Home » Politics/Policy » Recent Articles:

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 14 of 2019-2020 Session

September 13, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 14 of 2019-2020 Session

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen return from their Summer break with a full meeting at 10am today, their 14th 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 13.

Today’s agenda includes twelve (12) new bills. I want to highlight a few; one creates yet another community district (98), another requiring future traffic calming measures to go through the Board of Aldermen rather than the Board of Public Service (102), an agreement regarding Northside Regeneration’s proposed urgent care (103), and an ordinance regarding reporting failed background checks for firearms (106).

  • B.B.#95 – Davis – An Ordinance recommended and approved by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the Director of Airports and the Comptroller of the City of St. Louis (the “City”), owner and operator of St. Louis Lambert International Airport® (the “Airport”) to enter into and execute on behalf of the City the First Amendment to Banking Concession Agreement, AL-278 (“First Amendment”) between the City and U.S. Bank National Association (“Concessionaire”), containing a severability clause; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B. #96 – Davis – An Ordinance recommended and approved by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the Director of Airports and the Comptroller of the City of St. Louis (the “City”), owner and operator of St. Louis Lambert International Airport® (the “Airport”) to enter into and execute on behalf of the City the Seventh Amended and Restated Food and Beverage Concession Agreement AL-110 (“Agreement”) with Host International, Inc. between the City and Host International, Inc., (“Concessionaire); containing a severability clause; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B. #97 – Pres. Reed – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, making a supplemental appropriation to the Annual Budget Ordinance 70963 for Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2020 amounting to the sum of Three Million and Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($3,500,000) for the purpose of purchasing body-worn cameras for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, and containing an Emergency Clause.
  • B.B. #98 – Davis – An ordinance approving the petition to establish the Olive West Community Improvement District, establishing the Olive West Community Improvement District, reaffirming certain findings of blight and finding a public purpose for the establishment of the Olive West Community Improvement District.
  • B.B. #99 – Davis – An Ordinance recommended and approved by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the Director of Airports and the Comptroller of the City of St. Louis (the “City”), owner and operator of St. Louis Lambert International Airport® (the “Airport”) to enter into and execute on behalf of the City the Second Amendment to Operating Agreement for Management and Operation of Parking Facility Services AL-267 (“Second Amendment”) between the City and ABM Aviation, Inc., (“Concessionaire”), containing a severability clause; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B. #100 – Davis – An ordinance recommended and approved by the Airport Commission and the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, authorizing and directing the Mayor and the Comptroller, on behalf of the City of St. Louis (the “City”), the owner and operator of St. Louis Lambert International Airport® (the “Airport”), to accept and execute on behalf of the City a certain Airport Aid Agreement offered by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission (the “Grant Agreement”) for the marketing and promotion of air service at the Airport for a maximum obligation of Five Hundred Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($515,000) for the reimbursement of direct costs associated with the projects funded under the Grant Agreement; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B. #101 – Muhammad An ordinance submitting to the voters of the City of St. Louis a proposed revision to Article XVI, Section 3 of the Charter to require the Board of Estimate and Apportionment to, at least ninety-days prior to the start of each Fiscal Year, submit to the Board of Aldermen a proposed annual budget ordinance; and to permit the Board of Aldermen to reduce or increase the amount of any budget item except those fixed by statute for payment of principal or interest of City debt or to meet ordinance obligations, and to add new items so long as the budget balances; and, if the Board of Estimate and Apportionment fails to submit a budget
    ordinance to the Board of Aldermen as required the Budget Director shall submit to the Board at least ninety-days prior to the Fiscal Year an estimate of revenues for the Fiscal Year, a
    statement of a Table of Organization and all expected City budget requirements from which the Board shall approve a budget.
  • B.B. #102 – Muhammad – An ordinance revising Section Three of Ordinance No. 70333, requiring the Director Traffic to have the approval of the Board of Public Service with regard to the development and promulgation of the City of St. Louis Traffic Calming Policy, to instead require the approval of the Board of Aldermen.
  • B.B. #103 – Hubbard – An ordinance authorizing the execution of an Amended and Restated Parcel Development Agreement by and among The City of St. Louis, Missouri, Northside Regeneration, LLC, and Northside Urgent Care Property, LLC, NS QALICB, LLC and HGP Hospital Corp.; prescribing the form and details of said Amended and Restated Parcel Development Agreement; authorizing certain actions by City officials; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B. #104 – Howard – An ordinance amending the Redevelopment Plan for the Gravois / Morgan Ford Redevelopment Area
  • B.B. #105 – Pres. Reed/Davis/Vaccaro/Hubbard/ Middlebrook/Clark-Hubbard/P. Boyd – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, making a supplemental appropriation to the Annual Budget Ordinance 70963 for Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2020 amounting to the sum of Eight Million Dollars ($8,000,000) for the purpose of providing funding for the violence prevention alternative program, “Cure Violence,” and containing an Emergency Clause.
  • B.B. #106 – Pres. Reed/Vaccaro/Davis/Coatar/Middlebrook/ Clark-Hubbard/Muhammad/Murphy/P. Boyd- An ordinance establishing reporting requirements for licensees selling firearms to report failures of a background check system when a firearm purchase is denied within the limits of the City of St. Louis and containing a severability and 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

