Tag Archives: jeff roorda

Roorda to Run For County Exec

6 Oct

Before I begin, I thought I would point out that Jeff Roorda has been blocked on Wikipedia for trying to edit his own page to make himself look better.

One might have thought that after losing two elections in a row in rightward-moving Jefferson County (2014 and 2016), Jeff Roorda’s political career was over (at least as a Democrat). But Roorda, a former state representative and current business manager for the St. Louis Police Union, has decided to give it another shot, this time with a run for county executive in 2018.

Roorda is in an odd position. He has spent the last three years focused entirely on St. Louis issues, but wants to lead Jefferson County. He has also spent the last three years stoking divisions, but claims he can work with the county council in a harmonious manner. His ability to stir up controversy is rewarded with book sales and CNN appearances, but it is not useful in governing.

In the Leader this week, Roorda mentions the current “bitter fighting” that takes places between the council and the current executive, Ken Waller, who is not seeking another term (at least not in that position). He is right about that. But would Roorda be better? Waller at least put on a genial face in public (which has been enough to fool the Leader) while carrying out his skullduggery behind closed doors. But Roorda is open with his harsh remarks and aggressive behavior. I don’t see how that will bring about good relationships.

Loyal Democrat

In an interview with former House speaker Tim Jones on 97.1 FM, Roorda said that the Democratic party has gone too far with this Black Lives Matter stuff and become what he considers to be anti-police. He says that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton hurt JeffCo Democrats because of this, and that this issue is what gave Donald Trump the victory last year.

Since protecting police from any scrutiny or oversight is his main issue, I was expecting Roorda to come out and endorse Trump in the last election, but he did not. He refused to endorse Clinton in a Leader candidate questionnaire. I was even thinking that Roorda might opportunistically try to switch parties. He regularly runs as a conservative, pro-life, pro-gun candidate. I thought he might go with the JeffCo flow and try to increase his chances of victory with a switch to the GOP, but he has not done so.


Roorda claims to be friends with his presumable GOP opponent in the race, recently-resigned state House representative John McCaherty, and says the race will be clean and issue-based. But given Roorda’s history of harsh attacks and questionable claims, I don’t think that will last.

Wild Card

Roorda is disliked by many in the city, particularly on the left, for his various controversial actions. He has said that if he wins this race he will resign from the police union. Therefore, many in the city will be pulling for him to win in order to be rid of him. But will that turn into concrete support, given in a way that won’t alienate JeffCo voters?


Roorda Embattled as Cop Union Manager

19 Feb

Having been knocked out of the political game due to Jefferson County’s rapid shift from a blue to a red county, Jeff Roorda is now facing heavy criticism in his role as business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers Association (SLPOA), where he is the de facto spokesman for metro area police and the go-to guy for cable news shows looking for a controversial commentator. Post-Dispatch columnist Tony Messenger puts it starkly in this latest column: The Fire Roorda bandwagon grows — St. Louis cops deserve a better voice.

The latest round of criticism of Roorda includes the mayoral candidate that was endorsed by SLPOA, Lyda Krewson, calling on the union to fire him. Criticism of Roorda has been heavy since the Michael Brown incident in Ferguson, an event which Roorda parlayed into two books and countless cable news appearances, during which he aims not for common ground but for provocation (this is probably why he keeps getting invited back). This role, which I imagine many in Jefferson County support, did not help him overcome the local GOP wave, as he lost a state Senate race in 2014 and a Jefferson County council race in 2016.

Krewson’s call and Messenger’s column were prompted by this Facebook post by Roorda about St. Louis mayor candidate Tishaura Jones (who is currently second to Krewson in the polls):


Krewson, the only white candidate in the race with a shot to win, is late to the game among those running for mayor in denouncing Roorda. He was a major topic at a late January mayoral debate, where Krewson was booed after she denounced Roorda’s various comments but would not call for his firing (which she now has).

The primary election is on March 7, and the Democrat nominee will be rubber-stamped to victory on April 4. Will Roorda last that long in his current job?


I love this photo.

Shoving Suit

Roorda has a problem on another front as well. He is being sued over a 2015 incident at a packed, heated St. Louis board of aldermen committee hearing when he allegedly shoved a female as he made his way to the front of the room (see video, which is open to interpretation, at the above link). The plaintiff is asking for $500,000.

Roorda Misleads on Port

4 Nov

I previously wondered whether or not county council candidate Jeff Roorda was actively campaigning for the office. He has since begun to do so. His main spiel this campaign is to compare the county council to a barge that sank in the Mississippi River in January, while blaming the council for buying the uninsured barge. While this is cutesy, it is wrong on the facts. The barge was bought by the JeffCo Port Authority, not the county council. One would think that a seasoned politician like Roorda would know this. While I realize he has been mostly focused on St. Louis City and County these past two years, I think this division of authority has not escaped Roorda. I think he’s just stretching the truth, as he is wont to do in his campaigns.

