Blairmont Became NorthSide Regeneration, Received Blessing of Mayor Slay and a Majority of Aldermen

 

 On Monday I took you back through years of looking into various shell companies involving hundreds of properties, many acres, and lots of secrecy — up to the public reveal in late May 2009. If you missed it, see Before It Was Officially Named NorthSide Regeneration, We Knew It As ‘Blairmont’. …

Before It Was Officially Named NorthSide Regeneration, We Knew It As ‘Blairmont’

 

 With the news last week that the City of St. Louis now considers developer Paul McKee’s NorthSide Regeneration project in default and Missouri suing him for tax fraud, I got to thinking about how we got here. To my knowledge the first blog post about Blairmont was Michael Allen’s July …

Sunday Poll: Any Hope of Reviving North St. Louis Without Paul McKee?

 

 Developer Paul McKee had a bad week last week. In a letter filed Tuesday, city officials say it’s time to face facts. “After a decade, the promised redevelopment has not come, nor is there any indication that it will,” the letter states. “Land lies fallow. Taxes go unpaid. Vacant buildings remain …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bill Week 9 of 2018-2019 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 9th meeting of the 2018-2019 session. Today’s agenda includes just new bill: B.B.#87 – Murphy – Pursuant to Ordinance 68937, an Ordinance authorizing the honorary street name, Robert Prager Way, to begin at the intersection of Morgan Ford Road …

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New Book — Sustainable Nation: Urban Design Patterns for the Future by Douglas Farr, Forward by Janette Sadik-Khan

June 11, 2018 Books, Environment, Featured Comments Off on New Book — Sustainable Nation: Urban Design Patterns for the Future by Douglas Farr, Forward by Janette Sadik-Khan
 

After I met Douglas Farr at a St. Louis event in 2012 I traveled to Bloomington-Normal to experience some of his work, see What Is Normal? A Small College Town In Central Illinois. Being a fan off his work I was delighted when I received his latest book: Sustainable Nation: Urban Design Patterns for the Future:

As a follow up to his widely acclaimed Sustainable Urbanism, this new book from author Douglas Farr embraces the idea that the humanitarian, population, and climate crises are three facets of one interrelated human existential challenge, one with impossibly short deadlines. The vision of Sustainable Nation is to accelerate the pace of progress of human civilization to create an equitable and sustainable world. The core strategy of Sustainable Nation is the perfection of the design and governance of all neighborhoods to make them unique exemplars of community and sustainability. The tools to achieve this vision are more than 70 patterns for rebellious change written by industry leaders of thought and practice. Each pattern represents an aspirational, future-oriented ideal for a key aspect of a neighborhood. At once an urgent call to action and a guidebook for change, Sustainable Nation is an essential resource for urban designers, planners, and architects.

I’ve had the hardcover book since April but haven’t had a chance to look at it until yesterday. The volume of detail is substantial. As usual. I like to show the contents so you can see how the book is organized:

  • Part One Our Default World
    • Chapter 1: Where We Are
    • Chapter 2: Case Studies: The Future Ahead of Schedule
  • Part Two Our Preferred Future
    • Chapter 3: Where We Want to Go
  • Part Three Theory of Change
    • Chapter 4: Theory of Change
    • Chapter 5: Time
    • Chapter 6: Acceleration Strategies
  • Part Four Patterns of Change
    • Chapter 7: Collective Effervescence
    • Chapter 8: Self-Governing Neighborhoods
    • Chapter 9: A Theater of Life
    • Chapter 10: Vibrant Density
    • Chapter 11: Mobility in Walkable Places
    • Chapter 12: Neighborhood Economy
    • Chapter 13: Urban Waters
    • Chapter 14: Stranded Carbon
    • Chapter 15: The New Health, Safety, and Welfare
  • Index

It’s part four where Farr lays out the specifics on getting to a sustainable future — building patterns to get us there. A year ago Farr discussed some of his research for this book at CNU25 (Congress for the New Urbanism):

As I haven’t studied the book and what it advocates, I can’t say if he’s on the right path or not. What I do love is he’s working solutions ro serious problems that need to be addressed — especially in St. Louis.

This looks to be a great book for anyone studying or working in related fields, unfortunately the hardcover lists for $80.  You can view a preview on Google Books. It’s available via Left Bank Books, Amazon, and others.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should Mayor Krewson Be Pushing For A Change To Federal Immigration Policy?

