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Update on Recall Efforts in the City of St. Louis

With all the election stuff of late it has been easy to ignore the various recalls that are going on in the City of St. Louis, a lot of angry voters out there displeased with their aldermen. The issue is not political infighting but development practices.

Freeman Bosley Sr., 3rd Ward:

Via Antonio French on PubDef: The recall is on hold pending an August 21, 2006 court hearing. It seems the recallers are challenging the legal authority of the Board of Elections to allow the subject of the recall, in this case Freeman Bosley Sr., to obtain affidavits from people to have their names removed from the recall petition. If the judge rules in their favor they will have sufficient numbers to place the recall on the ballot. This could be huge with widespread implications for other recalls.

Bosley has been a destructive element in his ward, choosing to unnecessarily raze many buildings and ruin street patterns. New construction has been decidedly suburban in character. Frankly he just seems too out of touch with what a city should be. He seems hell bent on destroying everything that makes the ward interesting, all in the name of progress. He has had his 17 years in the spotlight, time for some fresh urban-minded thinking.

Joseph Roddy, 17th Ward:

Roddy, who’s father was alderman for many years, inherited this ward. While Roddy can brag about the millions (billions?) of dollars of investment within the ward what he cannot do is argue that it has bettered the ward from an urban & livability perspective. BJC parking garages are costly but do not improve the area.

It looks like recallroddy.com was registered in May 2006 but no active website exists.

Jennifer Florida, 15th Ward:

Back in 2001 I really liked Florida, she was very involved in saving the South Side National Bank and she wasn’t about to let politics and ‘development as usual’ allow the building to be razed for a Walgreen’s. I was very impressed and worked to help get her elected. Today I feel betrayed. Did I misjudge her or did she change? Perhaps some of both.

In talking to several of those with the Florida recall effort it sounds like they are all re-energized following the elections on Tuesdays. Volunteers worked the polls in the 15th Ward to collect signatures. Many voters were eager to sign the petition although others were not so willing with her standing nearby. With more elections in November, March and April it looks like the volunteers are determined to stick with the recall as long as it takes. When the new McDonald’s begins to rise on Grand and we see the shuttered old McDonald’s this might attract some new interest. When she tries to push through the senior housing with little public input on the site plan, land use, and such the voters may finally get fed up.

Despite what the political machine may be saying, I am not “behind” these recalls. Do I support the recall of Florida, Roddy and Bosley? Oh yeah! But I am not orchestrating these efforts. I know many of the people running the recall against Florida and have offered them my opinion on things when asked. I am hosting recallflorida.com on server space that I have but I am not creating or posting any content — that is entirely up to those doing the recall. To those working to recall Bosley and Roddy I will make the same offer to you — free blog & email hosting.

I’m also willing to talk to potential candidates for aldermen in the city’s even numbered wards, the 14 seats that are up for re-election in March 2007. This doesn’t mean I will support just anyone challenging an incumbent. On a personal level I like a number of the current aldermen but I question the urban understanding of all of them. Who knows, I might actually support an incumbent or two. I will offer an “in-kind contribution” of web & email hosting to those I chose to support. Democracy is best served when we have more than a single choice of candidates.

– Steve


Currently there are "14 comments" on this Article:

  1. travis reems says:


    I am very glad to see that you have stepped back from your position that all existing Aldermen must go because they have been in office more than 4 years.

    Further, I think you are exactly right with your sentiments that, “Democracy is best served when we have more than a single choice of candidates.”

    I am wondering, though, if you meant that you will or will not support, “just anyone challenging an incumbent.” Was that a typo?

    [REPLY Actually Travis, I’m willing to give them all 8 years unless they screw up before then as is the case with Florida. And I don’t feel I’ve stepped back any as I strongly believe we’d be better off with a new crop of people over the current group and those in-line and paying their dues in the current system.

    And the last part was a typo — thanks for the catch. It now reads: “This doesn’t mean I will support just anyone challenging an incumbent.” If some Gambaro-type wants to challenge the level-headed incumbent Lyda Krewson then I’d probably remain neutral, actively support Krewson or actively work against someone that in my view is worse than the incumbent. It will really be a case by case basis. I want to see a good crop of candidates running so that we can talk about issues, increase voter interest and work toward a better city. – SLP]

  2. Maurice says:

    Term limits are a touchy matter. Look at Daughtery in the 4th…He was such an agent of change and progressiveness and now forced out by term limits. While I would agree that no one should be given a lifetime seat, I really think it is up to the voters to get up off their lazy a*$s and go vote for change rather than mandate it.

    As for recalling. It is certainly a voters right to recall. But I urge caution as sometimes the cure is worse than the illness. In other words, the follower maybe worse than the incumbent and that spells trouble. And let us not also forget that with tenure comes expereince at wheeling and dealing that, like it or not, is how things get done. One cannot vote in even an entire new leadership team and expect them to change everything and everyone overnight. It would be easy to say…hey lets get rid of all of them and start over, but many times it is the beraucracy in place that slows things down, and if you don’t know how to work it,you will accomplish nothing. And many civil servants are protected from termination.

  3. The Emperor Has No Clothes says:

    Oh my, Steve! We are really developing an imperious streak, arent we?

    You really crack me up with postings like “…Actually Travis, I’m willing to give them all 8 years unless they screw up before then as is the case with Florida…”

    Your pedantic blabber is soooo tiresome. I think Dr. Phil hit that nail right on your head….a pathetic guy who never gets chosen for a team, and in frustration takes on the mantel of expert as vehicle to criticize the players every move.

    Come on, muster your army to take on all of the elected officials in the city, the county, heck, the world. Didnt you learn anything when you lost your own election race? The universe of people who think you are the smartest man in the world is very small indeed.

    Nothing is as peevish and pedantic as men’s judgments of one another. — Desiderius Erasmus (1469-1536)

    Bet you wont print this.

    [REPLY – You are right, I won’t “print” this. Will I leave your comment on a website, yes. I enjoy it when people like you attempt to squash and belittle anyone that dare challenges the status quo.

    Yes, I learned a lot in my first campaign (and loss) for office. Jeff Smith too learned a lot from his first campaign and loss. I learned it is good to have a video camera rolling when you debate your opponent trying to assemble a coherent sentence. I learned the local Democratic party will support the person that has waited in line over the person with more energy and ideas. I learned that many so-called progressives are simply younger tools of the old guard. And finally I learned that it is attitudes like yours why I get up every day and seek to change the system. – SLP]

  4. ^
    Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

  5. I have the clothes! says:

    You know I read this site and it is long on criticism and short on any solutions. It is easy to sit on the sidelines and be an armchair quarterback, but it is entirely different once you are on the field.

    One thing I have noticed about you Mr. Patterson, is that it is terribly easy to pick apart one or two minor defects of a project.

    Yet, if you actually had any idea how to accomplish any of these things than why don’t you do it? It is easy to be a design poo-pooer, yet it is much more difficult (and expensive) to actually design and build what you want.

    And yes, sometimes projects will not live up to the pure and refined aesthetic standards of the Great Steve Patterson! (Thank God)

    [REPLY First, I am a professional designer working daily on projects. As a designer it is my job to pay attention to design, including details. Trust me, if it were easy we wouldn’t have so much bad design around us.

    But you are among the many that falsely think this is purely about aesthetics. It is about people and connecting them in an urban setting. Chicago has some of the most horrible residential design from an aesthetic point of view but it is often all done very pro-urban.

    I offer many solutions but people like you overlook those because they are not the solution that has been done here before and it is not the same old tired solution developers want to keep building. – SLP]

  6. Your Virtual Alderman says:


    I was thinking along similar lines as I drove into the office today.

    Urban Review has been highly critical of the Loughborough Commons Shopping Center.

    Now the project is nearing completion.

    The new Lowe’s and Schnucks are built, and the site is taking shape, filling the space between the arc of I-55 on the east, Loughborough on the north, and S. Grand of the west.

    The old Schnucks is still standing. I remember many shopping trips to the old center. Access was poor, and the building was not attractive.

    The new project is sleek and modern. It is large with ample parking. The new Schnucks is on par with all of the updated Schnucks stores being built today, as is the Lowes.

    The project could be viewed from the standpoint that the city is leveling the playing field with other communities across the region, providing our residents with services they might otherwise travel elsewhere to find.

    Looking at the project this morning today reminded me that while design is integrally important to real estate development efforts, in the end, real estate projects must respond to market forces.

    Economic viability is the key driver behind successful real estate investments. Design is secondary.

    Drive down Manchester Road in west county and you won’t be inspired by much of the design, but the cash registers are humming.

    As your virtual alderman, we need those cash registers humming in the city.

    [REPLY Yes, keep those registers ringing. How do they sound over at St. Louis Marketplace? Oh, pretty quiet. And St. Louis Centre? Yep, quiet there too. Southtown Center? Those empty spaces sure don’t have any registers in them. I guess we’ll just keep pissing away money until we get it right.

    I described alternate solutions to Loughborough Commons as soon as the plans were shown to the public. I also shared a creative solution from Atlanta called Edgewood that combined traditional big box forms but managed to connect to adjacent neighborhood streets.

    You see, a connected development with excellent pedestrian access would provide a good long-term solution to our needs for retail sales while the Loughborough Commons project is a typical short-term solution that will be tired in 10 years. – SLP]

  7. It baffles the mind that one can say nice things about Loughborough Commons.

    It does not have sidewalks. It is right off the highway, thus promoting sprawl. It is a bunch of boxes where homes once stood. It is corporations wasting our limited amount of land, when smaller businesses, integrated into the community, could provide the same, if not much better service.

    Why are we allowing these huge corporations to demolish homes, and build these huge stores?

    What does this give back to the community? These are not locally owned businesses.

    Wouldn’t you rather see a number of locally owned grocery stores pop up around your neighborhood, rather than one huge mega complex? These stores are only taking our tax dollars, and our land, both of which we need because:

    A. St. Louis is ‘broke,’ and our SLPS is in huge trouble financially.

    B. St. Louis cannot change its boundaries.

    Why are we spending money for these huge corporate developments, when our schools are horrible? Everyone is saying the SLPS is broke, yet the new Stadium no longer pays taxes, and we are doing the same for these shopping centers! Whenever development is done, money can be found, yet when our children are considered, we cannot find the money. What are our priorities?

    These corporations have the money. If they don’t want to spend it, then let them stay in St. Louis County, and use their TIF’s. Our City has a demand for groceries, and local entrepreneurs will supply it. Are we forgetting the market system? Why don’t we let these people leave, and then local City folk will open their own grocery stores? That seems like a much better solution.

    Bush Stadium: “The city will pay no more than $4.2 million per year for 30 years beginning in 2005.”

    “Slay said that the city, the county, and the state would fund approximately $200 million of the developmentÂ’s cost, with the Cardinals responsible for the projectÂ’s remaining construction costs”

    Gravois Plaza: “Private funds and tax-increment financing have made the project possible.”

    Loughborough is reported to have between 11-14 million in TIF’s. The City of St. Louis website does not list the exact number, but google searches bring up about that amount.

    Baseball and groceries need our tax dollars, but our children, ah, who cares!

    Lets continue to subsidize low density, and forget the children!

  8. I just don’t think we will be able to go back to the “corner store” as our primary source of groceries. When I lived in Dogtown, I was able to walk to Gewinner’s (now closed?) when I needed to pick up some milk or spaghetti, but I simply couldn’t afford to shop there for all my groceries. City Grocer or Straub’s? Fine for a fancy cole slaw or roasted red pepper spread, but during the grocery strike a couple years ago, shopping at the “corner stores” just about broke the bank.

    Rather than realigning our entire economy, why not just force them to develop their stores in more urban and pedestrian-friendly ways? I live a block from the Schnucks at Grand and Gravois, but it’s a horrible walk. There’s not even a sidewalk connection between the front door and the street.

    There are so many ways of connecting even big boxes to the surrounding urban fabric through better design – our city officials are just too scared to force them to do it. I think it’s a combination of not knowing any better, campaign contributions, antiquated zoning, and the lack of a comprehensive (progressive) development plan.

    All of these are fixable.

    [REPLY Exactly! My first critical reviews of LC was the fact they did not show any sidewalks into the project. None! The answer was “we can’t show them at this scale” which was pure BS because they were showing the thickness of the curb! They did not plan for sidewalks because in Fenton and other places they don’t need sidewalks, why would they in the city? Ald. Villa is too uninformed on these issues to have asked for sidewalks and it appears the city’s planning department was not consulted at all. – SLP]

  9. awb says:

    Doug makes some good points here.

    In addition to TIFs and all that corporate welfare the City gives so freely to the likes of the Cardinals owners, Schnucks and Lowes, we should consider the spending habits of the owners of these businesses.

    Owners of small City businesses who live in the City spend more money in the City. If they also patronize other small businesses in the City, those dollars are more likely spent over and over right here, racking up sales taxes over and over from the same dollar.

    The owners of UMA, Casa Semplice, Flannery’s, the Gelataria, and many other small businesses probably eat out and shop in their hometown. Can the same be said of the owners of Lowes, Schnucks, the Cardinals, and all the chain restaurants?

    Many people go downtown to catch a game. Maybe the City gets a bit of tax from that, and from the parking (unless they park in a State-owned lot), but then the profits are out of circulation in the City.

  10. Your-Virtual-Alderman says:

    “Yes, keep those registers ringing. How do they sound over at St. Louis Marketplace? Oh, pretty quiet. And St. Louis Centre? Yep, quiet there too. Southtown Center? Those empty spaces sure don’t have any registers in them. I guess we’ll just keep pissing away money until we get it right.”

    St. Louis Marketplace suffers from being in the wrong location for a high volume retail development.

    St. Louis Centre suffers from the failed 1980s concept of an enclosed downtown shopping mall.

    The first thing Southtown Center needs to do is turn the front of the building across from Steak and Shake around to face Chippewa, and then lower the rents.

    Loughborough Commons is a retail center that opens to its surrounding area and is regional in nature. It’s primary target market is not the residents of the adjacent neighborhood.

    Rather, it is seeking to draw shoppers in from a 3 to 5 mile radius.

    Wait for reports from sales at the new Schnucks to far exceed the old Schnucks.

  11. LisaS says:

    Doug and awb are right on. The City tax breaks to these shoppping centers, new single-family housing developments, and loft buildings increase the need for services while providing little additional funding.

    “Baseball and groceries need our tax dollars, but our children, ah, who cares!”

    A couple of years ago the Post ran an article noting that almost none of the City’s elected officials (including the School Board–O’Brien’s kids go to Clayton schools) have children (or even grandchildren) who attended the public school system.

    Private education is such a tradition here that it doesn’t even occur to them as a problem.

    Their marketing strategy, aimed at the aging Baby Boomers, assumes families with children won’t live in the City anyway, so it’s not a problem.

    It’s only a problem when the politics don’t go the right way.

  12. LisaS says:

    The Virtual Alderman is right that design has nothing to do with the cash registers humming out in West County. What drives that is having lots of people with families and disposable income out there buying all that neatly plastic-wrapped stuff. We don’t have that.

    What we do have in abundance is walkable, attractive areas with a sense of place similar to what they’re building new–The Boulevard across from the Galleria and Winghaven are two examples–waiting for investment and rehabilitation. Studies by the Urban Land Institute indicate that people will drive further to go to such shopping areas, and they spend more once they get there. Strip malls are the past of retail. Oddly enough, the past as we have it in the City (with more parking) is the future. St. Louis is beginning to realize that, and hopefully, we won’t destroy it all trying to “respond to market forces” from 10 years ago.

  13. I do agree that TIF’s are being overused, however their usage on Washington Avenue, and with rehabs, were needed, at least that is the claim. Whether they are still needed today, that debate seems to be going on right now. Whether they were needed back then, I cannot say. I can be happy with the end result being a very nicely done loft district, however I miss Velvet and Club Europe. The Clubs are another debate.

    Lisa, you make good points about public school attendance, and political officials. That does not surprise me.

    Now I would have to agree on Boulevard, and strongly disagree on Winghaven. Winghaven is horribly messed up, as the only walkable area is the main strip with the new Seamus McDaniel’s. The rest of the area is basically suburban pods, and a large golf course. No reason to walk around in those areas.

    Boulevard, on the other hand, is pretty damn nice. I love the street parking, the storefront retail, and the stores, even though they are entirely corporate chains. The new Cross County Metro Link really makes it TOD, since people can visit without using the parking garage. The street grid pretty much ends at Brentwood, but the street is nicely done in Boulevard. The residential units keep pedestrian traffic, and anchor people in the area, which is something that the Stadium does not. I am not sure if TIF’s were actually used, but considering this is a newer style of development for STL, and probably a ‘gamble,’ it might be justified.

    I suppose I can rationalize TIF’s if they are used responsibly for constructive rehabs, or urban oriented construction, but not for big box development, or a stadium that is targeted to please corporate executives. Sorry but why should public tax dollars be used to fund more corporate boxes, and 9 dollar beers? And, as said before, do the people who visit spend money outside the Stadium? Now that there are restaurants and shops inside Busch, I am not so confident they are going outside, besides Mike Shannon’s or Al’s.

  14. jeff says:

    I miss the Galaxy.


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