about racial equity. Action on equity? Sorry. Action by the Krewson Administration is reserved for luxury villas, hotels, sports teams, Rex Sinquefield’s agenda, raising salaries for an out of control police department, and rewarding supporters.

If you want to see who is really doing something about equity, come to State Rep. Bruce Franks Jr.’s Town Hall Meeting this Wednesday. You can thank him, Regional Chamber, and ESOP for walking the walk.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

Mayor Wants Taxpayers To Pay For Rex Sinquefield Lobbyist

Thanks to Gerry Connolly, we know who has been hired as Mayor Lyda Krewson’s lobbyist today.


Today’s meeting was not posted to the City’s Online Calendar. It was taped to an elevator at City Hall. I’m glad Gerry took time out from his busy day to go and get the information for us.


And the winner of the Mayor’s Lobbyist Contract is… Jeff Aboussie’s Regional Strategies (business consulting and government relations per LLC filing), of Wildwood MO. The Selection Committee vote was 4-1 with Board President Lewis Reed being the lone opposing vote (cast by Tom Shepard, Reed’s Chief of Staff).

As if there had been any doubt this would happen.

Aboussie represents Rex Sinquefield’s Great St. Louis, which paid for the Prop A Body Cam Scam and Prop B Election Date Scam ballot issues last April, and works with The Kelley Group.

Clare Gates Hudec, of The Kelley Group, is Deputy Treasurer of Mayor’s Krewson’s campaign committee and Treasurer of April’s Proposition P campaign- Citizens for a Safer St. Louis, a sale tax for police and fire fighter raises. The Kelley Group also ran St. Louis County’s Proposition P sales tax campaign.

Meg Shackelford, of The Kelley Group, is Treasurer for 7th Ward Alderman Jack Coatar’s campaign committee and STL Citizens for Responsible Government, one of Kelley Group’s political action committees that accepts money from one source and regifts it to candidates who could not legally accept it from the original source.

Aboussie’s current Labor Union clients include International Union of Operating Engineers Local 101 in Kansas City and Locals 148 & 513 in St. Louis. In 2016, Aboussie resigned as Executive Secretary and Treasurer for St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council, a post he held for 7 years, to became a lobbyist/consultant.

His other clients include…
American Concrete Paving Association, Lenexa KS
Arch Fiber Networks, Edwardsville IL
(pro-nuclear) Missourians for a Balanced Energy Future, Jefferson City MO
(hemp greenhouse) Noah Arc Foundation, Chesterfield MO
St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission

The Selection Committee first met on October 2nd to begin drafting the Request for Proposal. As of October 16, 2017, Kiel Center Partners and SC STL of #mls2stl fame were no longer Aboussie’s clients.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman





Previous post on Mayor’s Lobbyist.


This Week’s #ExpectUs Actions

6 pm Thursday, December 7, 2017
Meet @ Best Buy, 8350 Eager, Brentwood
Public Transit: Brentwood I-64 Station

5:30 pm Friday, December 8, 2017
Meet @ Urban League Community Center, 9420 W Florissant, Ferguson
Public Transit: #74 West Florissant

5:30 om Saturday, December 9, 2017
Serving Holiday Dinner & Giving Care Packages to Displaced Persons
@ Christ Church Cathedral, 1210 Locust, Downtown
You are encouraged to bring gifts if you can. Entertainers welcome. Contact
Public Transit: Civic Center Transit Center

Check In With #ExpectUs on Facebook

Circuit Attorney Needs To Investigate Prop P Election

investigation1Yesterday, I mailed the following request for investigation by St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner into violations of Section 115.635, Revised Statutes of Missouri, Class Three Election Offenses, in the November 7, 2017, Proposition P Special Election.

The Missouri Secretary of State may aid the Circuit Attorney in the investigation. It may also be referred to the Missouri Attorney General or other office or agency with investigatory powers. One of those seems likely since the investigation arm of the Circuit Attorney is the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and its employees key to the complaint.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic CommitteewomanComplaint1222017P1complaint1222017p2.jpg








UPDATED: Why Does Bi-State Hate Bus Riders?

Take a ride with me on the #8 Bates-Morganford, #10 Gravois-Lindell, and #20 South Broadway buses. Last Monday these lines had a major route change.

Bi-State Development Agency, d.b.a. Metro (note separate websites), calls it, a “Quarterly Service Change” to “improve on-time performance and MetroLink connections, and are a part of Metro’s commitment toward building a better experience for the transit riders throughout the region.

