Saturday, March 24, 2007

Case In Point By Joe Koester, Councilman Ward 9

“Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.”
Corrie Ten Boom

The first First Capitol News of Spring 2007. Spring being a time for renewal, hope and faith; I thought a quote from Corrie Ten Boom would be timely. If ever a story of faith and hope were written, Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place was it. Anyone who has not yet read Ten Boom’s book about her family’s resistance to the Nazi in Holland can call your favorite book store and order a copy to compliment the arrival of spring.

Recently, State Representative, Tom Dempsey introduced legislation that would prohibit collectors of signatures for recall petitions from being paid. I want to thank Rep. Dempsey for taking this step in an attempt to keep the recall process from being a tool of a few wealthy citizens who create a “grassroots” movement by using a lot of “green”. Citizens still hold the right to remove an elected official from office for malfeasance but a resident in, Town and Country cannot pay someone from Sikeston to collect signatures on an official in St. Charles County.

Rep. Dempsey is responding to a recall effort against councilman Mark Brown and councilwoman Dottie Greer where people were paid per signature collected that opened up the recall to corruption that brought charges on some of the people involved in the endeavor. Again, thanks to Rep. Dempsey for taking action to safeguard the election process.

By chance that Tom Dempsey is reading this here are a couple more areas where we can use your help:
¨Help us outlaw payday loan shops (legislate stricter usury laws and lets drive these predatory lenders out of business)
¨Stop/Reverse legislation that prohibits only St. Charles from certain action (starting with control over our own sewer system)
¨Help keep elections statewide clean by banning paperless, touch-screen voting machines.
¨Help St. Charles City residents along I-70 obtain sound abatement by securing funding for buffers (currently the State won’t help with sound walls unless I-70 is widened; however, it was widened from its original four lanes)
¨Introduce legislation that demarks Lindenwood University’s boundaries at their current extent so that any new property they purchase does not fall under their tax-exempt status (as it stands, the university can continue to buy up property and remove each piece from our town’s tax rolls).

I think it will be beneficial if our city officials meet regularly in the coming years with our state officials. Sometimes communication breaks down without anyone realizing it. We all can take the lesson of a new start that spring brings with it. Again, I really am thankful for the attention paid to cleaning up recall efforts!

Another thing we have to think about with the coming of spring is thunderstorms and tornadoes. More specifically, we have to wonder how many times our power might be out for extended periods. Should I buy a generator or not...? Folks in Illinois had to be slack-jawed when their latest Ameren bills arrived and had doubled and tripled. It is spring and we are supposed to remain hopeful – so, here’s to hoping Mother Nature goes easy on us this Spring so we can read, The Hiding Place and other good books this season by electric light and not candlelight.

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.
Anne Bradstreet