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Politics & Issues

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(KWMU photo/Rachel Lippmann)

The current proposal from 28th ward Alderwoman Lyda Krewson, which is expected to be amended, bans smoking everywhere except outdoor patios, tobacco shops, and casino floors. It has the strong support of Mayor Francis Slay, whom Krewson echoed in pushing for the ban.

"Several years ago, I think it would have been a progressive bill," she said. "Today, just sort of something we need to get done."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The people of Kirkwood came together Saturday night. On a springlike evening, a large crowd came to pay tribute to five men and one woman who died last year.

Kirkwood police officers William Biggs and Tom Ballman; Council members Connie Karr and Mike Lynch; and the city’s public works director Ken Yost died on Feb. 7, 2008, after they were shot by Charles “Cookie” Thornton. Thornton was well known inside City Hall and throughout Kirkwood as a businessman who tried to help others and as an annoyance who frequently disrupted the city’s business. He was killed by police who responded to a distress call from Biggs just after he had been shot.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: We know the time, the place, the people killed and the person who did the killing on Feb. 7, 2008. Those moments remain in the minds of those present that night and those present for the retelling after. But what about the moments that followed? What’s happened in Kirkwood and around St. Louis since Charles “Cookie” Thornton opened fire at a Kirkwood City Hall meeting, killed five and wounded the mayor, who died months later? Organizations have formed, essays have been written by school kids imagining a prejudice-free community, and remembrance ceremonies are planned.

A year after the City Hall murders of Feb. 7, 2008, important changes have come to Kirkwood, while other things have remained unchanged.

The new mayor, Art McDonnell, walks down from the dais and into the audience before council meetings to greet citizens and tell them how they can express their views. The city has called two town meetings to open the lines of communication further. More people have volunteered for city commissions than any time in recent history. And a group of several hundred citizens has been meeting regularly for the past year to talk about white privilege and race in a way it never had been talked about before in this idyllic railroad town turned comfortable suburb.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When crews closed part of Highway 40 (Interstate 64) in January, MoDOT and much of St. Louis held their collective breath waiting to see whether the predicted gridlock would indeed occur.

Thanks to good planning and the public's willingness to take MoDOT's advice to stay home, take Metro, travel early or late and find alternative routes, life — or at least vehicular traffic — went on.

A film on white privilege had just concluded and the 140 people at Saturday's meeting of the Community for Understanding and Healing were about to break into discussion groups when they received the shocking news. Former Kirkwood Mayor Mike Swoboda had died earlier in the morning. Swoboda had been gravely wounded in the Feb. 7 City Hall shootings at which five city officials had been killed by Charles L. "Cookie" Thornton. The killings had led to the formation of the community group.

>This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 2, 2008 -  A crowd estimated at 22,000 gathered at T.R. Hughes Stadium in O'Fallon, Mo., to hear presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain speak alongside his pick for vice president, Sarah Palin.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 2, 2008 - Life at the convention is busy but great. Monday I spent some time on the floor and was there for the opening gavel. Lots of famous faces -- NYT's David Brooks, CNN reporter Dana Bash, Sean Hannity and the fabulous McCain women. The main focus, while celebratory, was on Hurricane Gustav and those affected by it. We were excited to hear from the First Lady and Cindy McCain.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 2, 2008 - Hanging out with Gov. Matt Blunt

I had the privilege of speaking with Gov. Matt Blunt this morning. I asked him about what he was most proud of during his term in office. Without hesitation, he mentioned the budget and jobs.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 2, 2008 - ST. PAUL - With the wrath of Hurricane Gustav fading, some speakers at the luncheons dropped the courtesies and picked up their knives, not to eat but to carve out sharp GOP positions on domestic and foreign policy issues. In the process, some took a few jabs at Barack Obama, too.

By far the sharpest attack came from former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who wondered at one point what's so politically incorrect about the term "Islamic terrorist."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 2, 2008 - ST. PAUL — On the first full night of a GOP national convention that has seen plenty of surprises, Republicans put aside bread and butter issues and focused voters' attention on the character of John McCain. Speaker after speaker portrayed McCain as the nation's best hope for bringing the country together to solve tough problems at home and abroad.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 2, 2008 - Drinking alone in my rathskeller, I was unexpectedly visited by the ghost of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Thompson, you'll recall, was the original national affairs editor for Rolling Stone and inventor of an iconic style known as "Gonzo Journalism."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 1, 2008- Sunday - The Missouri delegation has arrived in Minnesota. The attitude here is subdued, with our hearts and minds turned towards the Gulf. John McCain's campaign has been centered around putting country first, and that principle does not waver, even for a party's convention. So the Republican Party will be the second priority this week; America will come first. I think that is not only the right move politically; I think that it is the right thing to do.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 1, 2008 -  ST. PAUL -- Few Republicans were more gleeful Monday morning than Phyllis Schlafly, the anti-abortion conservative founder of the Eagle Forum, was when she showed up at the Missouri GOP breakfast. Schlafly suggested that she and Sen. John McCain were on the same wave length when it came to picking a running mate that would appeal to conservatives.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Mon., Sept. 1 - 9:45 p.m. - Word spread quickly among the delegates Monday about Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter and her pregnancy. I believe that this is a personal matter; in our society today, situations such as this are part of life. I am glad that Bristol will be keeping the baby and marrying the father, but like her mother, I am sad that she must begin to live such a different life at such a young age. Those that I have talked with feel the same way.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 31, 2008- Just arrived at the Missouri delegation hotel, which is in Brooklyn Park, a suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul and actually about 45 minutes away from the convention center.

