My Unique Take on St. Louis City Proposition P (The “P” Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means)

14 11 2017

Downtown

Back in February and March leading up to the April election in St. Louis City, city voters were told to vote yes on Proposition 1, an extra half cent on the sales tax, because:

Cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops MetroLink cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops MetroLink cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops MetroLink cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops cops.

Predictably, city voters approved Prop 1, because, well, because cops.

It wasn’t until after Prop 1 was safely in the bag that the media around here admitted the truth, which I don’t think even I grasped before the fact, that most of Prop 1 was going to be used for the MissingLink and really none of it for cops.  The dough it generates is by no means enough to pay for the entire cost of the North-South line, because they’re figuring that it’ll run somewhere close to $2 billion.  What Prop 1 funds provides is everything in the pre-construction phrase, the engineering work, the design work, the environmental studies, the right-of-way acquisition (if any is needed), sundries, and most importantly, money to pay people to lobby the Feds to open up Uncle Sam’s wallet for the $2 billion it will take to start turning dirt.  But, again, none for cops.

Unfortunately, on the same day Prop 1 passed in the city, St. Louis County voters passed Proposition P, also an extra half cent on the sales tax, and that money actually was used for cops, and almost entirely to raise the pay scales for the County Browns (St. Louis County Police Department).  City officials were hoping (Or were they?  See below) that Prop P wouldn’t pass in the county, for two main reasons:  One, they knew they were feeding city voters a line of boo sheet that Prop 1 was going to be used for cops, but two and more crucially, because they knew that Prop 1 wouldn’t benefit cops, a successful Prop P in the county would mean that the already existing and noticeable pay scale gap between County Browns and SLPD would grow much wider, and that it did.  Which now only serves as a magnet for SLPD to make the move across the county line and defect to the better paid County Browns.  Or so we’re told, and I’ll get to that in a moment.

Which means City Hall had to come back again and ask city voters for another half cent nut, (Proposition P, not to be confused with the aforementioned April proposition in the county), on the November ballot, (thereby giving enough time for people of short memory not to remember that Prop 1 back in April was supposed to be for the cops), and according to the pro-P mailers, lit and media buys, specifically to fund pay scale increases for both SLPD and SLFD to keep “good, experienced first responders” from defecting to the County Browns and county fire departments.  Even more than that, pro-P propaganda said that with the recent spike in violent crime in the city, Prop P was needed more than ever to keep good experienced SLPD cops in the city so they can help combat the crime.

And of course you can probably figure out how it turned out on voting day, if you aren’t here and don’t already know the answer.

The official reasoning in support of Prop P raises more questions than answers, and when you mash up that boat load of question marks with the political skulduggery around here from back in the spring, and then do a little subversive thinking, you’ll figure out what’s really going on, you’ll find the real answer. Consider:

(1) Even if Prop P funds do wind up absolutely equalizing SLPD and County Browns pay scales, that still won’t stop the city-to-county cop bleeding, (provided it is actually occurring, and, once again, I’ll get to that), because in order to do that, the SLPD pay scales would need to be not just the same as County Browns, but in fact, much higher.  Simply because, for the most part, St. Louis City is riskier policing work than most of unincorporated St. Louis County and St. Louis County munis without their own police department, in spite of the fact that County Browns have to deal with most of the worst of North County.  Remember this thing called the risk-reward continuum?  That concept makes another appearance in today’s post storm.  Who wants to run the risk of being the next Jason Stockley (whose saga can also be found elsewhere in today’s post storm) on the SLPD unless SLPD pay is much higher (“hazard pay”) than everywhere else?  Prop P “at best” only equalizes city with county, there’s nowhere near the kind of money to do the kind of hazard pay that is honestly necessary to stop all this supposed bleeding.

