Readers Opposed To Licenses To Help Homeless

Homelessness is a problem everywhere around the world, though not at the same rates. What’s even more surprising than the discrepancy in homeless populations between the two cities is the fact that Tokyo, at 13.4 million people, is larger than New York City (8.4 million people) and Los Angeles (3.9 …

St. Louis Police Headquarters Opened Two Years Ago Today

On Saturday July 19, 2014 — two years ago today —  the St. Louis Metropolitan Police showed off their new headquarters on Olive between 19th (which they had closed) and 20th The building isn’t new construction, it was previously an office building.  On the day of the police headquarters open …

Two Years Since Jamestown Mall Was Closed

Jamestown Mall in North County closed two years ago. It was over five years ago discussions were going on about redeveloping the site:, see Readers Split on New Urbanist Village at Nearly Dead Jamestown Mall (June 2011) At the time the mall was still open…barely. From July 18, 2014: With the Jamestown …

Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis Require A License To Give Food To The Homeless?

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen are on their Summer break, when they return they’ll take up Board Bill 66: The measure would require a vendor’s license to distribute food, blankets or other goods on city sidewalks or parks — even if those items are being given away. It would …

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Readers Opposed To Licenses To Help Homeless

Homelessness is a problem everywhere around the world, though not at the same rates.

What’s even more surprising than the discrepancy in homeless populations between the two cities is the fact that Tokyo, at 13.4 million people, is larger than New York City (8.4 million people) and Los Angeles (3.9 million people) combined. While the rate of homelessness in New York is currently 67 for every 10,000 people, in Tokyo there is just one homeless individual for every 10,000 city residents.

Why the massive discrepancy in rates of homelessness between two of the most populous cities in the world?

As with most socioeconomic phenomena, there are a number of contributing factors. First and foremost, income inequality is a massive and growing problem in the United States, while Japan has historically had one of the lowest rates of inequality among developed countries. One principal measure of income inequality is the GINI coefficient, a measure from 0.0 (perfect equality) to 1.0 (perfect inequality). Recent surveys in the two countries found a GINI coefficient in Japan of 0.32, while in the US that rate was 0.41. However, income inequality can’t be the only explanation for Japan’s success combatting homelessness, especially considering that the country’s inequality index has actually worsened over the past few decades.

Where Japan is really surpassing the United States, instead, is in the social safety net it offers its citizens. (Think Progress)

Our safety net is full of holes, allowing far too many people to become homeless.

Richard Gere recently portrayed a homeless man.

Two hours of trying to find a place to sleep, trying to get identification to receive benefits.

Here are the results from the recent Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree? St. Louis should require those giving food to the homeless to have a license?

  • Strongly agree 8 [18.18%]
  • Agree 4 [9.09%]
  • Somewhat agree 1 [2.27%]
  • Neither agree or disagreei 2 [4.55%]
  • Somewhat disagree 3 [6.82%]
  • Disagree 8 [18.18%]
  • Strongly disagree 15 [34.09%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 3 [6.82%]

Nearly 60% disagree with requiring a license, I’m in the middle. Every day I pass the homeless and the criminals that prey on them, I often see a new person with a suitcase. A church group unloading baloney sandwiches from a trunk isn’t helpful as a warm meal indoors. Those doing so think it’ll help them after they’ve died, but I’d rather offer real help in the present.

I’ve helped two people who were homeless in downtown St. Louis. The first lived in a property I owned for over a year as he got a job and rebuilt his life. He’s remarried and they recently bought a home together. The more recent person is still struggling, but he was able to leave St. Louis a few years ago. I brought both food — fresh fruit. They’ve both been in our loft, guests for a home-cooked meal. It’s rare that I meet anyone on the street that I feel comfortable with inviting into our home.

The sight of crowds of homeless, and those who prey on them, crowding around a car/van must further lower the spirits of those in that situation. Of course, we don’t want anyone dropping dead due to starvation, but all of society would be better off if we improved our safety net and then improved our ability to get people off the street and into housing. It’s also cheaper.

But this is St. Louis, we don’t do what’s best. In June police drove into the park between Soldiers Memorial and the library to run off the homeless.

June 23
June 23
June 28
June 28

Like most parks downtown, this one no longer has any benches. No reason for anyone to be there.

Those newly on the street need to be housed quickly before they become accustomed to life on the streets. An overnight cot isn’t the same thing. This requires social workers. The license bill shouldn’t become law, but it would be nice if those who want to help took action to actually help. Volunteer at places that feed the homeless warm meals indoors, provide stable housing, etc.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Police Headquarters Opened Two Years Ago Today

July 19, 2016 Crime, Downtown, Featured 2 Comments

On Saturday July 19, 2014 — two years ago today —  the St. Louis Metropolitan Police showed off their new headquarters on Olive between 19th (which they had closed) and 20th

Saturday morning before the ribbon cutting
Saturday morning before the ribbon cutting
The open house began while the festivities were still going on outside. We started at the top, 7th floor, and worked our way down floor by floor.
The open house began while the festivities were still going on outside. We started at the top, 7th floor, and worked our way down floor by floor.

The building isn’t new construction, it was previously an office building.  On the day of the police headquarters open house they had some vehicles out front.

A vintage police vehicle
A vintage police vehicle
And what appears to be a former military vehicle
And what appears to be a former military vehicle

Nobody questioned the military vehicle out front, but three weeks later Michael Brown was shot &  killed in Ferguson. Many others have been shot by police in the last two years.

Recent shootings of black men in Baton Rouge & St. Paul, followed by the shooting of police officers in Dallas, Ballwin, and Baton Rouge, demonstrate we still have considerable work to do.

— Steve Patterson

 

Two Years Since Jamestown Mall Was Closed

Jamestown Mall in North County closed two years ago. It was over five years ago discussions were going on about redeveloping the site:, see Readers Split on New Urbanist Village at Nearly Dead Jamestown Mall (June 2011)

At the time the mall was still open…barely.

May 2011Two anchors remained in May 2011
Two anchors remained in May 2011
The Jamestown Mall food court was mostly dead
The Jamestown Mall food court was mostly dead

From July 18, 2014:

With the Jamestown Mall quietly locking its doors, officials hope the passing creates an opening to transform a site that has long troubled north St. Louis County residents and leaders.

“The goal is to put the property in a condition where we have reasonable hope to develop it to serve the citizens of North County,” said Andrew Ruben, a senior vice president of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.

The County Planning Commission is expected to begin the process Monday by approving a declaration to mark the 1.2 million-square-foot parcel as a “blighted area.” (Post-Dispatch)

A few weeks later Darren Wilson shot & killed Michael Brown.

In late 2014 someone went exploring inside the shuttered mall, followed by others who broke in and damaged stuff.

How long will it sit?

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis Require A License To Give Food To The Homeless?

Please vote below
Please vote below

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen are on their Summer break, when they return they’ll take up Board Bill 66:

The measure would require a vendor’s license to distribute food, blankets or other goods on city sidewalks or parks — even if those items are being given away. It would also make it illegal to give anything away between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. (St. Louis Public Radio)

The following is today’s poll question:

The poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

Missouri Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Debate Tonight

Missouri Capital, Jefferson City, MO, April 2011
Missouri Capital, Jefferson City, MO, April 2011

The four candidates for the Republican nomination for Missouri governor will debate for an hour tonight. They also debated last month — see Watch full video of the debate between Republican Missouri Governor’s candidates.

In the non-scientific Sunday Poll, readers thought Lt Gov Peter Kinder is most likely to win the GOP primary next month:

Q: Which Republican candidate for Missouri Governor do you THINK will win the August 2nd primary?

  1. Peter D. Kinder 16 [38.1%]
  2. TIE 8 19.05%
    1. Catherine Hanaway
    2. John Brunner
  3. TIE  5 [11.9%]
    1. Eric Greitens
    2. Unsure/no opinion

Of the four, Kinder is the only one to have ever won a statewide race. Brunner lost the 2012 primary for U.S. Senate to Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin, Greitens has never run for public office before. In this poll nobody got a majority of votes, which may happen in the primary as well. An argument in favor of Ranked Choice Voting:

Ranked choice voting (RCV) makes democracy more fair and functional. It works in a variety of contexts. It is a simple change that can have a big impact.

With ranked choice voting, voters can rank as many candidates as they want in order of choice. Candidates do best when they attract a strong core of first-choice support while also reaching out for second and even third choices. When used as an “instant runoff” to elect a single candidate like a mayor or a governor, RCV helps elect a candidate that better reflects the support of a majority of voters. When used as a form of fair representation voting to elect more than one candidate like a city council, state legislature or even Congress, RCV helps to more fairly represent the full spectrum of voters. (FairVote.org)

For a look at all the candidates running, please see Ballotpedia’s Missouri gubernatorial election, 2016 page. Tonight’s debate will be broadcast in the St. Louis area on KMOV channel 4.1 from 7pm-8pm.

For a drinking game take a drink overtime one of them says any of the following ten words:

  1. Conservative
  2. Constitution
  3. Family
  4. Faith
  5. Liberals
  6. Obama
  7. Outsider
  8. Pro-Life
  9. Second Amendment
  10. Washington

Don’t play the drinking game if you’ll be driving afterwards.

 

— Steve Patterson

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