Roorda also brags that he helped acquire $200,000 of funding for the port. While he may have played some role in that, it is small potatoes compared to the $750,000 that Senator Paul Wieland landed when he was a representative. In addition, while claiming to be a big port supporter and the sole arbiter of who deserves credit for the port, Roorda actually voted against port funding in 2013. The port funding was attached to a bill that funded the Department of Revenue for 8 months, with the remaining 4 months of funding to be considered later. But JeffCo Democrats were so worried about that DOR funding (this was after DOR was found to be sharing concealed carry license info with the feds) that they voted against the bill, and thus against the port funding.

And while Roorda claims nothing has happened with the port, there is in fact a lot of activity on the riverfront, including a barge fleeting operation, sand loading and shipment, and coming soon, the Delta Queen. But he might not be paying attention to us here in JeffCo.

Roorda’s Focus Elsewhere

I have mentioned before Roorda’s preoccupation with sharing his incendiary views on cable TV. Roorda claims this as one of his great accomplisments.

I fight every day for cops. Other than Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, no one has spent more time on CNN, Fox and other national networks standing up for the police.

Like that guy you know that agrees with you on the issues but embarrasses you when he argues his case in a foolish way, I’m not sure Roorda is an effective advocate for police, given his divisiveness. And I have to ask, if a controversial police shooting takes place on the second Monday of a month, where would a councilman Roorda go: to the scheduled council meeting, or to the TV studio to get his mug on CNN?

And what about his rumored involvement in the St. Louis mayoral race (the vote is in April):

It would be difficult for Roorda to be a councilman while trying to run a St. Louis political campaign. And if Dotson were to win the election (unlikely), Roorda would probably be in line for a spot in Dotson’s administration. How could he serve St. Louis and JeffCo at the same time? Roorda needs to come clean on what his plans are in regards to a Dotson campaign and a Dotson administration.

Roorda – The Cops’ Sharpton

1 Feb

The Wednesday night brouhaha at a St. Louis aldermanic committee hearing over a proposed civilian oversight board for city police provides further evidence that police union business manager (and former JeffCo politician) Jeff Roorda is not interested in fixing racial relations or improving the public perception of police. In fact, he seems to thrive on police-community division, much like Al Sharpton benefits personally from racial discord (see the Rams’ “Hands Up” gesture incident). This is despite Roorda’s laughable claim in August that “I’d like us to think about building bridges between law enforcement officers and the communities they protect. I think I could help with that process.”

Whether or not Roorda shoved a woman at the meeting is up for interpretation, as video of the incident is not clear. I think this CNN interview (halfway down the page) with Bishop Derrick Robinson is interesting, and is perhaps the most reliable eyewitness account of the incident that you will get. But we do know that he did not go to the meeting with peace and understanding on his mind:

Roorda says that free speech gives him the right to wear the bracelet, and he compares it to others wearing “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” shirts, but he should know that this gesture is inflammatory, and he probably does, but he doesn’t care. As the Post-Dispatch‘s Bill McClellan writes, “He takes great pride in being tactless.” McClellan compares Roorda to prominent protestor Anthony Shahid, who has been called a “local professional agitator.”

Roorda refers to anyone who thinks police reform is needed as a “violent protestor” – though one could argue he was the only violent protestor Wednesday night. But as the Post-Dispatch editorial board writes:

So let us postulate that it’s possible to be “pro-police,” and still believe that police officers must be civil to the communities they serve and be held responsible for their actions.

The flip side of that is:

Let us posit further that it’s possible to have street cred and still thank cops who honorably do a dangerous and necessary job and that people who endanger the lives of police officers do so at their own peril.

But Roorda does not appear to be interested in “honorably doing the job.” He is threatening a bout of “blue flu” if the civilian review board comes to pass:

Jeff Roorda, a police union official, said on Thursday that St. Louis police officers will quit the department or do only the bare minimum on patrol if the city creates the kind of civilian oversight board currently being proposed.

“They’d answer their calls when they got them, but as far as interrupting criminal behavior on their own, why in the world would they do that when their employers aren’t even supporting them?” Roorda said.

So much for wanting to protect and serve. Civilian review boards can be found in most major cities, and the P-D ed board calls the proposed St. Louis version “inadequate, but a start.” But still, Roorda, whose main duty appears to be defending bad cops, continues to fight angrily against any kind of police oversight, including body cameras.

Bad police officers give the whole profession a bad name. But when the system refuses to punish these offenders (I don’t include Darren Wilson here, but there are many other examples), and people like Roorda continue to back them up, the whole justice system loses the confidence of the public. The first step towards reconciliation is to hold police accountable, and it is clear that that won’t happen in the St. Louis region without body cameras, civilian review, dismantling of North St. Louis County micro-departments that act as revenue generators, and the removal of bad officers. On that last point, how about the St. Louis police union starts with Roorda?

Roorda and the Rams

1 Dec

Outgoing local state representative Jeff Roorda, who also serves as business manager for the St. Louis police union, is in the news again in that latter capacity as it relates to Ferguson. After five Rams players gave the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture before Sunday’s football game, Roorda responded with indignance:

The St. Louis Police Officers Association is profoundly disappointed with the members of the St. Louis Rams football team who chose to ignore the mountains of evidence released from the St. Louis County Grand Jury this week and engage in a display that police officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive and inflammatory.

