Reading: Within Walking Distance: Creating Livable Communities For All by Philip Langdon

 

 Last week I received a new book that immediately caught my attention. Within Walking Distance: Creating Livable Communities For All speaks to a core personal issue for me — walkability. Before the personal automobile displaced public transit, most everything in American cities was within walking distance. For nearly a century now Euclidean, …

Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Close Interstate Rest Areas?

 

 Missouri has low fuel taxes and the legislature is unwilling to increase it. Maintenance needs remain. Some states in this situation have opted to closer rest areas: For more than half a century, old-fashioned, no-frills highway rest stops have welcomed motorists looking for a break from the road, a bathroom …

Lyda Krewson Is The 5th Mayor Since I Moved To St. Louis

 

 On Tuesday, while waiting for the inauguration of our first new mayor in 16 years, I reflected on the mayors we’ve had since I moved here in August 1990. For many of you, Francis Slay has been the only mayor you’ve had as a voting-age adult. This could be because …

Opinion: Turnstiles Are For Fare Collection, Not Public Safety

 

 Many, including regional elected officials, letters to the editor, and others, are pushing the idea of turnstiles as a way to increase public safety on our MetroLink light rail system. Incredibly ill-informed because turnstiles, physical & virtual, are meant to combat fare-evasion. Heavy rail systems like Chicago’s EL, the NYC …

Recent Articles:

Large Turnout For Tuesday’s General Election

April 7, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy, Public Transit, Taxes Comments Off on Large Turnout For Tuesday’s General Election
 

Tuesday’s general election had the highest turnout of any April general in the City of St. Louis for the last decade!

Voter turnout was twice as high for this city general election than four years ago, the last time the mayor’s race was on the ballot. Voter turnout was 30 percent, or about 59,000 voters, while in 2013 turnout was 12.5 percent of voters. (Post-Dispatch)

Must have been the propositions on the ballot because the races for Mayor, Comptroller and half the Board of Aldermen, weren’t competitive at all — the Democratic nominee won by wide margins in every race. Nobody should be surprised.

Signs & campaign workers outside Central Library on Tuesday.

St. Louis continues wasting money every two years by holding a partisan primary followed a month later by the general election. This gives the illusion that different political parties matter in St. Louis. They don’t.

Proponents of nonpartisan ballots suggest that:

  • Political parties are irrelevant to providing services.
  • Cooperation between elected officials belonging to different parties is more likely.

Proponents for partisan elections argue that:

  • The absence of party labels confuses voters; a voter who must choose from among a group of candidates whom she knows nothing about will have no meaningful basis in casting a ballot.
  • In the absence of a party ballot, voters will turn to whatever cue is available, which often turns out to be the ethnicity of a candidate’s name.
  • Non-partisanship tends to produce elected officials more representative of the upper socioeconomic strata than of the general populace and aggravates the class bias in voting turnout, because in true non-partisan systems there are no organizations of local party workers to bring lower-class citizens to the polls on election day. (League of Cities)

If voters only look to see who the ward committee endorsed in the primary or for the “D” in general it explains a lot about the state of St. Louis. We need educated voters who know the issues and candidates!

REJECTED BY VOTERS:

PROPOSITION A AMENDMENT TO THE CITY CHARTER (Proposed by Initiative Petition)

A proposed ordinance submitting to the registered voters of the City of St. Louis an amendment to Article XV of the City Charter repealing Sections 4 and 5 and enacting in lieu thereof four new sections, Sections 4, 4a, 4b and 5, the purpose of which is to abolish the Office of Recorder of Deeds and consolidate the functions of that office with that of the Assessor, and place any realized cost savings in a special fund known as “the police body-worn camera fund” dedicated to the purchase and use of police body-worn cameras by the city Metropolitan Police Department subject to appropriation from the fund by the Board of Aldermen for the express purpose of the fund (the full text of which is available at all polling places).

PROPOSITION B AMENDMENT TO THE CITY CHARTER (Proposed by Initiative Petition)

A proposed ordinance submitting to the registered voters of the City of St. Louis an amendment to Article II of the City Charter repealing Sections 1, 2 and 3 and enacting in lieu thereof four new Sections 1, 1(a), 2 and 3, the purpose of which is to move the Primary Municipal Election date from March to August and the General Municipal Election date from April to November in even-numbered years, commencing in 2020 and continuing every two years thereafter, and providing for a transition to accomplish those changes (the full text of which is available at all polling places).

PROPOSITION 2 (Proposed by Ordinance)

Shall the use tax paid by businesses on out-of-state purchases and derived from the one half of one percent increased use tax, which corresponds to approval and levy of an Economic Development Sales Tax in the City of St. Louis, be used for the purposes of minority job training and business development programs, and a portion of construction costs, but not construction cost overruns, of a multipurpose stadium for soccer, local amateur sports, concerts and community events? A use tax is the equivalent of a sales tax on purchases from out-of-state sellers by in-state buyers and on certain taxable business transactions for which a sales tax is not levied. No taxpayer is subject to a sales tax and a use tax on the same transaction. The City shall be required to make available to the public an audited comprehensive financial report detailing the management and use of the portion of the funds each year.

