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Our First Visit to Mau Haus Cat Cafe & Lounge

April 13, 2018 Featured, Local Business, Retail, St. Louis County Comments Off on Our First Visit to Mau Haus Cat Cafe & Lounge

Last weekend David and I were going to be in Maplewood, so we decided to visit Mau Haus — a cat cafe & lounge. We have some food & beverage while spending an hour in a room with 18 cats and about 15 strangers. It was a wonderful time, we’re ready to go back. You’re probably asking yourself what a cat cafe is…

A cat cafe is a combination of all things good; cats, coffee, and a relaxing cafe environment. You can relax and pet cats, and it’s great socialization for them too! The cats are adoptable, which means if you fall in love, you can apply to take them home!

A cat cafe is perfect for cat lovers who need a feline fix. Whether you can’t have cats at home, or you’ve already got some and are looking for more, we’ve always got great cats here!

We partner with Stray Haven Rescue for all adoptable cats at the cafe. All cats are up to date on shots, spayed / neutered, and microchipped. Learn more about their mission and how you can get involved here. (Mau Haus contact page)

The space is a typical urban corner storefront. Because they don’t wan the cats to get out the old main entrance is now an emergency exit only. The side entry is the only public entry — and it’s wheelchair accessible. There are no cats in the ordering section or kitchen. After you’ve signed the waiver, ordered, and space is available you go through the double door vestibule into the main area.

Inside Mau Haus the cats can climb on many areas designed just for them
This is Loreli — one of two resident cats. Click image to see the adoptable cats and Loreli’s brother Taylor — he’s huge!
The bookcase wall lacks books but it does have steps and holes for the cats
While she were there one cat climbed way up top by the front window
David takung a pic of one cat that jumped up on our table.
Crates near the entrance had new adoptable cats getting acclimated ro other cats, humans, etc.

Mau Haus is located at 3101 Sutton Blvd in Maplewood.  Note that reservations are recommended:

Reservations to spend time in the cafe are highly encouraged. We do allow walk-ins, but it’s likely that you will have to wait for a spot to open up. There is a minimum spend or donation of $5 for all walk ins. A reservation ensures that there will be a spot waiting for you!

There is a $10 per person reservation fee that gets you an hour in the lounge. It helps us cover the cost of maintaining the cat lounge and caring for the cats. As a bonus, you will get a free beverage (per person) and 20% off any food or additional beverages purchased. (Man Haus reservations page)

Just being in this space with strangers and lots of friendly cats was very relaxing, we’re looking forward to going again. We told our neighbor down the hall when we saw them at the elevator. Her first question was “does it smell?” No, the entire place smells like any cafe and the place was just as clean.

— Steve Patterson

 

Race For St. Louis County Executive Will Be Decided On August 7th

April 11, 2018 Featured, Politics/Policy, St. Louis County Comments Off on Race For St. Louis County Executive Will Be Decided On August 7th
Northwest Plaza is part of the debate in this race, September 2013 photo

Despite seven candidates from four political parties, the race for St. Louis County Executive will be decided in the August 7th primary — between the well-funded incumbent and the well-funded newcomer — both Democrats. Only some sort of scandal after the primary would mean one of the other three might win.

Here are the results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Seven candidates are running to become the next St. Louis County Executive, which one would you LIKE to see win in November 2018?

  • Mark Mantovani (D) 9 [45%]
  • Steve Stenger (D) 6 [30%]
  • Daniel Sampson (R) 2 [10%]
  • 3-WAY TIE:  1 [5%]
    • Paul Berry, III (R)
    • Nicholas (Nick) Kasoff (L)
    • Bill Ray (D)
  • Andrew Ostrowski (C) 0 [0%]

After the poll began I realized I forgot to include “unsure” option, resulting in lower than usual responses.

Hopefully voters will research all the candidates, attend debates, and really know each before voting. Hat tip to Andrew Ostrowski — the only one of the seven to contact me after the poll concluded.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Which of the Seven Candidates for St. Louis County Executive Would You LIKE to Win in November 2018?

April 8, 2018 Featured, Politics/Policy, St. Louis County Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Which of the Seven Candidates for St. Louis County Executive Would You LIKE to Win in November 2018?
Please vote below

You’ve likely been seeing political commercials in the race for St. Louis County Executive. The primary for Republican & Democratic candidates will be held August 7th — just over 3 months from now. We already know the unchallenged Libertarian & Constitution candidates will win their primaries.

The seven candidates from four political parties, listed in alphabetical order:

Today’s poll asks which of these seven candidates you’d like to see win in November. Not who you think will win — who you’d like to see win.

This poll will close automatically at 8pm, but will be closed earlier if voting irregularities are detected — such as campaigns to make a candidate the winer by emailing supporters to vote in the poll.

— Steve Patterson

 

Opinion: Generations of Shortsighted Decisions Continues To Dog St. Louis Region. Will Likely Continue

November 29, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy, St. Louis County, STL Region Comments Off on Opinion: Generations of Shortsighted Decisions Continues To Dog St. Louis Region. Will Likely Continue
Economic disinvestment in the north county area at Chambers & Lewis & Clark

Many of our current problems in the St. Louis region can be traced back to decisions made long before any of us were born. The Post-Dispatch’s example of two women who own the same type of 2014 Cadillac the personal property tax on one was $895. the other $436. Why? Where each happens to live in St. Louis County.  You might think the higher bill is in a fancier area than the lower bill — but the opposite is the case!

