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Readers: Keep Workhouse Open; Patterson: Shut It Down

April 24, 2019 Crime, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Readers: Keep Workhouse Open; Patterson: Shut It Down

In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll more than half the respondents thought St. Louis’ workhouse should remain open.

The Medium Security Institution located at 7600 Hall Street, March 2010
Inside the fences

Here are the results:

Q: Agree or disagree: The St. Louis Workhouse should remain open.

  • Strongly agree: 6 [25%]
  • Agree: 4 [16.67%]
  • Somewhat agree: 4 [16.67%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 3 [12.5%]
  • Disagree: 1 [4.17%]
  • Strongly disagree: 6 [25%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

Others, including myself, strongly disagree.

In a letter to the Close the Workhouse campaign, city Comptroller Darlene Green added her voice to those who want the decrepit jail built in 1966 to close its doors forever.
“Closing MSI is the right thing to do,” Green wrote. “It is within reach and can be completed in a matter of months, not years, with focus from the administration.” (Post-Dispatch)

From last month:

When Mary Fox took over the public defender’s office in St. Louis in 2007 there were about 2,000 defendants incarcerated who hadn’t been convicted of the alleged crimes that put them behind bars. Then, as now, the bulk of the people in jail in the city were there on pretrial release, most of them poor people, many black, who could not afford the bail set by a judge.
That number, still too high, is down to about 800, Fox said Thursday night at an event held by a coalition of activist groups known as Close the Workhouse. (Post-Dispatch)

Here’s more on the Close the Workhouse campaign:

The Close the Workhouse campaign aims to attack mass incarceration, without legitimizing or justifying the continued caging of people as punishment. We call for the closure of the Medium Security Institute, better known in St. Louis as the Workhouse, an end to wealth based pretrial detention, and the reinvestment of the money used to cage poor people and Black people into rebuilding the most impacted neighborhoods in this region.

The Workhouse is part and parcel of a racist and predatory system of mass incarceration that grew directly out of slavery and Jim Crow and works to perpetuate this shameful legacy in America. The story of the Workhouse illustrates this oppressive history.

The campaign is a collaboration of the individuals subjected to incarceration at the Workhouse and lawyers and activists engaged on the issue. The campaign’s three primary organizational partners work in collaboration everyday in St. Louis to get people free: Action St. Louis, ArchCity Defenders, and Bail Project St. Louis.

The Campaign emerges directly from the outcry that was the Ferguson Uprising. It is grounded in a commitment to end an ongoing war against Black people that has been waged against generations of families in St. Louis. Our aim is not to reform but rather dismantle a racist system that has destroyed lives and to abolish the practice of criminalizing the poor. We not only seek to close the workhouse but also to use the money currently spent to cage Black people to rebuild the most impacted communities. We embrace this task in order to vindicate the victims of the Workhouse and to secure future generations’ ability to thrive.

Please join us in this fight to permanently limit the City of St. Louis’s ability to cage poor people and Black people in this region. Help us share the report and plan throughout impacted communities in St. Louis. With your support, “this is a fight we can win, it is a fight we have to win”.

The St. Louis Workhouse is part of the problem in St. Louis, it’s not a solution.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Readers Opposed To Missouri National Guard Patroling St. Louis’ Worst Neighborhoods

April 17, 2019 Crime, Featured, Neighborhoods, North City, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Readers Opposed To Missouri National Guard Patroling St. Louis’ Worst Neighborhoods
Unfinished house on 22nd Street in the Hyde Park neighborhood, August 2016

Following a recent daytime shooting Ald. Brandon Bosley started a long-overdue conversation about taking back neighborhoods from criminal elements.

The boldness of the crime, on a sunny spring day as sports fans flocked downtown, just three miles south, led the neighborhood’s alderman to call for deployment of the Missouri National Guard before the summer hits and crime spikes.

“I’m done waiting,” said Alderman Brandon Bosley of the 3rd Ward. “Before it gets too bad, we need to do something measurable. Extra hands. Extra guns. Guns bigger than the ones on the street.”

Bosley said he and the city Board of Aldermen’s black caucus had been talking for weeks about petitioning Gov. Mike Parson. He said he hoped to persuade the board to pass a resolution calling on Parson to send troops to the worst city neighborhoods. (Post-Dispatch)

The conversation took place on Twitter after Post-Dispatch writer David Hunn sent out the following tweet about the story:

I read through some of the replies, many good points made. In general I don’t like the idea of military forces being brought in. On the other hand, though I do live in North St. Louis, I’m not in a neighborhood that’s experiencing the violence that a few areas are. I get it, Bosley and residents want something done. Now!

Maybe the Missouri National Guard is the answer, maybe not. I’ve said before a lot of our problems are long-term, requiring long-term solutions. Correcting inequalities would help, but that will take many years once started. Understandably, Bosley wants action before it gets hot out.

I wish I had the answer.

Here are the results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Should Gov. Parsons send the Missouri National Guard to help patrol the worst neighborhoods in the City of St. Louis?

  • Definitely not!: 11 [33.33%]\
  • No: 7 [21.21%]
  • Hmm, don’t think so: 3 [9.09%]
  • Neither yes or no: 1 [3.03%]
  • Hmm, I suppose: 4 [12.12%]
  • Yes: 5 [15.15%]
  • Definitely yes!: 2 [6.06%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

A clear majority oppose the idea of the National Guard.

A Doug Unplugged segment on the subject, not online at this time, missed the point entirely. KMOV’s DougVaughn liked the idea, saying the National Guard should be outside Cardinals games, etc. Bosley isn’t arguing for military to make suburbanites who venture downtown for a game to feel safe, he’s trying to help the people in his ward feel safe in their neighborhoods

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should Gov. Parsons send the Missouri National Guard to help patrol the worst neighborhoods in the City of St. Louis?

April 14, 2019 Crime, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Gov. Parsons send the Missouri National Guard to help patrol the worst neighborhoods in the City of St. Louis?
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In some St. Louis neighborhoods violent  crime is driving some to the breaking point, including 3rd ward Alderman Brandon Bosley.

From last week:

Bosley said he and the city Board of Aldermen’s black caucus had been talking for weeks about petitioning Gov. Mike Parson. He said he hoped to persuade the board to pass a resolution calling on Parson to send troops to the worst city neighborhoods.

“We’re going to have tanks on every damn corner,” Bosley said. “These people have to know we’re not playing anymore.” (Post-Dispatch)

This is the subject of today’s poll.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight, I’ll share my thoughts on Wednesday morning.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: OK With Legislators Introducing Bills To Make A Point

March 24, 2019 Crime, Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: OK With Legislators Introducing Bills To Make A Point
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A Missouri legislator, Andrew McDaniel,  recently made national news. Prior to the recent shooting in Christchurch New Zealand he’d introduced two bills in the Missouri house:

35 year-old Andrew McDaniel, a state representative from southeast Missouri, has received global attention for a bill he’s introduced called the “McDaniel Militia Act” that would require every person in the state between the ages of 18 and 35 to own an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

He also has a second measure, the “McDaniel Second Amendment Act”, that would require everyone over the age of 21 to own a handgun. (Source)

After the NZ shooting McDaniel’s bills got lots of attention.

McDaniel was forced to clarify that he didn’t — technically speaking — support his own bills, at least not as written.

He wants the tax credits for firearms purchases, but that part about requiring everyone to own a gun? It was a tactic to try to bait the left.

“I wanted the media and the other side to jump on it, to show that our Second Amendment rights are under attack,” McDaniel said. “I don’t actually support mandates, hardly ever.”

But he didn’t expect the national media to get involved, a development that has cast a harsh light on his efforts, he said, because of the timing of the mosque attacks in New Zealand. (Washington Post)

So today’s poll is NOT about his bills, it’s about introducing bills that have zero chance of passing…using them to bait others.

Today’s poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

 

Please Do Not Park In Accessible Parking Spaces Without State-Issued Credentials

March 11, 2019 Crime, Featured, Parking, St. Charles County Comments Off on Please Do Not Park In Accessible Parking Spaces Without State-Issued Credentials

First, a quick lesson on disabled vs handicapped:

It is possible that a disability is the cause of a handicap. For example, if a person has a disability that prevents them from being able to move their legs, it may result in a handicap in driving.

Disabled people do not have to be handicapped, especially if they can find a way around their disability. For example, braille for the visually impaired or wheel chairs for those who cannot walk. (Diffen)

In the video from the above article they list three unacceptable words: handicapped, cripple, special.  I agree. Whenever I hear or read handicapped I equate it with the word cripple. The c-word is so bad South Park’s Eric Cartman uses it.

A 2013 photo of a Porsche squeezed into the loading space between two accessible parking spots. This is just as bad because some of us need this aisle to open our doors fully, others need it for their ramp to enter/exit their vehicle.

Sadly, the media outlets in St. Louis all used handicapped, or a variation like handicap, when reporting an unfortunate situation last week in St. Charles:

Police said the Amazon delivery driver, identified as Jaylen Walker, pulled into a handicap parking space near the front of the store and was talking to another Amazon driver when the suspect pulled up. The suspect, identified as Larry Thomlison, was apparently upset about the Amazon truck being parked in the disabled space.

Thomlison took out his cellphone to document the Amazon truck in the handicap space. He posted a picture of the illegally parked delivery truck to his Facebook page.

Wilkison said Thomlison did have a handicap placard in his car.

St. Chares County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar said Thomlison waited for Walker to come out of the Target and confronted him. It’s unclear if Thomlison was recording the confrontation.

Walker pushed Thomlison aside, at which point Thomlison punched the Amazon driver in the face. A struggle ensued and both men fell to the ground. As Walker got to his feet, he noticed a pistol in Thomlison’s waistband. Walker began to back away and then turned to run. Thomlison then pulled the gun from his waistband and shot the 21-year-old delivery driver in the back.

Lohmar said Walker will suffer from permanent physical injury—possibly paralysis—as a result of the shooting. (KPLR)

As frustrating as it has been for me the last decade since my stroke, no one parking in a reserved accessible spot deserves to be shot. Unfortunately, enforcement is often left up to those of us who just want to park and go about our business.

I can still remember the very first time I reported vehicles parked in disabled/accessible parking without state-issued plates/placard. I was only 8 or 9 and would bike to the then-new branch library near my house. If a car was illegally parked I’d jot down the description & plate number and go inside and insist they announce over the loud speaker that the owner move their vehicle. That was in the mid to late 1970s.  Yes, building codes required accessible parking, curb ramps, etc prior to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Another very important thing to remember is not everyone with proper plates/placard appears obviously disabled. When I park and walk into a business it’s very obvious I’m disabled: cane, awkward gate, visible leg brace during shorts weather, etc.  However, others might have a heart condition or some other reason for their doctor to authorize a disabled plate/placard.

In the St. Charles example, numerous lives will be disrupted because one able-bodied person decided it was ok to park in an accessible spot and another brought a lethal weapon to a confrontation.  Both were unnecessary.

— Steve Patterson

 

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Notice of Open Meeting: Parking Commission of the City of St. Louis
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