Saturday, November 30, 2013

Text provided for proclamation calling for Missouri Legislature special session

WHEREAS, aerospace manufacturing and the supplier industry that aerospace
manufacturing supports are vital to our State’s economy; and

WHEREAS, the State of Missouri has a long history in aerospace manufacturing
and is home to a skilled workforce to produce aircraft now and for generations to come;

WHEREAS, the aerospace industry is critical to our State’s economy, with
aerospace manufacturers and suppliers located in communities throughout the State; and

WHEREAS, the development of new aerospace manufacturing opportunities
within the State of Missouri is vital to continuing Missouri’s leadership in the aerospace
industry; and

WHEREAS, in order to compete for next-generation aerospace manufacturing
opportunities, Missouri’s economic development programs must be expanded to
accommodate projects involving significant job creation and large capital investment; and

WHEREAS, Article IV, Section 9 of the Missouri Constitution authorizes the
Governor on extraordinary occasions to convene the General Assembly by proclamation,
wherein he shall state specifically each matter on which action is deemed necessary; and

WHEREAS, the need for expanding certain existing economic development
programs in order for the State of Missouri to compete for aerospace manufacturing
projects is an extraordinary occasion envisioned by Article IV, Section 9 of the Missouri

NOW THEREFORE, on the extraordinary occasion that exists in the State of

MISSOURI, pursuant to the authority vested in me as Governor by the Constitution of
the State of Missouri, do, by this Proclamation, convene the Ninety-Seventh General
Assembly of the State of Missouri in the First Extra Session of the First Regular Session;

I HEREBY call upon the Senators and Representatives of said General Assembly
to meet in the State Capitol in the City of Jefferson at the hour of 4:00 p.m., Central
Standard Time, on December 2, 2013; and

I HEREBY state that the action of said General Assembly is deemed necessary
concerning each matter specifically designated and limited hereinafter as follows:

 To enact legislation authorizing large-scale aerospace projects to be funded under
the Missouri Works Program (Sections 620.2000 to 620.2020, RSMo), Missouri
Business Use Incentives for Large-Scale Development Act (BUILD) (Sections
100.700 to 100.850, RSMo), Missouri Works Training Program (Sections 620.800
to 620.809, RSMo), and the Real Property Tax Increment Allocation
Redevelopment Act (Sections 99.800 to 99.865, RSMo) within a distinct annual
funding cap established for such aerospace projects.

 To allow the Senate to consider appointments to boards, commissions,
departments, and divisions that require advice and consent of the Senate.
 Such additional and other matters as may be recommended by the Governor by special
message to the General Assembly after it shall have been convened.

hereunto set my hand and caused to be
affixed the Great Seal of the State of
Missouri, in the City of Jefferson, on this
 day of November, 2013.

 Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon


 Jason Kander
 Secretary of State

Nixon calls for special session to help state win Boeing contract

(From Gov. Jay Nixon)

Gov. Jay Nixon Friday called a special session of the General Assembly to pass legislation to help the state win production of Boeing's next-generation commercial aircraft, the 777X. The 2013 Special Session will convene at 4 p.m. on Monday, December 2.  State responses to Boeing's Request for Proposal, received last week, are due by December 10 and legislative action is necessary in order for Missouri to put forward a competitive proposal.
"Building this next-generation commercial aircraft in Missouri would create thousands of jobs across our state and secure our position as a hub for advanced aerospace manufacturing - and that's why I am committed to competing for and winning this project," said Gov. Nixon. "In order to put forward a competitive proposal on this very aggressive timeline, decisive legislative action is required to add capacity to four of Missouri's existing economic development programs, which already include strict job creation and investment requirements, so that they can accommodate an aerospace project on this scale."
While the administration continues to work closely with its local partners on a final response to Boeing's RFP, the State's proposal will seek to address the company's critical needs in worker training, infrastructure development and job creation incentives.  To put forward a competitive proposal in all these areas, the Governor has asked the General Assembly to pass legislation adding additional capacity of up to $150 million annually for large-scale aerospace projects under four of Missouri's existing economic development programs: Missouri Works, Missouri Works Training, Missouri BUILD, and the Real Property Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act.
"It's important to note that these are the same targeted, fiscally responsible programs that are available to any company creating significant numbers of high-paying, family-supporting jobs," said Gov. Nixon. "This legislation will simply give us added capacity to compete for this type of massive aerospace project, while maintaining existing accountability measures and ensuring a positive return for taxpayers. Aerospace companies like Boeing, will have to invest and create jobs in order to earn these benefits."
To meet the company's workforce needs, Gov. Nixon's administration is also engaging a consortium of area community colleges to train and certify thousands of additional graduates in aerospace and advanced manufacturing areas to grow a pipeline of highly-skilled workers for this project and others in this sector.
"Boeing has been very clear that the availability of a large, highly-skilled workforce is one of the key factors the company will use to determine where to produce its next generation of commercial aircraft," said Gov. Nixon. "Especially in technology-intensive industries like aerospace, we're seeing once again that our human capital is the best economic development tool we have."
"It's a real testament to Missouri's significant competitive advantages that we can put forward a competitive bid for this project without undertaking risky experiments or veering off into uncharted waters," Gov. Nixonsaid. "I look forward to working with the General Assembly to make sure the tools we have in place are ready to bring this game-changing project and thousands of jobs to the Show-Me State." 

Jay Nixon: On Boeing 777X- When we compete, we compete to win

(The text of Gov. Jay Nixon's speech to St. Louis County civic and business leaders Nov. 27 about the Boeing 777X and Missouri business is printed below.)

As Governor, it always makes me proud to see Missourians come together to strengthen and improve their communities. And that's what Progress 64 West is all about.  
From the start, the highest priority of my administration has been to create good jobs for Missouri families and grow our economy.
Now, some of you might remember that in 2009 and 2010, that wasn't the easiest of tasks.
When I took office, the global financial crisis had hit every state hard, and Missouri was no exception.  Businesses were closing their doors, too many Missourians were losing their jobs and our once-proud auto industry was on the ropes.
But like Missourians always do, we didn't give up. We didn't panic or point fingers.  Instead, we rolled up our sleeves, put together a plan and got to work. 
First, we knew we had to build on a rock solid foundation of fiscal discipline.  At a time when many other states, not to mention Washington D.C.,  were undertaking risky fiscal experiments or going into debt, here in Missouri we took a different approach.  
Since taking office, I've cut $1.8 billion in spending and eliminated 4,500 government positions.  The state workforce is now the smallest it's been in two decades.
By making government smarter and more efficient we were able to balance the budget each year without raising taxes.  In fact, we've cut taxes in targeted, strategic ways designed to spur growth and create jobs.
Today, Missouri has the 5th lowest taxes per capita in the nation and our perfect Triple-A credit rating has been reaffirmed by all three major ratings agencies.

