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Martin challenges democratic tradition in Mo. third district

October 26, 2010

Russ Carnahan, left, and Ed Martin.

Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio (2010-10-26)

Missouri’s Third District is about as blue as you get.

The GOP hasn’t held the seat since William Cole was ousted in 1948. Just five Republicans have represented the Third since the end of the Civil War.

But a newcomer to elected office is making the race a little less comfortable for the Democratic incumbent this year.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann takes a look at this year’s contest between incumbent Russ Carnahan and his Republican foe, Ed Martin.

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Proposition F could change city maximum fine

October 25, 2010

(Flickr Creative Commons User broderick)

Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio (2010-10-25)

One of the ballot measures St. Louis City voters will decide next week is whether to raise the maximum fine from $500 to $1,000.

Alderman Ken Ortmann co-sponsored the board bill to get Proposition F on the ballot. Ortmann said that the fine often is not high enough to force people to abide by city ordinances on illegal dumping or vacant buildings.

“I mean, some people, they don’t care,” Ortmann said, “They just pay. So if we can raise that to $1,000 and inflict more pain on them maybe they’ll put that money toward the building instead of giving it to the city.”

It would take at least two thirds of votes in favor to raise the fines. The question has gone before city voters numerous times and failed.

City voters also will vote on Proposition L, a non-binding measure asking whether the city police department should be under local control.

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Symbolic “Prop L” about city police control added to ballot

October 25, 2010

Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio (2010-10-22)

Voters in St. Louis will have a chance to weigh in on the future of the St. Louis City Police Department next month.

A non-binding measure known as “Proposition L” has been added to the city ballot, asking voters if they want authority over the police department to return to local control.

Control of the department was handed to the Jefferson City Legislature at the onset of the Civil War.

Alderman Terry Kennedy sponsored the measure. He says even though the proposition is symbolic, it could still send a strong message.

“It certainly makes a statement,” Kennedy said, ” Here you have a group of legislators that are elected to represent the citizenry. It at least puts them on notice, if it passes in the way that we hope it does and think that it will.”

Kennedy also said that support for local control has been building in Jefferson City, and Prop L will help keep that movement going.

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Two of three constitutional amendments on ballot affect taxes

October 25, 2010

Missouri State Representative Bob Nance, R-Excelsior Springs. (Photo: Missouri House of Representatives website)

Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio (2010-10-22)

Next month Missouri voters will be faced with a number of ballot questions, including three constitutional amendments.

Proposition A on the earnings tax has gotten the most attention, but two of three constitutional amendments on the ballot also deal with taxes.

Constitutional Amendment 2 asks whether former Prisoners of War disabled during their service should be exempt from property taxes.

State House member Bob Nance of Excelsior Springs co-sponsored the joint resolution to put the question on the ballot.

Nance also said that most of the people affected are likely WWII veterans and that there will only be a small number of people affected.

“Most of those individuals are probably from the second World War but we still have some from recent wars, but I believe we need to support them in all we can,” Nance said.

The state said that the cost to local government is likely to be minimal.

Constitutional Amendment 3 asks whether Missouri should prevent any real estate transfer tax from being imposed. Currently there is no such tax in the state.

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Developers: Prop A could hurt St. Louis

October 25, 2010

Mandi Rice, St. Louis Public Radio (2010-10-25)

Several local developers spoke out Monday against Proposition A. They said that uncertainty from the statewide proposal, which would put the city’s earning tax up for a vote every five years, could make it harder to attract businesses.

“We think about it as a dangerous experiment, moving forward not knowing what the future will bring in terms of taxation and in terms of services from the city of St. Louis,” said Steve Smith, president of The Lawrence Group.

Currently, the earnings tax accounts for about a third of St. Louis city’s general revenue. Proposition A does not specify how St. Louis could make up for the lost income if city residents voted to repeal the tax.

“It’s such an unknown,” Smith said. “If there’s anything that business wants, they want to be able to know what the future has to bear.”

If Proposition A passes, city residents will vote on the earnings tax next April.

Let Voters Decide, the campaign to pass Proposition A, says the one-percent earnings tax already discourages businesses from locating in the city.


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“Grace period” voter registration ends soon in Illinois

October 25, 2010

(Photo by: Flickr Creative Commons User madcactus)


The election is just over a week away. But voters in Illinois still have a couple days left to register to vote.

The “traditional” deadline to register to vote was three weeks ago. But the state allows a grace period for people who forgot or just didn’t get to it.

The non-registered have until close of business Tuesday to find their way to a select few locations where grace period voting is taking place. They can register and vote right there on the spot.

As of late last week, more than 1,600 voters had taken advantage of the late registration in Cook County. That’s far less than in 2008, but more than in 2006.

If voters are already registered, they too can cast their ballots early, up until Thursday at early voting sites all over the state.

Otherwise, voters can do it the old fashioned way, at their local polling place on Election Day, next Tuesday.

(From a report by Sam Hudzik, WBEZ Chicago)

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Carnahan tapping father’s legacy in Mo. Senate bid

October 25, 2010

Memorial to Gov. Mel Carnahan inside the Carter County Courthouse, Van Buren, Mo. (Photo by: Flickr Creative Commons user J. Stephen Conn)


Missouri Democrat Robin Carnahan is evoking the memory of her deceased father to raise money for her U.S. Senate bid.

Gov. Mel Carnahan died in a plane crash 10 years ago while campaigning for the Senate. His daughter brought tears to mourners by eulogizing him with the promise: “We won’t let the fire go out.”

Today, Carnahan is using her father’s photo and that same phrase in a quest for a come-from-behind Senate victory against Republican Rep. Roy Blunt. Until her recent fundraising letter, Carnahan had largely avoided running on her father’s legacy.

Blunt has not mentioned Mel Carnahan. He also has shied away from highlighting his own family’s political involvement. Blunt’s son, Matt Blunt, served as Missouri governor.

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