St. Louis Oracle

St. Louis-based political forecasting plus commentary on politics and events from a grassroots veteran with a mature, progressive anti-establishment perspective.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Third time may be Downs' charm

On the eve of the hotly contested school board election in the City of St. Louis, the Oracle's crystal ball sees a tight race resulting in a split decision: third-time challenger Peter Downs will be the top vote getter, but recently appointed incumbent James Buford will outpoll both his running mate, board president Darnetta Clinkscale, and leading challenger Donna Jones, with Joe Clark coming in fifth.

Supporters of the current board majority apparently fear that this election is Downs' time. Educate St. Louis, the so-called "independent expenditure" PAC supporting the Clinkscales and Buford candidacies, has sent out two blistering attack pieces focusing on Downs, but not Jones or Clark. With the generous financial backing of Big Business and the Mayor Francis Slay's own campaign fund, this group can afford sophisticated polling. Their polls must be showing Downs in front.

The current board majority, which has the support of Slay, would retain control by a 4-3 margin if the predicted result takes place.

While the Oracle plans to vote for Downs and Jones, the predicted result wouldn't be all bad. As I posted earlier on the Political Fix blog, such a result would give the deciding vote, and therefore effective control of the board, to a sometimes maverick Flint Fowler. The minority would include two well-informed dissenters, Downs (publisher of St. Louis Schools Watch) and veteran board member Bill Purdy. Thus, while leaving policy in the hands of the current majority, the minority will have both the votes and the information necessary to keep the majority in check. It could be "checks and balances" at their best.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Downs victory would actually turn the majority to the dissenters.

If Clinkscale or Buford -- both prominent African Americans with funded campaigns -- loses for supporting Williams and reform, why would Jackson or Fowler be reliable votes in the future?

April 4, 2006 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Michael Allen said...

I hardly think that Jackson would work with Downs, O'Brien and Purdy. While Fowler may swing with Downs on the board, Jackson won't.

April 4, 2006 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger St. Louis Oracle said...

I agree with Michael.

Also, Downs and Jones aren't against Creg Williams. In fact, his photo appears on flyers for Downs and Jones published by Victory for Kids. (Williams is neutral in the race, and both sides have made use of his photo, symbolizing their support for him, and hoping to infer (wrongly) his support for them.) The loss(es) of Clinkscale and/or Buford would be due to their association with Slay and Schoemehl, not "reform."

"Reform" is in the eye of the beholder.

April 4, 2006 at 11:20 AM  

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