Gov. Sarah Palin's chief of staff was on our flight from St. Louis this morning! We were all standing in line waiting for our bags after the landing, and someone said, "Hey, this guy's from Alaska, you must be thrilled."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 30, 2008 - Like Lucinda, I could not be happier with John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin for vice president. When McCain won the nomination, I reviewed all the potential Republican vice presidential nominees. Of all the possibilities, my favorite was Sarah Palin. And as I re-examined the field in the following months, Gov. Palin always was No. 1 on my list.

Palin has a wonderful story to tell the American people, one that I believe will connect with families, conservatives and women.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 30, 2008 - On Aug. 27, Denver police arrested Asa Eslocker of ABC news as he and his camera crew stood on a public sidewalk outside the Brown Palace hotel, trying to interview senators and vips leaving a fundraiser. He was working on a story about the influence of lobbyists on elected officials. Eslocker was charged with trespassing, failing to respond to a lawful order and interfering with a police officer.

Video of the incident shows a cigar-smoking police sergeant, backed up by other officers, grabbing Eslocker by the neck and twisting his arm behind his back.

Meet our bloggers at thhe GOP Convention

Aug 29, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 29, 2009- This is part of the Beacon's coverage of the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul. 

A woman on the ticket

Aug 29, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 29, 2008- Twenty-four years ago, the barrier-breaking selection of Geraldine Ferraro as the Democrats’ vice presidential candidate was nothing less than electrifying for many women and men – especially those who had worked for a lifetime for women’s rights. This was a moment they thought they might never see.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 29, 2008 - Twice, in 1988 and again in 2000, former U.S. Sen. John C. Danforth, D-Mo, was considered as a running mate on the national Republican ticket, one time for each President Bush. Twice he was not chosen.

"I must say my enthusiasm was never there," he said Friday. "When 41 (the first President George H.W. Bush) called an hour before he announced he'd chosen (Sen. Dan) Quayle in 1988, I said, 'Thank you.'"

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 29, 2008 - I'm nothing short of thrilled at Sen. John McCain's selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential choice. By choosing her, McCain has reinforced his maverick credentials and given a huge nod to women, youth and beyond-the-Beltway politics. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 28, 2008 - DENVER - The afterglow of last night's historic moment still was evident this morning when jubilant Missouri delegates gathered for one final business breakfast meeting and talked about Barack Obama's unexpected appearance at the Democrati convention on Wednesday night. He showed up following vice presidential hopeful Joe Biden's acceptance speech and, as usual, electrified the crowd -- a charismatic candidate who happens to be African American, the first member of his race to win the party's presidential nomination.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 28, 2008 - Missouri nestles against eight states, so border wars of all sorts are common. Some are fun, such as this week's Missouri-Illinois football game. But others we can't afford to lose. That includes economic competition between Missouri, which has an income tax, and Tennessee, which does not.

Analysis: Mondale paved the way for Obama -- and Palin

Aug 28, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 28, 2008 - This year's presidential campaign already ranks as historic. The success of Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton transformed American politics by demonstrating that high office is no longer the preserve of white males.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 28, 2008 - 2 p.m.

Yesterday, I attended a National Women's Leadership lunch at the home of a woman who lives here in Denver. Sen. Claire McCaskill was there as well as other female office holders. Gov. Howard Dean, head of the DNC, spoke at the lunch. At one point, he talked about how his wife doesn't enjoy many political events. He said Sen. Evan Bayh's wife, Susan Bayh, acted as a surrogate for events. He introduced her to the room and she said, "I'm still your last chance for tall children!" Gov. Dean turned bright rad and the whole room really enjoyed her joke. Before he left, I got my picture taken with Gov. Dean, which was very exciting.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 28, 2008- Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination to become the first African American nominee of a major political party.

Barack Obama's accepted his party's nomination in an unusual place – Denver's Invesco Field, which hardly resembled the sports arena it is. Obama's team had billed this unusual site as a way to allow at least 75,000 ordinary people to participate. And come they did, beginning to file into the stadium as early as noon on Thursday to ensure they got a seat.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 27, 2008 - Switching horses during a political campaign can be a difficult decision, and it is especially trying for many women who had bet on Hillary Rodham Clinton winning the Democratic nomination for president and perhaps the presidency itself. While a few of Clinton's suporters in the Missouri delegation cast ballots for her, most backed Barack Obama.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 27, 2008 - DENVER -- As soon as he accepted the Democratic Party nomination for vice president last night, Sen. Joe Biden showed that he would help the Obama ticket on issues beyond foreign policy. He let voters know about his life beyond being chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a life that keeps him in touch with his own family and with the hopes, dreams and problems of ordinary Americans.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 27, 2008 - "In wine (there is) truth." That venerable Latin adage, usually attributed to Pliny the Elder, references the tendency of alcohol to loosen tongues. Of course, as any seasoned drinker can tell you, the truth revealed with clarity while under the influence is often not the same truth experienced by its hung-over oracle the morning after. That's why it's a good idea not to drink too much at the office Christmas party.

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