The Missouri Supreme Court yesterday ruled that the city of Clayton can’t seize and hand over several parcels of land in downtown Clayton to private developers who are too cheap to pay market value for land to expand Centene Corporation’s headquarters. According to the article, Centene may look elsewhere instead, but unless they’re willing to go somewhere that’s genuinely blighted—say, about 70% of the city of St. Louis—they’re probably bluffing.
Radley Balko takes note of my hometown’s inability to convince a Missouri Court of Appeals panel that an area of downtown Clayton is ‘blighted’. Quoth Balko:
The idea that expensive office buildings there could be “blighted” is laughable.
Indeed; the corner of Hanley and Forsyth is pretty close to the least blighted area in the St. Louis MSA by any plausible definition of the term.
I voted about an hour ago at the oddly-named Ethical Society building on Clayton Road in Ladue; I was in and out the door in about fifteen minutes. On the way in, someone gave me some literature for two candidates: one of them wasn’t on my ballot, but I voted against the other one, who had already mailbombed me with two flyers in the past week.
Voters were offered a choice between touchscreen (with paper trail) and paper ballots; I went touchscreen. There were eight pages of questions, and I got to vote for a bunch of people I’d never heard of, in addition to the all-important ballot initiatives.
Incidentally, nobody told me I was going to get to vote against retaining about two dozen judges, so that was a nice bonus bit of schadenfreude.
Here’s how I plan to vote Tuesday… feel free to try to change my mind.
- U.S. Senator: Claire McCaskill (D). Frankly, I despise both major party candidates with a passion, and every campaign ad makes me despise both of them more. Both Talent and McCaskill are lightweights, but that’s fine for a state that has a storied history of sending lightweights to Congress. This is simply a vote for divided government—no more, no less.
- U.S. House: whatever Libertarian is on the ballot; I can’t even remember if I’m in District 2 or District 3, but my vote has been gerrymandered out of meaningfulness either way.
- Stem cell initiative (Amendment 2): for. As far as I can tell, the only substantive effect is to prevent the state legislature from banning stem cell research if it so chose; unlike California’s initiative, it creates no funding for research in and of itself. Plus the opponents just sound like idiots—I get about the same visceral reaction to people who use the term “cloner” as those who use the word “abortionist,” which is basically “run for the hills before this creep can corner me.”
- Tobacco tax increase (Amendment 3): against. It’s a tax increase, and a regressive one at that. Not to mention it’s an intergenerational transfer: the old people who were dumb enough to smoke 17 packs of Marlboros a day get their health care paid for by kids who smoke a pack a week. Besides, wasn’t all that tobacco settlement money supposed to pay for this crap in the first place? No thanks.
- Judicial pay amendment (Amendment 7): for.
- Minimum wage increase (Proposition B): against; the Earned Income Tax Credit works better and actually helps poor people, unlike minimum wage increases (the effects which primarily accrue to union members well above the poverty line whose wages are often tied to multiples of the minimum wage). The Economist explains why.
I am in the rather odd position of now having two declared gubernatorial candidates on my blogroll, which has to be some sort of record.
Incidentally, Karlson’s rhetorical question—can’t they both lose?—has been plaguing my thoughts about the Missouri U.S. senatorial race too, wherein we have a choice between an anti-cloning clone of John Ashcroft and someone who was clearly out of her depth as state auditor, much less as a national legislator. At this point, I’m trying to decide between exercising my nonseparable preferences and voting in favor of divided government, even though I’d rather be represented by a broken vacuum cleaner than Claire McCaskill, or voting for Frank Gilmour, the Libertarian candidate, for purely symbolic reasons, even though I think his position on Iraq is dopey and his moustache is creepy-looking.
At least there will be some ballot propositions to make my election day amusing.
Before watching Talent-McCaskill on TiVo-delay, I need to make two very important points:
- Claire McCaskill doesn’t look anything like her picture.
- I am too sober to watch this crap, even though I was cruel and sadistic enough to make my American politics students watch it and write an essay for extra credit.
More thoughts when some braincells are numbed enough to listen to these twerps.
I paid $24 today to the Gateway Clean Air Program to hook up one of these to my car under the misguided belief that this is a fool-proof way to ensure that my car isn't polluting the environment. Then I paid another $12 to NTB so a mechanic could look at my car and prove that it wasn’t falling apart, only to be passed on I-70 by a car that I am 99% certain would fail any safety or emissions inspection miserably.
Tomorrow I get to go stand in line at City Hall to prove I don’t owe any property taxes to Missouri on my car, then I get to stand in another line in the same building to get my plates. No word on how much in fees, taxes, and kickbacks that will entail.