Temporarily Going From Four Posts Per Week To Infrequent Posts

 

 When I first announced last Halloween that I had stage 4 kidney cancer I said I hoped to continue blogging — keeping up my four posts per week schedule  November though February was manageable. March 2020 has been difficult. My last treatment was March 2nd. Since then my appetite has …

A Trip To The Nearest Park

 

 On Wednesday I went outside, the temperature was nice and I’d been in our apartment for three full weeks — 21 days! I was going stir-crazy. I decided that rather than just walk a few feet outdoors I’d take my power wheelchair to the closest public park. On the way …

Readers: Local Stay at Home Orders Are Good Public Policy

 

 Missouri, like most backwards states, didn’t issue a statewide stay at home order. That meant Kansas City, St. Louis City, and St. Louis County had to act on their own. In a matter of days, millions of Americans have been asked to do what might have been unthinkable only a …

A Difficult Three Weeks, But We Have Toilet Paper

 

 My most recent immunotherapy treatment was three weeks ago. Since then I’ve been especially tired and have had almost no appetite. Normally I’d be baking bread, making dinners from scratch, etc. I’d been eating so well I gained 5lbs my last visit. I’ll lose wait again my next treatment day, …

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Sunday Poll: Should College Athletes Be Able To Get Paid For Their Name, Image, or Likeness?

November 10, 2019 Featured Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should College Athletes Be Able To Get Paid For Their Name, Image, or Likeness?
 
Please vote below

No, this blog isn’t becoming a sports blog — but for 15+ years I’ve posted about politics & public policy.  College athletes being compensated, especially those attending state schools, is a part of the public policy dialogue.

Recently the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) voted for a major change of policy:

The NCAA’s move comes on the heels of the California’s Fair Pay To Play Act, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom back in late September. The legislation sets a path for collegiate athletes in the state to benefit off their likeness, whether it be from sponsorships, appearances, video games, etc. And while that was set to go into effect in 2023, the NCAA’s proposed allowance would begin in 2021. (Yahoo Sports)

California wasn’t alone in pushing for this policy change.

Pressure from states, with California taking the lead and Florida, New York and New Jersey quickly piling on, broke down a longstanding NCAA rule prohibiting student athletes from earning money from endorsements and other outside sponsorships. (Politico)

There is a lot of debate about this issue — no consensus if this change is good or bad policy. What do you think?

This poll will close at 8pm tonight. My thoughts and the results Wednesday morning.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 22 of 2019-2020 Session

November 8, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 22 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 21.

Board Bill 11 is on the perfection calendar — final approval.  If signed by Mayor Krewson this would set up a vote to keep the size of the Board of Aldermen at 28, rather than reduced to 14 in December 2021. Voters narrowly approved Prop R in November 2012 with 61.5% — 60% was required.

Today’s agenda includes eight (8) new bills.

  • B.B.#146 – Navarro – An Ordinance to amend the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code; and containing a severability clause, savings clause, and an effective date.
  • B.B.#147 – Vaccaro – An Ordinance adopting the 2018 International Plumbing Code with amendments; repealing Ordinance 69255; and containing a penalty clause, severability clause, saving clause and emergency clause.
  • B.B.#148 – Spencer – An Ordinance recognizing the increasing public health threat of viral hepatitis, HIV, AIDS and other blood borne diseases as a result of the use of unsterile syringes and needles, accepting the evidence of harm reduction offered by Syringe Services Programs (SSPs) as well as their treatment benefits and, other laws to the contrary notwithstanding, authorizing the Director of the City of St. Louis Department of Health to establish a pilot Syringe Services Program in collaboration with a private sector organization and for the Director to issue standards, policies and procedures for health, safety and welfare as a part of this pilot Syringe Services Program; and containing emergency and severability clauses.
  • B.B.#149 – Davis – An Ordinance recommended and approved by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the Director of Airports and the Comptroller of the City of St. Louis (the “City”), owner and operator of St. LouisLambert International Airport® (the “Airport”) to enter into andexecute on behalf of the City the First Amendment to Automated Teller Machine Concession Agreement, AL-361(“First Amendment”) between the City and Bank of America, N.A. (“Concessionaire”), amending the Automated Teller Machine Concession Agreement (“Agreement”); the FirstAmendment was approved by the Airport Commission and is attached hereto as ATTACHMENT “1” and made a part hereof,and its terms are more fully described in Section One of this Ordinance; containing a severability clause; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#150 – Ingrassia – An Ordinance approving the petition of an owner of certain real property to establish a Community Improvement District, establishing the Chouteau Avenue Corridor Community Improvement District, finding a public purpose for the establishment of the Chouteau Avenue Corridor Community Improvement District, and containing an emergency clause and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#151 – Moore – An Ordinance authorizing Amendment No. [4] to the Amended and Restated Lease (“Amendment No. 4”) between the City of St. Louis and EPV2 Dignity House, LLC, originally authorized by Ordinance 64565, which was adopted by the Board of Alderman of the City of St. Louis and approved September 28, 1998, and subsequently amended pursuant to Ordinances 64913, 64913, and 68941, for property and improvements commonly known as the Homer G. Phillips Dignity House located at Whittier and Kennerly Streets; and Containing an Emergency Clause and Containing a Severability Clause.
  • B.B.#152 – Ingrassia/Guenther/Coatar/Cohn – An ordinance prohibiting medical and mental healthcare providers from providing conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy, ex-gay therapy, or sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts to a minor, regardless of whether the provider receives compensation in exchange for such services, and providing penalties for the violation of said prohibition; and authorizing the Director of the Health Department to receive, investigate, and refer to the City 6 BB Counselor for prosecution in municipal court complaints of alleged violations of the provisions of this ordinance, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#153 – Clark-Hubbard – Pursuant to Ordinance 68937, an ordinance authorizing the honorary street name Malik and DeBorah Ahmed Way, which shall begin at the intersection of Semple Avenue and Page Boulevard and northeast on Page Boulevard to the intersection of Arlington Avenue and Page Boulevard

