On the last day of the Tour of Missouri (Sunday, September, 14th), Anne and I were in full Team Kaldi’s garb at the Pasta House Company, on Euclid, in the Central West End. We had biked to the race course through the Ike ravaged Park. We were enjoying a late lunch, waiting for the race to start when Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, the Republican candidate for reelection came by (pictured above). He introduced himself and then went on to explain how he had helped create the Tour of Missouri. He further explained how his Democratic challenger, Sam Page, “just didn’t get it.” Kinder explained that Page was opposed to the Tour of Missouri. He closed by asking for our votes. I demurred, not knowing the facts.
I have fact checked Lt. Gov. Kinder’s assertions. Yes, he was instrumental in the development of the Tour of Missouri. Tourism happens to be an important part of the Lieutenant Governor’s job in Missouri. The Tour of Missouri has been a great success, both as an event that promotes Missouri on an international stage, but also financially as a great investment of Missouri’s tourism tax dollars. The problem is that tourism dollars did not fully pay for the Tour. $350K was taken from the Missouri Development Finance Board to cover shortfalls for funding the Tour. Page supports the Tour, but objects to the use of other funds not originally budgeted for the Tour being used for the Tour. The Kansas City Star summarized this issue, but has since dropped the AP article from their website. Google had cached it. I’ll quote from it here:
An economic analysis of the Tour of Missouri found that spectators spent $30 million during last month’s professional bike race that wound through the state.
The analysis comes as Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, one of the biggest supporters of the week-long race, has been feuding over the event with state Rep. Sam Page, his Democrat challenger in the November election.
Kinder said the economic study shows that the 2-year-old event has been a success and should be continued beyond its scheduled three years. …
Page has been running TV ads stating that Kinder “used state job creation money to sponsor his bike race that lost millions of taxpayer dollars.”
That claim is based on the 2007 race, when the state set aside $1.2 million but sought an additional $350,000 from the Missouri Development Finance Board to cover revenue shortfalls.
Page said he supports the Tour of Missouri but questions using money from the Missouri Development Finance Board to help fund it. Page said that if state money was going to help support the race, it should have been funds geared toward promoting tourism.
“You can make an argument that there’s a reasonable use of state tourism money, but we’re talking about job creation funds here,” Page said. “We have record unemployment right now, and we need to put that money into jobs that will bring taxes and revenues for a few years and not a few days.”
Kinder criticized Page for being critical of the race. …
I give this issue to Kinder. I love cycling. I am not a one issue voter though. Kinder has been part of Republican Mat Blunt’s administration. This administration has slashed medicaid, removing 100,000 disadvantaged Missouians from the states medicaid rolls, balancing the State’s budget on the backs of the State’s poor and sick. Sam Page agrees on this issue. People’s healthcare, peoples live’s are more important then funding shortfalls on a bike race. I am going to vote for Sam Page and I urge you to do the same.
OBTW, check out this link, if you want to know what Barack wanted to eat when he was in St. Louis last Saturday.
OOBTW, Anne read in the paper that the polling place that she will be working as an election official at, (near Washington University) is in an area that has seen the largest number of newly registered voters.
OOOBTW, I got 15 miles today, before the rain came.