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St. Louis is Not Chicago

February 1, 2005 25th Ward No Comments

So many people say we are not Chicago. True, we are not. We don’t have the population density, the vibrant streets, the thousands of bike racks or Aldermen using the internet to communicate the relevant (albeit mundane) information to ward constituents.

Below are just three examples of ward websites from chicago’s 50 aldermen:
• Chicago’s Gene Schulter
• Chicago’s Helen Shiller
• Chicago’s Burton Natarus

I don’t want to transform St. Louis into Chicago but I think we can learn a few lessons but looking outside the boundaries of our wards and our city limits. Chicago’s aldermen are taking that extra step to use the internet to keep their constituents informed of issues and meetings.

St. Louis’ current system of keeping constituents informed is for aldermen to attend the various neighborhood meetings and give a city hall update to the few people present. Little information is actually communicated – no visuals, no maps, no links to other resources. If you didn’t make it to the meeting you are out of luck. You might get some of the information in a neighborhood newsletter a month or two later – if you are on their mailing list.

The Board of Alderman has 15 standing committees. Do you know what committees your alderman serves on? Do you know when those committees meet? Do you know issues are before those committees? If you read the City Journal each week you might have a clue. But, the City Journal is an official public notice document and therefore not exactly written in english.

A Board Bill indicating the parcel number and city block number to be changed from zoning classification B to F doesn’t mean much to most people. However, a photo of the proposed property along with a street address actually means something to most people. One provides the requirement for a legal notice while the other would actually communicate meaningful information to the people that deserve to know.

My campaign is about bringing fresh thinking to the 25th ward and entire City of St. Louis. Moving the level of communications between city hall and constituents into the 21st century is just one example.

– Steve


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