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Grand Jury Decision Sooner Than Readers Expected

November 26, 2014 Featured, Ferguson, St. Louis County Comments Off on Grand Jury Decision Sooner Than Readers Expected
The AutoZone at 9947 W. Florissant in Dellwood was one of many businesses burned following the grand jury decision.   Photo date: August 19, 2014
The AutoZone at 9947 W. Florissant in Dellwood was one of many businesses burned following the grand jury decision.
Photo date: August 19, 2014

In the Sunday Poll at the start of this week it was looking to many like we wouldn’t see a decision anytime soon. Only 6 readers correctly guessed Monday as the day.

Here are the results, in chronological order:

Q: What day do you think the Michael Brown Grand Jury will announce their decision?

  • Today: Sunday 11/23/14 2 [6.25%]
  • Tomorrow: Monday 11/24/14 6 [18.75%]
  • Tuesday 11/25/14 4 [12.5%]
  • Wednesday 11/26/14 3 [9.38%]
  • Thursday 11/27/15 0 [0%]
  • Friday 11/28/14 1 [3.13%]
  • Saturday 11/29/14 1 [3.13%]
  • Sunday 11/30/14 2 [6.25%]
  • Sometime in December 2014 7 [21.88%]
  • Unsure/no answer 6 [18.75%]

The answer with the most votes was “Sometime in December 2014.” I’d expected the results the following weekend, I thought on Sunday the 30th.

The destruction we all witnessed on TV Monday night/Tuesday morning was easy to anticipate.  A look at history makes this clear:

  • The 1979 White Night Riots in San Francisco after Dan White was convicted of Manslaughter for the murders of San Francisco mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.
  • The 1992 Los Angeles Riots after four white cops were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King.
  • You can read a long list of civil unrest in the US going back to the late 18th century here.

This destruction we saw underscores the problems we have in the St. Louis region, see Guest Post: Why It Takes More Than Changing Beliefs To End Racial Inequality.


— Steve Patterson



Sunday Poll: What Day Do You Think The Michael Brown Grand Jury Will Announce Their Decision?

November 23, 2014 Featured, Ferguson, Sunday Poll 2 Comments
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

On Wednesday I said there would be no more weekly polls, which is true. However, that afternoon, I decided to try a poll that’s open for just 12 hours: 8am-8pm, each Sunday.

Most likely you saw the news yesterday — no decision from the Grand Jury yet:

A steady rain dampened an already gloomy mood here Saturday afternoon as word spread that a grand jury looking into whether to indict police Officer Darren Wilson had yet to make a decision. (CNN)

The poll question for today is ‘What day do you think the Michael Brown Grand Jury will announce their decision?’  The poll options include today and every day though the end of the month. The answers will be in the same order for everyone — chronological. The poll closes in 12 hours — 8pm central.

The poll is located at the top of the right sidebar on the desktop layout, mobile users will need to switch to the desktop layout to see the poll in the sidebar.

— Steve Patterson


Accessibility Error at Yorkshire Village Shopping Center Addressed

Back on July I posted about a problem accessing Yorkshire Village Shopping Center, recently completed construction had created a new obstacle! I contacted the property owner about the problem, we even met at the site once.

A new curb!?!
July 2014: a new curb kept the path between buildings from being accessible. I don’t know how stuff like this gets built more than two decades after the ADA, but it does all too often
The developer fixed the problem on October 23rd, I visited again on the 31st.
The developer fixed the problem on October 23rd, I visited again on the 31st.
Looking the other way, toward the new CVS
Looking the other way, toward the new CVS

It’s a small change, but was much more expensive after the fact than if it had been done correctly in the first place. Their architect/engineer still insists it was compliant the way it was first built, but it wasn’t. The fact the building was existing is irrelevant:

Because barrier removal under the ADA is a continuing obligation, an accessible route may need to be provided at a later date, if a route for the general public develops or is created, and the provision of an accessible route is readily achievable. For instance, if a new bus stop is established near a site, an accessible route may have to be provided if pedestrians commonly walk between the new bus stop and the entrance to the facility. Similarly, if a sidewalk or walkway is provided between the facility and the new bus stop, an accessible route may be required. (Dept of Justice)

I’ve taken readings of the ramp, based on the slope it needs handrails on both sides to be fully compliant with ADA guidelines. If it weren’t as steep handrails wouldn’t be necessary.

