Climate Change May Mean A Bleak Future For Today’s St. Louis Kids


 On Friday some in St. Louis took part in the global climate strike: Hundreds of people took to the streets of downtown St. Louis to protest the failure of politicians and special interests to act despite mounting evidence of climate change’s accelerating and potentially devastating effect on life on the …

Sunday Poll: Are We Too Soft On Crime?


 Last week Missouri Governor Mike Parsons was back in St. Louis, announcing the state’s new commitment to help reduce violence in the St. Louis region. Starting Oct. 1, 25 Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers will be deployed in a variety of roles throughout the city. Six of them, along with …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 15 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 14. Today’s agenda includes five (5) new bills. B.B. #108 – Middlebrook – An ordinance recommended …

Readers Either Neutral or Feel Less Safe Around Open Carry


 To many people the presence of a firearm makes them feel less safe.  Some research indicates it isn’t just a feeling — they’re less safe! Does carrying a gun make you safer? Does it make other people safer? Millions of Americans who pack heat think so, and 33 states with …

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Sunday Poll: Should Gov Parsons Sign Bill To Ease Motorcycle Helmet & Vehicle Inspection Requirements; Increase Vehicle Registration Fees?

May 26, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Gov Parsons Sign Bill To Ease Motorcycle Helmet & Vehicle Inspection Requirements; Increase Vehicle Registration Fees?
Please vote below

A bill on the desk of Missouri Gov Parsons, if signed by July 14th, would change a number of things, including:

  • Allow motorcyclists 18 and older, with health insurance, to ride without having to wear a helmet.
  • Cars 5-10 years old, with less than 150,000 miles, would no longer need safety inspections every two years. Vehicles older than 10 years or with 150k miles would still need state inspection. No mention of emissions testing.
  • Increase vehicle registration and drivers license fess.
  • Allow a left turn on a red light. Currently Missouri law doesn’t permit these turns. I blogged about this in 2015, see Left Turn On Red Not Allowed In Missouri.

This bill on the governor’s desk is the subject of today’s poll.

Today’s poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 6 of 2019-2020 Session

May 23, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 6 of 2019-2020 Session
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their  6th meeting of the 2019-2020 session.

They usually meet on Fridays, but are meeting today because of Memorial Day weekend.

Today’s agenda includes one new bill — on a topic I posted about back in November:

  • B.B.#47 – Murphy – An ordinance prohibiting persons and entities selling or offering for sale consumer goods or services at retail in the City from refusing to accept cash as a form of payment to purchase goods and services unless otherwise provided in this ordinance.

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

Opinion: Access To Birth Control, Abortion, Must Remain Legal

May 22, 2019 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Opinion: Access To Birth Control, Abortion, Must Remain Legal
Missouri Capital, Jefferson City, MO, April 2011

In an ideal world there would be zero abortions, but reality is often less than ideal. Women get raped, sometimes by a relative. They can also find themselves pregnant at inopportune times.

Pregnancies have been terminated for centuries, regardless of laws.

Abortion bans, unsurprisingly, have always been about racism, controlling women.

The state [Alabama] first made abortion a crime a bit more than 150 years ago, and others passed similar measures through the middle of that century. Prior to that wave of legislation, common law had allowed abortion until quickening, when the woman first perceived fetal movement — usually around the middle of a pregnancy. Only at the point of quickening was life recognized as having begun. A small group of elite physicians working to professionalize medicine initiated a campaign to criminalize the practice of “bringing on the menses.” They aimed to eliminate their competition by casting midwives and “irregular” doctors as criminals.

To gain legislative support, these doctors raised questions about exactly who was having babies, who was aborting and who should populate the nation. They knew well-to-do white women were having fewer children, and that the families of immigrants, Catholics and, after the Civil War, freedpeople, were larger. To put it plainly: Lawmakers hoped to force middle-class white women to have more babies by removing the option of abortion, thus preventing the country from being “taken over” by “foreigners” and people of color. (Time)

Even when laws banned abortion, women with means & connection could still terminate their unwanted pregnancy. From a woman who’s now 74:

When I was 23, I had an illegal abortion arranged by the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion. I was young, in no position to raise a child, and had gotten pregnant by a man I barely knew. The Clergymen’s Committee was a group of ministers and rabbis who arranged for physicians to provide safe, albeit illegal abortions in different cities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Though I lived in New York, mine was scheduled in a city about an hour’s flight away.

My parents helped pay for the procedure and my friends knew about it, but I chose to go to this appointment alone. What I was doing was illegal and I didn’t want to implicate friends or family. I flew to Pittsburgh and caught a bus to the center of town, near the hotel room where I met the doctor. He was an older gentleman, a respected doctor at one of the local hospitals, and though he was pleasant as he explained what he would be doing, I noticed that his instruments were wrapped in a soiled cloth. (HuffPost)

Some want abortions to go back underground, into back allies again.

Laws that restrict access to abortion are not an effective way to end or greatly reduce the number of abortions because people will continue to have abortions regardless of the law. We actually know how to reduce the number of abortions. Most of those ways involve being honest about how and when people have sex and giving people the information they need to have sex responsibly.

Yet most who favor these highly restrictive laws do not seem terribly interested in pursuing policies that would do any of these things. Every state that has passed a restrictive law around abortion in recent weeks requires that sex education “stress” abstinence. Neither Alabama nor Missouri mandates sex education, though when it is taught, both states require that it emphasize the importance of “sex only within marriage.” Georgia, which does mandate sex education, does not require that information about contraception be included.

