Sunday Poll: Millions Being Spent On Arch A Good Investment Or A Waste?

 

 Forty years ago today the iconic St. Louis Arch was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It was first nominated in 1966, but this 1976 nomination was approved the following year. Work began on clearing the site back in 1939. Previously I’d thought it was listed in 1987 — …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Board Bills 37-41

 

 A new Board Bill was introduced at last week’s Board of Aldermen meeting without being on the published agenda. A vote to suspend the rules and introduce another bill was part of the proceeding. This happened at 36 minutes into the meeting (see video). The bill not on the agenda introduced after …

Readers: Gov Greitens Should Veto Minimum Wage Bill

 

 Nearly 85% of those who voted in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll disagreed with the statement that Gov Greitens should sign the bill that would strip St. Louis of setting its own minimum wow higher than that of the state. More than half picked the “strongly disagree” option. Here’s the …

A Look At The New Kiener Plaza (Photos & Videos)

 

 A week ago I posted many photos of the old Kiener Plaza, see Remembering The Old Kiener Plaza. Today we take a close look at the new Kiener Plaza that opened over the weekend. The first three images were taken the afternoon of May 8, 2017 from the SE corner of …

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Sunday Poll: Will City & County Both Lose Population In Upcoming 2020 Census?

March 12, 2017 Featured, St. Louis County, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Will City & County Both Lose Population In Upcoming 2020 Census?
 
Please vote below

Every Census since 1940, except 1950, the City of St. Louis has lost population. In that same period, St. Louis County has gained population — except the most recent Census in 2010.  Today’s poll is pretty straightforward, will both lose population in the 2020 Census to be held just 3 years from now? Or do you think one (perhaps both) will show an increase?

Missouri Route 364 (aka Page Ave Extension) opened on December 13, 2003 — which helps explain the county’s first population loss other than the 1880 loss following the city leaving the county in 1876.

 

As always, the poll is open until 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

 

Status Quo Affirmed In Recent Primary

March 10, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Status Quo Affirmed In Recent Primary
 

St. Louis resists change, and with a few notable exceptions, the status quo was affirmed in Tuesday’s primary election. It’ll get rubber stamped in the formality known as the April 4th general election.

Despite St. Louis being overwhelmingly Democratic, we hold partisan primaries followed a month later by a general election that’s a complete farce. Why? Because voters wouldn’t know how to vote otherwise…or so I’ve been told. None of the people I voted for won, however, if I were a gambler I could have easily predicted the winners in most races.

MAYOR:

I like Lyda Krewson personally. She was the only mayoral candidate to ask me for my vote. A few days before the election I saw her at an event and she asked it I had endorsed anyone. “No”, I said. Krewson asked if she’d get my vote Tuesday, but I told her I already voted absentee. Her next question is obvious, did I vote for her?  “No”, I said again.

In the 7-way race Krewson was the winner with only 32.04% of the vote. That means a majority of voters wanted someone else to occupy room 200. This is why I said before the primary that St, Louis needs Ranked-Choice Voting. The final outcome may have been the same — or it may have been different — just depends on how voters ranked their 2nd & 3rd choices. Given how close Tishaura Jones was the result may have been different.

The general election on April 4th will be a 4-way race. Republican Andrew Jones, Libertarian Robb Cunningham, and Green Jonathan McFarland will lose to Democrat Lyda Krewson.

COMPTROLLER:

I like Darlene Green well enough, but there’s no Rolex watch for longevity in office. Darlene Green will decimate the Green party candidate in the general.

ALDERMAN:

This year was the odd-numbered wards — plus the 16th to fill a vacancy after Donna Baringer was elected to the state house in November.

Ward 1: Sharon Tyus was reelected in a 3-way race with 44.25% of the vote — most voters wanted someone else.

Ward 3: Brandon Bosley won the race usually occupied by his father. But 29.33% of the vote in the 6-way race shows a majority voted for someone else.

Ward 5: Disappointingly, Tamika Hubbard was reelected. Like other races, a majority of voters picked one of the other 5 candidates in the race. Hubbard got 43.23% of the vote.

Ward 7: The Democratic & Green primary candidates were unopposed, Democrat incumbent Jack Coatar will win April 4th.