(2) But I don’t think there is really a whole lot of bleeding.  The pro-P propagandists insisted that there’s this constant steady massive barrage of cops leaving the city for the county.  The problem with that is this:  I hardly think the County Browns can just on a whim hire any ole SLPD officer who wants to make the move.  Sure, they might be able to take in a few such “refugees,” but no more than that.  Clayton has budgetary pressures just as much as Downtown.  Besides, most County Browns officers came there from a path other than starting out with the SLPD; It’s not as if that prerequisite exists to get on with the St. Louis County PD.  If there was, there would be political hell to pay in the county.

(3) I don’t actually think the important people in the city were “hoping” that the April Prop P in the county would fail, I think they knew it would pass, (first responder ballot measures rarely fail, owning to the high public approval of first responders, which is a segue to my BLM commentary of today’s post storm), thereby giving them their next move to do what they really wanted to do and do it for the reason they really wanted to do it.  I’m about to get to that.

(4) Then there’s the biggie.  I know the qualitative difference between a good experienced cop and a not-so-good inexperienced cop, and what difference it makes in terms of job performance.  However, I am not convinced that even if every SLPD officer was of the former variety rather than the latter, that it would make a significant difference in the violent crime rate.  Back in May, I wrote a post here wherein I quoted my own AR comment about the questionable notion that increasing the number of beat cops in a given department within the relevant range of reality can necessarily result in a proportional and commensurate reduction in the violent crime rate.  I think a lot of the same reasoning I present there applies to the question of the good-experienced vs bad-inexperienced spectrum when it comes to street level enforcers.  Just for the fact that all the cops are book smart and street smart and long tenured as opposed to the polar opposites isn’t going to prevent N’Deshawntavious from murking Ooktavious over the last slug of malt liquor on the corner of Natural Bridge and Newstead.  I am of the opinion that violent crime is going to be what it’s going to be regardless of the relevant range of the number of cops or the professional acuity of the cops, because things other than those are the driving forces behind it.

Believe me, if I’ve game theorized through these things, then the city’s power elite have thought of this, or if not, some brainiac apparatchik very similar to your brain-damaged Blogmeister, the sort that works in some corner office in some suite halfway up Met Square, has thought of it and told them all.  The connections between myself and the metro area’s power elites were tenuous at best even back in the days when I was professionally closest to them, and now, thanks to being so rudely interrupted back in July, they’re next to nonexistent.  In spite of that, I have a good enough “feel” on the really important people in the area and how they think and what they think, and I can triangulate what they’re up to.  (Because, when you have a good enough read on human nature, and you let yourself think subversively, you wind up seeing right through the opaque smokescreens of official pronouncements in order to discover the truth.)  The real movers and shakers in the city already realize all the Doubting Thomas factors you just read, but they wanted Prop P anyway.

I’m about to tell you the real reason why, doing more of my world-renowned subversive thinking.  Translated into Ebonics, I’m finna spit the real.

Try to think of a reason why a city government of significant size would need more revenue to spend on first responders, police and fire, but a purpose that’s tangential to the purpose rather than the things themselves.  Hint:  The P in Proposition P does stand for a word that starts with P, but it’s not “police.”

All you need is one word:

Pensions.

The Ferguson Effect black violent crime spike around here provided City Hall and certain attached civic movers and shakers the perfect excuse/opportunity/cover to extort already nervous city voters for another half cent sales tax to cover partially if not completely the coming first responder pension fund financial pressures on City Hall that are about to become real big problems in the coming years, even more so than they have been in, say, the last ten years.  (Recall that FRS, Firefighter Retirement System, was one of Francis Slay’s big political headaches during his third and fourth terms as mayor.)   To put it another way, while the rubes are all worried about N’Deshawntavious and Ooktavious, we can manipulate their anxiety and fleece them to solve the future pension crisis, feeding them a bunch of tripe and boo sheet and excuses and politically easy answers to get them to go along.  Get while the gettin’s good.

If my cynicism is correct, then I think the SLPD (and SLFD) pay scales will be raised some, but not to equalization levels with the county, but it won’t really make a difference in any way shape or fashion, as I just explained in this epic post, and the city power brokers already know the same things.  Most of the money will be used for pensions.  Because a lot of other cities and states are facing future pension problems that are even worse than St. Louis’s, I expect other places to run this scam.  Baltimore, for example, also experiencing a Ferguson Effect black violent crime spike, will probably try this.

