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Bill Would Require A Pedestrian Access Route Separate From Vehicular Route

A bill was introduced to the Board of Aldermen on Friday that I’m very glad to finally see:

BOARD BILL NO. 92 INTRODUCED BY ALDERMAN SCOTT OGILVIE An ordinance pertaining to pedestrian access to buildings; establishing regulations for pedestrian access that primarily serves users of the subject property and for which dedication of public access rights is not required. (Board Bill 92)

Basically the bill makes it a requirement that buildings with public access have a pedestrian connection between the sidewalk and primary entrance. The route will be required to be separate from the vehicular route, the days of building new buildings and making pedestrians come/go through parking lots would be over.

ABOVE: Arby'd on Lindell has a pedestrian route separate from the automobile route

Those businesses that don’t have a pedestrian path are basically saying pedestrians aren’t welcome, if you want to spend money here you’ll have to take your chances walking in the driveways. If approved, this would be required of new construction and presumably major renovations.Board Bill 92 has been assigned to the Public Safety committee.

Thanks to Ald Scott Ogilvie for listening to me and taking steps to make St. Louis a better place for pedestrians.

– Steve Patterson


Readers Support Bill To Reduce The Board Of Aldermen From 28 To 12 Members

ABOVE: St. Louis Board of Aldermen's chambers

Readers overwhelmingly support Board Bill 31 before the St. Louis Board of Aldermen that would allow voters to decide in November if the board should be reduced to 12 from 28. If so they change would be effective on January 1, 2022:

Thoughts on the bill to reduce the number of aldermen from 28 to 12 by 2022 (pick up to 2 answers):

  1. Great, way past due 88 [63.31%]
  2. Won’t get the 60% of voters needed 17 [12.23%]
  3. Voters will finally approve this charter change 14 [10.07%]
  4. It’ll never get to voters for approval 12 [8.63%]
  5. Bad, we need to keep 28 aldermen in city hall 5 [3.6%]
  6. Other: 3 [2.16%]
  7. unsure/no opinion 0 [0%]

Some did feel that either the bill won’t be approved by the Board of Aldermen or that city voters won’t approve the measure with the 60% required.

Three “other” answers were:

  1. Iceland has about 320k people and 60+ members in its parliament. Nuff said.
  2. The problem isn’t the number of wards — it’s aldermen not working together.
  3. Why not go for total charter reform?


I know that reducing the number from 28 to 12 won’t magically fix all the city’s problems, but it’s a start. If approved by voters we might see work on other charter reforms such as reducing county offices, switching to nonpartisan elections  or even becoming one of the 90+ municipalities in St. Louis County. The original post introducing the poll is here.

Ald Young, the bill’s primary sponsor, was on St. Louis Public radio speaking in support of the bill and Ald Vaccaro was on speaking against. You can hear the 20 minute segment here.

– Steve Patterson


Poll: Thoughts On Ald Young’s Bill To Reduce The Board of Aldermen From 28 To 12 Members In 2022

ABOVE: St. Louis Board of Aldermen's chambers

An interesting bill was introduced to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Friday:

BOARD BILL NO. 31 INTRODUCED BY ALDERWOMAN PHYLLIS YOUNG, ALDERMAN STEPHEN CONWAY, ALDERMAN ALFRED WESSELS, ALDERWOMAN CAROL HOWARD, ALDERWOMAN JENNIFER FLORIDA, ALDERWOMAN DONNA BARINGER, ALDERMAN JOSEPH RODDY, ALDERWOMAN MARLENE DAVIS, ALDERMAN SCOTT OGILVIE, ALDERMAN SHANE COHN, ALDERWOMAN LYDA KREWSON An ordinance submitting to the qualified voters of the city of St. Louis a proposed amendment to the charter of the city of St. Louis restructuring the board of aldermen as a body of twelve (12) aldermen representing twelve (12) wards, providing a transition schedule for such changes, and other related matters; providing for an election to be held for voting on the proposed amendment and for the manner of voting; and for the publication, certification, deposit, and recording of this ordinance; and containing an emergency clause. (BB31 page)