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

St. Louis’ Newly Bill Requiring Reporting of Those Who Fail a Gun Background Check

November 6, 2019 Crime, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on St. Louis’ Newly Bill Requiring Reporting of Those Who Fail a Gun Background Check
 
Grand Theft Auto’s gun store Ammu-Nation

I thought the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll would at least get the usual number of responses, but it got way less.

Q: Agree or disagree: St. Louis’ new background check bill (#106) is a waste of time & money.

Strongly agree: 2 [15.38%]

  • Agree: 2 [15.38%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [7.69%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 2 [15.38%]
  • Disagree: 4 [30.77%]
  • Strongly disagree: 1 [7.69%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [7.69%]

The few gun retailers in the city will need to report to the St. Louis Police when an applicant has failed a firearm background check.

”A waste of time & money” was the most frequent criticism I read last week. Given how few gun stores exist in the city and only about 1% fail a gun background check, I don’t see this is a big issue.

”Criminals don’t buy guns” is another I heard. For this I turned to Politifact:

[U.S. Rep] Faso said “The vast majority of crime that is gun related is committed by people who illegally are possessing that firearm.”

People can differ on what constitutes a “vast majority.” What’s more, illegal gun crime is not well researched in the U.S. The latest data is more than a decade old. One analysis of the data showed Faso’s claim is not true in some states while true in others. But experts say most gun crime is likely committed by those who illegally possess guns.

His statement is accurate but needed additional information. We rate it Mostly True.

So this likely won’t reduce crime in St. Louis. However, since 1982, 74% Of mass shooters obtained their guns legally. So there’s potential the St. Louis Police may get the name of someone who failed a background check — if they could’ve bought a legal gun they might’ve committed a mass shooting.

The fact is we’re not going to ever know the effectiveness of this new bill. However, we do know that few who lie on their application are prosecuted — even though that’s a crime.

— Steve Patterson

Examining the St. Louis MLS Stadium Site Plan, Part 1

November 4, 2019 Downtown, Featured, Planning & Design Comments Off on Examining the St. Louis MLS Stadium Site Plan, Part 1
 

Last week we finally saw the proposed site plan for the new Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium. It’ll be exactly where I suggested in February 2016, where I said it would be a month ago —  northwest corner of 20th & Market.

Site plan for the proposed MSL stadium published by the Post-Dispatch last week. The top is north at Olive. Union Station its in the lower right corner. The new stadium is at the top, with two practice fields south of Market — immediately east of a new hotel being built along 22nd Street.

As I said last month, I thought of a smaller structure stopping at Pine on the north. But I see how more space is needed so it will go another block north, to Olive. This means razing a few buildings and relocating businesses. Understandably, one is refusing.

The owner of JR Market at 2020 Olive doesn’t want to relocate

Many, including myself, thought they’d build south of Market Street like the prior MLS group proposed. However, the site I proposed in February 2016 makes much more sense. The MLS prefers urban settings and the location north of Market gives them instant urbanism on all sides — plus two blocks of frontage along Market. South of Market there is no urbanism. None.

Ok, for a brief moment on 20th Street you’ve got Union Station’s train shed with new Farris wheel on one side with the old railway YMCA, now a hotel & restaurant, on the other. But a new stadium south of Market couldn’t be close to this single spot.  Granted, if done right urbanism could build up around a new stadium south of Market.

