Elect Tishaura Jones for Mayor

treasurer-tishaura-jones_2_4It will probably surprise some people that I have not always been a huge fan of Tishaura Jones.

I was troubled by her role in a Rex Sinquefield agenda item- school choice- when she was a state legislator. 

But I also know her now and understand the desperation she felt then, like so many St. Louis City parents, about public education, and that her actions were in spite of Rex and not because of him.

Not many of us are without some of Sinquefield’s agenda on our hands. I went along with him funding the statewide ballot issue for local control of police and regret that. I haven’t changed my mind about local control, I just think we should have done things differently.

Most important to me is that I know Tishaura Jones is not Rex Sinquefield‘s candidate in the mayor’s race. I am convinced that she, more than any other mayoral candidate, would be our fiercest defender against him and the bully consultants spending his billions.

I liked her father, former Comptroller Virvus Jones. He was a good Comptroller. He used campaign money for personal purposes in violation of campaign finance laws and didn’t report it to IRS and went to prison for it. He was a good Comptroller but a flawed man.

I bring this up because at least one other mayoral candidate or surrogate is spreading some awful rumors about the Jones Family. In one rumor, Virvus Jones embezzled City funds (which he did not do, he was a good Comptroller) and there is an inference to apple not falling far from tree. My personal belief is that if you believe or promote that crime is genetic, may you rot in hell.

August 7, 2012, was the election that I was first on the ballot for 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman. I had no opponent, didn’t campaign, had no organization, and filed an exemption to not spend any money. I punted on the Democratic Primary choices, including the Treasurer’s race in which Tishaura Jones, my then 7th Ward Committeeman Brian Wahby, and Aldermen Fred Wessels and Jeffery Boyd were competing. My Alderwoman endorsed Wessels.

I was ambivalent about the Treasurer’s race, other than wanting anyone but Wahby to be elected. It was my opinion, at the time, that the Treasurer’s office was such a big a mess under Larry Williams that no one was going to be able to clean it up. 

Keep it mind nearly every elected official had been propping up Williams all those years, tithing to his fundraisers while bad mouthing him on the side. 

Some of this had to do with empire building. I think the plan was to let the Treasurer’s office implode to generate support for making it a mayoral patronage job instead of elected. You have no idea how Machiavellian local politics is.

But Tishaura Jones was elected Treasurer and proved me wrong. She cleaned up that mess and more. None of the other mayoral candidates has done anything like this. Managed money and people. Sure. But she is the only candidate who as actually taken a public problem, fixed it, and turned it into a public benefit.

One of the things that we have gotten away from in St. Louis City government is that small stuff matters. What seems small to a large bureaucracy can mean the world to a resident, small business, or a visitor. Tishaura Jones understands that fixing the small stuff is important.

When Treasurer Tishaura Jones was sworn into office, 1,600 of the City’s 7,000 employees were not using direct deposit for their paychecks. They were cashing their checks every two weeks, often paying a fee to do so. Treasurer Jones set up bank and credit union fairs for employees to pick an institution for direct deposit. A debit card option for paychecks was also made available.

As a City employee, I can tell you that this transition, requiring direct deposit, has changed the lives of many people at the low end of City salaries. I personally know City employees who were living paycheck to paycheck and now they put a little something into a savings account every pay day. And the Treasurer’s Lunch and Learn financial literacy workshops continues to improve people’s lives.

St. Louis City was #1 in unbanked minority households when Treasurer Tishaura Jones came into office. She understands financial literacy is a necessary step to helping people out of poverty. She established the Office of Financial Empowerment to educate St. Louisans on checking and savings accounts, college funds, identity theft, earned income tax credits, foreclosure prevention, small business development, and offers credit counseling. 

I know some of you are thinking, this doesn’t impact me. You’re wrong. One of the Forward Through Ferguson Report’s Signature Priorities is Opportunity to Thrive and establishing financial empowerment centers. 

