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Poll: new $11/month trash fee per unit

ABOVE: A typical alley in St. Louis
ABOVE: A typical alley in St. Louis with dumpsters

If you own property in the City of St. Louis you are probably aware of the new trash collection fee:

Mayor Francis Slay has signed a new $11-a-month fee for trash pick-up in the city.

This is the first time time residents will have to pay an additional fee for the service, which was previously funded with tax dollars from the city’s general revenue. But bulk pick-up and yard waste are included, as is single-stream recycling, a new service.

The fee, which will be included on water bills, is charged per unit. Opponents said it would hit elderly residents the hardest, especially those who may live in a two-family building they own. Water rates also went up 12 percent on July 1. (Source: St. Louis Public Radio)

Many are not pleased, others say it is a fair way to help offset a major budget shortfall.

The city struggled for a way to avoid charging for trash collection, said Barbara Geisman, executive director of development for the mayor’s office. But with the city facing a serious budget shortfall and with officials wanting to add a citywide recycling program, that wasn’t possible, she said.

In alleys, new blue containers for recyclables would join yard waste containers and containers for trash.

“You can put your cans and your paper and your glass all in that blue dumpster,” Geisman said.

The existing twice-a-week trash pickup, weekly yard waste pickup during spring, summer and fall and monthly bulk refuse pickup would continue.

The program would affect about 139,000 houses, apartments and condominiums. Buildings that now have private pickup would not be affected. (Source: Suburban Journals)

Condo associations, like mine, have always paid for private trash collection and recycling.  The poll this week is trying to get a sense of how you, the reader, feels about the issue.  The poll is located at the top of the sidebar to the right.

– Steve Patterson


Poll: thoughts on Judge Dierker’s ruling on the NorthSide TIF

You’ve probably heard the news by now:

“A St. Louis judge threw out a city ordinance Friday that authorized $390 million in tax increment financing — the largest in the city’s history — for Paul McKee Jr.’s $8.1 billion NorthSide redevelopment.”

The poll this week is about the decision of Judge Dierker with respect to the TIF ordinance.  The provided answers give you two levels of positive and negative as well as a neutral — they are presented in a random order. You can also provide your own answer and add your comment below.
Happy 234th Birthday America!
– Steve Patterson

A birthday extravaganza for St. Louis’ youngest alderperson

Kacie Starr Triplett was elected alderman in the 6th ward in the Spring of 2007, at the time she was the youngest member on the Board of Aldermen.  In 2009 Antonio French & Shane Cohn, also young, were elected in the 21st & 25th wards, respectively. Both, however, are slightly older than Triplett so she retains the youngest title.

A week from today Kacie Starr Triplett is having a combination birthday party and re-election campaign kick-off.

[click image to purchase tickets]
click image above for details and to purchase tickets

I was asked to serve on the host committee and I accepted.  In the past I’ve called for term limits and other measures to ensure turnover at the Board of Aldermen, has something changed? No, but I’ve been pleased with Ald Triplett so a second term in office is reasonable in my mind.  The event is June 19, 2010 from 7pm-11pm in the Grand Hall of Union Station.  Tickets start at $50 per person.  For more information or to order tickets click here or the image above.  With Ald Triplett’s birthday we no longer have any aldermen in their 20s.

In the Spring of 2011 we will have elections for the fourteen aldermen in even numbered wards. In order to have a choice on election day I’d like to see each ward have contested races. And since we still hold a partisan primary before the general I’d like to see each political party (Republicans, Greens & Democrats) have more than one candidate for each office. If not, we need to work to eliminate the partisan primaries as they are a massive waste of money.

– Steve Patterson


Changes to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen in my lifetime, future change proposed

ABOVE: 1967 St. Louis ward map
ABOVE: 1967 St. Louis ward map. Source: We Elect! book from the Buckowitz archives

Every ten years, following each national census, the boundaries of St. Louis’ 28 wards are redrawn. The map above is based on the 1960 census.   UPDATE 2/8/2010 4:25PM:  the map above reflects changes following a 1965 lawsuit that challenged the way the maps were drawn. Prior to 1965 districts were based on the number of registered voters, not the number of residents.

The map below (rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise) is the current map based on the 2000 census.

