Governor-Elect Matt Blunt is issuing an invitation to look at a website that offers racist comments and advocates overthrow of the government, but Missourians don't have any reason to be alarmed.
The invitation is part of a response to a lawsuit filed last summer by perennial losing candidate Martin Lindstedt of Granby. Lindstedt was upset because he was not allowed to have his name listed on the ballot as Martin "Mad Dog" Lindstedt during the gubernatorial primary in August.
He suggested that Blunt should have to run as "Runt' Blunt in November to pay for his alleged misdeeds.
According to Blunt's response to the lawsuit, filed Oct 8 in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Lindstedt filed paperwork on March 10 to run for the Republican nomination for governor. He asked that his nickname, "Mad Dog" be listed on the ballot and that a link to his personal website, be posted along with links to other primary candidates' websites. Blunt turned down both requests.
After that. Lindstedt filed his lawsuit, not asking for the election to be overturned, but asking that Blunt be listed on the ballot and that a link to Lindstedt's lawsuit be included.
"Plaintiff's website is inundated with racism, anti-Semitism, profanity, and calls for open revolt against the government," Blunt's response says. "Plaintiff refers to himself as 'probably the most clever and ruthless of the Revolutionary Resistance political activists in Missouri,' and 'the only candidate...who is an overt White Nationalist,' as well as 'a genuine racist.' "
Blunt said that he could not quote any further from Lindstedt's website. "Respect for the decorum of this court makes it inappropriate for the secretary to extensively quote from (Lindstedt's) website." Nevertheless, Blunt invited the court to check it out for itself.
Blunt's attorneys, including attorney General Jay Nixon, claim that the federal court has no jurisdiction in the matter and that it is a moot point because the race is already over. "It is simply too late to change the ballots to effectuate (his) proposed remedy."
Blunt is asking for the court to dismiss the lawsuit.
In his reply, filed Oct. 26, Lindstedt points out that Springfield-area legislator Norma Champion, who once was host for a children's TV show called "The Children's Hour" under the name "Aunt Norma," was allowed to place that nickname on the ballot. Blunt's attorneys say that was not legal and it was done by his predecessor as secretary of state, Bekki Cook. Lindstedt said the claims made in Blunt's response are a "farrago of half-truths, outright lies and smarmy witless pleadings."
Lindstedt referred to Blunt as a "moral and mental flyweight." Lindstedt defended his racism, saying it "doesn't hold a candle to that of the Founding Fathers, especially George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, etal, who owned entire herds of negro slaves and never thought for an instant that such persons were anything other than property to be disposed of, much less being equal."
Lindstedt then claimed that the profanity on his site is nothing compared to that being played at full volume on radio speakers at a Joplin stoplight.
Lindstedt noted that Blunt was inviting the judges to look at a website that he "censored" from the public.
A proposed schedule for the Diamond R-4 School District's lawsuit against Edison Schools has been filed in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
The filing, which was signed by attoney Paul N. Rechenber with Doster, Mickes, James, Ullon, LLC, Chesterfield, representing the school district, and Patrick Fanning with Lathrop and Gage, Kansas City, representing Edison, calls for an earliest trial date of Oct. 3, 2005.
If the proposed schedule is accepted by the judge, Dec. 17, 2004, will be the final date for changes in pleadings or the addition of any party to the suit.
Discovery will have to be completed by April 15 with a limit of 10 depositions and 25 interrogatories for each side.
No physical or mental examinations will be needed, according to the filing.
Expert witnesses for the school district must be submitted no later than May 10, 2005, with depositions for those expert witnesses submitted no later than May 31. Edison's expert witness list must be submitted by June 13 with depositions completed by July 11. The final date to refer the case to mediation is April 29.
Motions for summary judgment must be filed no later than Aug. 1.
The school district claims Edison owes it approximately $87,000 from the operation of summer school in 2002.
An interesting item on the Neosho Forums website at www.neoshoforums.com It appears that the Newton County Sheriff's Department has not updated its Internet list of sexual offenders since February 2001. That should make county residents feel safer.
While I sympathize with state officials who would prefer that school districts delay a lawsuit designed to address problems in the Foundation formula through which Missouri schools are funded, I fear letting the legislature handle the situation is just asking for trouble.
A number of southwest Missouri school districts, including Webb City, Carl Junction, East Newton, Diamond, Sarcoxie, Seneca, Jasper, and Westview, filed the lawsuit, hoping that the courts can handle a situation, which permits those school districts and others across the state to receive less money per pupil than others.
However, if you are going to make the funding fair, you would have to reduce the money going to some of the richer school districts and the legislators for those school districts are never going to allow that to happen. In the past, when the same situation occurred, the legislature ended up leaving the richer school districts with the funding they had and just pouring in more tax money to support the other districts.
That is probably what the General Assembly will suggest this time, which means the same situation will return in a few years. While I am a firm believer in our representative form of government, I am also a firm believer that we have few legislators who are willing to do what is actually best for everyone in the state. Maybe they will be if the threat of a court-ordered solution is hanging over them. So the last thing that should be done is to announce that the court case is on hold.