Now, a lot of people will agree with this part of the statement. But as was typical in his political career, Roorda went over the top:

I’d remind the NFL and their players that it is not the violent thugs burning down buildings that buy their advertiser’s products. It’s cops and the good people of St. Louis and other NFL towns that do. Somebody needs to throw a flag on this play. If it’s not the NFL and the Rams, then it’ll be cops and their supporters.”

Here, Roorda is suggesting that everyone who disagrees with the grand jury decision (and I think it is safe to say the case was handled in a bizarre manner by prosecutors) is on par with criminal looters.

Roorda was incensed that the Rams and the NFL would tolerate such behavior and called it remarkably hypocritical…The SLPOA is calling for the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a very public apology.

This is interesting. The “hands up” gesture was carried out by five players on their own. The team and league were not involved; you could say the players were rogue, in that respect. Well, as we know, part of Roorda’s job is to defend rogue cops, such as Rory Bruce, who decked a handcuffed suspect right in the face. Did Roorda or the police union apologize for this? No. Was Bruce disciplined? No (well, he was fired, but cleared of assault charges). Why should the NFL “deliver a very public apology” when Roorda won’t apologize for police misconduct?

I know that there are those that will say that these players are simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Well I’ve got news for people who think that way, cops have first amendment rights too, and we plan to exercise ours.

This is reminiscent of when St. Louis cop Keith Novara called a protestor’s employer in October in a clear attempt to get her fired or at least intimidate her and curtail her protests. Roorda of course defended the officer:

Novara’s speech was protected under the First Amendment and that he was only “setting the record straight on public statements made by people spreading irresponsible lies and calling for violence against the police.”

I disagree completely that what Novara did was covered by the First Amendment. But Roorda needs to learn that just because you may have a right to free speech, it’s not always best to exercise it. As Sally Jenkins at the Washington Post points out, Roorda’s statement only made the Rams’ players protest a bigger story than it otherwise would have been. She also discusses the 1st Amendment in her column.

The Post-Dispatch‘s Tony Messenger has a wish:

Roorda has said before, and said again today, that he wants to be part of the solution in Ferguson. He said on CNN that “I mean we’re ready to engage in a dialogue with leaders from communities of color.” However, I would argue that he is the last person that would have any credibility on this issue, or any ability to bridge divides.

Here is a CNN clip from today that I enjoy. You only have to watch the first minute or so.

Roorda to the Rescue

4 Dec

Newly-elected 113th district Rep. Jeff Roorda wasted no time in getting back to work in the Missouri House. He submitted a bill on the first day filing was open. Does this bill tackle Missouri’s economic issues, or strengthen ethics in Jefferson City, or address some other pressing need? Well, no, it bans shopping on Thanksgiving Day. Here’s the bill itself. It is getting some national attention (maybe that was the point?).

The assumption behind this bill is that those oppressed retail workers are being forced to desert their families and go to work that day, when all they really want to do is stay home and be thankful. Roorda says:

“It’s Thanksgiving Day, not Black Friday’s Eve,” Roorda said.  “It’s just silly what these retailers are doing to the families of folks that work for them.  I think government has a role in regulating the market, and in this particular case…our role is clear — it’s a day that’s supposed to be about family and reflecting and giving thanks, not about corporate greed and prosperity.”

Roorda presumes to know what these retail workers want, although it is quite plausible that many of them like the opportunity to work some extra hours at holiday pay rates (and maybe, by seven or eight in the evening, they’ve had enough of their family!). Maybe a number of these workers can’t visit family at Thanksgiving because their relatives live out of town, and in the Obama economy they can’t afford to travel, so their choices are to sit at home alone or go earn some money. There are all kinds of individual situations, way too many for Roorda to account for in his silly bill, which is a quintessential example of how Democrats view the role of government.

Note too that this bill exempts restaurants. Why should our state’s waiters, waitresses, and cooks be forced to toil under the thumb of greedy executives while their retailer brethren eat turkey and watch football? And good thing the Rams and Chiefs don’t play at home on T-day; there may be no concessions available if this bill passes.

Roorda makes no mention of the shoppers who head out on Thanksgiving night, who have made it clear that their choice is to take the opportunity to hit the stores. I agree that the shopping emphasis around Thanksgiving (complete with fights and stampedes at stores) has gotten way out of hand. That’s why I choose not to participate. But Roorda doesn’t think people should be allowed to choose. If this bill is a preview of his term in office, he will provide much blog fodder, but little results.

Update: Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine already have similar laws.

Roorda Rock Endorsement Contains Whopper

3 Nov

The Rock newspaper, a local free publication that appears to exist solely to run campaign ads, has endorsed Jeff Roorda for the 113th House district, a fact he has played up heavily, even posting the article on the front page of his campaign website. The editorial contains this statement of obvious falsehood:

“Roorda, instead, has tried to concentrate on his positive message, avoiding negative campaign attacks on subjects like Smith’s past.”

I have demonstrated here that the opposite is true.

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