When we look at who has actually done something citywide to make Black Lives Matter, Treasurer Tishaura Jones is the candidate who stands out for bringing positive change. It’s not flashy. It didn’t put her on TV. But small things can change lives in big ways and that’s what Tishaura Jones is all about.

Another of the Forward Through Ferguson priority is Child and Family Development Accounts. And, again, Treasurer Jones stepped up and established a Children’s Savings Accounts program for college savings.

Thousands of St. Louis City school children now have college accounts. You don’t have kids or your child doesn’t benefit so why does this concern you? Studies show that even a small amount of money invested in a child’s college education helps keep that child in school and increases graduation rates. We need that in St. Louis City. Breaking the cycle of poverty, which impacts us all, requires children to stay in school. Again, not flashy, but an important program.

I don’t drive, so I don’t feel qualified to talk about the parking changes since Treasurer Tishaura Jones took over. Just being honest here.

As a candidate, Tishaura Jones is again showing her penchant for small things that impact people in big ways. Most recently, she wrote about tenant rights, about local government, landlord associations and tenants working together.

160,000 residents of St. Louis City are renters. We are long overdue for attention to this issue. It strikes close to home for me because we are renters. We have a great landlord. Some of our neighbors do not. As example, many of us have been horrified to find the owner of condemned property at 2408-2411 S 12th renting it out, over and over again. Tishaura Jones is the only candidate for mayor talking about protecting renters. Again, not flashy, but important to a lot of people.

Tishaura Jones wants a fully staff police department that includes social workers. Many problems that come to the attention of police are mental health related. If we staff police stations with social workers, we can treat some problems instead of criminalize them and free up police resources for more important concerns. Again, not flashy, but a small change that will have a big impact on public safety.

Tishaura Jones wants to shut down the City Workhouse, an arcane, dangerous, expensive institution. Mayors have been talking about this for decades but nobody did it. Freeing up money to keep people out of jail is better than spending money on incarceration. That’s no small thing but I don’t hear anyone else running for mayor talking about it. Maybe because it is not as flashy as talking about guns, or cameras, or any of the other buzz word topics. Or maybe because some candidates are stuck in the failed tough on crime era.

Those are of some of the reasons that I now count myself as one of Tishaura Jones biggest fans.

We cannot afford more of the same. We must change. The aldermen and Board President running for mayor had their chance and haven’t cleaned up any messes. Tishaura Jones brought change to the Treasurer’s Office, cleaned up a big mess. I trust her to do the same for the City of St. Louis.

We need someone who will look at redevelopment incentives for what they bring to the community and not merely serve as a bribe to anyone who says they will leave or won’t build without it. The aldermen and Board President running for mayor have treated the City like an ATM for developers. I trust Tishaura Jones to attract development worthy of our assistance and fix the small things that are big problems for small business.

We need transparency in City government, including replacing the City’s word salad website and lack of timely online public notice of public meetings. The aldermen and Board President have had years and years to bring transparency and failed to do so. I trust Tishaura Jones to bring that transparency because I’ve already seen what she did in the Treasurer’s Office.

We need someone who will go to the mat for us fighting Rex Sinquefield here, Jefferson City, and statewide if necessary, and I trust Tishaura Jones to do that.

We need someone who sees a beginning and end to being mayor, goals to accomplish and an urgency to do so. The aldermen and Board President running for mayor have had years to send the voters a charter amendment for term limits on mayor and failed to do so. Tishaura Jones wants to be the mayor with a clock ticking on how long she has to bring change.

Check out the Tishaura for Mayor website. 

If you’d like a Tishaura Jones for Mayor yard sign, or would like to help host a meet and greet for her in your neighborhood, message me or call me at 630-7599.

Disclaimer: I write my own posts. I am not paid to work on any campaign. I have no family paid to work on any campaign. I am a City employee but not employed, nor have ever been employed, in the Treasurer’s office, or Board of Aldermen, or any business associated with any mayoral candidate.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman


UPDATED, AGAIN: BOA President Files Lame Meeting Notices Legislation

UPDATED to include response by Board President on his failure to provide transparency on his own meeting notices.

