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Mayor Slay’s Comments on KDHX’s The Wire

May 1, 2006 Media, Politics/Policy 12 Comments

Last week Mayor Francis Slay was a guest on KDHX program, The Wire with Thomas Crone and Amanda Doyle. If you missed the program you can listen to the podcast from the above link.

Slay defended the decision to raze the Century building for a parking garage. He actually cited that an engineer told him the building wouldn’t do well in an earthquake. This is the same argument that Slay PR consultant Richard Callow gets angry about at Preservation Board meetings.

When talking about opposition to development projects Slay said the “easier approach is to be against something.” Well, maybe it is easier to twist the system to favor contributors than it is to put all the deals out in the open for scrutiny? But maybe he is right, the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen have certainly been against changing our zoning codes to favor urban forms.

The Mayor’s take on recalls was equally interesting. He characterized recalls as being abused by those that lose a race. Well, the last aldermanic recall was of Tom Bauer in the 24th Ward. He had two challengers in the last primary in March 2003 and a challenger in the April 2003 general election. None of those challengers ran against him in the recent recall. The recall was over development issues. Attempts to characterize recalls as being only from bitter losers is unfair. Sometimes citizens just get fed up with the development decisions their alderman makes and, due to aldermanic courtesy, that is really the only viable option we have to take back control. As long as untrained aldermen continue to exercise sole decision making over development within their ward boundaries we will see more and more controversy and possibly more recalls.

Antonio French of PubDef and yours truly will be guests on KDHX’s Collateral Damage tonight at 7pm. Following us on The Wire will be President of the Board of Aldermen, Jim Shrewsbury. Tune in to KDHX, 88.1.

– Steve


Currently there are "12 comments" on this Article:

  1. repeat says:

    Aldermanic courtesy is okay, as long as citizen’s retain the right to recall their alderman.

    [REPLY – Aldermanic courtesy is never OK. We have a 28-member legislative body that simply “defers” to each other. That is fine and well when somebody wants a stop sign on their corner or needs a new dumpster. Multi-million dollar projects involving demolition, eminent domain and outdated zoning should not get overlooked from our elected officials. – SLP]

  2. publiceye says:

    “This is the same argument that Slay PR consultant Richard Callow gets angry about at Preservation Board meetings.”

    No. What “Slay PR consultant Richard Callow” gets angry about at Preservation Board meetings is the recurring testimony that a particular building is structurally unsound because “all masonry buildings in the region are structurally unsound.”

  3. “easier approach is to be against something.”

    And the easiest approach is to be for everything!

    If Slay feared that the Century Building would have failed in an earthquake, he may not want to see what happens when an earthquake strikes the accident-prone Ninth Street Garage — assuming that it ever gets completed.

    Funny that he trots out the pointless discussion of structural issues when there is still the pending SLAPP suit. Divert, divert, divert…

  4. disconnected says:

    So aldermanic courtesy is “nothing compared to what it was like 40 or 50 years ago”.

    And the South Grand McDonald’s will be “controversial”.

    And the case is “unusual” because people protesting are residents “of an adjacent ward”.

    And from this conversation we should discern?

  5. Thomas says:

    Disonnected: I take you’re discussing the Shrewsbury interview of last night with Jim Shrewsbury?

  6. Thomas says:

    Good grief, one “Shrewsbury” reference in that sentence was sufficient.

  7. yup says:

    Thomas is correct. The quotes are attributable to President Shrewsbury.

    We heard that aldermanic courtesy is nothing compared to what it was forty or fity years ago, and that the McDonalds’ plan will be controversial.


  8. Josh says:

    Disconnected- I tend to agree with Shrewsbury that most if not all development comes with a certain amount of controversy. I know for my neighborhood- Clifton Heights- we have our own “issues” with development. While we dont have a Mcdonalds coming in we do have the possibilty of a large chain gas station coming in. That alone has it’s own host of issues both pro and con.

    One thing I have noticed at alot of st.louis ward and neighborhood associations is that progress is very slow and involved. At times the economic future of an area is trumped by the “scary” idea of progress. And to that extent , what is acceptable progress for one community isnt the same for another. I think there is some middle ground that we can strike that allows reputable chains stores to comingle with small/mid size mom and pop stores. I know that Wicker Park in chicago has that going on- McDonalds inbetween boutique shops.

  9. N.A. says:

    “And the case is ‘unusual’ because people protesting are residents ‘of an adjacent ward.'”

    If Shrewsbury thinks that this case is unusual, he must not have been paying much attention to blogs like this one (icons featured on his website to the contrary). While the number may be small, some citizens are making a concerted effort to be involved in development matters everywhere in the city, bringing up issues of the inadequacy of citywide policies.

    Besides, with Pyramid’s McDonald’s on South Grand, the ward line is so close to the project that it is arrogant to say that “outsiders” are involved, as Florida Jenny says. Et tu, Shrewsbury?

  10. Matt says:

    And the ward doesn’t matter so much as the fact that the neighborhood association that contains the McDonalds site is fighting it, not the ward.

  11. There is a group of people in the 15th ward fighting this as well.

    Some of are concerned about the Grand Oak Hill community group (dependent on funds controlled by Jennifer Florida) writing a letter of support for the relocation without a vote or consideration by the neighborhood.

    I’m concerned about the precedent she is setting in regards to the drive-thru row on the north side of Gravois. I don’t want anyone to have the idea that a drive-thru fast food is the “highest and best” use we can expect ANYWHERE on South Grand. Will she feel that it is important that we bend over so as to not “lose” these businesses when their franchise agreements require them to rebuild?

  12. anon says:

    Counting the St. Aloysius demolition, does that make two “unusual” cases?


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