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					MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS
       DAILY NEWS CLIPS
              Collected/Archived for Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 - Page 1 of 34



Blunt: Senate's work could benefit MSU
Sen. Roy Blunt was in Springfield on Monday touting an aspect of a recently passed agriculture
spending bill that could benefit Missouri State University.

Specifically, the 2012 agriculture spending bill includes $4.5 million in competitive grants for non land-
grant colleges, such as MSU.

"This is an opportunity for these schools to see what they can do in competing with land-grant schools,"
Blunt said during the announcement Monday at MSU's Darr Agricultural Center. "These schools can
produce great agriculture leaders."

Blunt made the announcement alongside MSU's Interim President Clif Smart and the university's School
of Agriculture Director Anson Elliott.

"I look at it as a real opportunity to be applying for grants that were not available to us before," Elliott
said. "Previously, we've been competing with the larger land-grant universities."

Land-grant universities were originally established by Congress in 1862 to educate students in
agriculture and science. Missouri's two land-grant schools are the University of Missouri and Lincoln
University.

Elliot said grant money could be useful at the university's 3,300-acre Journagan Ranch near Mountain
Grove. The ranch was donated to the college last year by Leo Journagan and his family.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to do applied research," he said.

He also talked during the press conference about the potential to partner with other state schools that
do not have graduate programs in agriculture.

Blunt said he was pleased the bill got through Congress at a time when it seems members have a
difficult time agreeing.

"It's as close as the Senate has come to functioning as a Senate in a long time," Blunt said.

The grant money is available to 60 schools in 13 states. Other schools in Missouri eligible for grant
money include Southeast Missouri State University, Truman State University, Central Missouri State
University and Northwest Missouri State University.
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Congressman Carnahan remains tight-lipped about
2012 plans
As Missouri awaits a decision from Cole County Circuit Court about the redistricting map created by the
Missouri General Assembly, 3rd District Congressman Russ Carnahan remains mum about his plans for
re-election in 2012. Saying it makes little sense to make any decision before the Court’s, Carnahan
refused to say whether or not he’d consider a run in the 1st District against Democrat Lacy Clay.

“That’s not a decision that I am going to make now or need to make now," Carnahan said. "From day
one throughout this process, I’ve made clear that the fight to make here is to be sure that we have three
members of Congress for the St. Louis metropolitan area. ”

Carnahan’s district was dismantled in May when the Missouri General Assembly overrode Governor Jay
Nixon’s veto of their proposed redistricting plan.

Congressman Carnahan says he’s running for re-election in 2012 and that he believes the court process
will result in “a good place” for him to do so. He’s raised over $350,000 for his campaign so far.

Rep. Carnahan was a guest on today's St. Louis on the Air. To hear the entire conversation, visit the
show's archives.
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Occupy demonstrators march local campuses
Occupy Springfield participants who braved a chilly wind Monday to march in support of California
college students who were pepper sprayed turned their attention Monday night to plans by Springfield
officials to buy back land next to the Expo Center from John Q. Hammons.

Although seven marchers who walked from Missouri State University to Ozarks Technical Community
College and then to Drury University were warned by police and school security at OTC to stay on
sidewalks, there were no serious incidents.

Occupy participants were told they would be on private property while standing in front of the Drury
student center, coordinator Midge Potts said.

If they had been told to leave, demonstrators would have complied, Potts said.

Two police cruisers parked on Drury Lane, but the group that doubled in size during the march wasn't
disturbed.

Drury spokesman Mark Miller said school officials learned of the march earlier Monday.

It was decided that if the march remained orderly, it wouldn't be disturbed, he said.

Marchers hoping to get Drury students interested in Occupy goals didn't get much response.

Drury student Kyle Donahue said Occupy protests that students are facing heavy burdens from student
loans caught his attention.

"I'm frustrated, too," he said. "I have financial stress on my college education I can't deal with."

Potts said Occupy participants planned to attend the Springfield City Council meeting to voice support
for buying back the land next to the Expo Center.

The group's goal is to see the land used for a "green" development, Potts said.

Potts was among a group of Occupy demonstrators charged with trespassing two weeks ago during a
protest on the vacant land.
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Missouri Flood Victims and Officials to Testify
at Washington Hearing Wednesday
Some of the eyewitnesses to the Flood of 2011 along the Missouri, and some federal officials who have
to deal with it, will testify at hearing in Congress Wednesday.

A sub-committee on water resources and the Environment has a hearing late Wednesday morning in
Washington.

Among those scheduled to testify are the Holt County, Missouri County Clerk, Kathy Kunkle, The
president of the Missouri levee and Drainage District Association Tom waters, and Richard Oswald of
Atchison County, Missouri.

All three saw the damage done by the flood first hand in the summer of 2011 along the Missouri River.

Kunkel and Waters in particular have been very critical of the Army Corps of Engineers’ management of
the river and the 2011 flood.(see previous posts)

The Corps’ Brig General John McMahon is also expected top be there. He is the Corp’s Commander
and Division Engineer for the Northwestern Division.

Missouri members of Congress, rep. Emanueal Cleaver of Kansas City; rep Vicky Hartzler of western
Missouri and rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer are also on the witness list.

Northwest Missouri Congressman sam Graves, a member of the House Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee will also take part in the hearing.

Many Missourians affected by the flood want the Army Corps of Engineers to spend more money on
flood control and levee repair. They also want the Corps to spend less on buying up land for wildlife
habitats in the Missouri River bottom land.
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Back to the Spillway: Staying or moving,
memories remain
By Mary Delach Leonard, Beacon staff
Posted 7:50 am Mon., 11.28.11

DORENA, MO. -- For 89-year-old Ruben “Brother” Bennett, home is now a trailer parked next to the
flood-shattered ruins of his country store located in the southern part of the Birds Point-New Madrid
Floodway.
Ruben "Brother" Bennett: Rebuilding is "a hard project to start when you're 89."
This house on wheels provides Bennett with the basics -- a compact kitchen and a place to live and
sleep -- just feet from his old life that is beyond repair. Bennett, who sold groceries and gas for 45 years
in the old farming community of Dorena, is a well-known floodway old-timer. He used to live on the
second floor of the modest frame structure that he said would cost too much to fix.
“It’s a hard project to start when you’re 89. And I could not afford to spend $40,000 or $50,000 and get it
livable -- not fancy -- just livable,” he said, pausing. “I expect to live to be 100, but you never know about
that. So I just decided there wasn’t no use in trying to do that and maybe pass away in a month -- or
before I got it done, even.”
Most of the 100 or so homes in the 130,000-acre floodway were damaged beyond repair by the river
water that gushed through when the Army Corps of Engineers intentionally breached the levee in early
May to alleviate flooding along the Mississippi River.
While the floodway’s farmers rushed to plant their fields as soon as the waters began to recede and the
soil dried, there were few housing options for the 200 or so residents who used to live there.

MORE FROM THE BEACON
The Beacon visited the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway to hear the viewpoints of farmers who feel
that their concerns have largely been dismissed. This wasn't "just" farmland, they say, and it's important
for the public and policy-makers to know what's been lost – and what could be lost in the future.
In the weeks after the flood, Bennett lived in town with his daughters, until he made up his mind to go
home.
“I got up one morning, and I told them girls I’m going to get out of here. I’m going home. They said,
‘You’ve got no place to go.’ I said, ‘I will have before dark.’ And I took off,” Bennett said.
By the end of the day, Bennett had bought his new trailer home. And now he’s back to the spillway, with
an old dog and some cats to keep him company.
“This is my home, and I like it,” he said.
Bennett -- known locally as “Brother Bennett” -- has been interviewed by countless reporters about the
Corps’ decision to activate the floodway last spring. The dramatic nighttime explosions that breached
the levee in three places made national headlines. Bennett takes the fuss in stride.
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“I’ve talked to so many different places, I just don’t remember,” he said with a shrug.

'WE’RE SLIDING BACKWARD'
Six months after the river surged through the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway, the countryside is
dotted with empty, broken relics of what used to be. Farmhouses, barns, equipment sheds -- and even
churches -- await their salvage.
For Ben White who lives in Kirkwood but still owns his family’s 135-acre farm near Dorena, the spillway
is a place of childhood memories, hard work and good neighbors. He remembers what the community
used to be -- even as late as the 1970s when he was in high school -- when people lived, worked,
played and prayed here.
“When I graduated from high school there was still a school, stores, the [cotton] gins were still going,"
White said.
The community was remote but had its own post office, grocers and even a movie theater. White recalls
summers spent working on the farm six days a week, taking piano lessons, riding a horse named Dandy
and raising hundreds of kittens. But on Sundays, the family would take the day off. They would drive to
the nearby Dorena-Hickman Ferry and cross the river for all-day picnics at Reelfoot Lake in northwest
Tennessee. Lunch was two roosters fried over an open fire.
“We did this every weekend in the summer,” White recalls. “We skipped church but prayed for the
roosters.”
While today’s floodway farmers grow corn and soybeans, the crop back then was cotton, picked by
hand by farm families and sharecroppers. White remembers the elementary school in Dorena letting
students out for the first two weeks of October so the kids could help with the harvest. After the sixth
grade, White attended schools in East Prairie.
He is the fourth Benjamin White to farm in Dorena, Mo. His great-grandfather -- Benjamin Columbus
White -- bought 131 acres in Mississippi County shortly after the Civil War. White says that farming in
Dorena allowed four generations of his family to make a living, pay their taxes and send their children to
college. His ancestors were farmers and schoolteachers, and Dorena was their heritage. But that
heritage, he says, has been slowly destroyed through the years as residents grappled with the aftermath
of the decision by the Corps to create the floodway.
The Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway is part of the flood-control system on the lower Mississippi
designed by the Corps after the historic flood of 1927. The Corps bought “flowage rights” from
landowners to create the spillway -- a narrow strip about 4 to 12 miles wide and 35 miles long that
covers 205 square miles of land.
Before its activation this spring, the floodway had been used only once before: in 1937. Though that
flood devastated the countryside 74 years ago, the people of Dorena returned to rebuild their damaged
homes and businesses.
A more persistent problem for southern residents of the spillway has been the backwater that enters
through a 1,500-foot gap in the levee system near New Madrid. That’s where the 56-mile long frontline
levee that defines the eastern edge of the floodway ends without connecting with the 36-mile setback
levee that defines the western edge. Congress first authorized action to close the gap in 1954, but it
took years to get funding, with local residents and agricultural interests pitted against state and national
environmental groups.
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In fall 2006 the Corps began work on the St. John’s Bayou-New Madrid Floodway Project, which it said
would alleviate the human and economic hardships caused by the backwater. The plan to close the gap
and install a pumping station at New Madrid was projected to cost more than $100 million. The
Environmental Defense Fund and the National Wildlife Federation filed suit to stop the project, arguing
that it would have destroyed thousands of acres of wetlands without providing the flood control it
promised. The groups challenged the Corps’ environmental impact statement.
In September 2007, Judge James Robertson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sided
with the environmental groups and issued an injunction to stop the work, which had already cost upward
of $7 million. He ordered the land to be restored to its pre-construction state. The Department of Justice,
which represented the Corps, opted not to appeal the judge’s decision. The Corps is currently reviewing
the project and is developing a revised environmental impact statement scheduled to be completed in
December 2012.
In an interview with the Beacon last summer, U.S. Rep. JoAnn Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, a major
supporter of the St. John’s project, called the judge’s decision to halt it a waste of taxpayer money. She
says the legal wrangling around the St. John’s project, coupled with the decision to intentionally breach
the Birds Point levee, have frustrated floodway residents and fueled distrust of the Corps, the federal
government and environmentalists.
The fear commonly expressed by floodway farmers is that by activating the floodway for the first time in
74 years, the Corps has set a precedent for using it again, Emerson said.
“And the environmentalists have wanted nothing more than to grab hold of this whole area for the last
31 years, and probably before that as well,” she said.
White says the people in Dorena grew weary of fighting the backwaters through the years and began
moving off the land. That trend was also fueled by progress and the mechanization of farming.
"This is a fine agricultural factory,'' White said, pointing to the efficiency of the farmers who work some of
the best farmland in the nation. He fears that the destruction caused by the intentional levee breach in
May might have dealt a final blow for residents who still called Dorena home.
It is a concern shared by other landowners, including McIvan Jones, a longtime neighbor of White’s who
still farms in the floodway.
“We fought and fought and fought for 50 years to get that gap closed to get rid of that backwater, but
that will never happen now,” Jones said. “Now, we’re just hoping it will get back to what it was. We’re
sliding backwards."

MORE THAN FARMLAND
Questions over floodway easements and compensation for damage are at the heart of a lawsuit filed by
property owners against the Corps. In the meantime, the Corps has been working to repair the levee
breaches, even as farmers keep a wary eye on river levels. The Corps has said it is committed to
restoring the levee to its pre-activation height -- 62.5 feet on the river gage at Cairo, Ill. -- as funding
becomes available. The temporary plan is to rebuild to 55 feet, a decision that has further frustrated
floodway farmers.
Ben White sits with McIvan Jones in the house Jones rebuilt to live in temporarily in the floodway.
Jones, whose home was destroyed in the flooding, said the debate over the breaching of the levee was
over-simplified by people who didn’t understand the floodway. He said the issue wasn’t about saving
MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS
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farmland versus saving Cairo and other river towns endangered by the swollen Mississippi. The
floodway wasn’t just about farmland, he said.
“It’s home to us,” he said. “It’s hard to get people to understand our lifestyle that we had down here.
Why would you want to live in this area? We were born and raised here. We were used to the
backwater, but we’re not used to the thing that happened this last time.”
The spillway has good land that should be valued, Jones said. And then he quoted a woman who used
to own a farm in the area.
“She always said, ‘They don’t make any more land,’" he said.
Though he grew up in the spillway, Jones is among the longtime residents who will rebuild elsewhere.
“I’d prefer to build here than anywhere in the world,” he said. “But I can’t think about doing it in the
spillway anymore. It may not have a flood like that again in 100 years but I don’t want to worry about it
every year."
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Kansas City seen as a hub for drug traffickers
on Interstate 35
I-35 is a favorite of smugglers for the same reason other travelers use it —
it’s convenient.
By MARK MORRIS
The Kansas City Star

A federal study has put Kansas City on the map in a way that it never wanted.

Maps from the study show Kansas City as a prime destination for drug traffickers who bring cocaine,
heroin, marijuana and, to a lesser extent, methamphetamine from Mexico. And Interstate 35 is their
highway of choice.

“Kansas City is a hub,” said Mike Oyler, an FBI agent who investigates drug trafficking in Missouri and
Kansas. “It’s like a trucking business. You have two of the biggest interstates in the country converging
here.”

The maps are the clearest official statement yet of what officials have written for about a decade:
Kansas City is both a significant drug market and a major distribution point for drugs headed north and
east from the U.S. Southwest.

The maps are contained in the National Drug Intelligence Center’s 2011 National Drug Threat
Assessment, its annual unclassified study of emerging trends in drug trafficking, the use of illegal drugs
and the organizations that perpetuate the narcotics business.

In years past, the center, which compiles the threat assessment from seizure data and interviews with
federal, state and local law enforcement, has confined its mapping to broad corridors.

In last year’s report, Kansas City sat, undistinguished, in the middle of a transportation map bounded by
Duluth, Minn., to the north, Chicago and New Orleans to the east, Laredo, Texas, to the south and a
meandering line from the Big Bend area of Texas back to Duluth in the West.

The new maps, released this fall, put Kansas City in much sharper relief: It sits at the end of some very
fat arrows headed north, 970 miles from Laredo. Smaller arrows sweep drugs brought in from Arizona
and New Mexico into that march up I-35.

According to the study, the size of the arrows suggests the volume of drugs that traffickers moved along
the routes between 2008 and 2010. The report, based on closely held data on total drug seizures
throughout the U.S., does not put a quantitative number on that volume, but the arrow pointing to
Kansas City is as impressive as any on the map.
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David Barton, director of the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a federal effort coordinating
law enforcement efforts in a six-state region, said the new maps reflect a reality for transporters of legal
and illegal commodities.

“It’s geography,” Barton said. “We’re right in the middle of the country, and everything goes through
here.”

Barton said the maps reflect newer and more robust data about drug transportation gathered over the
past three years. Better data allows law enforcement at all levels to better discern trafficking patterns
and routes, and devise strategies to combat it when those patterns and routes shift, as they can on a
daily basis.

The fruits of that effort is a quickening tempo of large, multi-defendant narcotics trafficking prosecutions
filed in federal court, Barton said.

Indeed, according to the U.S. attorney’s office, prosecutors in Kansas City have indicted more than 100
people in several large drug conspiracy cases since January. More large cases are in the pipeline,
Barton added.

And though a drug trafficker’s life is full of challenges, Oyler said, they view getting the drugs into
America’s heartland without incident as an accomplishment.

“In the drug dealers’ eyes, getting the drugs into mid-America is a success for them,” Oyler said. “They
breathe a sigh of relief.”

Police, federal agents and highway patrol troopers have for decades had to adjust to the ever-changing
ways that traffickers hide illegal drugs in cars and trucks as they head north from the Mexican border.

For a small load, just burying it inside a much larger commercial shipment can make drugs all but
undetectable. FBI agent Tim Swanson noted that a kilo — or 2.2 pounds — of cocaine will fit in a
shoebox.

“It’s easy to conceal,” Swanson said. “A kilo is not that big.”

Other than the northern and southern U.S. borders, the drug threat assessment does not describe drug
seizures by region of the country, so it’s difficult to say how seizures in the Kansas City area compare
with those elsewhere.

However, of all the narcotics seized in the United States in 2010, well more than half was taken within
150 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. Overall, seizures of cocaine declined more than 30 percent
between 2006 and 2010, while seizures of methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana remained steady or
generally increased.

Officers always are looking for new places for secret compartments, and at times even new vehicles. In
the past few months, agents on the U.S.-Mexican border have seized almost a ton of marijuana hidden
in steamroller drums, a hiding spot once favored by Central American gun runners.
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But traffickers are doing more to move drugs along the route than hiding them in passenger cars or
concealing dope in commercial loads of Mexican bathroom fixtures.

“FedEx comes up I-35, too,” Oyler said.

In August, a Kansas City federal judge sentenced Rasheed Shakur, 43, to life in prison for his role in a
multimillion-dollar dope smuggling ring that nimbly moved drugs of all types from the Southwest to
Kansas City using a variety of transportation methods.

For four years, Shakur, who described himself as “the Michael Corleone of Kansas City,” paid a private
pilot to fly hundreds of pounds of marijuana and up to 15 pounds of cocaine each week from Texas into
Johnson County Executive Airport, said FBI agent Matthew Kenyon.

When that pipeline dried up, Shakur found new suppliers in Arizona and began simply mailing drugs to
the addresses of friends and co-conspirators in Kansas City. When some of the packages never arrived,
Shakur assumed that dishonest postal employees were stealing his drugs. In fact, federal agents were
seizing them before delivery.

“There was a real sense of arrogance with him,” Kenyon said. “He never thought we would get on to it.”

With the mail becoming less dependable, Shakur decided to explore old-school drug running. He began
negotiating the purchase of an 18-wheel tractor-trailer that he planned to lease back to an associate,
who would drive the dope to Kansas City.

Shakur’s reason for the change suggests why Kansas City’s drug road could remain active for years to
come.

“He felt it was safer,” Kenyon said.
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With help from ex-Kinder aide, Spence files
campaign paperwork
Dave Spence and Peter Kinder now share something more than fraternity letters.

The two Missouri Republicans, both members of the Beta Theta Pi house at Mizzou, were heading for a
collision course in the 2012 GOP primary for governor.

But Kinder, whose fundraising and momentum was heading in the wrong direction, abruptly changed his
mind before a scheduled kick-off event this month, announcing he would seek a third term as lieutenant
governor while endorsing Spence for the state's top job.

Now, a key member of Kinder's campaign team has thrown his support behind Spence, as well.

Spence, head of Alpha Plastics in Overland, has filed papers with the Ethics Commission making his
campaign committee official.

Listed as deputy treasurer on the "Spence for Governor" campaign is Jared Craighead, the former
executive director of the state GOP had been serving as a spokesman and adviser for Kinder.

The new role makes sense for both individuals. After Kinder ended his hopes of unseating Gov. Jay
Nixon, Craighead was essentially a man without a candidate.

Spence has plenty of money, but few links to the state's Republican apparatus. Craighead provides
some political savvy, and insider connections— he is a good friend of the Blunt family.

Although his campaign committee has been formed, Spence won't have to file a complete campaign
spending report until January, after the end of the next quarter.

However, if Spence decides to make a large contribution to his own campaign — a seven-figure check
would make him instantly competitive — he would have to disclose that immediately, according to Ethics
Commission reporting laws.
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In the age of Twitter, thin skin won’t cut it
In politics, nearly anything an elected official does is not going to sit right with somebody.
Rep. Delus Johnson, R-St. Joseph, said it’s part of the gig, and you’re going to hear from these upset
people.
“That’s just part of it, and you do have to have thick skin,” he said.
It appeared that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s staff had not developed that thick skin last week when
it flagged a tweet by a high school senior who said the governor “sucked.” His staff, which monitors
social media sites for mentions of the governor’s name, notified school officials, who asked her to write
the governor an apology, which she refused to do. On Monday, the governor apologized to the student
for his staff “over-reacting” to the tweet.
Jordan Carney, a senior at Missouri Western State University, and director of student relations for the
Student Government Association, said she agreed with the Kansas high school student’s decision not to
apologize.
“I think anyone has the right to say whatever they want on there,” she said. “She shouldn’t have to
apologize for expressing her right to free speech.”
Mr. Johnson, who operates a Facebook page for his political career and uses Twitter frequently during
the legislative session to update constituents on bills, said he removes inappropriate remarks, but has
reached out to folks who post remarks critical of his legislative ideas.
“I reached out and let them know I’m listening,” he said, adding that “no matter what decision you make,
you make a lot of people mad.”
Scott Holste, press secretary for Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, said that monitoring social media sites does
not fall under the job description of anyone on the governor’s staff. Although he said looking at the
various online media, including Twitter, is “one tool that can be used occasionally,” they have not
reached out to people responsible for posting negative remarks about the governor or the job he’s
doing.
“We very informally look at a variety of online media,” Mr. Holste said, “but it’s not systematic by any
stretch of the imagination.”
Jimmy Myers can be reached at jimmy.myers@newspressnow.com
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Group drops two more versions of plan to
replace income tax with sales tax
By Jo Mannies, Beacon political reporter

Posted 1:39 am Tue., 11.29.11

Let Voters Decide, the chief campaign group for the effort to replace Missouri's income tax with a sales
tax, has withdrawn two more versions of its proposed initiative-petition wordings.
The group's lawyer, Marc Ellinger, filed withdrawal letters Monday with the secretary of state's office for
petition versions 10 and 11 -- about six weeks before the scheduled Jan. 6 trial on those versions,
prompted by a lawsuit filed by an opposing group, Missourians for Fair Taxation.
Earlier this fall, Let Voters Decide withdrew versions 1-9.
The latest withdrawals leave Let Voters Decide with two remaining versions that have been approved by
the secretary of state's office for circulation. Those two versions, 12 and 13, also are subjects of a
lawsuit, although no trial date has been set.
Monday's withdrawal letters, obtained by the Beacon, are short and do not give reasons for Let Voters
Decide's decision.
Let Voters Decide has until May 6 to submit petitions that have been signed by minimums of 147,000 to
almost 160,000 registered voters. The signatures have to be collected from at least six of the state's
nine congressional districts. The number of signatures depends on which six districts are selected.
Spokesman Travis Brown confirmed weeks ago that Let Voters Decide had begun collecting
signatures. Although he declined to say which version was being circulated, critics have contended that
Let Voters Decide is collecting signatures on version 13.
Let Voters Decide is bankrolled primarily by wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield, who contends that a
broader sales tax is fairer than a state income tax and will encourage more economic development.
The opposition includes two organizations -- Missourians for Fair Taxation, set up by the real estate
industry, and the Coalition for Missouri's Future, which includes education groups. The groups have
dubbed the proposed higher sales tax the "Almost Everything Tax." (Initially, the critics had called it the
"Everything Tax.")
Both sides are circulating analyses by dueling economic experts.
(Click here and here for recent Beacon stories on the debate.)
Scott Charton, a spokesman for Missourians for Fair Taxation, contended that any of the versions of
the tax shift "would devastate Missouri's economy while nearly doubling the state sales tax on most
goods, expanding the sales tax to other goods and services and more than quadrupling the state sales
tax on groceries."
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Charton contended that Let Voters Decide should be upfront by "honestly disclosing on their website the
text of the version of the 'Almost Everything Tax' they've been circulating for voter signatures for weeks."
Version 13 calls for phasing out Missouri's income tax, now generally 6 percent, by January 2016. The
replacement tax would be a sales tax of no more than 7 percent statewide, and no more than 10 percent
including any local or regional sales taxes.
Backers say the sales tax will ignite more economic activity, which in turn would produce more tax
revenue for the state.
Let Voters Decide and its allied economist, Arthur Laffer, contend that economic performance has
been stronger in state's without an income tax, including Vermont, Tennessee and Florida.
Laffer also backs the idea of taxing spending, not income.
Critics say the larger sales tax is unfair to lower income Missourians, and also will dramatically cut the
state's overall income -- forcing more cuts in state services. They are circulating disparaging analysis by
former state budget director James Moody, who compiled the estimates of severe loss in state income
and the higher sales taxes paid by those with lower incomes.
Laffer noted in a recent interview with the Beacon that Missouri already levies some sort of income tax
on anyone who earns at least $100. The state's income tax rate begins at 2 percent and increases to 6
percent for all income above 6 percent a year. His point, he said, is that "the income tax here is not just
on rich people."
Let Voters Decide has filed a suit challenging state Auditor Tom Schweich's official "fiscal note'' for the
remaining two versions and the two that were withdrawn. The auditor's office estimates that the shift
from an income tax to a sales tax could reduce state revenue by as much as $1.3 billion a year, or result
in an increase of up to $300 million a year.
The auditor also estimates that Version 13, for example, would increase state government operating
costs by up to $12.9 million a year, primarily to hire more people in the state Office of Administration and
the Department of Revenue. Let Voters Decide disputes that estimate.
Version 13 has a long list of items, sales or services that would be exempted from the sales tax. Critics
contend that the exemptions would cost the state even more in revenue.
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Governments want a slice of Cyber Monday
Mandy Titcomb was out and about but didn’t spend a penny on Black Friday. Instead, the St. Joseph
woman planned to do almost all of her Christmas shopping from her home on Cyber Monday.
“I come to help out my mom and sister,” Ms. Titcomb said at a bricks-and-mortar store last Friday.
She said she finds being in a crowd is one thing but fighting for a television or toy is another.
“I think it’s ridiculous and I cannot believe anyone does this,” she said. “Even if it is my own family. I’ll be
in my pajamas with a cup of coffee at home shopping.”
Last week’s start of the holiday shopping season brought in record sales. According to the National
Retail Federation, 226 million shoppers visited stores and websites during the Black Friday weekend.
Total spending reached an estimated $52 billion.
Cyber Monday is expected to bring in its own record-setting numbers since the NRF’s survey found that
more and more consumers shopped online Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
St. Joseph and Buchanan County won’t see a penny in the form of sales tax. Online retailers do not
collect sales tax on most purchases and the National Conference of State Legislatures estimates
municipalities could miss out on an estimated $23 billion in online sales tax in 2012.
“Obviously it’s a lot of money,” said Carolyn Harrison, director of financial services for the city of St.
Joseph. “And that could go to our police and fire and things we need.”
Ms. Harrison said the city has had several opportunities to approve a local use tax, which would tax
some out-of-state catalog and online purchases.
Missouri gives cities and counties the ability to vote on a use tax, which can be imposed on goods and
services.
St. Joseph voters did not approve the last use tax vote a few years ago under the previous City Council.
There is an ongoing attempt at the federal and state levels to tap into online sales tax and streamline
those funds, but Ms. Harrison said there’s the opportunity to collect those dollars now with a use tax.
While shoppers may not like the extra charge, governments all over the country could benefit from it.
California is attempting to put an online sales tax plan in place in September 2012.
Jennifer Hall can be reached at jennhall@newspressnow.com.
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Cyber Monday prompts reminder of tax on out-
of-state purchases
By Alicia Stice

November 28, 2011 | 4:53 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — If you plan to spend a bunch of money shopping online this Cyber Monday or throughout
the holiday season, you might be subject to the state's tax on out-of-state purchases — known as a use
tax — if you didn't pay the usual Missouri sales tax on those purchases.

The use tax applies to people who spend more than $2,000 on goods that meet the requirement. With
the holiday shopping season under way, here's what you might want to know:

What is the individual consumer's use tax?

It's a tax on the use, storage or consumption of tangible goods in Missouri, according to this Missouri
Department of Revenue Web page. The tax applies to purchases of merchandise from out-of-state
sellers who don't collect state sales tax and to purchases from sellers not engaged in businesses.
Individuals are exempt from the tax unless they spend more than $2,000 on this type of purchase in a
given calendar year.

Ted Farnen, director of communications for the Missouri Department of Revenue, said he couldn't
provide the total amount the state had collected on use tax for the past few years on deadline.

What kinds of purchases are subject to the tax?

       Purchases made on the phone;
       Online shopping;
       Catalog purchases;
       Magazine subscriptions;

       Cross-border purchase of goods;
       TV marketing purchases;
       Computer software; and
       Furniture and equipment purchased from out-of-state sellers.

Does Boone County or Columbia levy a use tax?

No. City voters have twice rejected proposed use taxes on city ballots. Boone County residents and
businesses are required to pay only the state's 4.225 percent use tax if they make qualifying purchases.
In 2010, several county officials said a use tax would generate millions of dollars and level the playing
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field between out-of-state retailers and local businesses. The county, however, has not asked voters to
approve a use tax.

Does the state track who needs to pay the tax?

The state does not track individuals who are required to pay the tax.

"We depend on the consumer to remit what he or she is supposed to," Farnen said. The Missouri
Department of Revenue does keep track of businesses that are required to pay the tax because
businesses have standing accounts with the state.

Farnen said the department does provide information about the use tax to companies and others who
help people prepare tax returns, but the department doesn't have the resources for a large advertising
campaign explaining the tax.

How do you file if you have to pay the tax?

      Make a list of purchases you made during the calendar year without paying Missouri sales tax or
use tax.
       Calculate how much you spent on those purchases.
    Fill out the Individual Consumer's Use Tax Return form and mail it to the Missouri Department of
Revenue, P.O. Box 840, Jefferson City, MO, 65105-0840.
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Judges don't plan public meeting for
redistricting
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- A panel of Missouri appeals judges that is responsible for drawing districts for
the state Legislature does not plan to hold public meetings while it reaches a decision on a new map.

Western District Court of Appeals Judge Lisa White Hardwick, who is the chairwoman of the redistricting
commission, told the Columbia Daily Tribune ( http://bit.ly/uZRWx2 ) that members serving on the panel
do not think the commission is required to meet in public sessions.

"The commission has taken the position that we are not going to operate in public session," Hardwick
said. "Our job is to produce two maps, and that is what we are doing at this point."

Missouri's public meetings and documents law, frequently referred to as the Sunshine Law, requires
public bodies to post notices of their meetings. The meetings are supposed to start in a session that is
open to the public, but meetings can be closed for discussions of some topics, such as litigation or
personnel issues. That law applies to legislative, administrative or governmental bodies created by state
law, the Missouri Constitution or by local ordinances.

Missouri Solicitor General Jim Layton, who serves as the legal adviser for the judicial redistricting panel,
said the commission is exempt from the Sunshine Law because the state constitution allows state
redistricting panels to hold executive meetings as frequently as desired. Layton would not say when or
how frequently the judicial commission has met, though he said he assumed there have been "meetings
of some sort."

In October, the judicial commission held an open meeting in Jefferson City to accept public testimony
about redistricting.

New legislative districts are being developed by a panel of six appeals court judges because state
redistricting commissions with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats deadlocked this
summer. The judges are to complete the map by mid-December for the 163 Missouri House districts
and 34 Missouri Senate districts.

Congressional and state legislative districts are redrawn each decade after the census. Missouri's
population has grown by about 7 percent, but the growth has not been equally distributed. The
southwest corner of the state and the outer St. Louis suburbs have been among the fastest-growing
areas, while St. Louis and St. Louis County have each lost population since 2000.

Serving on the judicial commission are three judges appointed by Democratic governors: Hardwick and
Robert G. Dowd Jr., from the Eastern District, and Nancy Steffen Rahmeyer, from the Southern District.
The other three members were appointed by Republican Gov. Matt Blunt: Don E. Burrell Jr., from the
Southern District, Roy L. Richter, from the Eastern District, and James E. Welsh, from the Western
District.
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Mayor, government officials arrested in
Southeast Missouri county
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Caruthersville Democrat Argus
CARUTHERSVILLE, Mo. -- Hayti Mayor Bobby Watkins and former Pemiscot County Road and Bridge
Supervisor Martin Culver are among seven people arrested in connection with an ongoing investigation
by the Pemiscot County Sheriff's Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the patrol's
Division of Drug and Crime Control.
According to Pemiscot County Sheriff Tommy Greenwell, these arrests stem from a three-month
investigation.
During the course of this investigation, it was reportedly discovered that employees with the Pemiscot
County Road and Bridge Department and local businessmen were being paid with county funds by the
Pemiscot County Commission after false invoices were submitted and approved by the commission for
approximately the last three months.
Watkins, 39, of Hayti has been charged with one count of forgery and one count of felony stealing with a
bond of $50,000. He has retained attorney Jim Bruce. A preliminary hearing has been set for Jan. 5.
Culver, 39, of Hayti, recently resigned from the county government and has now been charged with 20
counts of forgery and one count of felony stealing over $25,000. His bond was set at $100,000 has
retained attorney Shawn Young. Culver was also on the Hayti Board of Aldermen and Hayti Fire
Department before resigning recently. A preliminary hearing date has been set for Dec. 1.
Tracy Floyd, 40, of Caruthersville, Mo., has been charged with 14 counts of forgery and one count of
felony stealing. Bond was set at $100,000 and counsel has been retained with attorney Daniel
Cornacchione. A preliminary hearing date has been set for Jan. 5.
Randle Ridings, 62, of Senath, Mo., has been charged with five counts of forgery and one count of
felony stealing. Bond was set at $50,000. A preliminary hearing date has been set for Dec. 8.
Chris Hogan, 45, of Bragg City, Mo., has been charged with five counts of forgery and one count of
felony stealing with a bond of $50,000. A preliminary hearing date has been set for Jan. 5.
Rickie Harden, 63, of Caruthersville, has been charged with three counts of forgery and one count of
felony stealing. His bond has been set at $50,000. A preliminary hearing has been set for Jan. 5.
Clois Reed, 57, of Kennett, Mo., has been charged with one count of stealing and seven counts of
forgery. His bond has been set at $50,000. His preliminary hearing date is Jan. 12.
All seven men appeared Monday morning before Judge Byron Luber after turning themselves in.
Greenwell said that investigators found several fictitious documents created between 2009 and 2011
that were paid by the Pemiscot County Commission once they had been approved.
Several other people of interest have been questioned during the course of the investigation, which
Greenwell says is ongoing.
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Impaired driving ceremony planned for Mo.
Capitol
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A memorial service at the Missouri Capitol will honor people who have
been affected by vehicle accidents involving impaired drivers.

The state Department of Transportation says that during the past three years, 800 Missourians have
been killed and more than 3,000 people have been seriously injured in accidents involving impaired
drivers.

During the ceremony Tuesday, officials also plan to unveil a new logo for a national campaign to
encourage sober driving. The name for the campaign is "drive sober or get pulled over."

Speakers at the ceremony are to include the director for the Transportation Department and the
superintendent for the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
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Hayti mayor, 6 others charged with forgery,
stealing from county funds
PEMISCOT COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -
Seven people face forgery and stealing charges after police say they were paid with county funds from
false invoices over the past three years.
Employees with the Pemiscot County Road and Bridge Department and local businessmen are accused
of getting paid with county funds by the Pemiscot County Commission after false invoices were
submitted and approved by the commission over the past three years, according to the Pemiscot
County Sheriff's Department.
Four of the suspects are former road and bridge employees, two local businessmen, and one elected
official.
Tracy Lynn Floyd, 40, of Caruthersville is charged with 14 counts of forgery and one count felony
stealing. Floyd's bond is set at $100,000.
Randle Ridings, 62, of Senath is charged with five counts of forgery and one count felony stealing. His
bond is set at $50,000.
Mayor Bobby Watkins, 39, of Hayti is charged with one count of forgery and one count felony stealing
and bond set at $50,000.
Clois B. Reed, 57, of Kennett is charged with seven counts of forgery and one count of felony stealing
bond set at $50,000.
Martin Welch Culver, 39, of Hayti is charged with 20 counts of forgery and one count of felony stealing
over $25,000. His bond set at $100,000. Culver has resigned from his position as an alderman of Hayti.
Chris Hogan, 45, of Bragg City is charged with five counts of forgery and one count felony stealing bond
set at $50,000.
Rickie Eugene Harden, 63, of Caruthersville is charged with three counts of forgery and one count
felony stealing and bond set at $50,000.
All of the men, except Culver, bonded out by Monday evening.
[SLIDESHOW: Pemiscot County forgery, stealing mugshots.]
The Pemiscot County Sheriff's Office and the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Division of Drug and Crime
Control conducted the three month investigation.
Pemiscot County Sheriff Tommy Greenwell says investigators found several fictitious documents in the
years of 2009, 2010 and 2011 later paid by the Pemiscot County Commission once they were approved.
Several other persons of interest have been questioned during the course of this investigation. The
investigation is still ongoing.
Some people in Pemiscot County say they were surprised to find out about the arrests, others not so
much. "I'm shocked like everybody else in the community and hope that something will be done about
it," said Hayti resident Randy Tomlin.
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"During my time as Sheriff I've seen quite a bit, I've been here 15 years," said Pemiscot County Sheriff
Tommy Greenwell. "Unfortunately we've arrested several public officials in Pemiscot County, and I hate
that it happened, but yeah I've seen it before."
Some also say they are very frustrated since they feel the county is already struggling for money, and
can't afford to lose these dollars.
"This is tax dollars, Pemiscot County is basically a broke county if you've read, I'm sure you know about
the audit that we just went through with the state auditor's office," said Greenwell. "If there's anyone out
there with information we need, we'd like for them to contact us, because we'd like to clear all this up in
one investigation."
"I mean I don't think this has broke the county, but it sure has put a dent in it," said Tomlin. "I think there
ought to be something done about it."
The City of Hayti released the following statement at the November 28, 2011 Board of Alderman
meeting: " The City of Hayti has been advised that criminal charges have been filed by the Pemiscot
County Prosecuting Attorney against its mayor, Bobby Watkins. Presently, the City has very little
information relating to the charges as the allegations in the criminal proceedings are not based upon
any malfeasance in the performance of his duties as Mayor. Based on information provided to the city,
the charges do not relate in any way to misappropriation of city funds. The city will defer making further
comment relating to the criminal charges while they remain pending."
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Montee's Sons, Daughter Arrested
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Police arrested Susan Montee's two sons and daughter following a fight outside a
downtown St. Joseph bar.

Montee, former Missouri state auditor and former chair of the Missouri Democratic Party, is running for
lieutenant governor.

Police arrested seven people including Amanda Montee, 25, Andrew Montee, 23, and Austin Montee,
22, outside a bar at 5th and Felix on November 25 around 1:15 a.m.

Officers were called in reference to a street fight involving around 30 people. When they arrived, police
say they witnessed fighting and yelling in the street.

Police say they arrested Amanda Montee when she refused to obey an order for everyone to leave the
scene. Police say Andrew and Austin Montee interfered with their sister's arrest.

Susan Montee tells KQ2 that her children did attempt to leave the scene of the fight, but that they
became separated on their way home to her downtown residence. She said her daughter was pushed
down in an alley and assaulted by several girls.

She said Amanda approached an officer to tell him what happened. At that time, she said Amanda's
brothers returned to help her. That's when she says an officer deployed pepper spray on Amanda.

Capt. Kevin Castle with the St. Joseph Police Department said the pepper spray was deployed because
of the resistance from the suspects.

Police took all three to jail. They were released on bond.

Amanda - who suffered cuts and bruises during the altercation - filed an assault report against unnamed
suspects on Monday.

Andrew Montee is listed as the contact in a recent news release about Susan Montee's campaign for
lieutenant governor. She said he doesn't have a specific role with the campaign. He lists the Missouri
Democratic Party as his employer on his personal Facebook page.

Amanda, Andrew and Austin Montee are scheduled to appear in municipal court on a summons
December 30.
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MISSOURINET
Hartzler says defense cuts are too drastic
November 28, 2011 By Allison Blood




Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler

The Super Committee charged with coming up with a trillion dollars in budget recommendations has
failed, and Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler says now defense spending is on the line.

She says President Obama has defended those cuts as necessary for balancing the budget, and that’s
not the case. She calls him irresponsible as Commander in Cheif to let the funding take a hit. She says
the percentage of the budget allocated to defense spending is already the lowest its been in years, and
more cuts would cripple national security. But not everyone in Congress agrees. She says she’ll be
working with others to find someplace else to cut, like mandatory spending programs.

She says she’ll be introducing legislation that reforms mandatory spending programs to save the
country money that could be put into defense spending. Hartzler represents the areas that contain Fort
Leonard Wood and Whiteman Airforce Base.
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MO River management debate continues
November 29, 2011 By Mike Lear

A U.S. House Subcommittee meeting tomorrow will continue discussion of how the Missouri River
should be managed.

For years, Levee and Drainage District Association Chairman Tom Waters has pushed for flood control
to be a higher priority for the Corps of Engineers’ management of the Missouri. He says too much of its
budget is focused elsewhere. “Since 1992, the Corps has spent $616 million on fish and birds. So, their
budget is focused on fish and birds and not flood control, so there’s a real need to change that.”

Waters will testify before the subcommittee and urge them to shift more Corps funding to flood control,
but also to ask lawmakers to appropriate more money to repair levees damaged in the 2011 flood.

Congressman Sam Graves will participate in the hearing. He says money for levee work can come from
the Corps’ budget for habitat restoration, “…which is $73 million from Gavins Point down to the mouth of
the Missouri, as opposed to the $6 million that is spent on levee maintenance. That’s 12 times more
money on birds and fish than on levee maintenance. We want to transfer that money over at least this
year; possibly next year, and use that as an offset.”

Graves hopes data from the 2011 flood will sway the argument toward increasing capacity in upstream
reservoirs, but he is skeptical. “The fact of the matter is when you have years like we had this year, and
we knew that snow melt was coming, there should be some adjustments made and there should be
some consideration for people’s lives rather than two birds and a fish.”

The Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment hearing begins at 10:00 a.m. CST in the
Rayburn House Office Building in Washington D.C.
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Tourism ramps up for holiday season (AUDIO)
November 28, 2011 By Allison Blood

The holiday season is in full swing as far as tourism is concerned, and the head of Missouri’s tourism
department says there are events beginning already.

Tourism Director Katie Steele Danner says holiday events in Branson, such as its music showcases,
have been recognized across the nation as “must-see” during the holiday. Danner says it’s not only
religious events that draw people to the state, but the hunting season in Missouri is very popular.

She says events at Missouri’s wineries draw large crowds. Towns such as Hermann have traditional
French and German Christmas celebrations. Danner says the tourism website has a calendar of all
holiday events. Click on the picture to see that calendar.


    AUDIO
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BLOG ZONE

TKC EXCLUSIVE!!! COPY AND PASTE MISSOURI DEMOCRATIC
TALKING POINTS!!!
With important elections on the way . . . Democrats in Missouri are CLEARLY on the same page
according to AWESOME TKC TIPSTERS!!!

Kansas City's Downtown Missouri State Rep. Mike Talboy recently redesigned his webpage and I
think the changes are pretty cool ... Here's a brief statement on Education:
"Education is a top priority when it comes to addressing the issues facing our state. It takes a collective
effort and ongoing communication between teachers, parents, administrators and policy makers to
ensure that the futures of Missouri’s children are as bright as they can possibly be."

MEANWHILE . . . Paul LeVota's page isn't as nice but still has some great ideas like . . .
"Paul LeVota believes that education is a top priority when it comes to addressing the issues facing our
state. It takes a collective effort and ongoing communication between teachers, parents, administrators
and policy makers to ensure that the futures of Missouri䴜s children are as bright as they can possibly
be."

Even better . . . Mr. LeVota has a cool Windows 98 background.
While "borrowing" ideas certainly isn't high treason among Kansas City Area Democrats . . . It's nice to
see that TKC TIPSTERS are paying attention to a great many details about what they're hearing as
political season approaches.
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EDITORIALS … & Letters to the Editor
Vote here for 'Scrooge of the Year'
BAH, HUMBUG: Kansas City and St. Louis Jobs with Justice member organizations have nominated
their candidates for "Scrooge of the Year."

The nominees are: Rex Sinquefield, who was nominated by the St. Louis Jobs with Justice Workers'
Rights Board; Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-Calif.), who was nominated by the American Postal Workers Union
Gateway District Area Local; Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who was nominated by the Missouri AFL-CIO;
and Frank Kartmann, president of the Missouri Water Company, who was nominated by Utility Workers
of America (UWUA) Local 335.

The organizations will run lively online campaigns and lobby in their workplaces and communities to
drum up votes for the Scrooges. The effort will culminate in a "Holiday Party with an Attitude," beginning
at 5:30 p.m., Dec. 8 at the Local 688 Teamsters Hall, 4349 Woodson Road. Tickets are $10 and include
10 votes, snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. A cash bar will be available.

The campaign is intended to educate the public about the forces that harm working families. As the
organization says: "The greediest, cold-hearted CEO, politician, corporation or 1%er who truly
exemplifies the Spirit of Ebenezer Scrooge wins!"

The Jobs with Justice organization says voting is open and that there are no residency requirements. It
costs $1 to vote and online voting -- which will occur on the Jobs for Justice "Causes" page on
Facebook -- is limited to 10 votes. Vote by clicking here.

