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Call Publishing, Thursday, April 18, 2013 - Page 4A

By Mike Anthony

Ex-school board members leave conservative legacy Mark Stoner is the new president of the Mehlville Board of Education. Other officers elected last week include newly elected board member Lori Trakas as vice president and board member Rich Franz as secretary. Now, perhaps for the first time in the history of the Mehlville School District, it appears the Board of Education has a conservative majority. Some might ask, how could this happen? The answer is simple. Some past board members who vowed to bring change to the district failed to deliver what they promised. We can think of several who should be held accountable, but the chief architects of this failure were former board members Tom Diehl and Karl Frank Jr. and their refusal to listen to reason. Diehl was swept into office in April 2006, two months after voters trounced a 97-cent tax-rate increase placed on the ballot by the Board of Education. Frank, elected in April 2005 after railing about the school board’s “groupthink” mentality, cast the sole “no” vote against placing the 97-cent tax-rate increase on the ballot. When he announced his candidacy for the school board in 2006, Diehl wrote, “... Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers ...” But roughly four years later while defending the board’s decision to award a $44,000 a year raise to thenSuperintendent Terry Noble, Diehl told KTVI’s Elliott Davis, “My decision and the decision of this board isn’t based on how the taxpayers feel.” Though the raise later was rescinded, it launched a firestorm of criticism from the public starting in the spring of 2010. Despite the barrage of negative publicity, Diehl and Frank marched full speed ahead with plans to place a 94-cent tax-rate increase on the November 2010 ballot. In their zeal to place such an outrageous tax-rate increase before voters, they listened to no one. Former school board President Ken Leach told the board that a 94-cent tax-rate increase “has the same odds of passing as a lottery winner getting struck by lightning.’’ Undeterred, the board shaved six cents off the proposal and voted 6-0 to place an 88-cent tax-rate increase on the November 2010 ballot. That decision sparked the formation of the Mehlville Community Taxpayers Association, or MCTA, which enlisted five former school board members in opposing the tax-rate increase, called Proposition C. (See LEGACY, Page 13A)

Asks city leaders to ‘wait for a truly good idea’ for Crestwood Court To the editor: In the movie “Argo,” six hostages must be quickly extracted from Iran and there are no good ways to do it. The situation is urgent and lives are at stake. When the main character presents his idea, he says, “All of the ideas are bad, but this is the best bad idea we have.” It seems to me that the proposal submitted by Centrum Properties for Crestwood Court is similar to the proposal submitted in the movie “Argo.” Is it a bad idea? I think it is. A central component of the proposal is a “bowling concept.” Why would someone propose that a central component of this brand-new facility should be a type of entertainment that already exists immediately across the street at the Crestwood Bowl? I suspect that the Centrum representatives intend an establishment similar to the Pin-Up Bowl in the Loop, which targets the bar-hopping crowd that goes to the Loop for weekend entertainment. But Crestwood is not the Loop. If I want to bowl in Crestwood, I would go to a place like the Crestwood Bowl, and not a bowling “concept” like the Pin-up Bowl. The strength of Crestwood is in its families, not its bars. Lindbergh Schools was just selected as the best school district in the

state for the third consecutive year. Families that value education will be coming to Crestwood. Any idea for Crestwood Court should target the people of Crestwood and not those people who are looking to the Loop for entertainment. So the leaders from “Argo” and Crestwood are both dealing with bad ideas, but there is a crucial difference between the two situations. Our situation is not nearly so urgent. Certainly, no lives are at stake here. I hope that the leaders of Crestwood won’t be persuaded to believe that the situation is more urgent than it really is. I would ask the leaders of Crestwood to be patient and wait for a truly good idea. Please don’t accept the current proposal just because it’s the best bad idea we have. Reese Watt Crestwood

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Centrum needs TIF to meet designated ROI for investors, reader says To the editor: In his April 11 letter to the Call, Grant Mabie offered advice on the Crestwood Court redevelopment. First, in blatant disregard for the right to free speech, he recommended that the Call stop publishing letters which contain misinformation about tax-increment financing, or TIF — though he declined to recommend an arbiter who would decide what constitutes “correct” information. Then he urged Crestwood’s incoming board to hire the professionals who can shepherd them through the development process. Given Mr. Mabie’s profession and employer, his favorable view toward Centrum’s proposed mall redevelopment, including his support of TIF, is not surprising.

