Home » Steve Patterson » Recent Articles:

“Do You Have A Home?”

Living at 16th & Locust is very convenient to the downtown central business district (CBD), central library, city hall, numerous MetroBus lines, Washington Ave nightlife, etc.  It’s also very close to where many of the region’s homeless hang out — not a problem for me. In fact, when I’m out in my wheelchair I’m often mistaken as homeless. My white middle-class neighbors ignore me on the sidewalk, church groups passing out food from car trunks/vans offer me a meal, the homeless ask me if I have a cigarette or light.

Part of it is that I rarely dress to impress, shorts/faded jeans  & t-shirt are common. Another is the wheelchair. My power chair is now seven years old, it’s showing its age. Still, few disabled homeless have power chairs, most use manual wheelchairs. Still, I think many assume a person in a wheelchair passing the library is a homeless person.

Students return to Lafayette Preparatory Academy from outdoor time at Lucas Park's playground, August 2013 photo
Students return to Lafayette Preparatory Academy from outdoor time at Lucas Park’s playground, August 2013 photo. Click image for school website

As is often the case I was returning home from Culinaria as grade school students were returning from recess in Lucas Park. The Locust sidewalk is narrow next to the building so I waited as they passed by, many of the kids said hello as they walked single-file past me. But one girl asked, “Do You Have A Home?” Caught off guard, I quickly replied, “Yes, a few blocks away — a nice loft.”

I didn’t expect such a question, earlier that morning I attended the ULI presentation on the Railway Exchange Building (see What To Do With 1.2 Million Square Feet In The Railway Exchange Building) — I was dressed my best that day: new jeans, white dress shirt, custom-made sport coat. Weeks later is still bothers me this little girl thought I was homeless.

A 2011 interior photo of our loft
A 2011 photo of our loft, I’ve lived here since November 2007

I do think kids raised seeing all facets of society will be better prepared for life when they go out on their own, those raised strictly within their economic class will need to adjust more as adults. I’ll likely email the staff at Lafayette Prep to inquire about their conversations with students about homelessness.

— Steve Patterson

 

A Decade Since Steve Patterson Filed To Run For The St. Louis Board Of Alderman

A decade ago today I decided I wasn’t going to let an incumbent win four years in office because of a lack of a challenger.  If she, Dorothy Kirner, wanted a four-year term she was going to have to work for it. Two months later I lost the primary, receiving 44.1% of the vote.  Not bad considering I started putting together my campaign after filing on the very last day, instead of months earlier.

Here I was a candidate but I had no team, no money, no plan.   My check for the filing fee didn’t even clear, thankfully then-Democratric party chair Brian Wahby allowed me to replace it rather than disqualify me from the race. At this point I was an unknown, this blog had only been around a little over two months.

I had been paying attention though, the day before filing I posted:

Carl Coats, a former city building inspector, had filed to challenge Dorothy Kirner for the 25th Ward aldermanic seat. On 1/4/05 he withdrew himself as a candidate. Unless someone files tomorrow Dorothy Kirner will win by default. This is my ward – I was hoping someone would mount a good challenge to Kirner. (See 25th Ward Challenger Carl Coats Has Withdrawn from Race).

That night I realized nobody else was going to run, but why not me? I was 37 and self-employed, so I had the time. I owned three properties in the ward, one co-owned with a friend, so I was invested. I had ideas I wanted to become part of the conversation during the election. I called a few people that night and the next day I went down to the Board of Election Commissioners to file.

People I know & people I just met stepped up to offer help, money, advice, etc. — too many to thank them all individually.

Steve Patterson speaking at a gathering at Gallery Urbis Orbis downtown, February 2005
Candidate Steve Patterson speaking at a gathering at Gallery Urbis Orbis downtown, February 2005
Patterson yard signs in the 25th Ward
Patterson yard signs in the 25th Ward
The yard sign graphic
The yard sign graphic with my campaign website prominently displayed
Kirner reused signs from the prior year, before the 25th Ward Regular Democratic Club had endorsed her in the current race
Kirner reused signs from the prior year, before the 25th Ward Regular Democratic Club had endorsed her in the current race
This rink in Mt. Pleasant Park was one issue during the campaign, none of us in the immediate area asked for this in the park -- it just appeared,
This rink in Mt. Pleasant Park was one issue during the campaign, none of us in the immediate area asked for this in the park — it just appeared

Early press was discouraging, such as the story ‘Incumbent aldermen assured of re-election’  in the South Suburban Journal five days after filling closed:

Incumbent Alderman Dorothy Kirner, 70, of the 3700 block of Taft Avenue, faces challenger Steven L. Patterson, 37, a real estate agent living in the 3100
block of Mount Pleasant Street. The primary is March 8.

