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

 

 This is my 15th annual look at St. Louis’ Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, but my first as a resident living North of the street named for the civil rights leader. It’s hard not to get depressed by the lack of investment in this corridor. — Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should Leaders Prioritize St. Louis’ Central Corridor?

 

 The City of St. Louis stretches a long distance from the Northern-most tip to the Southern-most tip, following the curve of the Mississippi River. St. Louis radiated out in all directions from its starting point on the riverfront, but the most coherent and focust development happened along a spine running …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 29 of 2018-2019 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 29th meeting of the 2018-2019 session. Two bills were introduced last week that weren’t on version 1 or 2 of that agenda.  See BB 220 (Redevelopment Plan for 5467-5559 Delmar) and BB 221 (Redevelopment Plan for 5539-5551 Pershing) Today’s agenda includes ten …

Readers Mixed on Road Conditions Following Snow Storm

 

 I left our new apartment briefly Friday morning, before the snow arrived, using power wheelchair. I didn’t leave again until Sunday morning, driving our car this time. On Sunday we went to Creve Coeur, Brentwood, and a few other places. By then roads were generally acceptable, but I can imagine …

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Labor Day 2018 Will Celebrate Recent Defeat of Right-To-Work

September 3, 2018 Economy, Featured Comments Off on Labor Day 2018 Will Celebrate Recent Defeat of Right-To-Work
 
Labor Day Parade in downtown St. Louis, 2009

I imagine the Labor Day parade today will be a celebration of the recent defeat of “right to work” in Missouri.

Voters in Missouri have overwhelmingly rejected a right-to-work law passed by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature that would have banned compulsory union fees — a resounding victory for organized labor that spent millions of dollars to defeat the measure.

With about 98 percent of the precincts reporting, the “no” vote on Missouri’s Proposition A, which supported the law, was running about 67 percent, with nearly 33 percent voting “yes.”

In 2017, the right-to-work law passed Missouri’s Republican Legislature and was signed by then-Gov. Eric Greitens. However, union organizers gathered enough signatures to keep it from going into effect pending the results of a statewide referendum. The rejection of Proposition A effectively kills the law. (NPR)

I thought our deep-red state would support Prop A and approve right-to-work. This seems to show a good campaign can sway enough rural voters.

This ballot box win got national attention, here’s partly why:

The rejection of this law stands in direct opposition to the Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME earlier this summer that declared workers have a constitutional right not to pay union dues. That ruling applies to public-sector unions in the 22 states that did not have right-to-work laws—Missouri is now the 23rd state to which that ruling applies. As the first major fight over unions since the Janus decision, some see Missouri’s referendum as an indication of the public’s support for unions beyond the state’s borders. (Fortune)

Growing up with conservative parents in highly conservative Oklahoma meant I had a low opinion of unions growing up, but living in St. Louis for 28+ years has given me an appreciation for the important role of unions.  From the summary of a report by the Economic Policy Institute:

Unions have a substantial impact on the compensation and work lives of both unionized and non-unionized workers. This report presents current data on unions’ effect on wages, fringe benefits, total compensation, pay inequality, and workplace protections.

Some of the conclusions are:

  • Unions raise wages of unionized workers by roughly 20% and raise compensation, including both wages and benefits, by about 28%.
  • Unions reduce wage inequality because they raise wages more for low- and middle-wage workers than for higher-wage workers, more for blue-collar than for white-collar workers, and more for workers who do not have a college degree.
  • Strong unions set a pay standard that nonunion employers follow. For example, a high school graduate whose workplace is not unionized but whose industry is 25% unionized is paid 5% more than similar workers in less unionized industries.
  • The impact of unions on total nonunion wages is almost as large as the impact on total union wages. The most sweeping advantage for unionized workers is in fringe benefits. Unionized workers are more likely than their nonunionized counterparts to receive paid leave, are approximately 18% to 28% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, and are 23% to 54% more likely to be in employer-provided pension plans.
  • Unionized workers receive more generous health benefits than nonunionized workers. They also pay 18% lower health care deductibles and a smaller share of the costs for family coverage. In retirement, unionized workers are 24% more likely to be covered by health insurance paid for by their employer.
  • Unionized workers receive better pension plans. Not only are they more likely to have a guaranteed benefit in retirement, their employers contribute 28% more toward pensions.
  • Unionized workers receive 26% more vacation time and 14% more total paid leave (vacations and holidays).