In supporting the use of TIF for Centrum’s plan, Mr. Mabie and those who would like to see the mall developed at any cost are ignoring a vital piece of information. Sol Barket has twice publicly admitted that Centrum does not need a TIF to develop the mall. The distinction Mr. Barket drew for the public is that the redevelopment will not move forward without a TIF. Why? Simply put, Angelo Gordon & Co., the mall’s majority owner, made its investment with the expectation that its investors would earn an expected rate of return on their investment. This explains Mr. Barket’s comment that the rate of return on the project would be higher with a TIF than without one — 10 percent versus 5 percent. Centrum doesn’t

need the TIF to assist with the project’s development costs; it needs the TIF to meet a designated return on investment, or ROI, for its investors. While this is a nuanced point, it is central to the TIF debate. The incoming board must weigh the interests of New York-based Angelo Gordon & Co. — with $13 billion in real-estate holdings — against the interests of local businesses and taxing districts, which would be forced to forgo income so that the mall’s owners could enjoy a higher rate of return on their investment. Martha Duchild Crestwood Editor’s note: Martha Duchild’s husband, Paul, serves as Crestwood Ward 3 alderman.

In past two elections, Klund’s backers spent more than $13 per vote To the editor: This letter is to the men and women employees of the Mehlville Fire Protection District. Are you that gullible, naive or just don’t care how the leaders of your union spend your money? In the last two elections for the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors, your leaders have spent more than $160,000 of your money supporting Mike Klund. Klund received a combined total of 11,800 votes. That breaks down to more than $13 per vote. In the April 2 election, Klund was defeated by a 2-to-1 margin. That’s more than $60,000 to lose 2-to-1.

That’s not getting much bang for your buck. It’s your money. How many more $13 votes are you going to give a hand-picked union candidate who probably can’t win? Wouldn’t that money have been better spent supporting a food pantry, a rescue shelter or some other needy charity? How many college scholarships would $160,000 fund? How many times could $160,000 pay for a day at Six Flags for your children? How much aid would $160,000 give to the widows of past firefighters? How many toys would $160,000 buy for needy children at Christmas? Before you spend more than $13 a vote again, think about it. George M. Stuever Oakville

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Call Publishing, Thursday, September 19, 2013 - Page 4A

By Mike Anthony

Buford should resign seat on MSD Board of Trustees If you plan on addressing the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District Board of Trustees, you have less than nine minutes to make your point. Otherwise, board Chairman James Buford is likely to have security remove you from the room. That’s exactly what Buford did last week to Joan Jacobson of Webster Groves, who was attempting to finish reading a letter to the board about a problem she is having with the sewer district when the chairman had security remove her from the room. When Mrs. Jacobson refused to stop reading her letter after a second request by Buford, he called for security, after she had been speaking for nine minutes. “I refuse to yield the floor — I have a page-and-a-half to read,” Mrs. Jacobson said. “I’m a member of the public, and I have the right ... You’re making it longer by not letting me finish.” Would it really have been that much trouble to let her finish reading her letter? Buford apparently thought so, as he told her, “We have a time limit ...” What a bunch of bunk. If Buford doesn’t have the time to listen to an MSD customer address the board, he should resign his seat. The Call’s Gloria Lloyd wanted to speak to Buford about his actions, but he declined a personal interview request and deferred to MSD Manager of Public Information Lance LeComb as his spokesman. While we believe Buford should resign his seat over his appalling behavior, that’s unlikely to happen because he is not accountable to ratepayers. He’s accountable to one person and one person only — St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, the man who appointed him to the MSD board in 2006. Therein lies the problem. But don’t just take our word for it. In his 2010 ruling that the MSD’s monthly stormwater charge was invalid and violated state law, Lincoln County Circuit Judge Dan Dildine wrote, “MSD is not regulated or governed by any body of publicly elected officials. If taxpayers in the district disapprove of MSD’s decision to impose an increased stormwater charge upon them, there is no mechanism by which the taxpayers can vote to remove MSD’s management.” By the way, the state Supreme Court heard arguments in that case in May. A ruling has yet to be handed down. The judge hit the nail on the head with his comment about the MSD board’s lack of accountability. While Buford’s not likely to resign, we believe he owes Mrs. Jacobson an apology, at the very least.