Tonight should have been a good night for Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed. Tonight should have been when I and others had to suck it up and say, “Bravo, Sir, Bravo. Thank you. Well done.”

Should. Have. Been.

Over the past year, day after day, I have laid out the damning evidence of the City of St. Louis’s crappy job at transparency with regard to meeting notices and materials.

Most public meetings are not posted to the City’s online calendar.


Some meeting notices are only posted in hard copy form near elevators at City Hall.


Sometimes meeting notices are posted less than 24 hours before the meeting.

Some meeting notices that are not posted to the City’s online calendar are instead posted on the agency’s webpages. Sometimes this is a link on the “Board Meeting Materials” page, sometimes elsewhere. There is no consistency. You can spend a lot of time hunting for the information only to find the link is bad.

In cases where a meeting notice is posted somewhere on the City’s website, it often will not include an agenda. Most meeting notices with agendas do not include exhibits/attachments.

It’s a wet hot mess. It’s 2016 and the City of St. Louis has no central online location for citizens to find information on public meetings and hearings in a timely manner so as to make their voices heard before a decision is made.


And Board President Lewis Reed blew it. This week he filed Board Bill 152. It does not require posting of meeting notices in a central online location. There is no identification of who is responsible for the posting or the penalty for failure to do so. It only requires 24 hours notice. It does not require an electronic time/date stamp on the posting (which actually was once done on City website but disappeared). It does not require posting exhibits and attachments mentioned in agendas.


It’s lame and it needs to be called out for what it is, a piss poor mayoral campaign gimmick. Lewis Reed does not provide Board of Aldermen agendas with the BOA Calendar Notices. He’s a hypocrite. He could have been providing that information by simple link iNall these years. Lewis Reed doesn’t need passage of a board bill to put his own house in order with regard to transparency.


All City departments, agencies, boards, commissions, special districts, political subdivisions funded by City tax dollars should be required to have a designated public records officer to handle Sunshine records requests and post meeting or hearing information where applicable. In the case of appointed boards and commissions this will likely be the secretary. The City’s Register might be the designee for offices that she publicizes hearings for in the City Journal.

The public records officer should be responsible for posting online meeting and hearing notices with agendas, exhibits, and attachments, at a minimum by  9 am the Friday of the week prior to the meeting or hearing. Public notices required by city, state, or federal law to be posted as more advance notice should comply with those requirements.

These notices of meetings and hearings should be posted to a central location on the City’s website or some other location with link on City’s home page.

These notices should have an electronic time and date stamp that cannot be tampered with.

These notices should include a link to the last approved Meeting Minutes of the entity, where applicable. Meeting Minutes and Materials should be archived online in perpetuity as well as microfilmed or digital copy made.

Blighting reports should also be available online and linked when cited on agendas.

Penalty for failure to comply and enforcement should be included in the ordinance.

Let’s get that done. Let’s get a central online clearinghouse for public meeting information. But let’s not pass a board bill that basically says it’s OK to stick a meeting notice anywhere on the City website and call that progress.

Let’s get some real transparency going. And, then, if someone wants to get all fancy with subscription email notices, figure out how to do that by subject matter, zip code, etc., so that subscribers are not getting hundreds of meeting and hearing notices every day when all they want to know is when there is a liquor hearing affecting their zip code, when their special taxing district meets, or what is on the agenda for the Board of Aldermen’s Public Safety Committee.

This weekend, in response to criticism of his poorly drafted bill and failure to provide transparency at the Board of Aldermen, Board President Lewis Reed blocked my Committeewoman Twitter account.




Board President Reed does not want to hear us but it does not stop us from speaking truth to power. Please contact your alderman and ask them to amend Board Bill 152 to include real transparency on public meetings and hearings, including posting all meeting and hearing notices and agendas in one online location and providing accountability if that is not done.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

Will Police Chief Sam Dotson Blow Up Laundry Every Day?

