Readers Split On Restriction Of Police Tactics

 

 Following protests earlier this year, the ACLU sued the St. Louis Police over their tactics.  Last week came a ruling: U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry’s order says that police can’t declare an “unlawful assembly” and enforce it against those “engaged in expressive activity, unless the persons are acting in concert …

Reading: The Community Resilience Reader: Essential Resources for an Era of Upheaval

 

 Communities must remain resilient to weather change, a recent book explores this issue: The sustainability challenges of yesterday have become today’s resilience crises. National and global efforts have failed to stop climate change, transition from fossil fuels, and reduce inequality. We must now confront these and other increasingly complex problems by …

Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis Police Be Able To Declare Protests Are “Unlawful Assembly”?

 

 Last week a judge put limits on the St. Louis {P;oce: U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry’s order says that police can’t declare an “unlawful assembly” and enforce it against those “engaged in expressive activity, unless the persons are acting in concert to pose an imminent threat to use force or violence or …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 24 of 2017-2018 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 24th week of the 2017-2018 session. No new bills were introduced last week. THIRTEEN (13) NEW BOARD BILLS ON THE AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 11/17/17: *Note that just because a bill is on the agenda doesn’t mean it’ll be introduced, similarly, …

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Opinion: Doubtful St. Louis Will Be A Finalist For Amazon’s HQ2…And That’s OK

October 25, 2017 Featured, STL Region Comments Off on Opinion: Doubtful St. Louis Will Be A Finalist For Amazon’s HQ2…And That’s OK
 
After a $10 million dollar investment, the Stamping Lofts opened in April 2013, part of a historic district.

It seems nearly everyone wants to land Amazon’s 2nd headquarters, dubbed HQ2:

Amazon says it has received 238 proposals from cities and regions wanting to host the company’s new headquarters.

Proposals came from 54 states, provinces, and districts.

All US states except Arkansas, Hawaii, Montana, Vermont, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota submitted bids, according to a graphic released by Amazon. Provinces and territories in Canada and Mexico also submitted bids that Amazon said would be considered. (Business Insider)

Little Rock, AR took out a full page ad in the Washington Post saying ‘no thanks.’ Very smart. Still, the experience our region went through may prove valuable in the future. Without knowing who has submitted proposals and what will sway Amazon’s final selection.

Since Amazon announced their intentions to build a 2nd headquarters, articles have listed cities/regions with better chances than others. Amazon may end up picking one pf these, but thru might also surprise everyone. WE just don’t know. They’ll have some process from going from 238 to 1. I doubt we’ll hear nothing between now and the wining city/region. Will they narrow to 50 and them to 10, before 1? We don’t know.

I do know our region looked at the North Riverfront area very differently than it had a couple of years ago. Recently our region saw it as a place to level everything in site and start over. Hopefully our proposal envisioned new buildings filling in the gaps between old buildings. Even if Amazon doesn’t pick St. Louis we can create a new vision for the central business district, North riverfront, and East St. Louis.

Most who voted in the Sunday Poll are doubtful St. Louis will be selected.

Q: How confident are you the St. Louis region will be among the finalists for Amazon’s HQ2?

  • Very confident 2 [3.77%]
  • Confident 2 [3.77%]
  • Somewhat confident 6 [11.32%]
  • Neither confident or doubtful 4 [7.55%]
  • Somewhat doubtful 8 [15.09%]
  • Doubtful 10 [18.87%]
  • Very doubtful 21 [39.62%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

Those who say St. Louis has a zero chance and those who’re convinced we’ll be selected need a dose of reality. At this point it is just too early to know. I do know our sites have great development potential. If Amazon isn’t interested, we need to market them to smaller companies, startups, etc.

— Steve Patterson

Preservation Board To Consider Demolition Request For Historic Block On South Broadway In Carondelet Neighborhood

October 23, 2017 Featured, History/Preservation Comments Off on Preservation Board To Consider Demolition Request For Historic Block On South Broadway In Carondelet Neighborhood
 

This afternoon the St. Louis Preservation Board will consider a request for demolition. an appeal, because the Cultural Resources director initially denied the request. The request is to raze an entire block of historic buildings on South Broadway. Broadway is one of the few streets in St. Louis that runs from far North to far South, so South Broadway isn’t specific enough. The East side of Busch Stadium is bounded by South Broadway. There’s an interesting stretch of South Broadway East of Soulard, in the Kosciusko neighborhood. The old Lemp Brewery complex is along South Broadway. The block being considered today is quite a bit further South, in the Central Carondelet Historic District. Most buildings in the district are residential, but the nomination mentions commercial as well:

