New Book | The Great Uprising: Race Riots in Urban America during the 1960s by Peter B Levy

 

 I was alive during the 1960s…but only the last few years. As such, I have no memory of the many cultural changes that took place between 1960-1970. I asked my oldest brother, 67, about becoming a teenager in the 60s…in our hometown of Oklahoma City. His reply: Race Riots, rampant …

Sunday Poll: More Gun Control or Just Enforce Existing Laws?

 

 Last week’s shooting in Florida has sparked heated debate about solutions to the rising number of mass shootings: More than a dozen school shootings have already occurred so far in 2018. According to non-profit organization Everytown for Gun Safety, a total of 17 shootings have occurred on school campuses across the United States …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 34 of 2017-2018 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 34th week of the 2017-2018 session. NEW BOARD BILLS ON THE AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 2/16/18: *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 …

Readers Would Prefer A Less Commercialized Valentine’s Day

 

 In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll more than half of the responses supported a more traditional celebration of Valentine’s Day over the current commercialized day. Q: Agree or disagree: Valentine’s Day has become too commercialized, we should return to a traditional celebration. Strongly agree 5 [21.74%] Agree 5 [21.74%] Somewhat agree …

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St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 31 of 2017-2018 Session

January 26, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 31 of 2017-2018 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 31st week of the 2017-2018 session.

SEVEN (7) NEW BOARD BILLS ON THE AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 1/26/18:

*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 @ 11:45am:

  • B.B.#244 – Coatar – An honorary street naming the setting of 7th Street, Barton and Lami Streets as Bismarck Street.
  • B.B.#245 – Pres. Reed/Oldenburg/Roddy –An ordinance directing the St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC) to complete an annual City Economic Growth Strategy Report (the “Report”) and present the findings of the Report to members of the Board of Aldermen and the Board of Aldermen Financial Analyst.
  • B.B.#246 – Oldenburg/Pres. Reed/Muhammad –An Ordinance pertaining to the additional sales tax and corresponding use tax established by Ordinance No. 70580; prohibiting any special reallocation of the revenue generated by such taxes for any purposes other than those specified in Ordinance No. 70580, except as approved by the Board of Aldermen in an independent appropriations board bill that is independent of the Board’s adoption of the City’s Annual Operating Plan for the applicable fiscal year.
  • B.B.#247 – Roddy –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the Forest Park Scattered Sites V.
  • B.B.#248 – Roddy –An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the issuance and delivery of one or more series of tax increment revenue notes (St. Louis Innovation District/RPA 3 Redevelopment Project) Series A, Series B, and Series C (collectively, the “RPA 3 Notes”) in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $18,400,000, plus costs of issuance, for certain Reimbursable Redevelopment Project Costs associated with Redevelopment Project Area 3 of the St. Louis Innovation District Redevelopment Area in accordance with the terms of the Redevelopment Agreement; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#249 – Roddy –An ordinance adopting and approving redevelopment projects for Redevelopment Project Area 3, as described in the Amended and Restated St. Louis Innovation District Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Redevelopment Plan; adopting tax increment financing within Redevelopment Project Area 3; establishing the RPA 3 Account of the St. Louis Innovation District Special Allocation Fund; authorizing the execution of a First Amendment to Amended and Restated Redevelopment Agreement between the City, and St. Louis Innovation District, LLC; prescribing the form and details of said agreement; authorizing certain actions by City officials; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#250 – Coatar –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 300 South Broadway.

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: St. Louis Should Consider Having School Board Members Appointed By The Mayor

January 24, 2018 Education, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Opinion: St. Louis Should Consider Having School Board Members Appointed By The Mayor
 
Former Arlington School in North St. Louis is now residential

When I wrote the recent Sunday Poll my thought was that we should always elect school board members — I’ve never lived anywhere otherwise. Then I began researching the subject and discovered many big central cities have school boards appointed by their mayor. Of course, this doesn’t make them better or worse than an elected board — just different.

The Post-Dispatch reviewed the pros & cons of elected, appointed, or a combination board in November:

Chicago, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Cleveland all have appointed school boards. Nationwide, appointed boards are either selected entirely by the mayor or by a combination of the mayor, governor or local elected officials. Here, the governor, St. Louis’ mayor and president of the Board of Aldermen each appoint a member to the SAB. The number of people on an appointed board ranges from three in St. Louis to six in Chicago and 14 in New York.

Wong found that appointed boards improve academic performance and district management. Appointed boards have also been better than elected boards at tackling systemwide priorities such as achievement gaps or graduation rates.

“The appointed board is primarily suited if the city really wants to head-on confront tough challenges and if they really want to push for some of the changes faster,” Wong said. (Post-Dispatch)

I don’t know that an appointed board is right for St. Louis, but it’s worth considering. Of course, I think the entire St. Louis region needs to reconsider much of how it’s governed.

