More City of St. Louis Follies

A $600K mistake? St. Louis forgot to tax recreational pot sales:

City officials missed the deadline to begin taxing recreational marijuana sales this fall, leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.

The city was supposed to start charging a 3% levy in October. But until about a week ago, no one had filed paperwork with the state to turn on the spigot. And now, per state regulations, city officials will have to wait until January.

Early estimates suggest the city could lose between $480,000 and $600,000 to the mistake.

The Powers That Would Be want to spread this competence to the entirety of St. Louis County.

Unfortunately, I think this sort of competence is percolating up through all levels of government these days. And society.

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The Springfield Police Chief Puts It Diplomatically

Springfield Police Chief addresses string of gun violence and more at city council meeting:

The chief says the recent shootings are not random, but the concern is still there.

“There is concern about an element in our society that hadn’t been there in the past that is growing,” said Chief Paul Williams. “We’re doing our best to keep a lid on it and take those people off the streets, but we really need the community to step up and be aware,” said Williams.

Back-to-back homicides are tragically hurting those in the Springfield area, with four deaths in just the last week.

The Springfield media is not so interested in finding what might be common threads between the victims and the perpetrators, instead focusing on the fact that guns were used since the Powers That Would Be are gearing up for a ballot initiative to supersede statewide law which keeps local governments from enacting gun control laws.

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If You’ve Lost Bill McClellan

St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan opposes efforts to merge St. Louis City and St. Louis County.

To all those who want to force a merger: Thanks, we’re good:

In 2019, our happiness faced another challenge. Better Together, which seemed like the Freeholders on steroids, announced that we would undergo some self-improvement whether we wanted it or not. They would seek a statewide vote on merging the city with the county. Steve Stenger would be the new entity’s unelected czar.

This was beyond shocking. No more municipalities. The tiny little burgs with their own mayors and police chiefs. Gone. Webster Groves and Kirkwood. Gone. Clayton and Chesterfield. Gone.

Never have I seen the entire region pull together like it did then — THANKS! WERE GOOD!

We prevailed.

Of course, the “good government” people never stop. In the wake of the Better Together debacle, the Municipal League of Metro St. Louis called for the Freeholders to be revived. That ended happily. The county named some people to the new Board of Freeholders, but the city could not agree on its selections.

That is the last I have heard of the Freeholders, but we know, in our collective heart, that the board never dies. It stays dormant for a bit, but it will rise again.

It’s a blatant and obvious attempt for the failing city (St. Louis can’t pay its bills on time. Darlene Green and her work hours draw attention., etc.) to grab a lifeline. And to ultimately also drown the county as well.

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In Local Deep State News

Republic City Administrator gets smaller raise after report showed imbalance:

After KOLR 10 Investigates uncovered Republic City Administrator David Cameron received several 5-figure salary raises in recent years, city council approved a more conservative pay bump during his most recent review.

Cameron’s impressive raises included an almost $60,000 raise in 2021, which pushed his salary over $262,000 last year. But now for the first time in three years, his merit raise will come in under $10,000.

Cameron’s previous combined raises more than doubled his salary between 2018 and 2023. Taxpayers we interviewed for the original story in May were mostly shocked to learn how much he’s making.

I would say so. I would be, too.

If I recall the last city administrator in Republic ended up going somewhere bigger (Casinoport?) which illustrates that, unlike elected officials, city administrators might not represent the communities in which they’re employed–not elected. They could easily represent instead their guild (government experts) and themselves moreso than the small towns who need “expert” help.

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A Cure For Wrong Thinking

‘United Springfield,’ a new PAC forms to support candidates for school board, City Council:

Prominent, long-time Springfield leaders have formed a political action committee to support candidates in upcoming school board and city council races that are required by state law to be nonpartisan.

The launch of United Springfield was announced Monday, a day before potential candidates were eligible to pick up packets to run for school board.

Organizers of the new fundraising PAC said its creation is a direct response to a dramatic increase in the participation of partisan and “dark money” groups — that opt not to disclose donor names — in local elections.

Springfield would all be united if only the proles followed the instructions given to them by the elites!

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Local Deep State Update

Yesterday, I mentioned the current mayor of Willard is in a bit of a kerfluffle as competing power blocs fight over the composition of unelected power blocs.

Today (or later yesterday; I forget when I opened the tab), we got news of a former Willard mayor under a cloud: Former Willard Board of Aldermen member & mayor faces charges of embezzling money from Prime.

Definitely sounds like embezzlement embezzlement and not the worst reading of, erm, optimistic use of a corporate expense account, which is sometimes cast as shrieking EMBEZZLEMENT! THEFT! when the alleged thief is on the wrong side.

