Thank You St. Louis City Voters for defeating Proposition A Body Cam Scam
51.6% to 48.4%
(60% needed to pass a Charter Amendment)
As of Saturday, April 1, Billionaire Rex Sinquefield had dumped a total of $512,057.00 in cash and in-kind contributions into the campaigns for Prop A Body Cam Scam (Make St. Louis Safe PAC) and Prop B Election Date Scam (STL Votes PAC). The donations come via his Great St. Louis Inc, which is not the political action committee by the same name.
The money is going to canvassing workers and field organizing via BML Consulting and Fuse Advertising; and mailings and media via Fuse Advertising and Show Me Victories.
BML Consulting is owned by Blake Lawrence, Chief Counsel or recently former Chief Counsel to State Senator Jamilah Nasheed.
Gerald Hawthorne, Deputy Treasurer for Sinquefield’s Make St. Louis PAC and Treasurer of Sinquefield’s Great St. Louis PAC, is or was associated with Fuse Advertising.
Show Me Victories is the Kelley Group, also the contractors for Prop 1 Economic Development Sales Tax and Prop 2 Use Tax for Soccer Stadium.
Prop A seeks to abolish the Office of Recorder of Deeds and immediately make the elected Recorder of Deeds an employee under the mayoral appointed Assessor for the remainder of her term of office. Prop A’s Initiative Petition/Ordinance states…
The Missouri Constitution specifically requires an elected official to serve out the term, as in carry out the duties, and says changes cannot take place until the end of that term.
Oddly enough, that Article VI, Section 32(b) is the section that State Senator Jamilah Nasheed often cites as legal basis to abolish the office.
Furthermore, under Missouri Statute, you cannot provide Recorder of Deeds services without an elected or appointed official named Recorder of Deeds. Every county must have a Recorder of Deeds.
The Prop A Initiative Petition/Ordinance fails to name the Assessor as Recorder. It states..
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board was against the Police Body Cam Scam before it was for it.
“Singling out Carpenter, on the dubious pretext that it would permit the city to afford body cameras, is local politics at its worst,” wrote the Editorial Board in City’s longshot ‘body camera initiative’ smells like revenge.
That was during the signature gathering phase of the initiative petition to eliminate the Recorder of Deeds position and transfer Recorder duties to the Assessor (without naming the Assessor as Recorder and complying with the Missouri Constitution and statutes).
That was August 2016. But March 26th, the Editorial Board decided to join Billionaire Rex Sinquefield and State Senator Jamilah Nasheed in their “local politics at its worst” and endorsed Proposition A with the unflattering note, “There is no data supporting this savings estimate, which seems inflated…”
We are required by law to have a Recorder of Deeds. Getting rid of the office doesn’t get rid of the responsibility. Plus, with a looming budget shortfall, there’s absolutely no guarantee that the money saved will be appropriated to public safety.
— Tishaura Jones, St. Louis City Treasurer
Proposition A is a misleading attempt to combine the Recorder of Deeds office with the Assessor’s office under the false pretense of funding a police body camera program. The minimal amount of projected savings of Prop A far exceed the cost of a police body camera program and would not make our city safer. Additionally, Prop A will make it harder for citizens to secure important legal documents that are currently overseen by the Recorder of Deeds office.
Proposition B aims to move the current Primary Municipal Election from March to August and the General Municipal Election from April to November. This would result in local issues being pushed to the bottom of the ballot.
Both Props A & B are backdoor attempts by Rex Sinquefield to push his agenda on our city and are a step towards defunding important city services. Please join us on April 4 at your local polling place to vote NO on Propositions A & B.
— Gregory F.X. Daly, St. Louis City Collector of Revenue
The Labor Tribune called the ballot issue “Fiscal Insanity” and noted opposition from various labor organizations.
The St. Louis American labeled the proposal “a contrivance” and noted, “St. Louis will still need employees to handle the land deeds, marriage licenses, birth certificates and all the other recorder’s functions that aren’t going away. With all the costs inherent in the recorder’s office, there’s no way the savings could make even a dent in the total cost for body cameras.”
The list of Proposition A Supporters:
Billionaire Rex Sinquefield
State Senator Jamilah Nasheed
Outgoing Mayor Francis Slay
Former Recorder of Deeds, Former 15th Ward Alderwoman Jennifer Florida
Rex Sinquefield’s Great St. Louis pac last filed a report in January and had a very small amount on hand.
The money so far going to Make Saint Louis Safe, Sinquefield’s Proposition A campaign committee, and STL Votes, Sinquefield’s Proposition B campaign committee, is actually coming from Great St. Louis, Inc., not Great St. Louis pac.
Treasurer Marc Ellinger has served a legal counsel and spokesperson for Sinquefield ballot issues, including Sinquefield’s quest to get rid of the City’s earnings taxes.
Thursday, Great St. Louis, Inc., donated another $60,000 to Make Saint Louis Safe (total to date $110,000) and another $60,000 to STL Votes (total to date $110,000).
Proponents of Rex Sinquefield’s Proposition A cannot seem to settle on where is it that they are getting $1 Million from the Recorder of Deed’s Office for the imaginary $1 Million Police Body Cam program.
Earlier this week, Senator Jamilah Nasheed said the money would come from modernizing computers, apparently not understanding that the technology at the Recorder’s is not paid for by General Revenue.
Today on St. Louis On The Air, Senator Nasheed claimed body cameras could be funded with the Recorder of Deeds’s Preservation Fund. The account is separate from General Revenue and funded by a special fee dedicated under Section 59.319.1 RSMo to preservation-related activities of the Recorder’s Office.
While the City Recorder is best known for recording deeds, issuing marriage licenses, and providing Birth and Death Certificate copies, the Office is charged with conservation, preservation, and access for many more records, an extensive public records collection.
It appears that the Senator takes the constitutional provision giving City voters the right to “amend or revise its present charter to provide for the number, kinds, manner of selection, terms of office and salaries of its county officers” to mean that the City has a right to ignore all other constitutional provisions and statutes, which is does not.
In this Fox2 You Paid for It interview, State Senator Jamilah Nasheed says that there is $1 Million in cost savings to be had by modernizing the computers at the Recorder of Deeds Office, or combining computers with another office, or something like that. The plan is not specific. It just has something to do with computers equaling a million dollars for police body cameras.
The problem with Nasheed’s argument is that the computer-related technology used in the Recorder of Deed’s Office is not paid for by City General Revenue. The Recorder’s database is paid for by a special fee on document recording and fund created by Section 59.800 RSMo. The fund must be spent on technology for the Recorder’s office. The funds cannot be diverted for other purposes. The funds cannot be moved to General Revenue.
The Recorder’s Technology Fund is why every Missouri Recorder has its own database separate from County Collector, Assessor, etc. Data may be shared with other agencies and systems, but there remains a database specific to recording of deeds and issuance of marriage licenses.
Consolidating databases would actually cost the City’s General Revenue Fund millions of dollars to convert data and adapt the City’s system to accommodate all the Recorder’s functions and services.
The Recorder provides secure electronic deed recording. It’ll cost a bundle for the City to reinvent that wheel.
The Recorder’s database currently has 13.6 Million scanned images ranging from 19th Century for profit and nonprofit incorporations and marriage licenses to tax liens and mortgages recorded yesterday. There are millions more records waiting to be scanned and indexed. $2.5 Million was the last bid estimate for an outside contractor to aide in scanning land record books in the basement.
When the City’s website/network goes down, the public can still research deeds at St. Louis City Recorder. Sometimes bigger is not better.