June 10, 2018 Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Mayor Krewson Be Pushing For A Change To Federal Immigration Policy?
 
Please vote below

Last week Mayor Lyda Krewson posted the following on Facebook:

This week I joined more than 110 mayors calling on leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives to bring the #DreamAct up for a vote and pass a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. Read the letter:

Here’s the text of the letter signed by Krewson and over 100 other mayors & county officials at the U.S. Conference of Mayors:

Dear Speaker Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi:

We, the undersigned mayors and county executives, urge you to move expeditiously to pass a bipartisan solution with a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers that does not further harm immigrant communities—the DREAM Act. We are gravely concerned about the futures of Dreamers, hundreds of thousands of whom know our cities and counties as home. We are equally concerned about the increases in immigrant detention and non-criminal arrests over the past year. Congress can and must provide permanent protections for Dreamers without increasing enforcement measures against immigrants at large.

As local leaders we work closely with our residents. We know first-hand that immigrants are cornerstones of our communities who contribute with their diverse perspectives and ingenuity to ou

r local economies and participate robustly in civic life. This is why we are members of Cities for Action, a national coalition that advocates for inclusion of immigrants into our communities to create stronger, safer, and more prosperous cities. Our coalition includes over 175 mayors and county executives, representing over 70 million residents, including 17 million foreign-born residents. The 1.3 million young undocumented immigrants enrolled or immediately eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program contribute an estimated $2 billion a year in state and local taxes to economies like ours. DACA-eligible residents pay an average of 8.9 percent of their income in state and local taxes.

Recent federal court decisions currently allow DACA recipients to apply for renewals but DACA recipients are hesitating to renew because of the uncertainty over the future of the program, despite our robust efforts at the local level to conduct community outreach. We are concerned that Dreamers without DACA status will be in danger of deportation. Every day that Congress fails to pass legislation, more young lives are thrown into chaos.

DACA recipients have done everything the government has asked of them in good faith: they have proven that they are not public safety threats, submitted to regular check-ins, earned degrees, served in the military, and paid their taxes. They deserve a permanent place in this country they call home. We commend the bipartisan efforts on House Resolution 774 which already has the support of over half of the House of Representatives. We urge you to listen to these Members of Congress and bring legislation that protects Dreamers up for a vote. This is an opportunity to pass the DREAM Act, and finally provide Dreamers the protection they deserve.

This is the subject of today’s poll.

This poll will close automatically at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 8 of 2018-2019 Session

June 8, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 8 of 2018-2019 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 8th meeting of the 2018-2019 session.

Today’s agenda includes 15 new bills:

  • B.B.#72 – Pres. Reed – An ordinance revising The Transparency in Government Law, Ordinance 69707 and Ordinance 70321, codified at Chapter 3.115 of the Revised Code, to require the effective closed captioning of all public meetings of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, including committee meetings; the Board of Estimate & Apportionment; and the Preservation Board.
  • B.B.#73 – Howard/Murphy – An ordinance pertaining to conveyances of title and the recording of such transfer with the Recorder of Deeds; amending Section Three of Ordinance 56141, and Ordinance 65038, by removing the requirement of the signature of the grantee on deeds issued by the Sheriff of the City pursuant to court order.
  • B.B.#74 – Davis – An Ordinance recommended and approved by the Airport Commission, the Board of Public Service, and the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, establishing and authorizing a public works and improvement program (the “Airfield, Building & Environs Projects”) at St. Louis Lambert International Airport® (the “Airport”), as more fully described in the attached EXHIBIT A, entitled “FY19 PROJECT LIST” ; and containing a severability and an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#75 – Davis – An ordinance recommended and approved by the Airport Commission, the Comptroller and the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, making certain findings with respect to the transfer of up to Three Million Dollars of excess moneys that The City, the owner and operator of St. Louis Lambert International Airport, intends to transfer from the Debt Service Stabilization Fund to the Airport Development Fund in accordance with Section 516.B of the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Indenture of Trust between the City, as Grantor, and UMB Bank, N.A., as Trustee, dated as of October 15, 1984, as amended and restated as of July 1, 2009, as amended and supplemented; authorizing a transfer in an amount not to exceed Three Million Dollars from the DSSF into the Airport Development Fund during the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018, for the purpose of making funds available to address Coldwater Creek Emergency Repairs Phase 2 – Installation of Two 12 Foot BY 12 Foot Reinforced Concrete Box Culverts and the Restoration of the Charlie Pad Aircraft Ramp, Glycol Recovery System, Ramp Edge Lighting System, and Associated Impacted Improvements; containing a severability clause; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#76 – Hubbard – An ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission approving the name of a new public street located in the approved Jonas Hubbard Estates subdivision, located in City Block 552.
  • B.B.#77 – Williamson – An ordinance, recommended by the Board
    of Estimate and Apportionment, authorizing a supplemental appropriation; amending Ordinance 70540, commonly referred to as the City of St. Louis Annual Operating Plan for Fiscal Year 2017-2018; appropriating and setting apart projected local use tax and gaming fund revenues to address certain shortfalls in revenues and excess expenditures in the General Fund for the current fiscal year, in the amount of Three Million Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($3,200,000) as hereinafter detailed; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#78 – Moore – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 2615 Billups.
  • B.B.#79 – Spencer – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 3437-3439 Iowa.
  • B.B.#80 – Spencer – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 3211.
  • B.B.#81 – Martin – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 7714-18 South Broadway.
  • B.B.#82 – Guenther – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 2829 Iowa.
  • B.B.#83 – Ingrassia – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 2528 Texas.
  • B.B.#84 – Coatar – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 2235 McNair.
  • B.B.#85 – Coatar – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 705-719 North 2nd.
  • B.B.#86 – Davis – Pursuant to Ordinance 68937, an ordinance authorizing the honorary street name, Urban League Square which shall begin at the intersection of North Spring Avenue and Grandel Square and run East on Grandel Square to North Grand 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 2017-2018 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

Opinion: Eric Greitens Was a Victim of Himself

June 6, 2018 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Opinion: Eric Greitens Was a Victim of Himself
 
Mugshot of Missouri Governor Eric Greitens

Eric Greitens, Missouri’s now-former governor,  played the roll of victim when he announced a week ago he’d be resigning at the end of that week.Like many of you I watched it live on television.

Here is the full text:

Good afternoon. Today I am announcing that I will resign as governor of Missouri effective Friday, June 1, at 5 p.m. 

I came to office to fight for the people of Missouri, to fight for the forgotten. I love Missouri, and I love our people. That love remains. I am thankful to all those who have worked beside me, sweated beside me, those who gave their time, their energy, their precious resources so that we could pursue our mission of taking Missouri in a new and better direction. We have accomplished a lot together. I am proud of you, and I am proud of all of our work.

The last few months have been incredibly difficult for me, for my family, for my team, for my friends and for many, many people that I love. This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family. Millions of dollars in mounting legal bills, endless personal attacks, designed to cause maximum damage to family and friends. Legal harassment of colleagues, friends and campaign workers. And It’s clear that for the forces that oppose us, there is no end in sight. I cannot allow those forces to continue to cause pain and difficulty to the people that I love. 

I know, and people of good faith know, that I am not perfect, but I have not broken any laws nor committed any offense worthy of this treatment. I will let the fairness of this process be judged by history. It has been a great honor and a privilege to serve as your governor. Traveling the state, I have talked to many of you who harbor extraordinary anger at this ordeal and for those who have pushed and promoted it. 

For those who would be moved to vengeance, let us allow history and God to bring justice. We must, as we have always done, work to improve the lives of those around us. This is not the end of our fight. I will always be a fighter for the people of Missouri. A great deal of work is left undone. The time has come, though, to tend to those that have been wounded, and to care for those who need us most. So for the moment, let us walk off the battlefield with our heads held high. We have a good and proud story to tell our children. Let’s love them and each other every day.  (Springfield News-Leader)

May God continue to bless you and to bless the great state of Missouri.

You can watch the video here. It was that second paragraph where Greitens portrayed himself as the victim:

The last few months have been incredibly difficult for me, for my family, for my team, for my friends and for many, many people that I love. This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family. Millions of dollars in mounting legal bills, endless personal attacks, designed to cause maximum damage to family and friends. Legal harassment of colleagues, friends and campaign workers. And It’s clear that for the forces that oppose us, there is no end in sight. I cannot allow those forces to continue to cause pain and difficulty to the people that I love. 