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

Q:  Agree or disagree: The board appointed to run St Louis Public Schools did such a great job we should abandon electing board members

  • Strongly agree 3 [15%]
  • Agree 3 [15%]
  • Somewhat agree 2 [10%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree 2 [10%]
  • Disagree 5 [25%]
  • Strongly disagree 5 [25%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

The number of responses was lower than usual, I didn’t even vote. Still, more than half support electing school board members.

— Steve Patterson

Transportation Investment Key To Redeveloping The North Riverfront Area

January 22, 2018 Featured, North City, Public Transit, Transportation Comments Off on Transportation Investment Key To Redeveloping The North Riverfront Area
 

St. Louis tried redeveloping the North Riverfront, the largely vacant area just North of Laclede’s Landing, by razing it and building an NFL stadium. That failed…thankfully. Next up, the area was included in our bid to win Amazon’s HQ2. Last week Amazon announced their list of 20 cities being considered — St. Louis’ bid didn’t make the cut.

Warehouses along Ashley between 2nd and Lewis.

So now what to do with the North Riverfront? I say stop dreaming about a magic pill that’ll do it in one shot. The street grid still exists, sidewalks need to be built. There’s lots of room foe new buildings and existing buildings awaiting new uses. St. Louis could invest in the area and enact a form-based code to guide future development. The investment would take the form of infrastructure — utilities, sidewalks, and transportation.

St. Louis is working on a North-South light rail plan to the West. This new line will use low-floor vehicles, not the high-floor vehicles used on our current MetroLink light rail lines. Modern streetcar & light rail lines use the same vehicles, the light rail usually just being longer and on a track where higher speeds are available. What does this have to do with the North Riverfront area?

We can use the same vehicles, maintenance facility, etc to operate lower-speed circulation streetcar route that’s connected to the proposed North-South line,

The blue line rep[resents the proposed North-South LR, the orange is a circulator route going from the Eads Bridge MetroLink station up to Mullanphy St. The purple is a connecting route along Cass — which could extend to the new NGA HQ and perhaps beyond in future expansions. After uploading the graphic I realized it would be good to have a connection in the center of the orange circulator route — at Biddle.
The orange line is just under 2 miles long. Yes, I know, a bus is a far cheaper way to move people. I also know a bus route doesn’t spur private development. This have the potential to connect The Arch, Laclede’s Landing, the upcoming North-South line, and the NGA HQ.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should Future School Board Members Be Appointed Or Elected?

January 21, 2018 Education, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Future School Board Members Be Appointed Or Elected?
 
Please vote below

For more than a decade we’ve elected members to the local school board, but it has been 3 appointed members of a special administrative board working to win back accreditation for the St. Louis Public Schools.

The city’s elected school board has not been in control of the district since 2007, when the state stripped the St. Louis Public Schools of its accreditation, declared it a transitional school district and replaced the elected board with the three-member appointed Special Administrative Board.

The move was not intended to be permanent. When the district regained its accreditation last January, that signaled to state and district leaders that it was time to think about a transition away from the Special Administrative Board. (Post-Dispatch)

This is the topic of today’s poll:

This poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 30 of 2017-2018 Session

January 19, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 30 of 2017-2018 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 30th week of the 2017-2018 session.

FIVE (5) NEW BOARD BILLS ON THE AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 1/19/18:

*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.#239 – Bosley –An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission on January 11, 2018, to change the zoning of property as indicated on the District Map and in City Block 2485, from “G” Local Commercial and Office District to the “B” Two-Family Dwelling District, at 4231-41 N. Grand; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#240 – Williamson/Oldenburg – An ordinance providing for and directing the submission to the qualified electors of the City at a Special Bond Election to be held in said City on the 7th Day of August 2018 of a proposal for the incurring of indebtedness and the issuance of bonds said City in evidence thereof in the aggregate amount of not to exceed Fifty Million Dollars upon the assent to the said proposal of two?thirds of the qualified electors of said city voting thereon, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#241 – Ingrassia –An Ordinance pertaining to the collection of administrative citation fines assessed by the Building Commissioner pursuant to Ordinance 66857 on buildings or structures within the City of St. Louis which are detrimental to the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the City; authorizing the Comptroller, upon receiving certification of administrative citation fine amounts to cause a special tax bill to be assessed to property owner or if the amount is unpaid for more than one year authorizing the amounts be added to the annual real estate tax bill; containing a severability clause and an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#242 – Ingrassia –An Ordinance pertaining to enforcement of code violations related to buildings, structures and premises in the City of St. Louis; partially repealing and amending Section Eleven of Ordinance 66857 and enacting in lieu of a new sub-section C related to the procedures for the collection of administrative citation fines in accordance with Sections 479.011 and 67.451, RSMo; containing a severability clause and an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#243 – Spencer –An ordinance requiring the City Information Technology Services Agency to create, and maintain in good functioning order, a calendar on the homepage of the City of St. Louis website specifically for the purpose of publishing required notifications of City departments’ and divisions’ “public meetings” as the term is defined in 610.010 RSMo, and requiring said City departments and divisions to publish notifications of public meetings on said calendar.

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

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