The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

BuzzChatter Thursday: St. Louis police chief says switch to local control rates as no big deal

01/02/2014 6:00 AM

01/01/2014 4:04 PM

C’mon, here we go. We’re back at work and loving it...right?

• “Local control has been a significant step for the metropolitan police department. And really, you haven’t noticed anything. It’s been seamless and transparent like it was supposed to be.” — St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson on that city’s switch to local control on Sept. 1.

More changes are in store this year, the chief said, including restructuring police districts. But so far, so good, Dotson said, about a transition that Kansas City is viewing closely as it continues to debate this issue.

• “When I said we would take dead aim at the tale of two cities, I meant it.” — Bill de Blasio, the new mayor of New York who campaigned on a progressive agenda.

de Blasio begins his tenure as New York’s 109th mayor as the great hope of liberals everywhere. In his inaugural speech, he talked of pursuing affordable housing, preserving local hospitals and expanding prekindergarten. His work will be closely watched.

• “Clearly we believe that an educated workforce is the best economic development tool there is for the state. Investing and improving our education system is a benchmark of where we need to go in 2014.” — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon outlining a key priority for the 2014 session.

Nixon, a Democrat, isn’t releasing a precise list of objectives for the upcoming session. But he’s been talking for weeks about raising the funding bar for public schools and higher ed. Republicans who control the Legislature, meantime, are again talking tax cuts, suggesting there’s a big collision of priorities on the way, as we’ve noted before. All this sets the table for some good, old-fashioned Jeff City political drama in 2014.

• “We don’t want anybody to have problems, but we know some people will.” — White House health policy adviser Phil Schiliro about the first day of actual health care coverage under Obamacare.

The administration is bracing for problems knowing full well that that’s what the media is expecting and prepared to report. Joel Benenson, Obama’s pollster, insists that all this is a non-story. The only people obsessed with the launch today are Washington insiders, he said.

• “I look forward to watching the Tigers claim the Cotton Bowl title on Friday, and sending the Cowboys home empty-handed across the Red River.” —Nixon making a friendly wager with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on the outcome of Friday night’s Cotton Bowl game between their respective alma maters, the Missouri Tigers (#8 BCS ranking) and the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (#13).

Classic pre-game bravado from Nixon, a die-hard Tigers fan. Oh, both governors are wagering food that will go to a local food bank or pantry of the winning state. The game is rated a tossup.


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