Battle lines have been drawn, and now Mayor Slay is ready to shut down the illegal campsite that has “occupied” Kiener Plaza for the last several weeks.
City officials will take action [Friday] afternoon to take down Occupy St. Louis' encampment at Kiener Plaza…
Slay and his administration argue that the protest area, which includes a number of tents, violates city ordinances.
…the group received an e-mail from Gary Bess, St. Louis' parks and recreation director. According to the group, the e-mail stated: "I would like to give you notice that effective 1 p.m. tomorrow, Nov. 11, 2011 or any time thereafter, the city of St. Louis will begin strict enforcement of all ordinances and regulations pertaining to the use of Kiener Plaza." […]
In a post on his blog, the mayor indicated that the city "soon will resume enforcement of the 10 p.m. curfew at Kiener Plaza."
And some of these idiots actually want to be arrested.
Brian Staack was arrested several weeks ago, for violating the park's curfew, while protesting. He says he's not moving his tent. […]
"I'm willing to go to jail right now. We don't care about a curfew because we're occupying St. Louis," said occupier Pierce Holmes.
Things may not go smoothly, however. There’s a whiff of forceful opposition in the air.
There’s another twist to the Kiener Plaza occupation; at two o’clock [Friday] afternoon a former St. Louis County Police officer plans to deliver a speech about police brutality.
The notification came in last night. The information is sketchy; the officer who will be making the statement is not mentioned but it involves a group calling themselves “Occupy Police Team & Officers of the 99.” The speech, according to the release will involve what the group calls history with St Louis Police and brutal tactics used against protesters by some departments. It will also include the officers own firsthand experience with police brutality.
The goal according to the group is to call out Mayor Slay and put an end to what they call the planned raid 3 o’clock this afternoon.
All in all, this may be a very interesting weekend both for STL and the nationwide “Occupy” movement as a whole.
This whole “movement” has been just one giant powder-keg waiting for a spark.
Might this be that spark?
A short time after Mel Hancock was elected to Congress my parents returned from a political party with an autographed photo from him written to me. When I pushed with my childhood curiosity to learn why this man was important my parents, because you can’t explain complicated politics to a child, simply told me he was an important politician and “the author of the Hancock Amendment.”
I didn’t know what an amendment was, or even what one would do, but I could tell by the reverence with which my parents spoke of him that it was a big deal. So I took the picture to show-and-tell, beaming about how “He wrote the Hancock Amendment."
Such was the significance of not just the man, but what he accomplished. What would be a storied and dedicated life began to play out as he joined the Air Force soon after WWII, in 1951. After serving an honorable fifteen year career in the Air Force and Reserves, he was discharged in 1965 at the rank of 1st Lieutenant.
Scratching his itch for politics, in 1977 he founded The Taxpayer Survival Association, a non-profit organization aimed to educate citizens on fundamental Constitutional tax limitations.
This was the catalyst for the Hancock Amendment, one of the first of it’s kind, which prevented new local taxes, licenses, and fees from being implemented without a passing vote from the people they would effect, as well as limiting the total state expenses and revenues to a set percentage of Missouri citizens’ personal income.
Mel Hancock, without the aid of holding political office, was the author and organizer of the amendment, the leader of the statewide petition process, and was responsible for getting it passed and inserted into the Missouri Constitution. It was a bold plan that still stands as law today, and is an exemplary model of what citizen initiatives can accomplish at a constitutional level.
He was eventually propelled to the US House of Representatives, where he served from 1989 to 1997 before retiring after four terms. Nearly fifteen years after retirement, he passed away Sunday morning in Springfield, MO aged 82, eleven days shy of his 60th wedding anniversary.
I never had the privilege to meet the man, but he was – to countless Missourians – not just a great man because of his accomplishments, but also a good man because of his character.
Our country is lacking in such great and good men these days, and Mel Hancock will be truly missed.
Jay Nixon’s son has friends in high places and, as it turns out, friends in high places.
No big surprise here, but after having been busted by Columbia police on a marijuana possession charge, Gov. Nixon’s son Wilson has had the charges against him dropped.
A city prosecutor in Columbia has dismissed a citation for marijuana possession against the son of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.
