Parking Rates Increase in St. Louis This Week -- But Here Are 3 Reasons That Doesn't Suck

Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Peter Roome
Meter rates will go up to $1.50 an hour in downtown St. Louis as of July 1.

First off, the bad news: The rate for parking at a meter in St. Louis is going up this Wednesday, July 1. So is the cost of a parking violation.

Previously, a parking fine in the city cost $10 if you paid promptly. Now it will be $15. And while meters used to charge $1 an hour to park downtown, and 75 cents in the rest of the city, as of Wednesday, they'll charge $1.50 an hour in high-demand areas (which includes downtown) and $1 elsewhere.

So that's the bad news. But after talking to Jared Boyd, chief of staff and counsel for the St. Louis City Treasurer's Office, we're convinced things aren't quite as bad as they could be. Here are three silvery linings tucked into those higher rates:

More »

Crotch-Rubbing Police Chief Triggers Two Lawsuits in Leadington

Courtesy of Veronica Johnson
Attorney Veronica Johnson represents two women suing the city of Leadington.
Two women who worked for the tiny Missouri town of Leadington have filed lawsuits against the city alleging they were subjected to unwanted touching and coarse comments, and then retaliated against when they dared to complain.

The women, city court clerk Altha Burgess and former city clerk Cynthia Leimkuehler, allege they endured a host of inappropriate activity on the job in 2013, much of it from then-police chief Rick Pogue and then-mayor Troy Dickens. Leimkuehler claims she was subject to the police chief rubbing his crotch on her shoulder -- only to be later told "God, you women! You make such a big deal of everything!" when she complained. Burgess, meanwhile, was repeatedly mocked after she asked not to be touched -- and called both "paranoid" and "an emotional mess."

"These women were exposed to some pretty graphic sexual harassment in the workplace," says St. Louis attorney Veronica Johnson, who filed the lawsuits on behalf of the two women. "No woman should have to go through that. And when they did what was right, they suffered a great deal of retaliation for it" -- including, for Leimkuehler, termination, according to the lawsuit.

More »

So You Want to Sext Your Intern: A Guide For Horny Missouri Lawmakers

Categories: Politics

Missouri News Horizon
Speaker John Diehl in 2010.
It's hard to describe the final week of Missouri's legislative session, which ended Friday, without profanity. Boondoggle? Quagmire? A parade of oopsies?

Not good enough. The scandalous weight of Republican Speaker of the House John Diehl Jr.'s resignation -- which followed revelations that he'd been sexting a 19-year-old intern -- can't be contained by the bounds of civil discourse. If we're being honest, Diehl's downfall feels more like a moral clusterfuck, or at best a contemptible outbreak of corruptive shitbaggery.

Which is why we want to take this opportunity to reach out to you, Male* Missouri Legislator. We know these recent events have complicated your already challenging job: From choosing a lobbyist to pay your lunch bill to determining how best to regulate Missouri vaginas, you've got enough to worry about without wondering how you're going to continue exchanging sex-drenched messages with your nubile college-aged intern.

Indeed, it's a complicated world out there for a horny legislator. But if you follow this handy guide, you'll be happily banging away on that, um, touchscreen in no time.

[*Sure, women are no less capable than men of political corruption. But let's not kid ourselves here. If you're a politician chasing a younger intern, we're betting you're a dude.]

More »

John Diehl Replaced As Speaker, Intern Katie Graham Goes Public

Categories: Politics

Missouri Division of Tourism via Flickr

Last night, after former speaker John Diehl Jr. announced his resignation, the Republican caucus gathered to select a new Speaker of the House.

Earlier, Diehl had indicated he would not vacate his post -- even after the Kansas City Star busted him for sexting with a 19-year-old college intern. But yesterday afternoon he sent out an announcement that he is resigning "for the good of my party, the caucus, and the state."

The caucus emerged from their discussions to announce that House Majority Leader Todd Richardson will take Diehl's place as speaker. A formal vote will take place today, the last day of the session.

But it was the intern who stole the spotlight last night -- she went public with her first statement about the incident and identified herself. She's Katie Graham, a Missouri Southern State University student originally from Olathe, Kansas.

More »

Missouri House Speaker John Diehl Resigns After Sexting Scandal

Categories: Politics, Sex

Missouri News Horizon
Speaker John Diehl in 2010.

One day after the Kansas City Star published pages of sexual texts between Republican House Speaker John Diehl and a college intern, Diehl has resigned.

This is an about-face from the St. Louis-area representative's attitude last night, when he hid out in his office for nine hours and finally emerged only to deny that he had sex with the intern. At the time, he apologized again, but said he had the support of the caucus despite the scandal.