Former railroad worker YMCA on 20th Street

Wisely, they’ve opted to fill the hole in the middle of existing buildings north of Market. The new stadium will be surrounded on all sides by multi-story structures. There’s enough surface parking that it isn’t ideal urbanism, but it’s significantly better than south of Market.

Today I want to begin to critically examine their site plan, discuss street grid changes, parking, and look at future development potential of the surroundings. The new stadium is square but one can argue the south side, facing Market, is the primary facade. The east side, facing 20th is a close second. Due to the amount of land area, we’ll start with the area south of the stadium.

I’ll admit in February 2016 I hadn’t considered practice fields. I saw the area south of Market being filled with offices, housing, etc.  The area devoted to practice fields is largely dead space, perhaps school groups could use them. This keeps the team owners from having practice fields and team offices elsewhere in the region  — as was the case with the Rams NFL team.

This portion of the site plan shows Market Street (top) downtown to 40/64, between 21st and 22nd. The plan shows new points to cross Market at both 21st & 22nd. It also shows 22nd getting straightened and Clark Street connecting 20th to 22nd — for the first time in decades.

I like a number of things about this design. As I thought in 2016, the stadium will be an excellent terminus to the Gateway Mall. The site plan shows a new building facing Market across from the stadium, north of the practice fields. I assume this will hold a team store, offices, etc. If this is more than a single story in height it and the stadium will give this stretch of Market a feeling of urbanism — enclosure. Combined with the new hotel finishing up at 22nd Street this will do wonders for the area.

In time the two buildings on Market between 20th & 21st will likely get replaced by multi-story structures. The rest of this block is surface parking for Union Station. I’d like to see a center parking garage with sidewalk-level storefronts and perhaps at multi-story building at the south end.

Replacing the two buildings and filling in the surface parking lots in the block bounded by Market, 20th, 21st, and Eugenia Street will not happen overnight — but I do think it will over time. It should at least.

As mentioned above, Clark Street will connect between 21st and 22nd — something it hasn’t done in decades. The site plan shows surface parking right now, a placeholder for future development. Hopefully this new Clark will be designed to permit on-street parking on both sides. Not sure what will get developed on the land between Clark and 40/64 — hopefully multi-story.

You’ll also notice 22nd street continuing south to the interstate. Changes have been in the works since Paul McKee first named the 22nd Interchange site as one of his four jobs centers. MoDot has been planning major changes to interstate entry exit points.

The pink shows new highway on/off ramps. A person driving westbound on 64 that wants to go north or south on Jefferson would exit at 22nd but stay on the side road until they reach Jefferson. A new bridge would extend 22nd Street over 40/64 to reach Scott Ave. Click image for original source — h/t to Scott Ogilvie

I love the new 22nd Street connection over the interstate! Hopefully it’ll also include pedestrian accommodations. It’s unclear from MoDot’s materials what will become of the state-owned land south of 40/64.

One of the benefits of developing the 22nd interchange site is the current hole makes underground parking significantly cheaper compared to excavating an area filled with dirt, foundations, utilities, etc. The MLS team plans to use the area under the two practice fields for team/staff parking. Just guessing before the first match we’ll learn that luxury box ticket holders will also get access to underground parking.

I suspect they’ll also have locker rooms, kitchens, etc under the MLS stadium itself. I also expect the area under the stadium will be connected to the parking under the practice fields. Given the area is totally open now this is a very easy proposition.

This photo under Market was in my February 2016 post. I didn’t see a need to connect the north & south sides under Market but it makes sense knowing the MLS team will be on both sides.

The connection won’t be the full width of what has existed for decades, perhaps a nice hallway for players, owners, and staff. A second service connection is likely for food service, rubbish removal, etc.

New Fairfield Inn being built on the former site of Harry’s restaurant. This view looking north on 22nd was taken in early September. FBI’s St. Louis offices on my left.
The NW corner of 22nd & Clark is now grass. The seamless curve of 22nd into Clark made this difficult to develop. It’s owned by Grainger next door.
Grainer Industrial Supply is a simple one-story structure set back from Clark.
I was happy to see in September they were making site changes for a pedestrian connection to the public sidewalk on Clark. They own the building and land, I can see them getting an offer someday that’ll entice them to move. Dense urban infill will eventually occupy this site.
Looking east as Clark curves north to become 22nd. This view will be radically different in a couple of years.
Marcone Appliance supply was located on Clark, backing up to 40/64. They’ve already relocated and their property is for sale. Once Clark continued east to 21st and 22nd is extended over the interstate this will be a potentially good site for new development.

Part 2 of this series will explore another direction around the proposed MLS stadium.

— Steve Patterson

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

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