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Free Water, Not Free Gas

July 9, 2012 Featured, Media 6 Comments

For the last month or so KMOV Channel 4 has been running a free gas promotion to get viewers to watch their Awake show at 6:20am. Watch the show, figure out the clue where the gas will be given away, and then try to be one of the lucky ones that gets a full take of gas for freeI. Those of us without a car must not be in their target demographic.   The giveaway has been promoted endlessly.

Every time I see a promo I think about the cost of car ownership and how disappointed KMOV must be since gas prices have dropped. If gas prices were still near $4/gallon the promotion would have greater value. Why not transit passes to those of us helping reduce air pollution by taking public transit? Then on June 28th local radio station came to the rescue of many in the intense heat.

ABOVE: Staff from Hot 104.1 FM pulled up at the bus stops on Des Peres Ave across from the Delmar MetroLink station to distribute free water and give out free movie passes.
ABOVE: After about 10 minutes they left, presumably going to other busy bus stops to distribute cold water.

Nobody got interviewed, no microphone stuck in their face to use to promote the good deed. They were just helping out.  Thank you Hot 104.1.

— Steve Patterson


PR: Mayor appoints Roth Public Safety Director

February 24, 2012 Press Release 6 Comments

The following is a press release:


Eddie Roth

Bryson to serve as senior advisor on neighborhood affairs

St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay has appointed Eddie Roth as director of public safety for the City of St. Louis.

Roth, 53, came to city government in August 2011 to join the mayor’s staff as St. Louis’ chief performance officer. He was hired to implement recommendations made by IBM to reduce crime in St. Louis through improved coordination and communication in the City’s criminal justice system. IBM’s recommendations were part of St. Louis’ involvement, last year, in the company’s Smarter Cities Challenge program. St. Louis was the first city chosen, nationally, to participate in the program.

Mayor Slay seeks to accelerate the implementation process through Roth’s appointment as Public Safety Director.

“Eddie Roth’s experience as a Police Board president combined with his recent work to better coordinate the criminal justice system makes him ideally suited to serve as director of public safety during this important period in the City’s history,” said Mayor Slay.

Roth was a member of the Board of Police Commissioners from 1998 through 2001, serving as president in 2000-2001. He is a former editorial writer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and before that practiced law for nearly 20 years. He is past president of the Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association.

As public safety director, he will continue work as the city’s chief performance officer.

 “I look forward to working with the various arms of public safety in the City of St. Louis, including the Board of Alderman’s Public Safety Committee,” said Roth.

“As chairperson of the Public Safety Committee, I look forward to collaborating with Eddie Roth to increase safety and quality of life in the City of St. Louis,” said Alderman of the 27th Ward Greg Carter.

Roth succeeds Charles Bryson, who has served as public safety director for five years. Bryson will rejoin the mayor’s staff as a senior policy advisor with a focus on neighborhoods.

“Charles deserves praise and thanks for his service in the Department of Public Safety,” said Mayor Slay. “Charles’ experience in creating more and better neighborhood partnerships will be beneficial to our City.”

 * * *

About the St. Louis Department of Public Safety:

The Department of Public Safety is the largest municipal government department in the City of St. Louis with more than 1,400 employees.  The Divisions of the Department of Public Safety are: 

  • Building Division
  • City Emergency Management Agency
  • Corrections Division, which includes the City Justice Center and Medium Security Institution
  • Excise Division (liquor control office)
  • Fire Department, which includes the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services
  • Neighborhood Stabilization Team, which includes Citizens’ Service Bureau
  • Office of Special Events

The Department of Public Safety is responsible for:

  • Code enforcement in the development of new construction and substantial rehabilitation
  • Preventing use of unsafe buildings (monitoring unsafe buildings to prevent usage)
  • Emergency management planning (and execution)
  • Fire prevention and suppression (fire education and suppression)
  • Emergency medical services
  • Land use zoning
  • Issuing permits for residential and commercial construction, business occupancy, the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages
  • Management of correctional facilities (and inmates)
  • Neighborhood safety, enrichment programs and citizen services (work order and complaint reporting system)
  • Special events planning.

If It Sounds Too Good To Be True…

January 10, 2012 Downtown, Featured, Media 18 Comments

Twitter & Facebook were buzzing last Friday over a couple of blog posts that an urban Fiat dealership was to open in downtown St. Louis at 1015 Locust — less than six blocks from my loft. Just before I hit share my internal skeptic kicked and said: “Really?”

