St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 24 of 2019-2020 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 15th 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 23. Today’s agenda includes three (12) new bills. B.B.#171 – Ingrassia – An ordinance prohibiting the …

Readers: Keep Cut From 28 To 14 Aldermen

 

 Unsurprisingly, the majority of those who voted in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll prefer to keep the planned cut from 28 to 14 Aldermen. Q: Agree or disagree: St. Louis voters should vote to keep the Board of Aldermen at 28, rather than be reduced to 14 by 2022. Strongly …

Examining the St. Louis MLS Stadium Site Plan, Part 2

 

 Two weeks ago I began a critical look at the site plan for the proposed Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium with a look at the area to the south of Market Street(see Part 1). This area includes practice fields with parking below, new streets, and development sites that have been …

Sunday Poll: Should the Size of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen Stay at 28 or be cut to 14?

 

 St. Louis voters have made some  notoriously bad decisions at the polls — the 1876 “divorce” from St. Louis County topping the list, the 1916 pro-segregation vote a close second. Back in 2012, city voters passed a measure cutting the Wards and Aldermen in half to 14. The measure takes …

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Using St. Louis’ Recycling Dumpsters

September 6, 2019 Environment, Featured Comments Off on Using St. Louis’ Recycling Dumpsters
 

I lived in a condo in Downtown West for over 11 years, our condo association had private trash & recycling.  It was very convenient.

Two recycling dumpsters sit side by side on what is apparently considered a sidewalk. Most people going to/from ZOOM Gas walk in O’Fallon Street.

When we moved to the Columbus Square neighborhood in late December 2018 we had to begin using city recycling dumpsters. As our apartment complex isn’t served by city alleys, we must take our recycling to a designated spot.

For us, that spot is on O’Fallon Street just west of 10th Street. My first thought was how inconvenient it was going to be. Turns out I was wrong…assuming you have a car.

We knew our apartment doesn’t have room for the big paper leaf bags we’d used to collect recycling in our loft, so we anticipated using some of our reusable shopping bags.

We used yard/leaf bags for recycling at our loft. This was taken out back about once a month.
Our primary recycling bag is one we got free at the opening of the Gtreenleaf grocery store. Click image for the city’s recycling website.

The drop off location is actually quite convenient. My husband often takes 1-2 shopping bags of recycling on his way to work. On the weekends we’ll both stop by. I’ve even dropped off the recycling by myself.

If you live in the city, you likely have recycling dumpsters in your alley. I have no experience with alley recycling. My guess is non-recyclable items end up in them. Some neighborhoods with alleys also have recycling locations like we do, presumably to save money by not having trucks drive down every alley.

— Steve Patterson

 

Labor Unions Needed More Than Ever

September 4, 2019 Economy, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Labor Unions Needed More Than Ever
 
One of the many cute dogs in Monday’s Labor Day Parade

The few at the top have been using the masses to pass laws designed to diminish unions — increasing their profits. As income inequality gets worse, labor unions are needed more than ever.

Collective bargaining is an important force in reducing inequality and ensuring that low- and middle-wage workers are given a fair return on their work. As productivity has risen over the last several decades, wages have remained flat for the majority of working people, while skyrocketing for those at the top. Union decline can explain one-third of the rise in wage inequality among men and one-fifth of the rise in wage inequality among women from 1973 to 2007. Among men, the erosion of collective bargaining has been the largest single factor driving a wedge between the middle class and the top 1 percent.

Working people in unions use their power in numbers to secure a fairer share of the income they create. On average, a worker covered by a union contract earns 13.2 percent more in wages than a peer with similar education, occupation, and experience in a nonunionized workplace in the same sector. But importantly, collective bargaining also raise wages for nonunion workers—as an economic sector becomes more unionized, nonunion employers pay more to retain qualified workers, and norms of higher pay and better conditions become standard. If union density had remained at its 1979 level, weekly wages of nonunion men in the private sector would be 5 percent higher today. (Economic Policy Institute)

Given the results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll it’s clear a majority of participants agree.with me.