The Columbia Daily Tribune reported Monday the misdemeanor charge against 21-year-old Wilson Nixon was dropped late last month for lack of evidence.
Considering most marijuana-related charges are prosecuted with the slimmest of evidence (if any) using the “lack of evidence” excuse is political spin at best. That they waited to announce it proves that.
It was fun to poke fun at while it lasted, but this was always the inevitable outcome and now the Democratic whitewashing is done.
Smoke if you got ‘em.
The state of affairs at the "Occupy" protests is getting interesting in Missouri.
As we wrote about Thursday, things were already going downhill in Kansas City as the drugs, prostitution, and booze that have since become a thorn in their side threatens their little pow-wow.
Now, in the aftermath, the group is splintering as they decide what to do and where to go. There are competing plans to go either downtown or to the Liberty Memorial, and now a second, separate “Occupy UMKC” protest has sprung up. As Tony over at Tony’s KC put it, they have officially “jumped the shark.” Hopefully that means people will stop paying them any attention.
In Columbia, dozens – yes, dozens! – of protesters marched downtown to mark “Bank Transfer Day”, an event planned by these geniuses for a Saturday! Ha! (Because if there are any groups you can count on getting mobilized en masse on a Saturday before noon it’s hippies and stoners and the unemployed.)
On the East side of the state the protesters in St. Louis are facing evection from their campsite – aka the Downtown Plaza – and Mayor Slay is even pushing for it.
Because holiday events utilize the Plaza this time of year the protest site needs to be cleared – most importantly for cleaning as the group has been using the Plaza as an open-air porta-pottie.
But even more infuriating regarding those St. Louis protests was finding that there was never a permit filed to allow their presence on the Plaza in the first place, as required.
In fact, not only did the group fail to procure a permit, but the city went out of its way to draw a permit up on their behalf and the “Occupy” protesters threw it back in their face, refusing to apply for or sign any permits on first amendment grounds.
(These are the same nuts who can’t stand the very existence of a Tea Party protest, let alone would ever allow them to protest permit-free without throwing a gigantic “equality and fairness” fit.)
With Occupy KC splintering and embroiled in scandal, Occupy STL facing eviction by the Mayor, and Occupy COMO facing low numbers, it seems the movement may be fading for now – at least here in Missouri.
And with winter right around the corner they may blink out of existence by the end of the month.
We can hope.
Somehow the teeming mass of humanity known as the Occupy KC protesters have been shocked – shocked! – to find that members of their “clown posse” have been turning their little campsite into a booze and drug fueled cesspool of debauchery.
It’s been turning some protesters off the movement.
A man, who believes in the Occupy KC Movement, told NBC Action News drugs and prostitution drove him away from the camp.
Bill Shelton came home from Occupy KC Wednesday morning dirty and upset. Spending several nights sleeping outside explained why Shelton needed an immediate shower. However, it was what he discovered in the Occupy KC camp that disturbed him.
Shelton reported to NBC Action News that he could not stand another minute inside Occupy KC because of the drug and alcohol abuse and the crime he witnessed. He said he saw several instances of prostitution.
Twenty-something neo-liberals and hippies doing drugs and having sex with each other? Who’d of thunk it?
Additionally, one woman had her credit cards stolen and a thousand bucks worth of purchases run up on them.
Even as a supporter, what Bill Shelton experienced made him believe that the city should shut the protests down.
Shelton explained, "Allowing that to happen in front of children, and you can hear it going on in tents, you can hear it in the night and you can hear it in the daytime."
Tuesday night was the last straw for Shelton, who packed up his belongings Wednesday morning and called the cops.
He said, "I hope Mayor James shuts this current occupation down."
After their obnoxiously loud “rally” Sunday at City Hall maybe Mayor James will agree with that sentiment.
At a minimum an effort should be made to keep it from turning into some weird gypsy-style campground for transients and addicts.
“The ninety-nine percent” this bunch is not. “Society’s underbelly” maybe, but not “the ninety-nine percent”.