The first sign it was not going to be a normal Monday was when I noticed a police officer wrapping part of Washington Square Park with yellow caution/crime scene tape. That’s the park area between St. Louis City Hall and shuttered Municipal Courts Building.

When I say wrapping, I mean a half-assed wrapping job, similar to when your brother buys your birthday gift at a gas station on the way to the party.

The yellow tape was wrapped around only half the park area. It was not secured to the trash can by Pierre Laclede’s statue. It blew off the can and danced in the wind. Its purpose was obviously not to keep people out.

Police officers chatted in the park. Some workers sat on benches mere feet from the tape and smoked cigarettes. If it was a crime scene, no one was working it.

There was a rumor that the white truck on the grass was a suspicious vehicle.

We were told to evacuate City Hall. We did not get far, not even to the corner wiener cart, before we were summoned back into the building.

A little later we were told that workers and customers on the west side of City Hall needed to move to the Rotunda.

There was a rumor about a suspicious package on the grounds. Bomb Threat!!!!!!!

Then it became suspicious packages, plural. Oddly, no one in the building seemed alarmed. There was talk it was a drill. The whole thing had a poorly written script feeling to it.

Then it got weird. City Hall was on lock down. No one could exit or enter. Customers were desperate to leave but told they could not. It made no sense. Why couldn’t people leave from the Tucker/12th Street side of City Hall?

As the locations of the suspicious items became known, most of us knew we had been had. The suspicious items were not bombs. The suspicious items were not suspicious. They were clothing and possessions of homeless persons who leave items around the shrubs and nooks of public buildings in Downtown. Their possessions include electric razors, toaster ovens, radios, etc., which they use by tapping into electrical outlets around public buildings and in public spaces. It is common knowledge.

Until March of this year, the main place for such storage was the shrubs around Soldiers Memorial. But it has been fenced off for renovation. Homeless persons have since been using shrubs around Municipal Courts Building and City Hall for storage. It is common knowledge.

But, it turns out, Police Chief Sam Dotson does not know about such things.

Today was a sad day in St. Louis disaster preparedness history. The Police Chief called out the bomb squad to blow up someone’s laundry. But, first, the bomb robot had to put on an embarrassing show.

Then it was all over. But it wasn’t.  Someone forgot to call the police at City Hall and tell them we could leave. Perfect. Just perfect.

So we waited some more. Had to. We were Chief Dotson’s prisoners.

We were finally released at 12:10 pm. The police vehicles blocking traffic at Market and Tucker, however, remained another ten minutes because no one had yet told them it was all over.

Now, I know we are all supposed to be on high alert because of the incidents in New York and New Jersey over the weekend.

But the St. Louis City Police Chief called out the bomb squad for items left in areas where they are usually left every single day, low traffic areas, a grassy knoll by a parking lot.

Chief Dotson held customers prisoner at City Hall in order to blow up the possessions of someone who had nothing else. That ranks right up there with 7th Ward Alderman Jack Coatar wanting to criminalize the feeding of homeless persons.

I hope Chief Dotson has learned a lesson here. If not, there is, unfortunately, plenty of laundry hidden around shrubs Downtown for him to blow up every day.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

The Other Rex Sinquefield Petition- Changing Election Dates

I am a huge fan of changing local election dates for St. Louis City to state and federal election dates. It would, I believe, increase turnout for local elections and significantly reduce the budget for the Board of Elections. I have been advocating election date changes for about fifteen years.

Most recently, I  blogged about this reform idea in January 2015. In the 2015 7th Ward alderman election, candidate Chelsea Merta had pledged to work on this from both the Board of Aldermen and State Legislature angles. More on the latter in a moment.

So you might think that I’d be thrilled when a petition came along to change St. Louis City elections from March & April to August & November. But I’m not. The devil is in the details.

I was first approached to sign the petition outside City Hall. The signature gatherer told me it was to increase voter turnout by moving local elections to the Fall when state elections are held. I got excited.

But, like many other voters, I am going to be very hesitant about signing petitions after the Rex Sinquefield and Senator Jamilah Nasheed Body Cam Scam Petition.