In a new statement released today, Diehl formally acknowledges that he sent the texts and says he is stepping down.

More »

Speaker John Diehl Hides in His Office for Nine Hours, Then Denies He Had Sex With Intern

Categories: Politics, Sex

Courtesy Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio
The door.

Update: On Thursday, May 14, Diehl resigned. Read his statement here.

Reporters stood by for hours outside Republican House Speaker John Diehl's office yesterday, waiting for the embattled St. Louis-area lawmaker to emerge and answer questions unscripted about his reported affair with a college intern. Diehl responded with a statement yesterday afternoon to a Kansas City Star article revealing the sexts the two exchanged.

"I take full responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry to those I let down. I apologize for the poor judgment I displayed that put me and those closest to me in this situation," he said in the statement.

That wasn't good enough for some capitol reporters, who camped outside the speaker's door for nine hours, hoping for more. Finally, around 11 p.m., Diehl emerged.

More »

Missouri House Speaker John Diehl Was Sexting an Intern, Kansas City Star Reports [UPDATE]

Categories: Politics, Sex

texting.jpg via Flickr
Oh noz.

Update: Diehl issued a statement late Wednesday afternoon admitting to the affair, but not offering to step down. Here's the full statement:

"I take full responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry to those I let down. I apologize for the poor judgment I displayed that put me and those closest to me in this situation. I also regret that the woman has been dragged into this situation. The buck stops here. I ask for forgiveness. I will begin immediately working to restore the trust of those closest to me, and getting back to the important work that is required in the final days of session."

Original post follows....

The Kansas City Star ran an exclusive this morning, reporting that Republican House Speaker John Diehl exchanged some sexy texts with a female intern. The woman was a freshman at Missouri Southern State University living in Jefferson City as a part of the school's Missouri Capitol internship program.

Which has since been cancelled! And no one will say why, according to the paper.

Oh, brother.

More »

Missouri Bill to Keep Police Dash and Body Cam Footage From Public Dies in Committee

Categories: Police, Politics

Thumbnail image for fergusonbodycamera2.4.15.jpg
Danny Wicentowski
An officer wearing a body camera in Ferguson.

House Bill 762 -- the Missouri bill that would at minimum make it impossible to obtain police video until after a case is closed, and at worst would prevent the public from ever accessing such footage -- failed to make it out of the Senate Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure, and Public Safety yesterday morning. That suggests the bill is dead, at least for now.

The legislation was introduced after calls for police officers to wear body cameras following the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson last summer. But the language may have applied to all police-obtained video, including dash cam footage.

The bill was adamantly opposed by both the Missouri Press Association and the ACLU of Missouri.

"We are relieved that this version didn't move forward," says Doug Crews, executive director of the MPA. "We think Missouri needs guidelines in this area, but we don't think closure of the records should be the starting point."

More »

Governor Nixon Fails to Offer Passable Bullshit Reason for $1,300 Float Trip

Categories: Politics

Flickr via Doug Wertman
Everyone loves a good float trip, and Governor Jay Nixon is no exception.
There was a bit of interesting Missouri audit news this week, and (thank goodness) it had nothing to do with rumored bigotry or suicide.

Instead, an audit released Wednesday revealed that Governor Jay Nixon's office has been spreading its expenses to other agencies, seemingly to cover the fact that the Office of the Governor burns through cash faster than the Cubs burn through optimism. According to the report, between July 2011 and June 2014, fourteen state agencies paid at least $948,000 worth of personnel and travel costs for employees of Nixon's office and mansion.

However, the most interesting part in the report described how Nixon's office expensed $1,300 to take the guv'nor, his wife and four staffers on a one-day float trip.

More »

Daily Show Hosts Missouri Governor Hopeful Eric Greitens

Categories: Politics

Daily Show
Could this handsome Navy SEAL win the Missouri governor's seat?
At the moment, the race for Missouri governor is a mess.

Sure, Attorney General Chris Koster has piled up $3.2 million in his campaign coffers and appears to be the clear favorite to represent the Democratic Party in 2016. But Republicans? That's a whole other story. State auditor Tom Schwiech's suicide in February has left the state's GOPers scrambling, and this week, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder revealed he is considering entering the fray. He would join former Missouri House speaker Catherine Hanaway, businessman John Brunner and a several other Republican lawmakers.

However, the most intriguing addition to the 2016 governor's race is arguably Eric Greitens. A bestselling author and former Navy SEAL, Greitens' gubernatorial exploratory committee has already raised $479,000, according to campaign records. Last night, Greitens stopped by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to talk about his new book, Resilience, while also showing off how good he looks in a suit.

More »