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Recall Florida: The Movie

The movie? Yes, the movie:

Janet Reno and the Election Fiasco of 2002 A cautionary tale about the erosion of the right to vote RECALL FLORIDA starts out as a road movie, following former Attorney General Janet Reno as she takes to the wheel of her red pick-up truck and cruises the backroads and byways of Florida in her 2002 bid for Governor. As Primary Day draws near, and the state Democratic party strenuously opposes her candidacy, the film turns into a riveting story on a fundamental right in crisis – the right to vote and have that vote counted.

RECALL FLORIDA takes the audience behind the scenes, into the nerve center of a grassroots political campaign, to provide a fascinating inside look at – and raise very serious questions about – the election process itself. RECALL FLORIDA exposes our flawed electoral system, from the use and misuse of the new voting technology, to the debate over soft money, to diminishing voter participation.

Sounds like a good film. Click here for ordering info.

– Steve


Fox 2 News’ Elliot Davis Interviewing Ald. Florida

May 12, 2006 Ald Jennifer Florida, Events/Meetings, McDonald's on Grand, Media, Politics/Policy, South City Comments Off on Fox 2 News’ Elliot Davis Interviewing Ald. Florida

davis_floridaI’m reporting today from the Board of Aldermen meeting. Following the meeting Fox 2 News reporter Elliot Davis began questioning Ald. Florida. From the balcony I can’t hear his questions or her answers. Suburban Journal reporter Jim Merkel followed Davis in questioning Ald. Florida.

On a side note, the aldermanic chambers are absolutely stunning. The public balcony is located on the third floor of city hall. If you have not attended a meeting before give it some consideration if you are downtown on a Friday morning.

– Steve


Mayor Slay Says Century Would Have Crumbled in an Earthquake

I love the earthquake defense. Numerous times I’ve heard property owners seeking to raze their buildings tell the Preservation Board it should be torn down because it wouldn’t survive an earthquake, that unreinforced masonry buildings don’t perform well in earthquakes. I’ve yet to see the Preservation Board fall for such an argument because, if they did, they’d have to allow nearly every building in St. Louis be razed. The argument just doesn’t fly.

So you can understand how shocked I was when I heard Mayor Slay use the argument regarding the Century building during a phone interview on KDHX’s The Wire:

It was a beautiful building, although I did talk to one of the engineers that went in there and said, “You know if that building…if there’d been an earthquake of not even a major significance, that building would have crumbled.”

Wow, that is a pretty big claim. Usually people trying to justify an unnecessary demolition say it will take a major earthquake but here we had the major stating “of not even a major significance.” So basically he did the public a service by demolishing it. But the Century, and someone please correct me if I am wrong, was not an unreinforced masonry building.

I’m really curious now to uncover this engineer’s report making such a claim as this is news to me. Perhaps it is still being written?

The April 24, 2006 interview is still available on KDHX.

– Steve


KDHX Radio Programs Available Online

May 3, 2006 Media, Politics/Policy Comments Off on KDHX Radio Programs Available Online

Monday’s Collateral Damage and The Wire programs are now available online in streaming & podcast versions.

Antonio French, of PubDef Weekly and St. Louis Schools Watch, and myself were guests of hosts DJ Wilson and Fred Hessel on Collateral Damage.

Following us in the studio was President of the Board of Aldermen Jim Shrewsbury with The Wire hosts Amanda Doyle and Thomas Crone. They touched on many subjects including our dusty old zoning code, the McDonald’s controversy, BJC/Forest Park, aldermanic courtesy, and young people getting into politics. Shrewsbury also talks about his new website while giving recognition to Antonio and myself.

KDHX’s pledge drive begins this Thursday. Call in on Monday during Collateral Damage to make a pledge to help support public radio!


Mayor Slay’s Comments on KDHX’s The Wire

Last week Mayor Francis Slay was a guest on KDHX program, The Wire with Thomas Crone and Amanda Doyle. If you missed the program you can listen to the podcast from the above link.

Slay defended the decision to raze the Century building for a parking garage. He actually cited that an engineer told him the building wouldn’t do well in an earthquake. This is the same argument that Slay PR consultant Richard Callow gets angry about at Preservation Board meetings.

When talking about opposition to development projects Slay said the “easier approach is to be against something.” Well, maybe it is easier to twist the system to favor contributors than it is to put all the deals out in the open for scrutiny? But maybe he is right, the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen have certainly been against changing our zoning codes to favor urban forms.

The Mayor’s take on recalls was equally interesting. He characterized recalls as being abused by those that lose a race. Well, the last aldermanic recall was of Tom Bauer in the 24th Ward. He had two challengers in the last primary in March 2003 and a challenger in the April 2003 general election. None of those challengers ran against him in the recent recall. The recall was over development issues. Attempts to characterize recalls as being only from bitter losers is unfair. Sometimes citizens just get fed up with the development decisions their alderman makes and, due to aldermanic courtesy, that is really the only viable option we have to take back control. As long as untrained aldermen continue to exercise sole decision making over development within their ward boundaries we will see more and more controversy and possibly more recalls.

Antonio French of PubDef and yours truly will be guests on KDHX’s Collateral Damage tonight at 7pm. Following us on The Wire will be President of the Board of Aldermen, Jim Shrewsbury. Tune in to KDHX, 88.1.

– Steve