Wanting to believe that someone had taken my idea and run with it with the best of intentions, I glanced over the petition, picked up the pen to sign, but then saw two names as sponsoring petitioners at the bottom of the first page: Stephanie Lewis and Martin Casas.

Stephanie Lewis was spokesperson for Rex Sinqefield’s No on E Tax campaign.

Martin Casas handles social media for Rex Sinquefield’s Better Together.

So, I did not sign.

I spent a number of days trying to get a screen shot of the petition’s three pages, so I could study it to find the horrible parts. Then I contacted Garrett Webb asking for a copy. Mr. Webb is a political consultant and also one of the sponsoring petitioners. He obliged and emailed the petition to me. The three pages are posted at the end.

Then I set up a meeting with Mr. Webb to discuss the problems I found, and there are huge ones. 7th Ward Committeeman Marty Murray, Jr. and me met with Mr. Webb last week to go over concerns. It was a friendly talk. I think some of the consequences were genuinely new issues for him.

One of the problems with initiative petitions is that the ballot issues are vetted by Board of Aldermen but no changes can be made. If this had originated in the Board, consequences would likely have come to light, changes made.

Here are the Issues: The petition if enacted would result in extra super low turnout for School Board, Community College District Trustee, and ballot issues because there would be no citywide or ward contests to draw voters out. The petition only moves municipal officers and aldermen from March and April to August and November without addressing other elections. Rex Sinquefield could and would run the table with charter amendments- including getting rid of the earnings tax- under 2% turnout scenarios. He could elect his own anti-public education School Board Slate.

None of the seven signature gatherers that I spoke with over the past weeks said anything about this petition reducing the cost of elections. That’s because it’s not intended to reduce the number of elections. It’s intended to reduce turnout in elections important to Rex Sinquefield.

Moving the elections is still a great idea, I think. But needs to happen in a specific way to make sure a billionaire who votes in the Ozarks does not bankrupt us. Instead of putting this on the March 2017 ballot, we should…

First, the Board of Aldermen and next Mayor should lobby the Missouri General Assembly to change our School Board and Community College District Trustee elections to state elections. Without the Legislature’s assent on this matter, moving election dates for other elected officials is putting the cart before the horse.

Second, if successful with the Legislature, the Board of Aldermen should then send voters a charter amendment requiring local ballot issues- referendum or initiative- go to voters during state elections. There needs to be some option for real emergency referendums, perhaps some extra super majority of aldermen consenting or unanimous vote by Estimate and Apportionment, but the language needs to be tight. Many of us are familiar with how emergency clauses work on legislation today, which is everything fits the definition of an emergency. Because of it, the right of the people to petition to undo legislation by public vote is just nice words in the City Charter.

Third, if voters pass the local ballot issues election date charter amendment, the Board of Aldermen should send voters an amendment moving the mayor, comptroller, board president, and aldermen elections to state elections. There needs to be a provision for special elections to fill vacancies, of course. And, I’d also like to see a sunset on the local officials election change- twenty or so years. We would evaluate how it worked and either vote to renew it or go back to the old election dates. I’d like to see it with a sunset clause so that the decision to have it back on the ballot is not left to aldermen or initiative petition.

Which brings me to the argument against moving local elections or local ballot issues to state elections- people are weary of long ballots. My answer to that is we can declutter the ballot by making it more difficult for people with big money- like Rex Sinquefield- to purchase ballot space via initiative petition. Petition Election Date Change Final_Page_1Petition Election Date Change Final_Page_2Petition Election Date Change Final_Page_3b

Remove Your Name From Sinquefield-Nasheed Police Body Cam Scam Petition With This Affidavit

Affid To Withdraw Signature fr Init. Petn (8-15-16)

Late today, I received this form that the Board of Elections has drafted for voters to remove their names from the petition that allegedly would fund police body cameras. You need to have your signature notarized and the affidavit has to be delivered to the Board of Elections, 300 N Tucker, St. Louis MO 63101. If you have questions about removing your name, please call Election Director Gary Stoff 314-622-4239.