“I have lived in the neighborhood for 48 years,” said Kirner, who was elected June 15, 2004 to succeed her husband, Alderman Dan Kirner, who died in office. Stressing her experience, she said, “I have been around longer than my husband was in the political field.”

But Patterson, who has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years, said he had a lot of experience in getting things done, in looking at development and managing people and projects.

“I think the fact that I haven’t spent many years in politics is actually a benefit to me. It’s time for a fresh approach to the ward,” he said.

As the campaign progressed the coverage did improve, from the Vital Voice, an LGBT publication, just days before the primary:

Steve Patterson is busy knocking on doors and talking to residents throughout the 25th Ward in hopes of becoming the first openly gay individual to serve in the 28-member St. Louis Board of Alderman.

Patterson, who turns 38 on Feb. 28, is mounting a serious challenge to unseat incumbent Alderwoman Dorothy Kirner in the March 8 primary. Kirner, 69, was elected last June to serve the remaining ten months of her late husband, Dan Kirner’s term.

“What brought me into politics is the desire to see change and realizing that I couldn’t sit here and complain that no one was taking charge without realizing that maybe that should be me,” said Patterson of his insurgent campaign. “The campaign experience is awesome. I’m really enjoying getting involved and being involved. It actually feels really good to be this civic minded.”

The 25th Ward, which includes neighborhoods around far South Grand is ethnically diverse with large Caucasian, African American, Bosnian and Vietnamese communities. The ward also has a representative gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community. Nevertheless, the heavily Democratic 25th is socially conservative and accordingly voted to approve Amendment 2 last August witch banned gay marriage in the Missouri Constitution.

Yes, only one of the city’s 28 wards voted in favor of Amendment 2 and I, an openly gay man, was running for alderman in that ward just 4 months later.  What was I thinking? I do remember knocking on one door, the woman who answered asked me if I supported gay rights or same-sex marriage. When I told her I was gay I turned a sceptic stranger into a voter, we remain friends today.

Although Kirner won a full 4-year term I have no regrets about running, one of the best decisions I ever made.  I do have some hindsight from my one and only political campaign:

  • Plan well ahead, don’t wait until the last day to file to start putting the campaign together.
  • Run to win, but know that becoming serious candidate makes you a winner even if you don’t win the election.
  • Video record your debate, I wish I’d done so!

This election was prior to social media — no Facebook or Twitter! Like I indicated in the photos above, I had a blog/website, one of the earliest aldermanic campaigns to have one. I raised & spent about $1,200m Kirner raised & spend about $12,000 — she  had to hire consultants to build a website.   She showed up for a debate on the issues, something she wouldn’t have had to do otherwise.

One issue raised during our campaign was a Citizen Review Board, I favored it while Kirner, whose late husband had been a police officer, opposed external review of the police. The Board of Aldermen passed a Civilian Review Board bill a year later — vetoed by Mayor Slay.

I received
I received 278 votes (51.5%) in the two precincts East of Grand, while Kirner received 292 votes (64.7%) from the two precincts West of Grand.  I lived East of Grand, Kirner West of Grand, her support was stronger than mine. Total votes was 437 vs 554.

After serving her one term, Dorothy Kirner didn’t seek a 2nd in 2009, setting up a 4-way race for the open seat. Openly gay Shane Cohn won the democratic primary with 487 votes (46.25%), this 4-way race had 1,053 votes vs 991 votes in my 2005 race.

Filing for the March 2015 primary has closed, though independent candidates can still get on the ballot in the April general by collecting signatures. Those of you in odd numbered wards who are considering running in 2017 should begin planning now.

Tomorrow I’ll look at the 2015 spring municipal races.

— Steve Patterson

 

10th Anniversary of UrbanReviewSTL.com!!

In February 2009 a couple of friends noticed me on Google's Street View, this would've been prior to 2/1/2008.
I try to avoid using images from Google’s Street View, but this one of me on my scooter from before my 2/1/2008 stroke is a favorite. Discov

There are very few things I’ve done consistently for a full decade. Who knew when I started blogging on Halloween Day in 2004 I’d still be doing so a decade later? I would’ve laughed then if you’d said I’d be celebrating the 10th anniversary. I almost didn’t make it to the 4th.

I can tell you nothing else I’ve done in my nearly 50 years comes close to the joy & clarity this blog gives me.  I’ve learned you can plan all you want but life throws things at you that weren’t anticipated, you’ve got to continually reevaluate and change. St. Louis hasn’t learned this yet, our 1947 Comprehensive Master Plan still guides much of our development patterns nearly seven decades later.

Am I celebrating? Yes, meeting my husband today for lunch, photographing updates for a prior post. If you see me out and about please be sure to say hello!

Thank you for reading,

— Steve Patterson

 

October 2014: 10th Anniversary Month For UrbanReviewSTL.com

Me pre-stroke in the December 2006 issue of St. Louis Magazine. Photo by Dillip Vishwanat
Me pre-stroke in the December 2006 issue of St. Louis Magazine. Photo by Dillip Vishwanat

The last day of this month, Halloween 2014, is the 10th anniversary of UrbanReviewSTL.com. Throughout this month I’ll look back at the last 9 years 11 months, picking out some of my favorite topics from thousands of posts.

I started the blog as a way to focus after my dad’s heart attack ten years ago today, and his long recovery that October.  Writing, sharing my views & ideas turned out to be the perfect therapy for me.

In the last decade I’ve run for public office, bought a motor scooter, went car-free twice, both of my parents died, I had a stroke/became disabled, attended graduate school, and so much more.

If you’re so inclined, I’ve added a button at the top of the right sidebar for a $10 one-time donation. Thank you for reading UrbanReviewSTL.com

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Readers: Same-Sex Marriage To Be Recognized In All 50 States In The Year…; I’m Now Legally Married

June 17, 2014 Featured, Metro East, Politics/Policy, Popular Culture, Steve Patterson Comments Off on Readers: Same-Sex Marriage To Be Recognized In All 50 States In The Year…; I’m Now Legally Married

Over the last 10+ years public opinion on same-sex marriage has shifted from majority opposed to majority support. It’s no longer if, but when. Last week’s unscientific poll looked at the timing:

Q: When do you think Same-Sex Marriage will be recognized in all 50 states?

  1. 2019-2024: 30 [26.55%]
  2. 2016: 18 [15.93%]
  3. 2025 or later: 17 [15.04%]
  4. Never: 17 [15.04%]
  5. 2017: 12 [10.62%]
  6. 2015: 10 [8.85%]
  7. 2018: 7 [6.19%]
  8. 2014: 2 [1.77%]

There’s no right or wrong here, we’re all just placing bets. However, the 15% who picked “never” will be in for a shock when the SCOTUS issues a ruling, making same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states.

The Supreme Court’s term runs from October to June. With the high likelihood that at least one circuit will decide against state limits by summer or fall, observers say, the Supreme Court should have ample time to hear a case for a decision by June 2015, though unexpected delays could push it to 2016 at the latest. (NY Times)

On June 12, 1967 the SCOTUS ruled on Loving v. Virginia, “ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States.” The same will happen for same-sex marriage, though not unanimous as was Loving v. Virginia. My prediction is the SCOTUS will decide the issue in June 2016.

And on a personal note…

The morning I posted this poll, Sunday June 8, 2014, was my own same-sex marriage in East St. Louis, at the beautiful Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park.

David and I exchanging our vows on Sunday June 8th, officiated by our friend Chris Reimer.
David and I exchanging rings on Sunday June 8th, officiated by our Chris Reimer. Photo by Chris Andoe.
After Chris (center) announced we had no official photographer so we wanted everyone to take pics I got out my iPhone to take a quick selfie of us.
After Chris (center) announced we had no official photographer so we wanted everyone to take pics I got out my iPhone to take a quick selfie of us.
Dionna Raedeke singing "The Very Thought of You" during our ceremony. Photo by Chris Reimer
Dionna Raedeke singing “The Very Thought of You” during our ceremony. Photo by Chris Reimer
Our reception was brunch at Bevo Mill, Lydia S. drove us in her Tesla.
Our reception was brunch at Bevo Mill, Lydia S. drove us there in her Tesla. Photo by Alan Brunettin

We couldn’t get married in Missouri, but we did borrow the St. Louis skyline as a backdrop. We plan to honeymoon in Denver later this year (fund).

Thanks to so many people, including Bryan Werner of the Metro East Park & Recreation District.

— Steve Patterson

 

Advertisement



FACEBOOK POSTS

This message is only visible to admins.

Problem displaying Facebook posts.
Click to show error

Error: An access token is required to request this resource.
Type: OAuthException

Archives

Categories

Advertisement


Subscribe