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Thoughts on the Midterm Election

November 12, 2018 Drug Policy, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Thoughts on the Midterm Election
Most of the recreational marijuana stores we visited in Colorado in 2014 had a separate section for medical marijuana.

Among the biggest midterm election news is that deep red Missouri overwhelmingly approved the most liberal (Proposition 2) of three medical marijuana propositions, the other two failed (Prop 3 & Prop C). All 3 were described in a Sunday Poll in late September. In 2019 we’ll see rules for growers & dispensaries.  A year from now we should see storefronts fill up as dispensaries occupy them.

Missouri voters also approved a new redistricting plan with campaign limits (Proposition 1). The state’s minimum wage will now increase gradually to $12/hour by 2023.  A gradual fuel tax increase failed (Prop D).

St. Louis County voters approved all propositions:

  • 1 (donation limits to candidates for county executive or council)
  • 2 (County council can hire their own attorney separate from the county counselor, who is appointed by the county executive)
  • B (County council more budgetary power)
  • C (Require specific County financial information be placed online)
  • D (Establishing a commission to examine revising county charter)
  • F (A casino-backed smoking change)
  • Z (one-eighth of 1 percent sales tax for the Zoo)

St. Charles County passed their first smoke-free law, with exemptions.

Claire McCaskill lost her bid for a 3rd term in the US Senate. Though I voted blue, I know she wouldn’t have won a 2nd term in 2012 had Todd Aikn not mentioned “legitimate rape.”  This was a gift she didn’t receive this year.  As I watched her ads about being right in the middle I hated that I had to fill in bubble next to her name.

The middle is a point equidistant from two poles. That’s it. There is nothing inherently virtuous about being neither here nor there. Buried in this is a false equivalency of ideas, what you might call the “good people on both sides” phenomenon. When we revisit our shameful past, ask yourself, Where was the middle? Rather than chattel slavery, perhaps we could agree on a nice program of indentured servitude? Instead of subjecting Japanese-American citizens to indefinite detention during WW II, what if we had agreed to give them actual sentences and perhaps provided a receipt for them to reclaim their things when they were released? What is halfway between moral and immoral?

When we revisit our shameful past, ask yourself, Where was the middle?

The search for the middle is rooted in conflict avoidance and denial. For many Americans it is painful to understand that there are citizens of our community who are deeply racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic. Certainly, they reason, this current moment is somehow a complicated misunderstanding. Perhaps there is some way to look at this–a view from the middle–that would allow us to communicate and realize that our national identity is the tie that will bind us comfortably, and with a bow. The headlines that lament a “divided” America suggest that the fact that we can’t all get along is more significant than the issues over which we are sparring. (Time)

If Democrats want to win in Missouri they need to stop trying to be GOP Lite.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 23 of 2018-2019 Session

November 9, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 23 of 2018-2019 Session
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 23rd meeting of the 2018-2019 session.

Today’s agenda includes four(4) new bills:

  • B.B.#157 – Ingrassia – An ordinance approving a blighting study and redevelopment plan for Chouteau/Jefferson/La Salle/Missouri/ Hickory/Mackay Place Redevelopment; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#158 – Vollmer – An ordinance authorizing and directing the Mayor and Comptroller to execute a Quit Claim Deed to Mary Jane Waggoner for certain City-owned property located in City Block 5054, which property is known as 3120 Alfred Avenue, upon receipt of and in consideration of the sum of Fifty-Five Thousand Dollars ($55,000.00), and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#159 – Williamson – Pursuant to Ordinance 68937, an ordinance authorizing the honorary street name Von Verson Avenue which shall begin at the intersection of Hamilton and Enright and run east on Enright to the intersection of Goodfellow Boulevard and Enright.
  • B.B.#160 – Roddy – Pursuant to Ordinance 68937, an ordinance authorizing the honorary street name Bob Gibson Way, which shall begin at the intersection of Gibson and South Kingshighway and run east on Gibson to the intersection of Gibson and Kentucky.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2017-2018 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Opinion: Financial Literacy Critical as World Goes Cashless

November 7, 2018 Crime, Featured, Politics/Policy, Retail Comments Off on Opinion: Financial Literacy Critical as World Goes Cashless
Shake Shack is one of the places mentioned as going/being cashless. Since we use plastic I have no clue if they accept cash or not.

