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Missouri News and Notes January 5, 2008

A round up of the recent news from the twenty fourth state.

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Coleman Madness

For those of you who have been following the strange events in the Minnesota Senate race between Al Franken (D) and Senator Norm Coleman (R), St. Louis apparently wanted in on the hype surrounding the name Coleman.

Just about an hour or so before outgoing State Sen. Maida Coleman, another Coleman — attorney Denise Watson-Wesley Coleman – threw her name into the contest.

Maida Coleman then abruptly took her name out of the running for the March primary, claiming that someone put the other Coleman in as ruse to confuse voters.

Who does Coleman (er, Maida that is) think put Coleman (er, Watson-Wesley Coleman) on the primary ticket?  None other than Democratic Mayor Francis Slay.  I guess he is hoping to one up Franken by beating two Colemans in this election.  [After dropping her name from the primary, Coleman (Maida this time) plans on running for Mayor as an independent in the April general election.]  Although, it is pretty clear that Coleman (yeah, confusing…Maida) wasn’t picking up much support in her primary campaign.

She has not, according to the state Ethics Commission, formed a fundraising committee. She has reserved the website name maidaformayor.com, but, to date, the page has no content.

It should be noted that the Democrats have controlled this office since 1949.  That’s 60 years of gloriously stupid policy that has St. Louis among the most dangerous cities in the country (and other wonderful such distinctions).

ACORN Cracking

A former ACORN (you do remember who they are, right?) employee has been charged with voter registration fraud.

Deidra Humphrey, 44, of East St. Louis, is expected to appear in U.S. District Court in St. Louis this week after a federal grand jury indicted her on the charges Dec. 31, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Humphrey is accused of submitting forged and false voter registration cards for the November general election, including forging cards for nursing home residents, U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway said Monday.

Humphrey worked for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition, not-for-profit organizations that conducted voter registration drives.

I’m guessing she wasn’t so good at this.  She actually got caught.

Recall that eight ACORN workers were also indicted back in December of 2007 for similar activities in the St. Louis area.

If Too Many Cooks Spoil the Meat, What Do Too Many Lawyers Spoil?

Governor-elect Jay Nixon (D) has announced his senior staff and communications team:

  • John Watson, Chief of Staff – Lawyer
  • Ted Ardini, Counsel to the Governor – Lawyer
  • Jeff Harris, Policy Director – Lawyer
  • Mary Nelson, Director of Boards and Commissions – Lawyer
  • Mayme Young Miller, Director of Constituent Services – Lawyer
  • Dustin Allison, Deputy Chief of Staff – Lawyer
  • Nichole Loethen, Deputy Counsel – Lawyer
  • Scott Holste, Press Secretary – Not a lawyer, but his wife is
  • Jack Cardetti, Communications Director – Wow, not a lawyer either!
  • Sam Murphey, Deputy Press Secretary – Three non lawyers!

Sigh!  I’m betting we’ll see lots of nuanced legislation and communication coming from the Governor’s office over the next four years.

State Running Out of Unemployment Money

But don’t worry, we can always borrow what we are short on from the federal governement.

But state labor director Todd Smith says Missouri has been through this several times before, and it has never missed sending out benefit checks. That’s because the state can borrow money from the federal government, and will borrow it until unemployment taxes come in.

The last time the state had to borrow federal dollars to keep the checks flowing, it borrowed more than 400-million dollars. Employers already are paying a 30-percent surcharge on their unemployment withholding taxes to pump more money into the fund. Smith says that helps, but increasing taxes on employers at a time when they are cutting jobs seems counterintuitive. He says the legislature needs to take some action this year to ease the problem.

Ugh.  Increased federal debt and more money coming out of workers’ pockets (where do you think that payroll tax comes from?).  Sounds like a great way to improve the long-term health of the economy.

As always, whatchoo got?

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