Q: Agree or disagree: Labor unions are no longer necessary because laws protect worker’s health & safety.

  • Strongly agree: 4 [9.09%]
  • Agree: 4 [9.09%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [2.27%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 3 [6.82%]
  • Disagree: 3 [6.82%]
  • Strongly disagree: 29 [65.91%]
  • Unsure/No Answer:  0 [0%]

As usual, about 20% take the conservative viewpoint.

— Steve Patterson

Thank Labor Unions If You’re Off Work With Pay Today

September 2, 2019 Featured Comments Off on Thank Labor Unions If You’re Off Work With Pay Today
 

Today’s parade begins at 9am from 15th & Olive. It’ll head east to Tucker (12th), south to Market, then west to 15th.

Labor Day Parade in downtown St. Louis, 2009

Parade participants begin assembling at 7am, for more information see the St. Louis Labor Council parade page.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Are Labor Unions Still Necessary In 2019?

September 1, 2019 Featured Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Are Labor Unions Still Necessary In 2019?
 
Please vote below

Tomorrow is Labor Day, so today’s poll will be about labor unions.

Bumper stickers aren’t known for being the most trustworthy sources of historical fact, but the one that proclaims that weekends are “brought to you by the labor movement” gets it exactly right. If anything, it doesn’t go far enough.

Indeed, employers and elected leaders did not implement the five-day workweek out of the goodness of their hearts. Rather, workers and their unions agitated lobbied, organized, struck and voted for decades to achieve these gains. As Frederick Douglass, the legendary African American activist, once declared: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” (Time)

Union membership isn’t what it had been.

The union membership rate—the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions— was 10.5 percent in 2018, down by 0.2 percentage point from 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.7 million in 2018, was little changed from 2017. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were 17.7 million union workers. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

So here’s today’s poll.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

New Book — Soft City: Building Density for Everyday Life by David Sim, Forward by Jan Gehl

August 30, 2019 Books, Featured Comments Off on New Book — Soft City: Building Density for Everyday Life by David Sim, Forward by Jan Gehl
 

Upon receiving the email about this new book I immediately responded, “Yes, I’m interested.” Of course, European cities are very different from sprawling American metropolises. Still, I think there’s value in David Sim’s analysis of the approach we need to take.

From the publisher:

Imagine waking up to the gentle noises of the city, and moving through your day with complete confidence that you will get where you need to go quickly and efficiently. Soft City is about ease and comfort, where density has a human dimension, adapting to our ever-changing needs, nurturing relationships, and accommodating the pleasures of everyday life. How do we move from the current reality in most cites—separated uses and lengthy commutes in single-occupancy vehicles that drain human, environmental, and community resources—to support a soft city approach?

In Soft City David Sim, partner and creative director at Gehl, shows how this is possible, presenting ideas and graphic examples from around the globe. He draws from his vast design experience to make a case for a dense and diverse built environment at a human scale, which he presents through a series of observations of older and newer places, and a range of simple built phenomena, some traditional and some totally new inventions.

Sim shows that increasing density is not enough. The soft city must consider the organization and layout of the built environment for more fluid movement and comfort, a diversity of building types, and thoughtful design to ensure a sustainable urban environment and society.

Soft City begins with the big ideas of happiness and quality of life, and then shows how they are tied to the way we live. The heart of the book is highly visual and shows the building blocks for neighborhoods: building types and their organization and orientation; how we can get along as we get around a city; and living with the weather. As every citizen deals with the reality of a changing climate, Soft City explores how the built environment can adapt and respond.

Soft City offers inspiration, ideas, and guidance for anyone interested in city building. Sim shows how to make any city more efficient, more livable, and better connected to the environment. (Island Press)

The number of topics covered is overwhelming— zoning, transportation, walkability, climate change, etc. This book is packed with photos and colorful diagrams. See sample pages & contents at Google Books.

— Steve Patterson

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