The recent non-scientific Sunday Poll was about cashless businesses — establishments where you need plastic (debit/credit) to purchase goods/services. I current live essentially a cashless life — save for one $2 PowerBall ticket per month. After having paid off mountains of credit card debt the 2nd time I vowed to never have credit cards again. Then, in 2012, I sold my car. For a few years prior I didn’t use bills & coins, just my debit card. Once I sold my car I knew I needed a dreaded credit card again to be able to rent a card at times.

My parents, both now deceased, were raised in Oklahoma during the Great Depression/Dust Bowl. They tried very hard to instill good money management habits in me. I listed…then did all the wrong things over and over. I was never a fan of cash, though I still remember going with my dad as a kid when he bought a used van from an individual. They haggled on the price and when they agreed on a number my dad pulls out his wallet from the bib in his work overalls. He then proceeded to count out the $5,o00-$6,000 amount in $100 bills. Today people would think they were counterfeit, but it was like 1981 and people were more trusting. The seller had a shocked look on his face because my dad never looked like he had much to his name — but he usually had a few thousand in cash on him. I rarely have more than $5 on me.

Since my stroke and father’s passing in 2008, and selling my car & meeting my husband in 2012, I’ve applied all the financial advice my parents gave me. I do things differently than they did, however. We pay for everything we can on credit cards. This allows me to do a monthly cash flow spreadsheet for the next month. I know when each payment is due and when we each get paid. By paying off all cards on the due date we don’t pay any interest. In fact, we basically borrow a couple of thousand dollars each month interest free.

I know a person who received a small amount from social security every month. The government stopped mailing checks long ago, and she can’t manage a checking account with or without a debit card. She got her benefits through a checking cashing place that charged high fees to receive her money electronically and convert it into cash for her. For those like her  they can receive benefits on a government debit card — no checking account required.  Still, it’s hard for people who’re used to carrying cash to adjust to non-cash on a debit-only or checking account. I’ve been trying to educate my brother-in-law for a few years now.

Which brings me to cashless businesses. I got on this topic because of the homeless asking me for change. I barely have a $5, and certainly don’t have any coins. I recognize it’s unlikely they realize the world is going cashless. Think of all the things that require plastic: renting scooters/bikes, parking apps, transit fare machines?, Redbox/Netflix.  There are non-attended gas stations, like the one at Broadway & Chouteau, that only accepts credit cards.

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I worked retail for about 6 years when I was in high school & college, thankfully never encountered a robbery. For a few years I was one of the people that went to the registers at Toys “R” Us to remove excess cash during the holidays.

Last week one local retail clerk wasn’t so lucky.

An armed robber opened fire inside a Dollar General store in St. Louis Thursday afternoon, hitting and killing a store clerk, police said. (Post-Dispatch)

Going cashless can reduce crime.

In Sweden, which is leading the race toward a cashless society, negative attitudes toward the decline in cash usage has increased as the country progresses toward a cashless society. Although cash is still used extensively in several countries, such as Austria and Germany, the use of physical cash is diminishing across the board.

Even the U.S., where cash accounts for one-third of all purchases, the use of cash is declining. But at the same time, the amount of cash being issued is growing. Forty years ago there was approximately $80 billion of cash in circulation. Today, this number has increased nearly 20 times, to roughly $1.5 trillion in circulation. In the same period, the amount of $100 bills has increased from 25 percent in the mid-1970s to around 80 percent today.

The obvious explanation is inflation. However, the increase has exceeded inflation — with a good margin. According to economist and author Kenneth Rogoff, the world is drowning in cash, and it is making us poorer and less safe. He argues in his book The Curse of Cash that this phenomenon is not an American phenomenon, but also the case for every other widely used currency — and the primary explanation is that cash is the preferred means of value exchange in the black-market economy. His solution? Phase out the larger bills. (Techcrunch)

Of course cash is also the currency for legal medical & recreational marijuana — because retailers can’t get back accounts because of outdated federal drug laws.

I don’t want cash-only people to be excluded from society, but increasingly being cash-only means they’re not part of the mainstream. I want to help find ways to ease them into new habits. So do the credit card companies. They make their money from fees charged on every transaction. Those of us with excellent credit scores can get rewards cards to offset fees but most don’t qualify for these cards.

This is a long way of saying I have no clue about banning cashless businesses. Would have zero impact on my life either way, but would keep many from being excluded. In the non-scientific poll most didn’t think we should ban cashless businesses:

Q: Agree or disagree: St. Louis should ban cashless businesses & discounts for paying with cash

  • Strongly agree: 2 [8%]
  • Agree: 2 [8%]
  • Somewhat agree: 3 [12%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [4%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 3 [12%]
  • Disagree: 6 [24%]
  • Strongly disagree: 7 [28%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [4%]

As more commerce moves online/apps the number of legal cash transactions will decline. As cash transactions decline and store robberies increase, we’ll see more businesses make the decision to go cashless.  Now is the time to increase financial literacy to help others adjust.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 22 of 2018-2019 Session

November 2, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 22 of 2018-2019 Session
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 22nd meeting of the 2018-2019 session.

Today’s agenda includes four(4) new bills:

  • B.B.#153 – Pres. Reed – An ordinance outlining the priorities of funding for any potential revenue derived from a possible lease of St. Louis Lambert International Airport as may be permitted by theFAA’s Airport Privatization Pilot Program (49 U.S.C. §47134;Section 149), or any successor program thereof, and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#154 – Kennedy – An ordinance establishing the North Central Special Business District pursuant to Sections 71.790 through 71.808 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, setting its boundaries, tax rate, initial rate of levy subject to the approval of the qualified voters, bonding authority, and uses to which tax revenue may be put; creating a board of commissioners; and containing severability, effectiveness, and emergency clauses.
  • B.B.#155 – Kennedy – An ordinance repealing Section One of Ordinance 63915, and in lieu thereof enacting a new Section One authorizing and directing the Director of Streets to permanently close, barricade, or otherwise impede the flow of traffic on Enright by blocking said flow seventy (70) feet east of the curb line of Newstead; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#156 – Kennedy – An ordinance authorizing and directing the Director of Streets to permanently close, barricade, or otherwise impede the flow of traffic on Washington by blocking said flow at the west curb line of Newstead; and containing 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 2017-2018 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 21 of 2018-2019 Session

October 26, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 21 of 2018-2019 Session
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 21st meeting of the 2018-2019 session.

Today’s agenda includes four(4) new bills:

  • B.B.#149 – Bosley – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to amend and make technical corrections to Ordinance 70524, which vacated above-surface, surface and sub-surface rights for vehicle, equestrian and pedestrian travel in several streets and alleys bounded by St. Louis Ave. on the north, 22nd on the east, Cass on the south and Jefferson/Parnell on the west in the City, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#150 – Ingrassia – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to conditionally vacate above surface, surface and sub-surface rights for travel in the 10 foot wide north/south alley, the remaining portion of the 20 foot wide east/west alley and the 25 foot wide north/south alley in City Block 2273 as bounded by Union Pacific Railroad, 21st, Gratiot and 22nd, and a portion of Gratiot beginning 134.01 feet east of 22nd and extending 73.5 feet eastwardly to a portion of Gratiot previously vacated by Ordinance 65340 in the City.
  • B.B.#151 – Bosley – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to conditionally vacate above surface, surface and sub-surface rights for vehicle, equestrian and pedestrian travel in the 15 foot wide east-west alley beginning at Salisbury St. and extending southeastwardly 125.5 feet to the 20 foot wide north-south alley in City Block 1174 as bounded by 19th St., Mallinckrodt, 20th St. and Salisbury in the City, Missouri, as hereinafter described, in accordance with Charter authority, and in conformity with Section l4 of Article XXI of the Charter and imposing certain conditions on such vacation
  • B.B.#152 – Davis – Pursuant to Ordinance 68937, an ordinance authorizing the honorary street name Rev. Dr. W.H. Goatley Jr., which shall begin at the intersection of North Leffingwell and Franklin and run west on Franklin to the intersection of T.E. Huntley and Franklin.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2017-2018 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

 

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