BONUS OBSERVATION

Postmortem after P passed.  Even if you take the pro-P propaganda totally at face value, and I just spent over 1,800 words to explain that and why I don’t, then even these hopes don’t make sense.  At face value, Prop P will merely result in the cops already on the SLPD being paid more, which means CWE residents (“the smartest people in town”) must believe that the same cops that somehow couldn’t prevent CWE residents from being violent crime victims before November 7 will somehow magically be able to start doing so just because they’re being paid more.  Brain damaged local Alt-Right blogger figures it out but a neighborhood full of professors and geniuses and high cognitive functioning professionals can’t?

Advertisements




Must Stop Meeting Like This

8 06 2017

London

I didn’t have to look at David Dimbleby once between May 2010 and May 2015.  Now, I’ll be looking at him for the second time in the time period I was hoping I didn’t have to see him at all, and overall for the third time in three current years.  He anchored Brexit vote coverage for the BBC last year at about this time, and because of the April May June stunt, he’ll be anchoring the coverage for the snap general election tonight on the BBC.  He’s already 78, so one can only hope he’ll retire before the May 2020 elections.

I’m really interested to see how UKIP will fare today.  The successful Brexit vote last year, and Theresa May actually following through, would point to the rug being pulled out from under it, and most UKIP voters slithering to the Tories.  But, with the Religion of Peace being so peaceful in the last few weeks, and May’s idiocy in response, (“it’s the internet’s fault”), that could be a vector that works in the opposite direction, that moves voters from Tories to UKIP while at the same time minimizing UKIP to Tory movement over Brexit.

I’ll update this post through the late afternoon and evening, and consider this the British election open thread.

4:06 PM

Polling and exit polling are all over the place, ranging from Tory+50 to Tory-15, if the Tories come under 326 seats, then it’s a hung parliament.  Right now they have 330.

4:51 PM

If this stunt winds up blowing up in Theresa May’s face, then in retrospect, then everyone should have been able to see it coming.  She was banking on riding on the backs of the politics of the Brexit vote, when there was a different political dynamic at work there than there are in conventional parliamentary electoral politics.  May guessed that since Brexit won in a lot of marginal to fairly solid Labour constituencies in England, that meant the Tories could pick them off in a snap election with Brexit fresh on voters’ minds.  Plain words, May doesn’t seem to be getting the post-Brexit vote credit for Brexit.  Which makes sense, because from what I remember, she was a mild opponent of Brexit.

5:04 PM

Newcastle Central was the first constituency to declare, when one on Sunderland is usually the first.  Labour had a substantial gain, the Tories a noticeable gain, while UKIP had a substantial loss.  The seat is a safe Labour seat.

5:14 PM

The one in Sunderland that usually declares first has just declared.  UKIP collapsed, but this time, the Tories gained more than Labour, even though the seat is safe Labour.  I think the sum total of the two constituencies that have declared so far is going to be the story of the night insofar as UKIP is concerned — Brexit made UKIP redundant, and the Tories and Labour will about evenly harvest the dividends from the outpouring away from UKIP.  Just as UKIP itself two years ago drew blood about evenly from the Tories and Labour, and a bit from the LDs.

6:34 PM

Now I’m starting to hear the noise of “Brexit may have to be delayed if May or whoever replaces her as PM if she steps down doesn’t have an absolute Tory majority behind her, because we don’t need a weak government slash hung parliament negotiating for Britain.”  How convenient.  It’s like I said about Brexit after the Brexit vote:  In spite of the vote, IBIWISI, and that the political establishment would find 50 million different excuses to delay or drag their feet, hoping that it will drift off people’s minds, as people have a short attention span anyway, and nobody will suffer any consequences, and nobody will care, when it dawns on everyone that Brexit hasn’t formally happened and won’t.

8:07 PM

About an hour ago, I started to think that Theresa May did this all deliberately to sabotage Brexit.  And, Nigel Farage is dog whistling that same accusation.