School district’s job to identify, ignite students’ sparks By ERIC D. KNOST I’ve spent my entire life striving to be at least as smart as my heroes. Unfortunately, after all these years, I still fall short of equaling my father’s vast mechanical mind or my mother’s extraordinary knowledge of the heart. But in addition to a strong will to succeed, my parents and school teachers also recognized and nurtured those things which made life special and meaningful to me. In reflection, I have no doubt these special and meaningful things were necessary ingredients for everything else to matter, especially learning and prospering. I’ve been a professional educator for 26 years and I believe, through all our efforts of comparing ourselves to each other and other countries, we’ve lost sight of something vastly important — the importance of bonding our young people to what makes life special and meaningful to them. Our country has forged a path that assumes our kids are empty containers to be filled with prescribed knowledge. Much of this prescribed knowledge is absolutely necessary, but all is useless without a burning passion to do well, to be productive and to be happy. I can assure you, after encountering thousands upon thousands of kids over the years, those who fall in love with life are those sure to succeed. What are these special and meaningful things? Research scientist Peter Benson calls them “sparks.” I interpret sparks as those things which connect individual kids to our world in a positive way. Our job is not to fill our youth with sparks. In fact, every child comes to this earth possessing important unique sparks which identify a needed place for them in society. Sparks make children feel needed while providing purpose and passion. It is our job to identify and ignite sparks and to tap into what is meaningful and special to each individual child. This is where a passion for success and thriving begins. Paramount to everything else, our desire should be for our children to lead happy and productive lives. No parent would sacrifice this as a trade-off for a higher-achieving country, and we’re foolish

to believe this as a formula for success. Those who fall in love with life are those sure to succeed. If we identify and know kids by how they connect to the world in a positive way, their academic path will come with greater ease and all the rest is more likely to fall in place. This is not at all to suggest academics are not important. In fact, I’ve always suggested quite the opposite. Academics are very important, yet unEric Knost achievable at the maximum level without the positive connections, or, the sparks. Why do kids travel down wrong paths? Maybe because their spark was never ignited. A life without passion yields misfortune, unhappiness, a lack of success and trouble of all kinds for our youth. We are on a mission in the Mehlville School District to pair every child with champions who identify, ignite and nurture their sparks. Every child needs a champion and every child longs for a passion. What’s your spark? What’s your child’s spark? Ask them. Ask our youth and get used to this language. In the coming weeks, months and years you’ll hear it a lot as we continue to pave a pathway of excellence for our next generation. I’m grateful for the Mehlville-Oakville community, and I’m confident we’ll continue to flourish as we further solidify and strengthen our bonds. Thank you and remember, I can be reached at (314) 467-5001. Eric D. Knost serves as superintendent of the Mehlville School District.

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Letter writer ‘disheartened that our compassion for others failed us’ To the editor: NIMBY — Not in My Backyard — thrives in Oakville. Ninety-nine percent — an estimate by one resident in last week’s newspaper — draw the red line at allowing housing for poor, old people on Telegraph Road in Oakville.

Driving on Telegraph Road every day, it seems to me we’ve allowed all types of activities to populate this road, yet we object to a place for old, poor and probably some black people. About public notice: I don’t understand that if the sign was posted, and you live next door or work next door — the people

who are really affected — wouldn’t or shouldn’t you have noticed the sign? As one of the 1 percent, I’m not disheartened that government failed us. I am disheartened that our compassion for others failed us. Bruce Korbesmeyer Oakville

Doercrest Manor residents concerned about safety, not sympathy To the editor: Just for the record, the concerned residents of Doercrest Manor are not interested in sympathy. We are interested in safety. As we have always stated, we are in full support of the expan-

sion and improvements at Long Elementary School. We are, however, completely opposed to any traffic plan which utilizes Doercrest Drive. Frank Ruzicka On behalf of Concerned Doercrest Residents