For party tickets and more info contact Aaron Burnett at aaron@stl-jwj.org or by phone at 314-644-
0466.
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Editorial:
Ineffective budgeting pushes MU tuition
increase
Published Nov. 29, 2011
When it comes to issues involving money, all we ask for is transparency. Being inexpensive is great, but
we’re reasonable and realistic, so we’ll settle for transparency.
It’s possible tuition might increase approximately 3 percent to meet inflation. The increase would mean
undergraduate students would pay $8 more per credit hour. Resident students would be paying $261.60
per credit hour and non-resident students would be paying $708.70 per credit hour.
It’s frustrating to have to pay more money, but it’s even more frustrating when students enter as
freshman expecting to pay a certain price only to watch that price increase.
Missouri should consider pushing the grandfather clause, which would guarantee students who enter
the university, after agreeing to pay a certain amount, would graduate from the university paying the
same amount. Tuition could increase, but only for incoming freshman.
Although the last thing we want to do is pay more money, we understand it is necessary for the
university to find the funding it needs to function, but we want to know why exactly we have to pay more
money and what the money will go toward.
The increase is a result of both inflation and cuts in state funding. Inflation we understand, but the cuts
in state funding we don’t. Governor Jay Nixon said that college affordability is a top priority, but he
doesn’t seem to be putting his words into action.
Nixon said if schools froze tuition rates he would increase funding to those schools, but it never came. In
fact, the state cut university support by 8.1 percent when MU increased tuition beyond the inflation rate
last year.
This is confusing given Nixon’s goal of increasing Missouri college-degree holders by 25 percent by
2020, a goal made more difficult if the cost of college is increasing.
So the university is being punished for doing what was asked of it, and students are paying for it —
literally.
If students are paying for it, students should see the benefits. We ask that the money be put to good
use, that professors who deserve raises get raises, and that the buildings that need renovation get that
work done. We understand budgeting is a difficult task, and we’re not asking for a miracle, just a better
job.
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Guest commentary: Labor must get creative in
negotiating to survive
It's been four years since the economy went on life support in a recession that still saps the lifeblood of
business today. In the St. Louis construction industry, unemployment remains at a Depression-level 30
percent to 40 percent. The union sector has frozen or cut wages and modified work rules to stimulate
work. But it is all too clear that this is a market without money, frozen by credit gridlock. It's a watershed
moment for labor, requiring a more creative approach to negotiating with the market.
On Nov. 2, Gary LeBarbera, head of the Building and Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO of Greater
New York, gave us a compass. Speaking to more than 150 local business representatives from 15
different trades, he showed us pathways to avoid and pathways to blaze.
Misplaced union pride and complacency left the New York trades high and dry in the residential market,
which in the Big Apple means 25-story high-rise apartment and condo buildings. Meanwhile "bread and
butter" commercial, industrial and public projects ground to a halt in a strapped-for-cash economy,
leaving 25,000 union construction workers jobless. In normal times, developers were willing to pay the
premium for union wages to gain the heightened safety and proficiency highly trained workers deliver —
but not when credit is tight. Faced with 25 percent unemployment, union trades had to adjust to market
realities.
In 2009, the New York building trades turned to an economic recovery Project Labor Agreement that
offered flexible work rules. A 70-story building needs a sensible approach to phased lunch breaks so an
hour of productivity isn't lost daily transporting workers down and up elevators. Start times were altered.
Work crews were optimized. The result? Projects that had been trimmed to less than 40 stories became
70 stories again, $15 billion in PLA projects moved forward and unemployment in the trades dropped to
10 percent.
Misplaced union pride and complacency contributed to the founding of the landmark St. Louis PRIDE
labor-management group nearly 40 years ago. Since then, labor and PRIDE have continually worked
with the buyers of construction services to make St. Louis the best place to build. But the erosion of
union construction in New York and its leadership's creative response to rebuild market share is a
reminder for all union workers and their leadership that we must continually adapt to market needs.
Proficiency in skills and safety will only take you so far in a market that lacks capital.
A week before LeBarbera shared his perspective, the PRIDE competitive initiative committee held its
first meeting to examine impediments to productivity on local construction projects. Owners, contractors
and labor each submitted a list of "pet peeves." Included were concerns about jobsite readiness,
professionalism, safety, unproductive work rules, change orders, sequencing of work, jurisdictional
challenges and drug testing. Under the aegis of PRIDE, this collaborative effort will form the basis of a
stimulus plan that we hope will get St. Louis building again.
As was the case with our brothers and sisters in New York, there figures to be heated exchanges with
certain union members who cling to a past when complacency and arrogance often overshadowed the
mission of justice and fair wages for working families. We will engage them, regardless, just as we will
reach out to community organizations that share our vision of the pressing need to more fully utilize a
workforce rigorously trained to competitively deliver a constructed product of the highest quality.
MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS
      DAILY NEWS CLIPS
             Collected/Archived for Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 - Page 32 of 34


We brought to town LeBarbera, arguably the most prominent union construction official in the United
States, to help to reinforce the direction our underemployed membership must embrace. It is imperative
that the St. Louis union workforce acknowledge and constructively adapt to current economic realities.
The ability of our hometown and state to achieve sustainable, long-term prosperity hangs in the balance.
Jeff Aboussie is executive secretary and treasurer of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades
Council, AFL-CIO.
MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS
       DAILY NEWS CLIPS
              Collected/Archived for Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 - Page 33 of 34



Letters to the Editor:
We should learn from Pennsylvania's mistake

The Post-Dispatch ought to withdraw it endorsement of tolling Interstate 70 ("Bell tolls for I-70," Nov 18).
Pennsylvania wanted to toll Interstate 80 and widen it to six lanes.

Federal approval may be required to toll the road. As Pennsylvania discovered, it is not guaranteed.
Farmers, rural towns and small businesses cheered when the state's toll application was denied.

Pennsylvania also realized that the real cost of building and manning toll booths, maintenance facilities
and adding emergency services was prohibitive, even with a public-private partnership. And it would
have taken decades to pay off the debt. Missouri can't stomach such prolonged debt.

And the job-creation benefits are overstated. Road-building is not the panacea to economic recovery. It
is highly mechanized, requiring fewer people than in the 1950s.

Pennsylvania does have its tolled turnpike (Interstate 76/70). Access is limited, toll rates have
continuously increased, gas stations are rare and rest stops are almost non-existent. But the absence of
perpetual billboards is a welcome sight on the turnpike, unlike I-70 and other interstate highways in
Missouri.

Missouri should consider other alternatives. Perhaps higher road taxes for huge 18-wheelers, which
stress the roads, or keep truck weigh stations open to track and penalize violators. Missouri should
spend its time and effort to bring large industries back to the state. That would employ large numbers of
skilled and unskilled workers, increase the tax coffers and contribute toward the ability to build a better I-
70.

Missouri would do well not to repeat the mistakes of others.

Joseph M. Gravish • Wildwood

Shocked

After reading "Bar group assails many of Obama's judicial picks" (Nov. 23), I must borrow from Claude
Rains' quote from "Casablanca": "Unqualifed judicial candidates? I am shocked."

We have the worst attorney general since John Mitchell. Attorney General Eric Holder, of Marc Rich
pardon fame, took a voter discrimination case that the Justice Department already had won. He's had
the Fast and Furious gun fiasco, terrorist trial issues and another lawsuit against a state to protect the
federal government's position on avoiding protecting the borders. There have been numerous revisions
of laws and rules to subvert the obligation to deport illegal aliens.

The American Bar Association found three times as many unqualified judicial candidates nominated by
President Barack Obama than were nominated by Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS
       DAILY NEWS CLIPS
              Collected/Archived for Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 - Page 34 of 34


Presidents last four or eight years, but their court appointments can last decades. At the very least, Mr.
Holder must go, and he must do so at the behest of the "most transparent, honest" president.

Robert Barnard • St. Peters

				
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