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Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Close Interstate Rest Areas?

April 23, 2017 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll, Transportation Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Close Interstate Rest Areas?
Please vote below

Missouri has low fuel taxes and the legislature is unwilling to increase it. Maintenance needs remain. Some states in this situation have opted to closer rest areas:

For more than half a century, old-fashioned, no-frills highway rest stops have welcomed motorists looking for a break from the road, a bathroom or a picnic table where they can eat lunch.

But in some states, these roadside areas are disappearing.

Cash-strapped transportation agencies are shuttering the old ones to save money, or because they don’t attract enough traffic or are in such bad shape that renovating them is too costly. Or, the stops have been overtaken by tourist information centers, service plazas that take in revenue from gasoline and food sales, or commercial strips off interstate exits. (USA Today)

How many rest areas does Missouri have?

Missouri maintains 8 Welcome Center’s, 14 Rest Areas, and 23 Truck-Only Parking sites across the state. Located on seven different Interstates, the facilities feature a variety of easy-to-access amenities to serve travelers. (MoDOT)

Below is today’s poll:

This poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

 

Lyda Krewson Is The 5th Mayor Since I Moved To St. Louis

April 21, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Lyda Krewson Is The 5th Mayor Since I Moved To St. Louis

On Tuesday, while waiting for the inauguration of our first new mayor in 16 years, I reflected on the mayors we’ve had since I moved here in August 1990. For many of you, Francis Slay has been the only mayor you’ve had as a voting-age adult. This could be because you’re young or because you moved here since 2001.

Mayor Lyda Krewson making her way to Room 200 after being sworn in and giving her inaugural speech in the rotunda.

Mayor Krewson is the 5th mayor since I moved to St. Louis. Vince Schoemehl was in his 3rd/last term when I arrived. Freeman Bosley Jr. was elected in 1993, followed by Clarence Harmon in 1997.  Then Slay.

I also thought about how my interaction with them has changed over the years.

  1. Schoemehl — I never met him while he was mayor, it was only after I started this blog that I met him. He recognizes me now.
  2. Bosley — I met him once during his 4-year term, at an event at O’Fallon Park announcing planned renovations. I gave him a book on urban planning.
  3. Harmon — I don’t recall ever meeting him.
  4. Slay — I didn’t know him before he became mayor. Even after I had started this blog he didn’t know who I was. Over his 16 years in office that changed, but our interaction was limited to polite chit chat at events such as press briefings or ribbon cuttings. I did come to meet many people on his staff.
  5. Krewson — keep reading to learn about how different my relationship is with our 46th mayor.

I knew about Lyda Krewson years before I first met her, the story of her husband being murdered in front of her and their young children was big news in the early 90s.

I can’t recall the first time I met her in person, but it was likely after starting this blog in October 2004.  I recall when I was first dealing with restaurants taking up entire blocks for valet parking she was the only alderman who would talk with me about the problem and possible solutions.

In early 2009 I was bugging Krewson about getting on Twitter, having a blog, and getting an iPhone. She joined Twitter on April 1, 2009. On April 4th I created a Tumblr account for her, I also suggested she register her name as a domain — but that didn’t happen until May 2013. At the time I wanted every alderperson to be on social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc). Remember, this is when recently ousted Alderman Ken Ortman refused to accept email communications through the city website!

In 2013 my then boyfriend moved from Springfield IL to live with me — I invited people over for a welcome party. Among the guests were Lyda Krewson and husband, reporter turned lawyer, Mike Owens.  In August last year she came by again — this time to ask for my endorsement. As filing hadn’t opened yet I wanted to see the field before I’d make any endorsement. I shared that I was very pessimistic about St. Louis’ future. Krewson was the only candidate to ask for my endorsement & vote.

As the March primary approached I realized I wasn’t excited about any candidate for mayor — none had the ability or will to change the culture in city hall, the city, or the region. A week before the primary I saw Krewson at a Loop Trolley event and she asked me if she had my vote. Always honest, I said I’d already voted for someone else via absentee ballot. I could’ve played politics and sucked up to her since she was favored to win — but that’s not me.

Over the years Krewson and I have debated politics/policy online and in person. Though we haven’t always agreed, we’ve been cordial and the conversations productive.

I wish Mayor Krewson the best of luck, I want her to succeed and surprise me.

— Steve Patterson

 

Inauguration of Lyda Krewson as St. Louis’ Next Mayor, Upcoming Board of Aldermen Meetings

April 14, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Inauguration of Lyda Krewson as St. Louis’ Next Mayor, Upcoming Board of Aldermen Meetings

Next week aldermen, new members & those re-elected, will be sworn-in. Their official swearing in takes place in a conference room off their chambers, followed by a ceremonial swearing in during the first meeting of the new legislative session. Following all will proceed to the rotunda (though it is rectangular) for the inauguration of their board colleague as mayor. This will take place Tuesday April 18th.

