Update on Happenings in Arnold

10 May

There are three items of interest to discuss in Arnold: a red light camera (RLC) court decision, a right to work resolution, and a family member board appointment.

Supreme Court Declines RLC Case

City Attorney Bob Sweeney and company assured us that Arnold’s RLC program, which was crippled by an Eastern District Appeals Court decision, was not dead until the state Supreme Court took the case, which it would do. Well, it did not. The Court on April 29 declined to consider the American Traffic Solutions/Arnold appeal. Thus, the Arnold ordinance is invalid, and ticketing, which has been suspended, may not resume as things stand. TheNewspaper.com explains what Arnold would have to do to turn the cameras back on (emphasis mine):

In light of these decisions, Missouri red light cameras will not be able to continue to function as they do at present. If cameras are to be used at all, cities would have to report violations to the state so that points could be issued against the license of the actual driver, not just the vehicle’s owner. Identifying the driver requires taking photographs of both the front and rear of the vehicle, as is done in Arizona and California. Such ticketing requires new camera equipment, and photographs that do not clearly show the driver’s face must be thrown out. Because this would cut significantly into the current revenue models, new contracts and city ordinances would be required.

I have little doubt Arnold will try to resuscitate the RLC program. Will they go so far as to let ATS install new cameras? Or will the city try some half-measure that doesn’t meet the spirit of the court ruling while daring someone to sue them? The city council, which tried to sweep the RLC issue under the rug before the election, will have to take a stand.

Ridiculous Right to Work Resolution

The city council decided that people actually care what they think about the idea of making Missouri a right to work (RTW) state. So the council introduced and passed unanimously a resolution against the bill on May 1. Never mind that the legislative session has one week left and the RTW bill is clearly going nowhere. They even trucked in a bunch of union members to witness the charade. And Rep. Jeff Roorda was apparently there, and he “thanked the council for its ‘courageous action to protect families.'”

Courageous, my foot. Not a single elected Republican legislator in the county is willing to vote for RTW. That shows you what the local sentiment is for the idea. And there were 40 union members in the audience. Where’s the courage there? (Now, voting ‘no’ in that situation would have required some courage, and probably a police escort home afterwards.)

I think this was done as part of the council’s ongoing campaign to assist councilman Jason Fulbright’s run (as a Republican, no less) for state legislature. He was a co-sponsor of this resolution. I’m sure councilman Phil Amato set this up to introduce his union buddies to Fulbright. I suspect that, between supporting Fulbright and opposing Bob Boyer for county council, a lot of area union types will pull GOP ballots during the August primary.

Nephew of New Councilman Appointed to Vet Commission

At the May 1 council meeting, the appointment of David McArthur to the city veterans commission was approved. He is the nephew of new council member Brian McArthur. This relationship was pointed out in the council packet, but it was stressed that city ordinance does not prohibit the appointment. This is true; “nephew” is not listed as a prohibited relationship in the city’s hiring policy. And I do not dispute David’s qualifications for the commission (such that there are any; the main purpose of the commission, as far as I can tell, is to further the political ambitions of Mike Evans – kind of like his position as president of the Arnold Historical Society, from which his resignation was accepted well ahead of his planned departure). And Brian abstained from the vote.

Nevertheless, the fact is that it looks very bad for the councilman’s nephew to be appointed to a city board less than a month after the councilman’s election. Elected leaders should strive for the highest ethical standards (I know, I know, this is Arnold); the appearance of impropriety should always be avoided. It doesn’t matter how McArthur voted (or didn’t vote). Recall when the daughter-in-law of Fox C-6 school board president Linda Nash was hired to a school food service management position. Nash abstained, but the move had all the appearance of a board helping out one of its own members. The public was outraged, and now over half of the board members that voted for the hire are out of office. This appointment should not have been made.

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2 Responses to “Update on Happenings in Arnold”

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  1. More on Shockey Nepotism | Jefferson County Penknife - May 28, 2014

    […] Arnold’s nepotism ordinance is weak; after all, it allowed a councilman’s nephew to be appointed to a city board. In addition to having a limited range of relationships barred from hiring or […]

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  2. Fulbright: Really Republican? | Jefferson County Penknife - July 23, 2014

    […] highlight of his term in office is when he and Amato arranged a stunt to invite a bunch of union types to city hall to watch them introduce and pass an anti-right to […]

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