Car Washes Are Getting Larger, Even Less Urban

 

 When I was a kid washing the car often meant getting the garden house out and washing the car on our driveway. Or it meant going to the self-serve car wash with individual stalls. You get your bills changed to quarters and when it’s your turn you’d pull into the …

Sunday Poll: Do You Plan To Vote In The Presidential Primary?

 

 Right now it’s hard to ignore Missouri’s neighbor to the north, Iowa. The Iowa Caucuses are the first in the nation to begin nominating presidential candidates. The Iowa caucus campaigns are closing in on their final days. Whether you’ll be a first-time caucus participant or you’ve been participating for decades, now’s …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 29 of 2019-2020 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 29th 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 28. Today’s agenda includes five (5) new bills. B.B.#193 – Tyus – An ordinance repealing Ordinance …

Readers Split on Residency Requirement for Police

 

 The City of St. Louis has had an employee residency requirement for years now. The concept is simple, if you want to work for the city you need to live in the city. Their wages stay in the community and multiply as spent locally. It’s easier to understand a community …

Recent Articles:

Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis Police Continue To Be Required To Live In The City?

January 19, 2020 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis Police Continue To Be Required To Live In The City?
 
Please vote below

For the nearly 30 years I’ve lived in St. Louis all city employees must live within the city’s limits. This has included members of our police department.

This may change — for the police only.

“Right now, we have a clean bill,” Hicks said in a committee hearing on the proposal on Tuesday. “We have a good path through the House; we have a good path through the Senate right to the governor’s desk. He himself told me he’ll sign the bill if we can get it there the way it is written.”

Currently, St. Louis police officers must live inside city limits for at least seven years. This legislation would allow officers to live anywhere that is within a one-hour response time to their precinct.

Mayor Lyda Krewson and Police Chief John Hayden would like to see the requirements changed. They both believe this will help with retention and recruitment problems the city is experiencing. (St. Louis Public Radio)

Police residency is the subject of today’s poll.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 28 of 2019-2020 Session

January 17, 2020 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 28 of 2019-2020 Session
 

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 28th 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 27.

Today’s agenda includes two (2) new bills.

  • B.B.#191 — Rice/P.Boyd/Spencer/Navarro/Ingrassia/Guenther Green – An Ordinance amending Ordinance 68597, by creating and defining six Temporary Food Permit Types with a permit fee schedule; identifying Low Income, Low Access census tracts; establishing a Temporary Food Safety Training Special Fund to help pay for Temporary Food Safety Training; recognizing and requiring a free application with the Health Department for Cottage Food Production Operation Temporary Food Permit waivers, established by RSMo. § 196.298; and further explaining what happens to a new annually approvable food permit that is not approved within ninety (90) days, all to be codified in Chapter 11.42 of the Revised Code of the City of St. Louis.
  • B.B.#192 – Vollmer – An Ordinance authorizing the Amendment to Ground Lease (“Amendment”) between the City of St. Louis and Lucas-Hunt Associates, L.P., a Missouri limited partnership, for property and improvements commonly known as the Hampton Gardens Apartments located at 5927 Suson Place, St. Louis, Missouri 63139.

Their informal calendar includes one Bill for perfection— a public vote to reconsider reducing the size of their body in half.

Board Bills for Perfection – Informal Calendar
IGA B.B.#11 – Muhammad/Vaccaro – An ordinance submitting to the qualified voters a proposed amendment to the Charter of the City to maintain the Board of Aldermen as a body of twenty-eight Aldermen representing twenty-eight wards and preventing its reduction beginning December 31, 2021 to a body of fourteen Aldermen representing fourteen wards as called for under Article I, Section 3 of the City Charter; proving for an election to be held for voting on the proposed amendment and the manner for the voting; and for the publication, certification, deposit, and recording of this ordinance; and containing an emergency clause.

I’m still in favor of cutting the number of members from 28 to 14 — what matters more to me is how the new ward boundaries are drawn.

Republican senators rolled out a plan Tuesday to ask Missouri voters to undo key parts of a nationally unique redistricting model that directs a demographer to draw new legislative districts with “partisan fairness” and “competitiveness” as top criteria.

The Republican proposal would abolish the demographer position and relegate political fairness and competitiveness to the bottom of the priority list, behind such criteria as compact and contiguous districts that keep communities intact. (AP via NBC News)

The Board of Aldermen 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 Lambert International Airport Needs An Open Regional Approach, Not Private Shareholders

January 15, 2020 Featured, Politics/Policy, STL Region, Transportation Comments Off on St. Louis Lambert International Airport Needs An Open Regional Approach, Not Private Shareholders
 

Recently St. Louis Mayor  Lyda Krewson announced the process to consider bids to privatize St. Louis Lambert International Airport, which began with her predecessor, was dead. To many of us this was a good thing.

This dawn photograph of the Lambert Main Terminal was taken in June 1956, less than 4 months after its opening. Photograph by Ralph D’Oench, Missouri Historical Society Collections

Whenever I’d post about airport privatization a reader would post a comment like this:

What the vast majority of people who oppose privatization don’t know is that — in spite of the airport bringing in significantly more revenue than expenses — the City of St. Louis only gets roughly $6 million towards general revenue.

