My 15th Look at St. Louis’ Martin Luther King Drive

 

 Today is the annual holiday to honor the civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated in Memphis in 1968. Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Christian minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the …

Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis Police Continue To Be Required To Live In The City?

 

 For the nearly 30 years I’ve lived in St. Louis all city employees must live within the city’s limits. This has included members of our police department. This may change — for the police only. “Right now, we have a clean bill,” Hicks said in a committee hearing on the …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 28 of 2019-2020 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 28th meeting of the 2019-2020 session. As previously noted, they have the first two meetings labeled as Week #1, so they list this as week/meeting 27. Today’s agenda includes two (2) new bills. B.B.#191 — Rice/P.Boyd/Spencer/Navarro/Ingrassia/Guenther Green – An Ordinance amending …

St. Louis Lambert International Airport Needs An Open Regional Approach, Not Private Shareholders

 

 Recently St. Louis Mayor  Lyda Krewson announced the process to consider bids to privatize St. Louis Lambert International Airport, which began with her predecessor, was dead. To many of us this was a good thing. Whenever I’d post about airport privatization a reader would post a comment like this: What …

Recent Articles:

Sunday Poll: St. Louis’ New Gun Background Check Bill Good or Bad Legislation?

November 3, 2019 Crime, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: St. Louis’ New Gun Background Check Bill Good or Bad Legislation?
 
Please vote below

Friday the St. Louis Board of Aldermen sent a bill to Mayor Krewson, who’s expected to sign it.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen passed a bill that requires licensed gun dealers to tell police if someone trying to purchase a gun fails a federal background check.

Bill 106 is a public safety legislation for failed background checks for firearm purchases. According to the Board of Aldermen, the City of St. Louis has become the first city in the U.S. to pass such a law.

The bill, sponsored by President Lewis Reed, will establish reporting requirements for licensed firearm dealers. The legislation requires the dealer to report when a firearm purchase is denied from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. The new law will prohibit people who attempt to buy guns and fail the background check from creating a serious public safety threat. (KSDK)

Board Bill 106, introduced on September 13th, can be found here.

To come up with today’s poll question I read lots of comments on  articles about this posted on news site Facebook pages. Yes, the poll question isn’t the same as the headline.

As always, this poll will close at 8pm tonight. My thoughts, still unclear to me at this point, and the results Wednesday morning.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 21 of 2019-2020 Session

November 1, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 21 of 2019-2020 Session
 

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 21st meeting of the 2019-2020 session. As previously noted, they have the first two meetings labeled as Week #1, so they list this as week/meeting 20.

Today’s agenda includes five (5) new bills.

  • B.B.#141 – J. Boyd – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment making a supplemental appropriation to the Annual Budget Ordinance 70963 for Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2019, and ending June 30, 2020, amounting to the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000.00), and containing an Emergency Clause.
  • B.B. #142 – Ingrassia – An ordinance approving a blighting study and Redevelopment Plan for the 2633-35 Allen Ave. Redevelopment Area (“Area”) after finding that the Area is blighted as defined in Section 99.320 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, 2016, as amended (“RSMo”), (the “Statute” being Sections 99.300 to 99.715 inclusive), finding that there shall be available five (5) year tax abatement based on 50% of the assessed value of the incremental improvements; and pledging cooperation of the Board of Aldermen.
  • B.B. #143 – Todd – An ordinance amending the Redevelopment Plan for the Washington/Vandeventer/Enright/Pendleton Redevelopment Area (“Area”) approved by Ordinance # 69519 dated July 24, 2013 (Exhibit 1 attached) by extending the implementation schedule now calling for projects to be completed by May 1, 2029.
  • B.B. #144 – Todd – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 3765 Lindell Blvd. Area.
  • B.B. #145 – Todd – An ordinance amending the Redevelopment Plan for the Vandeventer/Finney/Washington/Taylor Redevelopment Area (“Area”) approved by Ordinance #69410 dated February 21, 2013 (Exhibit 1 attached) by extending the implementation schedule now calling for projects to be completed by May 1, 2029.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2019-2020 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

15th Anniversary of UrbanReviewSTL.com; Future Uncertain Due To Cancer Diagnosis

October 31, 2019 Featured, Site Info, Steve Patterson Comments Off on 15th Anniversary of UrbanReviewSTL.com; Future Uncertain Due To Cancer Diagnosis
 
Me pre-stroke in the December 2006 issue of St. Louis Magazine. Photo by Dillip Vishwanat

I don’t normally post on a Thursday, but today is not just any Thursday.