The 3rd inauguration of Francis Slay on April 21, 2009.

I may attend Krewson’s inaugural, so I can hear her speech in full.  The 2009 inaugural began at noon.

From a prior Board of Aldermen calendar:

  • MONDAY, APRIL 17, 2017 – SINE DIE (LAST MEETING OF THE 2016-2017 SESSION)
  • TUESDAY, APRIL 18, 2017 – FIRST MEETING OF THE 2017-2018 SESSION
  • FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 2017 – NO FULL BOARD MEETING

In theory the first meeting of the new Board of Aldermen should be Friday April 28th. As I did last year, on Friday’s I’ll post a list of new board bills being introduced.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

Opinion: Neoliberalism at City Hall Will Continue to Fail St. Louis

April 12, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Opinion: Neoliberalism at City Hall Will Continue to Fail St. Louis
This dawn photograph of the Lambert Main Terminal was taken in June 1956, less than 4 months after its opening. Photograph by Ralph D’Oench, Missouri Historical Society Collections

Anyone who has lived in St. Louis during an election knows Democrats win in this city, but not all Democrats are the same. Outgoing mayor Francis Slay is in the group with Bill & Hilary Clinton, Claire McCaskill, Jay Nixon, etc. — a neoliberal:

Neoliberalism is a policy model of social studies and economics that transfers control of economic factors to the private sector from the public sector. It takes from the basic principles of neoclassical economics, suggesting that governments must limit subsidies, make reforms to tax law in order to expand the tax base, reduce deficit spending, limit protectionism, and open markets up to trade. It also seeks to abolish fixed exchange rates, back deregulation, permit private property, and privatize businesses run by the state.

Liberalism, in economics, refers to a freeing of the economy by eliminating regulations and barriers that restrict what actors can do. Neoliberal policies aim for a laissez-faire approach to economic development. (Investopedia)

Another:

From an economic context, neoliberalism is essentially a modern version of lassez-faire policy. Neoliberals advocate for free and unfettered trade, removing restrictions on capital moving across borders, and cutting government budgets through austerity measures. They argue that free markets and so-called “frictionless capitalism” is the best engine available to create growth and lift people out of poverty. (Fortune: Even the IMF Now Admits Neoliberalism Has Failed)

You can read the International Monetary Fund paper here.

In the municipal context neoliberalism often means privatizing public services.  In Slay’s 16 years as mayor he’s pushed for private charter schools, in 2013 Slay backed a plan that would have led to the privatization of our water system:

City Hall, led by Mayor Francis Slay, had said a $250,000 consulting contract with Veolia Water North America was necessary to help reduce costs and keep water rates down for city residents. But the process was colored by heated protests of the company’s environmental and business practices, with some residents worried the company would try to seize the city’s water and reduce its quality.

Slay’s staff on Tuesday told the aldermanic Ways and Means committee that the company had dropped itself from consideration for the contract. (Post-Dispatch: Veolia Water drops proposal to consult St. Louis water division)

In his last month in office Slay set up a study to privatize our airport.

A majority of readers in the non-scientific Sunday Poll are opposed to privatizing Lambert.

Q: Agree or disagree: St. Louis should privatize our airport by leasing it to a private firm.

  • Strongly agree 3 [8.33%]
  • Agree 4 [11.11%]
  • Somewhat agree 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 4 [11.11%]
  • Somewhat disagree 4 [11.11%]
  • Disagree 5 [13.89%]
  • Strongly disagree 15 [41.67%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [2.78%]

Hopefully mayor-elect Lyda Krewson will reject neoliberal policies that have failed St. Louis, Missouri, and the nation for years.  Voters who blindly back neoliberal Democrats might not be aware of policy alternatives from the left.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis Privatize The Airport?

April 9, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis Privatize The Airport?
Please vote below

Last month outgoing St. Louis mayor, Francis Slay, suggested a change in management of the city-owned airport:

Mayor Slay says he started eyeing the idea of a public-private partnership for Lambert last year.

He says one positive is a potential influx of hundreds of millions of dollars that could be used for things like public safety or MetroLink.

Right now, most revenue generated at Lambert must stay there.

Wednesday, Mayor Slay signed a preliminary application with the federal government to start the process.  Legal and financial firms will study whether privatizing is best for St. Louis. (KMOV)

So this is the subject of today’s poll:

The poll will remain open until 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

 

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