Thanks to Matthew Stack of Koch Development for recognizing the problem and taking corrective action.

— Steve Patterson


Eleanor Roosevelt Visited St. Louis 75 Years Ago

Seventy-five years ago today First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote about her visit to St. Louis the day before.  She arrived at St. Louis’ Union Station, having been in Kansas City.  Later that Sunday she visited Fort Belle Fontaine:

I visited a training school for boys between the ages of 12 and 18, yesterday afternoon. It is about 16 miles out of St. Louis and is run on the cottage system with much land around it. The boys work three hours of the day on academic school courses and four hours on actual labor jobs.

Yesterday being Sunday, the WPA orchestra and the choral leader were putting on a concert in which the boys themselves participated. The commentator told the story of the music which the orchestra was about to play and the boys joined in the singing. Sometimes it was a quartette of boys trained under the WPA recreational project by the choral director, sometimes it was a song by the entire glee club.

The boys never had any time to weary of too much orchestral music, nor did they have to sit still too long, because periodically they rose and sang as loudly as they wanted. (My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt Monday November 6, 1939)

The Works Progress Administration (WPA), started in 1935, had numerous projects on the historic site, including terraces down to the Missouri River.

The WPA built the stone terraces & steps down to the Missouri River
The WPA built the stone terraces & steps down to the Missouri River, that’s my husband on the left

Why is it historic? Glad you asked:

Fort Belle Fontaine Park has been a St. Louis County Park since 1986. Few are aware that this was the first United States military installation west of the Mississippi River, established in 1805. Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery expedition (1804-1806) spent the first night of their expedition on an island opposite Cold Water Creek and their last night two years later at the fort, which had been established in their absence. Other major expeditions left from this site betweem 1805 and 1819 to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Territory. Until it was replaced by Jefferson Barracks in 1826, Fort Belle Fontaine was an important gathering place in the wilderness for officers and enlisted men, Native American, French, Spanish and American settlers, trappers and traders, and the local businessmen and farmers who supplied the fort with necessities. (St. Louis County)

A year after, to the day, that Mrs. Roosevelt visited St. Louis her husband Franklin D. Roosevelt won an unprecedented 3rd term in office.

The recent PBS special The Roosevelts was fascinating, highly recommenced!! If you haven’t been, I also revommend visiting Fort Belle Fontaine

— Steve Patterson


McCulloch’s Process Guarantees No Indictment

November 5, 2014 Ferguson 31 Comments

Within the first 24 hours of last week’s poll it was clear it had been hijacked by trolls, skewing the results.  The vote count in a day was more than I usually see for the full week. I waited until Tuesday afternoon then decided to remove the poll from the blog. Here are the results when I closed/pulled the poll:

Q: Rate Prosecutor McCulloch’s Handling of the case of Darren Wilson Killing Michael Brown so far

  1. 5: Excellent 126 [70%]
  2. 1: Poor 25 [13.89%]
  3. Unsure/no answer 12 [6.67%]
  4. 4: Very Good 8 [4.44%]
  5. 2: Fair 6 [3.33%]
  6. 3: Good 3 [1.67%]

The “poor” was way ahead Sunday night, the next morning “excellent” was way out front. Eventually I’ll learn to not do polls that encourage sides to rally their troops to skew the results.

As far as McCulloch’s preformance, I voted “fair.” I agree with this article:

McCulloch’s decision to present every piece of evidence to the grand jury is a delay tactic, which in my experience overwhelms the grand jury and usually ends up with a vote not to indict. Keep in mind, this is just a “probable cause” hearing – the grand jury is not determining “guilt or innocence,” which happens at the actual trial. The grand jury doesn’t really need every piece of evidence to determine “probable cause.” (Bob McCulloch’s grand jury charade: County Prosecutor shows how to not get an indictment)

Charade is the right word. If McCulloch wanted an indictment he’d have handled the case differently, this has been an elaborate act to give the appearance of due diligence while guaranteeing no indictment.

— Steve Patterson