It was 15 years ago today, Halloween 2004, when I registered the domain UrbanReviewSTL.com and began posting my thoughts on urban planning and architecture in the St. Louis region.

I initially began this blog to distract myself from my father’s recovery from a heart attack on the first of October ’04. I had no plan for longevity, I just needed something else to focus my attention on at the moment.

Within a few months I was the first openly-LGBT candidate for the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. I lost, but the experience was great and it increased attention to this blog. I was motivated to make a difference.

In 2006 my mom passed away, later that year St. Louis Magazine named me the 50th most powerful person in St. Louis. In these early years I posted about a variety of topics including buying/riding/parking a 50cc Hondas Metropolitan Scooter, valet parking, Loughborough Commons, etc.

In late November 2007 I moved into a loft in Downtown West, just as my father went into the hospital in Oklahoma City. On January 1, 2008 my father died. Within a couple of weeks I was driving a friend of a friend, and her two cats, to Providence Rhode Island. After a night there I spent a day & night in Boston, flying back to St. Louis from there. I didn’t know it at the time, but it would be my last walking/exploring trip.

On a cold & snowy Friday, February 1, 2008, I had a hemorrhagic stroke at home alone. It was 15-16 hours before a worried friend found me the next morning. After 3 months in 3 hospitals I retuned home on April 30, 2008. Read more on my post about the 10th anniversary of my stroke.

In the nearly 12 years since my stroke I’ve posted a lot about obstacles encountered while using my power wheelchair, my increased use of public transit, meeting & marrying my husband, etc.  I’ve been working out at the downtown Y (YMCA) and, between July 2018 and July 2019, managed to get below 200 pounds for the first time in decades — lost nearly 40 pounds in a year of working out. Felt so great to achieve that goal.

And now, the reason why the future of this blog is uncertain.

For a few years I’ve had an enlarged thyroid. Each year I’d go to the Center for Advanced Medicine (CAM) for a CT scan, once also getting a biopsy to test the tissue. Nothing.

The chest x-ray at my annual physical this year spots were seen that weren’t there last year.  My doctor thought it was cancer, so back to CAM for a CT. Yep, spots that weren’t there before. Next up was Barnes Hospital for a CT biopsy of my right lung. The results showed metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) — kidney cancer that has spread to my lungs.  It might be another type of kidney cancer, but RCC is most common. Interestingly it’s unrelated to my enlarged thyroid.

My favorite color is orange so I’m pleased with the ribbon.

I meet with an oncologist next week at Siteman Cancer Center to discuss diagnosis and her proposed treatment plan. My plan is to continue posting four days per week (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), but I can’t predict how the cancer treatment will affect me. My research has shown a lot of drugs, combined with chemotherapy, have good success with advanced kidney cancer. I’m optimistic about my odds.

I’m still working out at The Y, still going about my life as usual. You’ll still see me out and about, but don’t be surprised if I begin crying — I have pseudobulbar affect as a result of my stroke. I greatly appreciate positive thoughts, well wishes, and such. However, please don’t tell me you’re praying to your deity on my behalf — that’s about you not me! When I was certain I was going to die while experiencing a stroke I didn’t suddenly cease being an atheist/humanist.

“Humanism rejects dependence on faith, the supernatural, divine texts, resurrection, reincarnation, or anything else for which we have no evidence. To put it another way, Humanists believe in life before death.”  ? Greg M. Epstein, Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe

Pray if you like, just please don’t think sharing that information with me will bring me comfort — it won’t.

So many blogs have come and gone over the last 15 years — it’s a lot of work so I understand why many ceased being published. I’ll post updates on my health on social media, and a post likely on Friday after Thanksgiving (11/29).

— Steve

Fifty Years Since the St. Louis Rent Strike of 1969 Ended

October 30, 2019 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Fifty Years Since the St. Louis Rent Strike of 1969 Ended
 

Yesterday was the 50th Anniversary of the end of the 1969 St. Louis Rent Strike. Upset by poorly built & maintained public housing, tenants refused to pay their rent.

The 1969 rent strike focused on the failed Pruitt-Igoe project.