PROPOSITION NS BOND ISSUE ORDINANCE (Proposed by Initiative Petition)

A proposition submitting to the registered voters of the City of St. Louis a proposed Ordinance authorizing and directing the issuance of general obligation bonds of The City of St. Louis, Missouri, not to exceed $40,000,000 principal amount in aggregate (of which no more than $6,000,000 in principal amount shall be issued annually) for the purpose of stabilizing, as limited by the Ordinance, residential properties owned by public entities, as described in the Ordinance, and authorizing the execution of an agreement relating to the expenditure of the sale proceeds of such bonds (the full text of which is available at all polling places).

APPROIVED BY VOTERS:

PROPOSITION C AMENDMENT TO THE CITY CHARTER (Proposed by Ordinance)

Shall Section 4 of Article XVIII of the Charter of the City of St. Louis be amended to add paragraph (f), which provides for the enactment of an ordinance establishing a residents’ preference to residents of the City of St. Louis upon successfully passing a civil service examination for civil service positions with the City?

Section 4. Ordinances to be enacted – The mayor and aldermen shall provide, by ordinance: (f) City Residents’ Preference. For a preference to be granted to residents of the City of St. Louis who successfully pass an examination for a civil service position.

PROPOSITION 1 (Proposed by Ordinance)

Shall the City of St. Louis impose a sales tax at a rate of one half of one percent for economic development purposes including (1) North/South Metrolink, (2) neighborhood revitalization, (3) workforce development; (4) public safety, and (5) to upgrade the city’s infrastructure, with annual public audits?

Old buildings will continue to deteriorate, the big hole in the urban fabric will remain West of Union Station. But as early as 2026 an 8-mile light rail North-South line will be running.

Francis Slay has been mayor for 16 of my nearly 27 years in St. Louis — hopefully Mayor-elect Lyda Krewson will be able to move the city in a positive direction.

— Steve Patterson

Readers: NLEC’s Closure Will Not Be A Negative For St. Louis

April 5, 2017 Downtown, Featured, Homeless, NLEC Comments Off on Readers: NLEC’s Closure Will Not Be A Negative For St. Louis
 

An overwhelming majority of those of voted in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll don’t think the closure of Larry Rice’s New Life Evangelistic Center (NLEC) will be a long-term negative.

A: Agree or disagree: today’s closure of the New Life Evangelistic Center (Rice’s homeless shelter) will be a long-term negative for St. Louis.

  • Strongly agree 7 [11.67%]
  • Agree 3 [5%]
  • Somewhat agree 2 [3.33%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 1 [1.67%]
  • Somewhat disagree 4 [6.67%]
  • Disagree 12 [20%]
  • Strongly disagree 30 [50%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [1.67%]

The majority are correct, if the closure remains permanent it’ll be neutral to slightly positive for everyone — including those who end up homeless.

NLEC Monday morning

Rice is motivated to keep homeless a visible problem on the streets — that brings in followers and donations. The rest of us concerned about the homeless want to get the homeless off the streets as quickly as possible. The last homeless person I helped had only been on our streets one night when I met him.

If it stays closed, his current supporters will eventually realize religion classes & cold baloney sandwiches isn’t the solution to homelessness

— Steve Patterson

 

Most Won’t Vote Tomorrow

April 3, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Most Won’t Vote Tomorrow
 

If you’re like me, you vote in every election. Unfortunately, not everyone is a regular voter.

Vintage photo of the former offices of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners. From my collection

With an open seat for mayor, the partisan primary last month had better turnout than 4 years earlier — though still dismal at just 28.6%. Last November the turnout was 69,43% — low compared to other areas in the region. Typically general elections get more voters than partisan primaries, many local governments are non-partisan so there is no primary,

St. Louis is backwards — the primary is the election.  Yes, sometimes an independent will defeat an disliked Democratic nominee  — Independent Scott Ogilvie defeating Democrat Tom Bauer in 2011.

Here is the voter turnout for the last decade, bold numbers are those less than 10%:

A few things stand out to  me: elections to fill open seats attract more voters. Mayoral & presidential elections attract more voters than years without. In local municipal elections, the primary general has higher turnout than the election. Turnout in St. Louis is embarrassingly low.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Will NLEC’s Closing Be Positive Or Negative In The Long-Term?

April 2, 2017 Downtown, Featured, Homeless, NLEC, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Will NLEC’s Closing Be Positive Or Negative In The Long-Term?
 
Please vote below

Late last week Larry Rice said his downtown emergency emergency shelter, the New Life Evangelistic Center will close today:

Rev. Larry Rice said he will comply with a judge’s order and close his downtown shelter.

The New Life Evangelistic Center (NLEC) will be ceasing operations on 5:00 p.m. Sunday. A judge refused Rice’s request to keep the shelter on open Thursday. (Post-Dispatch)

Rice said he hopes the closure is temporary.  Today’s poll assumes the closure is permanent:

NLEC will close at 5pm, this poll closes at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

Trump Tweets Gateway Arch Should Be Changed To Gold Color

April 1, 2017 Featured Comments Off on Trump Tweets Gateway Arch Should Be Changed To Gold Color
 

Om March 21st @USPS Stamps introduced a new Gateway Arch priority mail stamp, retweeting a @KMOV tweet:

In the early hours this morning President Trump tweeted that our iconic Gateway Arch would look better if gold in color.

 

This wouldn’t be the way to make St, Louis great again.

— Steve Patterson

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