Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Michael Carter Files for Judge, Says Wentzville's Court Cannot and Will Not Be Treated Like A Cash Register for the City.

". . . avoid making people feel like they are in a cattle chute where the only purpose is to fill the government coffers.  I refuse to run a court as if it were a cash register." Former Judge and Candidate Mike Carter

Wentzville Missouri, December 16, 2014

After campaigning successfully for the November referendum to ban red light cameras in St. Charles County, former municipal judge Michael Carter has filed to run for judge in the City of Wentzville.  Carter helped lobby for the countywide ban on the use of red light cameras which passed with over 70% of the vote.  While serving as judge in Wentzville previously, Carter became an outspoken opponent of municipal courts that emphasize revenue over justice.

State Representative Bryan Spencer, R-District 63, worked with Carter to ban red light cameras in St. Charles County and is working with him on a proposed statewide ban.  Spencer said he is, "very hopeful Carter will bring his common sense approach to Wentzville.  He is right in step with State Senator Eric Schmitt concerning municipal court revenue. In fact, Carter was bringing up the issue of justice versus revenue generating years ago."
Judge Carter Weds A Couple

"I'm running to make sure the Wentzville municipal court is run in the most professional, fair, and impartial manner," explained Carter, adding, "It is essential that those accused are given an opportunity to be heard, for the facts of each case to be weighed, and for those found guilty to be punished in a way that changes their behavior in the future so that our community and families remain safe."

When Carter previously held the municipal judgeship in Wentzville in 2010, then Mayor Paul Lambi publicly decried Judge Carter's approach to assessing defendants' fines, accusing him of playing "Let's Make A Deal" on court fines. Carter emphatically defended his actions and accused city officials of being more interested in revenue than justice. He vows to continue his justice-centered approach if reelected.

"I'll see that our municipal court is run efficiently and with decorum, to avoid making people feel like they are in a cattle chute where the only purpose is to fill the government coffers.  I refuse to run a court as if it were a cash register. The current judge is known to take pride in the amount of revenue he has raised for the city. That, simply put, is a huge problem for the citizens of Wentzville."

Current Wentzville Mayor Nick Guccione approves of Carter's goals and agrees that fining citizens is not the way to raise revenue for a city. "Wentzville is a great place to live and we want to keep it that way. The goal of the court should be to help keep the citizens safe, not to drain their pocketbooks. Carter will help us reach that goal."

Besides his public service as municipal judge in Wentzville, Michael Carter runs his own successful law firm, Carter Law Offices, LLC, focusing on real estate, small business, criminal and traffic law.  His previous employment experience includes the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals, Missouri Attorney General's Office, the United States Senate, and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Missouri - St. Louis.

Michael Carter is a husband and father.  Carter is also a Director at the St. Louis Board of Realtors.  He holds an Undergraduate Degree from UMSL, a Masters in Journalism from University of Missouri at Columbia (Mizzou), and a Law Degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia (Mizzou).  Carter worked his way through college waiting tables and driving for UPS.  

Friday, December 12, 2014

Former City Judge Says "O'fallon Driving While Distracted Ordinance Likely Unenforceable" O'Fallon Throws Ordinance At Community To See If It Will Stick.

O'Fallon Missouri, December 12, 2014

O'Fallon Police
Checking Your Blind Spot in O'Fallon Missouri Could Potentially Get You A Ticket For Distracted Driving Says Former Judge Mike Carter

There is a debate raging in the City of O'Fallon between some government officials, who say they are taking a stand for public safety, and residents who feel a local ordinance is intrusive on their rights.  While many local communities have enacted distracted driving ordinances to deal with texting while driving, O'Fallon has expanded the definition of distracted driving to include a whole litany of things many drivers take for granted.

Currently, state law only bans texting for those 21 and younger.  Because the State Law says it supersedes local ordinances, the O'Fallon City Attorney believes cities which only ban texting may be subject to having those laws challenged.  O'Fallon is attempting to get around that potential problem by writing a much broader law that would apply to any distraction.  Other communities, such as the City of St. Charles, have simply banned texting for drivers of all ages while operating a motor vehicle and don't believe there is a conflict with the state law.

Checking Your Blind Spot Could Potentially
Get You A Ticket In O'Fallon Missouri
For Distracted Driving Says Former Judge
Mike Carter
 So how broad is the new law? 

The exact wording of the relevant section of Ordinance 6042 paragraph C reads:

"It shall be prima facie evidence that a vehicle operator is not exercising the highest degree of care if the operator of a moving vehicle engages in any conduct that causes his or her vision or attention to be obscured, diminished or directed away from the path of travel or operation of the vehicle, including, but not limited to, by using a mirror to engage in grooming; reading anything located in the vehicle other than operational information displayed on vehicle gauges and equipment; writing; drawing; manually inputting information into a GPS or mapping device, or turning one's head substantially away from the path of travel to observe things in the vehicle or outside the vehicle but contrary to the path of travel."

Proponents like to point out that things like putting on make-up, checking your hair in the mirror, writing down an address, or texting are dangerous and should be banned.  However, opponents believe that the wording of the law could include normal occurrences like turning your head to find out if your child unsnapped his seatbelt, looking for an address or sign on a commercial building, or even getting your sunglasses out.

