Jeanette Mott Oxford for State Representative 2010

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

JMO4Rep Update - Independence Day 2007 Edition

Friends, Allies, and Constituents:

Happy Independence Day! I hope you and your family and friends are having a meaningful and enjoyable holiday today. Rabbi Mark Shook recently suggested in a commentary on KWMU-FM that we take some time to read the Declaration of Independence on July 4. I liked that idea, so I have done so this morning.

If you'd like to read it, here's one of many links that will get you to the text:

In reading this foundational U.S. document today, I couldn't help but notice some similarities between the actions of President George W. Bush and those of King George of Great Britain.....which reminds me that some of you may be interested in listening to a podcast of Rep. Jamilah Nasheed and me being interviewed by Craig Barnes at "A Nation Deceived" -

I also recommend the DVD starring Ed Asner that is available at that site for $7.25. It can be a real conversation starter if shown at a house party. Terrence Freeman (with whom I have done some work in the Dismantling Racism network) has a good meditation on the Declaration in today's Post-Dispatch. I agree that it's important to both acknowledge the injustices of our past (including the way Native Americans are described in the Declaration of Independence and the genocide such thinking engendered) and to honor what's right about the Declaration's "inspirational defense of human freedom."

Read Terry's commentary at:

Update on Missouri Legislation from 2007 Session

Gov. Blunt has signed many of the bills that I mentioned in my Session wrap-up on May 25. He signed the appropriations bills that make up the $21.5 billion state operating budget for the fiscal year beginning July1. The fiscal year 2008 budget increases overall state spending by about 3.3 percent from FY 2007 which is roughly equivalent to last year's budget when inflation is considered.

Gov. Blunt's choice of signing the "Missouri HealthNet bill" at a JiffyLube in Springfield, MO led to this excellent editorial in today's Springfield News-Leader:

There is also an excellent commentary on House Bill (HB) 1055, the"abstinence only" sex ed bill in the Columbia Daily Tribune. It is called"Theocracy Threatens Women's Rights" -

Please ask for a veto on House Bill 327

Regarding the economic development package, HB 327, the governor has not yet decided whether to sign or veto it. I ask that you write a letter to Gov. Blunt asking for a veto because:

1) There are a number of drafting mistakes in the bill, including a definition of employee that is the opposite of the intention of the Quality Jobs Act portion of the bill. The intention was to reward employers who produce jobs that pay well, but employee is defined as anyone "who receives an annual salary equal to or less than the average salary for the county in which the employee is employed...."
2) Some of the tax credits in it are pork barrel projects and some are poorly targeted, plus when added together, the price tag is more than the state of Missouri can bear. Estimates range from $105 million to more than $200 million annually. How can we cut our revenue so drastically at a time when more than half of the state's school districts are suing us for underfunding public education? When we have cut more than 170,000 people off Medicaid, supposedly due to the high cost of the program? Combined with the loss of revenue to the state caused by Speaker Jetton's HB 444, we are headed toward yet another slashing of crucial programs and services to Missouri's citizens. What happenend to "the welfare of the people shall be Missouri's supreme law," the state motto?

3) The portion about the "distressed areas land assemblage tax credit"continues to be highly controversial. Some speculate it was written to benefit one specific man - Paul McKee, Jr. An editorial in the July 1 St.Louis Post-Dispatch contains these paragraphs: " is time to bring the neighbors, the aldermen, the planners and the public into the conversation. The silence from Mr. McKee and Mayor Slay has combined with an absence of hard information to breed suspicion, rumor and mistrust. Alderman April Ford Griffin, who represents the area, says Mr. McKee owns so many decrepit properties in so many places that he spreads blight and discourages others who have rehabilitation plans. "We're being held up .. . because this individual has come in and wants control," she said."You can't say you care about people and treat people with disregard." Mr. McKee must take better care of his vacant properties. Some of the structures on his lots are collapsing. Entire two-story facades have fallen into front yards, exposing interior rooms to the elements. Other buildings are doorless and dark, making them havens for drug sales and use and prostitution. The public deserves information before $12 million per year of tax credits are approved through the year 2013.

To address a letter to Gov.Blunt, write:
The Honorable Matt Blunt
Governor of Missouri
State Capitol Building
Jefferson City, MO 65101

The proper form for the salutation in your letter is "Dear Governor Blunt."

Meeting on Crime

Rep. Robin Wright Jones has shared this invitation with residents of the 59th District and other St. Louis neighborhoods: The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's Board of Police Commissioners will host a meeting on Wednesday, July 18th, at Harris-Stowe State University in the Edison Theatre building beginning at 7:00 p.m. The Commisioners are seeking input on the incidences and impact of crime in our neighborhoods. Please attend if your are able!

I also continue to work with Rep. Jeff Roorda, Ranking Minority Member on the Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee, to set up a joint crime summit with Congressman Carnahan's office. I will update you as plans develop.

A Woman's Place Is in the House.....and the Supreme Court!

Missouri Supreme Court Judge Laura Denvir Stith began a two-year term as chief justice as of July 1. Stith replaced Chief Justice Michael Wolff, who remains on the court. The position of chief justice rotates among the court’s seven members. Stith, 53, of Kansas City is the second of only three women to serve on the state high court. She was appointed to the court by Democratic Gov. Bob Holden in 2001. A graduate of the Georgetown University School of Law, Stith clerked for then-state Supreme Court Judge Robert Seiler. After 15 years in private practice, Democratic Gov. Mel Carnahan named her to the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District in 1994.

Good News from the 59th District

Benton Park Neighborhood Association (BPNA) President Todd Brandt presided over a ribbon cutting ceremony at the annual 4th of July celebration in the park on July 3 in order to celebrate the rapid completion of the Benton Park Lake restoration. Our thanks to 9th Ward Alderman Ken Ortmann for his hard work, penny-pinching, and networking to assemble needed funds to replace the liner that holds the water in the lake. Congratulations also to Michelle Ristovo who received the BPNA volunteer of the year award for her efforts to begin and sustain a Benton Park Play Group for moms, dads, and children. In addition to providing safe and fun activities for families for more than two years, this group has also furnished good advice about playground equipment for Benton Park. Active and informed citizens are the key to a healthy neighborhood and a healthy democracy. Good job, Michelle and Play Group!