Jeanette Mott Oxford for State Representative 2010

Thursday, October 30, 2008

JMO4Rep Update - Information for Nov. 4 Election

Friends, Allies, and Contituents,

I know you're probably feeling campaign fatigue, but just like having a baby, some processes shouldn't be rushed. Many of our friends and neighbors wait until the last minute to decide how they are going to vote. The materials that I reference below may help them. Share as you may find appropriate.

Vote for Change: Barack Obama for President
If you missed the 27 minute message broadcast last night, here's a link:

And if you haven't seen Ron Howard's very cute video featuring the 2008 versions of Opie and Andy Taylor and Richie Cunningham and the Fonz, see it here:

Never underestimate your potential to influence how your family, friends, and co-workers vote. Have you considered sending a personal endorsement for Obama to your address list? Let them know why you think he is the best choice and invite them to be in dialogue with you.

Also, see my commentary endorsing Obama/Biden at:

I also hope you'll watch this the Brave New Films video about the ACORN voter registration controversy and John McCain's attack on ACORN at:

Time to Recover from Blunt Trauma

The state is in a mess. Unemployment is up. Tuition costs are up. The number of uninsured Missourians is up. I believe the Democratic team of statewide candidates (Nixon, Zweifel, et al) can move Missouri forward on all these issues.

The key to victory? High turnout in the Democratic strongholds such as the St. Louis Region. On Saturday, Sunday, and again on Election Day, we need volunteers to take door-hangers to the homes of infrequent voters who lean Democratic. We also will have phone banks from Nov. 1-4. If you can help in either effort, please call Melissa at 314-225-2357 to sign up for a shift. Please tell her that I asked you to call.

Statewide Ballot Issues

Here's how I'm voting on the five statewide ballot issues:

Amendment 1 - No
Amendment 4 - Yes
Proposition A - No
Proposition B - Yes
Proposition C - Yes

For those who want to know more about these issues, I have a nine page briefing document (in Word format) that explains the details, including arguments for and against. Request it by replying to this e-mail or calling 314-771-8882.

The most difficult issue for me was Proposition A, because some of the economic arguments for the measure appeal to me. However, I have been so offended by what I see as deceit in the messages supporters are using that I cannot reward them with my Yes vote. For example, the mail I receive on Prop A frames this as a schools issue, when it's really about the gambling industry. One piece shared how many millions of dollars schools in "the greater St. Louis Region" would receive, without revealing that St. Louis Public Schools and the majority of St. Louis County school districts will receive ZERO funds from Prop A.

For a comparison of how Missouri school districts fare with Prop A, see:

St. Louis Public Schools are on page 12 (#115).

For more on controversy surrounding how Prop A is marketed, see:

What About the Judges?
The best information I've found is at:

Surrounding Our Schools with Care Update
Here's a great way to help a St. Louis area teacher provide the resources
she needs for her students:

Community Announcements
Thanks to those who came out for the Power to the Progressive People Progressive Party on Cherokee Street on Oct. 20. We raised about $4,800 for the Take Back the House effort. You can still give in these final days of the 2008 General Election season by going to:

Related to the Oct. 20 event, we celebrated 12 highlights from LGBT history in Missouri. Write me for a list (compiled by Philip Deitch), and you may also enjoy this link for a daily celebration during LGBT History month (October):

Don't forget the Stroganoff Dinner fundraiser at Epiphany UCC this Saturday, Nov. 1. It's at 2911 McNair in the Benton Park Neighborhood and will help Epiphany raise needed funds. The menu is Beef or Portabella Mushroom Stroganoff with Noodles, just like Grandma used to make, plus salad, dessert, and beverages. It's from 5:30-7 p.m., and the ticket is $8 for adults, $5 for children, and children under five eat for free.

There will be raffle items and door prizes as well - with fun items like Cardinals tickets or gift certificates to restaurants. RSVP to 314-772-0263 and specify whether you want beef or vegetarian so we'll be ready when you come.

Some upcoming dates to remember:

November 4 - Election Day (Go Vote and take five friends!)

November 16 - Transgender Day of Remembrance

December 1 - World AIDS Day


Friday, October 17, 2008

JMO4Rep Update - The Change We Need in November: Education Edition

Friends, Allies, and Constituents,

This is the third in a series of issues briefings in preparation for the Nov. 4 election. In the previous two newsletters I shared information about healthcare and the economy. The focus for this issue is education, both elementary/secondary and higher education. Here are a few important facts about Missouri's well-being under the educational policies of the Blunt administration (and I'll be glad to e-mail you the full briefing document if you request it):

K-12 and Higher Education Briefing

- The GOP-led General Assembly Does the Bare Minimum for K-12 Schools. In 2008, a $121 million increase in the formula for distributing state money to local school districts was approved, the bare minimum required by state law. The budget does not fully fund public education; it only fully funds the portion of education spending covered by the "new" formula that is slowly being phased in over seven years. The "new" formula accounts for just 45 percent of total spending. The "old" formula this year accounts for the remaining 55 percent and is just partially funded. The
additional $121 million for the formula is within the standard range of increases public schools traditionally receive each year. It does not represent a true increase in the state’s financial commitment to public schools.

