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 …

Recent Articles:

Readers Split On Homicide Rate

January 17, 2018 Crime, Economy, Featured Comments Off on Readers Split On Homicide Rate
Vacant & burned out storefront on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in the Wellston Loop area

Last year St. Louis had more homicides than we’d seen in a couple of decades. This year we have a new police chief, hired from within, and our mayor in her first full calendar year in office. Will they be able to lower the number of homicides this year?

Of course none of us know for sure…we can only guess. My personal feeling is until we make significant progress toward addressing economic inequality we’ll continue seeing the same level of violence. Inequality — real & perceived:

Hicks and Hicks (whose relation is unclear) found that the link between conspicuous consumption and high crime rates is much stronger than the link between income inequality and crime.

That said, when spending is visible, the rates of only certain types of crimes tend to spike. Theft and vandalism, interestingly, aren’t significantly more present, but murder and assault are. These findings actually take a bit away from Gary Becker’s hypothesis, seeing as a visibly luxurious car apparently isn’t likely to inspire theft. Instead, this study adds to what’s called “strain theory,” which is another way of making sense of criminal behavior. Strain theory suggests that when poorer people perceive inequality, they feel less of a commitment to social norms and in turn come to view crime as more acceptable. The key insight the Hicks’s study provides is that when potential criminals are giving up on social expectations, they’re doing so based on information that’s visible, not information that’s password-protected. (The Atlantic)

Placing signs in your yard saying “We’ve got to stop killing each other” or calling on a deity might make you feel better — but they don’t do a thing to address the actual problems in our high-crime neighborhoods. How you ask?

From Talk Poverty in 2015:

  1. If the private market fails to provide enough jobs to achieve full employment, the government must become the employer of last resort.
  2. When growth is below capacity and the job market is slack, apply fiscal and monetary policies aggressively to achieve full employment. Right now, this means not raising interest rates pre-emptively at the Fed and investing in public infrastructure.
  3. Take actions against countries that manage their currencies to subsidize their exports to us and tax our exports to them. Such actions can include revoking trade privileges, allowing for reciprocal currency interventions, and levying duties on subsidized goods.
  4. Support sectoral training, apprenticeships, and earn-while-you-learn programs.
  5. Implement universal pre-K, with subsidies that phase out as incomes rise.
  6. Raise the minimum wage to $12/hour by 2020 and raise the overtime salary threshold (beneath which all workers get overtime pay) from $455/week to $970/week and index it to inflation.
  7. Provide better oversight of financial markets: mandate adequate capital buffers, enforce a strong Volcker Rule against proprietary trading in FDIC-insured banks, strengthen the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and encourage vigilant oversight of systemic risk in the banking system by the Federal Reserve.
  8. Level the playing field for union elections to bolster collective bargaining while avoiding, at the state-level, anti-union, so-called “right-to-work” laws.
  9. Maintain and strengthen safety net programs like the EITC and CTC, SNAP, and Medicaid.
  10. In order to generate needed revenue and boost tax fairness: reduce the rate at which high-income taxpayers can take tax deductions, impose a small tax of financial market transactions, increase IRS funding to close the “tax gap” (the difference between what’s owed and what’s paid), and repeal “step-up basis” (a tax break for wealthy inheritors).

To many of us the choice is clear — all of the above or continue to see the violence escalate.

Here is the results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Compared to 2017, the number of homicides in the City of St. Louis for 2018 will be…

  • significantly lower 1 [3.85%]
  • slightly lower 7 [26.92%]
  • about the same 7 [26.92%]
  • slightly higher 8 [30.77%]
  • significantly higher 2 [7.69%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [3.85%]

A year from now we’ll know who was right.

“Many white Americans of good will have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation. They have deplored prejudice but tolerated or ignored economic injustice.”
–Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Why We Can’t Wait, 1964 (Newsweek)

Aresting and locking up more people isn’t the answer, providing an economic alternative to crime is the long-term solution.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis’ Dr Martin Luther King Drive

January 15, 2018 Featured, MLK Jr. Drive Comments Off on St. Louis’ Dr Martin Luther King Drive

This is my 14th consecutive year looking at St. Louis’ Martin Luther King Drive — documenting physical changes since the prior year. Next year, my 15th, may well be my last. Each year it gets more and more depressing to do.