Second, with thousands of jobs on the line, knew we had to stop the bleeding from our auto manufacturing sector and start building the vehicles of the future in the Show-Me State. 
That's why, on my very first day in office, I established an Automotive Jobs Task Force.
We upped our state's investment in worker training, I travelled to Detroit to meet with the leaders of America's leading auto manufacturers, and in the summer of 2010 I called the General Assembly into a special session, where Republicans and Democrats worked together to pass a package of targeted incentives to bring our auto industry back to life.
And it worked.
Today, Missouri's auto industry is making a comeback. 
In 2011, Ford and General Motors announced plans to invest a combined $1.5 billion and create more than three thousand jobs to build all-new vehicles at their facilities in the Show-Me State.  This year, they're putting even more Missourians to work, with an additional stamping press in Wentzville and a third shift of F-150 production in Claycomo.
Global auto suppliers in every corner of our state, including Toyota Bodine up in Troy, Henniges Automotive in New Haven and TG Missouri down in Perryville, have followed suit.
All this growth led CNN Money to report last year: "Move over, Detroit, the big guns of manufacturing have turned sweet on Missouri." 
Finally, we needed a long-term plan for competing and wining in the global economy.
Our Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth solicited input from more than 600 leaders in business, labor, education and economic development.  
The result was a blueprint to build an economy ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and fostering a highly skilled workforce was its number one recommendation.
Nothing will have a greater impact on the future of our economy than the commitment we make now to education.
That's why we're taking a comprehensive approach.
By expanding access to early childhood education, we're making sure more children are ready to learn in school and succeed in life.
We've increased funding and raised our standards for our K-12 schools.  With strong support and high expectations, we've seen reading scores go up, math scores go up and Missouri's high school graduation rate is now in the top 10 in the nation.
With strategic investments in higher education and worker training, we've prepared thousands of additional students for careers in growing fields like health care and advanced manufacturing.  In fact, when it comes to minimizing tuition increases at our four-year institutions, Missouri is number one in the nation over the past 5 years.
Finally, just this past week I announced our plan to make sure our Bright Flight scholarship program lives up to its original mission by giving it a long overdue tune up.  Under my budget proposal, these high-achieving students will have the option of taking an additional $5,000 per year, tripling the current scholarship amount.
The only condition is that they have to stay and work here in Missouri after they graduate.  Otherwise, they'll have to pay it back. 
Investing in our human capital is quite simply the best economic development tool there is.
Another one of the Strategic Initiative's recommendations was to update our alphabet soup of economic development and worker training programs to make them more efficient, effective and responsive to the needs of high-growth industries.  And that is exactly what we did.  It's called 'Missouri Works' and it took effect this year.
Missouri Works consolidates and modernizes Missouri's incentives into a single, business-friendly program with a single set of definitions and a streamlined application process, making these programs easier to use and easier to understand. 
I want to thank Progress 64 West for your support of this plan to sharpen our economic development tools, as well as Acting Director Mike Downing and his team at the Missouri Department of Economic Development for helping to implement it.
Now, none of these proven, fiscally responsible policies work on their own, but together they have a big impact on our state and this region. 
Missouri has been ranked as one of the Top 10 states for business for the fourth year in a row. 
Last year, we outpaced states like California and New York with the third-fastest rate of tech job growth in the nation.
And just last week, the monthly jobs report showed that Missouri's unemployment rate had dropped to 6.5 percent, a five year low. 
But don't take it from me, or the number-crunchers, or the consultant. Take it from the autoworkers building next-generation vehicles in Wentzville and Claycomo, the new plant scientists being hired by the hundreds at Monsanto, or the construction workers building Reinsurance Group of America's brand new four hundred thousand square-foot global headquarters here in Chesterfield.
By putting politics aside and focusing on the values we share, we're giving real families, real jobs and real financial security.  And we're not done yet.
Right now, we're at another important crossroads for this region and for our state.
The aerospace industry has long been part of the fabric of this region's identity and economy.  Our long tradition of excellence in aerospace spans from Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis, to McDonnell-Douglas and Boeing Defense. 
For generations, workers here in Missouri have built the aircraft and weapons that have kept our world safe and our economy strong.
As a kid, I remember our family gathering around the television down in DeSoto to watch the launch of the Mercury space capsules.  It was exhilarating to see astronauts exploring earth's orbit in a capsule built by workers right up the road from us in St. Louis.
Today, their livelihoods, and the livelihoods of thousands of suppliers across our state, depend on a defense industry that is rapidly changing. 
Just like the experts used to speculate that it wouldn't be long before the last Missouri-made vehicle rolled off the line in Wentzville and Claycomo, deep cuts to defense budgets in Washington and recent setbacks with international orders have raised questions about whether there will be enough military production to sustain aerospace manufacturing in St. Louis. 
It's a new reality in which we must compete. And to win, we must work to diversify our aerospace industry to make sure what's built in St. Louis not only flies over hostile territory overseas,  but also in friendlier skies here in America and around the world.
Today, we have a historic opportunity to do just that. I'm talking about the Boeing 777X.
The Boeing 777X. will be the largest and most efficient twin-engine jet in the world, and demand for this state-of-the-art aircraft is already unprecedented. 
At its recent debut at the Dubai Air Show, Boeing took orders for this plane exceeding 100 billion dollars.  To put that in context, its competitors at Airbus took in less than half that amount.
And since Boeing's proposal was rejected by workers in Seattle, the company is moving very quickly to select a new location for production of this next-generation aircraft,and it's no surprise that Missouri is high on their list. 
On our rails, on our roads, and on our runways, Missouri makes what moves the world. And when it comes to game-changing manufacturing projects, it doesn't get much bigger than this.
Winning production of the 777X would put Missouri in the commercial aircraft manufacturing business in a big way.  It would create thousands of career-supporting jobs for Missouri workers, open new opportunities for suppliers in every corner of our state, and build a bridge over the uncertain waters we see ahead, to a brighter more secure future for Missouri's entire aerospace industry, commercial and defense.
In short, this is a huge, transformative project and we're going to compete for all of it.
Last week, I had an extremely productive meeting with high-level Boeing executives from around the country. 
The very next day we received an RFP, and since then our team has been working around the clock to put forward an aggressive response in a very short time frame. 
It's clear that the Show-Me State comes to the table with significant advantages. And when we compete in Missouri, we compete to win.
We have an outstanding workforce, including thousands of skilled machinists here in the St. Louis region. 
We have well-developed worker training programs and a strong system of community colleges, something we know is vital in an industry with no room for error.
We have a stable business climate and a AAA rating from all three major rating agencies, providing just the kind of predictability companies like Boeing need in order to make massive, long-term investments.
We have a proven record of working together across party lines to bring next-generation production lines to our state. 
And finally, we have a longstanding relationship with Boeing that's stronger than ever. In fact, this past June, I met with Boeing's President and CEO James McNerney at the Paris Air Show and announced that the company would bring a new IT center and hundreds of new jobs to St. Louis.
As Governor, I am committed to capitalizing on these strengths and seizing this historic opportunity to open a new chapter for Missouri's aerospace industry and our state, while honoring our proud past of aviation excellence by building a future that's even brighter.
Regardless of the outcome of this project, it's clear that Missouri is on the right track, and it's no accident.   It's the result of the stable business climate we have fostered, the outstanding workforce in which we've invested and the tireless efforts of people like those gathered in this room today.
Moving forward we will continue to work to find common ground for the common good, and tackle the big challenges together. 
Providing good jobs for Missourians.  Quality schools for our kids.  And a competitive and predictable climate for your businesses to grow and invest.
I thank you for your continued leadership on behalf of the people of this region, and our entire state and I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you today.
Thank you.