Opponents of the new law have begun a petition drive to try to have the City Council reconsider the ordinance or place it on the ballot in April.  Former State Representative Cynthia Davis of O'Fallon says that the new law violates individual liberty and is an intrusion,    and Councilman John Haman, the lone dissenting vote on the Board of Aldermen, has expressed concern that people could be pulled over for eating or having a beverage.

O'Fallon Police Chief Roy Joachimstaler has said that officers would mainly use the law when investigating accidents that have already occurred.  But some are concerned that since the new law says that turning your head away is "prima face evidence", a police officer could pull you over just for seeing you turn your head. 

Judge Mike Carter
Current Judicial Candidate and former Municipal Judge of Wentzville Missouri, Mike Carter, says that "there are very serious questions about the validity of ordinances that use terms like "prima facie" and allow for the wide latitude of police discretion that O'fallon's new ordinance allows for; especially if O'fallon's police chief is suggesting his officers will rely on witness testimony after accidents to determine if a driver was potentially eating, correcting a child, adjusting the air conditioner or reacting to a deer coming into one's peripheral vision. It even looks like you could potentially get a ticket for checking your blind spot."

Someone convicted of violating the ordinance would be subject to a fine of up to $500 and up to three months in jail, or both.  Some worry that the heavy fines have the potential for abuse in order for the city to make more money.  Officials deny that it is intended to generate revenue.

Opponents hope to collect the required 416 signatures to have the City Council reconsider the ordinance or have it placed on the April ballot.

http://www.trafficstl.com

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Liking Specific Points (“ReallyLike”) Within A Picture Optimizes Viewer Expression, Sentiment and Interaction With Shared Photos – Drives Social Network Evolution

Allows users to specifically like a pair of shoes their friend is wearing in a photo, comment on a pretty backdrop, or draw attention to a previously unnoticed photo bomber . . . revolutionizes social network interface by thickening and making more robust the sentiment conveyed with a single gesture.

St. Louis Missouri December 4, 2014

On any given day, most of us come across hundreds of photos while scrolling through our news feeds on our favorite social media sites. Many of these images are wholly unremarkable, but it's not uncommon for one or more portions of a photo to cause us  pause. Up until now our ability to share our thoughts or feedback with the image's owner has been limited to leaving a comment about the image as a whole or, more frequently, just by clicking "like " to justify not saying anything in particular about the picture. 
Click To Enlarge
There are times when clicking "like" simply is not targeted enough to accurately express the sentiment you'd want to convey. Inventor Nick Carter grew increasingly frustrated by this forced limitation on expression and as a result he came up with the idea for “ReallyLike”.


“ReallyLike” is an invention that would allow viewers on equipped social media pages to click on any small portion of an image and either "really like" that specific point in the picture and/or leave a comment specifically about that targeted spot in the photo.

“ReallyLike” enables users to specifically like a pair of shoes their friend is wearing in a photo, comment on a pretty backdrop, or draw attention to a previously unnoticed photo bomber. The possibilities are unlimited and would exponentially expand users' ability to quickly and efficiently communicate and express sentiments with their social media cohorts. The current “like” function that most social network users are accustomed to conveys little meaning in light of the specificity that “Really Liking” a point in a picture offers, this invention revolutionizes social network interface by thickening and making more robust the sentiment conveyed with a single gesture.

Click To Enlarge
Carter is no stranger to technological developments, having already created the ios app Vamp (currently in closed beta which limits a sender’s content awareness of a “selfie” photo or video before sending to a friend, thereby encouraging better raw content), as well as running Twitch Ranks, a site that allows users to continuously rank, see ranking results, and/or participate in world-wide live-streamed tournaments while gaming for titles such as League of Legends.

Carter’s “ReallyLike” is currently in patent-pending status through the assistance of Cooley LLP attorney Bill Galliani, who helped pave the way for other huge technological innovations used by Snapchat, Roku and other tech savvy first movers.

Contact:  Shelly Cronin, 314-895-4040    Shelly@CarterLegal.com

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Voters In St. Charles County Put Brakes On Red Light Cameras

St. Charles County Missouri, November 5, 2014

"Missouri's Legislature is Overwhelmingly Republican and so is St. Charles County. ~73% of St. Charles County voters banned traffic cameras -- so should the state legislature," says former red-light camera judge.

By an overwhelming percentage, voters in St. Charles County approved a countywide ban on the use of Red Light Cameras.  Final unofficial returns showed that 69,456 people voted YES to ban the use of the cameras at intersections and only 26,218 voted against the ban.  Nearly 73% of the electorate voted for the ban.


The St. Charles County Council placed the referendum, sponsored by County Councilman Joe Brazil, on the November ballot earlier this year, with the help pf a grassroots effort by St. Charles County Attorney Michael Carter.  Carter, a former municipal judge who dealt with Red Light Camera cases, has been an outspoken opponent of Red Light Cameras which he feels violate a person's legal rights, have proven to cause more accidents, and are simply a cash cow for local municipalities.
 
Michael Carter personally mailed tens of thousands of St. Charles County residents to notify them when the County Council was taking up Brazil's bill and urged them to attend the meeting and to contact their County Council members.  Carter also became a spokesperson for the grassroots movement, appearing frequently on talk shows and in the press.

Carter was overjoyed at the result, "We were certain that once this issue got in the hands of voters they would send the politicians defending Red Light Cameras a strong message.  Tuesday the voters of St. Charles County not only voted to ban the use of Red Light Cameras in our county, but sent a strong message to elected officials that a statewide ban is needed."

The City of St. Peters was the only community in St. Charles County still using Red Light Cameras.  Following the issue being placed on the ballot, the city suspended their use pending the resolution of legal issues.  Carter said his personal crusade wouldn't end until there was a statewide ban. 

Meanwhile, the largest of the Red Light Camera firms nationally, is facing charges of corruption in Chicago involving bribery of elected officials.  "For the Red Light Camera industry and their friends in various municipalities and the legislature, this was never about safety.  It was all about the money to made," Carter insists.



Friday, October 31, 2014

Bryan Spencer Right Choice For Voters In 63rd State Representative District (editorial corner)

Editorial Corner (Attorney Mike Carter)

Wentzville native Bryan Spencer is running for re-election to a second term in the Missouri General Assembly.  This Freshman Republican legislator has been a good fit for the voters of this district.  
Rep Bryan Spencer

Pro-Life, pro-family, and a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, Representative Spencer has also been at the forefront of protecting our Constitutional and legal rights.  

His strong opposition to the abuse of Red Light Cameras has been a breath of fresh air in a General Assembly where lobbyists and campaign money for such special interests usually speak louder than the people our legislators are supposed to represent.  

Bryan Spencer really does listen to the people and that's not just a campaign slogan.  Spencer can be found going door-to-door talking and listening to the people he represents most weekends, even when it isn't an election year.

Representative Spencer also has a sound plan for increasing the economic prosperity of the State of Missouri and our region in particular.  He believes that entrepreneurship is the lifeblood ofour economy and that businesses need to be free to operatewithout undue governmental regulation or tax burden.

The 63rd District covers parts of St. Charles and Warren Counties.  Prior to being elected State Representative, Bryan Spencer was a teacher in the Francis Howell School District for 22 years. 

Representative Spencer has received numerous awards over the course of his career that speak to his qualifications.  The most recent are: Freshman Legislator of the Year in Education 2013 & 2014, Defender of Prosperity AFP 2013, and the Freedom Meter Award Concern Women of America 2014.  

Other awards include: 2011 Francis Howell School District- Hall of Fame, 2011 Francis Howell North High School- SEAM Award, and 2008 Outstanding Young Educator of the Year (Bridgeton/Maryland Heights Junior Chamber of Commerce).  

Spencer is also active in the community as a member of the Wentzville Church of Christ, Saint Charles County Central Committee- O’Fallon Township, Jaycees (St. Peters, Wentzville/Lake St. Louis, Mission Inn, and Bridgeton/Maryland Heights), Masonic Lodge- Polar Star Rose Hill #79, and the Lewis and Clark Pachyderms. Rep. Spencer has served as past president of the Jaycees (Wentzville/Lake St. Louis and St Peters), and the Lewis and Clark Pachyderms.

We can recommend State Representative Bryan Spencer for re-election without hesitation.  He has earned a vote of confidence and another two years term.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Seeing Red? Vote YES To Ban Red Light Cameras -- EDITORIAL CORNER BY ATTORNEY MICHAEL CARTER

October 30, 2014 - St. Charles MO

Seeing Red? Vote YES To Ban Red Light Cameras

EDITORIAL CORNER  BY ATTORNEY MICHAEL CARTER

As an attorney and a former municipal red-light camera judge,  I know how unfair the use and abuse of Red Light Cameras has been.  That’s why I helped lead an effort to have St. Charles County Council place the issue of Red Light Cameras on the ballot this Tuesday November 4th.


Attorney Michael E. Carter
Red light cameras have been proven to increase accidents and are a money grab by the municipalities that use them -- resulting in an indirect tax.  They violate our rights to privacy, are not accurate, and deny those who receive tickets proper due process. 

A major national red light camera firm (the very one that the City of St. Peters contracted with) has also been charged with bribing elected public officials resulting in indictments, witnesses turning state and more. Missouri and especially St. Charles County is no place for Traffic Ticket Cameras.

This Tuesday we can say no to RED LIGHT CAMERAS by voting YES to ban them in St. Charles County.  If you have any questions about the Red Light Camera issues call me at 636-916-4040.

Eight Plaintiffs Charging Sexual Harassment In $5 Million Law Suit Against St. Charles County Election Authority Director Rich Chrismer; Trial After Election?

St. Charles, MO -- October 30, 2014

Kate Runyan
The trial date for a $5 million lawsuit by employees charging sexual harassment and discrimination against St. Charles County Election Authority Director Rich Chrismer is scheduled for December 1st.  Chrismer is also on the ballot November 4th running for re-election and will be facing the court of public opinion prior to his trial date.
Rich Chrismer

The sexual harassment suit was filed back on October 5, 2011, by Mary Railean Benefield, who had been a St. Charles County employee for 22 years and who had worked in Chrismer's office.  Her suit claimed Chrismer stalked and groped her and flirted with other women in the Election Authority office.  Since then, seven others have joined the lawsuit, including four employees of the Election Authority, as well.

Normally a Republican candidate for county-wide office would have no trouble winning re-election in a heavily Republican County like St. Charles.  But Chrismer drew strong opposition in the Republican Primary and won with less than 51% of the vote against former St. Charles Mayor Patti York and a third candidate.  Now Chrismer faces Democratic opponent Kate Runyan this Tuesday.


KMOV, News Channel Four, also uncovered in July of this year, that County Audits show Chrismer was overcharging political subdivisions for the costs of elections.  A former assistant director of the office claimed Chrismer did so by more than $500,000.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ferguson Protests Linked to Massive Decrease in St Louis Metro TrafficTickets

ST. CHARLES, MO, August 27, 2014 – Among the difficulties faced by law enforcement following the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson has been a lack of man and woman power focusing attention in other metro-area jurisdictions.

According to public records from nearly 50 St. Louis metropolitan municipal and county courts, the past two weeks have seen a roughly 50 percent reduction in the amount of traffic and criminal citations written throughout the St Louis metropolitan area.


Following the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent protests, riots and looting; police have been on edge and very busy. Officers throughout the metro area have been called to Ferguson in order to assist with policing efforts.

Michael Carter, attorney and owner of Carter Law Offices based in St. Charles Missouri, said he had to cancel scheduled depositions during the Ferguson ongoings because officers were unable to pull off Ferguson duty.

"We had absolutely no problem rescheduling depositions for future dates given what these police officers were attending to; but, I do remember wondering just how many officers were being pulled out of their home jurisdictions. So, we gathered the only data we could -- the number of written citations," said Carter.

Speeding tickets were not the only citations that were down dramatically. Public records show fewer minor in possession tickets (MIP), DWIs, DUIs, assaults, driving while suspended, driving while revoked, and drug possession tickets.

Carter said that he'd "like to think that these types of crimes simply went down across the regionI guess it's possible that since most all of St. Louis has been riveted to their TVs, people just haven't been out and about causing trouble, but it's doubtful."

Carter's law firm has a criminal law subsidiary by the name of Traffic Law Counselors ran primarily through the websites 45BUCKS.com (indicating a starting price point for tickets) and DidYouBlow.com (referencing one aspect of a DWI arrest).

“Our traffic law subsidiary handles thousands of cases each year and on a typical weekday our phone rings about every three minutes for some type of traffic or criminal question or citation” Carter added. “But since the Ferguson unrest, we are only getting calls about every 10-15 minutes or so."

There has been much concern for the loss of business revenue closer to the Ferguson area. St. Louis County's government has just announced the allocation of millions of dollars to assist some struggling businesses near and in Ferguson. However, Carter says his firm is doing just fine despite the down tick in traffic tickets.

"By the way," says Carter, "It's commonly understood in criminal justice academic circles that it's good to have many policing jurisdictions throughout a metropolitan area because communities want to and should be familiar with their local law enforcement personnel. Being familiar with and knowing your local police officers is the starting point of gaining and maintaining confidence in law enforcement. "

Carter Law Offices is a real estate and criminal defense firm with locations in St. Louis and St. Charles, Missouri. Contact Felicia Dixon 314-895-4040  Carterlegal.com

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wentzville Wabash Days Sees A Lot of Splish Splash

August 25,2014

This past weekend in Wentzville during the annual Wabash Days saw several citizens, current & former city officials, state representatives and the Mayor get ALL WET!!! If you didn't get to see it in person; check out these fresh UNEDITED pics:


Alderman Hays

Mayor Guccione
Mayor Guccione
Carter Gets It
Judge Carter



Fair Goer Magasano
Representative Spencer

Alderman Hussey


Alderman Hussey





Fair Goer Nick Carter










Saturday, August 16, 2014

Nixon Ferguson Missouri Press Conference Out of Control; Where Is President Obama?

Governor Jay Nixon looked visibly angry throughout a late-afternoon press conference held in Ferguson Missouri today wherein the governor announced a 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. Those in attendance were firing off questions in rapid succession and not allowing the governor time to reply.

One questioner asked, "Why hasn't Darren Wilson been indicted . . .;" and

another yelled, "what about the media . . .  will the media be allowed in the streets;" and

yet another claimed that "police attacked women and children last night . . ;" while

someone else chimed, "why can't these officers be in front of all these businesses . . . instead of putting a curfew on these people?"

The atmosphere was as chaotic as the late-night riots that have been emblazoned across America's television sets the past several days. It seems that there is no one -- not a governor, a congressmen, a police captain, or an FBI agent that has any real idea how to deal with the massive racial under and overtones that permeate the collective Ferguson consciousness.

Is President Obama -- who was inarguably elected in part because of his perceived place in American History as a racial unifier -- the only person who has any hope of taking a terrible situation and turning it into something possibly positive as opposed to what currently has the very scary echoes of George Wallace at the school house in 1963?

It seems clear that only the current President of the United States who had a black father and white mother can come to this small town in Missouri and try to restore order within a city population that is nearly half black and half white. What better stage could our extremely symbolic president have to show that the United States truly is ready for cross-racial unity and acceptance of a more and more diverse population, THAN the the Ferguson Missouri backdrop that appears to be a microcosm reflecting America's often-ignored great racial divide?

This past week in Ferguson, America has seen primarily white police forces and white executive office holders try to deal with a primarily black population of protesters that are upset by the killing of a black Michael Brown by suspected-white police officer Darren Wilson. Even the white politicians noticed this and so they recently brought in a black highway patrolman who hails from the Ferguson area to try a new approach to crowd control. However, black Ferguson protesters have apparently seen this for what it is -- a ploy by white people in power to pacify a black population that clearly thinks that whites in power treat blacks as if blacks somehow have less rights than whites.

Clearly no one has discovered it, but amidst all of the Ferguson chaos there lurks an opportunity for SOMEONE to bring reasonable citizens of America together in a much needed way.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Red Light Camera Opponents Score Another Victory As Attempt To Gut St. Charles County Ballot Measure Fizzles

St. Charles County Councilman Cronin found himself without any support from his fellow Councilmen when he attempted to effectively derail the impact of a county-wide referendum on banning Red-Light Cameras.  Cronin had attempted to alter the ballot measure to say it would only cover the unincorporated areas of St. Charles County, rather than the cities which Red-Light Camera opponents had intended.


"The unincorporated areas of the county don't have any Red-Light Cameras, so this attempt at an end-run around the intent of the ballot measure would have been an insult to voters," said Red-Light camera opponent Attorney Michael Carter.  "County Councilman Joe Brazil who sponsored the original ballot measure, and his fellow County Councilmen are to be commended for standing firm in their commitment to let the voters decide."

Councilman Cronin contends that the measure will result in lengthy litigation between the County and the City of St. Peters, which has threatened to sue the County if the measure passes.  Carter says St. Peters may be less enthusiastic about going against the will of the people since city residents will be voting as well.  "This is not a fight between people who live in cities and those who don't.  City residents in St. Peters have never been given a chance to vote and express their popular will on the subject of Red-Light Cameras.  If they agree that this is nothing but a money grab by elected officials and, as St. Peters' own Police statistics showed, causes more accidents not less, St. Peters residents may send their own officials a message in November," Carter explained.


Carter has sent out updates to tens of thousands of St. Charles County residents on the issue and says he will be working hard to educate voters prior to the November 4th election.  "I'm hoping to organize a forum and issue a challenge to the Mayor of St. Peters to debate the issue before the press and public.  This is the first ballot test of Red-Light Cameras in Missouri.  If voters support the county-wide ban it will send a powerful message to our elected Representatives and Senators that a statewide ban is needed," explained Carter.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Today 11,000 St Charles County Voters Will Receive Pocket Constitutions

Dear Fellow Citizens:

 

On May 8th of this year, as a public service, I sent a letter to the citizens of St. Charles County asking them to support a county-wide red light camera ban.  The bill offers voters an opportunity to end red light cameras in the county once and for all.  I am writing again, this time to update you on the status of the red light camera bill, and to share with you information about other important measures which will appear on the August 5th election ballot.

 

For those who were able to attend the council meeting and offer their support of the ban I would like to offer my thanks.  The St. Charles County Council gave a nearly unanimous vote to place the red light camera ban amendment on the November 4, 2014 ballot. While I wish the ban had been placed on the August 5th ballot to vote on, I am still happy that we  prevailed and the citizens will have the opportunity to vote.

 

Included in this letter is a copy of the United States Constitution. I hope you enjoy yours as much as I do mine.The 6th Amendment of the Constitution guarantees your right to a speedy trial and the right to confront witnesses against you.  When a camera machine is the only witness to the alleged violation however, it makes a cross-examination rather difficult.  A Red Light Camera has a limited view of the incident (about 100 degree field of view), whereas a police officer can have a complete view of the incident (360 degrees) and use his or her discretion.  

 

Politicians who favor Red Light Cameras often do so under the guise of increased traffic safety.  But according to the St. Peters Police Department, the rate of accidents and injuries have increased over 30% at those intersections in St. Peters where Red Light Cameras are installed.  A study by the Federal Highway Administration also indicated that rear-end collisions increase as a result of Red Light Cameras -- ultimately offsetting any other potential collision reductions.  The primary reason for the cameras is as a money grab by local politicians.

 

While the Red Light Camera issue will not be on the ballot August 5th, there are eight county and statewide amendmentsincluding one to increase sales taxes by ¾ of a cent.  

 

I have enclosed a short summary of the eight issues which you can use to study, mark how you intend to vote, and take with you to the polls to keep the myriad of issues on the ballot straight.  If I can answer any questions about the Red Light Camera issue, or any other matter, please feel free to contact me.  Thank you.

 

Michael E. Carter


Thursday, July 24, 2014

I-Phones Are Killing St. Louis Time and Temperature Service 321-2522

 
 St. Charles County, MO, July 24, 2014 
"It will be a really sad thing to shut down St. Louis' time and temperature; I've had people tell me they often called the number late at night in the 1980's and 90's and even 2000's as a teenager so their boyfriend or girlfriend could call while they listened to our service over and over on the other line AND THEN would click through to their boyfriend with call-waiting on the other line so the phone wouldn't ring and wake their parents. There is a lot of history here" 
The number of calls to St. Louis' free time and temperature service is falling. No, it's not the mild Summer weather in St. Louis this year, but rather the free and easily accessible weather information on the growing number of smart phones. 
Attorney Michael E. Carter, the operator of Time And Temperature, said that "we used to get over 500,000 calls per month, but that is steadily decreasing to where we are lucky if we get 250,000 calls in a month and many many of them are repeat calls. I watch it closely because our law firm advertising on the service is directly impacted." 
Here is a sample Time and Temperature Advertising Announcement http://tinyurl.com/TempTime  
 
The free time and temperature service has been around since the 1930's when people originally dialed FA1-2522. Since then, a line of several banks took over the service until August 2002 when Bank of America turned it off because it wasn't part of their marketing mix.  
Then, in 2005, then Senior Lecturer Michael E. Carter's UMSL marketing class looked into re-establishing the line and was able to procure the old phone numer which Southwestern Bell had said was a "retired number."  
"It had been three or so years since Bank of America turned it off, but when we plugged in three or four phones and the 321-2522 number went live; low and behold, it started ringing instantly and constantly. I guess people still dialed the number out of habit. It started at like 300 a day right away and then quickly climbed into the 1000's and around daylight savings time and during other weather-related events it would climb to 30,000 and even 40,000 calls a day," said Carter.  
In recent years Carter says the call count has continuously went down. Nearly every smart phone has the weather incorporated into the phone's services. He also noted that more and more vehicles have outside temperature indicators in the cabin. 
Carter said "it is really a sad thing to shut down St. Louis' time and temperature; I've had people tell me they often called the number late at night in the 1980's and 90's and even 2000's as a teenager so their boyfriend or girlfriend could call while they listened to our service over and over on the other line AND THEN would click through to their boyfriend with call-waiting on the other line so the phone wouldn't ring and wake their parents. There is a lot of history here" 
Contact: Dixon 636-916-4040
felicia@carterlegal.com

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

St. Charles Attorney Mike Carter Curious About Possible MoDOT Use Of Public Resources To Promote Campaign For Amendment 7














Are These MoDOT Signs Promoting A Tax Increase? Pictures Taken Near Highways 44 & 55 

St. Charles, MO July 22, 2014

It is supposed to be against the Missouri Constitution to use taxpayer dollars or public resources to promote political campaigns. So, St. Charles Attorney Michael E. Carter is curious as to whether the Missouri Department of Transportation is doing just that by using electronic roadway information signs to convey the message, “Fix Our Roads & Bridges.” (See picture insert)

“Government bodies sometimes seem to skirt the law by conducting what they like to call public informational campaigns that don’t advocate voting one way or the other,” explained Carter. “But the MoDOT type construction signs we've been seeing in the metro area don’t have much in the way of public information. Instead they seem to admonish the public to fix our roads and bridges. MoDOT would certainly take a dim view of individuals taking it upon themselves to make highway repairs, and as they seemingly don’t have to remind themselves that they are the ones who fix highways, one can only conclude this is advocacy for Amendment 7.”

Amendment 7 is a ¾ cent sales tax which will appear on the August 5thballot. Carter said he believes the public should be free to make up its own mind on the issue without public resources being used to persuade them.

"If this construction-type signage is being done by MoDot, we must remember that those signs belong both to people who support this tax increase and also to those people who don’t support the issue. It is unfair to use the money and resources given collectively to support public improvements and services to be used for political advocacy,” stated Carter. He further added that if these are construction-company-owned signs, they should not be using universally accepted governmental traffic construction type signs to promote tax increases under the color of traffic control authority.

Carter also pointed out that MoDOT routinely has to take down the signs of politicians and individuals who put up signs on the public rights of way. “To turn around and then put up their own version of a campaign sign (or allow them) on the public right of way, using public equipment, and public employees would be cause for great concern."

Mike Carter is an independent minded citizen attorney who values freedom from governmental intrusion above nearly all else.

Contact: Dixon 636-916-4040 felicia@carterlegal.com

Monday, May 12, 2014

Red-Light Ban Discussions Limited At Council Meeting; Ban Still Goes To St Charles County Voters

Sent via IPhone App - please excuse any typos

For Immediate Release

St Charles County, MO, May 13, 2014 --  Tonight the St Charles County Council expanded comment time limits for a local law firm that attempted to create a historical narrative of the genesis and intent of the county charter of St Charles County.

This is very uncommon and appeared to be prompted by St Peters Mayor Len Pagano. The city used that same local law firm to to draft St. Peters' red-light camera ordinance which was found to be in conflict with state law by Judge Ted House in St Charles County Circuit Court.

No other speaker used nearly as much time as the law firm representative. Also, only a limited amount of citizens were allowed to speak due to time constraints. Many in attendance would have rather had more individual speakers rather than a 25 minute session for a law firm during the "public comments" section of the council meeting. All subsequent speakers were restricted to three minutes a piece after the special protracted time grant by the council.

Both St Peters and the law firm likely aren't pleased that St Peters' red-light camera ordinance failed under the scrutiny of the courts just a few months ago. That ruling is on appeal with the help of the same local firm. The city having relied on the failed ordinance has now began assessing points to alleged red-light violators within St Peters.

Conventional wisdom is that red-light camera vendors and cities do not want points assessed for two reasons: 1) most citizens pay closer attention to violations that can suspend their licenses based on the accumulation of points on their driving record and so there is more resistance to just "paying the fine" as a nuisance value and you can't simply give citations to the "owner" of a car for matters that involve "points" (this brings revenue down too); AND 2) once several unaware drivers DO start receiving suspension notices from the DOR that their license is going to be suspended or revoked for allegedly running red-light camera intersections in St Peters there will then be a lot if kick back from what would have otherwise been just drivers "aggravated" by a fine yet unaffected by point accumulation.

With regard to the legality of the proposed countywide charter amendment to ban red-light cameras; the St Peters City lawyer on hand would commit to no words stronger than "could violate the spirit of the charter" and at one point said that it is actually completely legal to amend the county charter (under Executive Ehlmann's questioning -- a former legislator, judge, and historian) .

Mayor Pagano compared his city to a neighborhood association and how certain communities wish to protect their local interests similar to the county's relationship with his city.

However, District 3 County Council candidate Michael E Carter in attendance found Pagano's analogy odd and said, "first of all, neighborhood associations don't invite everyone throughout the county to come visit their neighborhood like St Peters does it's mall, businesses, schools and other services; by near necessity, non-St Peters residents are constantly in St Peters and do have a say about public roads in and out of all the municipalities like St Peters. And, you bet your bottom if a neighborhood association within St. Peters' city limits decided it would ignore St. Peters' housing codes because their community wanted to do so; well, let's just say the mayor wouldn't allow it."

In the end - after quite a few legislative gymnastics - Councilman Brazil was able to get a nearly unanimous YES vote from the council (only Councilman Cronin abstained) to place the red-light camera ban amendment on the November 4, 2014 ballot for consideration of voters throughout St Charles County.

Contact. Cronin/Dixon 636-916-4040 felicia@carterlegal.com

Thursday, May 8, 2014

New Wentzvillian Watching What Goes On In Missouri State Capitol As Special Interest Bill To Help Red Light Camera Industry Considered

House Bill 1557 is being pushed by the Red Light Camera industry in an attempt to keep the money machine rolling for the out-of-state vendors and the money grab by some local municipalities going.  The New Wentzvillian is carefully watching this legislation and will let the public know which local legislators stood with the people and which stood with the special interests pushing this bill.


Following reversals in court, the lobbyists for Red Light Cameras went to work on a bill to try to satisfy the court's objections that the municipalities using Red Light Cameras weren't assessing points on a driver's record the same as when someone was stopped by a uniformed officer, effectively nullifying the ability of those cities to collect the fines.


This special interest piece of legislation would say that points would not be assessed on Red Light Camera violations.  This strips away any argument that Red Light Cameras are for safety and exposes that they are just a way for the communities where they are to make money at the expense of the driving public. State Representative Dave Hinson, the sponsor of this break for the Red Light Camera industry, which primarily affects urban areas, represents the 119th District, a mostly rural district centered on St. Clair in Franklin County.

On May 1st it was placed on the informal Senate calendar, meaning that the bill could be taken up at any time for a vote in that body, having already passed the House.  The President Pro Tem of the Senate, State Senator Tom Dempsey (R-Dist.23), is our only representation in the Missouri Senate following the resignation of State Senator Scott Rupp to accept an appointment from the Governor.

Senator Dempsey (R)
We met with a representative of Senator Dempsey's office recently who was cordial if somewhat noncommittal on what the Senator would do.  Previously Senator Dempsey has expressed his opposition to Red Light Cameras and we hope that he will use his considerable influence as President Pro Tem of the State Senate to oppose this special interest legislation.

The Red Light Camera vendor (Redflex) for St. Peters is under Federal Indictment for fraud, corruption, and bribery and is under investigation in 13 states.  The City of Wentzville, under the leadership of Mayor Nick Guccione, has rejected Red Light Cameras.  St. Peters is currently the only city operating them in the county.  County Councilman Joe Brazil is sponsoring a Charter Amendment that would ban Red Light Cameras throughout the county.  The measure will be heard at the County Council meeting on Monday May 12th at 7:00 at 100 North third Street in St. Charles.  The New Wentzvillian will be there to cover the meeting and let you know how our County Council members vote.


As an attorney and formal municipal judge, I have been fighting Red Light Cameras from the beginning as being an assault on civil liberties, privacy, dangerous, and a money grab by politicians.  Red Light Cameras have proven to be counter-productive to safety as the rate of accidents and injuries have increased over 30% in St. Peters at the intersections where they are installed according to the St. Peters Police Department's own statistics.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Hussey Stomps Gossett in Landslide, Wright Defeats Stokes By 55 Votes,Prop E Passes

April 8, 2014

Tonight's elections throughout St. Charles County brought several surprises. The St. Charles County Ambulance District got its Proposition E to pass with a large ~58% (~19,000 votes) to ~41% (~13,000 votes)
voter approval. The new 11 cent property tax is reported to increase a real estate property's tax bill by $42 on a home worth $200,000.00.  The success of the measure will create a couple more ambulance bases, fill currently vacant positions and allow for the first district employees' raise in some three years.

Alderman-Elect Hussey
In Wentzville, Alderman-elect Robert Hussey trounced current Alderman Gossett by a margin of  some 40 percent. The not-yet-official tally was Hussey with 638 votes and Gossett with 253. Reported polling had Hussey ahead nearly the entire election cycle, but no one seemed to believe Hussey would run away with the election the way tonight's numbers indicate. Hussey credited his wife's campaign management as a major factor in his decisive win.

Alderman-Elect Wright


Perhaps the most surprising -- but closer -- race was between Alderman-elect Linda Wright and current Wentzville Alderman Rick Stokes.  Again, reported polling had Alderman Stokes ahead by a few percentage points throughout this aldermanic election cycle. However,
Linda Wright looks to have won the seat by some 55 votes. The margin of victory is nearly 8 percent and so should not trigger an automatic recount however. The New Wentzvillian left a message for Ms. Wright, but has not heard word from her.

Many Wentzville pundits point to Mayor Guccione's and Missouri Representative Bryan Spencer's open endorsements of Wright and Hussey as significant catalysts to their victories. Some say that a New Wentzvillian article that circulated throughout Wentzville may have had an impact as well.  The story involved Alderman Stokes interaction with citizen Jason Johns in the parking lot of Buffalo Wild Wings about a year or so ago. The piece included statements from Alderman Stokes and a server that works for Buffalo Wild Wings.  Mr. Johns posted his version of events as comments on blogs about the story.

Wentzville's Mayor Guccione said "Wright and Hussey's hard work, deep commitment, concern for Wentzville and resumes are what allowed them to prevail. I welcome them to the board."

Grand Master and Alderman-elect Michael Rhoades will take over Wentzville Alderman Sonya Shryock's Ward 2 seat. Shryock did not run for re-election and Rhoades was unopposed.

Former Cottleville Mayor Don Yarber was unable to capture an aldermanic seat in his Ward 2 run. Donald Buchheit will take the seat instead with a an impressive 173 to 99 vote victory.

TrafficSTL.com

Friday, April 4, 2014

Alderman Stokes Argues With and Almost Hits Patron, Drives Off After Three Double Jacks, Says Server

April 5, 2014

The “Buffalo Wild Wings incident” has been a topic of interest for a while in the City of Wentzville. The New Wentzvillian posted an article months ago seeking more information.

Until the past couple of days, the New Wentzvillian received only soft information. However, we recently obtained versions of events from both Alderman Stokes and the Buffalo Wild Wings server.

The loose outline of events has always been that, while on a visit to Buffalo Wild Wings, Alderman Stokes was belligerent, impolite, intoxicated, nearly got into a fight, almost hit someone with his car, and then talked the police into letting him drive home from the parking lot without issue
Alderman Rick Stokes

Stokes says this isn’t true and that he had some food, a drink, but then a ruffian of sorts confronted him in the parking lot for no reason.

The server says that on the night in question, some of Wentzville's aldermen came in to their“place of employment,” Buffalo Wild Wings.“One of them was Mr. Stokes who ordered a double shot of Jack Daniels with Sprite turned to me and said, ‘Could you maybe make this drink right?’”

The server says they then asked Mr. Stokes “what was wrong with” his drink so that it could be corrected.  Allegedly, he replied with an “annoyed tone, ‘Well, I asked for a double shot of Jack with Sprite so could you put the Jack in with some sprite?’ and winked” at the server.

Stokes says that “we were eating, so, it wasn’t like a drink fest; we were there, we ate and ah ya know, we had a cocktail and a way we go.”

The server said it seemed that the entire “evening consisted of the
aldermen making it seem like I was a huge inconvenience to them.”

Stokes says that is “personal opinion; I can say anyone’s rude and obnoxious, that’s a personal opinion.”

Once the visit came to a close, Alderman“Stokes came out of the bathroom and walked outside. I watched as another one of my customers walked outside right after Mr. Stokes,” says the server.

The server “had a bad feeling and also realized at that time that Mr. Stokes was going to be driving and then thought back on the three drinks I served him. All three were double shots of Jack Daniels with Sprite.”

The server was very uncomfortable with how much Mr. Stokes had imbibed and so went to the front doors of the building to check on things.The server noted a seemingly civil conversation between two men in the parking lot.

“I turned around for maybe a total of three seconds to see if my customer’s wife was coming and when I turned back around to face outside, Mr. Stokes began to pull out of his parking spot while the other customer was still standing there and got extremely close to the customer.”

The server says “I did not witness the vehicle actually hitting the man because I immediately turned around and called for his wife.”

Stokes says that the other patron was a younger man who threatened Strokes with physical harm, so Stokes was forced to call the police from the parking lot. “When the police arrived, they began to question both of the men,” says the server.

The server went outside and asked to speak to one of the officers when they were finished. When the officer came inside, the server told him “that my only concern was that everyone arrived to wherever they were going safely. I also explained to the officer how much Mr. Stokes had drank and that I felt that they should check to make sure that he was okay to drive. I told the male officer this before Mr. Stokes had left.”

The server goes on to say that “my biggest problem with this entire situation is that, to my knowledge, the officers did not check Mr. Stokes in any way to make sure he was okay to drive.”

Whereas Stokes says that he left a board meeting at approximately: “10:15 I was in a Board of Alderman Meeting and the time of my call to the police is about 11:15.” Stokes intimates that this time frame means that the server’s allegations about drinks simply do not add up.

The Wild-Wings employee adds that Stokes “did not appear intoxicated but I also know, because of my job as a server, that a person can appear to be sober while being well over the legal limit to drive.”

Lastly, the server says that Alderman Stokes was especially disrespectful and wants someone to know how some aldermen act and “that there are people out there that feel disrespected.”

As a final quote, Stokes says that “I wish that the entire police report were open and everyone could see for themselves what took place.”