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9977 Lin Ferry Drive, St. Louis, MO 63123 (314) 843-0102 • 843-0508 (fax) Published on Thursdays by Call Publishing Inc. Statement of purpose: We dedicate ourselves to the public, holding its welfare in the highest regard and standing firmly in opposition to any who would oppose it. Publisher: Deborah Baker General Manager: Bill Milligan Bookkeeper: JoAnn Cassani Publisher’s Assistant: Cathy Pope

Composing: Jason Lasher Circulation: Joette Wright Office Assistant: Lindsey Horvath Staff Reporter: Gloria Lloyd Executive Editor: Mike Anthony

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Call Publishing, Thursday, March 28, 2013 - Page 6A

Call makes endorsements for Lindbergh, Mehlville school boards By Mike Anthony

Ryan deserves re-election to MFPD Board of Directors Two years ago, union firefighters and their supporters pumped $100,000 into Mike Klund’s unsuccessful effort to unseat Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors Chairman Aaron Hilmer. Klund and his union supporters now have set their sights on unseating current board Secretary Ed Ryan in the Tuesday, April 2, election. Since his defeat in 2011, Klund has attended less than a handful of fire board meetings. During his entire tenure on the board, Ryan has missed three meetings, by his count. As a board member, Ryan, a retired electrical engineer/project manager for the Parkway School District, saved the district hundreds of thousands of dollars by painstakingly poring over page after page of blueprints for the three firehouses that have been constructed during his time on the board. Two years ago, an online publication quoted Klund as saying, “I think Bonnie (Stegman) and Ed (Ryan) have concerns with the district. They don’t have hidden agendas, I believe I would work well with them ...” Yet today, Klund’s union-funded campaign is attacking Ryan, spewing asinine allegations about “wasteful spending.” Hey, never let the facts get in the way of a good story. Let’s consider some of Klund’s “facts”: • Ambulance billing is double taxation. Hardly. The district bills the insurance company of a Mehlville resident who uses ambulance service and the resident does not make any co-payment. Given his desire to eliminate ambulance billing, a Call questionnaire asked Klund how he would replace the roughly $2.3 million that ambulance billing currently generates. Not surprisingly, he didn’t respond. • Two years ago, Klund contended the fire district’s reserves had been “depleted’’ in building new firehouses. Yet, Mehlville’s approved 2013 budget projects enough reserves to operate the fire district for a year. Asked if he believed the district’s reserves are adequate, Klund did not respond to the Call’s questionnaire. Klund claims he will “restore transparency to the fire district,” yet he won’t respond to this newspaper’s questions, preferring to hide behind his union handlers. It’s this simple: A vote for Klund is a vote for union representation on the MFPD board. A vote for Ryan is a vote for taxpayer representation on the MFPD board. Given the stellar job he’s performed the past six years, the Call wholeheartedly endorses Ryan.

Lindbergh Schools and Mehlville School District voters will go to the polls next week to elect two members to their respective school boards. In Lindbergh, four candidates are vying for two seats on the Board of Education. Board Treasurer Kara Gotsch and board President Vic Lenz are being challenged by Adam McBride and Cindy McDaniel. Gotsch was first elected to the board three years ago, while Lenz has served on the board since 2004. As always, Lindbergh Schools has no shortage of able candidates willing to step

Editorial up and serve the community. McBride and McDaniel would serve the district well, but we can find no compelling reason not to endorse the re-election bids of Gotsch and Lenz. Under their direction — along with the rest of the board — Lindbergh has been ranked No. 1 in academic achievement in the state for three consecutive years. Their service has been exemplary. Therefore, the Call endorses Gotsch and Lenz.

In Mehlville, the district is experiencing great forward motion under Superintendent Eric Knost’s superb leadership. Knost’s knack for uniting both the board and the community has helped set the district on the path to success, while reestablishing credibility with residents. Seeking election in Mehlville are board President Venki Palamand, board Secretary Larry Felton and Lori Trakas. Palamand and Felton were first elected to the board in 2007. While Knost has been critical to Mehlville’s (See ENDORSEMENTS, Page 8A)