Retired MSSU professor: Joplin School District is selling out

The Joplin Globe coverage of the R-8 School District has served as an enabler of C. J. Huff and Angie Besendorfer the past few years, but occasionally a ray of truth shines through in its letters to the editor.

One occasional writer who nearly always hits the nail on the head is my former professor at Missouri Southern, Bob Steere, who criticized the school district's decision to push ahead with the idea of selling naming rights to everything connected with its new buildings and anything else that can be monetized.

Steere quite correctly notes that the prostitution of our school district (my word, not his) should not take place since there are "venerable places not to be denigrated by advertisement nor to be used in stroking the wealthy."

Steere ends his letter with a solid blow that is completely fair, noting that improving academic achievement "will prove to be positively correlated with college readiness, attendance, and the graduation rate.

"Adopt plans to ensure that our schools' test scores become one of the highest in the state rather than being one of the two lowest in our 17 area school districts."

Will the Globe Editorial Board praise Besendorfer?

The abrupt resignation of Joplin R-8 Assistant Superintendent Angie Besendorfer puts the Jopiln Globe Editorial Board in a precarious situation.

If you judge her performance by the fawning coverage orchestrated by Editor Carol Stark, Besendorfer has been a visionary, a woman who has led the Joplin R-8 School District out of the darkness of 20th Century education and into the glowing light of career pathways.

If that is the case, if that is truly what the powers that be at the Joplin Globe believe, then they almost have to have an editorial praising the work Besendorfer has done during her seven years in Joplin.

If that editorial is written and published, then the Globe will likely receive blowback from the people who are aware of what the situation has been for the past few years.

Consider this:

-Besendorfer announces her resignation at the beginning of the long Thanksgiving weekend. The idea behind that, and it is used by all people in the public eye, the newspapers and television stations have a lot of people who are not working and those who are will be working on fluff pierces such as stories on Black Friday spending.

-Besendorfer's resignation also comes at a time when the R-8 School District, whether the Globe acknowledges it or not, is under the microscope from both the state and federal governments. Her departure comes at a most opportune time.

-The unveiling of the gaudy, expensive buildings at East, Soaring Heights, and Irving, coming at a time when the district is in deep financial straits is a reminder of Besendorfer's claim, made seemingly hundreds of times over the past two years, that "even funnel clouds can have a silver lining."

-The incredible spending that the district has done had just as much to do with Besendorfer's push toward 21st Century learning as it does with the tornado. During the past few years, she has added one layer after another of administration, which has been documented in the Turner Report and Inside Joplin, while cutting the number of teachers.

-She is directly to blame, as a result of C. J. Huff ceding most of his power to her so he can pursue one or two projects and hobnob with the elite, for the massive turnover in teachers that has plagued the district, most noticeably the past two years. When you have an administrator who either runs teachers off or forces them to flee (and who did exactly the same thing when she was superintendent at Reeds Spring), and who breeds a culture of fear, you have the recipe for the massive disaster that the school district has become. More than 200 teachers leaving in less than 13 months is a catastrophe, as everyone except Joplin Globe editors understands.

So the next few days should be interesting. Will the Joplin Globe shed whatever credibility it has left and write an editorial praising Angie Besendorfer or will it keep silent (or do the completely unexpected and write a critical editorial) and virtually concede it has been misleading the public the past few years?

Jordan Aubey, KOAM serve Joplin well with investigation into Wallace-Bajjali

One of the best pieces of investigative journalism Joplin has seen since the May 22, 2011, tornado was the two-part series done by Jordan Aubey of KOAM/Fox 14 on the development of the area of the city stricken by the tornado

Quite simply, months have passed and we are not seeing any progress from the plans offered by the city master developer, the Wallace-Bajjali company of Sugar Land, Texas. Aubey asked why and offered an even-handed report that should leave the taxpayers with plenty of food for thought.

A special report from Jordan Aubey of KOAM KOAM TV 7 KOAM TV 7

The Joplin Globe has failed this community miserably

One of the things we have heard repeated over and over since May 22, 2011, is how lucky we are to have had the right people in charge of our government and major institutions when the tornado hit.

Undoubtedly, remarkable things were done during the weeks and months after the tornado, but when millions and millions of dollars started pouring in, it was more important than ever that the news media do its job and keep an eye on those who were in charge of that money.