The 1994 FAA reauthorization bill banned airports from taking airport revenue and using it for non-airport uses. St. Louis is one of about a dozen airports which were grandfathered in, but are limited to the amount of money they took at that time, adjusted for inflation.

If the airport were privatized, all revenues from the lessor would be able to go towards general revenue — which would be significantly more than the $6 million a year today.

So basically this is preventing St. Louis from pulling too much money out of the airport, requiring most revenue to service airport debt and to reinvest.

Privatization would enable more money to be siphoned out of the airport — money the winning bidder would cheerfully send to their shareholders, out of state/country home office, donate to friendly politicians, and pay former politicians working as consultants. The city would also get more revenue for new trash trucks, etc.  Would private management at the airport enable it to generate more revenue than it currently does to offset the money leaving the airport? Perhaps, perhaps not.

Airports are important to the region they serve. The City of St. Louis is a small part of the region — both population and land area. Decisions made about the airport should place the interests of the region ahead of shareholders.

Airports, it seems, are the new convention centers — pressure to keep up with others. A recent story on this:

The average airport in the U.S. is now 40 years old, and experts estimate $128 billion in new investment is needed over the next five years just to keep up with the growing number of flyers.

Van Cleave asked Barnes, “Things stay the way they are now, will a traveler’s experience at U.S. airports get better or worse in the years to come?”

“Quite frankly, we think it’ll get worse,” she replied.

That fear has led to a nationwide building boom, with major overhauls in progress at nearly 50 airports – including Orlando, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City. (CBS News)

Our airport an important asset for the city & region. Rather than go down the privatization route, the city & region need to have open dialog about what we want from our airport, set goals. Then we need brainstorming on ways to achieve these goals.

Not a backdoor process designed to enrich the few players. We need to reach a consensus on the problems and possible solutions. Not sure this is even possible in our city/region.

Here are the non-scientific results of the recent Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: Mayor Krewson should not have abruptly ended the privatization process without first reviewing some bids.

  • Strongly agree: 2 [9.52%]
  • Agree: 1 [4.76%]
  • Somewhat agree: 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [4.76%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 1 [4.76%]
  • Disagree: 5 [23.81%]
  • Strongly disagree: 11 [52.38%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

I’m glad the process stopped when it did because I can hear elected officials saying “It’s too late to stop now” has it continued. Remember, always follow the money.

— Steve Patterson

Eads Bridge Remains Inaccessible Years After Arch Project “Completed”

January 13, 2020 Accessibility, Featured, Walkability Comments Off on Eads Bridge Remains Inaccessible Years After Arch Project “Completed”
 

Thursday last week I decided to go see the level of the Mississippi River before we began getting rains and localized flooding. The best view is from the pedestrian walkway on the south side of the Eads Bridge top deck. I knew there had been accessibility issues at the west end of the sidewalk, but the I’d seen some asphalt had been put down to lessen the problem.

The loaner wheelchair I’m using couldn’t get over the huge gap.

So I had to stand up and, while not falling, drag the chair up onto the sidewalk by pulling on each front caster, alternating from left to right. Someone saw me and came to help when I was nearly finished.

This is the view as I approached. The steel plate and asphalt are more recent, but now ineffective.
If we step back across Memorial Drive we see barricades have been placed to physically prevent anyone from going from the Eads to Arch grounds, or vice versa.

It seems a contractor on the Arch project accidentally busted into the MetroLink light rail tunnel beneath the Eads Bridge/Washington Ave. Since Metro owns the bridge & tunnel it’s up to them to get it fixed.

Let’s take a look at my older photos, in reverse order.

May 31, 2019. A steel plate covered the gravel but no asphalt yet to get up
May 2, 2019
April 1, 2019
March 16, 2019
May 7, 2017 is my oldest photo of the problem. This is when I began conversations with various officials about being able to access the pedestrian walkway in my wheelchair.

So this problem is about three years old at this point. Three years!

I did get to see the river level last week, but it took far more effort than it should have.

As Spring flooding season begins I’d like to get regular photos to show how water is approaching and eventually covering Lenore K. Sullivan Blvd.   I live close by so this shouldn’t be the issue it is.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Was the Airport Privatization Process Ended Too Soon?

January 12, 2020 Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Was the Airport Privatization Process Ended Too Soon?
 
Please vote below

Last month St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said the effort to privatize St. Louis Lambert International Airport was over.

Krewson’s surprise decision followed almost three years of controversy over the possibility of farming out all operations of the airport, which is owned by the city, to private managers. Proponents said such a deal could pay the city hundreds of millions of dollars. Opponents said the city was selling out to private interests, and doing it behind closed doors.

Friday’s announcement brought quick accolades and criticism. Comptroller Darlene Green, a long-standing opponent of privatization, said the airport is well managed and the mayor did the right thing. (Post-Dispatch)

On Friday Lewis Reed, President of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, spoke up.

Reed, in his first public comment on Krewson’s Dec. 20 announcement declaring privatization dead, said that the city first should have sought, received and reviewed bids from some of the teams of companies competing for a privatization deal.

“I don’t think we had any information to make a clear and final decision,” Reed said in an interview. “It would have been good to at least see what the proposals looked like. We would have gotten good information from that, whether we moved forward or not.”

Krewson, in abruptly ending the city’s exploration of privatizing Lambert, had cited criticism from residents, business leaders and other elected officials. (Post-Dispatch)

This is the subject of today’s poll:

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

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