Slay lobbyist Lou Hamilton on the hot seat
The EYE is enjoying the outcome of a little experiment.
Last week our mole in the tony Westminster Place neighborhood – home to Slay lobbyist and fixer Lou Hamilton and Post-Dispatch editor Arnie Robbins – sent us a remarkable email from Lou’s wife Patricia Roland-Hamilton. This column was finished for the week, and we figured this little bit would have more impact if it came out in the Post, so we forwarded it to a reporter we respect there.
Trisha’s email seems to have bounced around the Post newsroom, and Post reporters and columnists have been milking it ever since. Charlie Brennan of KMOX has piled on. Everybody is wondering exactly what our mole mused when forwarding the message to us: “Perhaps you could help me understand why Lou Hamilton would have a ‘lights and siren’ vehicle?”
Here is the complete message from “Trisha,” as she signed it, sent on Feb. 3 via Google Groups:
“FYI: Lou's Yukon was stolen some time between midnight and 5:30 this morning. I suspect it might have started as a break-in, but the thieves found a spare key under the security equipment in console. We notified Captain [Samuel] Dotson immediately, as Lou's vehicle is equipped with red lights and siren. The thieves used the lights/siren to try and pull people over north on Union. With OnStar's assistance, the vehicle was found abandoned, mostly undamaged, off Natural Bridge Road (on San Francisco).
“The thieves still have the spare key, along with our garage door opener. Obviously, we’ve taken measures to change or disable these items, though it wouldn’t surprise me if they were to come back thinking they were still usable. So, take precautions. The 7th District and The City’s Finest are aware and you may notice some increased presence on the street.”
Isn’t that cozy? One call from a Hamilton and “The City’s Finest” beef up their presence around the family dwelling. Surely every poor soul burglarized of a set of keys in the city of St. Louis is one call away from armed guards at the taxpayer’s expense, patrolling the premises against the return of the evildoers.
By the way, Lou and Trisha’s hookup among the Finest, Capt. Dotson, is one of those STLPD white shirts listed as a supporter of disgraced Police Chief Joe Mokwa, whom Mayor and Police Commissioner Slay supported until the very last bitter moment.
Mayor having a ball
The mayor told a Post reporter that he was not aware that Hamilton, his longterm lobbyist, kept flashing lights and a siren in his personal vehicle.
This fails to pass a smell test. Hamilton is a fixture at the Mayor's Ball and other Mardi Gras events where he has been reported using his flashing lights and siren by the Riverfront Times.
Furthemore, Dave Drebes has reported in the Business Journal traveling in a vehicle with Aldermen Stephen Gregali (14th Ward), Jennifer Florida (15th Ward) and Dorothy Kirner (25th Ward) that ran red lights in a motorcade en route to the 2006 Mayor’s Ball.
Actually, Drebes – who has privileged sources in the Slay administration – did not name names, but RFT reporter Kristen Hinman sleuthed them out. She also reported that Gregali (a staunch Slay operative on the Board of Aldermen) was driving Drebes in that motorcade, and that Lou and Trisha Hamilton “departed City Hall that evening in a dark SUV with a blue light flashing atop its dashboard.”
Odd, then, for the mayor who threw the ball not to know that his lobbyist keeps police lights in his vehicle and uses them – in violation of City law.
Dagger in the velvet glove
Our mole’s item landed first in Deb Peterson’s column in the Post. Despite her social beat, she often does offer solid reporting and she asked Hamilton some decent questions. Still, this was the velvet-glove treatment for a potential news item about a private citizen playing dress-up as a cop with flashing lights and sirens (and his wife’s smug assurance that the police would go out of their way to safeguard them).
Maybe Deb has dibs on all of Trisha, since she recently reported that Roland-Hamilton, “a politically well-connected former employee of the U.S. Attorney's Office here, has been named director of the Gateway Mall Project.” Also on Lou’s wife’s resume, according to Deb: former consultant to the St. Louis Police Department and the City of St. Louis. Deb also quotes a favorite source, Slay brain Jeff Rainford, that the mayor pays Lou “about $25,000 a year” for lobbying.