And by “better experience” they mean a decision affecting thousands of lives made carelessly by people who do not use buses daily.

UPDATED: Northbound on South Tucker, we pick up our last passengers at Hickory. Sadly, some riders have no idea it is the last stop before the Civic Center Transit Center at 14th @ Clark. Buses which had turned onto Chouteau, and then took 14th to Transit Center, now would take South Tucker to Clark and Clark to 14th. Friday, Bi-State installed a bus stop sign at South Tucker & Chouteau, so the last stop is now that one. This is good news for the families who live on the Chouteau-side of the Peabody-Clinton campus and had their northbound bus stops removed with the route change.

bus1People were excited about the return of bus service Downtown to major employers/services on Tucker again. Those who did not thoroughly check the route change would be disappointed.

We travel up Tucker and pass the 20-story RAY Building (Robert A. Young Federal Building) at Spruce, home to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Internal Revenue Service, Housing & Urban Development, Labor Department, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. Lots of Federal employees who are offered incentives to use public transportation.

bus3A woman with two children has an appointment at the RAY Building. She rings the bell, gets upset when it does not stop up at the bus shelter in front of Engine House 2. She is confused when we tell her the bus does not stop until it gets to Transit Center. “But why is there a stop there?” she asks.

We get to Clark and a man wants off for jury duty at Circuit Court two blocks north. But the bus does not stop. Someone says he can get on the jury shuttle across from Kiel Parking Garage near where the bus will stop at Transit Center. He says it’s nuts, says jury duty is right over there, let him off. bus2

To our right, next block east, is 29-story Eagleton Federal Courthouse. Like the federal agencies at the RAY Building, it’s full of employees entitled to incentives for using public transportation.

We turn onto Clark. There is City Hall. I know there is no stop for me to get off. I had called Bi-State to find out where the nearest stop would be and got the bad news we would just be driving by the building. Unfortunately, a woman needing to get a copy of a birth certificate had just looked at the bus map online and assumed there was a stop at City Hall. She says she knew she should have just driven.bus4

We arrive at the Transit Center and we walk back to where we need to go.

Big Fail on that better experience for bus riders. Again.

Bi-States does not even try.

Since 1993, many buses have served as feeders to Metrolink. Instead of taking a bus somewhere, now you take a bus and train to get to the same destination. This year, some North-South bus routes were chopped up to require more than one bus for the same trip with a layover at Transit Center in between. Each additional boarding requites a transfer and counts as a different ride. Bi-State does not count riders. It counts rides. Ridership decreases and Bi-States compensates by increasing the number of rides needed to get somewhere. Transfers are at additional cost, meaning a “Quarterly Service Change” is often a fare increase without all the messy PR bother.

Here is my Share the Bi-State Pain Challenge to Bi-State Commissioners and every St. Louis City and St. Louis County elected- executive/administrative/legislative and party central committee ward/township committeeperson alike: Ride our crappy bus system. Spend one week getting everywhere you need to go in St. Louis City and St. Louis County using buses only. Not just to work/office. Everywhere.

Use buses as your only source to get to your neighborhood/ward/church/political fundraiser events, meetings across the City and County, shopping (enjoy toting perishables on a one hour to one and half hour trip), dining and entertainment (be careful to note buses that only run every hour and express buses that don’t run most of the day or evening), doctors, all of it by bus and walking. No train. No bike. No hitching a ride in a car for free or pay.

Use the buses and you will know how bad public transit is here and use your voice to make changes.

And, while we’re at it, this would be a great challenge for Media as well. You can’t possibly do your job via buses, but you can try using it to get to work, shop, play. You’ll not only see public transit differently, you’ll also see the weather in a whole different light. Most bus stops do not have shelters and most bus stops do not get cleared of ice/snow in the winter. I suspect that a week’s worth of that would be a life altering experience and would help alter the way Bi-State treats bus customers.

What happened this week with the #8, #10, and #20 buses is just one recent example of Bi-State’s lack of respect for bus riders.

Bi-State Commissioners are appointed by Governors. They spend tax dollars but are not accountable to local elected officials and voters. Until local electeds make some noise on the poor treatment of bus riders, most of them low income, captive customers, bus riders will continue to pay more and be inconvenienced more to get around.

Ask yourself this, how could Bi-State possibly decide it was a good idea to reroute buses so that customers are driven past where they need to go?

Because nearly everyone in a position of power is allowing it to happen. Inaction is as powerful as action.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman