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Missouri Democrats get into fighting spirit at Jefferson-
Jackson dinner
In Backroom

By Jason Rosenbaum, Beacon staff

2:24 pm on Fri, 06.22.12

Updated at 2:17 am on Sat, 06.23.12

Leaders of the Missouri Democratic Party used the annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner as a rallying cry to stand
together against well-funded Republican opposition, even though the political environment may be less
hospitable compared to four years ago.
For U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and others speaking at one of the Missouri Democratic Party’s biggest fundraising
events, conventional wisdom about Missouri being treacherous for Democrats doesn't wash.
“They don’t know how damn tough the Democrats are in Missouri,” said McCaskill, D-Mo., to loud applause.
The determined tone was common for Democratic speakers Friday night at the Renaissance Grand Hotel in
downtown St. Louis. The crowd of about 400 people also heard from Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat
who possesses some rhetorical and electoral commonalities with Gov. Jay Nixon.
While McCaskill is considered one of the more politically vulnerable incumbents running for re-election this
cycle, Republicans haven’t coalesced around a candidate as of yet. And even though Nixon leads in terms of
fundraising and independent polling, he faces the prospect of a Republican opponent who could provide plenty
of his own money in the general election.
There are also some fissures in the St. Louis area, where Democrats are seeing initial jabs in the battle for the 1 st
congressional district between U.S. Reps. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, and William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis. There are
also competitive primaries for local state House and Senate districts, as well as an eight-way scramble to become
the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor.
Still, most of the party's big-ticket races are set. McCaskill, Nixon, Attorney General Chris Koster and Treasurer
Clint Zweifel face no major primary opponents, while state Rep. Jason Kander, D-Kansas City, appears to be the
presumptive Democratic nominee in the race for secretary of state.
And those at Friday's dinner say they are confident that Democrats can emerge triumphant, especially if
candidates can provide an appealing message to middle-class voters.
“The multinational corporations are not going to cast a vote in this election cycle,” said Jackson County Executive
Mike Sanders, the chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party. “The reality is, we are going to decide who wins
that race. The people in this room are going to decide who wins this race. And what we are going to show this
November is that the state of Missouri is not for sale to multinational corporations.”
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Fertile battleground?

President Barack Obama’s campaign made an aggressive push to try to win Missouri back in 2008, an effort that
included investment in on-the-ground organizers, television ads and appearances from the then-Illinois senator.
Obama ended up losing the state narrowly to U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., even though he won the overall
election by a comfortable margin.
Obama’s campaign may not make a big investment in the Show Me State this time around, which could affect
candidates such as McCaskill or Nixon, as well as down-ballot hopefuls such as Kander, Koster or Zweifel. But that
hasn't stopped Republicans from accumulating the finances necessary to compete.
McCaskill has already faced an onslaught of third-party ads and her eventual Republican opponent – which will
likely be U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, former Treasurer Sarah Steelman or Frontenac businessman John Brunner – could
see a boost in fundraising after the Aug. 7 primary.
Two Republican candidates for governor – Dave Spence and Fred Sauer – have poured their own money into
their campaigns. On Friday, one of Kander’s potential rivals – House Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller, R-Willard
– nabbed a $150,000 donation from retired financier Rex Sinquefield.
That financial landscape wasn’t lost on people speaking to the roughly 400 people gathered the event. McCaskill,
for instance, noted that her mother – Betty Anne McCaskill – was incensed over third-party advertisements from
American Crossroads, a Super PAC organized by political strategist Karl Rove.
“She was spittin’ mad,” said McCaskill, who also noted that her mother’s health was still tenuous. “She was like –
you need to give me his phone number. I said ‘excuse me?’ She said ‘I want Karl Rove’s phone number.'
“That’s the kind of stuff that could be a bad story,” she quipped.
McCaskill harshly criticized the three Republicans running against her, arguing among other things that any of
them would threaten programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
“Three of a kind, one in the same,” she said. “Let me tell you what they all agree on. They’re not debating each
other. They all agree… that they want to rush as far to the edge of the right wing they possibly can to
demonstrate that they are more conservative than the other.”
Secretary of State Robin Carnahan went a step further, noting that the three major candidates running against
McCaskill are trying to “out-crazy” each other in order to gain a foothold with conservative primary voters.
“I don’t know who it’s going to be, it be another multi-millionaire who’s never run for anything before – I don’t
think he’s going to be looking out for the middle class,” said Carnahan, alluding to Brunner.
[Brunner spokesman Todd Abrajano tweeted that Carnahan – who isn’t running for a third term as secretary of
state – “is just jealous of Missouri’s next senator.” He then used the hashtags #CouldntBeatBlunt and
#NoMoreCarnahans, a reference to Caranahan’s unsuccessful bid in 2010 against U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-
Missouri.]
In any case, McCaskill's remaining remarks included a plea to Beshear to send a message to people such as
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky.
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"Let the word go out that this room and thousands of others like you are going to show them that big money
cannot buy this election," McCaskill said. "That hard work will get it done. Determination will get it done. And we
will bring this election home. Not for me. Not for Jay Nixon. But for all of you and your families and the faceless
thousands of Missourians who just need someone championing their cause."

Peas in a pod?

When Nixon presented Beshear, he quipped that he “felt like he was introducing himself.” That’s not only
because the two chief executives have some conservative sensibilities, but also that they’ve been able to get
elected in Republican-leaning states.
“If so, maybe we can consider this next piece a little bit of foreshadowing,” Nixon said. “Last November, Gov.
Beshear was up for re-election. And political pundits said, ‘Oh, it’s Kentucky – difficult state for Democrats. Gov.
Beshear may be in trouble. Well not so much, because he works hard.”
After coming back from political exile in 2007 to win the governorship, Beshear faced off against Republican
David Williams in his bid for re-election. In attempt to draw a parallel with Nixon’s possible battle with Spence,
Beshear noted that Williams received $4 million in assistance from his father-in-law. Beshear ended up trouncing
Williams by a comfortable margin.
“Four million dollars later, I hope his marriage is still strong,” said Beshear, to laughter.
Beshear said one of Nixon’s opponents “doesn’t need to take a contribution, he can fund his own race out of his
own pocket,” a reference to Spence’s $2 million donation to his campaign.
“That’s why this ticket must rely on everybody in this room to get this job done,” Beshear said. “They need you.
They need you out there knocking on doors and calling your friends, your family and your neighbors about this
election. And this ticket’s going to be right there with you to help you to do that. We need you to work hard for
every Democrat on the ballot in the great state of Missouri.”
Nixon for the most part skipped making references to his opponents, even though many other speakers took
turns criticizing Spence. He instead emphasized what he felt were positives about the past legislative session.
Today, for instance, he announced that he would withhold money for higher education institutions in the state,
which he referenced in his speech. But he also noted while he had some differences with the GOP-controlled
General Assembly in budgetary priorities, he added that the two parties were able to agree on much.
“We came together on 98 percent of budget. And that’s good for Missouri and that’s a rare thing in today’s
politics,” Nixon said. “Actually coming together and resolving our differences like adults, all around the country
that’s just not happening. We have shown that we are better than that in Missouri. We’re not just pointing
fingers, we’re extending hands.”
Beshear though struck a more combative tone in the closing line of the dinner, noting the election is "critical for
everyone who cares for well-paying jobs for Missouri families, quality schools for Missouri schoolchildren and
honest and ethical state government."
"This election is too critical to turn back now, it's too critical for anybody in this room to sit on the sidelines"
Beshear said.
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"Missouri Democrats, are ya'll ready to rumble?" he added, to rapturous applause. "Are you ready to get out
here and help these people? If so, get on your feet!"
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PrideFest 2012: LGBT advances don't add up to equality
In Region

By Nancy Fowler, Beacon arts reporter

8:22 am on Fri, 06.22.12

Ellisville novelist and screenwriter Bart Baker has a typical suburban family life: a home, two kids, friendly
neighbors and a large extended clan at every birthday party.
But one of the many ways Baker, 53, and his partner, minister Joe Alway-Baker, 43, differ from their neighbors is
in their inheritance plan. Should one of them die, everything goes to their two children -- even though they’re
only 6 years old.
“If I left everything to my partner, he’d be taxed on it, so how do you get around that?” Baker said. “You leave
everything to your children and make your partner executor of the estate -- and hope the children don’t hate him
when it happens.”

‘It takes a law degree’

The work-around used by Baker and his partner, whose success depends on the good will of first-graders (he’s
confident everything would go well), is viable only because both men are on the children’s California birth
certificates.
That kind of outside-of-the box strategizing is essential for same-sex couples.
As St. Louis prepares to celebrate its 33rd PrideFest this weekend in Tower Grove Park, there is much work to be
done toward equality. Even with President Obama endorsing same-sex marriage, deciding against enforcement
of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) citizens and couples still experience legal discrimination in countless ways.
The handful of laws designed to protect same-sex pairs — or, more typically, laws that offer protection as a by-
product — are often unenforced, unpublicized and difficult to understand.

Inform our coverage

This report was informed by sources in the St. Louis Beacon and the Nine Networks of Public Media's Public
Insight Network®.
The Beacon, in partnership with the Nine Network, uses this journalism tool to help us learn what learn about —
and share — the news that matters to you.
Become a news source for the Beacon or Nine Network, or to learn more about the Public Insight Network.
“It takes a law degree to figure all this out,” Baker said.
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But even attorneys have trouble untangling the issues. If Baker added his partner to the deed on his home under
“joint tenancy with right of survivorship,” it would give full ownership to either in the event of a death, according
to St. Louis attorney Tony Westbrooks of Crow Takacs, a firm that serves same-sex partner clients.
Still, there may be tax implications. And the issue’s so complex that any specific case would require the input of
yet another expert.
“I think then we’d need to talk to a CPA,” Westbrooks said.
If Baker changed the deed to give his partner rights of survivorship, Alway-Baker could - when that deed change
is filed - owe gift tax on the amount of the property's value over $13,000.
“This is why estate planning attorneys and CPAs work together,” Westbrooks said.
In Missouri, a beneficiary deed, which passes a house through a non-probate transfer, is an option for all couples,
gay and straight.
“But the beneficiary may be subject to creditors of the deceased,” Westbrooks said.

Gays: Keep out

Buying or renting a house or apartment also poses issues. In Missouri, it’s legal for property owners to refuse to
sell or rent to someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
A new federal HUD rule makes discrimination against LGBT prospects illegal when the property is HUD-funded,
but the regulation is not widely known. Organizations such as SAGE, a St. Louis nonprofit advocating for LGBT
seniors, are working to ensure that the rule is followed.
A myriad of legal obstacles concern access and money, such as spousal Social Security benefits, joint income tax
returns, and partner health insurance and hospital visitation, to name a few.
More than once, Brandee Hewlett, 28, has worried in hospital waiting rooms while Amanda, her partner of four
years, underwent treatment for debilitating seizures. Amanda’s condition can leave her unable to speak. Having
no family in town and a partner sidelined in a waiting room leave her with no advocate.
To Hewlett, it seems that hospital personnel arbitrarily pick and choose when she can be in the room with her
partner — and when she can’t.
“Some are even rude and ask me numerous times who am I to the patient,” Hewlett wrote in response to an
Public Insight Network query for the Beacon.
Hewlett is working on power-of-attorney documents to remedy the situation. But while naming a power of
attorney is a good idea, it shouldn’t be required for visitation. Keeping same-sex partners from each others’
bedsides goes against new Health and Human Services guidelines, according to A.J. Bockelman of the Missouri
LGBT advocacy organization PROMO.
Hewlett and her partner — like many other same-sex couples — weren’t aware of the HHS guidelines or that
people in the agency can help with enforcement if they know about problems.
Employment is another issue. Many people — gay and straight — don’t realize that Missouri bosses can still fire
or demote someone because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Ismael Rodriguez, 46, a six-year
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employee of a local audio-visual company, suspects he’s been held back from promotions because he’s gay. He’s
also upset that his company does not offer health insurance benefits for same-sex partners.
“Seems the rules in my company do not apply equally,” Rodriguez wrote.
Even when same-sex partners can get health insurance — which is at the discretion of individual employers —
the benefit is counted as income, and taxed accordingly, a penalty straight married people don’t face.
But sometimes the laws work out for LGBT couples. Elena Valentine, 35, has plans to marry her transgender
boyfriend Trent Hausman, who was born female but is now legally male.
Valentine is looking forward to her wedding but wrote in response to the PIN query that she’s sad for “our fellow
gay/lesbian friends who want to have the same recognition.”

Hope and change

In the past 10 years, a paradigm shift in this country has opened a world of equality — or near-equality — for the
LGBT community.
In June 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law that prohibited sexual contact between members of the
same sex. In May 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to offer legal civil unions — an idea once
considered a pipe dream with simple hand-holding inviting violence and, often, police intervention.
Today, Illinois and 10 other states offer domestic partnerships or civil unions, and same-sex marriage is legal in
Iowa and a half-dozen other states But while these state-sanctioned relationships allow couples to file joint state
income tax returns and offer a few other entitlements, the federal DOMA keeps same-sex partners from enjoying
the vast majority of marital rights.
Four years after Barack Obama campaigned on “hope and change,” things have changed and hope has
blossomed within the LGBT community. One week ago, Obama presided over his fourth LGBT Pride Month
reception.
Sherrill Wayland, executive director of SAGE, and her partner of 17 years, Kim Kopff, were among those invited.
While Wayland missed out on shaking Obama’s hand, Kopff didn’t.
“She’s shorter than I am and she was right there in almost the front row,” Wayland said.
Wayland was overwhelmed by her White House invitation. Recognition by a U.S. president would have been
unthinkable before 2009, the year Obama declared June as Pride Month. His proclamation lauded the early
pioneers of LGBT pride including the Stonewall Inn rioters. whose protests against raids at Stonewall and other
New York City establishments where gays gathered gave birth to the modern-day pride movement.
For decades, as Wayland and millions of other LGBT Americans grew up and came out, the fledgling movement
went unrecognized by the government and mainstream society.
“Never would I have thought I’d be invited because of my work in the LGBT equality movement.” Wayland said.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for anyone, and especially for me as an 'out' lesbian.”
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St. Louis PrideFest

Where: Tower Grove Park
When: 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, June 23-24; parade noon, Sunday, June 24 on South Grand Avenue
How much: Free
Information: http://pridestl.org
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6th District candidates express mixed views on tax issue
Posted: Friday, June 22, 2012 11:55 pm | Updated: 7:57 am, Mon Jun 25, 2012.

By Ken Newton | St. Joseph News-Press |

Federal debt remains a national priority, but candidates for Missouri’s 6th District congressional seat drew
distinctions Friday in how they would go about addressing the problem.

At least one office hopeful said he would sign a no-tax pledge, while others said such a commitment would
prevent them from making responsible decisions as a lawmaker.

“To sign the pledge and say, I will never, ever, ever raise taxes, that definitely puts it in a one-sided box where
there will never be a compromise,” said Bill Hedge, a St. Joseph resident trying to get the Democratic nomination
for the U.S. House seat.

Russ Lee Monchil, a Cameron man and the only Libertarian in the race, said he would gladly sign a pledge.

“The government needs to start cutting spending, 5 percent across the board for every government agency,” he
said.

The candidates took part in a forum sponsored by the Northwest Missouri Press Association. Others on the panel
were Republicans Bob Gough and Christopher Ryan, and Democrats Kyle Yarber, Ted Rights and Ronald W.
Harris.

The only one in the eight-candidate field not to attend the event at Missouri Western State University was Rep.
Sam Graves, the Republican incumbent. He is seeking a seventh term in Congress.

Mr. Yarber said he would not sign a no-tax pledge.

“Any time you handcuff yourself, you are limiting your options,” the Gladstone man said. “It is whoever gets
elected, the people we send to Washington, it’s their responsibility to do it, to balance the budget.”

Mr. Gough, a Lee’s Summit resident who founded the Jackson County Taxpayer’s Association, said Americans are
taxed as high as they need to be.

“Clearly, our representatives do not have the discipline to contain themselves,” the Republican said. “Our elected
officials are in effect buying your vote with your money.”

The other candidates voiced a measured approach to the tax question.

“I certainly am not a fan of taxes,” said Mr. Ryan, a Liberty resident. “At the same time, we are in a crisis
situation.”
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Dr. Rights, a physician from Hamilton, said national debt would hamper future generations. “The tea party is half-
right,” he said. “They have not come to grips with how you’re going to balance the budget.”

Mr. Harris, from Kansas City, said he does not object to taxes but believes the government has wasted money on
a growing league of expensive independent contractors.

In introductory remarks, the candidates raised a variety of issues. Mr. Harris, for example, expressed an interest
in ridding the United States of hard drugs, calling cocaine and methamphetamine “drugs of ruthlessness.”

Dr. Rights, who did Central American missionary work for seven years, called himself philosophically opposed to
the minimal government approach advocated by some.

“It is government that is able to protect the poor from absolute destitution,” he said.

Mr. Monchil said the Libertarian Party appeals to him because it promotes less government.

“I am so tired of the government being able to tell me what I can put in my own body, in my own home, in my
own time, on my own property,” the Cameron man said.

Other candidates took aim at the incumbent missing from the session, Mr. Graves. The U.S. House adjourned for
the weekend on Thursday afternoon.

“This gets to the root of the problem we have in the 6th District. Are we represented?” Mr. Yarber said. “This
used to be a (district) that people came to find opportunity.”

Dr. Hedge, a former educator in the St. Joseph School District, said a time has come to set aside partisanship and
address sweeping problems.

“Let’s do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “We need representation.”

Saying he would term-limit himself if elected, Mr. Ryan said, “I do not want to be a career politician,” describing
Washington’s problem as “we keep electing the same people.”
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No Federal TIGER Grant Funds for Highway 47 Missouri River
Bridge
Posted: Friday, June 22, 2012 7:15 pm | Updated: 3:35 pm, Fri Jun 22, 2012.

By Evin Fritschle, Missourian Staff Writer

Preliminary reports indicate that a new Highway 47 bridge over the Missouri River at Washington will not receive
federal grant funding at this time.

MoDOT Area Engineer Judy Wagner told The Missourian Thursday that it appears that the new bridge won’t get
any of the $20 million the state had sought for the new bridge, but noted that the project is still moving ahead
and is included in the draft of the state’s transportation improvement program, or STIP, which will likely be
approved during a July meeting in Washington of the state’s highway commission.

Getting the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grant was a challenging
prospect. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported receiving 703 applications asking for a total of $10.2
billion in grants out of a total pool of only $500 million.

Wagner said had the Missouri River bridge received grant funds, the state could have accelerated its plans.

“Any kind of additional revenue, over and above our normal allocation, for the state is great,” she said.

Only one project in Missouri, in Joplin, received a TIGER grant. That project will receive $12 million, U.S. Sen.
Claire McCaskill’s office announced this week.

The money will be used to “construct surface transportation projects to improve capacity and safety; enhance
multimodal transportation; and spur economic development in an area that was ravaged by a tornado in May
2011,” according to the grant application.

Wagner said the tentative list from the federal DOT shows that the Highway 47 bridge didn’t get any TIGER grant
money, but added she hasn’t received official notice.

Moving Forward

She said interviews should begin in the next few weeks for a consultant for design of the bridge.

“If we would have received the grant, we would have had to accelerate portions (of the design process),”
Wagner said.

If approved in the STIP, the bridge will be slated for construction in fiscal year 2017.
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The bridge is estimated to cost $57 million for construction and $5-$6 million for engineering.

Bob Zick, chair of the Missouri Highway 47 Bridge Committee, said not getting the grant will delay the project by
“several months or maybe even a year.

“All we can assure the community of is that we’re going to keep pushing to get the bridge funded,” Zick said.
“The TIGER grant was one option, but we’re going to continue to work with legislators and MoDOT. Hopefully
some other option will come along.”

Critical of Congress

Wagner said it seems unlikely that Congress will approve a new transportation bill. The existing bill expired in
2009 and transportation projects have been funded since that time through a series of continuing resolutions.

The current continuing resolution, which has maintained funding at the 2009 levels, is set to expire June 30.

“That’s better than having a cut in our revenue,” Wagner said.

Zick said it still creates difficulties for communities across the country.

“The lack of a transportation bill and dealing with those issues with short-term continuing resolutions and other
short-term things that come available from the federal government … it’s an absolutely unworkable arrangement
for funding long-term transportation projects,” he said.

“It’s not good for us, or for the country, but we’ll muddle through it somehow,” Zick said.

“The commitment we’ve seen from MoDOT is huge. It is proceeding with the design and development of the
bridge. That’s comforting to me,” he said.

Zick thanked Wagner for her work on the grant application.

“I know Judy dedicated several weekends to preparing the application. We really appreciate (her) efforts,” he
said in an email to the bridge committee. “Let us keep our noses to the grindstone and our bridge will become a
reality.”

The grant application included 40 letters of support from Washington, Union, Marthasville, St. Clair and other
municipal officials, as well as U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill, U.S. Rep Blaine Luetkemeyer, several area
state legislators and numerous businesses and public service agencies.
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Jun 22, 4:22 PM EDT




Mo. governor makes more cuts to higher education
By DAVID A. LIEB
Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri's public colleges and universities took another budget hit Friday from Gov.
Jay Nixon, marking the third straight year that higher education institutions have seen their basic state aid
reduced.

Nixon announced nearly $9 million in cuts for colleges and universities while signing Missouri's $24 billion budget
for the fiscal year that starts July 1. He cited concerns about state revenues, including whether the Missouri
Lottery will generate enough new money to meet the expectations set in the budget. For the second straight
year, Nixon also cited expenses from last year's deadly Joplin tornado and other disasters while describing the
need to cut other state programs.

The Democratic governor said he believes the budget passed by the Republican-led Legislature is $50 million out
of balance. Yet Nixon made just $15 million in cuts Friday, explaining that he believes the economy has been
getting better and adding that he will re-evaluate the need for more cuts later.

"It's what I believe is the fiscally prudent thing to do at this point for our state," Nixon said.

If circumstances improve, it's also possible some funding could be restored.

The cut to higher education amounts to 1 percent less than the roughly $850 million colleges and universities
expected under the budget. But when combined with previous cuts, institutions will get 12.4 percent less - or
about $120 million - than in the 2009-2010 school year.

They could have lost nearly twice that much. When Nixon presented a budget plan in January, he recommended
a $106 million cut to higher education institutions for the 2013 fiscal year. He later softened that by tapping a
portion of Missouri's expected revenue from a national settlement with mortgage lenders. Lawmakers then
wiped out the rest of Nixon's proposed higher education cut by making reductions to other programs and shifting
money around in the budget.

"Frankly, a 1 percent reduction, while not what we would have chosen, is positive news" compared to Nixon's
original proposal, said Brian Long, director of the Council on Public Higher Education in Missouri.

But Long added: "Higher education has never been generously funded in the state of Missouri, in my opinion,
and consecutive years of budget reductions - if this continues - is really not sustainable."
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House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan Silvey said the cut shows "this governor is absolutely hostile to higher
education."

Nixon countered: "I fully support higher education in Missouri," citing increased funding for college job-training
efforts.

In contrast to the cuts to higher education, Missouri's public elementary and secondary schools will get a $5
million increase to their core funding of $3 billion. Nixon said that is a record amount of money. But it is also
$437 million short of the amount called for by the state's school funding formula.

Among other things, the 2013 budget includes a 2 percent pay raise for all state employees earning less than
$70,000 annually. But it also eliminates 956 full-time employee positions compared to the current year.

While announcing his cuts, Nixon criticized several spending reductions made by lawmakers, including to early
childhood programs. He said additional cuts were necessary because of three reasons - uncertainty over whether
the Lottery can generate an additional $35 million; the potential for $12 million in lost revenues due to various
tax breaks passed by lawmakers; and disaster recovery expenses that are likely to be $11 million more than
budgeted by lawmakers.

Silvey, R-Kansas City, took particular issue with Nixon's concerns about Lottery revenues, asserting his
administration had signed off on the assumption when lawmakers were crafting the budget. Nixon declined to
say Friday whether that was true, instead calling it "a very rosy estimate."

Besides the cuts to higher education, most of Nixon's reductions are to new initiatives or to existing programs
that had been slotted for funding increases. For example, he axed a new $1 million initiative aimed at employing
teachers in "underprivileged" city school districts and a $100,000 pilot project intended to help lower-income
working parents by more gradually easing them off subsidized child care as their incomes rise.

Many of Nixon's cuts were for relatively small amounts when compared to the budget as a whole. For example,
he withheld $10,000 for a character education program. The Missouri Eating Disorder Council, created under a
2010 law, had its initial funding cut last year by Nixon. This year, Nixon cut just half of the $75,000 lawmakers
allotted for the council, which his budget director said should provide enough money for the council to get going.
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Nixon restricts funding for higher education, other programs
in light of budget shortfall
June 22, 2012 | Filed under: Budget and Taxes,Subscribers | Posted by: Eli Yokley


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Jay Nixon has slashed nearly $15 million from the budget approved by lawmakers
this year because he believes it to be $50 million out of balance.

The $15 million will come from more than two dozen restrictions announced Friday, including nearly $8.8 million
from higher education, a 1 percent reduction from the legislature’s bill.

This marks the third straight year Nixon has restricted funds from higher education in an attempt to balance the
state’s budget.

“We’re beginning to see the kind of turnaround. If it continues, it will provide additional resources for the state,”
he said.

Nixon made the announcement while signing the state’s $24 billion budget into law. He was critical of the
legislature for relying on a significant increase in lottery funds, despite the fact that his administration had
provided lottery funding increase estimates to lawmakers during their budgeting process.

“When you get to the end of the process,” Nixon said, “you make the decisions based on the best information
available. In this situation, there is pretty much general consensus that that is a very rosy estimate.”

The governor’s office said that if more revenue comes available in the coming year, the additional $35 million he
believes the budget is out of balance may not need to be touched.

Nixon is using his line item veto power to reject three measures that cost the state a total of $240,000, including
funding for a new early childhood education program, port financial assistance, and legal fees for Boone County.
State Budget Director Linda Lueberring said her office is targeting new and expanded programs first with their
cuts.
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Jun 22, 6:21 PM EDT




Mo. districts could struggle with new evaluations
By HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH
Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- More than twice as many Missouri school districts would see their accreditations
receive extra scrutiny and fewer would be classified as high achieving under a tough, new evaluation system set
to take effect next year, projections show.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education ran the projections as part of its preparation
for switching to the new standards in the upcoming academic year. They require higher test scores in some
subjects and schools will have to track things like how many students succeed in higher-level courses rather than
just how many enroll in them.

The latest version of the Missouri School Improvement Program won't produce its first official batch of results
until 2013. But if the new standards were applied to 2011 data, 57 of the state's 521 districts - about 11 percent -
would fall in a low-performing range that would put them at risk of becoming provisionally accredited or
unaccredited, up from 21 districts under the old system, according to information presented to the state Board
of Education this week.

State education officials would review several years of data for low-performing districts and work with them on
improvements. But if a district fails year after year, the state Board of Education can reduce its accreditation to
provisional or strip it entirely.

Also, fewer schools would be recognized as high achieving, 109 under the new system compared to 332 under
the old system.

"It is going to look a little tougher because we have more rigorous standards in place now, but we think that's a
good thing," said Sarah Potter, a spokeswoman for DESE, of the new system. "Also we are identifying those
schools that are really performing and those that need some more help."

Currently, Kansas City, St. Louis and nearby Riverview Gardens are the state's only three districts deemed
unaccredited - a designation that can ultimately lead to a state takeover. Nine other districts are provisionally
accredited, meaning they're subject to extra monitoring.

The state board is expected to review the accreditation classification of seven other districts at its September
meeting. They are Climax Springs R-IV, Hickman Mills C-I, Normandy, Scott Co. Central, Swedeborg R-III,
University City, Winfield and the Special School District St. Louis County.
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After that, most districts won't see their accreditation classification change until 2015, giving them three years to
improve under the new system. The state board, however, retains the right to intervene if districts make big
gains or losses during the three-year phase-in period.

Potter said the purpose of the analysis was to see "where the schools might fall" and stressed that there are no
penalties. Districts weren't even notified of the results. School systems won't get the first glimpse of how they
might fare until the fall when the state plans to put soon-to-be released 2012 test score data into the new
version of the accreditation system.

The state's system of accrediting schools predates the federal No Child Left Behind Education law, and the latest
version is the fifth. It's not uncommon when the state updates the evaluation system for early estimates to
predict jumps in the number of districts falling in the unaccredited and provisionally accredited range. Ultimately,
many of those districts are able to improve enough to avoid those categories, and the state plans to work with
districts to ensure the same thing will happen this time.

"We definitely want to make a concerted effort so that it looks very different in three years," said Margie
Vandeven, an assistant commissioner for DESE. "I think it's fair to say that we have high expectations for our
students and our districts. And when those expectations are set, in the past, they have shown that they will rise
to meet them."

Schools officials are greeting the new evaluation system with some trepidation. Roger Kurtz, executive director
of the Missouri Association of School Administrators, said some school officials feel state funding isn't keeping
pace with the increased academic expectations.

The budget for public schools signed Sunday includes a $5 million increase to the state's $3 billion school fund.
But that is still is far shy of the amount called for by the state funding formula.

"We should expect higher standards for our kids," Kurtz said. "But they're not real happy with how we're getting
cut off at the legs on funding."
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Missouri's swing-state luster dims
BY NICHOLAS J.C. PISTOR npistor@post-dispatch.com | Posted: Sunday, June 24, 2012 12:30 am

ST. LOUIS • Missouri is no longer a coveted electoral bride.

For decades, presidential wannabes courted Missouri voters with face time and slick television ads. They fought
like rival suitors of a beautiful woman, battling to lift the veil and place a ring around the state's electoral votes.

But this time around, Missouri is left standing alone as candidates focus on wooing the hearts of nine other
states.

The status change was cemented earlier this month when President Barack Obama didn't include Missouri in his
television ad buy targeting swing-state voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire,
Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Mitt Romney has followed suit.

This presidential election season promises to be different for Missourians who have grown used to being at the
intersection of the national rhetoric. Washington University in St. Louis has hosted a presidential or vice
presidential debate every presidential election cycle but one since 1992. This year, the school serves only as an
alternative location if one of the others falls through.

The state's fading battleground reputation first became noticeable in 2008, when Sen. John McCain won Missouri
despite a national swing-state lust for Obama. It was underlined last year when Democrats chose Charlotte, N.C.,
over St. Louis to host their party's national convention.

Some experts say Missouri has already swung to the right, which means the state's fading electoral prestige —
along with the loss of one electoral vote in a reapportionment based on the 2010 Census — will translate to less
in-person access to candidates, ad spending and even government cash.

On Wednesday, CNN analyst and Democratic strategist James Carville sat on a stage at the Peabody Opera House
in downtown St. Louis and confirmed the obvious. "Missouri in my definition is not a swing state," Carville told
the crowd in a political discussion sponsored by Wells Fargo Advisors.

Instead, Carville said, Missouri is in the Republican column and is a must-win for Romney, much as Wisconsin is a
must-win for Obama. Missouri, in other words, isn't a swing state because by itself it can't swing the election.

Television ad buys are considered one of the best ways to measure how campaigns feel about their chances. The
pool of states included in the early presidential ad buys has narrowed over the years, but this is the first time in
memory that Missouri has been ignored so early.

George W. Bush and Al Gore battled on air in about 20 states in 2000. In early 2004, there were 17 states in the
ad mix. And in 2008, the Obama campaign included 18 states in its June on-air push.
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Missouri's cross-section demographics have long made it a national test for candidates. It has a flavor from North
and South, East and West. It has agriculture and manufacturing, a balance of urban and rural.

But Missouri isn't a scorned lover. The polls are still tight, and historically, Missouri has been politically restless.
After all, the state had trouble deciding which side it was on during the Civil War.

"We're moving more into the Republican category," said Lloyd Smith, executive director of the Missouri
Republican Party. "But that doesn't mean you can take it for granted."

Today, Mitt Romney leads Obama in Missouri by an average of just 3 points, according to a New York Times
election forecast.

"I don't think the Obama campaign believes the polls," explained Ken Warren, a pollster and professor at St.
Louis University, indicating that Obama doesn't think it's that close. "If they did, they would be up on TV right
now."

One of the problems for Democrats, Warren said, is that the state has a higher percentage of evangelical voters
than the national average — and they largely favor Republicans. Warren said he was once told by a national
political analyst that the feeling is that Missouri's "religious right is a nut too hard to crack."

The lack of presidential ads will have an impact on the coffers of local television stations. None of the general
managers at St. Louis' top stations — KTVI, KMOV and KSDK — agreed to discuss the situation.

Together, Obama and McCain spent $18,912,267 in the state in 2008, but those figures included ads bought for
the primary. Between April 3, 2008, and Nov. 5, 2008, Obama spent about $4.3 million in the St. Louis area.
McCain spent about $3.3 million during that period, according to statistics compiled by Campaign Media Analysis
Group, a firm that tracks political ad spending.

Experts say the lack of early presidential ads in Missouri has kept prices down. This may benefit candidates in
other statewide races. For example, Sen. Claire McCaskill's campaign said Tuesday that it paid for a $3 million fall
ad campaign in advance in order get the maximum amount of time for her money, assuming that prices may rise
closer to the election.

But losing millions in advertising dollars is only part of the swing-state loss. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush
stood on a stage before flag-waving employees at the McDonnell Douglas aircraft plant in St. Louis and
announced a $9 billion deal to sell advanced F-15 fighters to Saudi Arabia. McDonnell was then the largest
employer in the region. Still, it didn't translate to victory. Bill Clinton ended up winning the state.

Some Democrats contend McCaskill's battle for re-election to the U.S. Senate is evidence that Missouri's swing-
state status is still strong. Three Republican challengers are vying to face McCaskill in the fall in an election that is
one of the most watched in the country. Outside conservative groups have poured millions into ad buys against
McCaskill so far, and McCaskill has benefitted from outside spending as well. Polls in that race remain tight.
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"We are the bellwether of bellwethers; we are going to decide which way the U.S. Senate goes," Democratic
Party Chairman Mike Sanders told delegates to the Missouri Democratic Convention at the Lake of the Ozarks
earlier this month.

And Missouri's first-term Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, is favored against either Republican candidate in the
governor's race.

Until it sided with McCain, Missouri had a long history of picking the presidential winner. It had backed the losing
candidate only twice since 1900, when it sided with Democrat William Jennings Bryan over President William
McKinley. (Although some argue Missouri was off in 2000 when it went for George W. Bush, who won the
electoral vote but lost the popular vote to Al Gore.)

The state has been balanced by a rural and urban split. Rural Missouri has remained strongly Republican for
decades. In 1940 and 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt would have lost the state without heavy support from St. Louis.
In recent years, however, the urban centers have struggled to even the score between country and city. In the
2010 U.S. Senate race, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., won every part of the state except for Kansas City and the St.
Louis area, which powered him to a huge victory over Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

Regardless, Jay Dow, a professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, said that Missouri remained competitive
and predicted that the state would see presidential advertising by the fall.

Ben Finkenbinder, the Midwest spokesman for Obama's campaign, wouldn't discuss the campaign's media
strategy but said the campaign was mobilizing on the ground. Romney's campaign said the same.

All of that former attention had its benefits. Voters got to see the candidates up close. Former U.S. Sen. Jim
Talent said Missourians may see the GOP candidate here despite the state's loss of bellwether status.

"I love to see when Missouri is right in the spectacle of a national election," said Talent, R-Mo., who lost to
McCaskill in 2006 and is now an adviser to Romney. "But we're still going to see visits from Governor Romney."

Romney, in fact, visited St. Louis earlier this month. Obama visited Joplin, Mo., last month to mark the first
anniversary of the devastating Joplin tornado and has visited the state several times since taking office.

But there is some solace for those who miss the television ads. Today, they can seen by anyone, anywhere —
even in a non-battleground state. Virtually all of them are online.


Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/missouri-s-swing-state-luster-
dims/article_523b5e88-ae36-5f50-bb05-8eb37352bdac.html#ixzz1yoqGDiij
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Jun 23, 12:41 PM EDT




US Education Secretary Duncan in St. Louis Monday
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will be in St. Louis on Monday to highlight efforts to turn
around low-performing schools.

Duncan will visit Vashon High School, which is receiving funding under the Department of Education's School
Improvement grant program. He'll also highlight the importance of graduating from high school and attaining
postsecondary education.

While in St. Louis, Duncan will also be among those inducted into the Academic All-America Hall of Fame during
the College Sports Information Directors of America's annual conference. Duncan was co-captain of Harvard's
basketball team in 1986-87.
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Jun 23, 1:05 PM EDT



Education officials urge veto for Mo. school bill
By CHRIS BLANK
Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Many Missouri superintendents, principals and other education officials are urging
Gov. Jay Nixon to veto legislation that would allow some students who face lengthy bus rides to switch districts
and attend classes closer to home.

Under legislation sitting on Nixon's desk, families in several eastern and central Missouri communities could
enroll their children in a different district if they live at least 17 miles from the school they are supposed to
attend and another district is at least 7 miles closer. Parents would need to request the school transfer, and it
could be rejected if classrooms already are full.

State education officials currently can assign students to a different school district when there are transportation
challenges, such as a one-way trip of more than 75 minutes.

The legislation would affect just the St. Albans, St. Elizabeth and Gravois Mills areas. However, interest in what
happens is far broader.

The governor's office has received about 200 emails, letters and online messages urging Nixon to sign or veto the
legislation. In a batch of about 150 messages provided to The Associated Press under an open records request,
most of the writers encouraged the governor to reject the bill.

Nixon has until July 14 to sign or veto the measure; if no action is taken, the bill would take effect automatically.
The governor's office said it is reviewing the legislation.

In the meantime, administrators and school workers in districts from Stanberry in northwestern Missouri to
Zalma in the southeast sent the governor's office numerous emails and letters from May 18 through June 6 that
call for the bill to be vetoed. Among those to speak up were leaders in the Washington School District and the
neighboring Rockwood School District, which each could be directly affected by the legislation.

Critics said the bill could face constitutional problems by affecting just a few areas and by creating an unfunded
mandate for some local districts. Others called it "vague" and suggested the measure could create an incentive
for people to move into the fringes of a district with low property taxes while enrolling their children in a
neighboring school.

The Missouri Association of Rural Education said in a letter to Nixon that "this bill might be the first of several
moves to not only provide an `open enrollment' option but ultimately the forced consolidation of many of the
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very successful rural Missouri school districts." A state school administrators group urged officials to contact the
governor's office.

"We thought that was a bill that was not good for the current time," Missouri Association of Rural Education
Executive Director Ray Patrick in an interview.

Many of the letters and emails imploring Nixon to sign the school transportation legislation came from the
parents and people living in those areas that would be directly affected by the change. Several people from St.
Albans in northeastern Franklin County sent messages that described the transportation challenges they have
faced.

Parents said lengthy bus rides can take a toll on children and make participating in school sports and other
activities difficult. They argued that signing the bill is in the best interest of children.

"This bill will make it possible for families like mine to allow their children to participate in extracurricular
activities and to receive help from teachers before or after school if needed without requiring a one-hour round
trip drive by parents," Cory Kraft wrote in a letter to Nixon. Kraft this year had two children attending classes in
another school district and two who were enrolled in a private school.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has received roughly 50 requests for
transportation hardships since 2002. About a half-dozen have been approved.

Kraft, one of the leading supporters of the legislation, said opposition from people involved in education has
been frustrating and hypocritical. He pointed to policies that allow school districts to enroll the children of
teachers and school workers who live outside district boundaries and to be counted as resident students.

"The average person, those of us that pay for all this stuff, nobody is against this," Kraft said. "It's the
establishment, and you have to ask the question: Why is the establishment against this?"

---

School transportation bill is HB1789
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Jun 23, 1:17 PM EDT




Charter school bill would boost oversight
By HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH
Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Chaotic closures, low test scores and financial struggles have dogged the charter school
movement in Missouri.

Now, legislation under consideration by Gov. Jay Nixon seeks to end to those problems with more supervision of
the publicly funded but independently run schools.

Charter backers are supporting the increased reporting requirements and other efforts to improve oversight,
which are paired with provisions to allow the schools to expand to new areas of the state.

Currently, charter schools are permitted only in Kansas City and St. Louis. And sponsors - generally universities -
are responsible for periodically reviewing the charter schools they oversee.

The new law would allow charters in more school systems, including all unaccredited districts and those districts
that have been designated as provisionally accredited for three straight academic years starting this fall. Charter
schools also could be established in accredited school districts, but only if the local school board wants to
sponsor them. Plus, new entities, including private vocational and technical schools, could serve as sponsors.

"I think the big story is that this legislation will give parents in more areas of the state a public education option,"
said Earl Simms, spokesman for the Missouri Charter Public School Association. "But it also will hold the current
and future charter schools accountable."

Since charter schools first began operating more than a decade ago in Missouri, some have been so successful
that their test scores regularly exceed state averages, leading to waiting lists. But there also have been a range of
other problems: One school filed for bankruptcy, another spent a year in a building without a school occupancy
permit, and at least two members of charter boards have been indicted for embezzlement. There have been
several messy closures, including one in which school officials asked for donations to help pay teachers who
otherwise could lose three months of income.

As early as 2004, an audit found that Missouri's charter schools lack aggressive fiscal and educational oversight
by their sponsors and the state. Then in February 2011, a national watchdog group concluded in a report
commissioned by Kansas City's Kauffman Foundation that most charter schools in Missouri weren't meeting state
proficiency standards and lack both adequate state funding and monitoring.
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Because of the concerns, Nixon called for "a comprehensive charter school accountability bill" during his State of
the State address in January.

Even without legislation, the state and charter sponsors had been taking steps to shutter schools deemed
underperforming. This year alone, about 5,000 students have been displaced as a record number of Missouri
charter schools close. Most - about 3,500 in St. Louis and 1,100 in Kansas City - attended charters run by Virginia-
based management company Imagine Schools Inc.

The state faulted St. Louis' Imagine-run schools for spending too much on administration and not enough on
instruction. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has reported that the schools were entangled in complex real
estate deals that resulted in high rent payments while classrooms lacked basics such as textbooks. Across the
state, the sponsor of Kansas City's Imagine-run school raised concerns about management problems and low
student achievement.

Imagine has defended itself, saying it even wrote off debt to help improve the finances of some of the closing
schools. But the whole situation has left state officials looking for ways to avoid a similar situation. To that end,
the law would require more disclosure about contracts with school management companies. Entities wanting to
manage Missouri charter schools would be required to provide more information about issues that have arisen in
other states.

To make closing schools less turbulent, a plan for closure would be required before a charter school could open.
Sponsors also would do more to oversee schools finances and would need to develop a performance framework
to evaluate schools and intervene when necessary.

The Missouri State Board of Education would evaluate sponsors every three years and notify those not
complying. If a charter school sponsor does not address problems, state education officials would conduct a
public hearing and recommend corrective action.

Nixon has said the bill contains some "important and significant steps forward" in accountability for charter
schools. He also added last month that he will review the bill "very, very carefully" before deciding whether to
sign it.

Nixon received about three dozen online messages, letters and emails about the charter school legislation from
May 18 to June 6. There was an even split between those calling for him to veto the bill and support it, according
to documents obtained through an open-records request from The Associated Press.

In urging Nixon to pass the bill, Amber Simpson of St. Louis wrote that recent charter school closures send the
message "that those schools that cannot deliver on the promise of quality education will cease to exist."

"Yet," she added, "there are other wonderful charter schools in STL/KC that are doing an excellent job serving
our students and families in most need and who want public options. All Missourians deserve to have that option
along with traditional public schools."
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But another Missourian, Elizabeth Cassmeyer of St. Louis, questioned: "How can we consider expanding charter
schools in the state of Missouri without clear evidence that those schools are doing what they purport to do?"
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No-title car sales prompt lawsuits
BY LISA BROWN • | Posted: Sunday, June 24, 2012 12:15 am


After saving up $800 for a down payment, Tierra Thomas bought a 2002 Pontiac Bonneville at a car dealership
last summer to get to work — but never received the title after the sale.

Now the beige car sits idle in a parking lot near her Florissant home after she received numerous tickets for not
having proper registration.

“I’ve had to rent cars or borrow friends’ cars to get to work,” the 25-year-old said. “It’s been difficult.”

Thomas is one of several customers suing the shuttered Auto Credit Mart LLC in north St. Louis County for selling
cars without turning over the title.

Eleven customers Auto Credit Mart who bought used cars last summer are now headed to court to void the
sales, and more suits are expected to be filed.

The customers paid Auto Credit Mart in Breckenridge Hills hundreds of dollars for down payments but didn’t
receive the titles, according to lawsuits filed earlier this month in St. Louis County Circuit Court.

To make matters worse, the financing company used by the dealership is pressing the customers to make their
car payments — even though the vehicles can’t be driven legally.

The dealership, formerly located at 9440 St. Charles Rock Road, registered its business with the state in 2009 and
is no longer in open.

Cornell Caster of Glasgow Village, who bought a white 2004 Ford Mustang from Auto Credit Mart last year, also
alleges the dealership failed to turn over the title.

He says he lodged a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General’s office and plans to file his own lawsuit soon
against the dealer.

“We were paying for a car that we couldn’t drive for eight months,” Caster said.

Rob Swearingen, an attorney at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri who is representing Thomas, Caster and other
customers, said because Missouri law requires those selling a car to transfer the title to the purchaser, the sales
never finalized. Legal Services of Eastern Missouri is a nonprofit that provides free legal representation to low
income individuals and families.

Swearingen cautions consumers to be wary when a dealership delays transferring the title or offers excuses
about when they’ll receive their title.
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“The statute says any attempt to sell a car without providing a title is null and fraudulent,” he said.

Swearingen said he believes Auto Credit Mart failed to obtain the car titles that were on its lot before selling the
vehicles to customers.

“Auto Credit Mart pocketed all of the down payments and didn’t get the titles from the financing company it was
using,” Swearingen said. “This was an incredible nightmare for these people,” he said.

The dealership’s owners, Joby Schraier and Heather Schraier, are also listed as defendants in the lawsuits. Efforts
to reach them for comment were unsuccessful.

Many of the customers’ contracts were later sold to Western Funding Inc., a finance company that’s also named
as a defendant in the lawsuits. Even after the customers notified Western Funding that they never received titles,
Western Funding continued to seek payment from the customers, according to the lawsuits.

“Western Funding has aggressively been collecting on these contracts despite the fact that the people didn’t
have the titles,” Swearingen said. Calls to Western Funding, which is based in Las Vegas, were not returned.

Western Funding has branch offices in Albuquerque, Dallas, Houston, Miami and Nashville, according to its
website and specializes in sub-prime installment loans.

Nanci Gonder, a spokeswoman for the Missouri General’s office, said an investigation of the dealership is under
way.

“We received a number of complaints and we are investigating,” she said.

Customers who bought a car but failed to receive a title should contact the Missouri Attorney General’s office at
(800) 392-8222 or online at ago.mo.gov, Gonder said.
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Missouri slips from political bellwether status this fall
By Deirdre Shesgreen, Gannett Washington Bureau: June 25, 2012



Missouri has been a bellwether state for more than 100 years, with presidential candidates lavishing attention on
Show-Me State voters and spending millions on field operations, glossy campaign mailers, and TV ads. But this
election? Not so much.

This year, Missouri isn't on the list of top swing states — those vote-rich battlegrounds that political experts and
campaign strategists say will determine who wins the White House on Nov. 6. Most political handicappers
instead have Missouri in the "leans Republican" column.

So even though Barack Obama lost Missouri by fewer than 4,000 votes in 2008, the president's re-election
campaign isn't expected to make a major investment in Missouri this time around. And Mitt Romney probably
won't be tromping through the state for a bevy of big rallies or small meet-and-greets, either.

"We used to look to Missouri," said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. "We
don't anymore."

Has Missouri really lost its swing-state status? And is there any chance it can get back in the game?

There's no question that other states, such as Virginia, Nevada, and Colorado, have bumped Missouri aside as an
electoral battleground, because of demographic changes and political shifts within their borders. Virginia, for
example, has seen a spike in affluent and politically moderate residents, particularly in the suburbs at its
northern tip, outside Washington. And Colorado and Nevada have seen increases in their Hispanic populations,
giving those Western states a purple hue.

Recent TV ad spending, tracked by Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group, illustrates just how far off
the political screen Missouri has fallen. From April 10 to May 29, ad spending clocked in at $8.4 million in Ohio;
$4.3 million in Virginia; and almost $4.1 million in Pennsylvania. Down the list were Nevada, North Carolina,
Iowa, and Florida.

"Missouri is not on the presidential TV radar screen right now," said Elizabeth Wilner, who conducted the
analysis and is vice president at CMAG.

Wilner said to the extent some Missourians in the northern part of the state are seeing presidential ads, it's
"spillover" meant to influence voters in Iowa. That stands in sharp contrast to previous presidential contests,
when Missouri airwaves were swamped with presidential TV spots early in the election season.
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Wilner said the "issues menu" in this election, such as ballooning deficits and opposition to Obama's health care
law, make Missouri a tough state for Democrats.

Others echoed that assessment, saying Missouri hasn't undergone any major demographic changes, but has seen
a few subtle political shifts.

"I don't think anything drastic has happened in Missouri," said Richard Martin, who ran Sen. Claire McCaskill's
2006 Senate race and was the state director for Bill Clinton's re-election campaign in 1996.

"Clearly it's slightly more right-of-center today than it has been over the past 20 years," he said. "More and more
Missourians who are concerned about their own balance sheet are also concerned with the country's balance
sheet, and that just tends to shift voters" rightward.

Still, Martin and others say Missouri will hardly be a rout for Democrats this election. Martin noted that several
statewide Democratic candidates, including incumbent Gov. Jay Nixon, are expected to win in November.

And Missouri's U.S. Senate contest is in the "toss-up" column on most political pundits' lists.

Some political experts even say that Obama and Romney's advisers are making a mistake in bypassing Missouri,
arguing the outcome on election night could be a nail-biter. Polls taken so far, on average, give Romney only a 3
percentage-point edge, according to Real Clear Politics, a website that tracks elections and polls.

"Missouri is probably more competitive than a lot of the pundits think," said Peverill Squire, a political science
professor at the University of Missouri. "The electorate that shows up in 2012 won't be very different from the
electorate that showed up in 2008."

In that election, Obama and Republican nominee John McCain competed fiercely for Missouri, and the Arizona
senator eked out a win with only 49.4 percent of the vote, to Obama's 49.2 percent.

That was only the second time since 1904 that Missouri voters have picked the losing presidential candidate.
Then, the 2010 elections gave Republicans additional fodder for their argument that Missouri was turning into a
red state.

That year, Republican Vicky Hartzler ousted Rep. Ike Skelton, a 17-term incumbent Democrat. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.,
trounced his Democratic opponent, Robin Carnahan, in the U.S. Senate contest, defying early predictions of a
cliffhanger with a 13 percentage-point margin on election night. And GOP legislators increased their majorities in
the General Assembly.

"When you look at the 2010 elections, there wasn't a lot for Democrats to be happy about," said Squire. But the
perception that Missouri has turned definitively red is overblown, he and others said.

"It's not that Missouri is a tremendously Republican state," said Jeff Roe, a Missouri-based GOP political
consultant who worked for Rick Perry's presidential campaign this election and Mike Huckabee's in 2008.
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Missouri's diminished role in this election is due to the unique dynamics of the looming Obama-Romney
showdown, not to any long-lasting trend, he said.

For example, Roe noted that Obama has a better chance of winning North Carolina than Missouri, in part
because 21 percent of North Carolina's 9.5 million residents are black, compared to 11 percent of Missouri's 5.9
million residents. "If he can energize his base in North Carolina, he can get a better performance than he can by
doing the same thing in Missouri," he said.

Plus, Obama's 2012 campaign strategy logically begins with the states he won in 2008 — not the ones he lost,
even if by the slimmest of margins.

"Obama can't afford to spend any time in a state that he didn't win last time, so that alone takes Missouri off the
map," said Roe.

But a different Democratic candidate running in a different year could easily put the state back in play, Roe
added.

Martin agreed. "I think (Obama's advisers) have figured out an electoral strategy where they don't need"
Missouri to win, he said. Like Squire, Martin said there's even a slim chance that Missouri might emerge as a
battleground state late in this election season.

But if not this election, the Show-Me State will be back in the political spotlight eventually. "We've seen this
pendulum swing before, and we've seen it swing right back one cycle or two later," Martin said.
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Jun 24, 10:53 AM EDT




Compromise put to the test on Mo. Senate race
By DAVID A. LIEB
Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Standing in front of about 100 supporters seated on the folding chairs of a
Teamsters union hall, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill recently laid out the centerpiece of her re-election strategy in
Missouri. It was prefaced with a warning of sorts.

"There are some of you who won't like me to say this," McCaskill told the Democratic loyalists. "But ... I'm a
moderate. I believe in compromise."

"Compromise" is not a word regularly uttered by McCaskill's three leading Republican opponents - U.S. Rep.
Todd Akin, former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and businessman John Brunner. When it is spoken, it is not
generally in favorable terms. Instead, some of the Republicans have been emphasizing their commitment to
stand firm for conservative values - essentially mounting a no-compromise campaign.

The contrasting messages could provide an interesting choice for voters in the November election. Do you prefer
principle over pragmatism? Or results over resolve?

There are a variety of reasons for the differing rhetoric coming from the Democratic incumbent and her
Republican challengers.

One factor may be the current stage of the 2012 campaign season. In a primary, candidates must appeal to the
party faithful, who tend to be more conservative (for Republicans) or more liberal (for Democrats) than the
population as a whole. After winning a primary, candidates often move toward the center to pick up votes from
independents.

Because McCaskill has no Democratic opposition in the Aug. 7 primary, she can afford to take a more centrist
approach far earlier in the campaign.

Another factor in candidates' contrasting approaches may be the state's political tendencies. Although Missouri
has a history as a swing state, voters in the Show-Me State also have earned a reputation of being a little more
conservative than residents on the East and West coasts. And although Democrats currently hold most of
Missouri's statewide executive offices, many political scientists say the state has increasingly leaned toward
Republicans - citing, among other things, the inability of President Barack Obama to win Missouri in 2008 despite
easily carrying the national vote.
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"A Democrat winning statewide in Missouri has to say that he or she will work with Republicans, because there
are more Republicans than Democrats in the state among the voters," said David Kimball, an associate professor
of political science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

So perhaps it's not surprising that McCaskill told the crowd at the Springfield union hall: "I don't dislike my
Republican colleagues. I work with them."

In that regard, the ability to compromise is a matter of political survival for McCaskill.

Yet McCaskill is not the only one espousing compromise as a virtue.

Former Republican Sen. John Danforth, who represented Missouri in Washington for 18 years, recently delivered
a speech in St. Louis declaring that "government is broken" because of the uncompromising nature of partisan
politics. Danforth called for everyone to give a little, suggesting Republicans should consent to a tax increase and
Democrats should concede to substantial changes in entitlement programs.

Brunner has said he's willing to work with anyone in Washington, so long as they are willing to work with him and
- ideally - follow his lead.

"People have been trying to compromise in Washington, D.C., for years and nothing gets done," said Brunner
spokesman Todd Abrajano. But "when somebody takes a principled leadership stance, other people have a
tendency to follow."

During his dozen years in Congress, Akin has co-sponsored some bills with Democrats. But during a speech to the
Missouri Republican State Convention, he highlighted some high-profile instances when he refused to
compromise - touting his opposition to the federal No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 and what he dubbed the
"Wall Street bailout" bill in 2008.

"What we think the people of Missouri want is someone who is going to stand strong on those conservative
principles," said Akin spokesman Ryan Hite. He added: "It's really not popular right now to go around and say,
`We want to compromise with the Democrats.' That's what (House Speaker John) Boehner's done, and it hasn't
gotten us anywhere."

Conservative websites have been circulating a fundraising email sent by Steelman in which she declares: "I'm a
no-compromise conservative woman."

"Compromise has become, to a lot of people, selling out or giving in," said Steelman spokesman Patrick Tuohey.
He added: "People want to draw a line, and they want to be confident that their candidate gets to Washington
and doesn't fall prey to the leadership that say, `Hey, we need your vote on this one.'"

Associate Professor Mitchell McKinney, who teaches courses on political communication at the University of
Missouri-Columbia, views the Republicans' reluctance to embrace compromise as an extension of the tea-party
inspired, anti-government sentiment that propelled Republican victories in the 2010 elections. Yet McKinney said
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there also is an emerging theme among other candidates trying to tap into the public's desire for politicians to
work together on difficult problems.

Which sentiment is stronger? That's what voters will decide.
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Mo. statewide candidates rally base at annual dinner
June 25, 2012 | Filed under: Politics,Subscribers | Posted by: Eli Yokley


ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Democrats rallied in St. Louis over the weekend at the state party’s annual Jefferson Jackson
dinner. The dinner drew some of the party’s top donors, activists, and candidates.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, running in one of the most challenging races for the party this cycle, gave a fiery
speech to supporters, stressing her campaign’s theme against outside campaign money and “extreme” political
views.

“I watch them in this primary and I just shake my head,” said McCaskill, commenting on the three way
Republican primary. “They want to march to the far right wing as they possibly can.”

McCaskill, who is essentially tied with her three rivals according to most public polling, said her campaign — in
the process of launching a massive coordinated field operation — might surprise some national observers.

“The pundits say Missouri is a tough state for Democrats,” McCaskill said. “They don’t know how damn tough
Democrats are in Missouri.”

Gov. Jay Nixon, who followed McCaskill on stage, lauded McCaskill’s work in the Senate, and urged party faithful
to line up behind her campaign.

“Clearly and simply — you have be an independent voice on the side of Missouri families,” Nixon said. “We all
pledge to you we are going to do everything within our physical power to make sure you remain our senior
Senator.”

On one hand, Nixon — constrained politically by a Republican controlled General Assembly — stresses the things
he has stopped during his tenure as governor. Nixon pointed to his efforts to block cuts to blind health insurance,
voter ID, and legislation that would change discrimination rules.

On the other hand, Nixon is highlighting work he supported in the legislature to balance the budget, expand
health care, and find agreement on some controversial proposals.

Without “fighting and fingerprinting,” Nixon said. “We’re moving forward, but we’re not going to stop now.”

The dinner, which took place Friday night in downtown St. Louis, wraps up the spring Democratic dinner circuit,
as the candidates continue to engage their base ahead of the August 7 primary. State Treasurer Clint Zweifel,
Attorney General Chris Koster, and outgoing Secretary of State Robin Carnahan also spoke.

On the other side of the state, Republican activists participated in their final Lincoln Day Dinner of the year in
Clay County.
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Columbia advocate shares transgender experience with U.S.
Senate
Monday, June 25, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:40 a.m. CDT, Monday, June 25, 2012

BY Teresa Avila

COLUMBIA — You could have heard a pin drop.

That's how Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, described the atmosphere
as Kylar Broadus testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on June
12.

Broadus spoke in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit workplace
discrimination based on sexual and gender orientation. The House of Representatives has had hearings, but this
was the first full hearing the act has seen from the Senate.

In the process, Broadus made history by being the first openly transgender person to speak before the U.S.
Senate. He shared his experience with workplace discrimination: How he'd been dismissed from his job in the
1990s when he officially transitioned from a woman to a man.

"You could see it had a powerful effect," said Minter, a San Francisco lawyer who has been Broadus' friend for
about 15 years and was seated behind him as his "support person." "I think it was more emotional than he
expected it to be."

Having Broadus speak changed the chemistry of the hearing, Minter said. He said he thinks that now there will be
no question that transgender people — who make up about 0.3 percent of the U.S. adult population, according
to a study by the University of California-Los Angeles — will be included in the Employment Non-Discrimination
Act.

The inclusion of transgender people was not always a sure thing. The original act, introduced to Congress in
1994, referred to discrimination based only on sexual orientation. In 1995, activists began work to prohibit
discrimination based on gender identity as well.

"Transgender people would not be in the bill if not for Kylar," Minter said, referring to Broadus' legal work with
the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for the past 12 years.

Broadus, who earned his law degree from MU in 1988 and still lives in Columbia, has been on the Employment
Non-Discrimination Act drafting committee, has lobbied for it in Congress and now has come full circle by
testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
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The act has been introduced in all but one congressional session since 1994. Although Broadus sees no chance
for the bill to pass this session, he still counts its appearance in a full hearing before the Senate as a victory.

He said he believes the act can pass during the next session if President Barack Obama stays in office. Obama's
administration has indicated that the president would sign the bill if it reaches his desk, he said.

"If you asked me this three years ago, whether we'd get this passed in my life time, I'd have probably said no,"
Broadus said.

Importance of family

Broadus sat in his home office in Columbia, dubbed "The War Room," after the week spent in Washington, D.C.
On his wall hangs a framed newspaper photo of the Negro Baseball League. He found it after his father passed
away.

"I always try to make people pick out my father in the photo," Broadus said, taking the frame down and setting it
on his desk. Everybody gets it eventually, he said.

"Bingo," he said when William Broadus, standing in the second row, second from the left, was pointed out. "I've
looked like him since the day I popped out."

Broadus' parents experienced the Civil Rights movement, and were the descendants of slaves, he said. He
described how they taught him the value of working hard and being proud of who he was. They also taught him
the realities of being black in the U.S.

"My dad was a World War II veteran, but couldn't utilize his GI benefits because he was a black man," Broadus
said. He described his father as "the best man in the world," who would often have to enter gas stations and rest
stops through a back door when he drove trucks.

Family made him who he is, Broadus said. When he officially transitioned, he described his family and extended
family as loving and supportive throughout.

Although his father is deceased, Broadus' mother still lives in his hometown of Fayette. Every evening, Broadus
drives to his mother's house and tends to her needs. He drives back to Columbia in the morning.

He might then make his way to Lincoln University in Jefferson City around midday, where he's a professor of
business law. He might also do his work as an activist, with various organizations in which he's involved. In the
evening, he returns to Fayette.

"I love working until one or two in the morning, and then I'll go to bed and get up at six or seven to start again,"
he said.
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Broadus' work is hardly centralized. He works in statehouses to work on legislation and as a consultant to people
navigating employment discrimination issues. He works in training services, lobbying and advocacy. When he
needs money, he takes legal cases.

Many times, he's accepted cases involving gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people because no one else will
take them. Broadus might also act as a consultant to such cases. He's done plenty of pro bono work, he said.

"If you follow me around, I work a bazillion hours a day, I'm always multitasking and usually I'm in a plane, train
or automobile doing something," Broadus said.

Official transition

When Broadus began his work with a financial institution in the 1990s, he didn't plan to lead the life of an
activist. Broadus described himself as an introvert who was fully invested in his work and trying to fit in.

"I've looked masculine my whole life," Broadus said. He described how he would dress as a woman and "look like
an ugly drag queen."

"I have nothing against drag queens," he said. "But I wasn't a pretty one."

Bathrooms and changing rooms presented a problem, because people consistently presumed he was male.
People often expressed confusion at his old name, before he changed it to Kylar, and asked why his parents had
given a man such a feminine name. He asked that the name not be included here.

"I lived my life outside of work full-time pretty much as a man," Broadus said. "That was how people related to
me." He described how it became incongruent to continue to present himself as a woman at work.

The dichotomy also was heavily taxing his emotional and mental well-being. He described how his inability to
bring his full self to work made him "an unhappy person."

"I literally had to decide, do I want to live or do I want to die?" he said.

Broadus decided to make an official transition a few years after joining the financial institution. Because the
company had been tolerant of gay people, he assumed he would receive similar acceptance. He began to shift
gradually, then hit a wall.

Broadus described a sudden, clear push by the company to "get rid of him" that shocked him. He was eventually
pushed out via a "constructive discharge."

He said he still has reviews in his garage from the company that identified him as an "exemplary" and
"outstanding" worker.

When Broadus tried to find legal help, he found no lawyers who would work with him, despite the fact that he
was an attorney. Furthermore, he found there were no laws that could protect him from the discrimination.
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Broadus has yet to recover financially, he said.

"I think he credits his parents for that value of not giving up," Minter said.

Persistence has been needed as Broadus has built his career back up.

"I'm not employable in mid-Missouri," Broadus said. "I can put in resumes galore and I'm not going to get hired,
and it's simply because I'm a transgender man and because I'm out."

Accidental activist

Over the years, Broadus has said repeatedly that he's not a crusader. He instead said the voice was needed and
the work needed to get done. In reality, he'd prefer not to be married to the cause.

"I ended up becoming an accidental activist," Broadus said. "When I tried to show the world who I really was so I
could be a complete human being and live productively in society, then I was propelled into this because there
were no laws. There was no protection."

He described how his involvement in activism became more and more prominent. His legal knowledge and the
fact that he was black and out as a transgender man put him in demand with several activist organizations, such
as the National Black Justice Coalition, of which he's a board member.

He's worked for lesbian, gay and bisexual rights, as well as the rights of transgender people, throughout the
years.

Minter met Broadus about 15 years ago, when Broadus was working on a custody case on behalf of a lesbian
mother. He called the National Center for Lesbian Rights for information, and got in contact with Minter. They
got to know one another better later on through transgender legal conferences.

Since then, they have worked on numerous cases together. They began the Transgender Law and Policy Institute
12 years ago to provide information and assistance to lawyers, legislators and policy makers.

They also developed a strong friendship, partially based on their similar childhoods in rural areas and love of
country music. In January, they took a road trip to see Glen Campbell in concert.

"I really respect him," Minter said. "He has a great ability to understand others' perspectives and weaknesses and
deal with them in a compassionate way."

Broadus established the Trans People of Color Coalition in 2010 to narrow his focus and address the specific
issues that face people of color who are transgender.

"As I worked in the gay movement, I saw the stratification," Broadus said to explain why he founded the
coalition.
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He described how at activist meetings, he'd often be the only person of color in the room and would be the last
one called on to give input. It doesn't help that in the past, some in the gay, lesbian and bisexual community have
resisted the idea of transgender people joining their movement, he said.

Transgender people of color feel like they're invisible and have no one to advocate for them, Broadus said.
There's often magnified discrimination based on race as well as gender identity.

Broadus cited results from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey showing that most transgender
people of color have an average annual salary of $10,000. This forces many into underground efforts to find
money, further alienating them from society.

Broadus' advocacy work, and his legal expertise, have made him a widely-respected figure both in the
transgender community as well as the larger gay, lesbian and bisexual community. Be it for his students at
Lincoln University or the people he meets with his work, Broadus said he likes to find people where they are and
catapult them forward.

"It catapults me as well," he said.

Next steps

The appearance of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act before the Senate is an indication that policy and
attitude toward transgender people is shifting.

Broadus described an email he received from a young lawyer on the day of the hearing, thanking him for his
work. The young lawyer had made an official transition while in law school and, as a transgender man, had found
a job. His career, unlike Broadus', could continue uninterrupted.

Broadus also spoke of how many of the students he's taught are now lawyers and legislators who recall him
more as their undergraduate professor and less as a transgender man. It's not his defining characteristic to them.

Minter, himself a transgender man who transitioned in the mid-1990s, went to Broadus for support and
information on the process. He said that Broadus has acted as a role model for many transgender people,
speaking with them and helping them to find jobs.

"He showed me it's possible to be a transgender man," Minter said.

In May, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that the federal sex discrimination law protects
people who are discriminated against because they're transgender. Although courts are not required to follow
the ruling, it represents another step toward equality for transgender people in the workplace, Broadus said.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.
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AG candidate Ed Martin named to head GOP 'Victory'
campaign
BY KEVIN McDERMOTT > kmcdermott@post-dispatch.com | Posted: Sunday, June 24, 2012 4:48 pm


Ed Martin, Republican candidate for Missouri attorney general, is being named chairman of the "Missouri Victory
2012 Campaign," the Republican party’s ballot-wide get-out-the-vote effort.

Martin will be named to the post Monday by the Missouri Republican Party and Republican National Committee,
party officials said Sunday.

The announcement formalizes the party’s support for Martin in his Republican primary contest against Livingston
County prosecutor Adam Warren. The winner of the Aug. 7 primary will challenge Democratic Attorney General
Chris Koster in the November general election.

“Ed Martin is focused, energetic, and committed to everything he does,” David Cole, chairman of the Missouri
Republican Party, said in a written statement. “He is exactly the kind of leader Republicans need in Missouri
during this crucial election year.”

Martin was chief of staff for ex-Gov. Matt Blunt. He narrowly lost his congressional challenge to U.S. Rep. Russ
Carnahan, D-St. Louis, two years ago.

The Republican Party on Monday also will name as Victory 2012 co-chairs Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder; Auditor Tom
Schweich; and U.S. reps. Jo Ann Emerson, Sam Graves, Vicky Hartzler, Billy Long and Blaine Luetkemeyer. Sen.
Roy Blunt, R-Mo., is the honorary chairman.
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Texas Gov. Rick Perry to stump for Ed Martin on Friday in
Cape
Monday, June 25, 2012
By Scott Moyers ~ Southeast Missourian

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the former presidential candidate and favorite of the tea party movement, will be in Cape
Girardeau on Friday to try to persuade voters that Ed Martin should be Missouri's next attorney general.

On Sunday, Martin, a Republican, said that he chose Cape Girardeau because its residents tend to have core,
conservative values that align with both his and Perry's, who has been governor of the Lone Star State since 2000
and ran for the Republican nomination for president in late 2011 and early 2012. Since Martin announced his
candidacy against Attorney General Chris Koster, he has made several campaign visits to Cape Girardeau.

"It's no coincidence we're coming to Southeast Missouri," Martin said. "When we win, we have to win because
voters see not the R or the D, but because we're conservative and there's a real understanding of the rule of law.
If you can make your case to the people there, you can win across the state."

The rally will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Arena Building, 410 Kiwanis Drive. The event is free and open to the
public, but a ticket is required to enter. Tickets can be obtained by calling Martin's campaign headquarters at
314-256-1776.

Cape Girardeau County GOP chairman Evan Trump said his organization will volunteer for the event, whether by
distributing tickets or serving as door greeters. Getting Perry to attend a rally for Martin is a real coup for the
campaign, Trump said.

"Ed Martin's already doing really well in the campaign so far," Trump said. "I think this is just going to solidify him
for those who are on the fence. Rick Perry sees the kind of person Ed Martin is and knows he's the kind of person
we need running against Chris Koster."

Before he gets that chance, Martin will have to beat fellow Republican Adam Lee Warren of Chillicothe, Mo.
Martin has the fundraising edge in the Aug. 7 Republican primary, with $300,000 as of the April campaign filing,
compared to Warren's $10,000. On Sunday, Martin said his campaign will have raised nearly a quarter-million
dollars by the end of this quarter, but that's still far less than Koster's $2 million campaign chest. The general
election is Nov. 6.

But Martin dismissed that disadvantage, saying that Koster's money comes from trial lawyers who want state
business and from unions.

"Money is not always a sign of corruption, but it is often a leading indicator," Martin said. "With Chris Koster, it is
an indicator of pure pay to play. That will make it such a better story when we win."
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U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, said she was also pleased Perry will be here this week. She
described him as a "true conservative" and an "energetic spokesman" for the party.

"He and Ed make a great team, and they both represent the ideals of our Republican Party very well," she said.

Martin said that the Perry event should be a big boost to his campaign.

"Governor Perry is a great patriot and a conservative fighter," said Martin, a St. Louis lawyer. He "believes in the
American values of freedom and liberty that made the USA the greatest nation in history. He knows what it will
take to stand up and defeat big-government outrages such as Obama-Care."
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Jun 25, 5:01 AM EDT




Mo. court hearing challenge to ballot initiatives
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Missouri Supreme Court is hearing arguments that could determine if voters will
decide this November whether to raise the minimum wage, increase tobacco taxes and limit interest rates on
payday loans.

Among the issues before the high court Monday is whether the state auditor has the legal authority to prepare
financial estimates for ballot initiatives. Cole County judges have issued conflicting rulings on the matter.

If the financial estimates are struck down, that could potentially invalidate all the signatures collected on
petitions printed with the financial summaries.

Supporters of the tobacco tax, minimum wage and payday loan measures already have submitted signatures to
the secretary of state's office. Election officials have until Aug. 7 to determine whether the measures qualify for
the November ballot.
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Early Head Start Program cuts leave low-income parents
stuck with daycare bill
by Stephanie Claytor
Posted: 06.23.2012 at 11:02 PM


KIRKSVILLE, MO. -- Missouri lawmakers have cut millions of dollars from the state's early head start programs,
which pays for daycare for children of low-income parents. The budget cuts leave these parents scrambling,
trying to figure out how to pay for daycare for the month of July.

Bright Beginnings Infant Toddler Center in Kirksville is one of the day care's affected. It has 24 kids that are
enrolled in the Early Head Start Program. Right now, they will not be able to attend daycare in July because their
parents can't afford to pay for it.

In an attempt to defeat the budget crisis, the parents and staff hosted a Spaghetti Supper Fundraiser and Silent
Auction Saturday evening, in hopes of raising the more than $12,000 needed to pay for the kids' daycare costs
for July.

The parents said they are in dire need of the early head start funding.

"It's very important that we raise enough money because a lot of us don't have any alternate family around here
or anything," said Megan Brawner, a single mom whose daughter is enrolled in the Early Head Start Program. "A
lot of us work and go to school and a lot of us are single parents so we don't have the resources that other
people may have."

"We are hoping that we'll be able to get those donations tonight so that she has a place to go so that we can
work and provide for her," said Danny Dees, whose three month old daughter is also enrolled in the Early Head
Start Program.

Jamison Street Early Head Start and the Early Childhood Learning Center affiliated with the Kirksville R-III School
District are also facing the same cuts to their Early Head Start Programs.

"Early Head Start is working towards finding funding, federal and state money," said Tiffany Miller, Director of
Bright Beginnings Infant Toddler Center. "They're waiting on other grants and other things to come in to see if
they'll have money to start up again in August. So in August, they will have some money. We just don't know how
much money they will have . We're hoping they'll be able to fund most of the 70 spots. At this time, that's
unknown."

Miller said Bright Beginnings will have to lay off some of its staff as well, if they do not raise enough money.
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Jun 25, 5:01 AM EDT




Mo. bill creates tax credit aiding disabled
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missourians soon could get a tax break for donating to facilities that provide care to
the developmentally disabled.

Gov. Jay Nixon was signing legislation Monday creating a tax credit equal to half the value of cash, stocks, bonds
or real estate donated to certain entities that provide care to Missouri residents with developmental disabilities.

The proposal is not expected to affect the state's finances, because the organizations receiving the donations
have to pay the state an amount equal to the tax credit. But supporters hope the measure will help spur
contributions.

Nixon also was signing bills Monday addressing education and health care for foster children.
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MISSOURINET

Governor Nixon announces cuts to FY 2013 budget
June 22, 2012 By Mike Lear

Governor Jay Nixon says the budget approved by the Missouri legislature is more than $50 million out of balance,
and he took today what he says is the first step toward righting it.

The Governor announced about $15 million dollars in restrictions. The largest is a one percent across-the-board
cut to the state’s higher education institutions totaling 8.48 million dollars.

Nixon cites three factors that he says throw the legislature’s budget off-balance: it counts on $35 million increase
in lottery proceeds beyond the projections of the State Lottery Commission, it reduces funding for disaster
recovery expenses by $11 million below projections, and three pieces of legislature that haven’t yet been acted
on could reduce state revenue by $12.5 million.

Some lawmakers said the Governor’s office had agreed to the lottery projection used in the budget, but Nixon
today called it a “rosy projection.”

The Governor said the proposed cuts to disaster funding come “at a time when the state must pay actual
obligations and invoices for recovery efforts already performed in Joplin and other hard-hit areas.”

The three pieces of legislation Nixon refers to are Senate Bills 480 and 470, which contain provisions that would
enact a new sales tax exemption totaling around $1.5 million, HB 1661 that would expand a small business tax
deduction to additional businesses equaling about $6 million and HB 1504, that expands the number and types
of businesses that can claim a tax refund, which represents about $5 million.

See a summary of the Governor’s cuts (link goes to PDF).

Nixon expressed hope that no additional cuts will be needed. “My sense is that we’re beginning to see the kind
of turnaround that, if it continues, will continue to provide additional resources for the state. We’ve seen the
unemployment rate tick down, we’ve seen continued investment in the state … and so we’ll watch it real
closely.”

He said the legislature cut money from newborn screenings, early childhood education and disaster recovery and
moved those funds to higher education, which he said was “not the right path forward for the state.”

Nixon also vetoed three programs. He says the passage of $80,000 for a Blues in Schools program circumvented
the process that’s in place to select humanities grants and keep that selection fair and accountable. A $130,000
port financial assistance program lacked language identifying a specific port and so had to be vetoed on that
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technicality. He says Boone County is not statutorily authorized to be reimbursed civil commitment legal fees,
which was a $30,000 item.
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For third straight year, Nixon cuts higher education
June 25, 2012 By Mike Lear

For the third year, Governor Jay Nixon is restricting money from higher education.

The Governor announced on Friday $15 million in cuts that he called a first step in righting a budget he says is
more than $50 million out of balance. The largest single item in that is a one percent across-the-board reduction
for the state’s colleges and universities, equaling nearly $9 million.

When asked why higher education is again the target for restrictions, Nixon points to other places where higher
education is benefitting, including adding $40 million dollars to higher education through a governor’s
amendment. “The bottom line is that I appreciate the fine work that our universities are doing. A one percent
restriction when you compare that to what we’ve seen around the country … it’s what we can do in the
constraints of the budget we have.”

The cut to higher education equals about 4 million dollars to the University of Missouri System.

See our earlier story on the budget withholds, including video of the announcement.

The Governor says the cuts are needed because the legislature is banking too much on lottery revenues
increasing by $35 million, because lawmakers cut $11 million from disaster relief funds when the state still owes
money for cleanup after last year’s disasters and because three pieces of legislature that haven’t yet been acted
on could reduce state revenue by $12.5 million.

He says he hopes an economic turnaround will mean that no more withholds will be necessary.
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BLOG ZONE

P-D’s Wagman Leaves P-D to Start Political Oppo-
Research Firm
St. Louis Post Dispatch political reporter Jake Wagman is leaving the newspaper. Wagman is starting his own
political consulting firm that will deal in providing opposition research for political campaign.
Wagman’s new firm is called,’ Shield Political Research’.
In a letter Friday, Wagman wrote, “I realized my passion was holding candidates and public officials
accountable.”
The letter continues, “I also realized that the state of the media industry means many newsrooms no longer have
the resources they need to thoroughly scrutinize those seeking public office.”
“The solution is an opposition research firm that gives campaigns the tools and tenacity of watchdog reporting,
so candidates can ensure voters have the information they need to make the right decision at the polls.”
The Post –Dispatch reported Wagman’s decision and wrote the newspaper staff is sad to see Wagman leave after
nearly a decade at the paper.
It added, “veteran Springfield statehouse reporter Kevin McDermott has agreed to come to St. Louis to be the
paper’s political reporter. McDermott, who has covered the Illinois Capitol for 17 years, will start his new
assignment soon.”
http://20poundsofheadlines.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/p-ds-wagman-leaves-p-d-to-start-political-oppo-
research-firm/
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AFL-CIO’s ‘Duke’, Urges Nixon to Veto Contraception Ban in
Health Care Coverage Bill
The head of the Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO, Pat ‘Duke’ Dujakovich, is urging Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to
veto a bill that authorizes employers to exempt contraception from healthcare coverage, Senate Bill 749.
The measure was passed on the last day of the legislative session, May 16.
Dujakovich claims allowing an employer to make that choice on health care coverage may be “unquestionably
dangerous, and illegal. Once started on this path to restrict reproductive coverage, we will see an upsurge of
employers using this law against medical coverage of any kind for their employees, Dujakovich wrote.
“America was built on the idea that people can go to different places on Sunday, but come together on Monday,”
the labor leader’s letter states.
He claims letting the bill become law would permit workers to check their religious belief at the workplace door
and have to take their bosses’ belief at home with them at night.
http://20poundsofheadlines.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/afl-cios-duke-urges-nixon-to-veto-contraception-ban-
in-health-care-coverage-bill/
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EDITORIALS … & Letters to the Editor

Editorial: State's new teacher evaluation system puts horse,
cart in right place
By the Editorial Board | Posted: Sunday, June 24, 2012 12:15 am |


If there is one area of common ground to be found in the bruising battle over the future of America's public
schools, it's this: Good teaching matters.

