Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Short Takes: Rats, Absentee Votes, Well-Fed Slaves and Celine Dion

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Short Takes: Rats, Absentee Votes, Well-Fed Slaves and Celine Dion

Article excerpt

Absentee games (thumbs up)

Dave Roland, a libertarian lawyer from Mexico, Mo., heretofore best known for defending the rights of two Hazelwood girls to run a lemonade and Girl Scout cookie stand in defiance of zoning laws, is now taking on the formidable Hubbard family 5th Ward political operation.

Roland, representing opponents of Rodney and Penny Hubbard in Tuesday's Democratic primary election for committee posts and state representative, thinks something is fishy about the margins the Hubbards regularly roll up among absentee voters. That would include daughter Tammika Hubbard, the 5th Ward alderman.

The election board properly rejected Roland's request to canvass previous absentee voters to see if they actually cast the ballots. That could amount to intimidation.

"If the Hubbards run an astonishingly effective ground game, I'm happy to admit it," Roland said after his request for a canvass was rejected. "I'm suspicious. Really suspicious."

He promised to keep an eye on Tuesday's primary results for possible legal irregularities. Good for him.

There's a long tradition in city politics of working nursing homes and senior centers looking for people who can't otherwise get to the polls but are happy to take an absentee ballot, and perhaps some guidance on how to fill it out, from the nice folks who drop in to visit them. The Hubbards aren't the only people who do it, but they're very good at it. Still, the board should tighten procedures to ensure that every vote is legit.

Vegas Billy, R-Mo. (thumbs down)

U.S. Rep. Billy Long, R-Springfield, is fond of poker tournaments in Las Vegas and regularly finds ways to spend campaign money to travel there. So fond of Vegas and campaign cash is this Ozarks high- roller that he's scheduled a weekend fundraiser there in late September so the money doesn't have to travel far.

For a $2,000 donation, the weekend with Billy at the Wynn Hotel and Casino includes a concert by Canadian chanteuse Celine Dion. Plus the usual tasteful Vegas amenities, including those poker tables.

Long could just go to Branson, which is in the 7th District. No gambling, no Celine Dion, fewer showgirls, of course, but it's got nice hotels, shopping and entertainment like the Baldknobbers. …

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