“Count On Downtown has confirmed with the broker of the 1015 Locust building that Fiat is planning a dealership, a Fiat Studio in Fiat lingo, on this corner of 11th & Locust. Note: Nothing is final yet. If everything works out, including permits from the city, Fiat Studio is expected to open in March 2012.” (Count on Downtown: Fiat Coming to Downtown St. Louis)

“Fiat will soon announce a move into 1015 Locust Street in downtown St. Louis. As the car dealer as reentered the American market in partnership with Chrysler, Fiat is looking to place Fiat dealerships in about 165 locations, concentrating on urban areas that have a high number of registered small cars. 1015 carries a modernist skin on a 1921 building and while the original was surely beautiful, Fiat seems to think its modern look is a good fit for the brand.” (nextSTL: Fiat “Studio” to Open in Downtown St. Louis)

ABOVE: Post on nextSTL.com with photoshop image of Fiat name on the building and an update that says "We apologize for what looks to be incorrect information."

As you can see the post was very popular on both Facebook & Twitter.

The street level retail space at 1015 Locust was created a few years ago by sectioning off part of the lobby. It’s a tiny retail storefront. Urban dealerships still need offices, parts departments, service bays and inventory storage. In places like Manhattan these are done vertically because the cost of land makes it cost prohibitive to do a typical suburban dealership. The idea of an auto dealership in 1015 Locust is laughable. But it got traction because  we want to believe such positive stories.

ABOVE: The Partnership for Downtown St. Louis tweeted the story
ABOVE: David Nicklaus of the Post-Dispatch set the record straight
ABOVE: nextSTL admitted their post was false via Twitter

The real story is the potential creative use to fill a vacant storefront space:

Bryan Hughes, sales manager for Fiat of Creve Coeur, said today the dealership is considering use of the corner street-level space at 1015 Locust Street downtown. Hughes said the spot would not be a dealership but would serve as a Fiat “display case” like those dealers sometimes set up inside shopping malls. (STLtoday.com)

Now that’s a good story! But, it’s kind of a let down compared to a full dealership. It’s the story these blogs should have run rather than suggest we are getting an urban dealership like in Manhattan.

My love affair with the Fiat 500 began after I realized the shortcomings of the smart fortwo.

ABOVE: A salesman at Fiat of Creve Coeur pulls a Fiat 500 out for my test ride, June 2011

I attended the 2011 St. Louis Auto Show a year ago so I could see one in person but none were there. Finally in June I drove out to the Fiat of Creve Coeur on Lindbergh to see them up close. Ignoring the fact I drive 3,000 miles locally per year and have no money for a different vehicle, the Fiat 500 is perfect for me.  I’ve even picked out the color I’d like: Grigio (gray). I need to buy a lottery ticket every so often because that’s the only way I’ll be able to have one.  Sales so far haven’t been that hot so buying a used one wouldn’t be easy.

J-Lo may have shamelessly plugged the 500 on awards show, but all the glitz and glamour couldn’t obscure the painful truth. Fiat sales of just under 20,000 in 2011 were not even half the annual goal of 50,000. It’ll improve in 2012, but Fiat has a long ways to go in re-establishing itself in the U.S. (CNBC)

Thursday I will post about the last auto dealership that existed in downtown St. Louis.

– Steve Patterson


Talking 2011 Tonight on KDHX

December 26, 2011 Media, Steve Patterson Comments Off on Talking 2011 Tonight on KDHX

I’ll be DJ Wilson’s guest on Collateral Damage (KDHX 88.1FM) tonight from 8:30pm-9pm (CST), talking about stories from 2011. If you are outside KDHX listening  area you can tune in online.

– Steve Patterson


Where is Downtown St. Louis? KMOV Needs to Know

September 26, 2011 Crime, Downtown, Media 31 Comments
ABOVE: Story from the KMOV iPad app

It seems the local media has no clue where downtown is, or isn’t. Or they just think it’s much much larger than it actually is. A story from this morning:

“ST. LOUIS (KMOV)– A man is shot and killed for allegedly trying to break into a home in downtown St. Louis.

This happened around 1 a.m. Monday in the 5600 block of Maple.”

Really? 5600 block of Maple in downtown St. Louis? Reporter Robin Smith correctly says north St.Louis in the video report but the online report said downtown (corrected following my tweet). Google Maps shows the distance from KMOV’s downtown studios as a 21 minute, 6.5 mile drive. Downtown? Past Saint Louis University, past Grand Center, past the Central West End — nearly to Page & Goodfellow.  Downtown huh?

Who types this stuff? Do they have editors? Are they all from Chesterfield or further where the view is the city limits is synonymous with downtown? I don’t care what the excuse is,I want them to get their stories correct. It’s no wonder I meet people who are afraid to come downtown — all they here is every bad thing that happens in the City of St. Louis is in “downtown.”

– Steve Patterson