Our mole, the Hamiltons’ neighbor, said, “This is a decade-long thing, a forever thing, Lou running around acting like the police. If exposing this gets him to tone down even a little bit, that would be a good thing.”
Our mole is no fan in general of Hamilton’s sordid little clique: Rainford, Richard Callow and the like, the lobbyists and flacks who run the City of St. Louis while Slay jogs, eats power bars and bones up on his foreign languages.
“This place could be a major city, but instead it behaves like a tiny town run by a tiny clique,” our mole said.
Sadly, Irene J. Smith and Maida Coleman appear to be the only two people in town with any credibility who are motivated and willing to stand up publicly and say, “Enough!”
Ward Connerly’s Missouri boy
The EYE’s new favorite grass-roots reader Daasha Jones is not the only citizen watching the action in Missouri with a newly critical eye, after Barack Obama touched a chord in the nation and especially in the slumbering political giant of the black community.
Another reader wondered this:
“Is it possible to get the list of individuals who signed the petition to stop affirmative action in State contracts? Recently, a judge ruled that donors to a PAC had to be made public. Using this model, names of all who signed the petition are public information. They could not sign and hide.”
There is a slight conflation of information going on here. Let’s sort it out.
Donors to a PAC are routinely made public through campaign filings with the Missouri Ethics Commission. Reports filed by the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative Committee (Timothy P. Asher, treasurer) is one place to follow that money. Asher started his new committee on Nov. 3 of last year; as of Tuesday, he had not yet filed a fundraising or expense report.
Of course, someone wanting to help Asher and Ward Connerly criminalize affirmative action in Missouri state government and education could find ways to donate through other committees to disguise their support. You know, the way Mayor Slay began using Bradley J. Ketcher and his “Citizens for a Better St. Louis” front to pay Gentry Trotter and the Evening Whirl, after we began to point out the inappropriateness of the Slay campaign paying Trotter to place the mayor’s face every week on the front page of a crime-and-slut thug rag marketed to black people in St. Louis (and condescending white folks).
Oh, the Whirl also started to tone down its faux thug hip-hop headlines making fun of pimps, whores and killers after we started to question Slay’s paid reliance on the rag as a publicity arm of his campaign. This must really have disappointed those slumming white folks on their laugh-at-the-’hood-rat trip.
However, people who sign petitions are governed by a different set of public record standards. In that case, the person running signature-gathering campaign (Asher) needs to file the signatures with the Secretary of State, whose office will then make the records available to anyone who asks and is willing to pay the fee to copy the documents, as per the Sunshine Law.
However, Asher did not turn in any signatures last year, so the list is not a public record. Maybe this vigilante for white “justice” will share his information with the public? His phone numbers are a matter of public record: work is (816) 812-4929 and home is (816) 633-4366.
When he picks up, ask for “Ward Connerly’s white boy in Missouri.”
Hazelwood Schools spoiler
Voters in the Hazelwood School District have fresh options for its school board during the April 7 election ballot as two former principals are in the running.
Frank Smith was the popular and longtime principal at Hazelwood Central High School until last year. Raymond Taylor was a longtime principal of Kirby Junior High School (now called Hazelwood East Middle School) until his retirement a few years ago.
Parents, staff and concerned citizens have spoken out against continual changes made under the current leadership in the district, which has resulted in higher taxes, disruption of school schedules but little in terms of markedly improved student performance.
Smith and Taylor are running against Mark Behlmann and his hand-picked yes-woman, Desiree Whitlock. Another candidate, who some see as a “spoiler” to split the African-American vote in the school board race is Eugene Dokes.
Absentee voting begins February 24 at the St. Louis County Election office located on Sunnen Drive in Maplewood for residents who are unable to vote in person on April 7 for any of the County races. In addition, the Absentee Department will be open on two Saturdays, March 28 and April 4 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Man of Steele
Michael Steele can thank President Obama for his election as the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee. "As we approach the bicentennial of [Abraham] Lincoln's birth, let us hope that Steele's election as chairman of the RNC signals the Grand Old Party is headed back to the future," said NAACP President & CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. Since this is primarily a cosmetic move, don’t count on that.