It is amazing how fast millions of dollars can slip through your fingers-especially when you see a natural disaster as an opportunity to remake a community or a school district on a grand scale, simply because you have more money than you have ever had before.

Instead of providing a watchful eye on the decision makers, the Joplin Globe, for instance, has taken a different approach. It not only served as a cheerleader for the big-dream faction of city government and for the administration of the Joplin R-8 School District, it has made it its mission to refute any criticism of the status quo.

There could be any number of reasons why the Globe is taking this approach. It could be what I have referred to as the Chamber of Commerce Syndrome. If people think our schools or our city government has problems, they are less likely to locate their businesses here or move into this community. So instead of shining a light on the darkness, the newspaper participates in the cover-up.

A primary example of that was Publisher Michael Beatty's e-mail to former Missouri Southern State University President Bruce Speck telling him he was halting Sunshine Law requests, transferring a reporter who had been doing his job to another beat, putting Speck together with Editor Carol Stark to talk about "positive" stories the Globe could do about Missouri Southern, and advising him on how to handle the media.

If the Joplin Globe had done its job before and after the hiring of Bruce Speck, it could have saved dozens of jobs, ended the nightmare of Speck's reign, and restored order to the embattled faculty and staff at MSSU.

Of course, those are not the people the Joplin Globe is working for. The Globe has made it clear that the people it represents are those who attend the formal dinners and those who really understand what is important, unlike the rest of us who serve simply as nameless chess pieces as they play their endless games.

I am sure those were the people who were telling the Joplin Globe not to worry about the hiring of Wallace-Bajjali as the city of Joplin's master developer. "Don't be concerned about the SEC investigation, It was just a little thing. They only had to pay $120,000 in fines. That's pocket change."

Or "don't worry about their involvement in two bankruptcies. It was a good strategic move on their part." How about "that lawsuit that says Wallace and Bajjali was running a $3 million Ponzi scheme is nothing. How do I know? David Wallace told me so and he has great things in mind for the city of Joplin."

So the Globe has written nothing about the lawsuit, I cannot recall anything more than one paragraph about the SEC investigation, which offered no details, but just assurances from City Manager Mark Rohr that it was no big deal.

And if Mark Rohr says it is no big deal, then to Michael Beatty, Carol Stark, and those at the Joplin Globe, it is no big deal.

Most of this information was available before the city of Joplin entered into a contract with Wallace-Bajjali. Not one word of it appeared in the Joplin Globe.

That is not to say that the city council would not have entered into an agreement with Wallace-Bajjali if all of this information had come out prior to the hiring, but wouldn't it have been nice to have made the decision with all of the facts at hand?

The same approach has been taken with the Joplin Globe's coverage of the Joplin R-8 School District. A clear example of this is the recent arrest and conviction of district technology employee Ronny Justin Myers. The crime Myers was convicted of involved setting up a sexual encounter with an underage girl at Northpark Mall. When he was arrested, he told investigators in February that he had pornographic photos of 10 Joplin High School students on his laptop. According to a sentencing memorandum, a public document, filed in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, they were able to confirm the identities of four of those students.

That confirmation had to have been done with the help of R-8 Administration, and yet Superintendent C. J. Huff issued one statement about Myers' arrest, saying that Myers worked in the administration office and had "no access' to children.

After the truth came out, the Globe (nor any other media, for that matter) never pushed Huff to explain himself. In fact, the pornographic photos (and at least one video) were never mentioned in the newspaper until a one-paragraph note toward the end of an article after Myers' sentencing, a mention, I might add, that probably would never have been made had it not been included in the news release issued by the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Ronny Justin Myers was the employee who monitored the laptops that had been provided to all Joplin High School students. He had remote access to those laptops. If this invasion of privacy is not "access to students" then what is?

Can school officials still spy on students and teachers? What steps have been taken to ensure that this will never happen again? Have any steps been taken?

The Joplin Globe has not asked and if, by chance, the questions were asked, the Globe did not feel the need to share the answers with its readers.

Another example of the Globe's electing to write of the Huff Administration only in glowing terms can be found in its coverage of the departure of more than 200 teachers from the Joplin R-8 School District in a 13-month period.

You cannot allow a ludicrous statement like C. J. Huff's that people are leaving because their spouses have found jobs elsewhere and they had to move to stand since it is so easy to prove it inaccurate. The names of all of the people who worked in the district are available on the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website.

Call them.

I know. It's a stretch, but actually call these people and ask them why they left. If the Globe had done so, it would have found only a handful who left because their spouses found work elsewhere. Many of the people would probably have told the Globe they do not want to talk about it, which would be a clear sign to anyone with intelligence that there is something amiss in the Joplin R-8 School District. I have no doubt some would have provided the Globe with stories that would have shocked its readers.

That is probably why those people were never called. After all, if people think there is unrest in the school district, it could look bad for the community. Doesn't anyone ever wonder if having a school district with that much unrest could be even worse for the community.

Of course, there could be another reason for the Globe's reticence to do any investigative reporting on Joplin city or Joplin R-8 school officials.

Has anyone invested more time and space in building the myth of these heroes of the Joplin Tornado? Wonderful things were done by many people after the tornado, but when millions of dollars are at stake and thousands of people are affected, there is a need for someone to stand up and demand answers.

The Joplin Globe has failed its readers miserably.


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Friday, November 29, 2013

Ryan Ferguson, supporters celebrate his freedom at KC bar

Star columnist rips Nicastro's secretive dealings with Sinquefield allies

Chris Nicastro's entire tenure as Missouri's education commissioner has been marked by secretive activity.

The rollout of Common Core Standards, done surreptitiously through district superintendents and bypassing school boards and the state legislature is the first thing to come to mind.

Another example, as noted by Kansas City Star columnist Barb Shelly today is her apparent violations of Missouri's Sunshine Law in her zeal to help retired billionaire Rex Sinquefield eliminate tenure for teachers:

In October 2012, Nicastro emailed a copy of Casas’ ballot language to the department’s attorney and instructed him to print copies for the state Board of Education to discuss at a closed session. “Do not post,” she cautioned, meaning place on a public agenda.

Nothing in Missouri’s open meetings law allows a public board to discuss an important policy issue like teacher tenure out of the public’s view.

The other problem involved the “fiscal note” that must accompany a ballot initiative, estimating how much the proposed new law would cost.