The total amount of real estate taxes assessed in St. Louis County has increased 18 percent since 2010, to $1.75 billion. By comparison, during that time the total amount of personal property taxes grew by 21 percent, to $280 million.

The personal property tax has steadily become a major revenue generator for municipalities and fire districts. Municipalities have increased their personal property tax revenue by 27 percent since 2010, to $9.1 million. And fire districts across St. Louis County have increased the amount they collect from personal property by 30 percent, to $31.8 million.

Johnson’s tax bill is more than double O’Neal’s in part because the school and fire districts and municipality where Johnson lives are strapped for cash. She sees a Caddy parked in her driveway; her leaders see a way to pay for teachers, cops and firefighters.

Even O’Neal doesn’t think that’s fair. She knows that sales taxes from the West County Mall help subsidize services for her area. (Post-Dispatch)

You’re probably asking what old decision is responsible for this current situation, right?  The answer is the 1876 divorce of the City of St. Louis from St. Louis County.

On August 22, 1876, in what was undoubtedly the stupidest move ever in the history of St. Louis, St. Louis City and St. Louis County decided to separate. Like the American Revolution, the great event was prompted by taxes — the 310,000 city residents didn’t feel like wasting money on the 27,000 county residents and reasoned that the city wouldn’t expand much further west than Grand Boulevard. (The boundary was eventually set at Skinker Boulevard so the city could claim Forest Park.)

Ah, short-sightedness! Thy name is St. Louis voters! Within 25 years, the city found itself pushing against its western border at Skinker and began to regret the decision to divorce itself from the county. (Riverfront Times)

As the land-locked City of St. Louis struggled as population and tax base fled to St. Louis County many County residents/leaders smugly thought something like “That’s the City for you!’ Now St. Louis County is going through the very same thing the city did in the last century — middle class fleeing certain areas with jobs, retail, etc following behind. In their place are lowered hime values, more crime, and an increased in concentrated poverty.

Had St. Louis not selfishly left St. Louis County it would have been able to annex smaller towns/villages as it grew. The city limits today would likely be out to at least the I-270 loop — North, West, and South. There would be a few municipalities that resisted annexation, but they’d be completely surrounded by the City of St. Louis. The majority of the region’s residents would live in the City of St. Louis. They’d all be covered by the city’s fire department and live within a few school districts. We wouldn’t have the disparity of taxes we do now.

Of course, this isn’t to say we’d be problem-free. We wouldn’t be. And thinking about this hypothetical scenario doesn’t change current reality. We’re one of the most fragmented regions in the country — a very high number of units of government — all with taxing ability.  Today many are as shortsighted as those in 1876 — their little corner of St. Louis County (or elsewhere in the region) is comfortable so this isn’t their problem. This is the “do nothing” approach to problem solving.

OK, let’s examine that option. Residents of North St. Louis County who cam afford housing elsewhere vote with their feet and leave — as many have been doing for years. Housing values drop so more poor move to North County, but in fewer numbers than those who left. Small municipalities continue to struggle — some raise taxes, others disincorporate themselves. Employers leave. Crime worsens. Income and other inequalities in the region get worse.

As I see it, the only answer is to reduce the units of government in the region. Sadly, many just accept the status quo as a given. From the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: Lower-income areas of St. Louis County require more services (police. EMS. etc) so it makes sense those residents pay more pers. property tax

  • Strongly agree 5 [18.52%]
  • Agree 4 [14.81%]
  • Somewhat agree 1 [3.7%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 2 [7.41%]
  • Somewhat disagree 3 [11.11%]
  • Disagree 5 [18.52%]
  • Strongly disagree 7 [25.93%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

As is often the case, the selfish shortsighted mentality will likely prevail. Please prove me wrong.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis County Personal Property Taxes Be The Same Regardless of Location?

November 26, 2017 Featured, St. Louis County, Sunday Poll, Taxes Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis County Personal Property Taxes Be The Same Regardless of Location?
Please vote below

We recently received our personal property tax bill in the mail for our 2007 Honda Civic EX, but I know anyone else with the same car registered in the City of St. Louis will owe the same amount. St.Louis County, however, is very different. Yesterday the Post-Dispatch did a story on the variation in rates, citing two women at the start:

Each owns a 2014 Cadillac XTS. And each got her personal property tax bill in the mail from the county this month.

Johnson’s tax bill was $895. O’Neal’s was $436.

Across the St. Louis area, people are writing checks to pay their personal property taxes, which are due by year’s end. Residents of St. Louis all pay the same rate. But St. Louis County residents are not assessed evenly — far from it.

All county residents pay the same real estate and personal property tax rates for certain services, such as county government and community colleges. But the rates for public schools, fire protection and municipalities vary dramatically. The boundaries don’t overlap cleanly, so even next-door neighbors can pay different rates. (Post-Dispatch)

According to the Post-Dispatch it is lower income areas that are paying the most.

The above is the subject of today’s poll:

This poll will close at 8pm tonight, I’ll post my thoughts on Wednesday.

— Steve Patterson

 

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