No doubt this time was difficult for him and his family, but the designer is Eric Greitens himself! He couldn’t take responsibility for his actions. To quote our president. SAD!

Here’s his original campaign video that got him noticed and the nomination.

In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll most readers also felt he wasn’t the victim:

Q: Agree or disagree: Eric Greitens is the victim of a plot designed to force him to resign as Missouri’s governor.

  • Strongly agree 5 [16.67%]
  • Agree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat agree 3 [10%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 1 [3.33%]
  • Somewhat disagree 0 [0%]
  • Disagree 6 [20%]
  • Strongly disagree 15 [50%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

I doubt there’s much policy positions of now-governor Mike Parsons that I’d agree with, but I’m pretty sure we won’t see a mugshot of him or that’ll he’ll be on the national news or late night shows.

A future poll question might be about the office of Lt. Governor — should it remain vacant or bill filled? By appointment or special election?

— Steve Patterson

Inching Toward Autonomous Vehicles, Learning to Use & Trust New Technology

June 4, 2018 Featured, Transportation Comments Off on Inching Toward Autonomous Vehicles, Learning to Use & Trust New Technology
 

Back in April I told you we got a high-tech newer car, a 2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited.  At that point I hadn’t driven it much, had only used the adaptive/smart cruise control once. I have more miles behind the wheel now, including a trip to Springfield IL and a visit to the dealer in Wentzville MO. Yesterday we drove  out to Chesterfield for the 31st annual St. Louis European Car Show.

Nearly every manufacturer is now offering similar cruise control, here’s an explanation:

Adaptive cruise control uses a small radar (or laser) unit under the front grill or bumper that measures the distance to the vehicle in front of you. Many automakers will actually use two radars—one for close range and a second for vehicles that are farther out. The system uses this information to calculate distance and speed of the vehicle ahead and react to any changes to maintain a safe driving gap.

In the event the vehicle ahead brakes suddenly, the system will either alert the driver or, in some cases, apply the brakes to prevent an accident.

If this all sounds a lot like a self-driving car, that’s because it is. Adaptive cruise control is one of the many features that enable self-driving cars to function safely. (Cartelligent

This short video explains in a visual manner.

For many people, I think, cruise control is mainly used for long highway trips. I find I’m using our adaptive cruise control on surface streets –especially stop & go traffic. If you’re used to regular cruise control you know as soon as you hit the brakes in stop & go traffic it turns itself off.

Our Sonata will bring itself to a complete stop — under the right circumstances. Our 2015 model was the first year of the current generation. Our Limited trim level has both optional packages. Hyundai, for some reason, decided not to include automatic emergency braking. They did for 2016 and newer models.  Instead of automatically braking our car just beeps at you to stop.

However, when the adaptive cruise control is in use and it detects a vehicle ahead it can come ro a complete stop on its own. Again, only under the right circumstances. If I’m following a vehicle that shows up on the cruise control graphic in the center of the gauge cluster and it begins to slow or stop our car will respond appropriately — including coming to a complete stop. It then tells me to hit the “resume” button to begin moving again.

On our car the radar is behind the black black area just above the from license plate. The same year model without adaptive cruise control the chrome horizontal grill lines continue uninterrupted.

At first I didn’t trust the system and I’d tap the brakes to disengage the cruise. Old habits. But with more experience I know now when to let it do its thing. Friday we came home from Overland MO in rush hour traffic. An Eastbound accident on I-64 was causing backups on to I-170. It was 5mph for a few miles, I had the cruise control on the entire time. Most of the time our car kept rolling in pace with the car ahead. A few times it had to stop so I’d hit resume once the cars moved again. Stop & go traffic is one thing I find highly frustrating, but adaptive cruise control makes it stress-free. Well, at least far less stressful.

The carols on the right side of the steering wheel.

There have been times we’ve been in the right lane and slow cars in the exit lane to our right makes ours think it needs to slow down. For the most part, however, it works as advertised. I must still stay alert because there are plenty of circumstances where our car won’t stop itself when the cruise its set.

I can defiantly see how technology will get is to improved safety and self-driving cars.

— Steve Patterson

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