Friday, February 6, 2009

More Ruckus in Valley Park, Over Dinero and Jesus

Posted By on Fri, Feb 6, 2009 at 8:46 AM

Down in Jeff City, the confirmation of Linda Martinez as Missouri's Director of Economic Development got held up this week because of her legal wrangling against infamous illegal immigration issues in Valley Park.

Meanwhile, out in Valley Park, city leaders have finally owned up to how much dinero they shelled out to defeat Martinez & Co.

Residents recently received a letter from the Board of Aldermen revealing that the city has spent some $273,000 to date for the legal work of Eric Martin, Kris Kobach and Lou Leonatti on the lawsuits related to the city's ballyhooed illegal immigration ordinances that gained national attention a couple years back. (Please note: All the grammatical errors in the letter, which I have simply scanned and posted, are the city of Valley Park's -- not mine.)


Resident Philip Soto, who formed an activist group called Valley Park Citizens for Responsible Government soon after my February, 2007, cover story chronicling the brouhaha, tells me that although he's been requesting the figures for almost a year, he was none too thrilled to receive the aldermen's correspondence.

Why? Among other things, because the aldermen refer to him as "Jesus."

Indeed, paragraph four of the letter singles out one "Jesus Philip Soto" as an instigator.

Soto tells me he's Hispanic, and darn proud of it. "Jesus Philip Soto" is indeed his legal name, but no one has ever called him "Jesus," he says. He's gone by "Philip" since he was a boy.

"How did they even find out my legal name?" Soto wonders. "This is apparently their attempt to be clever and racist." 

Soto notes that municipal elections will take place in Valley Park this April. "I believe they think I am going to run for alderman, and this is an attempt to tarnish our citizens' group as well as my candidacy."

For the record, Soto says he doesn't want to join the board.

Sources tell me it should be another colorful election year down in the St. Louis suburb, with former mayor Jeffery Whitteaker seeking a second act in local government. (Whitteaker was a longtime alderman who became mayor a few years ago when the sitting mayor stepped down. Whitteaker in 2008 subsequently lost the top job to Grant Young, owner of Young's Restaurant and Ice Creamery.)

I hear Whitteaker's in a race against one of the young Grellner boys, who own the famous Valley Park Elevator and Hardware Store.

In other news, aldermen are bickering over the city's Wikipedia entry...


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