Like many people, my husband is working today. OK, a half day. I might check out pre-parade events:

  • 6 a.m. protest at the McDonald’s on 1119 N. Tucker to protest cutting back the current $10 an hour wage to $7.65 more than 30,000 workers;
  • 7 a.m. – march from McDonalds to a public rally.
  • 8 a.m.- rally at 18th and Olive to urge more St. Louis’ businesses to maintain the $10 an hour wage that been already agreed to by over 100 firms.

The parade begins at 9:15am, 15th & Olive.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll? How Do You Plan To Vote On Prop B (Missouri’s Minimum Wage)?

September 2, 2018 Economy, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll? How Do You Plan To Vote On Prop B (Missouri’s Minimum Wage)?
 
Please vote below

Tomorrow is Labor Day, so today’s poll is related — wages. Specifically, Missouri’s minimum wage. A proposition on November’s ballot would, if passed, slowly increase the minimum wage. I’ll let Ballotpedia explain further:

How would Proposition B change the minimum wage in Missouri?

The measure would increase the minimum wage from $7.85 (2018) to $8.60 in 2019; $9.45 in 2020; $10.30 in 2021; $11.15 in 2022; and $12.00 in 2023. Thereafter, the minimum wage would increase or decrease each year based on changes in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).[1]

The initiative would penalize an employer who pays employees below the minimum wage and require the employer to provide the underpaid employee with the full amount of the wage rate plus an additional amount equal to twice the unpaid wages.[1] The measure would also exempt government employers from the minimum wage increase.[1]

What are the state’s current minimum wage policies?

As of 2018, the minimum wage in Missouri is $7.85 an hour. The minimum wage increases or decreases based on changes in the CPI-W. The current minimum wage was established in 2006, when voters approved a ballot initiative.

Prior to 2017, local governments in Missouri could set local minimum wages higher than the statewide minimum wage. In 2015, the St. Louis City Council passed an ordinance to increase the city’s minimum wage each year until reaching $11.00 in 2018. In 2017, voters in Kansas City approved Question 3, which was designed to increase the minimum each year until reaching $15.00 in 2022. During the 2017 legislative session, the Missouri State Legislatureapproved House Bill 1194 (HB 1194), which was designed to preempt municipal minimum wage ordinances. Proposition B would not affect HB 1194. Therefore, Kansas City would still be prohibited from increasing its local minimum wage to $15.00.

For more information, including pros & cons, check out the Ballotpedia Proposition B page. Ok, here is today’s poll:

This poll will close automatically at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

New Book — ‘Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality’ by Melissa Bruntlett and Chris Bruntlett

August 31, 2018 Bicycling, Books, Featured, Transportation Comments Off on New Book — ‘Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality’ by Melissa Bruntlett and Chris Bruntlett
 

Here in the U.S., St. Louis in particular, bike lanes are a cheap way to use up extra road width. A little paint here and there, with unresolved intersections that often place cyclists in the wrong place — especially for a left turn. In the Netherlands bike infrastructure is on a different level entirely.

In car-clogged urban areas across the world, the humble bicycle is enjoying a second life as a legitimate form of transportation. City officials are rediscovering it as a multi-pronged (or -spoked) solution to acute, 21st-century problems, including affordability, obesity, congestion, climate change, inequity, and social isolation. As the world’s foremost cycling nation, the Netherlands is the only country where the number of bikes exceeds the number of people, primarily because the Dutch have built a cycling culture accessible to everyone, regardless of age, ability, or economic means.