You need to hurry because Mr. Stoff says the petitions may be delivered to Board of Aldermen on Thursday, this Thursday, August 18th.

Previous post from Election Day when this controversy started.

I am also urging you to contact State Senator Jamilah Nasheed, a sponsor of this proposal, and ask her to stop the ballot initiative. As you can see from this story, she is an important player on this issue.

 You can contact Senator Nasheed at
(314) 409-5730

Make Saint Louis Safe is the campaign committee name. It filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission today and the filing says this would be on the November 8th Ballot. Rex Sinquefield has transferred $25,000 from one of this others PACs to the new organization. Lots more to follow.

It’s important to note that none of Sinquefield’s organizaitons, Senator Nasheed, or the consultants working for this proposal has produced evidence of where the alleged $1 Million in savings by moving the Recorder of Deeds services to Assessor’s office comes from. There is a constitutional provision that says if the Recorder’s office is merged with another office, the employees don’t lose their jobs.


So the cost savings comes from where?

-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.

Vote No On Proposition 1

Take a stand against the unethical campaign by St. Louis Public School District’s Special Administrative Board. Vote No on Proposition 1.

Don’t Support Taxation Without Representation. Vote No on Proposition 1.

Don’t Trust the St. Louis Public School District’s Special Administrative Board to spend more of your tax dollars. Vote No on Proposition 1.


Numerous complaints have been filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission (by 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman Marie Ceselski, 15th Ward Democratic Committeewoman Missy Pinkerton McDaniel, possibly others) regarding violations of campaign finance and election laws by the St. Louis Public Schools District and its Special Administrative Board.

  • SLPS/SAB has used school district funds and resources to support the property tax increase campaign.
  • SLPS/SAB has failed to properly report expenditures made on behalf of the campaign and properly report who paid for campaign expenditures.


Even after the SAB was informed of those two complaints and more, it continues to spend public funds on the campaign. Voters received several mailers identified as paid for by the SLPS but “for informational and educational purposes” and “not intended to advocate, support, or oppose Proposition 1.” In reality, they were advocacy pieces. If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, it’s a duck.

SLPS continues to use staff and resources, including its website to push for passage of Proposition 1.

Under normal circumstances, MEC would have already rendered a judgment against SLPS/SAB. Unfortunately for taxpayers and voters across Missouri, the terms of three of six members of MEC expired March 15 and there is no quorum to conduct business.

“Tuesday’s municipal elections across Missouri are being conducted in an ethics-free zone,” wrote Tony Messenger in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

A vote against Proposition 1 is a vote against an unethical campaign that may never be held accountable because of a massive system failure.

The voters of St. Louis City elect a Board of Education to govern the St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS). Our elected school board, however, has no power over policy or budget of the SLPS.

Instead, SLPS is currently governed by a three member Special Administrative Board appointed by the Governor, St. Louis City Mayor, and City Board of Aldermen President. The SAB is not accountable to voters. Voters had no say in the change and cannot undo it.

This year the SLPS qualified for full accreditation, the first step toward returning control of our schools back to our elected board. The Missouri School Board, however, trusts the SAB more than an elected board to run things and in January extended the stay of the SAB by at least three years.

Your vote against Proposition 1 is a vote against taxation without representation.

The ballot issue says the proposed new revenue would be spent, in part, on “competitive salaries” for “teachers and staff.” Staff could very well mean administrators, more people with fancy titles. Staff could mean hiring someone to run another unethical campaign, maybe next time a slate of candidates for school board.

Your vote against Proposition 1 is a No Confidence Vote against the Special Administrative Board.

Do our public schools need more money? Yes.

Are there people we respect that support Proposition 1? Yes.

Are either reason enough to vote for it. No.

Please join 7th Ward Independent Democrats and 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman Marie Ceselski and Vote No on Proposition 1 this Tuesday, April 5th.