A fundraising quarter before an election is when Missouri politics starts getting real.
And by “getting real,” I mean getting "realexpensive.”
Tuesday is the deadline for campaign committees to turn in their fund-raising reports. These are the documents showing how much money political candidates and ballot initiatives have for the final push to the Aug. 5 primary. They can also reveal how much cash is being shelled out in competitive primaries.
Tod Martin wasn’t going to let 20 words keep him from marrying David Gray.
While it took more than 20 years, St. Louis officials last week issued Martin and Gray a marriage license. They’re among eight people who are testing the state’s nearly 10-year-old, 20-word ban on gay marriage.
The few long-time regulars at St. Louis County Council meetings may be longing for the legislative body's customary 10-minute meetings after the past few weeks.
That’s because in recent weeks, the meetings have turned into lengthy – and often bitterly hostile – clashes between St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and most of the council. But it's more than just legislative melodrama; a coalition of five council members (out of seven) have managed to block quite a bit of Dooley’s agenda.
St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley has claimed in recent weeks that he never proposed shutting down county parks in 2011. But now, as the issue begins to heat up again, Dooley is, in his own words, "walking back" from his comments.
Dooley told St. Louis Public Radio that he “never proposed shutting down anything,” adding that “people will be saying things every election cycle about Charlie Dooley. Just because they say it doesn’t make it so.”
St. Louis area leaders squelched any doubts last week about how they want to spend money from a transportation sales tax.
Sure, some of the regional projects funded with the .75 percent sales tax increase would bolster mass transit service or bike trails. But that's the exception rather than the rule: Most of the roughly $1.5 billion worth of requested projects would go toward roads, highways and bridges.
If you had $1.49 billion for transportation projects, how would you spend it? Would you repair highways? Bolster mass transit service? Enhance bike lanes?
This isn’t some academic exercise. The St. Louis region’s political leaders are considering how to divide the potential proceeds from a 0.75 percent sales tax increase for transportation. These decisions could have a transformative impact on how St. Louis area residents get around.
But here’s the twist: You have to make this decision very, very quickly.