Reader supporting re-election of Lenz, Gotsch to Lindbergh board To the editor: Because all four Lindbergh Board of Education candidates left a good impression after the Board of Education candidate forum, my decision on whom to elect boiled down to two main points: The first is whether the incumbents, Vic Lenz and Kara Gotsch, have performed poorly enough to vote out of office, and the answer is “no.” Both of them have helped steer the board through difficult teacher salary negotiations, splitting up two middle schools and making cuts in the budget. During their tenure, the district has received numerous national and state accolades. The second revolves around who is better suited to steer the board through the upcoming challenges of bringing another ele-

mentary school up to usable condition, meeting new state testing requirements and reviewing the school budget to make a decision on a potential bond issue. Again, having seasoned board members who can “hit the ground running” will benefit the district. If one or two newcomers were elected, at least 60 percent to 70 percent of the board would still be in the midst of a learning curve. While I hope Ms. McDaniel and Mr. McBride run in the future, the best choices for this election are Vic Lenz and Kara Gotsch, and I hope voters join me in electing them on April 2. Martha Duchild Crestwood

Ed Ryan proven to be one of south county’s finest public servants To the editor: I just got the Mike Klund mailing. In it, he claims, “Ed Ryan has charged the district more for personal travel than any other director.” I pulled the numbers from the Mehlville Fire Protection District’s transparency website — the same web site Klund cites as a source. By my count, in the six years since taking office, Ed Ryan has spent about $30 more than any other director. Not $30 a year more, but $30 more over

all of the past six years. Or, if you will, $5 more per year. Five lousy bucks is all Klund can complain about? But I don’t think it’s “personal” travel, like Klund claims. I mean, I don’t think Ed is getting to Vegas on five bucks. Let’s look at the truth, instead of whatever Klund claims. Since Ed Ryan has been on the board, the Mehlville Fire Protection District has rolled back our taxes. Since Ed Ryan has been on the board, the district has made good use of our taxes, building three

Fowler praises progress under Palamand, Knost To the editor: Over the last two years, the Mehlville School District had made significant strides in providing a top-notch education to our children. Board of Education President Venki Pala-

mand and Superintendent Eric Knost should be commended for uniting a diverse school board and moving Mehlville forward with improvements of which our community should be proud.

To the editor: I question your journalistic integrity in regard to your reporting of anything about the Mehlville Fire Protection District or its Board of Directors.

It started four years ago when the fire district sent out a quarterly report, which, in reality, was nothing more than a campaign flier for then-candidate Bonnie Stegman.

(See PROGRESS, Page 8A)

Reader questions newspaper’s journalistic integrity

(See QUESTIONS, Page 13A)

Call Direct Mail Newspapers 9977 Lin Ferry Drive, St. Louis, MO 63123 (314) 843-0102 • 843-0508 (fax) Published on Thursdays by Call Publishing Inc. Statement of purpose: We dedicate ourselves to the public, holding its welfare in the highest regard and standing firmly in opposition to any who would oppose it. Publisher: Deborah Baker General Manager: Bill Milligan Bookkeeper: JoAnn Cassani Publisher’s Assistant: Cathy Pope

Composing: Jason Lasher Circulation: Joette Wright Office Assistant: Lindsey Horvath Staff Reporter: Gloria Lloyd Executive Editor: Mike Anthony

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new fire stations and paying for them in full while maintaining the district’s financial reserves. Ed Ryan has proven that he can be trusted with our tax dollars. If there’s a scandal here, it’s that the voters would let some political action committee-funded tax truant like Klund spread a bunch of half-truths about Ed Ryan, who has proven to be one of south county’s finest public servants. Stephen Pentecost south county

County voters should reject ‘Arch tax,’ letter writer says

To the editor: Should St. Louis County voters approve another sales-tax increase that would send tens of millions of tax dollars to downtown St. Louis to be spent by an appointed board that is not answerable to the public? The answer is “no,” which is why county voters should reject Proposition P — the “Arch tax” that would supposedly finance improvements to the Arch (See REJECT, Page 10A)

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Web exclusive The Call is updating its website on a daily basis. Visit to read web-exclusive stories. To track down your web-exclusive community news, simply use your smartphone and scan the QR code to the right.