In addition, The budget continues to shortchange school districts on transportation costs. With fuel prices nearing $4 a gallon, the expense of transporting students is causing severe strain on school budgets.

- Under Matt Blunt The High School Graduation Rate Decreased. Prior to Matt Blunt entering office, high school graduation rates were inclining. But during the 2005 – 2006 school year, the high school graduation rate dropped; this rate remained the same for the 2006 – 2007 school year. [Missouri Department of Education Accountability Report, 2006 – 2007 School Year; ]

- Missouri Students Have An Average Student Debt Of $18,635 When They Graduate From 4 Year Institutions. Missouri students have an average student debt of $18,635 upon graduation from a four year institution. [Project On Student Debt, September 2007;]

- Missouri Ranks 47th Among Per Capita Higher Education Funding.
According to an editorial in the Springfield News-Leader, "Indeed, our state's higher education institutions are among our greatest assets when they are given the resources to keep our future intellectual assets, our students, in Missouri, learning here and working here. Yet even with this year's one-time capital infusion of more than $300 million dollars statewide, our state still falls behind almost every other state in the nation in terms of higher education funding per capita. Missouri ranks an abysmal 47th in fiscal year per capita higher education spending according to the Center for the Study of Education Policy. Our border states all rank significantly higher. Nebraska is 9th; Kentucky is 11th; Kansas is 13th; Arkansas is 14th; Iowa is 18th; Oklahoma is 19th. Only Illinois at 32nd and Tennessee at 35th come close to Missouri's poor performance." [Editorial, Springfield News-Leader, 7/15/2007]

Ballot Initiative Recommendations

There are five statewide constitutional amendments or petition initiatives on the Nov. 4 ballot. Here are some facts about each and my recommendations for votes on some of them (and if you would like a longer explanation of any of these, I have full briefing documents available - simply email me with your request):

Amendment 1: This would add a new section to Article I of the Missouri Constitution – the state’s Bill of Rights – establishing English as the official language of Missouri government proceedings. Please join me in voting NO. This is yet another willy-nilly attempt to amend the state constitution for no good reason. State statutes already acknowledge that English is Missouri's common language. There is no history of government proceedings in Missouri being conducted in languages other than English. This initiative plays on anti-immigrant fears and would make Missouri a
less welcoming place for global business and global tourism.

Amendment 4: This would make it easier for water and sewer districts to obtain tax-free grants and loans from the state. The Metropolitan Sewer District has many expensive jobs ahead to make sure our drinking water is safe, so I will be voting YES.

Proposition A: I'm sure you've seen those beautiful blue billboards with the shiny apple saying Prop A is for our schools and for our economy. Well, there's more to it than that. Prop A would remove Missouri's unique in the nation loss limit at casinos ($500 per two hour "cruise"). It would also cap the number of casinos at 13 (the 12 we have now and one more that is under construction), and it would increase gross receipts tax on casinos to 21 percent from the current 20, thus making more money
available to education.

However, Prop A was written by the gambling industry, and they have raised at least $8.6 million to secure its passage. It is dubbed within the statutory language of the proposal as "The Schools First Elementary and Secondary Education Funding Initiative." That name has been criticized as misleading because it creates the appearance that the focus of Prop A is education measure rather gambling. It also should be noted that bills filed in the legislature to remove the loss limits offered a better deal to the state, raising gross tax receipts to 22 or 23 percent.

Finally, a group of superintendants are questioning whether Prop A does what advertisements claim, and they also suggest that no new funds would be allocated to St. Louis Public Schools through the ballot measure. Read more at:

Unless I hear more convincing arguments, I'll vote NO on Prop A. I prefer an alternative - negotiate a better deal with the gambling industry in the Legislature and increase funding for our schools by making our income tax system more modern, fair, adequate, and sustainable ("the Tax Justice for a Healthy Missouri plan").

Proposition B: This initiative would create a Missouri Quality Homecare Council, an eleven-member public authority to ensure the availability and improve the quality of home care services by recruiting, training and stabilizing the personal care attendant workforce. The Council would consist of a majority of governor-appointed consumers and consumer advocates, providing them with a real voice to improve the home care system in Missouri and would fall under the Department of Health and
Senior Services.

The Quality Home Care Council would recommend minimum qualifications and offer voluntary training for workers. It would also prepare Missouri’s long term care system for future growth and help contain Medicaid costs.