Each year there is at least one bright spot, but they pale in comparison to the profound disinvestment.

So here is a look at St.Louis’ Martin Luther King Drive, starting at 14th and heading West to the city limits. In some cases I’ve included previous photos to compare to this yesr. All photos for this year were taken a week ago.

2013: A former BarnesCare building at 14th & MLK built in 2001, was vacant.
2017: Someone was preparing to reuse the building
2018: became occupied again last year. It still lacks a pedestrian access route from the pub lic sidewalk
2016 — work underway on the Electrical Workers Historical Society — aka the Henry Miller Museum
2018 — I still haven’t visited the museum….hours are by appointment only. Click image for info
2018 — more of the back section has fallen away
The old configuration of MLK Dr & Page. Source Google
Driving WB it is largely unchanged
But driving EB on MLK traffic turns toward a signal with Page
This happened in 2016 or 2017…not sure which
Last year a sign was posted about Vandeventer Place, a senior community, to be built
MLK @ Pendleton
The entrance is off the less busy Pendleton, it includes an accessible route for pedestrians next ro the circle drive
Across Pendleton is a file and then an older strip shopping center
Like new gas station/convenience stores pn MLK, this older strip center lacks a pedestrian access route.
Before 2014. MLK @ Taylor. Source: Google Streetview.
2014 New storefront is vacant
2018 — storefromt now occupied by a 2nd location of MC Appliances. Click image to view their website
2014: The Family Dollar store #1562 at 4949 Dr. Martin Luther King closed
2018 reopened as a Dollar General
2013…just West of Union
2018 — pile unchanged
Building across MLK had a recent fire. Hopefully it’ll get rehabbed this year.
2017 — for several years this burned building remained at Stewart Pl @ MLK
2018 — it was razed, not rehabbed
2017 Signs announcing a bank coming to MLK
2018 — the bank is now open…but it lacks a pedestrian access route
2018 auto drive-thru
Building a block East of the old JCPenny had a fire recently. Will it be stabilized, razed, or rehabbed a year from now?
Stabilization of the beloved Wellston loop trolley building removed eaves that were rotting & falling off

A few bright spots…but lots of overwhelming problems.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Will Our Homicide Rate Be Less Than In 2017?

January 14, 2018 Crime, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Will Our Homicide Rate Be Less Than In 2017?
Please vote below

St. Louis had a record year in 2017, just not the type of record cities like: homicides.The St. Louis Police had complied statistics as of December 19, 2017.

Number of homicides:

  • 2013: 120
  • 2014: 159
  • 2015: 188
  • 2016: 188
  • 2017: 199

Before the year was out a new chief was named and the total surpassed 200:

The homicide number for 2017 for the city of St. Louis is now standing at 203, the highest it’s ever been in more than 20 years.

The last time St. Louis had more than 200 homicides was back in 1995 when the number was 204.

The number is setting off alarms at City Hall and police headquarters, the President of the St. Louis Board of Alderman says the city is losing a population of youth to the violence. (KMOV)

So today’s poll is about homicides this year, 2018. Do you think a new chief with a new strategy will lower the rate, or will it be business as usual in tough neighborhoods?

This poll will close at 8pm, results and my thoughts on Wednesday.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 29 of 2017-2018 Session

January 12, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 29 of 2017-2018 Session
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 29th week of the 2017-2018 session.


*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 @ 2pm:

  • B.B.#228 – Coatar – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 701-705 North 1st Street.
  • B.B.#229 – Spencer – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 3450 Oregon.
  • B.B.#230 – Spencer – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 3024 Potomac.
  • B.B.#231 – Spencer – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 3548 South Broadway.
  • B.B.#232 – Davis –An Ordinance enlarging the boundaries of the Port Authority of the City Port District, subject to the approval of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, and authorizing certain actions in connection therewith.
  • B.B.#233 – P. Boyd/Bosley/Moore/Davis/Williamson/J. Boyd/Kennedy/ Middlebrook/Muhammad/Hubbard/Pres. Reed –An ordinance amending Ordinance 69984 (which established the City of St. Louis Civilian Oversight Board, known as the “COB”) to empower the COB to issue subpoenas to compel the appearance of witnesses, produce documents, recordings and other evidence which the COB determines in its reasonable judgment are relevant and necessary to its thorough Inspection and Review of Complaints of misconduct by members of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department which may be subject to COB Independent Investigation.
  • B.B.#234 – Bosley/P. Boyd/Moore/Davis/Williamson/J. Boyd/Kennedy/ Middlebrook/Muhammad/Hubbard/Pres. Reed –An ordinance authorizing the Circuit Attorney’s Office to assume responsibility for investigating possible criminal conduct arising from or in relation to covered officers’ involvement in use of force incidents resulting in death or grave bodily injury to a person, and establishing an Independent Investigations Unit within the Office of the Circuit Attorney’s Office for this purpose with an annual budget in an amount equal to 1% of the annual budget of the City Division of Police, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#235 – Muhammad –Pursuant to Ordinance 68937, an ordinance authorizing the honorary naming of streets, Pastor Steven Shepard Lane will begin at the intersection of Shreve and Margaretta and run west on Margaretta to Marcus.
  • B.B.#236 – Vaccaro –An Ordinance establishing a four-way stop site at the intersection of Clifton Avenue and Oleatha regulating all traffic traveling eastbound and westbound on Clifton at Oleatha and regulating all traffic traveling northbound and southbound on Clifton at Oleatha, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#237 – Muhammad/Bosley –Pursuant to Ordinance 68937, an ordinance authorizing the honorary naming of streets, Patricia Breeze Campbell Way will begin at the intersection of Grand and St. Louis, and run west on St. Louis to the intersection with Dodier.
  • B.B.#238 – Martin –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 6132 & 7600 Vermont Ave. and 7806 & 7810 Virginia

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: Congress Needs To Reclassify Cannabis

January 10, 2018 Featured Comments Off on Opinion: Congress Needs To Reclassify Cannabis
The fist legal marijuana dispensary I visited in Denver, September 2014

Last week U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, by reversing the Cole memo, took away what little security the legal marijuana industry had.

The Cole memo was never intended to be a permanent fix to the problem posed by the conflict between states that chose to legalize marijuana and existing federal prohibitions. Written by Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole in 2013, the memo gave the nation’s 93 U.S. Attorneys broad latitude to exercise prosecutorial discretion in states where marijuana had been legalized. (Mr. Cole, now in private practice, declined a request for comment for this story.) His memo was interpreted as a virtual hands-off rule, allowing medical and recreational marijuana programs to spread across the country at an unprecedented rate. Flimsy though it was, the Cole Memo nevertheless provided a measure of security for dispensary owners, growers and consumers and allowed investors to proceed with some confidence that their money was not going to be seized in a DEA sting. (Politico)

The permanent fix is to move it from a Schedule 1 drug to lower on the DEA’s list:

Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: 

heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote. (DEA)

Cocaine & meth are schedule 2 drugs — yes, cannabis is classified the same as LSD but less than cocaine!

Options are killing people daily, but the pain-killing ability of cannabis is ignored.

From April 2017:

Two Florida congressmen, Republican Representative Matt Gaetz and Democratic Representative Darren Soto, introduced legislation that would transfer marijuana to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act from its current standing as a Schedule I substance, the strictest of the classifications.

Having marijuana on a lower scale would uphold the rights of states that have legalized the use of it medically, allow for banking activities, and create a clearer path for research, Gaetz stated, “I have supported cannabis reform as a state legislator, and I want to see the people that I fought for in my state have access to a legal, high-quality product that’s been well-researched.” (Huffington Post)

Hopefully enough bi-partisan votes can can overcome objections from social conservatives from both parties.

Most of you likely agree, here are the results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: Kudos to AG Jeff Sessions for ending the 2013 rule that ignored states that legalized the recreational sale of a federal controlled substance

  • Strongly agree 5 [11.11%]
  • Agree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat agree 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 3 [6.67%]
  • Somewhat disagree 1 [2.22%]
  • Disagree 4 [8.89%]
  • Strongly disagree 31 [68.89%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [2.22%]

If congress doesn’t act, perhaps the SCOTUS will decide a future case that changes the classification.

— Steve Patterson