A staffer in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education surmised that “the potential exists for local school districts to incur significant litigation costs, as well as development and implementation costs,” and concluded that the initiative could result in “significant unknown costs” for districts. Nicastro, in editing the staffer’s work, scratched out the projection and changed “significant unknown costs” to “costs unknown.”

With her closed meeting and sanitation of the fiscal note, Nicastro comes across as looking sneaky.

d more here:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

What the Joplin Globe hasn't told you about Wallace-Bajjali, Part Two

With the millions of dollars that Joplin taxpayers will end up investing in the firm of master developer Wallace-Bajjali, you might think the area's newspaper of record, the Joplin Globe, would have conducted an investigation into the background of the Texas company. Except for about one paragraph ( a quote from City Manager Mark Rohr saying any problems weren't really problems), the Globe has continued to play cheerleader instead of looking after the public interest.

In part one, I wrote about two bankruptcies and an SEC investigation involving Wallace-Bajjali. The problems noted by the SEC are the same ones that brought a lawsuit against Wallace-Bajjali earlier this year accusing partners David Wallace and Costa Bajjali of conducting a $3 million Ponzi scheme.

I wrote about this August 15 in Inside Joplin and the Turner Report.

Investors in two funds connected to Joplin’s master developer Wallace-Bajjali claim in a lawsuit filed this week in Harris County, Texas, District Court that firm owners David Wallace and Costa Bajjali were involved in a $3 million Ponzi scheme.
Wallace told the Amarillo Globe-News , We consider the lawsuit very frivolous. We consider it to be without merit and we are going to defend it vigorously.” 
The scheme  resulted in an SEC investigation, which ended with Wallace and Bajalli agreeing to pay $60,000 fines. Each man made his last payment three days before the city of Joplin hired the firm to conduct the $800 million development of Joplin’s tornado-stricken area.
In its complaint, which was filed May 20, 2011, the SEC alleged that between November 2006 and December 2008, Wallace and Bajjali “offered and sold securities in two real estate funds they controlled in Houston, Texas, called the Wallace Bajjali Investment Fund II, L. P. and the Laffer Frishberg Wallace Economic Opportunity Fund, L. P.
In written disclosures relating to the securities offerings, Wallace and Bajjali told investors they would limit the Funds’ investment in any one business or project to certain percentages of the money the Funds raised- no more than 33 percent for the Wallace-Bajjali Fund and no more than 20 percent for the Opportunity Fund.
“Contrary to their written representation, Wallace and Bajjali far exceeded these limits by heavily investing the Funds’ money in Business Radio Networks, L.P, doing business as BizRadio, a struggling media company. As a result, they subjected the Funds’ investors to substantially greater investment risk than the Funds’ written materials disclosed.”
The statement of facts filed by SEC says that by May 2007 the Wallace-Bajjali Fund had received more than $16 million and had invested more than $6.5 million in BizRadio. The ratio was even higher with the Opportunity Fund, where $7 million was raised and $4 million went to BizRadio, far more than the 20 percent limit. Court documents indicate Wallace and Bajjali entered into an agreement with a company called Investment Adviser in Houston to handle the securities funds. It would appear that the two are casting the blame on that company for violating SEC regulations.

What the Joplin Globe hasn't told you about Wallace-Bajjali, Part One

Since the May 22, 2011, tornado, the Joplin Globe has served as more of a cheerleader for anything that Joplin city or school officials have proposed, despite the fact that these proposals have the potential to cost taxpayers millions.

For example, the Globe's coverage of the problems surrounding the city's master developer Wallace-Bajjali, consisted of a paragraph in which City Manager Mark Rohr said he knew about difficulties the Texas firm had with the Securities and Exchange Commission and that it was not a problem.

If the public had been aware of Wallace-Bajjali's background, that one-paragraph explanation would have seemed ridiculous.

The Turner Report and Inside Joplin have been reporting on Wallace-Bajjali for the past several months and now seems like an opportune time, in light of the solid work done by KOAM's Jordan Aubey in pointing out the lack of progress of any project Wallace-Bajjali has been involved in since it opened shop in Joplin.

The following was published on both blogs on August 13.