Chris and Melissa Bruntlett share the incredible success of the Netherlands through engaging interviews with local experts and stories of their own delightful experiences riding in five Dutch cities. Building the Cycling City examines the triumphs and challenges of the Dutch while also presenting stories of North American cities already implementing lessons from across the Atlantic. Discover how Dutch cities inspired Atlanta to look at its transit-bike connection in a new way and showed Seattle how to teach its residents to realize the freedom of biking, along with other encouraging examples.

Tellingly, the Dutch have two words for people who ride bikes: wielrenner (“wheel runner”) and fietser (“cyclist”), the latter making up the vast majority of people pedaling on their streets, and representing a far more accessible, casual, and inclusive style of urban cycling—walking with wheels. Outside of their borders, a significant cultural shift is needed to seamlessly integrate the bicycle into everyday life and create a whole world of fietsers. The Dutch blueprint focuses on how people in a particular place want to move.

The relatable success stories will leave readers inspired and ready to adopt and implement approaches to make their own cities better places to live, work, play, and—of course—cycle. (Island Press)

Here’s the contents:

  • Introduction: A Nation of Fietsers
  • Chapter 1: Streets Aren’t Set in Stone
  • Chapter 2: Not Sport. Transport.
  • Chapter 3: Fortune Favors the Brave
  • Chapter 4: One Size Won’t Fit All
  • Chapter 5: Demand More
  • Chapter 6: Think Outside the Van
  • Chapter 7: Build at a Human Scale
  • Chapter 8: Use Bikes to Feed Transit
  • Chapter 9: Put Your City on the Map
  • Chapter 10: Learn to Ride Like the Dutch
  • Conclusion: A World of Fietsers

You can see a preview here. The authors live in Vancouver and write about walking, cycling here.

If cycling as a mode of transportation interests you and you’re not impressed with our half-ass bike lanes, Building the Cycling City should be on your reading list.

— Steve Patterson

Opinion: Missouri’s Investigation Into Clergy Abuse Will Find Results Similar To Pennsylvania

August 29, 2018 Crime, Featured, Missouri, Religion Comments Off on Opinion: Missouri’s Investigation Into Clergy Abuse Will Find Results Similar To Pennsylvania
 

Missouri Attorney General, Josh Hawley, the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate, recently opened an investigation into sex abuse by priests within the Catholic church:

This review makes Missouri the first state to publicly announce such an inquiry after the searing Pennsylvania grand jury report released last week, which documented a wave of abuses and coverups spanning decades and involving more than 300 Catholic priests.

It remains unclear whether other states have launched new efforts to investigate alleged abuses after the Pennsylvania report. While other states may be conducting or considering beginning investigations, none has said so publicly. The Washington Post reached out to the offices of attorneys general in 49 states and the District of Columbia after the Pennsylvania report was released to survey their responses. Authorities in most of these offices either said that they could not comment on potential investigations or that their offices lacked the authority to immediately act and investigate local cases.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis said Thursday that it welcomed the review in Missouri and that the examination was being conducted at its request. St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson said he knew the public was calling on the attorney general’s office to investigate the Catholic Church and that “we have nothing to hide,” adding that he was inviting Hawley to review the church’s files on anyone who has been accused of sexual abuse. (Washington Post)

How did we get to this point?

Although some accusations date back to the 1950s, molestation by priests was first given significant media attention in the 1980s, in the US and Canada.

In the 1990s the issue began to grow, with stories emerging in Argentina, Australia and elsewhere. In 1995, the Archbishop of Vienna, Austria, stepped down amid sexual abuse allegations, rocking the Church there.

Also in that decade, revelations began of widespread historical abuse in Ireland. By the early 2000s, Church sexual abuse was a major global story. (BBC)

So a worldwide problem brought to light, once again, this time by Pennsylvania’s grand jury investigation.

It has even reached the head of the church.

