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:

Fire Destroyed Lindell Hotel 150 Years Ago Today

March 30, 2017 Downtown, Featured, History/Preservation Comments Off on Fire Destroyed Lindell Hotel 150 Years Ago Today
Lindell Hotel the next morning, Missouri History Museum collection

A huge fire destroyed St. Louis’ premier hotel on this date a century snd a half ago:

On March 30, 1867, the Lindell Hotel caught fire for reasons unknown. The ornate six-story building was a marvel of architectural design carefully crafted from brick, iron, and stone. As word of the fire began to spread, many of the nearly 400 guests ignored the warnings. Much like some passengers of the Titanic believed the ship unsinkable, these hotel residents thought themselves safe within the strong, solid confines surrounding them. They continued relaxing, eating, and drinking, but the fire wasn’t about to be ignored. (Missouri History Museum blog– recomended)

The Lindell Hotel was rebuilt on the same site, opening in 1874. It experienced a fire in 1885. It was razed in 1906 to build the Stix, Baer & Fuller department store.  It became a Dillard’s in 1984, and connected to St. Louis Centre (opened 1985) via a 4-story walkway over Washington Ave.

Today the building on the site contains:

A lot of history at this site.

— Steve Patterson

Readers Divided On Breed-Specific Municipal Bans

March 29, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Readers Divided On Breed-Specific Municipal Bans
Kennels at Stray Rescue

The results of the most recent non-scientific Sunday Poll were nearly tied:

Q: Agree or disagree: Municipal bans on ‘pit bull’ dog breeds should remain in force.

  • Strongly agree 19 [36.54%]
  • Agree 1 [1.92%]
  • Somewhat agree 5 [9.62%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 1 [1.92%]
  • Somewhat disagree 4 [7.69%]
  • Disagree 6 [11.54%]
  • Strongly disagree 16 [30.77%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

The North County suburb of Florissant repealed it’s pit bull ban earlier this month, but requires owners to spay or neuter. From December:

Florissant’s ordinance has been in effect since 2010. It formally applies to three breeds of dogs generally considered “pit bulls” — the American Staffordshire terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier or the American pit bull terrier — as well as any mixed breed dog with any of the three as “an element of its breeding.” It also applies to any dog with “the appearance and characteristics” of a pit bull — and unless the owner pays for a DNA test, Florissant Animal Control generally relies on the opinion of whoever reports a dog as problematic.

Not all of those owners who’ve found themselves on the city’s radar can find a new home for their dogs in a week. While Florissant recently started allowing shelters to pick up the dogs they confiscate, the city has euthanized 201 dogs since its ban went into law. (Riverfront Times)

Part of my motivation for dong this poll is to force myself to look at the issue and those on each side. You might assume the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is opposed to such bans, but they’re pro-ban. See What’s the Kindest Thing We Can Do for Pit Bulls?  Like any controversial topic, there are plenty of opposing views. See Dear PETA: Dogs Respond To PETA Joining Terrible Anti-Pit Bull Coalition.

A 2014 national poll reflects the divided views. I’m not a huge dog person, we have a cat. Still, in my experience visiting my brother-in-law’s house his two pit bulls are very sweet — my only fear is they may knock me down trying to get hugs and kisses.

— Steve Patterson

Charter Amendments On General Election Ballot

March 27, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Charter Amendments On General Election Ballot

A week from tomorrow is the general election in St. Louis.  I already posted about the School Board & Junior College Board races. We all know about the mayor’s race, and some of us live in a ward electing an alderman to a 4-year term. All of us have the following six items on our ballot:


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).


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).


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?

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).

I agree with the St. Louis American — no on A & B, yes on C.  Still reading pros & cons on the last three.


— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should Municipal Bans On Pit Bulls Remain?

March 26, 2017 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Municipal Bans On Pit Bulls Remain?
Please vote below

Two weeks ago one local municipality voted to repeal a prior ban on pit bulls:

The Florissant City Council voted Monday night to end the city’s ban on pit bulls and pit bull mixes.

The new ordinance that passed states it “allows pit bull dogs in the city with mandatory spaying and neutering”.

The city council chambers were packed as lots of residents attended to voice their opinion. Extra chairs were brought in, and some residents sat on the floor. (KMOV)

All sides in the debate over pit bulls are passionate — a perfect topic for a Sunday Poll:

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

April 4th Ballot: School Board & Junior College Board

March 24, 2017 Education, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on April 4th Ballot: School Board & Junior College Board

In a little over a week St. Louis voters will return to the polls for the general election — mostly a rubber-stamp of the Democratic nominees selected earlier this month. In addition to propositions that I’ll cover next week, there are two often overlooked nonpartisan races on our ballot (sample): local school board & junior college trustee.

The school board hasn’t been critical for a decade, but that may soon change since the district regained state accreditation:

Many in the education scene are closely watching this particular school board election because the St. Louis elected school board, which has sat by for about a decade with no powers, could regain governance control of the district in the near future.

The elected board was replaced by a three-member appointed board in 2007 after the district lost accreditation. Some expect a transition back to the elected board will happen soon, now that the district proved it’s improving when it was fully accredited by the state last week.

Several education leaders do not wish to part quickly with the appointed board, which has been credited with returning the district to stable ground in terms of leadership, finances and academics. But others argue the district, on democratic principle, needs to be governed locally by an elected board. (Post-Dispatch)



For more information on the 2017 school board election see Ballotpedia.

St. Louis Community College at Forest Park

There are three candidates for one seat representing much the city on the regional body overseeing the St. Louis Community College system:

Three candidates have filed for the Subdistrict 2 seat. Incumbent Hattie R. Jackson will not seek re-election. The candidates are Pam Ross, Patrick J. Burke and Ciera Lenette Simril. (STLCC)



Please take the time to research the candidates in the two races before voting in the April 4th general election.

— Steve Patterson



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