Francis Slay: Hitler Video Meme (That Implies Mayor is Gay) Promoted By Lewis Reed Backers

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via YouTube. Video below.
Update, 12:00 p.m: Mayoral Candidate Lewis Reed has weighed in on the Hitler meme video being promoted this week by opponents of Francis Slay. The footage, on view below, pokes fun at the mayor and his senior staff over a wide range of issues.

"I personally found this video to be offensive and I call on whoever produced it to take it down. These kinds of things don't help bring our city together or bring the kind of change we are looking to bring on Tuesday, March 5th," Reed says in a statement to Daily RFT. "But our campaign shouldn't be held responsible for every offensive film, YouTube video, or Facebook comment produced by someone angry with Francis Slay and his record. We are focused on winning Tuesday's election and beginning the long work of healing our city's racial, geographic, and economic divisions."

Continue for our earlier coverage.

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St. Louis Hot-Spot Initiative: Will Targeted Attention Help Reduce College Hill Crime?

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Courtesy of Maggie Crane
Police in College Hill yesterday.
The St. Louis Metro Police Department and the mayor's office are focusing their crime response efforts this month on the College Hill neighborhood through a "hot-spot" policing initiative.

The project, promoted in a press event yesterday, is in response to recent crimes in the area including several homicides this year. The initiative also comes just two weeks before the mayoral primary election -- an increasingly contentious race where crime has become a central debate. Mayoral hopeful Lewis Reed has already slammed the effort as a "charm offensive."

"This is a concentrated effort," Maggie Crane, spokesperson for Mayor Francis Slay, tells Daily RFT. "And this is what hot-spot initiatives will look like from here on out."

What has the city actually accomplished so far?

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Mayor Francis Slay Labor Dispute: City Won't Require Hires To Sign Controversial Form

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Mayor Francis Slay.
The city has officially withdrawn a labor agreement form that critics earlier this week slammed as the most draconian, anti-employee policy in the history of St. Louis.

Union leaders and opponents of Mayor Francis Slay say this is a significant retraction that will save future employees from signing away their union protections and rights to benefits -- while the mayor's staff has repeatedly said this is nothing more than a revision of language.

Is this a noteworthy labor dispute -- or an election season controversy? We've collected key documents below that provide some clues.

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Veolia Water Contract Officially "On Hold" Says Mayor Francis Slay

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Theo R. Welling
Slay and Reed (far right) tangle at a mayoral debate over Veolia.
Ahead of a day of action at City Hall this afternoon, Mayor Francis Slay's office has just released a statement formally declaring the consulting contract with Veolia "on hold."

The contract between Veolia, the largest water service provider in the world, and the city's water division was destined for a quiet approval back in December. However, after Riverfront Times broke news of the deal, a coalition of local activist groups representing environmental, labor, and social justice interests made Veolia into a mayoral campaign issue.

"I understand there are constituencies who have other questions about the contract and its place in international politics or its potential impact on the environment," Slay's statement says. "They deserve to have their questions answered and their concerns addressed."

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Veolia Water Contract: Lewis Reed's Office Pushes Total Re-Do of Contract Process

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Like two ships in the night?
Challenges to a pending consulting contract between the City of St. Louis and a French multinational water service company called Veolia are still coming from all sides.

Activists from the "Dump Veolia" coalition will descend on City Hall this afternoon for another show of opposition; at the same time, Aldermanic President Lewis Reed, who is running for mayor of the city, is exploring ways to snuff out the deal altogether.

Earlier this week, Reed's chief of staff Tom Shepard sent an email to the members of the search committee that originally selected Veolia, asking them to reconvene and award the contract to one of the three competing firms that lost in the bidding process back in November.

"I would like to get back to discussing our water department and its needs, and spend less time discussing Veolia Water," Shepard wrote.

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Bootlicker: St. Louis Artist Kelly Wild Wants Her Music Removed From Controversial Movie

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Courtesy of Wild
Kelly Wild
Last week, we told you about the backlash local filmmaker Terry Artis was facing for his movie Bootlicker, screening at the Tivoli Theatre today. Part of the controversy stemmed from a flyer for the movie that depicts Mayor Francis Slay as some sort of slave master towering over his black supporters or "slayves."

This is not the only complaint he is receiving.

St. Louis musician Kelly Wild, who collaborated with Artis many years ago, is less than pleased that her copyrighted music appears in the film's trailer -- and her name is listed on the movie's "original soundtrack."

"I don't want my name attached to this in any way shape or form," she tells Daily RFT.

Is Artis going to comply with her requests -- or will she take him to court?

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Lewis Reed V. Francis Slay: AFL-CIO Defends Mayor, But Says He Did Upset Some Employees

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Bob Soutier of the AFL-CIO
Yesterday, we reported on a controversy pushed forward by Lewis Reed's mayoral campaign, regarding a new agreement form for city hires that critics say is a part of the most draconian, anti-employee policy in St. Louis history. The staff of Mayor Francis Slay -- who will face off against Reed in the upcoming March primary -- is arguing that his opponent is playing politics and misconstruing the facts here.

Still, in response to all the attention, Slay met with some labor leaders yesterday to discuss this controversial form in question. Daily RFT has since chatted with one of the attendees of the meeting, Bob Soutier, president of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

Is his union satisfied with the mayor's response? And what is Reed's next move?

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St. Louis Labor Controversy: Is City Forcing New Employees To Sign Anti-Union Agreement?

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Sam Levin
Francis Slay.
Is this the "most draconian anti-employee policy in the history of the City of St. Louis?"

So says Lewis Reed's mayoral campaign which is spreading the word about an internal memo that they -- and other union leaders and Reed supporters -- are arguing reveals an incredibly anti-union policy that the Slay administration has implemented. The memo, on full view below, includes a "benefits acknowledgement form" that new city employees must sign, saying the city can "modify, amend, reduce or terminate any of the various benefits any time during the course of employment, including but not limited to pension, health and disability benefits."

Slay's staff, however, says that this is in no way a new policy -- but that they are working to revise the language of the form so it is not so harsh.

Should new city hires who have signed the document be worried?

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Lewis Reed V. Francis Slay: Attacks In Mayor's Race Reach New Level With Lying Charges

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Sam Levin
Francis Slay and Lewis Reed
"Mayor's Senior Staffers Lie to the Public in Attempt to Cover Up Scandal."

So says the latest header on a press release from the campaign of Lewis Reed, the Board of Aldermen President hoping to unseat longtime St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. And with it comes the sense that the mayor's race has perhaps reached a new low of attacks and divisive rhetoric as the primary election day approaches.

"Jeff Rainford, [Slay's chief of staff], one hundred percent lied," Reed Campaign Manager Glenn Burleigh tells Daily RFT. "Flat-out lied."

What's the source of this latest spat -- and why should we care?

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Lewis Reed: Police Called to Fundraising Event After Dispute Escalates [UPDATE]

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Reed and Slay supporters butted heads at a fundraiser.
Update: A copy of the Ellisville police department's incident report is now available.

An argument outside of a fundraising event for Aldermanic President Lewis Reed, candidate for mayor, is getting several retellings, some of them more dramatic than others.

Zudhi Masri, owner of Yeatman Market, says he attended the fundraiser on Sunday night at the invitation of the event's host and as a board member for the Dar-Aljalal Mosque. But he says that when he tried to enter the fundraiser in Ellisville, Abdul-Rahiim Ali -- a St. Louis Teachers Union representative in attendance -- shoved him backward.

"He was a very violent person, and he said a lot of bad things about me and my group," says Masri. "I was threatened."

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