The Texas firm which is handling the city of Joplin’s $800 million redevelopment of the tornado-stricken area has been the target of an SEC investigation and has been involved in at least two bankruptcies.
The SEC investigation into Wallace-Bajjali ended up with the Sugar Land firm having to pay back $1.2 million to investors and with partners David Wallace, (pictured) the former mayor of Sugar Land, and Costa Bajjali each having to pay $60,000 fines. The final $15,000 payments on those fines were made March 28, 2012, three days before the City of Joplin hired the firm.
Both men entered into agreements May 24, 2011, to pay the fines, though neither admitted to any wrongdoing. Joplin city officials say they are fully aware of the SEC fines and have corroborated Wallace’s claim that others were at fault.
SEC Investigation
In its complaint, which was filed May 20, 2011, the SEC alleged that between November 2006 and December 2008, Wallace and Bajjali “offered and sold securities in two real estate funds they controlled in Houston, Texas, called the Wallace Bajjali Investment Fund II, L. P. and the Laffer Frishberg Wallace Economic Opportunity Fund, L. P.
In written disclosures relating to the securities offerings, Wallace and Bajjali told investors they would limit the Funds’ investment in any one business or project to certain percentages of the money the Funds raised- no more than 33 percent for the Wallace-Bajjali Fund and no more than 20 percent for the Opportunity Fund.
“Contrary to their written representation, Wallace and Bajjali far exceeded these limits by heavily investing the Funds’ money in Business Radio Networks, L.P, doing business as BizRadio, a struggling media company. As a result, they subjected the Funds’ investors to substantially greater investment risk than the Funds’ written materials disclosed.”
The statement of facts filed by SEC says that by May 2007 the Wallace-Bajjali Fund had received more than $16 million and had invested more than $6.5 million in BizRadio. The ratio was even higher with the Opportunity Fund, where $7 million was raised and $4 million went to BizRadio, far more than the 20 percent limit. Court documents indicate Wallace and Bajjali entered into an agreement with a company called Investment Adviser in Houston to handle the securities funds. It would appear that the two are casting the blame on that company for violating SEC regulations.
Though City Manager Mark Rohr told the Joplin Globe that he and the City Council were fully aware of the SEC investigation, nothing in the three paragraphs in which the Globe has addressed Wallace-Bajjali’s problems mentions anything about the bankruptcies that have surrounded the firm.
Though the Wallace-Bajjali firm was not the name on the filing, Joplin’s master developers filed for bankruptcy January 1, 2013, and are more than $6 million in debt, according to documents filed in the U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.
River Square Center Partners, the company that filed for bankruptcy, shares the same address and the bankruptcy petition was signed by Costa Bajjali. The River Square Center complex, which is operated by Wallace-Bajjali Development Partners, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after defaulting on a $6,527,321.10 debt to Wells Fargo Bank, according to the court documents. The events leading to the bankruptcy were described in court documents:
The Debtor is the owner of a three-story 92,874-square-foot former warehouse building located at 215 2nd Street & 217 Mary Avenue in Waco, Texas, that has been converted to retail, restaurant, and office space and is currently considered a focal point for night life in downtown Waco.
The project is 93.0% leased to 17 tenants and has adequate cash flow to service principal, interest, taxes, and insurance on an on-going basis. The building was purchased by the Debtor in 2007 and renovated shortly thereafter.
Despite what appeared to be a good faith transaction, the seller of the Property used his relationships with existing tenants to lure them into another building nearby that offered below market rates due to redevelopment incentives provided by the City of Waco. This resulted in tenant rollover of of over 50% within a 24-month period and lowered overall rents generally – the majority of re-tenanting income fell into 2010 and 2011.
Since the Debtor did not have adequate funds to cover the unexpected releasing costs, the principals covered the majority of these costs out-of-pocket. By late 2011, however, the cumulative effect of the drain caused the Debtor to be late on a couple of payments which resulted in the assessment of default interest and late fees.
Even though the Debtor subsequently made payments in full and on time, LNR Partners (as special servicer for the Lender) applied the payments to default interest and late fees which left the loan constantly in default and subject to ever increasing late charges. In late 2012, significant negotiations with the special servicer of the Secured Debt were had in order to resolve the outstanding defaults.
The Debtor believed that a financial agreement had been reached, however the special servicer instead posted the Property for foreclosure for December 2012. In order to preserve the value of the Property, the Debtor transferred approximately $290,000.00 toward payment of the Debt. The December foreclosure was passed with this payment, however the Property was once again posted for a January 2013 foreclosure. The Debtor did not have the funds to again meet the financial demands of the special servicer and this Chapter 11 was filed in an attempt to preserve the equity in the Property and to address all the Debtor’s financial obligations.

Video- Huff: Angie Besendorfer has been my right hand


Bill Gates spent more than $20 million this year to implement Common Core

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has already spent more than $20 million this year to implement Common Core Standards, which not so coincidentally, will add billions to the bottomline of Microsoft with its emphasis on technology:

Some of the grants are to help develop new standardized tests aligned to the Core; the Council of Chief State School Officers won $4 million in July “to support the development of high quality assessments to measure” the standards. Other grants are to help teachers develop materials for the Common Core. The NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education won a few grants in this regard, including one in July for $3,882,600 to “support a cohort of National Education Association Master Teachers in the development of Common Core-aligned lessons in K-5 mathematics and K-12 English Language Arts,” and another in October for $501,580 “to give support to teachers in Kentucky to implement the Common Core State Standards confidently and effectively.”
Meanwhile, the National Conference of State Legislatures won $447,046 in November to “continue its support of state legislators on Common Core and teacher effectiveness”; UCLA won $942,527 in September “to develop a tool that helps states on Common Core-aligned assessments”; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in August won $115,000 “to support an online, game-based learning experience for reading and writing aligned to Common Core literacy standards”; and the University of Kentucky Research Foundation won $1 million in February to “to support the launch of a new Center for Innovation in Education to advance implementation of the common core and more personalized learning for students and teachers that will enable young people to graduate career and college ready.”

How Common Core changes reading and damages knowledge of history

Many of the changes that are taking place in the teaching of reading are not designed to improve the abilities of readers, but to make it easier to have their essays based on that reading graded by machines.

Evidence of that is provided in an article by the Washington Post's Valerie Strauss, one of the best education writers in the country:

Imagine learning about the Gettysburg Address without a mention of the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg, or why President Abraham Lincoln had traveled to Pennsylvania to make the speech. That’s the way a Common Core State Standards “exemplar for instruction” — from a company founded by three main Core authors — says it should be taught to ninth and 10th graders.
The unit — “A Close Reading of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address“ — is designed for students to do a “close reading” of the address “with text-dependent questions” — but without historical context.
Check out the article. With this kind of reading assignment, we are virtually guaranteeing that we will have public school students with no understanding of our history or our government.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Anonymous reader: Turner, you're a bully

An anonymous commenter just put me in my place.

"Bleeding the taxpayers dry." "The massacre at McKinley" "admin to teachers - every move you make we will be watching you" "huff's excessive spending spree" 

These are just a few of the headlines you have chosen when blogging about them. If you were in school all you would have to do is add "go kill yourselves. No one likes you." Bully. That is how you come off. And a bully is usually someone who is very insecure with themselves and only feels better when putting someone else down.

I certainly never meant to hurt anyone's feelings.

Retirement and the people who hate me

I mailed in my retirement papers Tuesday.

It took me several days to fill them out because I kept putting it off- not because I thought there was a chance of going back into teaching, that is most likely never going to happen- I just have a problem with the word "retirement."

It is not a word that fits what I have been doing. I am putting in as many hours, sometimes more, as I used to as a full-time teacher and a part-time writer. It is just that now the writing is my full time job.

Apparently, many of my readers project their own weaknesses on to me. You've seen the comments. I am a bitter old man. I am obsessed with C. J. Huff and Angie Besendorfer. I am a pornographer because I wrote a book with sex scenes, I am preaching to a choir of former students and teachers. I have deep-seated mental problems and it is quite possible that I have spent the last 36 years of my life deluding myself into thinking I am a journalist.

Don't you just love critics?

For the most part, I am convinced that most of the negative comments on the blog are not coming from supporters of the Joplin R-8 Administration, but from the same people who were ripping into me during the years I was writing about Bruce Speck and the problems at Missouri Southern State University. Some of them have writing styles I recognize from my days at the Carthage Press.