Page 8A - Call Publishing, Thursday, March 28, 2013

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recent success, so has Palamand, who is serving his second term as board president. We’d be hard-pressed to think of a bigger advocate for students and teachers than Palamand. That’s why we were shocked that Palamand did not receive the endorsement of the Mehlville National Education Association. Apparently, you can’t disagree with the MNEA on any issue and expect to gain its endorsement. Felton, by the way, was the only candidate endorsed by the MNEA. During a candidate forum, Trakas raised issues about Mehlville’s transparency, particularly in regard to funding the construc-

tion of a district auditorium. We couldn’t disagree more. District officials have been forthright from the beginning that construction is being funded utilizing savings realized through refunding bond-like certificates issued for the district’s Proposition P districtwide building improvement program that was approved by voters in November 2000. Of the three candidates, Palamand is at the head of the class, and the Call enthusiastically endorses his re-election bid. In a separate matter, a Crestwood candidate endorsed last week by the Call is ineligible to run, according to city officials. Bill Schelinski, who is seeking the Ward 2 seat, is ineligible to serve because of a 1996 felony conviction he received in Illinois. Therefore, the Call’s endorsement is moot.

• Progress Palamand, Knost responsible for uniting board, Fowler says (Continued from Opinions, Page 6A)

That progress includes tuition-free, fullday kindergarten starting with the 20132014 school year. It’s a proven fact that early intervention in a child’s life pays enormous dividends down the road in his or her education. A new auditorium is under construction, something every school district surrounding Mehlville already has. This will provide a platform for many forums, the arts

and classroom instruction. State-of-the-art tennis courts at Bernard Middle School will help put Mehlville on the map, providing athletic scholarships to students going on to colleges and universities. It’s never easy to unite any governing body, but these two gentleman have. Let’s keep it going. Daniel S. Fowler Oakville Editor’s note: Daniel S. Fowler served nine years on the Mehlville Board of Education.

Page 10A - Call Publishing, Thursday, March 28, 2013

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Four candidates are seeking two seats on Lindbergh board (Continued from Page 1A)

and McDaniel. Gotsch and Lenz were featured last week. Asked to identify the most important issue in the race, the two responded: • McBride said, “Managing school growth while staying in line with the budget. The school district is anticipating well over 500 new students over the next four years, primarily at the elementary level. If growth is not handled correctly, individual student achievement will suffer.” McDaniel said, “Lindbergh Schools have consistently ranked high in academics and have received numerous local, state and national awards. Everyone involved should be proud of and commended for their achievements. As a new board member, I would visualize what the future will bring and would proactively plan for how to respond to future needs, as financial constraints and economic conditions may make it increasingly difficult to build on past successes.” McBride, 33, 10119 Fite Circle, is running for office for the first time. He is the director of legislative and governmental affairs for the Missouri Laborers’ Legislative Committee. McBride and his wife, Mindy, have two children — one attends a Lindbergh elementary school and the second attends the Maplewood Richmond Heights Early Childhood Center. McBride said he is running because he was the first member of his family to attend college, and he recognizes the value of an education for each student. “My children will be in the district for many years to come, and I want to be part of maintaining the district’s excellent educational experience not only for my children, but for all the kids in the district,” he said. “One thing coaching here has taught me is that Lindbergh is a special place, which is why so many young families are moving here. The current board has done a good job of directing the district, but I believe a good school board also should be representative of the community. That’s a void I would like to fill as a family that moved here because of the schools, understanding some of the struggles our new families face.” McDaniel, 53, 513 Oakwood Drive, is the owner of recruiting company Professional Staffing of St. Louis. She and her husband, Doug, have one grown son and two younger children who attend Lindbergh schools. McDaniel, who has not held elective office, said she hopes to give back to the community by serving on the school board. “There are many volunteer and public service opportunities to choose from but

• Reject

Proposition P not a great deal for residents here, reader says (Continued from Opinions, Page 6A)

grounds and will be on the April 2 ballot. County taxpayers already are sending huge amounts of money to downtown St. Louis. This includes $180 million for the Edward Jones Dome and $108 million for the St. Louis Cardinals ballpark. Also, county taxpayers will be paying more than 80 percent of the $1.1 billion cost of the

