Archive for November, 2016

Vote NO on Judge Calea Stovall-Reid

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The Unablogger

Voters in the City of St. Louis should vote NO on the retention of Associate Circuit Judge Calea Stovall-Reid.

We constantly hear police, from Chief Sam Dotson on down, complain how frustrating and demoralizing it is to see their untiring work to capture and put together cases against violent criminals go largely to waste when a judge lets them off with minimal bonds. Poof! Back on the street. These include criminals who are charged with brutally assaulting police officers. The judge they complain about the most is Stovall-Reid.

When police in my neighborhood organized neighbors to appear in court for a bond hearing to make the court aware of the impact release would have on the neighborhood, Stovall-Reid got wind of it and moved the bond hearing up so that it was over before the neighbors arrived. She has no respect for victims and law abiding citizens.

Don’t be fooled by the Your Missouri Judges reviews by a so-called independent panel. It is really just a smokescreen whose purpose is to promote the judges. The 21 panel members rate each judge basically on a pass/fail basis, and the judge’s score is the percentage of the 21 who graded “Pass.”  Their legalese term for “pass” is “substantially meets overall judicial performance standards.” The judge doesn’t even have to meet all performance standards or meet them all the time, just “substantially.” Well, big surprise, Stovall-Reid’s rating for this low-bar test was 100%. In fact, every judge on the City ballot from the supreme court down to Stovall-Reid scored 100%. (One judge in St. Louis County failed this test, and I’d love to know the back story.)

Missouri’s nonpartisan court plan is broken. Since it was adopted in the 1940s, the number of St. Louis area judges rejected by voters is zero. Not one! Too many people vote yes automatically because they wouldn’t want to fire anybody.

St. Louis can and should make history this year by making Stovall-Reid the first to be rejected.

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The Libertarian felon is no alternative to Roy Blunt

The Unablogger

This post is a bit of a throwback to a post about Missouri’s U.S. Senate race in 2012. There’s good reason for the similarity: the Libertarian candidate who drew votes away from the Republican nominee then and the Libertarian candidate likely drawing votes away from Republican Sen. Roy Blunt now are the same guy, Jonathan Dine.

So, who is Jonathan Dine? For starters, he’s a convicted felon whom Missouri law would bar from the ballot in any state or local contest. (State law may not add additional qualifications (like not being a felon) for candidates for federal office over and above the bare requirements provided in the U.S. Constitution.) In addition to convictions for possession of marijuana (kind of a badge of honor for a Libertarian) and driving while intoxicated, Dine also has a 2005 conviction for identity theft. He supports gay marriage and drug decriminalization, while opposing U.S. “interventionist” foreign policy.

I am guessing that most Dine backers don’t know about his criminal past or his controversial issue positions (except for pro-pot). As was the case in 2012, the Voters Guide of the St. Louis Post Dispatch makes no mention of Dine’s convictions.

This year’s senate contest virtually tied, so every vote counts. The Real Clear Politics polling average for the contest shows Blunt ahead by less than a point, with trend lines favoring Democrat Jason Kander. The only poll that specifically included Dine, the Monmouth University poll, showed Dine polling at 2%. Dine has a history of performing better, winning 6% in the 2012 contest. In a dead heat contest, he could tilt the balance.

There are two more third-party candidates in the race this year than in 2012, and one of them, Green Party candidate Johnathan McFarland, might be expected to even the playing field by doing to Kander what Dine may do to Blunt. But as indicated in an earlier post, the lamestream media are greasing the skids for Kander by actively concealing both McFarland’s candidacy and Dine’s criminal past.

Conservatives who are disappointed in Blunt’s record (Heritage Action score for support of conservative values = 49%) should realize that not voting for Blunt could easily result in victory for Kander, who would be at least as liberal as McCaskill (Heritage Action score = 5%). But more important, a Kander win could flip control of the U.S. Senate (and confirmation of Supreme Court justices) to Democrats.

We absolutely need a Republican Senate, regardless of who occupies the White House. We need Roy Blunt to be there for us.

Robin Smith is no political outsider

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

Democrat Robin Smith is portraying herself as a political outsider in her campaign for Missouri Secretary of State. She isn’t.

Both Ms. Smith and Republican challenger Jay Ashcroft are second-generation candidates of political families. While the Ashcroft patriarch, former Governor, U.S. Senator and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, is better known with greater accomplishments, Smith’s political pedigree is actually larger. She is preceded in politics by both her father, the late Wayman Smith, Sr., and brother, Wayman Smith, Jr. Both were St. Louis aldermen serving in the rigidly controlled political machine of the late legendary state senator J. B. “Jet” Banks. With the Banks machine’s reputation for shady election practices, it is no coincidence that Ms. Smith’s choice of offices to seek is the one that supervises Missouri elections. The office also certifies and disciplines notaries public, who certify the identity of voters casting absentee ballots, the abuse of which was the election fraud that overturned the results of a contest in this year’s Missouri Democratic primary.

Recent Ashcroft ads disclosed that Ms. Smith has been delinquent in paying taxes. Ironically, the political career of Sen. Banks ended shortly after his conviction on felony charges of filing false state income tax returns.

Ms. Smith has also been involved in local politics. She was reputedly a close personal friend of notorious former St. Louis school superintendent Jerome Jones, whose administration was tarnished in 1987 by a scathing state audit called resulting from a citizen petition. Criticized for extravagant poorly documented spending of taxpayer funds, he may be best known for his comment that it was hard to find lunch in St. Louis for under $100. (Remember, those were 1987 dollars he was talking about.)

Ms. Smith’s claim to independence is her tenure as a reporter and anchor for three national television network affiliates in St. Louis. Toiling for local mainstream media outlets is anything but politically independent.

In addition to supervising elections and notaries public, the secretary of state also supervises business formation and disclosure, securities regulation and investor protection and publishes state administrative rules and regulations. While Ashcroft’s training and experience as an attorney well prepares him for these duties, there is nothing in Ms. Smith’s background that qualifies her for the job.