I am not obsessed with C. J. Huff and Angie Besendorfer, though I have heard that the R-8 superintendent may have that problem with me. Through no wish of my own, I have landed the kind of story that reporters dream of- it has greed, corruption, horrendous misuse of taxpayers' money, and activities that are either criminal or border on it. And just like with the Bruce Speck stories, no one has put a dent in any of my reporting. Instead, they criticize me..

Unfortunately, just like with the Bruce Speck stories, I have the field to myself. And this time, there isn't an anonymous Southern Watch. Just like with the MSSU situation, the Joplin Globe has acted as an enabler, forgoing its obligation to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comforted as H. J. Mencken once wrote, in favor of playing footsie with their friends.

And when the curtain finally comes down on the Huff-Besendorfer era in the Joplin R-8 School District, I fully expect the Joplin Globe to write an editorial warning about letting this ever happen again- when the Globe had it in its power to bring this operation to its knees long ago and spare the hundreds of people who lost their jobs.

No, obsession is not my problem. When Huff and Besendorfer are gone, there will be other people who are abusing the people's trust; there will be other issues that interest me.

I am arrogant, aging, and not much to look at, but I like what I do and I have worked hard to reach a point where I am good at it.

So thank you, readers, for putting up with my faults. I wasn't quite ready for the end of my teaching career, but then I wasn't quite ready to end my newspaper career 14 years ago and that worked out well for me.

This will, too. I am doing something that I love doing, writing and reporting,  and something that I love nearly as much- ticking off those who badly want to see me fail, but whose lives would lose some meaning if they did not have me to rant and rave about.

Thanks for reading.

Nixon: Special session may be necessary for Boeing economic incentives

A St. Louis Beacon/Jason Rosenbaum video

Judge allows former Sarcoxie board member to withdraw guilty plea

U. S. District Court Judge David Rush issued an order today approving former Sarcoxie Board of Education member John Lewis' motion to withdraw his guilty plea to a child pornography charge.

The motion was made by Springfield attorneys Tom Carver, Shane Cantin, and Erica Mynarich, who were hired by Lewis after he replaced another Springfield lawyer Dee Wampler.e

Lewis entered his guilty plea Oct. 9, but it allowed either him or the government to withdraw the plea at any time before the judge formally accepted it. Eight days after the guilty plea, Carver, Cantin, and Mynarich officially signed on as Lewis' lawyers. Five days after that, they filed a request to delay the acceptance of the guilty plea so they could examine the plea agreement.

The crime to which Lewis pleaded guilty was described in the original plea agreement:
On October 4, 2012, a Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) Trooper initiated an investigation regarding John R. Lewis at the request of the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. After taking the initial complaint, the Trooper interviewed witnesses.
On December 5, 2012, MSHP Troopers contacted Lewis at his residence located at 4360 Dandelion, Sarcoxie, Missouri. At the conclusion of an interview with Lewis, an MSHP Trooper asked Lewis for his consent to search his computers for any images of child pornography. Lewis stated he had images on his computer he did not want to be made public. Lewis stated he had two computers in his residence, a desktop and a laptop. When Lewis mentioned the desktop he pointed to a nearby office that was visible. Lewis stated he had downloaded images of naked children from a nudist website to his desktop computer. Lewis refused to give consent.
Based on the above information, the Troopers secured the residence and obtained a search warrant to search Lewis’s residence including the computers and all electronic storage devices. During a subsequent search an additional desktop computer was located in a basement bedroom along with multiple electronic storage devices. All computers and electronic storage devices were located inside the residence.
The computers and storage drives were submitted to the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force (SMCCTF) for analysis. The forensic examiner reviewed 19 multimedia files that he labeled as child pornography due to the activity depicted and 113 still images of suspected child pornography. The multimedia files and still images primarily depicted male children, with the youngest child being approximately 5 years of age, engaged in the display of genitalia, masturbation, oral sex, and anal intercourse.
These images traveled in interstate or foreign commerce via the internet.

If Lewis is eventually found gulty, he could be sentenced to as much as 10 years in prison and be fined up to $250,000.

An offer you can't refuse: The empire that C. J. and Angie created- Part II

The work day began early and ended late for one of the best principals in the Joplin R-8 School District.

Beloved by parents and staff, she had every reason to believe that she would be staying in her current position until the day, far in the future, when she retired.

As far as this principal knew, she was still on the good side of Assistant Superintendent Angie Besendorfer, something that was not easy. She, like the rest of the principals in the district, spent much of her time attending a series of never-ending, totally scripted meetings called by Besendorfer.

They always began with celebrations, though many of those seemed to be forced, just because she required them to have something to celebrate.

On this particular day, the principal received an unexpected visitor from the central administration office.

The greeting was friendly, but the principal sensed something was wrong. That was confirmed moments later, when the visitor said, "We want your resignation effective at the end of the school year."

The principal asked why, what had she done wrong? It wasn't anything she had done, the principal was told. Room had to be made for someone else and she was the one who had to go.

"And if I don't resign?"

"Then we will make sure you never work again."

Suddenly, resignation became an offer the principal couldn't refuse.

For a brief time, the principal thought about fighting, but she had heard one horror story after another about those who got in the way of what Angie Besendorfer wanted.

She submitted her resignation.

Things did not quite turn out the way Besendorfer expected. People were upset about what had happened to the principal and the chosen replacement would have been walking into a buzz saw. So someone new was brought in at that school, while Besendorfer promoted another principal, Jennifer Doshier of McKinley Elementary to central office, and saw to it that the person she wanted as a principal, former director of curriculum and instruction Terri Hart was the new principal at McKinley, despite not having a principal's certificate.

This principal is not the only one who received the Besendorfer treatment. Two others reported that after they were ushered out of the R-8 School District through no fault of their own, potential employers received calls from Besendorfer suggesting that hiring them might not be a good idea.

In one of those cases, the school board, being familiar with Angie Besendorfer, immediately hired the former principal.

When Besendorfer decided she wanted someone out of the way, she had no problem with putting the people in the technology department to work digging up dirt on those people. She worked hand in hand during the past couple of years with the technology director and human relations director Tina Smith to usher out one teacher after another. Others, tired of dealing with a school district that held little value for teachers or staff, left on their own. Not many of them left because their spouses had found work in another community, as Superintendent C. J. Huff said, or because of lingering after-effects from the tornado.