8:27 PM

The Scottish National Party (SNP) is also having a bad night.  Tonight might well be the Waterloo for both the SNP and UKIP.  Maybe I’m being a Polyanna, but this very well could open up a lane for a renewal of the BNP.

8:48 PM

Remember Nick Clegg?  In 2010, his visage was Obamaized in the famous “HOPE” poster.  Tonight, he lost his constituency to Labour.

9:32 PM

UKIP has lost its only seat to the Tories.  Which, considering how the night was going before now, was predictable.

10:30 PM

The way a lot of people are talking, there was a lot of serious political talk about both a second Scottish independence referendum and a second Brexit referendum.

10:39 PM

I wrote off Jeremy Corbyn as a nut, and he might still be.  But it turns out he’s a more wily and clever campaigner and flesh-pounder than anyone gave him credit for being.

11:00 PM

Tories have 288 seats, 38 short of a majority, 53 left to declare.  Nigel Farage is now making noises about getting back into politics somehow.

I must surrender to the sandman now, so we’ll see what things look like in the morning.

Friday 7:35 AM

Tories finish with 319, a loss of 11.  The Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, always allied with the Tories, will add its numbers to give the Tories a functioning majority, and it’s said that this won’t knock Brexit off its perch.

No IA&Bs about it, yesterday was a disaster for Theresa May.  When she called this snap election, she was fully electing the Tories to get at least 400 seats.

8:00 AM

Yeah, we know, you’re gloating.  And also, homosexuality is implicit whiteness.

Really though, British nationalism wasn’t a jumping scene even before Brexit.

I will have to confess that yesterday, as a surprise extra date on the 2016-2017 Kek World Tour, was never going to be a good one for the Alt-Right, no matter which way you slice it.

8:39 AM

Of course I think UKIP is better off with Nigel Farage running it.  But I don’t think that would have made yesterday turn out any differently for UKIP.  What killed UKIP yesterday was that Brexit made UKIP obsolete.

Sunday 7 PM

Well well well.  Looks like somebody’s cynicism has just been vindicated.

Monday 10 AM

Funny how that works.





All Important Third Barrier

7 05 2017

Paris

Of course I would have wanted to see MLP win outright.  But that was a long shot.

I was actually thinking she’d break 40%.  No on that count, either.

But here’s the good news:

If she winds up getting 35%, and I’ll come back later and insert the actual number, she will have almost doubled the previous record for the percentage of the national vote cast for a FN candidate.  She herself holds that record, when she got 17.9% five years ago in the first round, though that was only good for third place, and she obviously didn’t make the runoff.  That figure in turn slightly beats her father’s share of the national vote in the runoff when he made it ten years prior.

Here’s the more important thing.

She passed one-third.

There’s an old saying that if a cause which previously had less support makes it above one-third public support, it’s inevitable, while a cause which previously had high public support falls below one-third, it’s never coming back and will soon die.





Up a Flooded Crick Without a Paddle

5 05 2017

Paris

French election runoff funnies.

* “How can such idyllic villages support the far right?”

Duh, because they want to stay idyllic.

* If MLP can pull it off on Sunday, it’s going to put the IOC in a bind.  You see, the only two finalist cities for the Summer 2024 games are Los Angeles and Paris.  So they have to pick between Trump, who they hate, or MLP, who they hate.

If it gets to that point, then bribery will be the deciding factor.





Proposition Tomorrow

3 04 2017

St. Louis City

If you happen to live in the city, and fewer and fewer people who care about my opinions do, here are my recommendations for tomorrow:

I don’t care either way about Prop A or Prop B.

Vote no on Prop C, NS, 1 and 2.

I get the feeling they will all pass.

 





The Greatest Political Jitz of All Time

28 03 2017

Downtown

Another one of the propositions on the city ballot a week from today is Prop A, which would consolidate Recorder of Deeds with Assessor, and use the savings to buy cop body cams and the data maintenance therefrom.

The pro-A mailers are heavily touting the cop angle.  Not only that, they’re selling cop body cams as devices that will mean “higher conviction rates,” “better trained cops,” and “fewer complaints against cops.”

