Opinion: Professional Lobbyists Shouldn’t Be Aldermen

 

 The 28 members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen are paid by taxpayers to pass legislation that hopefully is beneficial to the city. Lobbyists, on the other hand, are paid by clients to push for legislation that benefits their interests. Lobbyists don’t belong in a legislative body, even if …

Missouri Side of St. Louis Region Voting on November 7th

 

 Three weeks from tomorrow (11/7/17) voters on the Missouri side of the St. Louis region will go to the polls to vote on various issues and, in one case, fill a vacant seat. Missouri voters will need to Show It 2 Vote. City of St. Louis: 2nd Ward Voters in the 2nd …

Sunday Poll: Is It OK For An Alderman To Also Be A Lobbyist?

 

 The elected office of St. Louis Aldermen is considered a part0time position, most have jobs. The jobs they hold vary greatly. The job of one new alderman has been in the news recently: Last month, a company offered to outfit every St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer with a camera for …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 19 of 2017-2018 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 19th week of the 2017-2018 session. ON THE AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 10//13/17: *Note that just because a bill is on the agenda doesn’t mean it’ll be introduced, similarly, bills not on the agenda might be introduced if they suspend …

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Opinion: Professional Lobbyists Shouldn’t Be Aldermen

October 18, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Opinion: Professional Lobbyists Shouldn’t Be Aldermen
 

The 28 members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen are paid by taxpayers to pass legislation that hopefully is beneficial to the city. Lobbyists, on the other hand, are paid by clients to push for legislation that benefits their interests. Lobbyists don’t belong in a legislative body, even if they don’t lobby that body.

The Cypress Swamp at the St. Louis Zoo

Ald Martin (11th) was elected in the Spring by overwhelming numbers, but most city voters go for the “D” without knowing candidates and issues. They elected a professional lobbyist. A lobbyist whose clients include police body camera maker Axon. The same company that wants to give body cams to St. Louis Police free for a year. No conflict, she says — she’d abstain from any votes. Wink.

We did talk with a legal ethics lawyer. He told us even if what she’s doing is legal, it’s ethically questionable.

“What government ethics really get into is, how does it look and how does it smell? And where there is a possibility someone is making money, there’s a bad smell that maybe a sign something shouldn’t be going on,” said lawyer Michael Downey. (KMOV)

This is hardly the first time we’ve had “ethically questionable” people in city hall, but now it’s so blatant. It’s repulsive. Is this what the voters in the 11th Ward wanted? Doubtful, they knew she was the backed Democrat in the primary and then the only Democrat in the general. Ugh…

The results of the non-scientific Sunday Poll show most of you agree the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is no place for a professional lobbyist.

Q:  Agree or disagree: I’m okay with an alderman who’s also a professional lobbyist.

  • Strongly agree 3 [6.82%]
  • Agree 1 [2.27%]
  • Somewhat agree 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree 1 [2.27%]
  • Disagree 5 [11.36%]
  • Strongly disagree 34 [77.27%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

I’d like to see one of three things happen:

  1. Ald. Martin cease being a lobbyist.
  2. Ald. Martin resign from the Board of Aldermen
  3. 11th Ward voters recall Ald. Martin

I doubt any of these will happen.

— Steve Patterson

 

Missouri Side of St. Louis Region Voting on November 7th

October 16, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Missouri Side of St. Louis Region Voting on November 7th
 
Vintage photo of the former offices of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners. From my collection

Three weeks from tomorrow (11/7/17) voters on the Missouri side of the St. Louis region will go to the polls to vote on various issues and, in one case, fill a vacant seat. Missouri voters will need to Show It 2 Vote.

City of St. Louis: 2nd Ward

Voters in the 2nd Ward will elect someone to finish the term left vacant when Dionne Flowers was appointed Registrar.  There are 3 candidates running in the special election:

  • LISA MIDDLEBROOK – DEM
  • ELSTON K. MCCOWAN – GRN
  • JASMINE TURNAGE – IND

City of St. Louis: Citywide

Voters in every ward will decide if Proposition P passes or fails. The ballot language reads:

Shall the City of St. Louis impose a sales tax at a rate of one half of one percent , solely for the purpose of providing revenues for the operation of the department of public safety, including hiring more police officers police and firefighter compensation, and enhanced law enforcement services? 

Last week Mayor Krewson picked Judge Jimmie Edwards to head Public Safety.

St. Louis County

Voters in the follow part of the county will vote on propositions.

  • Beverly Hills
  • Brentwood
  • Pagedale
  • Pine Lawn
  • St. John
  • Rittenhour School District
  • Eureka Fire Protection District
  • Metro West Fire Protection District
  • Riverview Fire Protection District
  • Glasgow Light District
  • Chesterfield Valley Transportation Development District

See the ballot issues here.

St. Charles County

Voters in parts of St. Charles County will decide on annexation by Dardenne Prairie. Dardenne Prairie voters will also vote on the annexation issues as well as a sales tax for parks. See issues here.

Jefferson County

The Jefferson County Election Authority website doesn’t list any upcoming elections, though that seems unlikely.

Illinois

No November 7th election in Madison County IL or St. Clair County IL

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Sunday Poll: Is It OK For An Alderman To Also Be A Lobbyist?

October 15, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Is It OK For An Alderman To Also Be A Lobbyist?
 
Please vote below

The elected office of St. Louis Aldermen is considered a part0time position, most have jobs. The jobs they hold vary greatly. The job of one new alderman has been in the news recently:

Last month, a company offered to outfit every St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer with a camera for one year for free. Now, News 4 has learned one elected official is getting paid by that same company.

Sarah Wood Martin is the Alderwoman for the 11th Ward, elected earlier this year.

According to documents News 4 obtained, just last week, she filed forms to be a lobbyist on behalf of the company Axon. (KMOV)

This is the subject of today’s poll.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 19 of 2017-2018 Session

October 13, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 19 of 2017-2018 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 19th week of the 2017-2018 session.

ON THE AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 10//13/17:

*Note that just because a bill is on the agenda doesn’t mean it’ll be introduced, similarly, bills not on the agenda might be introduced if they suspend the rules to do so. This information is based on the published agenda as of yesterday @ 8am:

  • B.B.#141 – Roddy –An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission, to change the zoning of property, from “J” Industrial District & “G” Local Commercial and Office District to “G” Local Commercial and Office District only in City Block 3957 (4001-99 Chouteau) and from “B” Two?Family Dwelling District to “G” Local Commercial and Office District in City Block 3965 (4113?15, 4117?19 & 4121?23 Chouteau; and containing an emergency clause.B.B.#142 – Muhammad ? An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 4400?44 & 4401?43 Red Bud.
  • B.B.#143 – Vollmer –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 5345 Daggett.
  • B.B.#144 – Spencer –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 3442?44 California.
  • B.B.#145 – Moore –An ordinance approving a blighting study and redevelopment plan for St. Ferdinand Phase II Redevelopment Area; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#146 – Muhammad –An ordinance approving a blighting study and redevelopment plan for 4100?4798 and 4101?4799 W. Natural Bridge Ave. Redevelopment Area; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#147 – Conway –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 4131 Flora Place.
  • B.B.#148 – Conway –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 4212 Botanical.
  • B.B.#149 – Conway –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 3931 Russell.
  • B.B.#150 – Ingrassia –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 2806?12 Locust.
  • B.B.#151 – Ogilvie –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 6755, 6767, & 6769 Nashville.
  • B.B.#152 – Williamson –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 1416?18 Union.
  • B.B.#153 – Coatar –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 2330?32 S. 12th Street.
  • B.B.#154 – Coatar – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 2263?65 Indiana.
  • B.B.#155 – Spencer –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 3422 Oregon.
  • B.B.#156 – Moore –An ordinance amending Ordinance #65955 by expanding the boundary of the 3922?68, 3919?29 & 3939?67 Lincoln Ave. Redevelopment Area to include 3937 Lincoln Ave. and renaming the area the 3922?68, 3919?29 & 3937?67 Lincoln Ave. Redevelopment Area (“Amended Area”).
  • B.B.#157 – Guenther –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 3325 Wisconsin.
  • B.B.#158 – Roddy –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 1302 Boyle.
  • B.B.#159 – Coatar –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 1001?03 Russell.
  • B.B.#160 – Coatar –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 2222 Mernard.
  • B.B.#161 – Roddy –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 4170?4174 Manchester.
  • B.B.#162 – Roddy –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 4211, 4219, & 4235?39 Chouteau.
  • B.B.#163 – Roddy –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 4330 & 4337 Gibson Ave. and 4210 Chouteau.
  • B.B.#164 – Roddy –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 4310?20 Vista.
  • B.B.#165 – Roddy –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 1115?23 N. Newstead Ave.
  • B.B.#166 – Conway –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 3441?51 Juniata.
  • B.B.#167 – Ogilvie –An Ordinance establishing a four?way stop site at the intersection of Piccadilly and Commonwealth regulating all traffic traveling on Piccadilly at Commonwealth and regulating all traffic traveling on Commonwealth at Piccadilly, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#168 – Howard –An ordinance repealing Ordinance 70475 and in lieu thereof enacting a new Ordinance to be known as the City of St. Louis Whistleblower Law, pertaining to reporting improper governmental action and providing protection from retaliatory action for reporting and cooperating in the investigation and/or prosecution of improper governmental action; containing definitions, procedures for reporting improper governmental action and retaliation, and penalties; and containing severability and emergency clauses.
  • B.B.#169 – Muhammad –An Ordinance in relation to developing a comprehensive Urban Agriculture Plan.
  • B.B.#170 – Muhammad –An Ordinance authorizing and directing the Director of Streets to temporarily close, barricade, or otherwise impede the flow of traffic on the 4400 block of Red Bud by blocking said flow of traffic at the north curb line of Carter.
  • B.B.#171 – Spencer –An ordinance to revise Ordinance 68610, pertaining to a semiannual registration fee of two hundred dollars for certain buildings and structures, by removing the fee exemption for properties subject to a specific redevelopment agreement with the City and its development agencies.
  • B.B.#172 – Roddy –An ordinance authorizing and directing the Mayor and Comptroller to execute, upon receipt of and in consideration of the sum of Three Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($3500.00) and other good and valuable consideration, a Quit Claim Deed to remise, release and forever quit?claim unto Botanical Heights Homes, LLC certain City?owned property located in City Block 5114, which property is known by address of 4223 Gibson Avenue.
  • B.B.#173 – Boyd –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 2809 Belt.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2017-2018 session.

— Steve Patterson

Opinion: St. Louis Expects Lots of Lanes Because of Harland Bartholomew

October 11, 2017 Featured, Planning & Design, Transportation Comments Off on Opinion: St. Louis Expects Lots of Lanes Because of Harland Bartholomew
 

Before the automobile public right-of-ways (PROW), public-owned land that connects private property, was shared by pedestrians, people on horseback, horse-drawn carriages, trollies pulled by horses, etc.  PROW in cities were becoming increasingly crowded. Many roads were unpaved, those that were in cobblestones. Waste from horses & mules made the PROW filthy.

The new automobile made the PROW even more crowded. More than a century ago, a civil engineer in his late 20s arrived in St. Louis.

Harland Bartholomew (September 14, 1889 – December 2, 1989) was an American urban planner. Although a civil engineer by training and disposition, Harland’s career started just as the automobile production was about to take off, industrial development was booming and urban populations grew. The novel challenges and opportunities brought about by this new form of transport inspired the invention of new community concepts and required the development of new approaches to planning transportation in cities. These challenges called for the skills of an engineer to analyze transportation needs quantitiatively as well as those of a person passionate about urban design and social conditions. Harland was able to deliver these qualities. Starting in 1911 and continuing until 1930 Harland Bartholomew created new methodologies and new designs and concepts which made contributions that remain relevant to urban planning in North America today. This novel approach became known as comprehensive planning. His skills and experience were sought by many city planning commissions. Ultimately cities would develop their own in house technical staff to carry on with planning issues. Harland himself was the first full-time planner employed by an American city, and he remained a planner with St. Louis, Missouri for 37 years. During this period both the city of St. Louis and its surrounding areas were thriving and growing. Due to his groundbreaking work he can be described as the father of American and Canadian city planning in the age of the automobile. (Wikipedia)

Bartholomew, like his better-known contemporary, NYC’s Robert Moses, believed it was necessary to destroy the city to save it from itself. Everything prior to the 20th century was wrong for the modern world of the automobile.

Franklin Ave looking East from 9th, 1928. Nothing in this image remains. Collection of the Landmarks Association of St Louis

This make room for the automobile view is clear in Bartholomew’s 1947 plan, from the streets & trafficways section:

Since 1916 St. Louis has expended over $40,000,000 in opening, widening, connecting, and extending the system of major streets. Much has been accomplished in converting a horse and buggy street system to automobile needs. As the total volume of traffic increases, however, certain new needs arise. An example is the desirability of grade separations at extremely heavy intersections, such as at Grand and Market and at Kingshighway and Lindell. Likewise there is a need for complete separation of grade where traffic volume is sufficiently heavy to justify the cost involved. The Federal Government, which has helped finance our splendid system of national highways, has recently revised its policies and Congress has appropriated substantial funds to aid the cities in the construction of express highways and for facilitation of traffic flows from certain selected state highways through metropolitan areas to the central business districts of large cities. Past and present experience reveals the need for four types of major streets and trafficways as follows:

  1. Secondary Streets (4 Lanes)
    Most St. Louis streets were laid out with a width of 60 feet. A considerable volume of traffic can be accommodated in a 60-foot street with a 40-foot roadway, especially if curb parking is restricted at times of heavy traffic flow. Such streets as Nebraska, Compton, and Goodfellow can pr6bably continue for many years to accommodate a considerable volume of traffic flow without widening. All local residential areas require access and must be served either by wide major streets or by these secondary streets which thereby become important integral parts of the major street plan.
  2. Major Streets (6 Lanes)
    Grand Avenue, Chippewa Street, and Easton Avenue are examples of important cross-town routes which accommo date a considerable volume of traffic including mass trans portation facilities (i.e., streetcars or buses). Their general width of 80 feet permits a 54 or 56 foot roadway to accom modate six lanes of traffic. There is need for quite a number of such routes where traffic volume is insufficient to warrantgreater width of the street except by expensive widening of the street.
  3. Major Streets (8 Lanes)
    These are the main traffic ways, as for example Gravois Avenue, Market Street, Natural Bridge Road, Lindell Boulevard and Kingshighway. They are the dominant structural elements of the street plan. Their traffic capacity is unusually high since they permit three or four lanes of moving traffic in each direction. It is impractical to provide for streets with wider roadways because of weaving and complications encountered in traffic control.
  4. Express Highways
    When traffic volume becomes so great that it cannot be accommodated even on eight lane surface highways it becomes necessary to provide for uninterrupted traffic flows through grade separations in the form of depressed roadways in wide right-of-ways or by roadway elevation. An overall right-of-way width of 200 feet is generally considered a minimum standard. This is far more costly than street widening but a limited mileage can be justified where there is sufficient traffic volume.

In today’s money that’s nearby a billion dollars! I’m uncertain if any city carried out the costly widening of the PROW the way St. Louis did. Based solely on my personal observations in other cities, I’d say St. Louis was the most aggressive. It’s no wonder that more than a quarter of those of voted in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll have a problem with road diets.

Q: Agree or disagree: ‘Road Diet’ projects slow traffic too much, cause congestion; should be reversed.

  • Strongly agree 7 [18.42%]
  • Agree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat agree 3 [7.89%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 3 [7.89%]
  • Somewhat disagree 1 [2.63%]
  • Disagree 8 [21.05%]
  • Strongly disagree 14 [36.84%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 2 [5.26%]

Sadly, our road diets have been designed to appease critics, so sidewalks new still too narrow — barely wide enough for existing for traffic.  Motorists usually drive on typically wide Set. Louis area streets then encounter the “Great Streets” section for a brief period before returning to the more common Awful Streets of our region. We’re too timid to do more, so it can have a ater impact on population density, pedestrian/transit rates, etc.

Bartholomew also thought St. Louis’ population in 1970 would increase to 900,000 — it had dropped to 622k. Fingers are crossed we don’t drop below 300k in 2020. If St. Louis wants to grow again the entire region needs to reject the many ways Bartholomew screwed up our region.

— Steve Patterson

 

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