This simple fact suggests to me, when I am in a less generous mood, that they are not concerned about preventing abortions. They are instead interested in enforcing their own reactionary views with regard to women and sex. (VOX)

If we really want to reduce the number of abortions then we need to all work to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. This means increasing realistic sex education classes, increasing access to contraceptives (including Plan B), and allowing all women, regardless of races/means, to control their own bodies.

Most of you, like most of the country, agree.  Non-Scientific results from the recent Sunday Poll:

Q: Should Roe v. Wade be overturned?

  • Yes, absolutely! 7 [16.28%]
  • Yes: 0 [0%]
  • Sure: 0 [0%]
  • Neither yes or no: 0 [0%]
  • Probably not: 0 [0%]
  • No: 6 [13.95%]
  • Definitely not! 30 [69.77%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

Hopefully Roe v Wade will not be overturned.

— Steve Patterson

9th & 10th Streets Need To Be Two-Way North of Cole Street

May 20, 2019 Featured, Neighborhoods, Planning & Design, Transportation, Walkability Comments Off on 9th & 10th Streets Need To Be Two-Way North of Cole Street

Five years ago I suggested 9th & 10th Streets through the Columbus Square neighborhood (Cole to Cass) be uncoupled so that both are two-way streets again. See Columbus Square: 9th & 10th Streets from May 19, 2014.

In short, 9th & 10th have been a one-way couplet (opposite directions) to facilitate vehicular travel between I-70 and downtown — passing through the Columbus Square neighborhood.  Due to the construction of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge 9th/10th hasn’t connected to I-70 in 8-9 years. Yet, these excessively wide one-way streets remain through the neighborhood.

What has changed in the last five years?

I moved to the neighborhood nearly 5 months ago and 9th Street immediately south of Cole Street will close if the convention center is expanded. Living here, frequently crossing 9th & 10th, I can tell you they’re substantially wider than necessary. Being wide and one-way their design encourages drivers to travel at much higher speeds than should be in a residential neighborhood.

Five years ago the main obstacle to correcting this problem was the cost to alter/replace 3 traffic signals. The possible convention center expansion project includes significant changes to Cole Street — including new signals at 9th & 10th. That leaves only the relatively new signal at 9th & Cass to modify — minor work since 3 out of 4 approaches is currently two-way.  Some additional stop signs will be necessary at intersections between Cole & Cass.

Looking North on 9th Street toward Cass. It’s 44 feet from curb to curb.

We measured the width of 9th & 10th in various places five years ago, 9th @ Manhattan Place (south of Cass) was a very wide 44 feet. For comparison, Locust at 16th is a much busier street and is 42 feet wide. You need 8 feet for each parking lane, plus a max of 12 feet for each travel lane — a total of 40 feet. I’d prefer 10 or 11 foot travel lanes. There’s no money to physically narrow the streets, but a wide center “median” could be painted with stripes.

This pair of streets should’ve been returned to two-way during the 2010-2013 bridge project, but they weren’t. With the convention center project closing 9th and altering Cole, we’ve got another opportunity to correct the problem of one-way highway access streets through the center of a neighborhood — with an elementary school in between.

— Steve Patterson



Sunday Poll: Should Roe v. Wade Be Overturned?

May 19, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Roe v. Wade Be Overturned?
Please vote below

On Friday the Missouri House passed a restrictive abortion bill. Gov. Parsons is expected to sign it into law.

Missouri’s Republican-led House on Friday passed sweeping legislation designed to survive court challenges, which would ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy.

If enacted, the ban would be among the most restrictive in the U.S. It includes exceptions for medical emergencies, but not for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. Doctors would face five to 15 years in prison for violating the eight-week cutoff. Women who receive abortions wouldn’t be prosecuted.

Republican Gov. Mike Parson pledged to sign the bill , but it’s unclear when he’ll take action. When pressed on the lack of exceptions, he told reporters that “all life has value.” (Associated Press)

Missouri is not alone:

After a series of conservative appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court, a growing number of states have moved to drastically restrict access to abortion. Over the past few months, several states, including Missouri, Ohio and Georgia, have pursued “heartbeat” bills – legislation that would ban abortion as soon as a physician is able to detect a fetal heartbeat.

None of these new laws have yet gone into effect, and abortion is still legal in every state. Ivey herself admitted that the Alabama bill is likely “unenforceable” thanks to the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which asserted that Americans have a fundamental right to an abortion until a fetus is viable. However, these bills are designed to provoke the Supreme Court to make a ruling that will weaken abortion protections, or to even overturn the landmark ruling. (Time)

The sponsor of Alabama’s law is up front about seeking to challenged the 1973 Supreme Court decision.

Alabama House Rep. Terri Collins, who sponsored the bill, told NBC News on Tuesday evening that legislators wanted to keep the bill’s text as clean as possible, specifically to address the language in Roe v. Wade, and revisit the question on whether a baby in the womb is considered a person. (NBC News)

Though Missouri’s fetal heartbeat law wasn’t designed as a challenge to Roe v Wade, it’ll end up in the courts like all the rest. At some point the nation’s highest court may again take up the issue. This is the topic for today’s poll.

Today’s poll will close at 8pm. Results and my thoughts on the subject Wednesday morning.

— Steve Patterson



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