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Your Local Deep State

We’ve been seeing a lot of contention in southwest Missouri between elected officials and the permanently hired “city administrators” who actually run things. Two come to mind:

I’ve seen similar infighting in some of the smaller communities covered by my weekly arrival of my adopted hometown newspapers.

Why so much fighting over the city administrator?

Because people are starting to realize that these unelected officials can strongly influence policy and are only indirectly responsible to the citizens, and they will outlast changes in the electoral direction of the city/town/county or the will of the voters. And their career paths will take them to larger cities so their loyalty is to their betterment, their blending in with the wills of larger employers (larger cities) and not to the constituencies where they currently work.

Not all of them, but some of them.

Smarter men than we are set a framework for a system of government that limited this sort of thing, but cleverer men than we are have found ways around it.

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Hey, What’s Robin Carnahan Up To These Days?

General Services Administration head worked mostly from Missouri after calling employees back in:

The head of the General Services Administration, the government agency that helps to manage and support federal agencies, spent most of her time working remotely from Missouri during the year after she ordered employees back to their offices, according to a letter from the agency to Congress.

GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan, an appointee of President Joe Biden, spent 121 weekdays in Missouri and 64 weekdays in Washington from March 2022 through March 2023, GSA Associate Administrator Gianelle E. Rivera informed House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky., in a letter on March 31, Axios reported after obtaining the letter Friday.

As you might recollect, gentle reader, I disagreed with Robin Carnahan when she was the Missouri Secretary of State about a decade ago, a little after her father was elected to the United States Senate after he died and her mother was appointed in his stead. Meanwhile, her brother was serving in the House of Representatives from my district.

It’s good to see she’s stayed in the family business. Although, to be honest, I should be a little pleased that she’s working from Missouri and not living the high life in D.C. Although with current crime levels, I’m avoiding cities larger than Springfield myself these days, and I’m a little cautious going to Springfield.

(Link via Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

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The true story of Matthew Shepard: it wasn’t homophobia that killed him talks about conclusions from The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard (2013) whose blurb declares:

What role did crystal meth and other previously underreported factors play in the brutal murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard? The Book of Matt is a page-turning cautionary tale that humanizes and de-mythologizes Matthew while following the evidence where it leads, without regard to the politics that have long attended this American tragedy.

Meanwhile, in Springfield, we get Considering Matthew Shepard. Odds are pretty good it does not mention meth.

When the legend becomes fact, sing the legend, I guess.

(Link to the Hot Air piece and book via Instapundit.)

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Public Sanitation: What Is It?

Not this: New St. Louis bill would allow homeless to pee in public:

Legislation to expand the rights of homeless people — including a provision exempting them from the city’s law against urinating and defecating in public — was introduced Friday at the Board of Aldermen.

The sponsor, Alderwoman Alisha Sonnier of Tower Grove East, and Aldermanic President Megan Green asserted that the exemption was needed because police had targeted the unhoused with selective enforcement.

Undoubtedly, they only enforced the law against those violating it.

You know, I don’t actually remember the St. Louis Cholera epidemic of 1849, but I know it happened.

Unlike some elected officials, for whom history started sometime in the 21st century.

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George Kuffs Rides Again

SF considers bringing back ‘patrol specials’ from Gold Rush-era amid police shortage:

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Short hundreds of officers, San Francisco is now looking back to a Gold Rush-era idea for a possible staffing solution.

The police commission is hoping a new squad of officers will free up the police department to focus on more serious crimes.

They are called “patrol specials” — security guards with some police training. For a city struggling to get a handle on crime, some government officials say it could be a quick way to add eyes and ears to the streets of San Francisco.

I’m not saying I watched the Christian Slater film a whole bunch–not a Showtime-in-the-trailer bunch–but I saw it in the theaters and then bought it on videocassette and watched it numerous times.

I still have the VHS tape in the Nogglestead video library. Perhaps I will dust it off for old times’ sake.

Man, I wanted to be like Christian Slater in the middle 1990s.

(Link via Wirecutter.)

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Or Not

Your childhood VHS tape collection could be worth a fortune:

If you have a pile of VHS tapes that haven’t been touched since the dawn of digital media, you might be able to make a fortune on them.

Blockbuster video cassettes are obviously a relic of yesteryear, with technology moving from VHS to DVDs and Blu-Ray and now onto streaming — but they’re still popular among some cult cinema collectors.

Many are going for a shocking amount of money on eBay, including classic films such as “Back to the Future” and even newer flicks with a cult following, such as the original “Fast and the Furious.”

However, simply posting a VHS on eBay doesn’t guarantee you’ll get big bucks — the condition must be top-notch.

First of all, if it’s your childhood VHS collection, it’s likely to be Disney films which are worn out. Secondly, the eBay list price is not the eBay sales price.