ABOVE: Current ward map
ABOVE: Current ward map

Most wards are still in the approximate same location while a handful are in completely different parts of the city.  The idea is for each ward to contain the same number of residents.  Areas that lose more people than others will see the physical size of the ward grow.

The ward map at the top is from a 1967 book published by the St. Louis Public schools explaining the election process: We Elect! The story of St. Louis Government and Politics.  It was published in the year I was born, 1967.  They met at 11am on Fridays wheres they meet at 10am Fridays currently, not sure when that changed.  Looking through the information in the book I decided I needed to put it in a table to see it in one place.

Some interesting things jump out at me:

  • Five new members were elected in 1967, three of which were Republicans (ward # shown in red).  One Republican is on the current board, first elected way back in 1979.
  • Eight members (29%) were Black.  Currently the board has 12 black members (43%) plus Board President Lewis Reed.
  • Only two female members (7%), both Black.  The current board has eight females (29%) split evenly between Black & White.
  • 32% (9/28) of the members had served 12 or more years.   Today 46% (13/28) have served 12 or more years.
  • Only one (4%) had served 20 years.  Today seven (25%) have served 20 or more years.
  • The average length of service was 7.5 years in 1967.  In 2010 it is 11.45 years, a 53% increase!

Elsewhere in the book the committeeman & committeewomen were listed for each ward. Every ward (except the 21st) had both Democrats & Republicans in place. We had somewhat of a two-party city in 1967.  Today we have a one party city yet we hold primary & general elections.  In one party elections holding a primary & general elections is just a huge waste of limited money.   With service cuts to reduce the city budget holding unnecessary partisan primaries is a luxury we just can’t afford.   I’d like a lawyer out there to contact me to see what it would take to switch our city elections to non-partisan.  I’d love a measure on the ballot during an an upcoming election, such as November 2010.

I know many of you are not fans of term limits but I see a need for a limit of say five terms/20 years.  Two decades is plenty of time to get into office, learn the ropes, and have an impact before passing the torch onto the next generation.

I will be on KDHX (88.1FM) tonight (Monday 2/8/2010) at 8:30pm discussing this and other local issues.

– Steve Patterson


St. Louis’ 2011 municipal election season starts in less than a year

December 24, 2009 Board of Aldermen 17 Comments

Every two years brings municipal elections in the City of St. Louis.  In 2011 we will elect half the Board of Aldermen (14 even numbered wards) as well as the President of the Board of Aldermen.  Four members of the St. Louis School Board are also elected at the general election.  For more detail see the St. Louis Board of Elections page on How to Declare Your Candidacy for Any Federal, State, or City Office.

I ran for alderman in the 25th ward in 2005 and lost to the then incumbent, Dorothy Kirner.  Participating in our electoral process as a candidate was a tremendous experience.  In 2007 I moved downtown.  My loft is located in the 6th ward represented by Kacie Starr Triplett.  I will not be running in 2011 as I am generally pleased with Ald. Triplett’s performance so far. Her communications with constituents is among the best.  Also, as long as many in St. Louis call their alderman about fixing potholes, requesting stop signs and other such non-legislative tasks I don’t want the job anyway.  My hope is we can begin to get away from pothole politics so our elected reps can set policy, leaving potholes to the bureaucrats.

I would like to see a number of the other 14 aldermen from odd numbered wards replaced with new blood.  A year from now we need at least 15 people having filed to seek office.  Since we go through the trouble and additional expense of having a partisan primary and a general election it would be nice to see contested offices in the primary and general election.  If all the candidates are Democrats it will prove my point that we don’t need to waste money pretending we have multiple parties in our municipal elections.

Important dates:

  • Filing opens at 8am on Monday November 28, 2010 (“Filing for municipal offices opens at 8:00 A.M. on the date that is 100 days prior to the date of the applicable Primary Municipal Election.”)
  • Filing closes at 5pm on Friday January 7, 2011 (“Filing for municipal offices closes at 5:00 P.M. on the date that is 60 days prior to the date of the applicable Primary Municipal Election.”}
  • The partisan primary will be Tuesday March 8, 2011.
  • The general election will be Tuesday April 6, 2011.


With filing less than a year away, if you are thinking of running for office in the City of St. Louis, you’d better start firming up those plans now.

– Steve Patterson