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Confrontation with Copia Over Valet Parking – with Video!

October 3, 2006 Downtown, Valet Parking 84 Comments

Valet Parking At CopiaNo point beating around the bush, tonight I had a verbal altercation with the owner/manager of Copia Urban Winery & Market located at 1122 Washington Ave. Luckily, my video camera was rolling.

Before we get to the video, let me set the scene. First, I’ve been writing about Copia and others since the beginning of this year — how they consume way too much public parking for their valet service. I wrote the following of Copia in February (see post):

Copia Urban Winery at 1122 Washington Avenue is consuming entirely too much of the 1100 block with their valet parking. How much is too much?

Try 288 feet! (I carry a measuring wheel in my car for such purposes.)

Copia, located about the mid-point of the block, is 75 feet wide (per tax records). So they are taking away 213 feet of parking from adjacent buildings. A little greedy don’t you think?

Now I’m not going to tell any high-end restaurant they can’t have valet parking. That is a necessary function to please their clientele. However a number of their own customers could park on the same street if they didn’t block it off with their orange cones.

I looked through St. Louis’ ordinances online and didn’t turn up any laws regulating valet parking. The City of Clayton, however, has a reasonably defined law (no direct link, search for ‘valet’). They require a license and the city determines the amount of space the valet is allowed to occupy.

St. Louis needs to address the valet parking situation or we risk stagnating the very area we are trying to enliven. You don’t need nearly 300 feet of road to provide adequate valet parking service for a restaurant the size of Copia.

After that post I began making requests of the valets to see their permits, which they did in fact have (see post). For a while Copia placed their valet cones in the street during the evening rush when parking was not permitted on the street (see post). I began making requests to the city, using Missouri’s Sunshine Law, to obtain copies of these permits. From this I learned the city went ahead and issued Copia a permit for basically the entire side of Washington Avenue from 11th to Tucker (12th). The city, it seems, didn’t care they were consuming nearly 300ft of the public street and just somehow that might be a tad too much. Also, never mind that Copia’s physical location is only 75ft wide — sufficient to operate a valet service according to many other cities.

But one of the key things about the permit was some of the phrasing:

All vehicles must be moved to a different location immediately. No cones, traffic control devices nor temporary structures shall be placed in the public right of way at any time. Permit must be on site at all times… …This permit is issued at the discretion of the Director of Streets and may be revoked at any time at his discretion.

I’ve done a number of other posts on valet parking and you can do a search and find those. Most recently I did a post detailing how other cities are addressing this issue. And finally tonight, before heading downtown to help a friend I was at a fundraiser for Ald. Lyda Krewson (as an observer, not a contributor). I had a good conversation with her and Ald. Lewis Reed about the problems with valet parking. Reed’s ward includes Lucas Park Grille in the next block. Copia, on the other hand, is in the 5th ward of April Ford-Griffin. [CORRECTION 10/4/06 10:20am: Reed’s Ward includes the 1300 block of Washington Avenue where the Lucas Park Grille folks take up part of that block on both sides for valet parking. April Ford-Griffin is the alderman in the 5th Ward which has the 1200 block of Washington where Lucas Park Grille is located and consumes both sides of the street routinely. The 1100 block of Washington is in the 7th Ward where Phyllis Young is alderman. 3 blocks, 3 aldermen.] The event was held at Joe Edward’s very fun Pin-Up Bowl in the loop and I took a moment to bend his ear about how he’d need to start working on the valet issue early (btw, he said issues are getting ironed out on the Flamingo Bowl and construction will proceed soon).

Ok, so I drive by Lucas Park Grille and Copia and they both have tons of spaces coned off despite being a slow Tuesday evening. The street literally looks lifeless. After helping my friend I come back to Copia and park my car in front of a building adjacent to Copia in an area where they have a number of cones — you’ll see my gray car in the video. I proceed to remove the cones from the street which catches the attention of the valet guy. We talk and I decide to call the police to enforce the no cones section of the permit.

While I am waiting on the police to arrive the valet guy alerts the restaurant owner (Manager?) who comes out to “chat.” We have a pretty heated exchange, both using some strong language. My camera stops after 3 minute but I got the bulk of it. Finally the officer arrived who was quite nice. I offered my card and explained why I called — as well as apologize for taking his valuable time but that is what the Director of Streets, Jim Suelmann, directed me to do. I also indicated that 4th District Police Captain Filla was aware of the problems of valets and had discussed them recently with residents. The owner then talked with the officer for a bit and soon the owner instructed the valet to remove the remaining cones from the street.

At one point I said, “you don’t know who I am?” It sounds a bit like an ego trip but it was clear he was thinking I was just some guy with a video camera and not the author of popular blog. I was thinking to myself, if this guy knew who I was he probably wouldn’t be saying the things he was saying. I’m used to the politicians being careful what they say or at least telling me something is off the record and waiting until I put the camera away. His candor totally took me by surprise.

Ok, hit play:

Get your protest signs ready…

UPDATE: 10/3/06 @ 11:55pm:

I have emailed a link for this post to the following: Jim Suelmann, Director of Streets; Ald. April Ford-Griffin, Ald. Lewis Reed, Ald. Phyllis Young, Ald. Mike McMillan; Ald. Lyda Krewson; and Downtown Partnership Director Jim Cloar. I did not contact Copia but the owner has my card. If you’d like to contact Copia click here.

UPDATE: 10/4/06 @ 12:45am:

Video guru Antonio French of PubDef.net did an excellent remix of the video. Watch his hip version here.


Currently there are "84 comments" on this Article:

  1. Brad Mello says:

    Leave it to you to know it was a Volvo. I hope you have security at your place!

    Wow. So, several thoughts. I don’t know how to take your “do you know who I am?” comment. It doesn’t sound cocky at all — it sounds like an honest question based on the fact that you know what you plan to do with the video and you’re wondering if he does. A bit manipulative on your part and yet, any journalist would go for it given the chance and the rantings you so easily got on tape (gosh I hope that doesn’t encourage more comments about bloggers vs. journalists).

    Your free speech claims are wonderful and right on. We get to disagree in this country…that’s the beauty!

    This is gonna get ya some more publicity which is a double edged sword — are ya ready for it?

  2. equals42 says:

    The “Do you know who I am?” is perfectly valid since he assumed that you don’t pay any taxes or help the city in any way without knowing anything about you. For all he knew, you could be the owner of a business in town or (gasp!) a concerned citizen who simply pays his 1% salary tax (amongst other taxes).

    The manager appeared to be a typical jackass who wanted to intimidate and scare you off. Good job standing there and waiting for the police. When I lived downtown, I avoided Washington to get home from CWE and Forest Park in part because of the unnecessary traffic their illegal cones caused. Olive was better most of the time despite the parking garage construction. All hours of the night even when no one was arriving they have their cones out reducing traffic to one lane.

    The current permit process in St Louis needs serious overhaul as noted in a previous post. If the current provisions were adhered to (no cones and remove the cars immediately) and the permits handed out with some common sense (280 feet for valet?) I wouldn’t have a problem.

  3. publiceye says:

    “Copia, on the other hand, is in the 5th ward of April Ford-Griffin.”

    Uh, no. Actually, it’s in the 7th Ward.

    [UR – Right you are! I always get confused by the way the wards were rigged in this town. The 1300 block is 6th ward, 1200 block is 5th ward and 1100 block is 7th ward. All three need to jointly address this issue.]

  4. john says:

    The man’s comments are clear indications of STL attitude:
    1) Public property is not public, 2) He who pays more taxes get preferential treatment, 3) Bullying is a preferred strategy over civility, and 4) Distortion instead of reality.

    Have you discovered this person’s identity? Owner/manager? What did the police do? Enforce the law? Unlikely…

  5. Marti says:

    One thing that strikes me in that video is an underlying attitude I hear frequently from those doing business in the city (not many business people but enough to irk me)… a sort of ‘We can do what we want here ‘cuz we are doing YOU a favor by bringing people into the city.’

    Screw that.
    (my unprofessional but important exclamation)

  6. STL Watch says:


    You should read what they’re saying about you at the Arch City Chronicle. They’re put off by your directness. They have a post about your post. I guess that’s what some call meta-blogging?

    Old guard STL is non-confrontational, apologetic, and doesn’t make waves. Maybe it comes from the deep Catholic roots in this town?

    UR’s approach to challenge the status quo, take no prisoners, and apologize for no one sets it apart from the rest of the online STL community.

  7. STL Cop Watch says:

    Did the cop ever come out of the car? Gotta love our city’s finest.

    So many times I’ve seen them do their whole routine, never coming out from behind the wheel.

    When they’re seated comfortably in their car, more casual observer than active peace officer, you gotta wonder how much they really care.

  8. Bob Johnson says:

    You are an idiot asshole!

  9. STL Cop Watch says:

    Oh great. It looks like we’ve drawn a Cop Talk poster to Urban Review.

    Things ought to get real interesting around here if the Cop Talk regulars start posting.

    Reading their comments over there, you can tell how so many of them have such wonderful views about urbanity.

  10. Pam says:

    Good job! Go back again!

  11. publiceye says:

    “1300 block is 6th ward, 1200 block is 5th ward and 1100 block is 7th ward.”

    Actually, having three involved aldermen — two women, two African Americans, of various ages and backgrounds — is pretty good for our neighborhood.

    [UR – Except for the fact where the 3 meet we’ve got some issues to address and to date none have stepped up to offer solutions — I guess they don’t see many registered voters in the area.]

  12. newsteve says:

    I tried to post the following at ARch City Chronicle:

    “I love the way people distort or hear things they way they want to. Steve does not say “Do you know who I am” – After repeated attacks by ET (manager or owner of Copia?), numerous expletives like “f**k you and F**k Joe Edwards” and ET saying “I dont care who you are” – Steve simply says “you don’t even know who I am” – Give me a break! Anyone of you who has posted here and criticized Steve Patterson, tell me why Copia should take over both sides of Washington Avenue, using 300 feet of parking space whether its a tuesday or saturday. Regardless of Steve’s tactics, which I have no problem with, he’s right, yet all most of you can focus on this one phrase rather than the real issue and problem presented by the post.”

    However, I got a message that says “it looks like a spammer is currently flooding this site with comments ” Try again later. Interesting.

    In any event, Steve, I dont think you did or said anything outrageous. Of course I heard your comment that everyone, including your self is carachterizing as “do you know who I am” differently. In fact, as I point out above it sounds like you said “you don’t even know who I am”. The point is, is that is not the point. The point is the valet situation (and as an aside, the attitude of ET when confronted with the issue). He acted horribly and I’ve seen people say “that poor guy” Huh – after watching his reaction and attitude I have no sympathy for him whatsoever (this even after he claims to have saved my life once). One one occasion I parked my car near his restaurant (granted I have a nice car) and the valet people asked me to move it – I gave them $5 and they were fine. Perhaps I should have just left it there and not payed, but they do have a permit. Yet I was so far away from a legitimate valet zone it seemed ridiculous to me.

    I do think your right! VAlet is important, but there should be reasonable limits.

  13. Brent says:

    Nice job, Steve. I hate trying to find parking on Washington and seeing a whole strip of places I can’t use all because I’m not going to Copia.

  14. travis reems says:

    You were right, but he kicked your @$$ in that conversation, Steve. You let him get you worked up rather than staying rationally detached. Don’t let them win by goading you.

    I, too, would like to know what the police did about it. And, if you get any responses from those whom you emailed. Hopefully there will be continuing coverage of this story.

  15. awb says:

    I think 3 different aldermen for that part of Downtown just means the downtown residents are disenfranchised. No aldermen has any substantial percentage of downtown residents so they have no real incentive to listen to downtown residents.

    Steve, good going. I hate to invite people to join me for dinner downtown on weekend nights since there isn’t any street parking left. I would rather drive to the Hill or Pestalozzi Place on a Friday night than annoy my friends with the valets hogging the supposedly public parking spaces. We city residents pay for the streets and parking meters, we are entitled to the parking spaces. I have no problem with the valets taking up maybe 3 parking spots, if they pay to make up for the inconvenience to everyone. But a whole block? Ridiculous!

    Now I’m going to contact Jim Suelman to find out why he allows this travesty.

  16. CityGuy says:

    Wow, I wont be returning to Copia. Brannan’s, here I come…

  17. Greg says:

    Great work, Steve. Thanks!

  18. Matt says:

    I finally go to watch the video, and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. As a restaurant manager myself (granted it’s no Copia), I can tell you that I would be fired on the spot if I ever talked to anyone like that as a representative of my business. Completely ridiculous. hopefully we can actually get some real action on this issue now.

  19. thedude says:

    What’s up Elliot Davis?

  20. Chris says:

    I’d be surprised if any of these aldermen move on this issue because of Steve. It will take local constituents contacting their alderpeople so that they will recgnize this issue is more than just some pet peeve of a blogger. I’ll eb contacting my alderperson to let them know I care about this issue, too.

  21. Poetic Justice says:

    Steve chased a valet

    So we can all park again

    Thanks Steve; you da man!

  22. Craig says:

    It is a very silly sight to see Copia taking up an entire block with their orange traffic cones.

    It would have been an equally silly sight to see Steve taking these cones and placing them on the sidewalk while harrassing poor 17 year-old valets.

    I thought we employed police officers to enforce the laws. If citizens resorted to self help to combat scofflaws we’d have quite a chaotic country.

    The owner of Copia was right to take Steve to task for harrassing the valets and for standing in front of his business and fussing about this minor issue.

    And I can’t believe that the urbanists are on here complaining about lack of parking (by the way, there is quite a bit of parking downtown if you are willing to walk a little). The several spots taken up by Copia have no real impact on the parking situation downtown. It is just proof that many “urbanists” will whine about anything or anyone that makes money, hold power, or is otherwise successful.

    [UR – I need to clear up a few misconceptions and assumptions people are making. First, I did not harrass the young valet person. He wasn’t even around when I moved the few cones from the lane to the curb. I spoke to him very little and only after he approached me asking what I was doing. I simply explained they were violating the ordinance. He got angry and said they “always place the cones there.” I went ahead and called the police and waited (15 minutes or so) which is when the owner came out. I was waiting in front of the adjacent building, not directly in front of Copia.

    Parking is quite an issue. There are nights were things are really going and Copia and Lucas Park Grille have a combined 10-15 spaces sitting empty because they are holding them. Meanwhile, people wanting to patronize other tax paying establishments get frustrated over a lack of parking. We have an inequity that needs to be righted. I’m not saying do away with valet parking — just don’t take hundreds of feet to do so when it is not necessary. When they play nice I will play nice.]

  23. Matt B says:

    ^ Please direct me to Steve’s post where he complains about Copia, Lucas Park Grill, etc. making money or being successful.

  24. Craig says:

    Matt B:

    I said, “…many ‘urbanists’ will whine about anything or anyone that makes money, holds (sic) power, or is otherwise successful.”

    I didn’t say that “urbanists” overtly complain about THE FACT IN ITSELF that certain people and places make money or are powerful.

    It strikes me that most posts on this blog and the accompanying comments attack people such as Jennifer Florida, John Steffen, Mayor Slay, and, now, the owner (?) of Copia–all successful or powerful people.

    There are also numerous posts skewering successful organizations such as DESCO, BJC, THF, and McDonald’s.

    I am looking forward to the day (sincerely) when the voices behind UR can raise some capital and contribute to the world a development that is truly from THEIR point of view and employs hundreds of people and generates revenue for the struggling city of St. Louis.

    Then we can compare their vision to the visions that are already a reality and make a decision on what we, as citizens, prefer.

    As it is now, I am grateful for the developers in this area who are making a good faith and cost conscious, market savy effort to bring new developments and rehabs to St. Louis. I don’t think it is worth it to get caught up in frustrating but petty issues such as valet spaces and lack of sidewalks.

  25. What the? says:

    So everyone should just bend over and take it unless you are rich and powerful? The whole point that the urbanist have is that this is our city, our environment, and we don’t want to have to put up with poorly conceived developments and business practices that continue to degrade our quality of life and any prospects for St. Louis ever being a truly thriving city again. This isn’t about rich vs. poor, it’s about thought vs. thoughtlessness, and yes the little petty things matter. The little petty things will eventually lead to bigger things. Maybe the valet parking thing is petty, but unless it is addressed now it will only become a bigger problem. The lack of sidewalks in some developments may be a small problem now, but it will only get bigger if developers realize that the city isn’t going to hold there asses to the fire. Where the hell did you ever get the idea that this was a rich vs poor issue? What a stupid fucking statement. Those are the kind of arguments that are used to divide people for political gain.

  26. 15thWardSTL says:

    If you have read this blog (which I assume you have), you will note that there are numerous posts highlighting sustainable pedestrian-oriented policies and developments in other cities. You CAN compare this vision to what we see happening here in St. Louis.

    I am tired of hearing the “why don’t you build something” argument – it’s quite simply a red herring. We elect representatives to legislate and administer our City. When developers ask for and receive significant public investment in their projects, oversight is a perfectly valid activity. We can’t all be elected to public office or develop our own projects, but we can ask that our elected officials take our opinions into account.

    And here’s the rub – making better decisions is not that much more difficult and often not significantly more costly.

    Some of our representatives simply don’t know any better, others are responding to campaign contributions by the developers. Either way, without a voice (or voices) representing an alternative, there IS no decision to make – they simply let developers do what they want, which more often than not makes money for the developer but is NOT the best thing for the city as a whole.

  27. Adam says:

    we are so ungrateful. we should just shut up and keep forking over our money to these fine business owners and never ask for any sort courtesy in return. i am SOOOO tired of this mentality that we should respect people because they have money/are successful/are doing us a “favor”, and not because they are respectful to other people.


    I thought we employed police officers to enforce the laws. If citizens resorted to self help to combat scofflaws we’d have quite a chaotic country.

    is a naive statement. moving a cone that should not be there in the first place is hardly a job for the police. in any case steve DID call the police so what’s your point?

  28. Craig says:

    My point is that Steve should have called the police BEFORE he started moving the cones around if he wanted to avoid a confrontation.

    My other point is that urbanists’ standards about what is a good development and what is a bad development are purely matters of taste. I don’t want my politicians to legislate a certain type of taste or style for private property–this includes zoning laws.

    Otherwise, we will be in a situation where the people that control the most politicians (whether through campaign donations or the force of the mob) will be the ones whose taste prevails on what can be done with private property. That is very much the antithesis of the property rights the US was founded on.

    That is the basis for me saying, essentially, “If you don’t like the developments you are seeing then build an alternative on your own property with your own money.”

  29. I work on Washington! says:

    Steve, THANK YOU!!! I am soooo sick of these valets getting to commandeer metered parking spaces, and then using the out, “I’m just paid to park cars”…. I get paid to do my job, but I have to educate myself on the different regulations and LAWS so I can work within that to complete my daily tasks. I too have moved a cone that was placed ILLEGALLY in the street, and I will continue to do so in the future. The thing that really annoys me, is these owners/ managers AND valet companies know what their permit says, and to just ignore that and take control of the streets is disrespectful to anyone that works, lives or drives through downtown.

    I encourage everyone on here to support the businesses all over downtown that make their contributions to the city, within their legal rights.

    Since I’m on Washington about 90% of the time, I would love to see more and more people visit places Paper Dolls, Boxers, Wasabi and the Gelateria. Support the local businesses that can educate themselves and any of their contractors on the laws!

    After the protest, lets get some sushi and some gelatto!

  30. Adam says:


    firstly, the issue of private property has nothing to do with the the sidewalks and streets surrounding copia, which are, of course, city property.

    secondly, the “goodness” of a development is NOT a matter purely of taste. it can be measured in terms of how well the development meets its intended goals WHILE ALSO promoting economic HEALTH for the rest of the community (and i mean the ENTIRE community not just the middle and upper-middle class). “taste” and “style” are quite different from “sustainability” and “functionality” both of which can be MEASURED.


    Otherwise, we will be in a situation where the people that control the most politicians (whether through campaign donations or the force of the mob) will be the ones whose taste prevails on what can be done with private property.

    this is going to happen DESPITE zoning laws. at least zoning laws make it more difficult for developers to do whatever the hell they want (not that you could tell by looking at saint louis).

  31. licklider says:

    I’m grateful that someone finally picked up on this issue. It bothers me that a number of downtown restaurants and clubs routinely appropriate public property for private use. This doesn’t happen in a mature, confident city. This notion that the public needs to simply be grateful for those doing business in the city only happens because we are insecure about the inherent value of this place.

    By the way, Copia is not a particularly good citizen in other ways as well. Their dumpsters are located in the public right-of-way in St. Charles St. to the rear of the property. They routinely overflow with trash and are never covered. Trash often overflows into the street. After hearing complaints, the city health department agreed that this violated city ordinance and “talked” to the owner. The owner has done nothing at all to rectify the situation, with no consequences.

    When downtown had no residents, some of these business practices could be overlooked. It is a neighborhood now and businesses need to adjust to the needs of a resident population.

  32. cwe63108 says:

    I love the “What are you doing for the City” ‘debate’.

    It actually sounds like both of you are looking forward to making the City a better place.

    Sometimes people butt heads and their usual common decency flies out and the a-hole comes into the picture.

    It’s probably worth a good, nice long sit down with this guy and Joe Edwards, over a nice meal to exchange business ideas and ideas for the City.

    That being said; I will support you in your peaceful protestation of illegal and unhelpful behavior.

    Thanks for your blog. And all hail the video camera!

  33. Maurice says:

    Steve, You did what any other reporter would have done. You set the stage and hoped the outcome would be what you wanted. No different than Rick Davis or the others that do those ‘you paid for it’ segments. Now having said that, I actually agree with what you did.

    And I agree with (I think it was Matt) Screw those with the ‘we are here to do you a favor’ attitude. They are there to make money. It is the customers that are doing the favor.

    And I also am in the food service industry and if one my employees did that, they would be fired immediately and so would I if I did that. That is rediculous.

    I hope that everyone that reads your blogs remembers it and votes with their dollars. BOYCOTT. There are other hot spots.

    Keep us up to date please.

  34. Craig says:

    Adam, if you are a homeowner, I would like to judge whether you are using your property for the greatest good of the community (that is the measuring stick that you suggest we should judge all landowners by). By the way, your standard of judging the value of developments is completely Marxist, which is fine if you realize it as such.

    Back to the homeowner. Many homeowners have some spare space in their house or condo. Maybe you do. I know that I do. Does that homeowner rent out that extra space, either to someone who needs a place to live or to someone who needs some extra storage space?

    Under your view, if the homeowner has any spare room in their house and they are not renting it out then they are not using their property for the greatest economic benefit to the community. You would judge them as bad landowners.

    Your standard doesn’t make sense for landowners and it doesn’t make sense for developers of commercial real estate either. For one, you are assuming that the highest economic good to a community can be calculated. It simply cannot. No one can predict the future.

    Next, I don’t know what right a community has to tell a private landowner–whether private or commercial–what they should do with their land. What is the justification for this?

    The urbanist camp simply assumes that they have the right to judge the best use of land based upon their own standards–they are not alone in this position in American society. Why bother with private property?

  35. When private property affects the public area we have the right as citizens to pass judgement.

  36. john says:

    As a society, we have agreed that the collective will has power and authority to govern, even such details as use of private property/fixtures as in the context of real estate. These rules are codes which help identify community standards and acceptable modes of behavior. The distinct lines between free market, laissez-faire economic principles, and collective control/regulation do not exist in reality and thus blurred.

    The bullying tactic by Copia to confiscate the use of public property was challenged by Steve. Instead of being a positive element of our society by correcting such misappropriation, the owner/manager lashed out verbally and clearly communicated his anti-democratic/superior-than-thou assault.

    The urbanist camp has been criticised for its top-down approach in attempting to influence urban design. Personally, I believe the organic method would eventually lead to superior results but these methods are more complex and difficult to implement, especially when given the ineptitude of local elected leaders.

    The highest economic good is an abstraction but it is used as a basis of comparison and conversation. Communal assets such as future tax receipts, sidewalks, streets, etc. are legitimate topics and should be part of any constructive conversation. These assets are not part of a Marxist conspiracy and duely serve to aid all parties, including consumers, developers, owners and other members of society.

    Again it is great when capital providers invest to improve society for the overall good and they do so in anticipation of making a good return. This opportunity is not available under Marxism and is the reason we are prospering. When these opportunities create a “holier-than-thou” attitude we all loose.

  37. Dole says:


    You say that the government & society has no right to tell a citizen what to do with their land. That is foolish….

    What if somebody wanted to open a strip club next to an elementary school?

    What if somebody wanted to open a chemical factory in a residential neighborhood?

    If the community has no right to tell a citizen what to do with their property, how can we have environmental laws? What about noise restrictions?

    The point is…(and I usually lean fairly libertarian) in rural areas you can have an “anything goes” attitude, in dense urban areas there must be regulations.

    Furthermore, the issue here is about taking up public space for private use. Another question for you to ponder…if you think it is just fine to take so much public space for private use…what if I want to gather a few friends and put chairs in the street for a party? It would be the same thing.

  38. Adam says:


    do you have me confused with craig? please tell me where i said:

    the government & society has no right to tell a citizen what to do with their land

    i’m pretty sure you have me confused with craig. and your example about a strip club opening next to an elementary school sounds like a good excuse for both zoning laws and public input on private developments if you ask me.


    first of all i am not a homeowner; i have only rented. hypothetically, if i have a home with an unused closet or a guest room that is unused most of the time, that is one thing. if i have a two or three story home with multiple vacant rooms sitting on several acres of unused property, that is wasteful and selfish. so you are right, such a person is not considering the impact of their property on the wellness of others. “oh, but this is a free country and yada yada.” well, that’s great but selfish choices are still selfish choices. the same goes for businesses. just because the system allows it doesn’t make it good. call it Marxist, socialist, hippie, whatever you want.

  39. Adam says:



    you are assuming that the highest economic good to a community can be calculated. It simply cannot. No one can predict the future.

    no, actually i am not assuming that the “highest” economic good can be “calculated”. but positive/negative economic effects can certianly be predicted within margins of error, as in any science. given the first of a particular type of development perhaps you can’t tell how that development will impact the community. given multiple examples of a particular type of development and by observing thier impact on the community, you certainly can make predictions. the more examples you observe the more accurate your predictions become. look at all the abandoned strip malls littering the city. it would be incorrect to say that building a strip mall will necessarily have a positive economic impact on the surrounding community.

  40. Dole says:


    My apologies, I was speaking to Craig.

  41. Craig says:

    Hi, Dole. As far as the strip club next to the school, I would say that the strip club should have a right to be located there. As a practical matter this would never happen even in a world without zoning (unless done by a provacateur in order to get a rise out of people). No strip club patron wants to walk past an elementary school on their way to view dancers. Strip club owners know this, and they know that such a location would be a good way to lose money.

    Market economics and consumer choice can take care of most of these problems. Let’s say the law allows a chemical plant to be built next to a residential neighborhood. Chemical plants are massive and a company would need to buy a lot of land to build one. The lesson to the homeowner would be to buy in an area where there is not a massive amount of cheap, empty land. Stay in a relatively dense area (the urbanist’s dream!) and you don’t have to worry about a chemical plant.

    If someone does get stuck next to a plant, American law has developed the concept of nuisance in order to compensate a land owner when their use of the land is interfered with (and that is the only line we should draw with respect to how another land owner may use their land). Chemical dust raining down on your home? Bring a lawsuit. You will win, easily. Looking at it from the company’s point of view, why would you build in an area that would subject you to substantial liability because you’ve interfered with another’s use of their land.

    And then we come to noise ordinances. Noises travel from one person’s land to another. They interfere with another’s lawful use. Again, that is the only to draw (I regretfully forgot to mention that in my earlier post).

    Finally, I am no fan of the cones on the street and I am not defending that. I am just critiquing “urbanism”, and I thank UR for allowing me to use this forum.

  42. Adam says:

    while i agree that homeowners should stick to denser areas (for the sake of efficient use of resources if nothing else) i disagree that people should locate themselves based on what might possibly be built in a location at some point in the future. if the residents were there first, it is up to the chemical plant to regulate itself in such a way that it doesn’t become a nuisance. if it can’t do so, it should not be allowed to build there or it should be shut down. to allow it would be to favor the chemical plant’s private ventures over those of the neighbors. your chemical plant example is pretty extreme though, and i don’t see what it has to do with market economics and consumer choice, since most likely the neighbors surrounding the chemical plant do not make up its clientele.

  43. Craig says:

    The chemical plant example was not mine. It was brought up by Dole. Consumer choice plays a role in this because people have a choice in where they choose to buy real property. It also plays a role because people can choose not to patronize businesses that they don’t like, thus hurting the revenues of the company (and possibly affecting the company’s future decisions).

    If a homebuyer wants to make a wise purchase they absolutely should consider their surroundings when purchasing a home. Surroundings and potential future development have a huge impact on a home buyer’s decision. I don’t need to REQUIRE people to consider their surroundings when buying a home, they already do.

  44. Jason Toon says:

    Craig, you cite “consumer choice” as the mechanism for working out the kinds of issues that urbanists want to use government and community planning to solve.

    But doesn’t this assume that property owners, developers, and investors – I’ll call them “the financiers” for short – are acting from coldly analytical, objective motives? These people are human, after all, with human preconceptions, and the human tendency not to change their way of doing things if they don’t have to. I think the point being made by Steve’s critiques of Loughborough Commons, Southtown Centre, etc. is that these developments don’t make sense through any lens – other than the received prejudices of the financiers about what kinds of developments and investments are appropriate and viable.

    Surely, the countless empty storefronts in places like St. Louis Marketplace do not make a good case for the profitability of further such developments in the city. And yet, they keep getting built. Why? Where’s the pure market logic in that?

    The “consumer choice” panacea fails in other ways, too. Take your strip club/elementary school example. You say we wouldn’t need to prohibit that because no strip club owner would place his business there. If one did, any nuisances could be worked out through lawsuits, and the business would ultimately fail.

    Well, how long would that take? Should we expect the people whose children attend that school to put up with the attendant nuisances long enough for the market to work its invisible magic? Should we expect them to exercise their “consumer choice” by upping stakes and moving away? Is mass exodus the kind of response to nuisance that would strengthen cities? And where would they be safe from further such problems, if no municipality has the right to prohibit them?

    Also – what if the range of choices being offered by the financiers doesn’t include any choice that the community wants? Do existing residents and businesses have any standing to negotiate with the financiers for something better? If we look at disasters like St. Louis Marketplace and decide we’d rather have something else down the block from us, what are our choices – move to Chicago or shut up and take it?

    Your view – correct me if I’m wrong – is that the only person whose opinion matters is the person whose name is on the deed. Forgive the rest of us if we’d rather not live in that world.

    Alas, all this is interesting but mostly theoretical. Humanity has not yet seen a Randian Utopia, and never will – a commitment to pure capitalism tends to weaken when the bail bondsman and the payday lender and the pawnbroker want to set up shop next to your house.

  45. Adam says:

    ugh … a homebuyer can only take so much into consideration. there are a million things that could be built on an empty piece of land and there is only so much one can do to try and guess what might end up there. it becomes even more difficult to guess how land might be reused over a period of decades. do you seriously expect homebuyers to avoid buying next to every vacant piece of land for fear of what it may become ten or twenty years down the road?

  46. Adam says:

    i’m not saying homebuyers shouldn’t exercise caution but similarly private businesses should have to exercise consideration.

  47. Craig says:

    Thanks, Jason. I respectfully disagree with your statement that projects like DESCO’s Loughborough Commons don’t make sense through any lens. DESCO is not out to lose the money of its owners. I’m sure that the development makes quite a bit of sense to them. And if you ask the community, I’m also sure that a number of people will tell you that a new grocery store makes sense to them — with or without sidewalks or bike racks.

    Developments like St. Louis Marketplace make perfect financial sense to developers–even if they go unleased. Why? The developer of StL Marketplace used TIF and $15 million in city-backed bonds to finance the construction. The developer risked nothing. This is a case of government getting involved in the market and really screwing it up. So my answer is that the free market was never really acting in StL Marketplace.

    I suspect that the same thing will happen with most of the new residential and retail development downtown.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I was downtown Sunday through Tuesday at the Missouri Municipal League Conference at the Grand Renaissance – this week. I was walking up Washington Avenue with a friend – that part of Washington Avenue looked dead. My friend even commented on all of the cones and no cars and what a waste that was. Yet, when I had dinner outside on 10th street. I did not have that same feeling. There were cars everywhere and people walking around from the conference I was attending.

    People at the conference were from every city within the state of Missouri, they kept saying – yes there is activity near the hotel but “up Washington is dead and looks unsafe”. I know it’s not unsafe because when I had dinner on 10th street. I watched a guy leave a new BMW M-3 (Suitable for Valeting at Copia :-))running with the windows down while he picked up his food. So, yes I know the city is safe. The car would have been stolen by a teenage in Chesterfield if left running in front of an ApplebeeÂ’s.

    Bottom line at the conference the streets that look empty appear unsafe. You have great shops in the area. Pack it with cars and people 7 days a week and more people will come along with tax revenue. But a fake environment packed with all luxury cars doesn’t seem appealing either.

  49. getalife says:

    You people really amuse me, with all of the high fives for Steve and the “right ons.” You act like this valet parking issue is such a huge impact on our society, downtown living, and lives in general, but seriously, get a life.

    First of all, I would just like to point out that Copia’s valet takes up, maybe at max, eight parking spots. What happens when the ninth, tenth or twentieth car comes down Washington Avenue? Where are they supposed to park?

    Second of all, as a downtown resident, I would feel much more comfortable, if I were that twentieth car, valet parking my car, rather than having to park in an alley somewhere or paying ten dollars to park in a parking lot. Especially, as I have had my car broken into and wallet stolen.

    Ultimately, there are bigger fish to fry than how many feet Copia’s valet takes up on a nightly basis. How about let’s focus on the crime, the homeless and bringing revenue to Downtown St. Louis, even if it means rich people driving expensive cars. So, Steve, I’m with Copia. I don’t care who you are. Obviously, if you’re petty enough to create and instigate a situation like this, all you’re looking for is publicity and fame, not a solution to a problem.

    [UR – Well, “getalife”, you are way off. First, I have been seeking a solution for months — spending many hours trying to get resolution and researching alternatives.

    As others have indicated, this is have an impact on downtown residents and other businesses in the area. So, this is in fact a real issue that warrants a real solution — not simply a street department willing to issue permits for any and all of a street that a single business requests.

    That side of the block contains roughly 10-12 spaces, not just 8. To use your example what happens by the time you get to the 20th car. Well, do you want to try to accomodate 8-10 cars elsewhere or 20 cars elsewhere? Some of us are still a bit sensitive about losing a building on the National Register of Historic Places for a parking garage so excuse me if I think you fail to grasp the seriousness of the overall implications of parking.

    I’ve never said eliminate valet parking. Bring in all the rich folks you want spending tons of money on expensive meals and wine — we need the sales tax. Just don’t up the entire block doing it. We can actually do both — this is not either or.]

  50. Matt says:

    Huh? Your post doesn’t make a lot of sense, in a couple of ways.

  51. john says:

    It seems like someone’s an idiot for leaving their wallet in the car. You deserved to be robbed.

  52. caroline says:

    that guy said “fuck joe edwards”!
    joe edwards is a nice guy who’s done a great deal for st louis.

    not to mention far more powerful than some dinky wine bar owner.

  53. DB says:

    Joe Edwards is a heavyweight in this town. If this dweebonski thinks he will shove Edwards around, he’s gonna be in for a rude awakening.

  54. awb says:

    Maybe he doesn’t know who Joe Edwards is.

    Why would valet parking need more than 3 parking spots? They don’t have a permit to park cars in the metered, public parking spaces.

    As for parking on the street or in a parking lot, where do you think the valets take the cars they don’t leave at the parking meters? They go to the lot south of copia.

  55. John says:

    Steve get a life you FAT F**KING DIP S**T… Copia is a great place to eat and to check out the night life in St Louis.. And stop trying to bug 17 year old kids trying to pay for school.. And I hope I never see your face downtown if I do I will have to strap on one of those cones and chase you block to block….

  56. Adam says:

    i love when people resort to homophobic bullying because they don’t have shit for an argument otherwise. good one, john!

  57. Richard Kenney says:

    Steve, I love it, and you held your ground well. Your readers should drop by the Copia on a daily basis and grow their personal traffic cone collections. If the cones are on the street and have no legal right to be there, then they’re fair game for anyone who wants one.

  58. jeebus! says:

    Wow, this is really interesting. Have to say though, I’m with Copia on this one. Yeah, ET’s “fuck you’s” and all else were pretty awful, but then again how do you expect a business owner to react to a surprise attack like this in the middle of an evening of business when he has 18 other things to think about at that moment? Though your comments were rational, your movement of the cones and call to the police is pretty antagonizing. And like he said, if the police tell him to move the cones, then he’ll move the cones. But why should he answer to a stranger, a pedestrian on the street, with no authority? So while his reaction was heated, it is at least understandable.

    On the other hand, as a city dweller and worker who has frequent conversations with other city dwellers/workers, you are seen in the community (aside from your loyal blog following, apparently), as a bit of a nutjob. This is not my personal opinion, as I really don’t follow your blog or your activism very much – but it is an opinion I’ve heard expressed often, and especially since the Copia incident.

    As for the actual issue, I just don’t see it as that huge of a deal. The valet at Copia uses about 6 parking meter spaces (there is a fire hydrant in front, so a large portion is no-parking anyway). If Copia doesn’t put their cones in the street, those meters would be filled with parked cars – so the point about using a lane of traffic is moot. There will never be moving traffic in the right lane on either side of Washington Ave, as there are ALWAYS cars parked in those lanes. And if Copia continues to use the 6-7 parking meter spaces to valet cars, well, you’re down 6-7 meters every evening except Sunday. But you also have a thriving restaurant on the block that is pulling in tons of business and revenue not only for itslef, but for all of the other surrounding businesses in the area. And if you think that Copia paring down to 3 or so meter spaces for their valet will help, you are ridiculously misguided. See what happens on a Saturday night when they only have 3 spaces (or 75 feet) for cars to pull in for valet. The rest of those county-brownie Hummers and gigantic SUV’s will be sitting in the only moving traffic lane on Washington, waiting for the opportunity to pull into the 75 feet of valet space to be parked, thus blocking the eastbound flow of traffic, causing jams and honks and all manner of mess. All so 3 or 4 more people can park at a meter on Washington between 11th and Tucker. Not much of a solution to what is really only an imagined problem by conflict-pickers like you.

    Besides, there are no other businesses on Washington between Tucker and 11th that are open in the evenings anyway, so Copia isn’t stealing spaces from other businesses at all. Just a few parking meter spaces blocked off in order to ease the imminent congestion caused by valet in the first place. And there are really a considerable number of open meters most times day or night on 11th Street.

    [UR — Hmm, nutjob? OK, fine.

    Let me address some of your points. First, “ET” didn’t seem to have much to do but stand around inside his restaurant and wait for the police to arrive. It was a Tuesday evening and the place was pretty dead. Face it, he is not the new kid on the block anymore.

    It is sad when we don’t expect business owners to have any responsibility to citizens as they have “no authority.” Well, I believe we as citizens and tax payers need to have greater authority over our public space. If that means some civil disobedience to get it then so be it.

    Yes, you don’t get the importance. Most don’t. I understand that, most people don’t understand what urbanity and street life is really all about. Most thought I was a “nutjob” when I pushed to get on-street parking on Washington Ave in the first place.

    For the record, and if you had bothered to read what I’ve written about the issue, you’d realize that block by Copia has 10 spaces total. If we used a system of “pay-n-display” we could likely accommodate another 2-3 cars.

    Copia has mostly left all 10 spaces empty, instead blocking off the entire block. This is a waste of space and was part of my issue with them — it makes the block look rather abandoned. Since the video they have been using the space more fully and from what I’ve heard being more open to residents in the adjacent building wanting to park there.

    But you and many others continue to miss the important thing here: these are public spaces for use downtown — not just patrons of Copia. I’m in complete agreement about allowing Copia and other places to have valet parking, not just at the expense of others. In an urban setting people park and actually walk to their destination. Many, like myself, frequent more than a single place on a visit and will often walk multiple blocks while downtown. Thus, the fact no other restaurant is open in the 1100 block of Washington is moot. In the 1000 block you have Kitchen K and Dubliner. Soon to open on 11th is a soup place and you also have Mosaic. Over on 10th you’ve got 10th Street Italian. These are all within a single block of these spaces.

    Conversely, someone visiting Copia may park in front of Kitchen K. Do we want Pablo running out and screaming at those people using public parking spaces if they are not eating at his fine establishment? Of course not.

    The true “nutjob” is the person that thinks it is OK for a single business to co-op 10 public parking spaces — the entire city block — just for their one business.

    But I love your rationale. The county Hummer folks will be blocking the only lane of traffic causing a mess when Copia uses only 75 feet to park cars rather than many more. So your crisis is real and mine is only imagined? But, you need to argue that since I am a nutjob and you are a rational person, right?

    Suppose you are right, say they have a waiting line of 3-4 Hummers that cannot get into the valet drop-off space. Why is that? You argue, I gather, they need to have 3-4 spaces in that lane as a stacking zone so that people can wait in line until a valet can get to them. Well, it sounds to me like you are asking other businesses and residents to give up these spaces because Copia & Midwest Valet are understaffed with respect to valets. If they indeed have such a huge demand they need to have adequate staffing.

    In my real world observations, which are quite numerous, the issue has been that patrons of Copia are forced into using the valet service because guess what, the spaces on the street are taken up by the valet service itself!

    And finally, many storefronts remain unleased both in that block and others. Attracting additional businesses is important to the long-term success of not only Washington Ave but much of downtown. Allowing a few restaurants to strong-arm the city into turning over a dis-proportionate number of public spaces is not the way to build a thriving neighborhood.

    But what do I know, your friends and co-workers think I’m a nutjob.]

  59. IDIOT says:

    Wow Steve, I wonder if YOU were the one who burned Copia down???? You just seem far too interested with Copia taking up parking spaces, and have comitted a number of your “columns” over Copia and ET. Just suspicious behavior if you ask me.

  60. F You Steve! says:

    If you’re so interested in the law, you might have chosen the wrong profession, otherwise, butt out of people’s lives. His “F you’s” were because you stirred the shit, how would you feel if someone came up to you and said/did such things? YOu don’t think it’ll make their blood boil? Seriously, find an f’n life you big douche cock. Who give’s a rat’s dicksack about valet parking?????

    Find a new passion. maybe it was ARSON?

    [SLP — In case anyone is wondering, this comment, the prior comment and one on the recent Copia fire are from the same person who is related to the owner of Copia.]

  61. ANSYStar says:

    hey u goatfucker, how bout u go run around the block so u can lose some weight and u can make it to the donut shop, in the mean time u can be bitch ’bout some valet parking… Wow… geta life… And the do u know who i am part… Thinking ur a bigshit is not gunna change ET’s opinion. By the way, off the record, i know your a beastiality lover…

    [SLP — LOL, goats aren’t allowed in my building.]

  62. ANSYStar says:

    and just to let u kno, the only way u found out those were the same person was because of the ip ur not smart… If u reply to my message ur gunna get hacked go ahead i dare u.. im gunna fill up ur computer with botnets and tear ur website doen

  63. ANSYStar says:

    someone is pissed

  64. ANSYStar says:

    yea steve did u make that rule up after everyone started to copy u by fucking goats in the building?

    [SLP — Seems anger runs in the family.  Gee, with such winning personalities I can’t imagine they’d have anyone angry at them.]

  65. ANSYStar says:

    fatness runs in ur family, what i already kno that and im not even part of there family u fat fag, u look like u have a dick up ur throat i kno u like that, thats u got aids from a boy

  66. Nadim T. says:

    hey jealous steve

    you were really interested in copia wine and making problems

    maybe you have a problem with people who come from

    another part of the world….i don’t like the way you treat

    people just to get FRIENDS…..someday we are BEST

    FRIENDS in germany we say opfa du wirst leiden!!


    StEVe go to the doctor to lose weight FAT BAG!

  67. Burn! says:

    Hey Steve Patterson & Co., why don’t you take your gay community and devote all this time and energy you put on a minor issue in the city; you clearly seem to demonstrate hatred and jealousy over people who own “expensive cars” because that’s all that ever rolls out of your cum-swapping mouths, sounds like anyone with money automatically leaves a bad taste of shit in your mouths. A biased set of columns with ill-informed research if you ask me.

    Each of these big businesses pay over $15k in taxes that goes to help the city, have you TOPPED THAT Steve??? What the fuck has your fat sore ass done for the city other than making a huge fat fuck out of yourself? That’s why I see you’ve come SO far along with the valet parking issue!

    -Big Business contribution to the city: $15k or more from each business

    -Steve: Nothing. Pursuing issues that have gone no where. Posting comments on this blog that high-five Steve that were authored by Steve himself.

    “I am a blogger”. Try using that line to get laid.

  68. once-a-downtown-diner says:

    Well those last 8 comments reflect very poorly on Copia and the owner of Copia and his family. How sad Copias owners are bringing a PR campaign of ‘destoy an Urban blog’ to cover-up the situation there. I will continue my boycott of Copia and wish that they do not reopen. Maybe they should go back to Chesterfield.

  69. Anonymous says:


    The statments made by “ansystar”, “hornystar” and “Nadim T” are NO ONE from the family of Copia. I can tell you Copia and its family has a lot of friends who are saddened over the recent series of events; but just to verify to you it can be no one from our family: nobody from our family would ever poke fun of a person’s sexual orientation. In fact, I personally [and so does many members of our family] support gay marriage. I personally am friends with many gays. We would never make those horrible comments and they are not from us.

    You have every right to free speech, and I hope we can just put this behind us; it is a horrible time for the family of Copia and I am hurt that those earlier comments are perceived to be from the family of Copia, because it is not true.

    Please everybody have a happy new year.

    [SLP — Really, not from the family?]

  70. Anonymous says:

    We also regret that someone made the comment earlier that Steve was involved in the arson; Steve would never do arson. I briefly was a Criminal Justice major and we devoted a great deal of a semester that showed the criminal characteristics of an arsonist; the criminal characteristics of an arsonist (based on statistics) come from a heterosexual, white, male. 98% of the time, if not 100. Steve does not fit those characteristics. This article was also written last year, but is gaining readership because of the recent events involving Copia.

    ET is a nice person and so is his family if you know us personally; anyone will react negatively when you step on their toes and exploit them – and to make this the only image available to the public for him/us is unrighteous to do. It is the same media tactics mainstream media uses to gain props for the Bush Administration. I am just speaking out of fairness and I know you are not a bad person, Steve.

    [SLP — That “someone” would be you!  You’ve created far more damage than I and my brief little video ever could, might I suggest that you stop while you are behind?]

  71. Anonymous says:

    Steve, you are not fooling anyone. You made the posts under “once-a-down-diner” and “Steel” on the Copia Fire article yourself and perhaps many others. And why would you not? Even the timing of those come close to the comments made against you. (And rest assure everyone else: any other comment made against me after this one is more than likely STEVE). If you want to tirelessly challenge me on this, because you’re a big weirdo who has IP locater like an earlier commentator suggested, you can go ahead and look up the IP addresses of each of those posts that will confirm to you they are not from any persons associated with Copia. You obviously are a manipulative person who does not like to sit in peace. The only “damage” here done is costing YOU; you have no idea how many eyes are on you ever since the recent arson. Even though you don’t fit the “status quo” of a criminal who committed arson, a person I spoke with in the Bomb & Arson investigation has pointed out to me otherwise. I hope you suffer the exploitation and embarrassment you deserve when investigators question you. You get a thrill of casting truly good people in a false light, because you are one conniving son of a bitch. You also have no idea how many Missouri torts you’ve obstructed with this undercover video-tapping of yours as a “journalist”; have you read the laws? Even though this took place on a public street, the Copia owner had a reasonable expectation of the conversation in privacy and you took what he said to use against him and misrepresent him; he also told you to leave his property because you were harassing an employee and making a scene during business hours; these are all elements described in MO torts of the unlawfulness of your video-tapping — even if you called a “police”. It is also over an “issue” that is no legitimate concern to the public. All of these laws combined prove you had lawfully no right to do what you did. You are doing all of this because you are a bitter and unhappy individual, and you will die a lonely man because of it. I wish you no good in your life, and may you live in more sorrow and uneasiness than you have.

  72. Anonymous says:

    P.S. The dialogue of the video tapping also suggests that a part in the very beginning when you were harassing the employee was PURPOSEFULLY LEFT OUT in the video footage you posted on your blog. Why was that part left out Steve? Why???

  73. Anonymous says:

    Oh and Steve, before you turn on the “awaiting for moderation” on the comments to your blog like you very earlier have 🙂 since you’re one insecure and manipulative individual, I wanted to say the cited MO torts you have obstructed with this video-tapping of yours, thinking your motherfucking John Stossel of 20/20 — these are the cited torts that can potentially cost you legal penalties: “Surveillance”; “Public-Related Violations”; “False Light” (the biggest tort you’ve obstructed and easily prosecutable); “Offensive Context”; “Intrusion”; and “Fraud or Misrepresentation.” Good day, sir!

    [SLP — Wow, I’ve had plenty of people have intellectual disagreements with me before but never someone so abusive in their language and allegations.]

  74. hebchop says:

    Joe Edwards could use his pony-tail power to kick that guys arse. Bummer about the fire.

  75. Grace says:

    I agree with the person who noted that calling the police before moving cones would have been more appropriate. Maybe a quick review on how to engage in a productive conversation: a) say hello b) introduce yourself c) state your concern using ‘I’ rather than ‘You’ statements. I don’t think you can fault someone for reacting badly when you show up at their work, start rearranging things, fail to identify yourself (except for the allusion to royalty – the “do you know who I am?” bit), namedrop (does everybody want to snuggle Joe Edwards?), and whip out a videocamera without so much as an introduction.
    In other words, if you want to be a cop – go to the academy. If you want to be an active, involved, concerned citizen – maintain a congenial demeanor. Behavior like yours makes it harder to actually solve problems like this.
    On a different note, thank you for photographing the extremely unfortunate fire. What a shame.

    [SLP — I had tried, for months, a more diplomatic route as well as calling police to enforce rules printed on the valet permit in their hand. This video experience, tapped on a public sidewalk, was not the first interaction. Interestingly, it took the video to get some real changes from the city on how they administer their valet program.  Keep in mind that I had just seen Joe Edwards like an hour before at a function and we had discussed the progress on this plans for the bowling alley.]

  76. once-a-downtown-diner says:

    Nice try ‘Copia relative’, BUT this is NOT Steve. I used to have a business downtown. Two years ago when I was not allowed to park in front of a building I worked at/leased, due to insane valet-services run amok, I told myself enough. I have boycotted your establishment and others that break the law and treat people who live and work downtwon poorly…. (oh, let me rephrase that, folks that lived and worked downtown BEFORE 2005!) It has nothing to do with a fire, unless your valets set it! We need more folks like Pablo and Joe E. who know how to WORK WITH folks who live downtown and NOT trample them because it is the new trend! (Sorry Steve, they think you are me!) lol. I almost never post here anyways but the attack on Steve was out of line.

    [SLP — Thanks.  There are over 12K comments on my site and not a one is from me pretending to be someone else — such practices would be unethical and are unnecessary because of the large readership and those who contribute their view.  I have a very complete comment history as well.]

  77. Anonymous says:

    Heh – that’s why I see all of you combined are doing much better off than the owners of Copia are. I hate to inform you, but your opinions are VERY minor. Why don’t you stop speaking so much static, and start making points of reasonableness? If it was such a large issue at hand, I would have heard about it in the media and talks among the public, but never have before (and I’m a very well-informed citizen who pays attention to the news on a daily basis; not just “CNN” or “Fox”). If the residents living in the lofts on Wash Ave had a problem with it as you used as a point of defense in your video (“what if a loft resident wants to park here on the street?”) they would have taken measures on their own but they never did. They have their own parking accommodations that come with security better than the public streets can offer; and I KNOW that because my BFF lives in the Vangard lofts. Also, like earlier people have noted, you’re a random pedestrian-stranger throwing demands in a barbarous manner to ET; you are nobody for someone to take orders from — it shows a clear demeanor of narcissism in your character to seriously expect the public to know who you are. You are not a person of authority for anyone to obey and listen to (and you never will be). You may like to think in your own little world as you’ve stated earlier that the public is the authority (“we the public are the authority as tax-paying citizens”) has little to no validity — your rationale on who’s “authority” is quite frankly NOT the way our society functions; that is YOUR theory and NOT the practice of common law. Even if you’ve tried in the past to take diplomatic measures as you allegedly have, it gives you no reason or excuse to expect business owners to listen or cooperate with you in the uncivil way you have chosen to handle it. Besides that, all your little statements casted from thin-air like “I have the right to free speech” are so irrelevant that make no strong points to the issue at hand (and easily laughable, not to mention). If you were indeed a peaceful and stable individual who wanted to make an effective difference in your community, you would not have created commotion to draw attention for your name and bloggery (I mean, you seem to love the publicity of your blog and have already assumed yourself the role of a well-known public figure, which is far from the truth — I’ve never even heard of you in my life). If you wanted to solve a problem in a peaceful manner and not like some obtrusive gypsy, you would have just called the police like the city allegedly instructed you to and stayed out of causing an argumentative fight that you ignited. You very clearly intentionally started a heated argument only for the sake of video-tapping the conversation to use in your “blog” believing it will gain you attention and fame in the media (laughable?) The whole video-tapped conversation was solely for the purpose to draw attention to your blog — the proof? Because it’s over a minor issue I’ve never heard of before in my life. [While we’re talking about the vid, you never answered my question: I wanted to know WHY the video footage on this blog INTENTIONALLY had the beginning footage cut-out when you harassed the valet employee as the dialouge between you suggested. Why did you not leave the beginning of the video when you harassed the valet employee Steve, WHY?? Sketch?] You video-tapped a conversation that had a reasonable expectation to privacy and was reasonably expected NOT to be released in the media (I’m sorry, but not everybody knows who you are) you videotaped a conversation over an issue that is of minor concern to the public (–points of many that you’ve obstructed many MO torts such as False Light and Public Related Privacy among others); you lowered an individual by fueling the flames, and then you used the statements he makes to use against him to intentionally cast him and Copia in a false light. This is unacceptable and unlawful action on your behalf, if not distasteful. First of all, you, or Joe Edwards are not doing more than Copia among other businesses for Dowtown StL: Copia was paying over $15,000 A MONTH in taxes that goes to help the city; I find it very hard to believe that yourself or Joe Edwards combined have done financially more than that for St. Louis city, or have given more than that out of your OWN pocket books for the city of St. Louis (if not Joe Edwards, I definately don’t think you’ve done more than that yourself for the city of St. Louis, or ever will.). So in the end, like it or not — money is what will helps the city revamp, and well, you may not like that but it’s the darn truth — not pointless little blogs that automatically assume the roles of power, policing, authority, and fame like yours. Steve and friends of Ste: Writing comments on this blog wishing Copia hardship after the arson incident really reveals a level of foulness in your characters. Please, let your true colors show.

    [SLP — The video includes all that I got — it was not reduced in length. I assume everyone has seen Antonio French’s remix version? BTW, In a democracy citizens have an equal voice — those that pay more taxes should not get to push around those that pay less.  I need to clarify that I have no connections to Joe Edwards or any of his enterprises.]

  78. Jim Zavist says:

    It’s interesting that Anonymous chooses to remain so.
    In the past, I’ve questioned Steve’s in-your-face style, but I’ve supported his views that valet parking needs to be controlled. Public streets (and sidewalks) are for the use of all citizens, not the private property of the adjacent property owner. Yes, the city has the ability and the right to regulate such use, but much of that regulation relies on voluntary compliance by any permit holder. The Police are not going to respond to most complaints about the abuse of parking – they have more important things to deal with, like an increasing murder rate, and other departments seem to be even more reticent. That leaves two options, everyone following the rules, or vigilante justice. If Copia’s valet people are/were following the rules, then Steve deserves all the abuse that Anonymous is heaping on him. If they were abusing the rules, then Anonymous is deflecting the issue – if you’re wrong, it doesn’t matter if you’re generating $15,000 a month in tax revenue, you’re still wrong. Play by the rules or get the rules changed, and expect members of the public to put increasing pressure on your business to comply.
    I’m also extremely disappointed that a business was shut down by arson. One, it’s impossible to predict how a fire will behave – many more people in adjacent buildings could’ve been burned out, with both financial losses and physical injury or death. Two, it’s a crime that spreads fear – the last thing the St. Louis economy needs is more fear. And three, it negatively impacts the bottom line of adjacent businesses, including ones that are struggling and/or playing by all the rules. Unfortunately, vigilante justice only breeds more of the same. I hope the authorities do catch whoever caused the fire and that they’re prosecuted. I also hope that the city is more proactive in enforcing the existing rules and regulations, and defusing situations that lead to vigilante justice.

    [SLP — This ‘anonymous’ is a member of the family, ET’s niece. I know this from the email and IP address used as it was the same as private emails sent directly to me from her. I agree with your take, the police have more important work to be doing although quality of life issues are not insignificant for those that have businesses in the area, those of us that live downtown, or those visiting downtown. And with the valet’s using similar tactics in other places such as Olive near Compton, the CWE and so on this really is a substantial quality of life issue.  When you have to call the police numerous times to the same location it gets a bit old.  I agree we don’t want people out being vigilante’s left and right — this video of me removing the cones was the only time I had ever done that.  All remaining times I simply get a few photos and video and move on.]

  79. getyourfacts says:

    Well, if “Anonymous” is indeed ET’s niece, she needs to get her facts straight. According to the Post Dispatch today it sounds like Copia was not doing so well:


    Copia is operated by the Tammas Group, a limited liability company whose registered agent is Eyad Tammas. Over the last two years, the group has been sued several times by its creditors. In 2006, a company that worked on Copia’s kitchen took the Tammas Group to court seeking $45,000.

    That same year, a Peoria, Ill., fish supplier claimed Copia had not paid for about $1,150 worth of wild-caught lobster tail. In 2007, Copia was sued by its produce supplier for an outstanding balance of nearly $4,000.

    In March 2006, the Missouri Department of Revenue placed a tax lien on the Tammas Group, listing Copia’s address, for over $7,200 in taxes and charges.

    And if Steve and his blog are so insignificant why waste her time and energy harassing him?

    [SLP — Please note that I do not link to the Post-Dispatch as their articles only last online for a few days, maybe a week at most.  So, depending upon when you read this in the future, the above link will not work.]

  80. oppositeOFstevie (= says:

    it doesn’t matter if anonymous is a part of the family …everyone can give his comment/ opinion to this topic…you should except that the family is angry right now….!!

    PS: it’s really sad to see how u treat other people
    just to get attention…you should have solved this valet problem in a friendly way….and WITHOUT THE VIDEO……


    [SLP — The video is from October 2006, quite a while ago.  Having the police and fire depts out to enforce the permit proved unproductive as they (the valet company) continued their tactics as soon as they left.  The video, however, got the ball rolling on the city tightening up their rules and procedures.  I’ve covered hundreds of unrelated topics since that time.  While abusive valet parking is an important issue to me the individual restaurants are not.  The fire was certainly unfortunate and as I recently wrote I hope they return soon as the restaurant was an important part of the downtown scene.] 

  81. DeMoN says:

    Isn’t it strange that a floundering restaurant would succumb to arson?

    I’m shocked, I tell ya.

    [SLP — It has not been established the restaurant was “floundering.”  Futhermore, the P-D has reported a disgruntled former employee is a lead suspect.]

  82. Sarah says:

    Give me a break, don’t you have something better to bitch about? ET was right when he said that Copia was bringing good business and tax revenue to the city. Copia was a fabulous restaurant, I definitely won’t be the only one who will miss that place. Also Steve, do you remember what that area looked like about 10 years ago? Not even YOU would have wanted to park your car there. Im sure there are some more important issues that you can research, because with the present state of our country I don’t think anyone really cares about a couple parking spots. Get a life!

  83. Webby says:

    *I* care about a couple of parking spots. And I have a life. Just like many people who read this blog.
    With the present state of our country, I’d think you’d find a more important issue to bitch about than a blog post from eight months ago.


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