Ward 9: This was the one big upset of the primary. Longtime incumbent Ken Ortmann was handily defeated by Dan Guenther. Ortmann for years refused to use email to communicate…relying on phone calls or face to face. Good riddance. Guenther got 64.2% to Ortmann’s 35.8%. Guenther will face Green candidate Katie Gore in the general. Gore was unopposed in the primary — she got ONE vote! This is why partisan primaries for local office are a waste of time & money — money that could be spent actually making our city better.

Ward 11: For the first time in years the 11th ward alderman will not be named Villa — because no Villa ran.   Sarah Martin, endorsed by Tom Villa, easily defeated her two challengers with 65.52%. The Green candidate got 3 votes in her unopposed primary race.

Ward 13: Incumbent Beth Murphy was unopposed in her primary, as was the Green candidate. The latter received 4 votes.

Ward 15: Voters overwhelmingly rejected Jennifer Florida’s bid to once again represent them in city hall. Megan Green got 66.1% of the votes in the 2-way race. Florida resigned a few years ago when appointed to finish the term as Recorder of Deeds, but she lost the election for a new term.

Ward 16 (Special election): Ald Donna Baringer was elected to the state house to replace termed-out Michele Kratky. Kratky then ran for the aldermanic seat vacated by Baringer — but Thomas Oldenburg defeated her. Republican Abigail Niebling faces an uphill battle in April even in the conservative 16th ward.

Ward 17: Joe Roddy won yet another 4-year term by defeating one primary challenger, he is unopposed in the general.

Ward 19: Sadly, Marlene Davis defeated her primary challenger. with 70.09% of the vote, she is unopposed in the general. Status quo maintained.

Ward 21: With Ald Antonio French in the mayor’s race, this became an open seat. John Muhammad won the 3-way race with 44.66%, 2nd place was close with 42.83%.  Muhammad is unopposed in the general.

Ward 23: Vacarro wasn’t challenged, is unopposed in the general.

Ward 25: Cohn wasn’t challenged, is unopposed in the general.

Ward 27: Ald Chris Carter didn’t seek another term. Another Carter ran in the 3-way race, but Pam Boyd won with 48.01%.

PROPOSITION S:

The $5,000 annual fee for short-term (aka Payday) loans was passed citywide but the vote was split along race/geography.

  • Wards that voted no: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 18, 19, 21, 22, 27
  • Wards that voted yes: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28

The 26th ward was the only ward mostly North of Delmar to vote yes — by just 32 votes. This says to me many are unaware of cheaper alternatives such as this and this.

Opinion: Minimum Wage Hike Will Benefit City Long-Term

March 8, 2017 Economy, Featured Comments Off on Opinion: Minimum Wage Hike Will Benefit City Long-Term
 
2013 Picket in front of Wendy’s in Rock Hill on August 26th

Poverty is a major problem in the region — especially in the City of St. Louis, from January 2014:

The Missourians to End Poverty coalition released a report Wednesday showing that poverty was up in the St. Louis area and statewide. In St. Louis County, 12.1 percent of the population was impoverished in 2012, up from 11.9 percent the previous year, according to the report. In the city of St. Louis, 29.3 percent of residents were impoverished, an increase from the 2011 figure of 27.2 percent.

Poverty in the state increased in 2012 to 16.2 percent — or nearly 948,000 people — from 15.8 percent in 2011. (Post-Dispatch)

It’s true that poor people spend nearly every dime they get — budgets just aren’t big enough for saving.  Low-wage workers who get a few bucks extra per week will put that money back into the local economy. Granted, some short-sighted employers will scale back employee’s hours to keep them impoverished. Reduced employees can lead to lower service and customer dissatisfaction.  Still other employers will accept reduced profit margins because their revenue & profits depend on billable hours.

Crime is often a result of poverty conditions, so reducing poverty is a way to reduce crime. I know many of you see this increase in the minimum wage as a disaster. I think it’ll actually not be a significant of a shift either way, though I do think the long-term prospects are good provided wages increase beyond 2018’s $11/hour.

Readers who voted in the Sunday Poll were split, with the agree/disagree trading places throughout the day:

Q: Agree or disagree: The increase in St. Louis’ minimum wage will be a long-term net positive for the city.