This is strange, isn’t it?  For months and months after the hoopla on the Fergaza Strip, the entire public and private alphabet gang told us that cops need to wear cams to catch them in the act red-handed brutalizing black babies’ bodies.  I predicted at the time that more and more cops would be made to wear cams, but over time, as these cams showed us more WSHH-worthy video showing up the black undertow, and exposed a majority of cop versus black civilian controversies generally in favor of the former, that the alphabet gang of the left would do a very quick 180, and start demanding the cops get rid of their body cams.  To a very small extent, that has already started.

I now think the cops knew that all along, and on the sly and with a dash of pretense of opposition went along with the “zomg cams for cops lol” BLM/NAACP/Bell Curve City/Dinduistan hysteria because they knew the matter would politically jitz in favor of the cops and away from BLM/NAACP/Bell Curve City/Dinduistan.





August November Romance

27 03 2017

Downtown

I’m looking at what’s on the ballot a week from tomorrow, and I notice that in the city, there will be a proposed charter amendment that will move the city’s election cycle from the March primary April general cycle that state law proscribes for municipalities to an August primary November system that state law requires for state and Federal offices.  The city can do that in spite of state law because of its home rule powers.

I don’t know if it would make a difference either way.  I’m just trying to figure out who is behind it through the inference of who would benefit from it.  I know that a certain Mr. Rex S. supports B, but I also know for sure that he had no substantial hand in getting B on the ballot, and isn’t spending much on the pro campaign.  However, just his support is causing a lot of people to be apprehensive about it, and some are even flat out declaring their opposition for no other reason.

As for my more rational and far less knee-jerk parsing, I come up with two theories:

(1) Remember, only one party in the city matters, that being Democrat.  This means that, in the system we have now, all relevant candidate-based electoral politics happen in March of odd-numbered years, with April being pro forma.  If B passes, it means that they would all happen in August of even-numbered years, with November being pro forma.  One thing we know for sure about St. Louis — It’s always warmer in early August than it is in early March, and there is zero chance of debilitating snow in early August, while there is in early March.  It’s possible that moving the meat of city politics from March to August is meant to try to boost black turnout.  If NAACP type groups or black/-ish groups are behind Prop B, then we’ll know the time of day.

(2) If it’s not race, then another thing that auspiciously jumps out at me is that, because the change would happen starting in 2020, meaning the March/April 2019 elections normally held then would not be held until August/November 2020, and then the March/April 2021 elections that would be held then would not be held until August/November 2022, it means that the next mayoral election in the city, scheduled for March/April 2021 but for Prop B, would happen in August/November 2022 if B passes, and then every August/November of even-numbered Presidential midterm years going forward.  Think of another prominent St. Louis-area local government executive office voted on in August/November of Presidential midterm years — That’s right — St. Louis County Executive.  Could this be some sort of slick on-the-low propaganda mechanism to grease the skids psychologically for city-county merger?

As an aside, even if Prop B does not pass, what will happen is that the city board of aldermen will halve in size from 28 to 14 starting at the first normal election cycle after the release of the 2020 Census data (that happens some time in the late spring of 2021) and the requisite drawing of the city map into 14 wards of roughly equal population.  I think what will happen as far as that goes is that all 14 wards will go on the first election, then they’ll alternate between the even numbered and odd numbered wards every four years.  If Prop B does not pass, then it will go like this:  All 14 wards in March/April 2023, then the seven odd-numbered wards in March/April 2025, then the even-numbered wards in March/April 2027, etc.  If Prop B does pass, then the all-wards cycle will happen in August/November 2022, then the seven even-numbered wards in August/November 2024, then the seven odd-numbered wards in August/November 2026, etc.  I think it will continue to be the case that once the 14 ward system is settled in, odd numbered wards go on the mayoral cycle and the even numbered wards go on the mayoral midterm cycle, which would be the aldermanic president cycle, that city wide office would go on August/November of Presidential cycles if Prop B passes.