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Patterson & Florida Duke it out in St. Louis Magazine

If you haven’t seen the June 2006 of St. Louis Magazine be sure to find a copy. They did a short piece on the McDonald’s issue going through various issues with a point-counterpoint format with quotes from myself and Ald. Jennifer Florida. In “Round Five: The Opponent” here is what Ald. Jennifer Florida has to say about me:

“He’s a minister of disinformation. A zealot, the take-no-prisoners no compromise type.”

I consulted the Merriam-Webster Dictionary for the term ‘disinformation’ and here is what I found.

Function: noun
: false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth

If I am a “minister of disinformation” I’m doing a lousy job. All those Sunshine Law requests for documents and audio recordings does not look good on the resume of a MoD. Then, to top if off, actually publishing the letters, statements and actual audio to allow people to review the facts themselves. Not to mention publishing a well-read website with my name appearing prominently, not exactly covert. What was I thinking?

Ald. Florida, on the other hand, seems to be making an outstanding run for MoD. For example, deliberately telling Gravois Park they’d not be getting the McDonald’s in their neighborhood while working behind the scenes to do just that. That my friends is disinformation done right (well, wrong… you get the point).

Now ‘zealot’ is a different issue. Typically you see the word religious as a preface and we mostly acknowledge zealot as a derogatory term. I’m quite certain Ald. Florida did not intend to offer a compliment by labeling me a zealot.

Again, from Merriam-Webster:


2 : a zealous person; especially : a fanatical partisan


: filled with or characterized by zeal (zealous missionaries)


: eagerness and ardent interest in pursuit of something :


: characterized by warmth of feeling typically expressed in eager zealous support or activity. synonym: see impassioned.


implies warmth and intensity without violence and suggests fluent verbal expression (an impassioned plea for justice)

You know, I kinda like the progression above. Perhaps zealot isn’t so bad? An urban zealot, arden urbanist, or impassioned urbanist. What I am about is pretty clear in over 600 postings on this site. Few, if any, agree with me 100% — that is to be expected from thinking individuals. But I have to ask what is it that Ald, Florida is about? What is she impassioned about?

But I am supposedly the “take-no-prisonors no compromise type” of zealot. So my pursuit of this issue is an indication of being excessively ardent. I suppose if I were in Ald. Florida’s awkward position I might agree. From day one people have said the McDonald’s should not be relocated and she has continually said that is not an option — that it will indeed happen and she is just trying to make the best deal. If anyone in all of this is excessive in their position it would be Ald. Florida. She is refusing to even entertain the notion of looking at rebuilding the McDonald’s on its current site. Through many postings here I have continued to illustrate various viewpoints, explain the logic behind them and show viable alternates. To a degree I think Ald. Florida could be willing to seek a compromise but politically she doesn’t want to appear weak. She may well be getting bad advise from higher ups that view her as expendable — better for her to take the fall than themselves.

I do want to end with one more quote from St. Louis Magazine (you’ll need to get a copy to read the rest). From Ald. Jennifer Florida as quoted in St. Louis Magazine:

“This strip has been commercial for 30 years, and, looking at it, it’s all messed up anyway.”

Finally something out of the mouth of Jennifer Florida that I can think is her genuine feeling, “it’s all messed up anyway.”

– Steve


Urban Alternatives For South Grand

One of the common arguments used by those trying to push a bad plan through the system is to ask, as Ald. Gregali did, “Has anyone come up with a better plan?” This statement is so infuriating as it implies if private citizens don’t go out and design alternatives they should not have a say in their immediate surroundings.

Myself and others have repeatedly said the senior housing should go on the old Sears site and the McDonald’s should rebuild on their current site. But talk is talk and as the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, I’ve got the next best thing — drawings.

Let’s look at one at a time…

Former Sears Site @ Grand & Winnebego:

  • Click here to view PDF of alternate Senior Housing & Street-Level Retail
  • 3-Story building includes 56 apartments and 11,000sf of retail/restaurant space.
  • Has 60 parking spaces to be shared with the housing and retail. I’m told that senior housing projects often have a less than 1:1 parking ratio.
  • A slight revision is being prepared that would have the parking accessed from the alley which would eliminate the curb cuts on Winnebego and therefore keeping the on-street parking intact.
  • This site is actually larger than the current McDonald’s site and we were only able to get in 56 units (vs 87). As we’ve not seen a site plan for the proposed senior housing at the current McDonald’s I can only speculate. One would be they were proposing considerably smaller units and/or they were expanding the site to the West.
  • The former Sears store that was razed in the late 90’s was three stories in height so it is fitting that we put back a 3-story structure so the street has the massing it once enjoyed.
  • In case you forgot, here is McDonald’s proposal for this site.
  • Current McDonald’s @ Grand & Chippewa:

  • Click here to view PDF of alternate McDonald’s at current location.
  • Grand is narrowed by 10ft, closer to its original width. I’d hear this was planned for the senior housing project as everyone considers Grand to be excessively wide at this point. I’d even go along with the city helping with the infrastructure costs to narrow the street back to the way it was before the wide right turn lane was added.
  • Current standard McDonald’s prototype is placed at corner of Grand & Chippewa and room is provided for additional street-level retail facing Grand. By using McDonald’s standard model we’ve retained their internal layout and service windows so as not to disrupt their efficient work flow.
  • On-street parking is assumed along Grand. A section of curb may need to “bulb” out to provide a sufficient bus stop in this area. Ditto for Chippewa.
  • A retaining wall would be required along the West edge of the property to make up for a roughly 8-10ft drop in elevation. The retaining wall need not be this high as the parking lot could have a slope to the West. Required ADA parking is provided on the flat section near Grand.
  • The current McDonald’s has a single curb cut along each Grand & Chippewa as does this proposed concept.
  • These alternative plans for the two sites in question provide the housing, retail and McDonald’s in a much more urban fashion that I believe everyone could accept. The urban form being present on both sides of the street can serve as a basis for a new urban zoning overlay for the entire blighted area (1 mile from Utah to Meramec, 61 acres) that would help guide future development.

    – Steve


    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


    Ald. Gregali on Florida, McDonald’s & Status Quo.

    Today I received the following comment on the post about the effort to recall Ald. Jennifer Florida:

    You all really need to focus on something else. One, Patterson is crazy. Why didn’t he put out the recall for Ald. Vollmer over the St. Al’s development on the Hill? Why isn’t he taking on the Mayor? Is he going to take on the whole BOA? He’s a wanna be. He lost to Dorothy Kirner and he is spreading his discontent, bitter seed. If he were a leader in the Community he wouldn’t be doing this. It’s malcontent not leadership or the resolution to his problem. He doesn’t even live in the neighborhood.

    And who is the real problem? Schmid couldn’t get anything done. Jennifer inherited the mess on Grand Ave.

    Schmid created the problem. Ald. Florida has taken the initiative and has made a marked improvement in the Grand and Gravois area.

    You can’t let a few zealots control what elected officials are doing. Most of the electeds ideas are good. They will never please us 100% but I think she is doing 100% better than Schmid ever could. He can’tr make a decision or complete a project.

    Focus on Schmid and shut Patterson up!!!

    The email address used for the above was the work email of 14th Ward Alderman Stephen Gregali. Of course, as you all know, email addresses can be false. Rather than assume it was actually from Ald. Gregali I emailed him asking as much. Shortly after Ald. Gregali responded:

    Mr. Patterson, I believe someone is using my name in vain.

    If you could forward to me the content of the discussion I would appreciate
    it. I do not appreciate someone trying to disparage my reputation.

    I took him at his word and sent back the link.
    … Continue Reading


    HUDZ Committee & Aldermanic Courtesy

    The controversial Board Bill #39, to amend the Grand/Gravois/Meramec redevelopment area to allow a drive-thru on a single parcel along the mile-long area (encompassing 61 acres), is not on the formal agenda for the Housing, Urban Design and Zoning Committee meeting for this Wednesday morning at 10am (room 208 city hall).

    Committee Chair Alfred Wessels (13th Ward), probably one of the strongest supporters of aldermanic courtesy, has the ability to allow for last minute additions to the agenda. We’ll see if he tries to pull a fast one to help out his colleague in need.

    Wessels has told me directly he supports the old practice of “deferring” to the wishes of an alderman as they assume he/she knows what is best for their own ward. Back in the day when nothing new was being built and aldermen were just handing out patronage jobs and putting up stop signs, where requested, such a practice might have been OK. Wessels has been in office so long it is likely a challenge for him to think any differently than they have for decades.

    But this old school tradition sells the city short — big time. Today’s developments are bigger in scale than anything we’ve seen for a good 40 years yet we are treating major planning issues like small time concerns. Nobody in city government is looking out for the city as a whole. We’ve adopted a new strategic land use plan but it is a worthless document until our zoning is modernized from its 1940s roots.

    Planning wise the city is in a mess. Aldermen are selfishly protecting their territories to the detriment of the city as a whole. Aldermanic courtesy must end if we are to update our zoning and look at how we are to redevelop those areas of the city that have been damaged through suburban sprawl and abandonment over the last 50 years. We cannot thrive under the current political structure.

    Those aldermen, such as Florida and Wessels, who support Aldermanic Courtesy need to be sent back to their day jobs or at the very least get a strong message that we will no longer tolerate them deferring their legislative duties to the wishes of a single person.

    – Steve