In addition, it would allow workers to have a voice in the system through a union, if they elect to do so. Similar councils have been created in several other states with positive results. Academic studies of one state’s program found that workforce turnover fell 57 percent over a five-year period. The supply of workers also increased by 54 percent, and consumers reported greater satisfaction with services following the wage and benefit improvements. I urge a YES vote on Prop B.

Proposition C: This is the Clean Energy Initiative which would require Missouri investor-owned electric utilities (Ameren, Empire, Aquila, and KCP&L) to get 15% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2021.

Renewables are defined as clean sources of energy like wind, solar, landfill gas, biomass, and small hydroelectric projects. According to Missouri Coalition for the Environment, 26 states have passed a similar policy often known as a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES). Instead, Missouri has a voluntary standard that does not hold utilities accountable to use clean energy.

Currently, 86% of Missouri's electricity comes from coal, and pollution from these plants has been linked to asthma and lung disease. Coal fired power plants are also the biggest contributor to climate change, so finding cleaner ways to produce electricity is very important to our planet’s future.

Are you saying, "Sounds good, but what will it cost me?" The other states with this policy have not experienced rate increases. Instead, diversifying the power supply by developing America's homegrown renewable energy resources can help shield consumers from spikes in energy prices over time. And there’s an insurance policy for voters in the ballot language - the Clean Energy Initiative includes a 1% rate increase cap. I
urge a YES vote on Prop C.

Reminder for Election Day: Choose the Paper Ballot

Choose to use the Opti-Scan paper ballot. Overall it can save time, and we're expecting huge turnout on Nov. 4. In addition, the paper ballot offer more information and stand up better to a recount if one is needed. Ask your friends to choose the paper ballot.

Obama News

I contributed a quote to an LGBT Voices press release sent out by Obama for America last week, and it was an honor to be asked to do so.

Of course the big news is the "Change We Need" rally with Barack Obama at the Gateway Arch on Saturday, October 18. Gates open at 10:15 a.m., and the program begins at noon. For more information or to register, go to:

Supporters of Barack Obama have certainly been offering us some fun musical endorsements. You may enjoy these:

Surrounding Our Schools with Care

It was great fun to serve breakfast to the Roosevelt High School Rough Riders football team on Oct. 11. The team has a great record this year. Go out and show your support on Oct. 18. They play Webster Groves High School at home, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Wear red or white to show your support.

Take Back the House Campaign

According to an article by Brent Martin on Missournet, "There is no doubt Republicans are in a defensive position this year, wholly apart from political trends across the nation that appear to favor Democrats. There are 67 state representative races in which there is no opposition; 44 Democrats and 23 Republicans. That leaves 96 contested races in the House; 49 Republican incumbents face opponents, 20 Democrats face opponents. It is, of course, difficult to unseat an incumbent, though both Republican and Democratic officials have at least a handful targeted. Most officials believe about seven or eight Republican seats are competitive with only three or four Democratic seats competitive. The 27 contested races without an incumbent in them will form the true battleground for control of the House. Democrats need to pick up 11 seats to win control of the majority."

You have the chance to help Democrats take back the majority by coming to a party this Monday night, Oct. 20, 5-7 p.m. It's the Power to the Progressive People Progressive Party on Cherokee Street in honor of LGBT History Month. I will be a special guest along with Representative-Elect Mike Colona of the 67th District. See the attached flyer for more details.

Community Announcements

The Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life at UM-St. Louis will be showing a movie at COCA, 524 Trinity Avenue in University City, on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 7 p.m. It's a fundraiser for $15 (or $25 which includes a reception with the director). The movie is called "What's Your Point, Honey?" To learn more, go to:

Please mark your calendars for Saturday, October 25th from 5-7 pm for CHARIS' annual Pasta Extravaganza at First Divine Science Church, 3617 Wyoming. Once again, CHARIS - The St Louis Women's Chorus will offer all you can eat pasta, salad, bread and a dessert bar catered by Chef David Hietter. The menu includes vegetarian pasta primavera, blackened chicken alfredo with mushrooms, and traditional penne and meat sauce. Tea and lemonade are available or you can bring your own bottle. Dinner is $12
for adults and $5 for children 3-12.

And continue to eat for a good cause on Saturday, Nov. 1, as Epiphany United Church of Christ, 2911 McNair, presents Beef or Portabella Mushroom Stroganoff with Noodles, just like Grandma used to make. It's from 5:30-7 p.m., and the ticket is $8 for adults, $5 for children, and children under five eat for free. There will be raffle items and door prizes as well.

And finally, it's a great time to make a financial contribution to PROMO, our statewide LGBT civil rights advocacy organization, since it's LGBT History Month and since a matching funds challenge is going on for the month of October. A benefactor will match your gifts dollar-for-dollar, up to $12,500. Send checks to PROMO, 438 N. Skinker, St. Louis, MO 63130.

Happy LGBT History Month to all!