Also, as an accumulator (not a hoarder), I can tell you that although DVDs are going up to about $5 to $10 per these days, the pop culture stuff and media in your basement will not support your retirement. Even Blake Martinez is learning that Pokemon cards are not as lucrative as professional football.

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I Would Say So

The article is entitled “Charity contests loss of license office contract” and it’s for subscribers only.

As I have mentioned before, gentle reader, the slang DOV for Department of Motor Vehicles does not apply in Missouri. Drivers’ licenses and automobile registrations go through the Missouri Department of Revenue, and the local offices are, well, localish offices that the Department of Revenue tends to award to charities so they can raise money from them.

Here in Springfield, one such charity (or an independent operating entity working on behalf of the charity) lost one such franchise to a former executive’s organization, and the such charity has sued to get it back.

The charity (or independent charity working on behalf of the charity) runs several other local fee offices for the Missouri Department of Revenue, so it’s not like the rather well known charity, which hosts numerous other fundraisers which attract the glitterati, has lost all its funding. But it wants all its funding.

What does the organization do for the community?

[The charity] began operation in 2000, and sincce that time has distributed $7.9 million in aid.

Sweet Christmas, that must be a typo. That’s less than $350,000 per year in aid.

“These five offices together raised enough money to pay for the entire administration of [the charity],” he said. “It’s a substantial amount.”

Reminds me of the scripted answer we had when I worked in the telemarketing fundraising organization a long time ago. When asked how much of the money in the law enforcement window decal campaign would go to the Missouri Deputy Sheriffs Association, we were to rattle off a list of enumerated administrative costs, such as the equipment, the lease (on a storefront in a strip mall in Hillsboro, Missouri, so not premium real estate), postage, et cetera, et cetera, and the profit-taking on the part of the owner of the operation (redacted), the actual stated purpose of the fundraising received a very small percentage indeed.

A substantial amount. You don’t say.

This makes the cynicism lobe of my brain throb, and it underscores why I choose very small, direct impact charitable organizations. I culled probably two hundred pounds of canned goods from our “just in case” fund for the local food bank today. Not the well-known one with the big painted trucks and glitterati fundraisers. That one gathers money and food by the pallet which it then sells to the local food banks that distribute food to the hungry. I support the one run out of the shotgun shack on the railroad tracks which is only open two days a week because it’s run by volunteers.

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Why Does Brian J. Hate The Poor?

Massachusetts teen dies after taking part in social media’s spicy ‘One Chip Challenge’:

A Massachusetts 14-year-old died Friday hours after he participated in the so-called “One Chip Challenge” — a viral social media trend that the teen’s family believes contributed to his sudden death, according to reports.

Harris Wolobah, a sophomore at Doherty Memorial High School in Worcester, consumed an exceedingly spicy Paqui chip at school and quickly developed a stomachache, his mother, Lois, told NBC 10 Boston.

I saw a couple of those, expired, marked down at the local grocery store, so I brought them home. My boys, wise to them because they follow TikTok and Instagram, would have nothing to do with them. So I threw them in the box with other things to go to the local foodbank.

Man, I hope no one got sick from it. Given that it was expired, the food pantry might have just thrown it out. Their policy is generally to put certain expired foodstuffs out, clearly marked, and allow patrons to take them if they want them. So anyone who would have ended up with it would have to have chosen to receive it. But, still.

Also, I wonder if there’s more to the story.

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Someone Has Gotten The Word Out

Amid ‘summer surge’ of new COVID variant — should we be wearing masks?

I’ve only seen a couple of headlines on the new Covid strain and did not click through because I’m not a particular Covidophile, but apparently someone has gotten the word out–perhaps on cable news or something–because both of the times I’ve been to Sam’s Club or the grocery store this week, I’ve seen people wearing masks again.

Not many, but someone has heard the huntsman’s horn and is again obeying.

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I Passed Over One of His Records Just Last Night

But not tonight.

Branson, Mo., music community mourns the loss of legendary performer Shoji Tabuchi

Shoji’s After Hours was facing out, that is, in one of the record shelves at the right most position where the record is sort of visible. I tend to go from right to left when looking through the albums so I can see the fronts, and I passed over Shoji last night in favor of some Liona Boyd and a George Benson/Earl Klugh collaboration (called Collaboration for some reason).

But tonight we’ll listen to it.

I have one or two of his other records lost in the stacks.

Tabuchi was born in Japan during World War II, and as a young violinist, he heard a show by Roy Acuff, and he (Shoji) fell in love with country fiddle, so he came to the US and perfected it and eventually bought a theatre in Branson to perform there. My beautiful wife and I saw him once, many years ago. He was a staple of the Branson scene for 30 years, and it seemed as though he would go on performing forever. Perhaps he is.

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