Saturday, April 22, 2006


Things have settled down after the election, or have they? At first glance, everyone has gone back to the business of governing, but there seem to be a few bumps in the road.

The Francis Howell School Board had a bit of a shake-up. Two incumbent board members were voted out in favor of change. Change seems like an overstatement since Board President Mark Lafata is still leading the bunch. Not too hard to tell what happened there. Lafata abandoned Rhonda Brown, wife of Mayor Shawn Brown, because she abandoned him. She starting taking the advice of political novice Bob Farr, who ironically had a three-year term and the luxury of figuring things out on the job, and rightfully so, Lafata left it up to Farr to help her get re-elected. Farr is beholden to the Teacher’s Union, and the Teacher’s Union did not trust Rhonda Brown either, which is what happens when you switch sides. Trying to please all the people all the time just ensures that no one you have to work with will trust you. You would think she would have learned that lesson from her husband. In any case, Lafata worked with the Union and he remains at the helm of the ship. Lafata now seems to tussle the most with Farr, at least according to the press. Pastor Farr, who never met a reporter he didn’t like, continues to go with whatever position or theory will get him the most press coverage. Who knows what he is running for next, but he’s gotten as transparent as Pandering Pagano over in St. Peters. I gotta wonder what his flock must think of his political extracurricular activities. I guess I’m thankful that we don’t allow that sort of thing with Catholic priests. I prefer a little separation between church and state and a lot less political agenda on the part of my spiritual advisor.

Over in St. Charles, Darling Dottie survived the recall election. You would think the St. Charles City Council would have buried the hatchet and re-elected Council President Riddler. It’s time for the Mayor to throw in the towel. Try as she might, she was unable to recall Darling Dottie. It’s time to stop being a hindrance and work with the Council. Some of the Mayor’s bunch allegedly campaigned actively against one of their own colleagues. This is not really the way to govern, now is it? Infighting is unproductive and the only losers are the residents. Give it up people. Riddler beat you fair and square. You tried and you failed. Now wait until the next election to push your agenda. On a side note, apparently Kevin Kast has taken a post in Illinois. I wonder what this will mean for the 2007 St. Charles Mayoral race. That remains to be seen I suppose, but apparently a board majority is not for sale, so it’s time to go back to the business of governing.

Even though they didn’t have an election, the sparks are flying in St. Peters. The normally mundane act of naming a Board President became quite a performance the other night. I use the word performance, because it starred our favorite character, Pandering Len Pagano. Good old Pandering Pagano created a fairly impressive drama. Pagano who is not the most eloquent of speakers, after all the doddering old fool routine is his shtick, bumbled out a character attack against Alderman Terry Hawkins. In his trumped up outrage it was a bit hard to figure out his point, but basically, he thinks Hawkins is unfit to serve as Board President because last year Hawkins wrote a letter to a judge asking for leniency for a relative of one of his neighbors. From all accounts, Hawkins did not condone the man’s actions, but simply asked for leniency so the man could see his daughter graduate high school. I’ll save my sermon on federal sentencing guidelines for another time. Seems that it’s really no big deal except that Hawkins signed the letter in his capacity as Board President. Again, not a big deal, but maybe bad judgment. Pagano needs to give it up. It’s a little unclear what his purpose was, of course it’s always unclear what his purpose is. Was he trying to garner support for himself or for his compatriot Patrick Barclay, who practically threw a temper tantrum over the whole process? In any case, Barclay and Pagano should be embarrassed. We’ll see what the next chapter will bring in this drama.

It’s also worth mentioning the 2nd District Senate Race. St. Charles County’s Chief RINO (that’s Republican-in-Name-Only) has a slow but decent fundraising start in his efforts to completely destroy the party and unseat newly elected Senator Scott Rupp. Brazil has created a situation which will force Rupp to raise funds and run two additional campaigns. This is all because A.B. wants to have a state senator in his pocket. Brazil’s donors include the usual suspects and various duck-related individuals and entities. In addition, Malcontent Chuck MacNab and Pathetic Brandy Pedersen actually wrote checks in support of Brazil. I’m not sure I’d be so proud of their support. That seems so incredibly appropriate, doesn’t it? The destroyers-in-chief of the Republican Party are supporting the most dangerous RINO of them all. It’s a bit early to tell, but it certainly seems unlikely that Brazil will do the right thing and step aside for the good of the party. After all, you would have to be a Republican to want to do the right thing for the Republican Party and Brazil is certainly no friend of the Republican Party. Maybe Pedersen and MacNab will go with him to Jeff City if Brazil somehow manages to win. They would be great at constituent services. At least that would get them out of the County.

There was some good news, however. In the department of a less bumpy road, how about the difference in O’Fallon? It’s a new day for sure. Four new board members joined the only two reasonable members of the prior Board of Aldermen and these six new councilmen unanimously elected Councilman Cantwell as President Pro Tem. Wow. What a difference. The people of O’Fallon were unhappy with the direction of their government and they expressed their feelings at the ballot box during a regularly scheduled election. The Mayor even appears to be taking her time in appointing members to fill the two vacant seats as opposed to taking marching orders from A.B., or anyone else for that matter. That is a refreshing change of pace. However, it’s not all roses in O’Fallon. It remains to be seen whether the change to a third class city will truly be a transition period for O’Fallon as they explore the possibility of adopting a charter or if they will join the recall circus in St. Charles.

O’Fallon had a transition in the true democratic tradition envisioned by our founding fathers – the Mayor of St. Charles should note the civics lesson. We’ll have to keep an eye on the road and see if it becomes less bumpy.