 

9/11 18th Anniversary

September 11, 2019 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on 9/11 18th Anniversary
People just outside Ground Zero, October 30, 2001

9/11/2001 is one of those days I’ll remember the rest of my life. I was driving to meet with clients about a remodeling project, we watched the second tower fall on their television.

Now I know how my parent’s generation felt about days like when JFK or MLK were assassinated.

For the families of those who were killed that day the pain must be unimaginable.

A victims group has a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia.

The alleged Saudi role in the September 11 attacks gained new attention after two former U.S. senators, co-chairmen of the Congressional Inquiry into the attacks, told CBS in April 2016 that the redacted 28 pages of the Congressional Inquiry’s report refer to evidence of Saudi Arabia’s substantial involvement in the execution of the attacks, and calls renewed to have the redacted pages released. 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens. (Wikipedia)

Their lawsuit has sought to release a redacted name. The plaintiffs believe that person has a connection to Saudi Arabia.

The recent non-scientific Sunday Poll didn’t get many responses — common with a wonky topic:

Q: Agree or disagree: The U.S. Department of Justice should not release the name that was redacted in a 2012 FBI report.

  • Strongly agree: 2 [14.29%]
  • Agree: 1 [7.14%]
  • Somewhat agree: 2 [14.29%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Disagree: 5 [35.71%]
  • Strongly disagree: 3 [21.43%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [7.14%]

As you can see above, most who responded think the name should be released. I agree, but don’t think it will be.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Labor Unions Needed More Than Ever

September 4, 2019 Economy, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Labor Unions Needed More Than Ever
One of the many cute dogs in Monday’s Labor Day Parade

The few at the top have been using the masses to pass laws designed to diminish unions — increasing their profits. As income inequality gets worse, labor unions are needed more than ever.

Collective bargaining is an important force in reducing inequality and ensuring that low- and middle-wage workers are given a fair return on their work. As productivity has risen over the last several decades, wages have remained flat for the majority of working people, while skyrocketing for those at the top. Union decline can explain one-third of the rise in wage inequality among men and one-fifth of the rise in wage inequality among women from 1973 to 2007. Among men, the erosion of collective bargaining has been the largest single factor driving a wedge between the middle class and the top 1 percent.

Working people in unions use their power in numbers to secure a fairer share of the income they create. On average, a worker covered by a union contract earns 13.2 percent more in wages than a peer with similar education, occupation, and experience in a nonunionized workplace in the same sector. But importantly, collective bargaining also raise wages for nonunion workers—as an economic sector becomes more unionized, nonunion employers pay more to retain qualified workers, and norms of higher pay and better conditions become standard. If union density had remained at its 1979 level, weekly wages of nonunion men in the private sector would be 5 percent higher today. (Economic Policy Institute)

Given the results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll it’s clear a majority of participants agree.with me.

Q: Agree or disagree: Labor unions are no longer necessary because laws protect worker’s health & safety.

  • Strongly agree: 4 [9.09%]
  • Agree: 4 [9.09%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [2.27%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 3 [6.82%]
  • Disagree: 3 [6.82%]
  • Strongly disagree: 29 [65.91%]
  • Unsure/No Answer:  0 [0%]

As usual, about 20% take the conservative viewpoint.

— Steve Patterson

 

Effectiveness Of Police Body Cameras Can Vary

August 28, 2019 Crime, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Effectiveness Of Police Body Cameras Can Vary
The St. Louis Police “Incident Command Center” truck in 2012

St. Louis City & County are both looking to get police body cameras. This is a good thing, especially based on experience in other cities.

A quick online search reveals how body camera footage has been helpful, here are a few:

The above makes a very convincing argument in favor of cameras. Looking to Chicago, however, tells me effectiveness is closely related to how they’re implemented within each department.

Since the program’s inception, the department has issued 8,200 body cameras to officers through city funding and grants. The U.S. Department of Justice has also awarded the department more than $2 million in grants to assist with the implementation of the program. The goal is to improve transparency, accountability, and safety between police and the public.

But a compliance evaluation by the City of Chicago Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found watch operations lieutenants failed to complete required reviews of body camera footage, and the department does not have a standardized process to do so. [CBS Chicago]

We know off cameras aren’t effective.  An overwhelming majority of us believe these cameras are worth the cost — from the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: Police body cameras are a huge waste of money.

