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Poll: Which Alderperson(s) would you like to see out of office?

ABOVE: St. Louis City Hall

If you follow politics in the City of St. Louis you probably have a favorite member of the Board of Aldermen.  And conversely, you probably have at least one you think should no longer be in office.  Through not running, defeat at the polls or even a recall, I’d like you to pick the alderperson(s) you think shouldn’t be in office.

I don’t typically vote in my own poll but I want to this week.  I realized I couldn’t pick just one , or even three, so I’m allowing you to pick up to five answers. I want more than five out of office but I felt I could fairly narrow my list down to five.  I realize this poll  isn’t entirely fair, some alderpersons have barely been in office two months, whereas others have been in office more than two decades.

Typically I have the poll software randomize the answers but this week they are fixed, presented in order of ward number.  The poll is in the upper right corner of the blog.  If all goes as planned on Wednesday July 13th I will be able to present a ranking of all 28 plus the citywide President. Who knows, I might even name the five I ‘m going to select in this poll.

– Steve Patterson


Really!?! with Steve and Steve

Really Marlene Davis? You had no idea the developer wants to raze the existing 1960s flying saucer building? Really?

Really, you told me on the phone Wednesday nobody has mentioned demolition to you? Really!?!

Really, you introduce a board bill last week with the sentence “Demolition of the existing building in the Area is necessary and desirable to allow for redevelopment of the Area in accordance with the Plan” and then email me saying “the bill I presented today was for tax abatement”? Really!?!

Really, haven’t you heard of this thing called the internet?  You didn’t know people can easily fact check and compare notes? Really!?!

Wow! Really!?!

My apologies to Seth  & Amy.

Further reading:


– Steve Patterson



Poll: Should Scrap Metal Dealers Be Required To Mail Checks Rather Than Pay Cash?

ABOVE: Cash's Scrap Metal on N. Broadway couldn't pay customers in cash is a new bill becomes law

The poll this week relates to a bill at the Board of Aldermen:

The ordinance would force scrap yards to stop dealing in cash and to computerize records of what they buy and from whom. They could only accept air-conditioner coils from certified technicians and could lose their business license if they violate the ordinance.

It is the first item — requiring scrap dealers to pay their customers by a mailed check — that is causing the most consternation. But that’s the one element police say is a must if the city wants to curb scrap metal thefts that are costing property owners thousands in repairs and driving rehabbers out of St. Louis.

Since 2010, the city has seen more than $6 million in scrap metal thefts, $1.5 million of that since March. Police say drug addicts who steal scrap and sell it to support their daily habits would lose interest without the immediate payout of cash. (STLtoday.com)

Board Bill #86 sponsored by  16th ward Ald Donna Baringer on June 3, 2011. Co-sponsors listed are Troupe, Arnowitz, Wessels, Boyd, and Cohn:

An ordinance pertaining to the purchase or resale of scrap metal; repealing Ordinance 67424, presently codified as Section 15.159 of the Revised Code of the City of St. Louis, pertaining to electronic database requirements, purchasing HVAC scrap metal, establishing licensing requirements and rules and regulations for persons doing business in the City of St. Louis as scrap metal merchants; containing definitions; a penalty clause, a severability clause and an emergency clause.

I’ve read opposition on Facebook, saying this bill, if passed, will hurt legit guys who collect metal for a living. The argument is they depend on cash to buy food and pay rent.

I don’t have a strong opinion, but I’d like to see how readers feel about this issue so this is the poll topic this week. As always, the poll is in the upper right corner of the blog.

– Steve Patterson



Back to the 5th Ward

ABOVE: St. Louis ward map from the 1960s

We know with certainty that every ten years the boundaries of St. Louis’ 28 wards will change to reflect new population based on the most recent Census. Each decade we see small changes, more dramatic at times.

Most wards are currently in the positions they were in the 1960s.  Sure, the exact lines have moved around but with respect to other wards they are similar. But wards 1, 2, 6, 8, 10, 20, and 25 have different, in some cases dramatically different. For example the moving of the 20th ward from north to south in 2001.

I’ve been through two redistricting in St. Louis – 1991 and 2001. In 1991 I was living in Old North St. Louis in the 5th ward before in after. Mary Ross was the alderman.

In 1994 I moved south to a two-flat that was in Dutchtown. Ward boundaries didn’t mean anything to me in the early 1990s but I was in the 13th ward, represented by Fred Wessels who is still the alderman. In 2001 my house became part of the 25th ward, then represented by Dan Kirner. Four years later I ran unsuccessfully against his widow Dorothy Kirner who was elected in a special election.

In 2007 I moved to a downtown loft, which happens to be in the 6th ward represented by Kacie Starr Triplett.  Under a proposed ward map I will again be in the 5th ward, represented by April Ford Griffin since 1997.

After the census, all legislative bodies are required to redraw the legislative districts to represent the new population figures for each district. The City of St. Louis has 28 wards as directed by the City’s Charter. Therefore, each ward must represent an average of 11, 403 residents. The task for redrawing the boundaries is assigned to the Legislation Committee.

The committee, chaired by Alderwoman Phyllis Young with Alderman Terry Kennedy acting as vice chairman, has successfully completed this process and voted the bill from the committee. It will now go onto the full Board of Aldermen for consideration; however, with 28 co-sponsors, there is little doubt of passage.

The two goals of the group were that (1) the process would be participatory and (2) that no ward would move significantly from its current area. With that in mind, President Lewis Reed and Alderwoman Young met with each alderperson to discuss each ward’s base of population, priorities for that alderperson, and current development areas. After those meetings were completed, aldermen were brought in as small groups representing adjacent wards to discuss common boundaries and to negotiate the new lines. This process continued for the past two months to lastly redefine the boundaries.

The map that you may view here represents the final product of the redistricting process. The initial goals were achieved as members of the Board of Aldermen have actively engaged with one another in accomplishing the task. (source)

What are your thoughts on redistricting?

– Steve Patterson


Readers Optimistic We Can Elect More Independent Candidates

Ald Scott Olgilvie

Yesterday Scott Ogilvie was sworn in as alderman in St. Louis’ 24th ward.  Ogilvie is a political independent, whereas the 27 other aldermen are Democrats. Republican Fred Heitert was defeated by Democrat Larry Arnowitz earlier this month.

Q: Can we elect more Independent candidates like Scott Ogilvie to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen?

  1. Yes, bright young candidates free of the local Democratic machine can be elected again 66 [61.68%]
  2. Maybe, but Tom Bauer winning the Democratic primary helped Ogilvie win 21 [19.63%]
  3. No, won’t happen again for years 5 [4.67%]
  4. Unsure/no opinion 5 [4.67%]
  5. I hope not. We need to stick to electing democrats. 5 [4.67%]
  6. Other answer… 5 [4.67%]

Clearly most who voted were optimistic as a result of Ogilvie being elected.  The combination of a fresh face, hard work and Bauer winning the March primary got Ogilvie elected.  Ogilvie could have beaten Waterhouse, but it would have been very close. Interesting that so few think we should stick with Democrats.

The five other answers were:

  1. Democrats are sooo last century!
  2. I hope so.
  3. who cares
  4. Yes, but most likely only in a few South City wards and the central wards.
  5. Too many wards in the city…

Hopefully we will have more Independent candidates in 2013 — start planning now!

– Steve Patterson