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North City Development Meeting on Thursday 5/21

Last Monday myself I and others from the media were not allowed to see a presentation from McEagle Development regarding their plans for developing the tons of properties they’ve acquired (see post). We were told that another meeting would be held on the 21st and that media would be allowed to attend.  However, the meeting location and time was not yet confirmed. They had mentioned Vashon High School as a possible location for the meeting.

I just got the skinny:

Meeting May 21st at 7pm at Central Baptist Church Education Building 2841 Washington. For 5th & 19th ward residents. Media will be allowed.

The address is actually 2843 Washington Ave (Google Map) — the location of the closed door meeting from last week.  This large project will have a bigger impact than just two wards so hopefully everyone that has an interest in the proposal can get in to see the presentation.

I’ll have a history of the project as well as thoughts on what I’ve heard so far this Thursday morning as well as a followup after I’ve seen the presentation.


Bike to Work Day Friday May 15th

Tomorrow, Friday May 15, 2009, is bike to work day, as part of National Bike Month:

May 15, 2009, Friday 6:30 – 9:00 AM
Join Trailnet for a continental breakfast during your bike commute to work! Three refueling stations:

I work from home and suffered a stroke 15 months ago so…

Well, even I decided to get into the spirit this week:

Tuesday evening.
Above: yours truly Tuesday evening.

I didn’t ride far but the important thing is I did ride a bit.  Here is proof:


So if I can get myself onto a trike can’t you ride your bike to work tomorrow?


Media Barred From Public Meeting on Proposed Development in North St. Louis (Updated 3X)

Earlier today I got word of a meeting regarding Paul McKee’s development in North St. Louis.  I posted about the meeting and decided to go.

It looked like a public meeting:

Sign posted outside door to meeting.
Sign posted outside door to meeting.

However, the first order of business was an announcement that the meeting, about a development project,  was private and all media had to leave.  I stayed seated until a man came over to me and asked me to leave — saying Central Baptist Church was private property.  I left in shock.  Outside I found reporters from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,  KWMU radio and later KMOV that were not allowed inside.  I guess I was in good company.

A security guard was on hand to keep the press in check.
A security guard was on hand to keep the press in check.
Church representative that announced media had to leave locked both exterior doors so nobody could enter.
Church representative that announced media had to leave locked both exterior doors so nobody could enter.

The doors were locked so we could not enter the building.  The doors do have panic bars so people could exit.  While outside some regular citizens arrived.  They had to pound on the door to be let in.  Not all persons inside were residents of the two wards that had their Aldermen on the agenda (April Ford Griffin & Marlene Davis).  A third Alderman was present in the audience, recently sworn Alderman Antonio French from PubDef.org.

I’m no expert on Missouri’s Sunshine Law but I’m pretty sure this was a violation.  I’ve already filed a complaint with Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.

Developer Paul McKee was not at the meeting but the agenda listed William Laskowsky of McKee’s McEagle Development company and a Mark Johnson from Civitas, Inc.  Alderman Davis told us the public meeting would be on the 21st, most likely at Vashon High School. McKee has substantial real estate holdings in North St. Louis.  Stay tuned.

UPDATE 5/11/09 @ 11pm. KMOV reporter Ray Preston blogged about not being able to cover the meeting.

UPDATE 5/12/09 @ 7:50AM – additional coverage

UPDATE 5/13/09 @3:30PM – response from Missouri Assistant Attorney General Daryl Hylton:

I appreciate and understand your concerns about the meeting referenced.  As I understand the situation, this “meeting” was facilitated by two alderman, so that developers could address concerns of the citizens impacted by the development   Missouri courts, however, have interpreted the sunshine law to not apply to actions of individual members of a government entity when acting independently without any authority of the body;  or to meetings of less than a quorum of the entity absent an attempt to avoid the purpose of the sunshine law. See Colombo v. Buford, 935 S.W.2d 690 (Mo. App. W.D. 1996).

So the meeting was allowed to be closed to the press.  While legal it is not good PR for a project that has yet to garner any good PR.


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Meeting(s) With Developer Paul McKee (Updated)

Word is spreading of a meeting tonight either about and/or with controversial “Blairmont” developer Paul McKee:

April Ford-Griffin has announced a meeting at Central Baptist Church (2842 Washington Ave) this coming Monday 5/11 at 6pm for neighborhood residents and Paul Mckee.

There may also be a second meeting, with tentative date on May 21, possibly at Vashon.

I’ve sent an email to Ald. Griffin (D-5th Ward)  to verify this information.

McKee, through various holding companies, has purchased quite a bit of land in the 5th Ward.  For a map to the church click here.

UPDATE 5/11/09 @ 7:35pm:

As the meeting started the first announcement was the meeting was private and all media had to leave.  I was seated at a middle table with others and a man came over and asked me to leave.  More in a new post shortly.  In the meantime check out the agenda.


Mother’s Day Brings Memories & Tears

Holidays like Mother’s Day & Father’s Day bring up those days from years past.  Great memories.  Not so much from anything in particular, just having Mom & Dad there.  This is now my 3rd Mother’s Day without my Mom.  Coming up is the 2nd Father’s day without my Dad.  The day to day is easier but holidays are difficult.

One of my memories is how upset my Mom was on these holidays after the passing of her Mom in the early 1980s and her Dad in the late 1990s.  Now I get it.

My Mom in the mid 1930s
My Mom in the mid 1930s

Photographs and memories
All the love you gave to me
Somehow it just cant be true
Thats all Ive left of you

Reach out and hug your mom, or any mom, today.