I see serving on a school board as one of the most important responsibilities a citizen can have. I’m motivated and committed to keeping the best interest of the students and teachers in mind. Bottom line, I’m passionate about meeting the needs of every teacher and every student,” she said. “My 34 years of business and management experience would be beneficial to the board in maintaining the quality of the Lindbergh School District, within financial constraints and under current economic conditions. “I would offer a fresh perspective, and would work hard not just to maintain the good but also to influence and execute change, wherever change is proven necessary.” The two gave the following responses to a Call questionnaire: How did you vote on the district’s Proposition L that was on the November 2010 ballot? McBride said, “I moved into the district shortly after the vote on Prop L, just as many newer families that have moved into the district since then. However, if I had lived here I would have voted yes on Prop L because it was what the district needed.” McDaniel said, “Given the historically low tax rates and the length of time since an increase had occurred, I voted ‘yes’ for Prop L. It’s important to keep tax rates as low as possible, and to strike a balance with and continue to meet the funding requirements of the district.” How do you feel about charter schools? McBride said, “I support high quality public educational facilities.” McDaniel said, “Charter schools provide an alternative to a traditional public school, and can be a good alternative for students and parents.” How do you feel about the voucher system being promoted as an alternative to the current system? McBride said, “The state of Missouri has repeatedly failed to adequately fund the school foundation formula, and with what little we receive from the state as a holdharmless school district, I can not support taking public dollars and giving them to private schools. I support parochial schools, but not at the expense of Missouri’s already underfunded school foundation formula.” McDaniel said, “Whether to send your children to public or private schools is a personal decision that should be respected by all. I believe it’s reasonable to offer a tax credit or to provide a tuition voucher to parents who pay their taxes and choose to send their children to private schools. “Bottom line, private schools and public schools (alike) need appropriate funding, and how funding is accomplished for one should not negatively impact the other.”

Cross-County MetroLink Extension, while also providing 85 percent of the tax money for the Zoo-Museum District. About 40 percent of the funds from Proposition P would go for parks in St. Louis County. Not exactly a great deal. It makes little sense for county taxpayers to send more truckloads of money to the city with no accountability for how it would be spent. Vote “no” on Proposition P. Tom Sullivan University City

Try these mowing tips for great-looking lawn The grass can be greener on your side of the fence if you heed these hints on making the most of mowing. • Choose the correct cutting height — This depends on the type of grass, the amount of rainfall, prevailing temperature and the lawn’s overall condition. • Don’t cut your grass too short — Mowing too short can result in weak, thin grass that’s easily damaged by drought and pests. Leaving your grass a bit longer reduces heat buildup and preserves needed moisture. A good rule of thumb is the one-third rule — cut no more than a third of the grass height and never more than an inch at a time. • Mow with a sharp blade — A sharp blade cuts grass cleanly and efficiently; a

dull blade tears at the grass, harming it. • Mow when grass is cool and dry — Late afternoon or early evening often provides ideal mowing conditions. Don’t mow after rain or even heavy dew and never mulch when the grass is wet. Moist grass can clump beneath the mower deck. • Water your lawn regularly — Try to imitate a slow, soaking rain by applying about an inch of water per week. Consider placing tin cans around your lawn so you can check to be sure you’re giving it the proper amount. • Use the right amount of fertilizer — A slow-release fertilizer provides missing nutrients for slow, even growth. When to fertilize and how much to use depends on the condition of your lawn and soil.

• Questions Recent Call articles slanted in favor of MFPD incumbent (Continued from Opinions, Page 6A)

The candidate was the only board member discussed in the flier. Since that election, there has been no follow-up quarterly report in any year. Two years ago, the district paid the Call to publish a newsletter that did nothing but talk about then-candidate Aaron Hilmer. While the newsletter was cleverly worded as not to be a campaign piece, anyone could see the only board member discussed was candidate Hilmer — like the old saying, “If it quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck.” Fire district residents only get annual or quarterly reports when one of the board members is up for re-election. Now your recent articles in regard to

the coming fire board election have been slanted for the fire board incumbent. The Call should be questioning the motives of Hilmer spending fire district money for frivolous lawsuits. The reality is that Hilmer only won the last election by 213 votes out of over 15,000 cast, and has an ax to bring with candidate Mike Klund. Is the Call going to take a standing against Hilmer and his puppets when they spend more district money for board members’ campaigns or is the paper going to show some journalistic integrity and do some unbiased reporting and investigating? Bob R. Ford Oakville Editor’s note: Bob R. Ford serves as the Oakville Township Democratic committeeman and as treasurer of the Oakville Democratic Organization.

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