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Ald. McMillan v. Elliot Davis

February 14, 2006 Media, North City, Politics/Policy 10 Comments

Last night I caught a Channel 2 “You Paid For It Segment” where “reporter” Elliot Davis questioned Alderman Mike McMillan.

Davis in his usual attack style raised a valid question — the expenditure of a million or so tax dollars on streetscape improvements along a section of Martin Luther King Drive. A section that has few buildings and a few of the ones that it does are crumbling.

I recently wrote;

I think it is important to send a message of hope to current residents & business owners as well as those that are prospective residents and/or business owners. My fear is that sidewalks and street lamps is a little too late.

Contrary to Davis, I think the expenditures in the area are not enough. How does Davis expect the area to improve without some capital expenditure on the city’s part. Davis is solely interested in sensationalism and not about an intelligent discussion on revitalizing decayed areas of our city.

McMillan, for his part, did a poor job responding to Davis’ question. His based response was to contact our congressman & president since most of the funds used were federal funds. Pressed further McMillan gave the standard alderman response of you don’t live in my ward so I don’t have to answer to you. Nothing infuriates me than the your are not in my ward so I don’t care attitude. If McMillan wants to be elected License Collector this year he is going to have to be more open to valid questions about expenditures from the public, regardless of jurisdiction.

– Steve


Currently there are "10 comments" on this Article:

  1. Vihar Sheth says:

    I was a member of the Advance St. Louis group that put together the (failed) charter reform amendments. McMillan’s attitude to Davis’ question is one held by many of the Aldermen. The protectionist and combative strategy of Aldermen who fight extremely hard to protect what they have is why St. Louis has no ability to put together city-wide, impactful projects. A million dollars here and there on cement and lighting could make a difference if used properly.

  2. Funny that McMillan found the money for the MLK streetscape improvements but is letting historic buildings on the street like the Regal Theatre fall down. Don’t residents of the northern part of Ward 19 deserve the same quality of architecture that Grand Center gets?

    While Davis can be annoying and his anti-tax, anti-government tone sometimes infuriates me, I am glad that he has put some attention on the spending priorities of aldermen like McMillan and Joe Roddy, also the subject of a recent “You Paid For It” segment on a ridiculously overwrought parking lot on Manchester. The problem is that Davis questions the amount of money being spent, while the real problem is how it gets spent and why there is so little of it.

  3. thomas says:

    MRA: Tell me more about the Regal. Address?

    [REPLY – See my post http://www.urbanreviewstl.com/archives/000400.php — the back of the Regal is the 5th picture. In the comments Michael put a link to more info on the Regal. – SLP]

  4. Will Winter says:

    I don’t think you take McMillan’s comments–edited, no doubt by Davis and Channel 2–as the full extent of what he said on this issue. For all viewers know, he could have something else that were left on the cutting room floor–like for example, that the improvements were authorized by the full board and E & A, that other aldermen are getting similar funds, etc. Davis’ repoprting style is a silly excuse for local reporting and a cliche that gets worst every time he repeats it. No doubt Davis did a similar story about the Wash Avenue improvements when that project seemed to be running off the last few businesses on those streets.

  5. Paul says:

    The Regal is/was on the south side of MLK just east of Compton it has a buff/light orange brick facade with art deco patterning. It is either in the process of being demolished, or simply collapsed due to neglect/abandonment. As of a few weeks ago, the facade and about 20-30 feet of the building remain in front and the rest has collapsed. For an eerie sight, you can peer in the left front door or from the side where the collapse occurs and see the theatre seats still in there under the falling rubble. Another neighborhood movie house bites the dust.

  6. Will Winter says:

    Perhaps McMillan was more interested in the $750,000 that got invested in the new church next to the theater.

  7. Becker says:

    I think Will Winters brings up a good point about how we don’t know the full extent of Mr. McMillian’s view on this issue.

    While it may be true that McMillian treats his ward as his fiefdom (I don’t know enough to say he doesn’t), it is also true that editing by television “journalists” can do a lot to skew the point of view.

    I appreciate Elliot Davis’s efforts and his desire to expose wasteful tax spending. However his style of journalism lends itself to painting the official in question as evil. If they weren’t, there would be no confrontation and no one would watch.

    In this way, a “You Paid For It.” piece is no different than a Sean Hanity interview or a Michael Moore film. One man’s POV paraded as factual.

  8. McMillan could have urged the church to incorporate the theater into their design, providing a new development and preserving one of the last street-fronting buildings on the block. Instead, the block has become a placeless spectacle with streetscape improvements, vacant lots, a new church and collapsing old buildings.

    Hopefully McMillan has enough imagination to see that the solution to rescuing this tragic scene is not demolition but preservation of the collapsing buildings.

    Then again, decisions about preserving the Regal should not be relegated to aldermen in the first place.

    Thomas — I’ll talk to you off-line about that grand old movie theater.

  9. Will Winter says:

    Tragedy is a pretty strong word. I would argue that the tragedy in the 19th ward has little to do with with neglected and abandoned buildings and that retaining social institutions like Leonard is probably more important than retaining physical structures in a place that has lost most of its existing context. Leonard–a church with a lot of history in Grand Center–made a significant investment. The resulting building may not reflect your aesthetics, but it is significant.

    Just my two cents.

    Will Winter

    [REPLY – I’m responding to several of the past comments here. Yes some things may have been cut from the piece but for the most part it looked very continuous. But what I saw was pretty arrogant on McMillan’s part and should not have been said at all. He can’t control how the media will present what he says so it is up to him to decide how to respond. He did poorly!

    Many tragedies in various parts of the city. The church behind the Regal is butt-ugly. Horrible. Yes, tragic. So too is the massive parking lot. Nothing against the church members, I’m sure they are good hard working people. The problem is what is being done with their money. This auto-centric pattern of development is not going to do the good they think it will and that is more a shame than tragedy. – SLP]

  10. Deborah says:

    Hi, I would just like to say, I had a 14 year old to attend a 14 year old birthday party this weekend on Sunday. There were 3 adults chaperoning the party, and it was in a upscale neighborhood. There were 3 sisters at the party 14,15, and 16. They invited some of there friends from E.St. Louis and the party resulted in violence that led to the ambulance removing my 14 year old son from the premises. My son was discharged with body injures, facial contusions, and a concussion. The people at the party said the young men hit him in the head with a pool ball that knocked him out, beat him with pool sticks and finally commenced to stomping and kicking him to the point he was throwing up blood. The doctor said he was lucky, the youngest young man that beat my son was 19, there were 4 that beat him that were invited to the home but they called there other gang members to the home after having words with some other boy at the party. They said my son went to the older boys and told them everything was good between everyone because they all were there just to have a good time. And that he went around shaking everyone hands and taking pictures. Not knowing that confrontation was already on the way. The other young men arrived at the home in a white van and red van or red car. There was one police officer there that was able to get the van up on departure from the house. The people was arrested and released because the young ladies said they said they didn’t have anything to hold them on. I am very upset about the situation because that was my son first being allowed to a party, it took my camera to take for memory purpose. The guys that jumped my son was from a well known gang described as the MAFIA, they also have been identified with close relationship with a gang by the name of CPT. My son hadn’t did anything to anyone to deserve what happen to him. I am not afraid of speaking out against what happen to my son because if no one speaks out how can I get the help my son deserves. My son has never been in trouble before and has no affiliation with gang members. He is a quite, likable person that socializes and get along with everyone. What am I do to when something like this hits my home. I was very upset to see just one officer on the seen because the end I stay on, if an officer pull you over its like 4 or the max of 6 and my neighbor hood is considerable nice but closer to E.St. Louis.


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