  • Strongly agree 12 [25%]
  • Agree 12 [25%]
  • Somewhat agree 5 [10.42%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 2 4.17%]Somewhat disagree 5 [10.42%]
  • Disagree 5 [10.42%]
  • Strongly disagree 6 [12.5%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [2.08%]

I refuse to buy into the widespread job loss fear-mongering from those who want to keep people impoverished.

— Steve Patterson

Grocery Delivery: Easy & Convenient…But Costly

March 6, 2017 Featured, Retail Comments Off on Grocery Delivery: Easy & Convenient…But Costly
 

The local grocery market is once again changing. Last week I decided to have groceries delivered to try out Instacart, now available in St. Louis.

From late January:

Maryland Heights-based Schnucks is among several retailers partnering with Instacart to offer online ordering and delivery beginning Feb. 16. Other retailers that will begin offering delivery through Instacart locally next month are Straub’s, Shop ’n Save, Whole Foods Market, Costco and Petco, Instacart spokeswoman Rebecca Silliman told the Post-Dispatch on Friday.

Based in San Francisco, rapidly growing Instacart provides delivery service for retailers across the country in 30 markets. It just expanded grocery delivery in Virginia Beach and plans to launch in Nashville soon. Instacart plans to hire at least 50 people in the St. Louis area, Silliman said.

Beginning next month, customers can access Schnucks Delivers’ new service online at Schnucksdelivers.com. Instacart will provide the software, shoppers and drivers. (Post-Dispatch)

I decided to go directly through Instacart, rather than Schnucks’ website — even though I was ordering from Schnucks. I also browsed the selection from Shop-n-Save, Straub’s, & Costco — we sometimes make a Shop-n-Save run and we always go to Costco once per month.  Those who aren’t Costco members can still have items delivered from them.

We needed bread and some produce but I decided I’d get the produce in person the next day. So my order was bread and three other items we’ll eventually eat — just enough to exceed $10.

These 4 items had a subtotal of $10.76. Sales tax was 69 cents for a store total of $11.45

I posted to my personal Facebook wall and a friend from grad school, now living in Chicago, said she loves Instacart, adding:

80%+ of what enters my house is delivered…..going to the store w/2 children in this town is literally insane. Happy to pay the delivery fee rather than spend 2 hours in traffic!!

I can see how a parent of two children might be willing to pay extra for delivery, but let’s look at the cost.

Instacart adds a 10% service fee onto the product subtotal, plus I tipped the delivery person $2. So my “free” delivery cost me $3.08 — 27% above what I would have paid id I’d gone to the store myself.

For my first free order the minimum was only $10, but the regular delivery rate is less for orders of at least $35.

Examples:

  • Orders less than $35, delivered within the hour: $11.99
  • Orders less than $35, delivered in 2 hours or more: $9.99
  • Orders $35 or more, delivered within the hour: $7.99
  • Orders $35 or more, delivered in 2 hours or more: $5.99

For $149 per year (or $14.99/month) you can get free delivery.

PROS

  • Fast & convenient
  • Easy to use website & smartphone app
  • Sale items appear on website/apps

CONS

  • Adds 25%+ to grocery cost
  • Four items arrived in 3 plastic bags
I use reusable bags, so having four items arrive in three bags was hard to accept. Not sure if this was the cashier or delivery person.

I do think grocery delivery will increase, but still be an expensive niche for a while. I invite you to try the service to see what you think. I got a link that will provide you with free delivery plus a $10 credit, click here.  Disclosure: I also get $10 for the first 5 who order using the link. Be sure to tip the delivery person online or in cash because Instacart keeps changing (lowering) their pay.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Will The Increase In St. Louis’ Minimum Wage Be a Long-Term Positive or Negative?

March 5, 2017 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Will The Increase In St. Louis’ Minimum Wage Be a Long-Term Positive or Negative?
 
Please vote below

Last week the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a 2015 St. Louis ordinance increasing the local minimum wage — it had been challenged by business groups:

St. Louis will be able to raise its minimum wage to $11 by 2018, after the Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the city acted within its charter authority when it approved the hike.

The decision reverses a circuit court judge who struck down the increase in 2015, just hours before it was set to take effect.

The city was sued by business groups who said the ordinance conflicted with state law that caps the minimum wage at $7.65. (Post-Dispatch)

This is the subject of today’s poll:

The poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

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