The bill details how over the next ten years the change would take place. The new 12 wards would be based on the 2020 census figures released in 2021. On December 31, 2021 we’d have 28 wards and on January 1, 2022 we’d have 12.  The bill language contains typos such as 1915 instead of 2015, those will get corrected in committee presumably.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Phyllis Young, and one co-sponsor, Fred Wessels, were both first sworn into office on April 16, 1985 — over 27 years ago. They are the most senior members in the Board of Aldermen. Wessels is a candidate for the citywide Treasurer’s seat. Is Young making one big push as before retirement at the end of her current term next year?

Of the eleven sponsors of the bill only one is black, Ald. Marlene Davis. Other black aldermen likely see the reduction as a way to reduce black influence at city hall. One of the newest members, Scott Ogilvie, is a co-sponsor. Otherwise nobody elected after 2003 is a co-sponsor, they want their chance to be in office for nearly three decades.

If the bill gets through the Board of Aldermen it will appear on the November 6, 2012 ballot where it needs approval of 60% of voters since it’s a change to the city’s charter.

The poll this week seeks to get your thoughts on this bill and the change it’s trying to accomplish, vote in the right sidebar.

– Steve Patterson


5th Ward Special Election Today

Today voters in the 5th ward will go to the polls to select one of three candidates to finish the term of former alderman April Ford-Griffin who resigned to take a city position.

ABOVE (L-R): Candidate forum moderator Kathleen Farrell, candidate Tonya Finley and Rose M. Green

Independent candidates Tonya Finley and Rose M. Green participated in the candidate forum last week. The Democratic nominee Tammika Hubbard confirmed two days prior but she didn’t participate. I expected to meet and hear from all three candidates. The volunteers from the League of Women Voters of St. Louis did an outstanding job with the two candidates  that took the time to show up.

I voted absentee last week, access to my new polling place via public transit would require me to cross 14th Street without a signalized crosswalk — too dangerous.

ABOVE: Ballot on electronic voting machine (click image to view official ballot)

Turnout will be low for this election, very few people deciding who completes the term that ends in April 2013. This may cause me problems down the road for disclosing this but I voted for Tonya Finley in this election.

– Steve Patterson


5th Ward Candidate Forum Tonight

April Ford-Griffin

The three women seeking to fill April Ford-Griffin’s unfinished term as 5th Ward Alderman will make their case tonight:

The League of Women Voters of St. Louis is moderating a public forum for candidates running for the St. Louis 5th Ward Alderwoman race on Tuesday, December 13 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Vashon High School Cafeteria, 3035 Cass Ave., 63106.

The public will have the opportunity to learn more about the candidates seeking election in the 5th Ward by hearing them speak and answer questions in a public forum one week before the special election. There are three candidates running for one vacancy: Tammika Hubbard (Democrat), Tonya Finley (Independent), and Rose M. Green (Independent). (St. Louis American)

I’ve never met any of these candidates in person but I will have to decide which one will get my vote on the 20th. My expectations, frankly, are low. I’ve yet to see any evidence any of them are a 21st century candidate with use of social media and a website.  They might say the majority of 5th ward voters aren’t on Twitter/online but national research suggests otherwise:

Non-white internet users continue to have higher rates of Twitter use than their white counterparts; indeed, the Twitter adoption gap between African-Americans and whites has increased over the past six months. In November 2010, there was an eight percentage point difference in Twitter use between African-American and white internet users (13% for blacks vs. 5% for whites). By May 2011, that gap was 16 percentage points—25% of online African Americans now use Twitter, compared with 9% of such whites. African-American and Latino internet users are each significantly more likely than whites to be Twitter adopters. Even more notable: One in ten African-American internet users now visit Twitter on a typical day—that is double the rate for Latinos and nearly four times the rate for whites. (Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project)

The tern expires in the Spring of 2013.

– Steve Patterson