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Commentaries

The 2012 Missouri Republican Caucuses
Aired April 12, 2012
As sergeant-at-arms and as required by the rules, I closed the doors to the caucus room at 10:00 am. I didn’t permit anyone to enter after that time. A dozen individuals arrived late and I refused them entry into the building. All were shocked that a timeline was being enforced. They expressed their frustration and anger at me by stating that they were unaware of the 10:00 am deadline and they were very disappointed and disillusioned with the process.

The week following the scheduled caucuses, I attended a meeting of Republicans. Other regional caucuses had problems similar to those in St. Charles County. It was reported that many participants left these caucuses angry and disillusioned with the process.

Right Sized State Government, Right Sized State Revenues
Aired June 04, 2010
A summary of the 2010 Missouri General Assembly session was provided in the May 16th issue of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Governor Nixon was quoted as stating, that he plans to cut $500 million from his proposed budget for next year and the state government would then be lean and “right sized.” This is in addition to the $700 million that was cut from the state budget last year.
What about “right sizing” state revenues as well?

Proposed New Drug Testing in Missouri
Aired February 19, 2010
After surveying several Missouri newspapers and press services, it appears that the Missouri House and Senate will pass some form of required drug testing of welfare recipients and, possibly, lawmakers, judges, and other state officials. A bill requiring welfare recipients to be drug tested passed the House last year but died in the Senate.

Proposed Missouri Tax Overhaul
Aired January 22, 2010
Last week, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that the Missouri Senate is studying a proposal to eliminate Missouri’s personal and corporate income taxes and substitute a higher sales tax.

There are problems with this approach.

Recommendations for the Missouri Public Service Commission
Aired December 24, 2009
In May, 2010, the Missouri Public Service Commission will act on Ameren UE’s request for a $402 million dollar increase in rates. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch issue of December 9, 2009, stated that the top three executives of AmerenUE received bonuses this year ranging from over $240,000 to over $770,000. But this is just part of the story.

Supervision of the City of St. Louis Police Department
Aired November 27, 2009
Recently, Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee completed an audit of the City of St. Louis Police Department. She found that the Department lacked controls to prevent theft from the evidence room, that 4 million dollars in seized goods had never been returned to felony suspects, that the Board of Police Commissioners failed to monitor the controversial towing contract and that the Board gave former Chief of Police Mokwa an improper $109,000 severance.

As a result, State Senator-elect Joe Keaveny and State Representative Jamilah Nasheed have called for the transfer of the supervision of the St. Louis Police Department from the Governor to the Mayor and the Board of Alderman.

Proposition E-911
Aired October 23, 2009
On November 3, St. Louis County residents will be voting on Proposition E-9-1-1. If it passes, it will provide funding to improve emergency communications countywide through a one-tenth of one cent sales tax. The funds will be used to pay off a $100 million dollar bond issue for system capital costs, plus provide funds for ongoing operations maintenance, and reserves. How much is one-tenth of one cent sales tax going to cost tax payers? It amounts to a dime on every $100.00 purchase.

This improved emergency system will enable St. Louis County’s 65 police departments and 43 fire agencies to communicate on the same radio frequency and thus, meet 2012 Federal Communication Commission requirements. More importantly, these agencies will be able to better coordinate lifesaving services to our citizens.

Ameren UE’s Request for Rate Increases
Aired August 28, 2009
In July, 2009, Ameren UE went to the Missouri Public Service Commission to request an additional 18% rate increase, or 402 million dollars. In March, it was granted a rate increase amounting to $163 million dollars. The utility states that these additional funds are needed for higher fuel costs, financing, and reliability improvements. Further, Ameren UE has requested an exception for an additional 37 million dollars for investments it has recently implemented to improve customer services.

Why is Ameren UE requesting these extraordinary rate increases in a recession?

Ban The Use of Cell Phones While Driving
Aired July 24, 2009
Last week, while driving sixty miles per hour on I-170, I noticed a truck loaded with road tar rapidly moving into my driving lane from the right. I jammed on the brakes to avoid an accident. Passing the truck on its right, I noticed the driver was talking on his cell phone oblivious to the accident he nearly caused.

This week’s Sunday New York Times published an in-depth article on the dangers of driving while being distracted by using a cell phone or text messaging. According to the article, only five states ban the use of hand held cell phones while driving. Missouri bans the use of cell phones by novice drivers while Illinois bans the use of cell phones by school bus drivers.

Missouri State Employees Retirement System Controversy
Aired June 26, 2009
It is hard to understand how the MOSERS board of directors could award bonuses in a year when the retirement fund declined in value by nearly 24%, many state employees were laid off, state employees’ salaries were frozen, and education and social services budgets have suffered severe cut- backs. Arguments that Missouri’s pension funds have done better than similar funds during this period and that we need to keep our valuable fund managers and staff members are short-sighted.

Smoking Ban Proposed for Clayton, City and County
Aired May 22, 2009
The Clayton City Board of Alderman has proposed an ordinance to prohibit smoking in public places. The rationale for the smoking ban is the 2006 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report that concludes “secondhand smoke … causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke“.

If the ban is enacted, Clayton will not be the first Missouri municipality to have smoking ban. The cities of Kansas City, Columbia, Arnold and Ballwin have such bans.

Concealed Weapons on College Campuses
Aired April 24, 2009
Recently, Missouri’s House of Representatives passed HB 668. It would permit the carrying of concealed weapons on college campuses. Gary Forsee, University of Missouri System president released a statement criticizing the proposed new law stating the it would place members of the University of Missouri family and campus law enforcement officers in harm’s way. Dr. Henry Givens, president, Harris-Stove State University, publicly expressed his concerns regarding this proposed law.

Having spent 40 years in university administration and teaching, I understand the fears of presidents Forsee and Givens.

Governor Nixon’s 2010 Budget for Missouri
Aired March 27, 2009
Both the Governor and the House of Representatives rely too heavily on anticipated federal stimulus funds to balance their respective 2010 state budgets.

"I Never Heard of This Guy"
Aired February 27, 2009
Forty years ago, L.R. Hughes, the first president of Grand Order of Pachyderms, a service club for the Republican Party, informed me that he had scheduled the speaker for my installation luncheon as the second president of the Pachyderms. L. R. said the speaker will be Christopher “Kit” Bond, a state Assistant Attorney General. I replied, “Couldn’t you find someone with more visibility? I never heard of this guy.“ Since then, I have followed his career with keen interest.

Taxing E-Commerce in Missouri
Aired December 26, 2008
A recent issue of the St. Louis Business Journal reported that in January, State Senator Joan Bray will introduce again the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement Act.

If implemented, this bill would enable Missouri to tax Internet sales of goods and services purchased by Missourians. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s position against this bill is that it would create a “nightmare of paperwork for many businesses". This is an inadequate reason for a state to bypass this source of revenue when it is faced with enormous budget shortfalls

Governor-elect Nixon: Declare a Moratorium on New Health Care and Tax Reduction Proposals
Aired November 28, 2008
Mr. Nixon is planning to expand health care for the poor, increase funding for education, and decrease taxes for senior citizens. He plans to do all of these without increasing taxes while state revenues decline due to the nation-wide recession. Although Missouri has a reported budget surplus of 833 million dollars, 300 million dollars has been obligated by the General Assembly. With inflation and recession, this surplus will evaporate rapidly.

"Yes" to Prop M
Aired October 23, 2008
I am recommending that St. Louis County residents vote "Yes" on Proposition M. The sales tax increase is one-half of 1%, only $.05 cents on a $10.00 purchase. The increased revenue will provide for the maintenance and expansion of the Metro system in St. Louis.

Selecting Judges
Aired September 26, 2008
A conservative organization called Better Courts for Missouri wants Blunt to demand a new list of candidate. A search of the Missouri Constitution and other authoritative documents doesn’t indicate that the governor has this prerogative. Thus, this is not a workable alternative.

The screening process for Missouri state Supreme Court judges should be reviewed.

No New Health Care Programs
Aired August 22, 2008
Jay Nixon recently announced his “plan to restore the 2005 health care cuts, expand access to more children and help families manage costs.”

How he is going to do this? By using technology, market forces, more effective and efficient health care system, and focusing on prevention and individual responsibility. I don’t believe all of this can be done without increasing taxes and Mr. Nixon has made a commitment not to increase taxes.

Public Policy and Midwifery
Aired July 25, 2008
I was curious as to why Republican State Senator John Loudon has invested so much time and energy over the last several years to legalize midwifery in Missouri. Although I have lived and worked in several states, I can’t recall knowing anyone who has used the services of a midwife.

I emailed Senator Loudon and asked him to enumerate the public policy issues which led him to sponsor this legislation.

Being a Part of Democracy in Action
Aired June 27, 2008
At the Clayton Township Republican Caucus, I was elected as a delegate to the Missouri Republican Third Congressional District’s Convention. I was recruited because there was concern that followers of Ron Paul, a well known Libertarian, would attempt to take over the District’s representation to the Missouri Republican State Convention.

Phyllis Schlafly's Honorary Degree
Aired May 30, 2008
As Washington University Trustee Margaret Bush Wilson, the eminent civil rights attorney, said when she introduced Mrs. Schlafly to the audience, "Vigorous, free-flowing debate is the cornerstone of our American life. One of this country’s virtues is that people don’t have to agree with one another."

Access Missouri Revisited
Aired May 02, 2008
If this bill passes, the incentive for students to attend public institutions may decrease in preference for attendance at private institutions. Further, the funds available under the program will diminish quickly and thus fewer Missouri students with financial need will receive assistance. This could become a costly mistake for many needy college students and their families in the state.

MSD's Bond Issue - More Information, Please
Aired March 28, 2008
After attending a public hearing and reviewing the Metropolitan Sewer Districts’ web site, I think I understand why MSD is proposing significant rate increases over the next six years. MSD management needs to be asked, how much more is it going to cost tax payers to fund the 275 million bond issue?

Governor Nixon's 2010 Budget for Missouri
Aired March 27, 2008
Both the Governor and the House of Representatives rely too heavily on anticipated federal stimulus funds to balance their respective 2010 state budgets. If President Obama lives up to his commitment to reduce the federal deficit by half by 2012, these will be among the first federal funds cut to the states. Therefore, the Governor, the State Senate and the House of Representatives have a great deal of work to do.

Prayer in Schools
Aired February 22, 2008
Over the past forty-five years, federal courts have clarified students’ rights regarding prayer, reading the Bible while in school, and the study of the Bible by student-led and student organized religious clubs. Thus, the proposed constitutional amendment is unnecessary. We, the citizens of Missouri, and the General Assembly need to better spend our time debating and voting on more substantive issues and problems in the months ahead.

Reviewing Governor Blunt's 2008 Budget
Aired January 25, 2008
Now is the time for a prudent state budget, building on the budget reserve of last year. Can we rely upon the Missouri General Assembly to significantly reduce the expenditures in the Governor’s FY 2008 budget?

Governor Blunt's Access Missouri Scholarship proposal
Aired December 28, 2007
If the Missouri General Assembly supports the proposal, $100 million dollars will be available annually for Missouri residents attending the State’s private and public colleges and universities.

This is a step in the right direction and a recognition that the state is aware of and responding to the problem.

Missouri's Prison Population
Aired November 23, 2007
Instead of warehousing young inmates in large prison complexes with older prisoners, Missouri houses its juvenile prisoners in a residential type setting that includes classes, group therapy and counseling, and recreational activities. The result is an outstandingly low recidivism rate of 7.3%, compared to other states’ rates of 30 to 50%.

Richmond Heights / Clayton Joint Study Committee Report
Aired October 26, 2007
Recently, the cities of Richmond Heights and Clayton finished the Joint Study Committee Report. Throughout the process, open meetings were held where constituents were informed of the progress to date and encouraged to support or oppose the proposals. At the end, Joint Study Committee members and many residents of Clayton and Richmond Heights felt a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and achievement.

This is democracy at its best.

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Sandy MacLean

Sandy MacLean

KWMU Commentator

Lowe "Sandy" MacLean is vice chancellor emeritus, University of Missouri, St. Louis, and is active in local political and community organizations, including the Grand Order of Pachyderms (GOP), a service organization for the Republican Party.

More Sandy MacLean Commentaries