By the time Besendorfer was done, more than 200 teachers had left the district in less than 13 months, or nearly a third of the teaching staff.

I was one of those people. In March 2012, I was called in to East Middle School Principal Bud Sexson's office after I had written a Turner Report post about Missouri Southern State University President Bruce Speck. I was told that H. R. Director Tina Smith (at the time I did not know who that was) had said I was not to write about Missouri Southern or Bruce Speck any more because Bruce Speck was a friend of the district and a "lunch buddy" at East. Furthermore, Sexson said "they" did not want me to write any more about politics or politicians because they wanted to get money from them. He did not say who they were.

At approximately the same time, I have since found out, Besendorfer ordered tech workers in the Administration office to "find something on Randy Turner."

This was four months before the book that supposedly got me fired, No Child Left Alive, was published, and a full year before the publication of Scars from the Tornado, the book that supposedly stirred the administration's effort and began the research that uncovered No Child Left Alive.

When something was found on me, it was taken to Besendorfer and miraculously at about the same time, Besendorfer's friend, Lisa Orem, the administrator who, according to DESE, is only qualified to be a K-8 teacher, began her own research on me and uncovered a little known website that I had used for classroom purposes three years earlier and had put a post on it offering free downloads of No Child Left Alive.

After that, someone in upper administration slipped word to the Joplin Globe about No Child Left Alive, virtually ending my chances of being hired by a school district and forcing me into the May 23 hearing, where Tina Smith referred to my students showing signs of "grooming," Technology Director Klista Rader said I tagged more photos of school girls than boys (though I have never "tagged" anyone), Bud Sexson called me a liar who had never told him about the tornado book, and of course C. J. Huff cried and said he couldn't sleep at night if I stayed in the school district.

These are just a handful of the lives Angie Besendorfer, with the look-the-other-way consent of Huff and the members of the Joplin R-8 Board of Education, have attempted to ruin. There are many, many more stories and with Besendorfer finally announcing her departure today, I have a feeling that finally, at long last, the truth about the last few years and the horrors that teachers and staff in the school district have had to live through, will finally be revealed.

The empire that C. J. and Angie created, was built on fear, and that kind of power never lasts long.

(More to come)

Bleeding the taxpayers dry: The empire that C. J. and Angie created- Part I

Besendorfer quits

Joplin R-8 Assistant Superintendent Angie Besendorfer is leaving the district after this semester.

Besendorfer, who has been in the district for seven years, announced her resignation today to become the chancellor of Western Governors University Missouri, an online school.

The following news release was issued by the Joplin R-8 School District.

Joplin Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Angie Besendorfer announced today her plans to resign from Joplin Schools and accept a position as Chancellor of WGU Missouri in January 2014.
“A decision like this is really difficult,” said Dr. Besendorfer. “I love the direction Joplin Schools is going, and it's hard to choose to leave, especially at such a transitional time for the district, but WGU Missouri is also an innovative education institution and offered me an exciting opportunity that I just couldn't refuse.”
Dr. Besendorfer has worked for Joplin Schools as assistant superintendent since 2007. During her tenure, she led important initiatives related to teaching and learning that have impacted education in Joplin Schools at all grade levels. She has also played a primary role in the recovery process after the May 22, 2011 tornado. After the disaster, she spearheaded the design process for both temporary and permanent facilities, and she was instrumental in the implementation of the one-to-one laptop initiative at Joplin High School.
“Dr. Besendorfer has a passion and vision for education that goes beyond the traditional classroom setting,” said Joplin Schools Superintendent Dr. C.J. Huff. “Her collaborative work with staff, parents, and the community has helped to develop a collective vision which has laid the groundwork for Joplin Schools' efforts to provide a 21st century education in our community. We hate to see Angie leave the Joplin Schools’ family, but we are excited for her and the role she will continue to play in Missouri education.”
“We’re delighted to have someone of Angie’s caliber and commitment to education join us as Chancellor of WGU Missouri,” said Western Governors University President Dr. Robert W. Mendenhall. “Providing high quality, affordable degree programs for teachers and administrators is a significant part of what we do, and Angie’s background and experience in K-12 education will be key to helping us grow and develop our teacher education programs in Missouri.”
WGU Missouri is a nonprofit, online university created to expand access to higher education for Missouri residents. Established by the state of Missouri through a partnership with nationally recognized Western Governors University, WGU Missouri offers more than 50 accredited, competency-based undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing.

Preliminary hearing for accused killer of MSSU coach delayed

The preliminary hearing for Jeffrey Bruner, 39, Joplin, charged with first degree murder and armed criminal action in connection with the Nov. 1 shooting death of Missouri Southern State University offensive line coach Derek Moore, originally scheduled for today has been postponed until 1:30 p.m. January 9.

The shooting took place outside the Northpark Regal 14 Theater where Bruner confronted his estranged wife, Dawn Michele Bruner and Moore, according to the Joplin Police report.

The nightmare world Chris Nicastro wants for Missouri's children

This video is about the New York school system, but it might as well be about Missouri.

In the video, parents and students talk about how much they love school...except when it comes to tests. Their message applies to Missouri, where Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro and our state Board of Education have fallen into lockstep with those who would turn our schools into testing factories.

Ms. Nicastro has prostituted our schools in efforts to gain millions in federal Race to the Top money and sold out teachers by working with retired billionaire Rex Sinquefield's people to eliminate teacher tenure and require teachers to be hired or fired on the basis of students' standardized test scores.

Ms. Nicastro and the board recently bought standardized tests from McGraw-Hill, but also paid for a series of practice standardized tests to be given throughout the year.

The video, though it is not about Missouri, should be an eye-opener for the people of this state.

R-8 School Board President Flowers: We must sell ourselves tastefully

Thanks to Joplin Globe education reporter Emily Younker for reminding me of a quote from last night's Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting that I neglected to put in my post last night.

When I wrote about the plan to help the district's impending (actually, it is already here) financial crisis by selling advertising on everything from new buildings to classrooms to parking lot flags, I did not mention the note of caution that Board President Jeff Flowers added.

:"I just want to make sure it's done tastefully and appropriately, not just for the dollars," Flowers said.

He is absolutely right and hopefully, the discussion will be continued next month when the board meets in the E-Z Payday Loan Room at 32nd and Duquesne.