  • Strongly agree: 1 [2.7%]
  • Agree: 2 [5.41%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [2.7%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [2.7%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 2 [5.41%]
  • Disagree: 8 [21.62%]
  • Strongly disagree: 21 [56.76%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [2.7%]

I plan to keep looking into pitfalls other regions have encountered as they added body cameras. I’m also concerned about costs — annual leasing versus buying upfront. How much money could we save over the next couple of decades depending upon how we purchase? The other question I have is how long before we’d need to upgrade to new technology?

— Steve Patterson

 

White Flight, Black Flight, Abandonment, Poverty, and Gentrification

August 26, 2019 Featured, Neighborhoods, North City, Planning & Design, Politics/Policy Comments Off on White Flight, Black Flight, Abandonment, Poverty, and Gentrification

St. Louis has some positive things going on lately, Square announcing they’re moving/expanding from Cortex to downtown, Major League Soccer awarded a St  Louis ownership group an expansion team, etc.  These will bring new needed investments and jobs.

Will any benefit reach those north & south of the “central corridor?” The central corridor runs from the central business district west to the burbs.

A friend on Facebook said Square’s move downtown will cause more gentrification.  Not sure he’s correct, but the challenge of attracting investment and jobs without leaving out large segments of the region is real.

This is a good opportunity to talk about how we bring new investments without negative consequences. It’ll help me get these thoughts out of my brain.

5744 & 5748 Highland Ave, Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood

Merriam-Webster defines gentrification as follows:

The process of repairing and rebuilding homes and businesses in a deteriorating area (such as an urban neighborhood) accompanied by an influx of middle-class or affluent people and that often results in the displacement of earlier, usually poorer residents.

Gentrification is a major problem in many regions, but here we still have so many highly vacant neighborhoods. Sure, the average worker can’t afford a downtown loft, but that’s not gentrification.

First we need to look at how we got here.

By the 1920s the white middle class began leaving the City of St. Louis for life in the suburbs. With new people moving to the city from rural areas looking for work the census didn’t show what was happening.

In 1948 the Supreme Court ruled on a St. Louis case, saying racial restrictive covenants couldn’t be enforced through the courts (Shelley v Kraemer).  This prompted more white middle class residents to flee. Upwardly mobile black middle class residents were now able to purchase nicer housing than where they’d been limited to previously.

This house at 4600 Labadie was at the center of the case Shelley v Kraemer

Post WWII brought many to the region looking for work, others just trying to escape oppressive Jim Crow laws in the South. Basements and attics were crudely converted into living spaces. Large homes were subdivided. The population was too high, our housing stock just couldn’t handle all the people resulting in overcrowding. In 1950 St. Louis recorded its highest population — 856,796.

It didn’t help that entire neighborhoods were being razed for “urban renewal” projects and others being divided as highway construction cut wide paths through densely-populated neighborhoods.

Neighborhoods like Fountain Park remained respectable middle class, just now black instead of white. Eventually the black middle class got older, while some would stay but others began buying housing in North County as the white middle class there began moving to St. Charles County.

Some north city neighborhoods have been without the black middle class for decades now. In these neighborhoods the working poor have also been leaving, seeking affordable housing in other neighborhoods or in older north county areas where the black middle class have left more recently. An example is Wells Goodfellow — more vacant lots than residents.

!912 Clara Ave, left, and 1904 Clara Ave are occupied, the two houses in between were just razed.

Here is what I struggle with. We need money in the city — we need middle class and more affluent people so jobs will be created. This doesn’t mean white, though that’s often what happens.

How do we change long-disinvested neighborhoods so they’re attractive to all people with more money — without pricing out those who still call the neighborhood home?

In the ideal world we’d invest in neighborhoods in a way that attracts & accommodates all races & economic classes. This means housing at a variety of price points — from low-income to high end with everything in between.  Retail & restaurants should appeal to all segments and pocketbooks.

This may not be possible, I know it won’t happen without regulation. Free-market capitalism has demonstrated it is ok with excluding many.  The trick is learning from other regions so we can reduce unintended negative consequences from regulations.

Unfortunately I think our city/region is too laissez-faire to enact regulations to transform vacant neighborhoods so they’ll become great neighborhoods.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Advertisement



FACEBOOK POSTS

Unable to display Facebook posts.
Show error

Error: (#10) To use 'Page Public Content Access', your use of this endpoint must be reviewed and approved by Facebook. To submit this 'Page Public Content Access' feature for review please read our documentation on reviewable features: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/apps/review.
Type: OAuthException
Code: 10
Please refer to our Error Message Reference.

Archives

Categories

Advertisement


Subscribe