Much was written about the rent strike, here’s the abstract from a 2013 academic paper titled The St. Louis Rent Strike of 1969: Transforming Black Activism and American Low-Income Housing:

In 1969, public housing tenants launched a rent strike that shaped federal legislation and helped make housing a central concern of the Black Freedom Struggle. In addition to providing a detailed narrative of the rent strike, this article follows the lives of the rent strike’s three primary leaders—Ivory Perry, the Rev. Buck Jones, and Jean King. Following the rent strike, Ivory Perry worked to curb lead poisoning while Buck Jones sought to reform welfare in Missouri. Later, Jones labored to improve living conditions in East St. Louis, Illinois. Jean King worked with private developers following the rent strike, helping remake the architecture and management of low-income housing. By focusing on how these individuals aided the rent strike, and by following their subsequent life careers, this article demonstrates that the St. Louis rent strike influenced developments central to American low-income housing and black activism in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Strikes are an effective way to force change. Still, some would like to end unions and strikes. In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll there was more responses than usual, but the pattern didn’t change.

Q: Agree or disagree: To reduce economic disruption strikes should be limited by law

  • Strongly agree: 2 [2.7%]
  • Agree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat agree: 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [1.35%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Disagree: 5 [6.76%]
  • Strongly disagree: 65 [87.84%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1  [1.35%]

We must be diligent to protect the right to strike.

— Steve Patterson

New Book — ‘They Will Run: The Golden Age of the Automobile in St. Louis’ by Molly Butterworth and Tom Eyssell

October 28, 2019 Books, Featured Comments Off on New Book — ‘They Will Run: The Golden Age of the Automobile in St. Louis’ by Molly Butterworth and Tom Eyssell
 

Despite thinking the St. Louis region has been destroyed for the automobile, I’m also a car buff. For good or bad, the car had a big influence on the 20th century and St. Louis.

A new book looks at the auto manufacturers that called St. Louis home, the dealerships, and everything else to do with cars in St. Louis. (I may need to write the book on how Harland Bartholomew destroyed the city to accommodate the car.)

Anyway, ‘They Will Run: The Golden Age of the Automobile in St. Louis’ is a photo-filled history of the car in St. Louis from early manufacturers, to dealership rows like Locust & Kingshighway, Corvette assembly at Union  & Natural Bridge, etc.

From the local publisher:

Were it not for a few quirks of history, St. Louis might have become the center of the American automotive industry instead of Detroit. Since the late 1800s, St. Louis has been home to dozens of automobile makes and to numerous manufacturers, large and small. In They Will Run: The Golden Age of the Automobile in St. Louis, head down the road of automotive history in the Gateway City, where transportation has always meant power.

Many St. Louisans have heard of the famous Moon automobile of the early twentieth century, but what about the Dyke, the Dorris, and the Gardner? Learn about the city’s prominence as a key automobile manufacturing hub through the 1960s, and the role played by notorious St. Louis playboy and bon vivant Harry Turner in bringing the automobile to St. Louis.

Do you know which vehicles produced here helped the Allies win World War II? Or which ones helped carry and sell beer, create the legend of America’s first true sports car, or were raced around ovals and across the country? Dig down under the roads to uncover the previous lives of streets that once served as Automobile Rows lined with beautiful buildings in which to buy or repair cars.

Authors and car enthusiasts Molly Butterworth and Tom Eyssell deftly take the wheel of this in-depth guide to the automotive heritage of St. Louis. Sit back and enjoy the ride, from the horseless carriage, through the halcyon 1920s, and up to the everchanging automobile industry of today. (Reedy Press)

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed flipping through the pages of this book.

Here are three upcoming events, all free, where you can hear from the authors.

  1. Book Presentation and Signing
    Tuesday, October 29 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
    Webster Groves Public Library
    301 E. Lockwood Ave.
    Webster Groves, MO 63119
    (314) 961.3784
    Free and open to the public
  2. Book Presentation and Signing
    Tuesday, November 12 from 7 to 10 p.m.
    Alpha Brewing
    4310 Fyler Avenue
    St. Louis, MO 63116
    (314) 621-2337
    Free and open to the public
  3. Book Presentation and Signing
    Monday, November 18 from 7 to 8 p.m.
    St. Charles City-County Library – Library Express WingHaven
    7435 Village Center Drive
    O’Fallon, MO 63368-4768
    (636) 561-3385
    Free and open to the public. Please register here.

A fascinating book packed with St. Louis history.

— Steve Patterson

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