That's the opinion of the traditional defenders of public schools, particularly teachers themselves. And it's the
opinion of those who are sometimes too quick to criticize those teachers — and their unions — as the source of
what ails our schools.

In January we noted that a Harvard University study had added convincing statistical evidence to the body of
knowledge on the topic, finding that replacing just one poor teacher with one average teacher could raise an
elementary school classroom's earnings capacity by $266,000 over the lifetimes of its students.

Now Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is doing something to invest in young public
school students' futures. Last week, the State Board of Education adopted a pilot program to beef up its
evaluation of teachers, principals and superintendents.

The plan has been in the works for several years — the wheels of the education bureaucracy turn slowly. The
concepts behind the evaluations — including using student performance as a key mark of excellence — aren't far
removed from various Missouri legislative proposals in recent years. The common idea is to enhance the ability
of school districts to determine who its best teachers are and more easily dismiss those teachers who are below
standards.

The problem with those legislative proposals has been twofold:

• Educators simply don't trust lawmakers and public school reform advocates who don't value what they do and
who use language that denigrates teachers.

• The various proposals, usually from Republican lawmakers, put the cart before the horse.

Putting merit above seniority when evaluating teachers is a reasonable concept, but implementing such a
proposal without testing a well-devised evaluation plan is a recipe for failure. This is precisely what state
education officials told lawmakers in an April 25 meeting during the legislative session.
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Now that the horse and cart are in the proper place, lawmakers should keep an eye on DESE's pilot project. Any
proposal to change how teachers are hired and fired should reflect a developed evaluation process that has buy-
in from teachers and school administrators.

"I think that's a reasonable approach," said state Rep. Scott Dieckhaus, R-Washington, chairman of the House
education committee.

There is room in the Missouri education debate for legislation that adjusts tenure rules but doesn't entirely gut
them. There is a need to find a way to better value the best teachers instead of simply protecting those who have
taught the longest.

Of course, even the best proposals will be useless if lawmakers do nothing about Missouri's K-12 funding
shortfall. Lawmakers and Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, have praised next year's state education budget for its
"record" funding.

The most recent Census Bureau data show that Missouri ranks 47th in the nation in terms of per-pupil state
support for education.

That's not a record worth bragging about.

Missouri can develop the best teacher evaluation system in the world, but if the state doesn't pay for the
teachers and administrators needed to implement it, the system is doomed.

The state's move toward better teacher evaluation will be good for future generations of schoolchildren.
Reformers and teachers unions should temper their rhetoric and unite on this common ground.
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Posted on Sun, Jun. 24, 2012 04:00 PM




The Star’s editorial | Missouri has top college savings plan
It’s rare when Missouri tops the charts for a positive development. So we cannot let it go unnoticed that the
state’s MOST 529 college savings plan has ranked first in performance in two consecutive surveys.

The website Savingforcollege.com, which informs consumers and advisers about the challenges of paying higher
education costs, ranks 529 college savings plans.

Named for Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, they offer tax advantages and other incentives for families
to put money aside to pay for educational expenses.

Most are sponsored by a state and operate as investment portfolios. When operated well, as Missouri’s is, they
provide an excellent way for families to plan ahead for the ever-increasing costs of college in these times.

Savingforcollege.com has ranked Missouri’s plan as tops in performance for the last two quarters.

A similar plan in Kansas, Learning Quest 529, ranked 12th for the quarter that ended March 31.

Missouri’s 529 plan has about 14,500 accounts with nearly $157 million in assets. It is overseen by the state
treasurer’s office.

A productive savings investment plan, even one considered the nation’s best, doesn’t mitigate Missouri’s overly
high tuition rates and the legislature’s long-term neglect of public colleges and universities.

But it’s reassuring to know that an important tool is working well under the leadership of state Treasurer Clint
Zweifel.


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/06/24/3672142/the-stars-editorial-missouri-
has.html#storylink=cpy
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Editorial: Restart the press at University of Missouri

By the Editorial Board | Posted: Monday, June 25, 2012 12:15 am STL TODAY


Why does it often seem to come down to academics vs. athletics?

To scholars vs. squads?

To validity vs. victory?

And it's not just that way in universities, although in this case that's what we're talking about.

Specifically, regarding the University of Missouri, it may be that a glib headline in The Nation — "Score So Far at
the University of Missouri: Books 0, Football Coach $2.7 Million" — doesn't make much work for the imagination.

This begs the question: Why can't the university system's new president, Timothy Wolfe, come up with $400,000
a year to save the University of Missouri Press? If it can't come out of next year's tight $2.7 billion budget, can he
appeal to alumni? The business community? Supporters who have signed protest petitions (but not checks)?
Why give up so quickly?

The amount needed to keep the press open is less than the $650,000 raise given to Mizzou football Coach Gary
Pinkel in 2010. True, the athletic department is self-funding. The football operation pays for itself and
underwrites much of the rest of the athletic department.But Pinkel vs. the Press is a story about priorities.

Mr. Wolfe, 53, is a businessman, as was his predecessor, Gary Forsee, who served as president of the system
from 2007 to 2011. Mr. Wolfe is a former software company executive and a 1980 Mizzou grad.

Unlike football, the university press doesn't make millions, generate headlines, show up on TV every week or pay
for itself. It's easy to understand why a bottom-line businessman might want to whack it.

A university president who came up through the academic ranks might have a different outlook.

A scholar would recognize the value of a significant literary arm that has published "an impressive catalogue" of
offerings, according to "Inside Higher Ed," a daily online publication focusing on college and university topics.

The 54-year history of the press includes the publication of some 2,000 titles, including "The Collected Works of
Langston Hughes," "The Complete Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson," a biography of Stan Musial, the "Mark
Twain and his Circle" series and the recent release "On Soldiers and Statesmen" by John S.D. Eisenhower, son of
the late President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
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Dwight Browne, interim director of the press, said Thursday that he was caught unaware by Mr. Wolfe's decision.
He confirmed that he had not spoken to Mr. Wolfe before Mr. Wolfe and the board of curators made the
decision last month to stop the press.

Mr. Browne said that he and others in the press operation had been working steadily to pare back expenses and
were on track this year to reduce the operating deficit to less than last year's $30,000. The deficit was on top of
the $400,000 university budget for the operation.

Back to sports: This move leaves the University of Missouri as the sole educational system in the Southeastern
Conference (Mizzou's new athletic conference) without a university press. That's embarrassing.

Perhaps the book lovers who toil in the university's press operation missed the boat when they didn't glom onto
the latest in literary lunacy. We can see it now: "Huck Finn: Vampire Hunter."


Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/the-platform/editorial-restart-the-press-at-
university-of-missouri/article_bc192e84-bd0d-57a6-95e9-a37ffc3413db.html#ixzz1yp3BRt1A
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COMMENTARY


Sad case revives some big worries
By MARY SANCHEZ

The Kansas City Star

Did the awful deaths of Angel Hart and of Larry and Gary Bass finally fix Missouri’s child welfare system?
Or, did a severely malnourished 10-year-old girl just get really lucky last week?
The system either worked heroically, or chances were missed to rescue this child sooner. Which is it? We need to
know more.
Angel was 5 years old when she was drowned by her mother’s boyfriend.
Larry and Gary Bass, 8, were starved and scalded in a tub by their mother. They died of untreated infections
complicated by their emaciated physical condition.
These Kansas City children died when the systems set up to save them failed. Angel was murdered in 1993. The
Bass brothers, two in a set of triplets, died in 1999.
Each of the deaths triggered calls for accountability, workers were disciplined, new procedures and training were
devised, and a wide range of adults declared that the children didn’t suffer in vain. Things were supposed to
change.
And yet Friday police found a little girl living in a closet, locked away without food, festering in her own feces and
urine.
She’s safe now. Rescued from the hell where her mother imprisoned her.
Police officers discovered the girl, accompanying a Missouri Department of Social Services worker answering a
hotline call that reported the horrific conditions.
The mother, Jacole N. Prince, has been charged.
The probable-cause statement listing the three felony charges raises more questions. Privacy concerns could
shield a great deal of information. Because of changes after the deaths of Gary and Larry, state law opens
records in child death cases when the state’s social services director approves.
Still, with time, more of the story needs to unravel. If only as a reminder of why strong systems must exist, for
the sake of other children.
The little girl told officers “that she would go to the playground and park while she is at school, but she was not
allowed to go outside and play while at home.”
Was she enrolled in school?
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If so, was it recently? How could a teacher, a janitor, parents —the many adults in any school building — have
missed the dire condition of a child so desperately underweight?
The child is 10. She weighed 32 pounds.
She’d gained only six pounds in the last six and a half years. And that much is known because the same court
document says Children’s Mercy Hospital treated this child in January of 2006. She weighed 26 pounds then.
Was she reported at that point?
Neighbors, according the police, told officers that only two children lived at the home. They only saw the mother
with her other two daughters, 8 and 2 years old, who appeared well cared for.
The Missouri Children’s Division worker accompanying the police countered that, no, there are three daughters.
Had this family been visited previously?
Again, the little girl gained only six pounds in six years.
Did anyone notice?
It’s an incredibly difficult decision for officials to decide when to remove a child from their family and when to
continue working to improve parents’ skills and help address other stressors that contribute to abuse and neglect
situations.
And the number of children in such trouble is shocking. There were 82,467 children involved in hotline reports in
2011, according to a state website. Of the cases that were completed in that fiscal year, 6,202 were
substantiated for abuse or neglect. That’s a lot of children to monitor.
The stories of Angel, Larry and Gary feel so present here.
A doctor pleaded for state workers not to allow Angel to return home, warning she would die. Relatives also tried
to intervene. They believed the boyfriend made Angel stand in a closet for days, held her underwater for
punishment and hit her, leaving bruises.
After he killed her, Gary Christian shoved Angel into a laundry hamper and filled it with water and cement. More
than a month later, the concrete block containing her body was dumped in a California desert.
Eight years later, it was a miracle her remains were found.
For the Bass children, teachers, doctors and relatives alerted officials, the abuse trial of their mother showed.
But Mary Bass would cancel or skip her appointment with child welfare workers. Larry had been diagnosed seven
times for lack of weight gain. And his brother was noted for the condition “failure to thrive” four times.
A ninth hotline call brought a worker to the Bass home. Their mother claimed the boys were with their father.
The official bought the lie, marked a chart “no services needed,” and left. Two months later the boys were dead.
Parenthood is a privilege. Some people don’t deserve it. So there will always be a need to be vigilant on
children’s behalf.
In abuse cases, children often are maliciously punished for simply being children.
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Angel was held underwater because she couldn’t recite her alphabet.
Larry and Gary Bass were starved and abused physically because they were always “acting bad,” siblings told an
investigator.
The little girl saved last week told officers why she was locked in the closet.
She peed herself.


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/06/24/3674237/tough-questions-in-another-
sad.html#storylink=cpy

								
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