Most of the commercial buildings in the district are located on Broadway, which supported an established business district long before the turn of the century. These buildings are grouped together by both use, stores and offices, and basic architectural form. Nearly all of the Commercial buildings in the district sit on the sidewalk line of their lots and are of one to three stories. Many of the commercial buildings employ similar stylistic characteristics as do residences in the district, such as parapet walls, similar cornice and window treatments and mansard roofs. Still,CommercialBuildings are in their own category,andwhen the building clearly shows the influence of a particular style it is placed in a sub-category of Classical Revival, Italianate, Second EmpireIMansard, or Art Deco.

Watkins family history on this block goes back to 1879!

Last week I shared a NextSTL post about the proposed demolition on this blog’s Facebook page, writing:

Very familiar with this part of South Broadway. It has some great old buildings, but little else. It’s just a pass through. 

Still, these should be kept and someone work turning the area into a place where people want to be.

The 2nd pair of what I wrote, about place was missed by someone, who commented:

 “Little else” besides eight bars (including two of the most vibrant live music venues to open in the City in the past two years), four antique stores, a bank, one of the oldest independent hardware stores in the City, the oldest convenience store in the City, and a gift shop recently named the 11th Ward business of the year. All in less than a one mile stretch on Broadway with this block in the direct center. It sounds like you don’t know too much about this stretch at all, particularly the reinvestment over the past few years.

I attempted to explain I was talking about the public realm, not private businesses by providing this definition and link:

Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. Strengthening the connection between people and the places they share, Placemaking refers to a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value. More than just promoting better urban design, Placemaking facilitates creative patterns of use, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution. (Project for Public Spaces)

This person instead I didn’t know the area, even though I had an office two blocks South for years. I knew all too well the pervasive thinking and poor quality of the public realm. However, I did learn through Googling they South Broadway Merchants Association changed its name to Carondelet Business Association.

Business districts, shopping centers, malls, etc must market themselves to attract businesses and visitors. The Carondelet Business Association, like the South Broadway Merchants Association fails to understand this reality. Commercial streets like Delmar and South Grand are commonly known as The Delmar Loop and Grand South Grand, respectively. These and other districts do a good job of marketing themselves.

What does the Carondelet Business Association do?  It’s easy to find out about becoming a business member but trying to find a place to eat requires finding a 52-page PDF directory, restaurant listings begin on page 32. The CBA website was created and maintained by the owner who wants to raze an entire block of structures contributions to a historic district.

Like many, I’d driven through lately, but not stopped. So I took the MetroBus down to see what, if anything, had changed about the public realm — not what bars were now open.

I got off at Fillmore St, taking 90 photos as I traveled South 1.3 miles. I got back on the bus at Primm St (map). Here’s a few of the photos I took on the morning of October 18th:

A mural & community garden was new to me.
The used car lots weren’t new
A building in the middle of another block had recently been razed.
The bank building was boarded. This is across Broadway from the proposed demolition
The sidewalks the entire 1.3 mile distance I traveled were in poor condition
A historic structure onion a small park is one of the few bright spots for public space in the area.

I don’t doubt many have worked hard, have good intentions.  This stretch of South Broadway in Carondelet has great bones — unrealized potential. Place-making and business district marketing both take lots of skill to do successfully. Both need to happen or it’ll continue to struggle.

The Preservation Board meeting begins at 4pm, this is the 3rd item on the agenda.

Sunday Poll: How Confident Are You The St. Louis Region Will Be Among The Finalists For Amazon’s HQ2?

October 22, 2017 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: How Confident Are You The St. Louis Region Will Be Among The Finalists For Amazon’s HQ2?
 
Please vote below

Last week cities/regions submitted their proposal to win Amazon’s 2nd North American headquarters, dubbed HQ2. The highly-fragnented St. Louis region came together to submit one unified proposal:

Today, leaders submitted a unified regional bid for Amazon’s second headquarters — known as HQ2. The proposed site spans both sides of the Mississippi River and delivers on Amazon’s specifications — urban, vibrant, connected to light rail and in a region ready to deliver the tech workforce they will need.

