Rex Sinquefield is loading up the Spring ballots with charter amendments. This is the third initiative petition- with paid signature collectors- in a row.
In addition to the Police Body Cam Scam amendment and the Low Turnout on Local Ballot Issues & School Board Elections amendment, his operatives are now working on the Bankrupt St. Louis amendment, a proposal to provide tax credits for payment of earnings taxes and exempting anyone making under $50,000 from the earnings tax.
I recognize one of the sponsoring petitioners on this petition- Larry Stendebach. He is the tech guru for Pelopidas, the PR/lobbying firm making a mint off of Sinquefield.
Stendebach is also part of Rex Sinquefield’s dizzying array of Political Action Committees. He is Deputy Treasurer of Great St. Louis, based in Jefferson City, of course
Great St. Louis is entirely funded by Rex Sinquefield, from his personal check and closing out the account of his Vote No on the E-Tax PAC, same address as Great St. Louis. Most of the Great St. Louis money has gone to the losing Primary campaigns of Republican candidates for Governor and Attorney General, Catherine Hanaway and Kurt Schaefer.
Closer to home, on August 18th, Stendebach and Martin Casas filed papers with the Missouri Ethics Commission to create yet another Rex PAC- STL Votes!- to support an unnamed ballot issue. Casas manages social media for Better Together, another Rex Sinquefield project. Casas is also one of the sponsoring petitioners for Rex’s initiative to reduce turnout on local ballot issues and school board elections. I would imagine the new PAC is for that.
So, when a signature gatherer tells you that the Bankrupt St. Louis petition has nothing to do with Rex Sinquefield, feel free to take up some of his or her time and provide the facts.
It appears the signature gatherers started Friday at the 78th District Re-Vote polling places and then hit the many special events this weekend around the City.
St. Louis City voters just reauthorized the earnings tax last Spring with 72% of the vote.
Here’s the process for these City charter amendment initiative petitions.
1) Upon acquiring sufficient signatures plus some, petitions are delivered to Board of Elections.
2) Board of Elections verifies signatures. If enough signatures…
3) Board of Elections notifies Board of Aldermen that an initiative petition is ready for ballot.
4) Board of Aldermen has 60 Days to consider- including holding hearings- and adopt the proposed amendment as is- no changes. If it adopts amendment, and mayor signs, it becomes law without public vote. If it does not adopt proposed amendment, or if mayor does not sign, or his veto is not overriden…
5) Board of Elections places issue on ballot.
6) Charter Amendment passes if it gets 60% of the vote.
This is no way to have a serious discussion about the earnings tax and how to replace the earnings tax. This is a punitive measure by Rex Sinquefield. His operatives are throwing everything at the wall in hopes something sticks. He has unlimited resources to pay signature gatherers a consultants. The initiative petition process was never intended to be a means for the wealthy to buy their way on to the ballot. It was never intended to be a business.
Photo Credits: 15th Ward Alderwoman Megan Green
— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman