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St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 27 of 2019-2020 Session

January 10, 2020 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 27 of 2019-2020 Session

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 27th meeting of the 2019-2020 session. As previously noted, they have the first two meetings labeled as Week #1, so they list this as week/meeting 26.

Today’s agenda includes four (4) new bills.

  • B.B.#187 – Arnowitz – An Ordinance authorizing and directing the Director of the Department of Human Services, to accept a Grant Award from the St. Louis Community Foundation in the amount of $26,000 for the current fiscal year and to expend those funds for the City of St. Louis “You Matter! Appropriating such funds and authorizing the Director of the Department of Human Services, upon approval of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, to expend such funds as permitted by the Grant Award Agreement; and containing an Emergency Clause.
  • B.B.#188 – Davis – An ordinance recommended and approved by the Airport Commission, the Comptroller and the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, making certain findings with respect to the transfer of up to $13,727,769 of excess moneys that The City of St. Louis, the owner and operator of St. Louis Lambert International Airport, to be used to make funds available to mitigate rates on an annual basis during the term of the Airport Use and Lease Agreement commencing July 1, 2016; containing a severability clause; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#189 – Ingrassia/Spencer/Middlebrook – An ordinance prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms by persons who are subject to a restraining order or who have been convicted of misdemeanor crime of domestic violence as provided in this ordinance, and the firearm such person is in receipt of has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce as prohibited by Title 18, Section 922g (8) and (9) of the United States Code; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#190 – Vaccaro – An Ordinance establishing a four-way stop site at the intersection of Oleatha Avenue and January Avenue regulating all traffic traveling northbound and southbound on January Avenue at Oleatha Avenue and regulating all traffic traveling eastbound and westbound on Oleatha Avenue at January Avenue, and containing an emergency clause.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2019-2020 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

 

It’s Time To End Twice Per Year Clock Changes

January 8, 2020 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on It’s Time To End Twice Per Year Clock Changes
Sunrise at the YMCA sign at 16th & Locust, April 2013 photo

All over the United States there’s an effort to end changing our clocks twice per year.

From August 2019:

So far this year, at least 36 states have introduced legislation to end or study the practice, more than any year before. Some bills call for all-year standard time, but most endorse permanent daylight saving time — which would result in an extra hour of evening sunlight for more of the year in exchange for a delayed sunrise in the winter.

The issue has played out on social media with the hashtags #DitchTheSwitch and #LockTheClock, and it has pitted recreational businesses that would benefit from longer days, like golf courses, against groups that worry about the danger of darker mornings, such as parent-teacher associations. (NBC News)

Eight months of the year, first Sunday in March through first Sunday in November, we’re in Daylight Saving Time (DST)— an hour ahead of standard time.

The federal government gives states two options:

  1. Change clocks twice per year
  2. Observe Standard Time all year.

Observing Daylight Saving Time all year isn’t an option.

States Arizona & Hawaii have chosen #2 — to observe Standard Time all year.

The recent non-scientific Sunday Poll wasn’t very popular, but that’s ok.

Q: Agree or disagree: The federal government shouldn’t let states opt out of 2x per year Daylight Saving Time (DST) clock changes.

  • Strongly agree: 4 [22.22%]
  • Agree: 3 [16.67%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [5.56%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 1 [5.56%]
  • Disagree: 5 [27.78%]
  • Strongly disagree: 4 [22.22%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

I’m personally in favor of ending the twice per year clock changes. I think I’d tend to favor DST all year over 12 months of Standard Time.

However, it’s not just one or the other. Some suggest DST, for 8 or 12 months, is bad.

Daylight saving time (DST) eliminates bright morning light that’s crucial to synchronizing your biologic clock, possibly putting people at increased risk of heart attack, stroke and other harmful effects of sleep deprivation, said Dr. Beth Ann Malow, director of the Sleep Disorders Division at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. (WebMD)

Maybe it’s good that DST all year isn’t an option?

— Steve Patterson

 

McKee’s 3-Bed Urgent Care Facility Should Not Be Named Homer G. Phillips

January 6, 2020 Featured, North City, NorthSide Project Comments Off on McKee’s 3-Bed Urgent Care Facility Should Not Be Named Homer G. Phillips

Last week it came out that Northside Regeneration developer Paul McKee wants to name his future 3-bed urgent care facility, being built on part of the former Pruiit-Igoe housing project site, after the historic Homer G. Phillips Hospital. Many were not happy about this.

The historic Homer G. Phillips Hospital is now senior apartments. May 2010 photo.

When the hospital was first dedicated in February 1937 it was known as City Hospital #2, replacing an older City Hospital #2. City Hospital #1 didn’t serve African-Americans.

In 1942 it was renamed after the man who fought to get it built:

Homer Garland Phillips (1878–1931) was a black lawyer in St. Louis who was born in Sedalia, Missouri. Son of a Minister he was orphaned at birth and raised by his aunt. He is mostly known as a Republican political figure in St. Louis and is known for being the person who was tasked with securing $1 million to constructing a new hospital for African Americans on the city’s North Side called Homer G. Phillips Hospital. (Wikipedia)

It was closed by Mayor Schoemehl in 1979, after running on a pledge to keep it open.  Four decades later the name “Homer G. Phillips” is synonymous with the historic hospital and The Ville neighborhood where it was located. It is also a man’s name.

At every turn Paul McKee has managed to make poor decisions.

Could you imagine McKee proposing a baseball field named Stan Musial Field without getting permission from Musial’s family?  Of course not. Ok, Phillips has been deceased a lot longer than Musial, but respect for someone’s name doesn’t expire.

McKee needs to find a new name for his 3-bed urgent care facility at the former Pruitt-Igoe!

This got me thinking about healthcare facilities during the Pruitt-Igoe era. The 1974 Final Environmental Impact report offered the two options:

Pruitt-Igoe Medical Action Center, 2407 O’Fallon.

Offered medical treatment for minor illnesses and injuries, a weight reduction program,  prenatal care and limited gynecological care. This facility, funded by Model City Agency, served Pruitt-Igoe residents almost exclusively, was closed during the relocation of Pruitt-Igoe tenants.

Jefferson Municipal Health Center, 1421 Jefferson.

Offers comprehensive child health care, prenatal classes, obstetrics and family planning, X-Rays and TB treatment. The boundaries of this facility, operated by the Health Division of the City of St. Louis, extend beyond the Pruitt-Igoe area. Service is still being provided to residents of the area.

Neither was located within the Pruitt-Igoe site, but east & west, respectively. The city eventually closed the second and the site became the headquarters for the St. Louis Fire Department.

This building, on the SW corner of Cass & Jefferson was a medical facility before becoming the Fire Dept. headquarters. May 2012 photo.
My only visit to the building was in October 2016.

McKee must be thinking that because Homer G. Philips Hospital was so important to St. Louis’ black community that taking that name will suddenly make his 3-bed urgent care as important. Sorry Paul, it doesn’t work that way.  How about Rich White Suburbanite Trying To Woo Black Supporters By Appropriating The Name Of A Beloved Institution Urgent Care? Yes, too long — but very appropriate!

Even if McKee’s planned larger teaching hospital should eventually open it shouldn’t be named Homer G. Phillips.  To learn more about the Homer G. Phillips Hospital check out The Color of Medicine documentary.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should The Feds Allow Illinois & Other States Opt Out Of Changing Clocks Twice Per Year?

January 5, 2020 Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should The Feds Allow Illinois & Other States Opt Out Of Changing Clocks Twice Per Year?
Please vote below

Daylight Saving Time will start again on Sunday March 8, 2020 — giving us an extra hour of daylight in the evenings. It’ll end on Sunday November 1, 2020. Nearly 8 months of the year, with the rest being standard time. Now Illinois is considering a major change from neighboring states like Missouri.

The idea of having Missouri and Illinois in different time zones is circulating after the Illinois Senate approved legislation earlier this year that would make daylight saving time the standard in Illinois.

Although the proposal still needs approval in the Illinois House, as well as the signature of the governor and an OK from the federal government, it has residents and business owners on both sides of the Mississippi River thinking how it might affect their lives. (Post-Dispatch)

The Illinois Senate passed bill 533 last month, it was introduced by state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill.

Originally enacted as an energy-saving measure during World War I, daylight saving time reached its 100-year anniversary in 2018. While initially reserved as a local decision, the practice became law nationwide when U.S. Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966.

As such, states that approve proposals to end the clock change must first get approval from the federal government before they take effect, according to Manar. “The only two ways that it can change in Illinois, ultimately, even with this bill becoming law, is either Congress gives us an exemption as a state or Congress implements a uniform standard presumably different than what we have nationwide,” Manar said, according to the Illinois Radio Network. (Illinois Policy)

Today’s poll is about the federal government and states wishing to make changes to DST in their states.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.
— Steve Patterson

 

 

High Marijuana Taxes Means Black Market Will Continue

January 3, 2020 Crime, Featured, Metro East, Recreational Marijuana Comments Off on High Marijuana Taxes Means Black Market Will Continue

I’ve long supported the legalization of marijuana. No, I’m not a regular user — my last time was in the Fall of 2017 to deal with severe pain after breaking my wrist.

I just think legalization is good public policy. Criminalization was horrible public policy.

In the 1930s, Prohibition was repealed in the middle of the Great Depression. Straight-laced bureaucrats looking for another target turned their attention to marijuana, which, at the time, was mostly being used in the Mexican and black communities. They painted the drug—and the communities using it—as a threat to the already crippled country and began the process of banning it. Twenty-nine states had outlawed marijuana by 1931, and in 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed, essentially making the plant illegal in the United States. (History.com)

So some bureaucrats wouldn’t be out of work during the Great Depression they used race to get marijuana criminalized! Eight plus decades later 11 states have legalized recreational use. It was 6 years ago that Colorado became the first, Illinois became the 11th on January 1, 2020.

On the first day of legal sales in Illinois the line at HCI Alternatives in Collinsville stretched hundreds of feet around the corner.

Illinois needed to legalize, for the tax revenue.

It depends on the amount of THC, the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects. In flower form, there will be a 10% tax. Edibles are taxed 20% but jumps to 25% if the THC levels are above 35%.

In most states that have legalized recreational weed, it’s typically 30-50% more expensive than illegal weed. (CBS Chicago)

That’s the part I’m struggling to get past: 30%-50% more expensive than illegal weed. The cash cow to help state budgets is keeping the black market alive.

In the United States, high tax rates have been effectively driving consumers to purchase black market marijuana.

California, for example, is taxing the daylights out of its pot buyers. In addition to passing along a state tax and local tax, buyers are paying a 15% excise tax, as well as a wholesale tax of $9.25 per ounce of dried cannabis flower, or $2.75 per ounce of cannabis leaves. Add this up, and it could work out to an aggregate tax rate of 45% on legal pot. And, mind you, this doesn’t include additional costs such as the laboratory testing on weed grown in the Golden State, which is also being factored into the price that consumers pay. (Motley Fool)

Taxes on alcohol & tobacco are higher than things like, say, toilet paper. That’s fair, I suppose. Yet there’s no black market for those, at least not that I’m aware of.

Food trucks filled the parking lot to sell food & beverage to those who waited in line for hours to buy legal cannabis.

Will the legal and illegal markets continue side by side? Maybe that’s a good balance? I need to let go of my expectation that legalization will lead to the end of the black market.

On the other hand, the black market does a poor job supplying quality concentrates & edibles.

— Steve Patterson

 

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