The proposed site is the St. Louis Riverfront on both sides of the Mississippi and the Central Business District in downtown. The bid was delivered to Amazon corporate headquarters this morning.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern, Express Scripts Chairman George Paz, World Wide Technology Chairman & Founder David Steward and Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton submitted the bid on behalf of the entire region, which included cover letters by both Governor Bruce Rauner of Illinois and Governor Eric Greitens of Missouri.  (St. Louis Economic Development Partnership)

Missouri also submitted a proposal to support either St. Louis or Kansas City:

Opting against picking a favorite between St. Louis and Kansas City, Gov. Eric Greitens is telling Amazon it could have both cities — plus a sprinkling of Columbia — if the company chooses a Missouri location for its second headquarters.

Although the Show-Me state’s largest metropolitan areas are 250 miles apart, the Greitens administration says connecting the two via a futuristic and largely unproven people-mover called the Hyperloop could serve as the catalyst for the online retailer to put a Missouri location on its short list. (Post-Dispatch)

Economic officials from every region are confident their proposal is the best — but how confident are you in our proposal?

This poll will close at 8pm tonight. Results on some thoughts on Wednesday.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 20 of 2017-2018 Session

October 20, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 20 of 2017-2018 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 20th week of the 2017-2018 session.

TWO NEW BOARD BILLS ON THE AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 10//20/17:

*Note that just because a bill is on the agenda doesn’t mean it’ll be introduced, similarly, bills not on the agenda might be introduced if they suspend the rules to do so. This information is based on the published agenda as of yesterday @ 8am:

  • B.B.#174 – Pres. Reed ? An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, making a supplemental appropriation to the Annual Budget Ordinance 70540 for Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2017 and ending June 30, 2018 amounting to the sum of Thirteen Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirteen Dollars ($13,713), and containing an Emergency Clause.
  • B.B.#175 – Coatar ? An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing that The City, Missouri Taxable Tax Increment Revenue Note (706 Market Redevelopment Project) Series 2016?A dated April 19, 2016 in a principal amount not to exceed $7,000,000 plus issuance costs be refunded and reissued as a Tax?Exempt TIF Note (as defined in Ordinance No. 69647) with a reduced interest rate; authorizing and directing the City to enter into a Placement Agreement with Stern Brothers & Co, pursuant to which the parties provide for the purchase of the Reissued Series 2016?A Note by the initial purchaser thereof; authorizing and directing the Mayor and the Comptroller to execute and deliver the Reissued Series 2016?A Note; authorizing and directing the Mayor and the Comptroller to execute and deliver a Tax Compliance Certificate in connection with the issuance of the Reissued Series 2016?A Note; and containing a severability clause.

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.

— Steve Patterson

Opinion: Professional Lobbyists Shouldn’t Be Aldermen

October 18, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Opinion: Professional Lobbyists Shouldn’t Be Aldermen
 

The 28 members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen are paid by taxpayers to pass legislation that hopefully is beneficial to the city. Lobbyists, on the other hand, are paid by clients to push for legislation that benefits their interests. Lobbyists don’t belong in a legislative body, even if they don’t lobby that body.

The Cypress Swamp at the St. Louis Zoo

Ald Martin (11th) was elected in the Spring by overwhelming numbers, but most city voters go for the “D” without knowing candidates and issues. They elected a professional lobbyist. A lobbyist whose clients include police body camera maker Axon. The same company that wants to give body cams to St. Louis Police free for a year. No conflict, she says — she’d abstain from any votes. Wink.

We did talk with a legal ethics lawyer. He told us even if what she’s doing is legal, it’s ethically questionable.

“What government ethics really get into is, how does it look and how does it smell? And where there is a possibility someone is making money, there’s a bad smell that maybe a sign something shouldn’t be going on,” said lawyer Michael Downey. (KMOV)

This is hardly the first time we’ve had “ethically questionable” people in city hall, but now it’s so blatant. It’s repulsive. Is this what the voters in the 11th Ward wanted? Doubtful, they knew she was the backed Democrat in the primary and then the only Democrat in the general. Ugh…

The results of the non-scientific Sunday Poll show most of you agree the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is no place for a professional lobbyist.

Q:  Agree or disagree: I’m okay with an alderman who’s also a professional lobbyist.

  • Strongly agree 3 [6.82%]
  • Agree 1 [2.27%]
  • Somewhat agree 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree 1 [2.27%]
  • Disagree 5 [11.36%]
  • Strongly disagree 34 [77.27%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

I’d like to see one of three things happen:

  1. Ald. Martin cease being a lobbyist.
  2. Ald. Martin resign from the Board of Aldermen
  3. 11th Ward voters recall Ald. Martin

I doubt any of these will happen.

— Steve Patterson

 

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