Opinion: Things Shouldn’t Go Back The Way They Were Before The Stockley Verdict

 

 Since Friday’s not-guilty verdict in the murder trial of former police officer Jason Stockley our lives have been disrupted — roads blocked, events postponed or cancelled, and yes…minor property damage.  .Many of you just want things to “normal” Normal means block men are shot and killed by white police. Yes, …

STL Downtown Multimodal Study Engagement Week Begins Today

 

 Today kicks off a week of events, from the Facebook Event page: You’re invited to join the City of St. Louis as we talk about the future of our Downtown transportation system. Join any of these half-day workshops. We hope you are able to attend and take part in the …

Sunday Poll: Was Justice Served In The Stockley Verdict?

 

 On Friday a judge finally issued his ruling on the murder trial of a former St. Louis police officer. Stockley, then a St. Louis officer, fatally shot Smith, 24, after a police chase in December 2011 over a suspected drug deal. After he pleaded not guilty to a murder charge, …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Board Bill #122

 

 Last week the St. Louis Board of Aldermen introduced twenty (20) new Board Bills. Today. only one. ON AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 9/15/17: *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 …

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Opinion: Things Shouldn’t Go Back The Way They Were Before The Stockley Verdict

September 20, 2017 Featured Comments Off on Opinion: Things Shouldn’t Go Back The Way They Were Before The Stockley Verdict
 

Since Friday’s not-guilty verdict in the murder trial of former police officer Jason Stockley our lives have been disrupted — roads blocked, events postponed or cancelled, and yes…minor property damage.  .Many of you just want things to “normal” Normal means block men are shot and killed by white police. Yes, some may have committed a crime, but that’s for a jury to determine.

And why are they committing crimes? Partly it’s because the cards are stacked against them at birth. Who you know matters a lot in this world, at times more than what you know. If you’re raised in a poor predominately minority neighborhood then you mostly know other poor minorities. Those of us who grew up white in middle-class white suburbs have a much wider sphere — one that’s easy to multiply.

Since the Civil War African-Americans haven’t had a level playing field. Not then and not today.  For-profit prisons have lobbied politicians to stiffen penalties to improve their profit margins.

On the left, all are treated equally. On the right, they are treated fairly.

We have the left example…somewhat. Theoretically we all have the same opportunity to participate. In the left example, the one with their view blocked by the fence doesn’t have a great experience as the other two. The example o the right, though not equal, gives all three the same view. That’s fair.

In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll a majority didn’t think justice was done but many did and others are unsure.

Q:  Agree or disagree: Justice was served in the Stockley verdict.

  • Strongly agree 9 [13.43%]
  • Agree 12 [17.91%]
  • Somewhat agree 3 [4.48%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree 5 [7.46%]
  • Disagree 8 [11.94%]
  • Strongly disagree 24 [35.82%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 6 [8.96%]

We have a lot of work to do. Going back to the way things were isn’t going to make this a better region. So stop bitching about protestors, help all of us have an opportunity to participate in society.

— Steve Patterson

STL Downtown Multimodal Study Engagement Week Begins Today

September 18, 2017 Downtown, Events/Meetings, Featured, Transportation Comments Off on STL Downtown Multimodal Study Engagement Week Begins Today
 
Click image to view larger version in Facebook

Today kicks off a week of events, from the Facebook Event page:

You’re invited to join the City of St. Louis as we talk about the future of our Downtown transportation system. Join any of these half-day workshops. We hope you are able to attend and take part in the discussion!

The week includes 8 half-day workshops scheduled around various topics. Please review the engagement week flyer pictured for more information about the schedule breakdown. Each workshop consists of different activities to gain feedback important to the study.

Walkabouts in Downtown will take place periodically throughout the engagement week. If you have an interest in participating in this portion, please contact Jacque at [email protected]

For more information contact Jacqueline Ann (Jacque Lumsden) at [email protected] (CBB Transportation Engineers + Planners) or at (314) 449 – 9565.

City of St. Louis Project Manager: Dan Buschmeyer, Board of Public Service.

The schedule is as follows:

  • Monday 9/18
    • Morning: bike
    • Afternoon: pedestrian
    • Evening: general session
  • Tuesday 9/19
    • Morning: event traffic management/traffic
    • Afternoon:parking
  • Wednesday 9/20
    • Morning: transit
    • Afternoon: technology
  • Thursday 0/21
    • Morning: hot spot locations
    • Afternoon: policy issues (freight/travel demand/curbside issues)

All will take place in the 1st floor boardroom at 1520 Market. Foe more specifics see the Facebook Event page.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Was Justice Served In The Stockley Verdict?

September 17, 2017 Crime, Featured Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Was Justice Served In The Stockley Verdict?
 
Please vote below

On Friday a judge finally issued his ruling on the murder trial of a former St. Louis police officer.

Stockley, then a St. Louis officer, fatally shot Smith, 24, after a police chase in December 2011 over a suspected drug deal. After he pleaded not guilty to a murder charge, he waived his right to a jury trial, meaning the ruling was left to the judge.
On Friday, a judge found him not guilty. (CNN)

Here’s a little more detail:

What happened: In December 2011, Stockley, a 31-year-old officer, shot and killed Smith following a suspected drug transaction and high-speed chase, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Stockley first shot at Smith’s car in a Church’s Chicken parking lot at Thekla Avenue and Riverview Boulevard after, police said, Smith reached for something in his car and drove toward the officers. Smith sped away and the chase began, ending in a crash about a mile away. Stockley then shot Smith five times after, Stockley contends, he again saw Smith reach for something. Police said they found heroin and a gun in Smith’s vehicle. Smith was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Why now: When Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce charged Stockley with first-degree murder, in May 2016, it had been more than five years since the shooting. In the interim, the Board of Police Commissioners settled a federal wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of Smith’s daughter for $900,000, according to the Post. Stockley resigned and moved to Houston. The case again captured public attention in April 2016, when activists gathered in front of City Hall and claimed that the police had covered up the truth in the shooting and demanded charges against Stockley. Activist Anthony Shahid told the Post that Smith’s mother, who was at the gathering, had thought Stockley was in jail. (St. Louis Magazine)

This case is the subject of today’s poll:

This poll closes at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Board Bill #122

September 15, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Board Bill #122
 
St. Louis City Hall

Last week the St. Louis Board of Aldermen introduced twenty (20) new Board Bills. Today. only one.

ON AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 9/15/17:

*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.#122 – Conway ? An ordinance, recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, authorizing a supplemental appropriation; amending Ordinance 70540, commonly referred to as the City of St. Louis Annual Operating Plan for Fiscal Year 2017?2018; appropriating and setting apart the sum of One Million Nine Hundred Ten Thousand Dollars from revenues accruing to the Local Use Tax Fund; and containing an emergency clause.

The meeting begins at 10am, it can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2017-2018 session.

— Steve Patterson

Readers: OK To Raze For Amazon’s HQ2

September 13, 2017 Featured Comments Off on Readers: OK To Raze For Amazon’s HQ2
 

Last week Amazon announced it planned to build a second headquarters somewhere in North America. Every Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) of at least 1 million people is likely interested in attracting Amazon. That’s roughly 50 regions just in the US, the St. Louis region is 20th in size on this list. Though we’ve been Amazon Prime members for at least 5 years, I wasn’t very familiar with their Seattle headquarters. I still thought they were on Beacon Hill, but they’d moved to a part of Seattle I’ve visited numerous times over the last 25 years: South Lake Union.

Several years ago we outgrew our space and we made a conscious choice to invest in downtown Seattle—even though it would have been cheaper to move to the suburbs. We now employ more than 40,000 people in Seattle who come from all around the world. Our employees tell us that they love being in the heart of the city. In fact, about 15% live in the same zip code as their office and about 20% walk to work. And they frequent the restaurants, food trucks and shops that have popped up all around South Lake Union, the neighborhood in Seattle we call home. (Amazon)

This video shows how they feel about their “urban campus.”

My last visit to Seattle was in the Spring of 2009, before Amazon moved to South Lake Union, I rode their new modern Seattle Streetcar.  Streetfilms posted a video about the same time I was there.

Construction on condos & offices was happening, but there was still lots of low-rise buildings and surface parking lots.

2003 view of South Lake Union from the Space Needle.

In 2003 their streetcar project was just a dream.

You don’t have to be a lifelong Seattleite to remember the old, down-at-heel South Lake Union of the 1990s — less a neighborhood than a patchwork of parking lots, warehouses and low-slung industrial buildings. It felt like a ghost town, even at midday.

No more.
Today, 36,000 people work in the neighborhood, almost a 50 percent jump just since 2009, the year before Amazon relocated its headquarters here from Beacon Hill. At the corner of Westlake and Denny — where Whole Foods opened in 2006 — the number of pedestrians nearly quadrupled in just five years, according to counts conducted by the Downtown Seattle Association. At peak time, 1,711 people cross there every hour — their faces buried in their phones, no doubt.

On a stroll down Westlake Avenue, you can shop for swank home goods at West Elm, dine at Tom Douglas’ upscale pizza parlor or even splurge on an electro-luxury car at the Tesla showroom. (Seattle Times w/before & after photos)

What does this have to do with St. Louis’ bid to land Amazon’s HQ2? Everything.

First, I think the modern streetcar investment was a big incentive for Amazon when they selected South Lake Union over suburban sites. Had St. Louis moved forward on the St. Louis Streetcar project connecting downtown to the Central West End we’d be in a much better position. Modern streetcar lines and light rail lines use the same vehicles — the placement/design of the tracks is the difference, Light rail is great for moving people smoothly over long distances at speeds equal to or faster than bus/car. Light rail, however, can’t compete with the modern streetcar line for revitalizing a corridor through increased economic development, pedestrian activity, etc.  The bus isn’t a smooth ride!  Vox took a critical look at streetcars, watch their video here.

Second, our campuses are anti-urban monstrosities. Take Saint Louis University or the BJC/Washington University Medical campuses as examples — both have decimated the street grid. Both have created a gated enclave atmosphere. Chicago’s Northwestern Medical campus, like Amazon’s HQ1, has retained the street grid and is not contiguous. Amazon wants regions to be creative, HQ2 may or may not resemble;e HQ1.

More than half of those who voted in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll favor razing an existing area to get HQ2:

Q: Agree or disagree: Leveling an existing area would be worth it to get Amazon’s HQ2.

  • Strongly agree 13 [28.26%]
  • Agree 5 [10.87%]
  • Somewhat agree 9 [19.57%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 2 [4.35%]
  • Somewhat disagree 5 [10.87%]
  • Disagree 5 [10.87%]
  • Strongly disagree 5 [10.87%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 2 [4.35%]

I’m more cautious. A friend lived in Seattle for many years until Amazon relocated to South Lake Union (SLU). His Capital Hill neighborhood, up from SLU, changed dramatically in a short period. It became even more expensive. He sold his place to a young college grad just starting at Amazon.

I am curious to see what St. Louis, and all the other cities, will submit to Amazon for consideration.

Further reading:

Cities have until just October 19th to submit proposals, a winner is to be selected next year. Hopefully we’ll see a list a finalists between now and then, they’ll probably be asked to submit additional information and host Amazon executives.

The process, the first of its kind, is fascinating to watch.

— Steve Patterson

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