A report released this weekend by a former Vatican ambassador to the United States charges that Pope Francis knew about sexual abuse by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, removed a suspension placed on him by Pope Benedict, and proceeded to make the known abuser one of his most trusted advisors. Pope Francis “knew from at least June 23, 2013 that McCarrick was a serial predator, [but] he covered for him to the bitter end,” wrote Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, nuncio to Washington from 2011-2016, before demanding the pontiff resign. (USA Today)

Vigano is a right-wing critic of Pope Francis, so make of this what you will.

Cathedral Basilica St. Louis

The recent non-scientific Sunday Poll was on this topic. I phrased the question from the positive view — that Missouri wouldn’t be as bad as Pennsylvania.

Q: Agree or disagree: Missouri’s investigation into clergy sex abuse will uncover nothing like Pennsylvania’s recent case, on a per capita basis.

  • Strongly agree 2 [10%]
  • Agree 3 [15%]
  • Somewhat agree 3 [15%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 1 [5%]
  • Somewhat disagree 0 [0%]
  • Disagree 6 [30%]
  • Strongly disagree 1 [5%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 4 [20%]

Until it’s done none of us know what the outcome will be, but Bernard Law went to Boston from more than a decade in Springfield MO.

Law’s name became emblematic of the scandal that continues to trouble the church and its followers after a Boston Globe investigation revealed that he and other bishops covered up child abuse by priests in the Boston Archdiocese.

Law at the time apologized to victims of John Geoghan, a priest who had been moved from parish to parish, despite Law’s knowledge of his abuse of young boys. Geoghan was convicted in 2002 of indecent assault and battery on a 10-year-old boy. (CNN)

It seems likely priests were shifted around here just as they were in other states/countries.  Assuming the investigation isn’t just a political campaign stunt, I anticipate similar results to Pennsylvania — on a per capita basis. Pennsylvania has more than twice the population of Missouri.

Meanwhile the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue said the Pennsylvania report was lies.  “Most of the alleged victims were not raped: they were groped or otherwise abused, but not penetrated, which is what the word “rape” means.” 

My question is why does it appear clergy abusing children is more prevalent in Catholicism, compared to other religions around the world? Is my perception incorrect, are clergy in other religions doing the same thing? Leaders of other religions covering it up?

— Steve Patterson

 

Parking Lot Change Resulted In Cars Encroaching On 11th Street Public Sidewalk

August 27, 2018 Downtown, Featured, Parking, Walkability Comments Off on Parking Lot Change Resulted In Cars Encroaching On 11th Street Public Sidewalk
 

The Louderman building at 11th & Locust includes restaurants, offices, and residential. Most parking is underground, but they’ve always had a small surface lot

The fenced surface lot is over the underground parking for Louderman Lofts building. A few years ago I used this image in a post suggesting a small retail kiosk/building at the 11th/Olive corner. The developer confirmed it was built to handle that.

Change did come to this corner in June 2017, but not in the form of an urban building to establish the corner. The parking lot was reconfigured — possibly without city approval.

June 22, 2017: A Jeep is pulling out of the one fenced-in parking lot.
A new curb cut was created. This is just East of their basement garage drive.
Looking toward the lot we see the South fence section removed.
A more direct view
Closer up we can see the old fence leaning in the background.
The removed section was installed out at the Olive sidewalk, but a gap remains along 11th Street. September 6, 2017
Parking stops weren’t used so vehicles can pull forward to allow others to be able to exit. This means vehicles are parking on the public sidewalk — as defined by a tire on the sidewalk. May 16, 2018

Either the Louderman condo association did this without the city’s blessing/permission OR the city ignored their own parking lot requirements regarding minimum space size and fencing. This lot once used the existing alley for access, now we have an exit onto Olive. It was bad enough watching for cars entering/exiting their underground garage, not pedestrians must watch for vehicles exiting this surface lot as well. The sidewalk is narrowed by the cars encroaching.

Either way it’s annoying, ugly. I’ll be sending a link to this post to numerous people to find out A) was permission granted for the curb cut change and B) if there’s anyway to require parking stops &/or continuous fencing to keep cars from encroaching on the sidewalk.

— Steve Patterson

 

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