As China Cargo cancelled their second cargo flight in a row this week Jay Nixon is continuing his unrelenting push to steer the media message. The Chinese freight company is supposed to be flying weekly flights into Lambert Airport but each of the last two weeks has seen zero flights arrive in St. Louis.
That’s a stark contrast to the “China is our savior” message Nixon has been pushing concerning his recent trade-focused trip to the Big Eastern Piggy Bank. (Not to be confused the Big East, which won’t be much of a piggy bank anymore...)
The assumption, and it’s a pretty good one, is that the company is protesting the failure of Missouri’s state legislature to pass tax incentives for the future China Hub project – Jay Nixon’s baby – in St. Louis.
He’ll talk about China and his trip there till he’s blue in the face, but when it comes to reporters he won’t touch the China Hub debacle with a ten foot pole… not that he has to use a pole to touch it because it blew up in his face.
For Jay Nixon, however, there are more pressing matters at hand. He’s running out to hold a celebratory press conference over a GM plant expansion in Wentzville in his ongoing effort to attach himself to every single job created in Missouri. He did the same routine a few weeks ago at a Ford plant.
It will be not unlike a press conference he held in Moberly not so long ago…
(Sometimes I imagine Nixon as like Superman, but instead of drawing power from sunlight he draws power from limelight, and instead of superpowers that give him awesome abilities he only has the ability to give press conferences and kiss babies… but I digress.)
He’s also having “Share the Harvest” press events, because nothing diverts attention from a disastrous tenure and China Hub failure like talking about dead deer. Questioned by reporters after all the dead deer talk he still had little to say about the China Hub.
Although surely when he does have something to say about it he’ll let us know by holding a press conference.
The message is: I’ll do whatever I want.
St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley is at it again, and this time real jobs and real county assets are on the line.
St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley on Monday presented a budget to the County Council that calls for eliminating 175 jobs, closing 20 parks and other facilities, and increasing fees for construction permits.
The Council believes that Dooley has proposed these drastic cuts to send a message about their failure to adopt his tax hike plan on property taxes. But the really insulting thing? He didn’t even have to propose the cuts to the council.
[County Council Chairman Steve] Stenger has said the proposed budget cuts reflect hard feelings on the administration's part over the failure of the tax increase proposal.
"I believe the administration recommended the closing of prominent parks such as Lone Elk and George Winter to achieve a dramatic effect and to put pressure on the council," Stenger said. "But the administration could make these closures and job cuts any time. They don't require the approval of the County Council. We don't hire. We don't fire. We don't close parks."
No, Charlie Dooley closes parks. And they won’t just be closing…
[The county's chief operating officer, Garry] Earls pointed to Lone Elk Park, with its free-roaming elk, deer and bison, as well as its bird sanctuary, as a financial drag on the county.
The county would sell the land, he said. As for the animals, "we'd sell them to zoos or something," Earls said.
They seem to have a firm grasp on this.
This all boils down to saving roughly $10 million in tax dollars, something Dooley contends is necessary because property tax revenues are down for the year. Of course, there are some major discrepancies between their numbers.
[Dooley] asserted, "Compared to 2012 budget estimates, property tax revenues are down by 10.3 percent."
Stenger said, "Well, that just shows that their 2012 estimates are off, because the county's own revenue reports showed that, halfway through this year, property tax revenues were actually up $1.2 million, or 8.3 percent, over last year."
Stenger said he suspected Dooley's administration was angling to force the council to support a tax increase, perhaps one dedicated for parks.
Charley Dooley is playing nasty political games, as per usual. Maybe if he turned his attention inward he would find some money to save...
County jobs for friends and former campaign employees, police detectives as personal drivers, a trash pickup scandal / lawsuit, free cars for county employees, using tax dollars to fund election polls, hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted on county trucks that sit unused in a parking lot, and attempted steering of tens of millions in stimulus funds to his campaign manager’s organization… these are the types of things that have contributed to the shortfall in St. Louis County, and Dooly was behind every one.
(It really sounds bad when you see them one after another, doesn’t it?)
And now he wants to close parks and pools and lay a couple hundred employees off to cover his losses… and then runs it by the council in a half-hearted and politically motivated attempt to cover his ass, too.
Such is the state of politics in today’s political climate.