St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 16 of 2018-2019 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 16th meeting of the 2018-2019 session. Today’s agenda includes four(4) new bills: B.B.#116 – Navarro/Spencer/Green/Rice – An ordinance defining the term“honored guest” as the term is used in City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen Rules, as an individual, …

Opinion: We Must Demand Less Waste Be Produced

 

 Growing up in the 70s/80s we recycled — aluminum cans. Once the container in the garage filled with flattened cans we were off to the metal recycler to sell them. Though other items were often reused, nothing else was recycled. It all went into trash cans that I often had …

From Municipal Auditorium to Enterprise Center

 

 Buildings used to be named after a person, usually a man, that had the building built or perhaps as a memorial to a prominent figure. The first nine years it remained Municipal Auditorium, but in 1942 2-term (1913-25) former mayor, a Republican, Henry Kiel died at age 71. The building was …

Sunday Poll: Is Recycling Worth The Trouble?

 

 Recycling, like many businesses, is changing. Recycling has worked well for the last 40 years because recycled waste was valuable and in high demand in countries around the world. The United States has historically sold most of its recycled goods to China.  But new restrictions from the Chinese government on …

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Missouri Polls Open 6am-7pm

August 7, 2018 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Missouri Polls Open 6am-7pm
 
Vintage photo of the former offices of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners. From my collection

Election Day is here, which means some TV ads will cease, but new ones will begin.

Though winners in today’s partisan primary still need to win in November, some races will effectively end with today’s results. Examples include Missouri’s 1st US House district. The district is deep blue so the winner of today’s Democratic primary will easily win in November. I hope that person is Cori Bush!

St, Louis County isn’t as blue as the city, but voters last elected a Republican for County Executive in 1986. The city’s “county” offices are the same way — the winner of the Democratic primary will be the winner on November.

Based on the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll, I’m likely preaching to the choir.

Q: Missouri’s midterm primary is Tuesday, will you be voting?

  • I’m a Missouri resident, but not registered to vote: 1 [3.85%]
  • I’m not a Missouri resident: 3 [11.54%]
  • I’ve already voted absentee: 2 [7.69%]
  • I’m a registered Missouri voter, but I won’t be voting in the midterm primary: 0 [0%]
  • I’m a registered Missouri voter and I will be voting on Tuesday: 20 [76.92%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

It’ll be interesting to look at turnout from today’s election and compare that with 4 years ago. I’d think both city & county will have higher turnout than it did in 2014. Click here to find your poling place and list of candidates/issues — anywhere in Missouri.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sidewalk Obstruction Removed After Annoying Pedestrians For 7+ Years

August 6, 2018 Downtown, Featured, Planning & Design, Walkability Comments Off on Sidewalk Obstruction Removed After Annoying Pedestrians For 7+ Years
 

Last month I began going to the Downtown YMCA at the MX to workout (thanks AARP Medicare Plan). Locust would be direct, but crossing 13th in a wheelchair is awkward and construction has the sidewalk on the North closed at 10th. So I take Washington Ave East to 6th. It was there, next to the Eastbound Convention Center MetroLink station entrance, I encountered an obstacle. A wooden box with a yellow stick on top. At times I’d be meeting someone walking the other direction, one of us had to wait (usually me because of direction) while the other went by.

I snapped this photo on July 11, 2018 — my 6th visit to the YMCA at the MX. I didn’t share the pic.

By my 10th visit on July 11th I’d had enough, posting the following on Twitter:

On Facebook I posted this image and the one above with the same text. Reader Jim Zavist commented: “Based on Google Streetview, four bolts were imbedded in the sidewalk somewhere between 2009 and 2011 (for a sign?) and they’re apparently still there. Why nothing was ever installed is a very good question! https://goo.gl/maps/knG2vLWnEQ22”

When I got home I pulled up the link on my computer — Google Street View allows you to see current views, but you can also go back to see older views. I also looked through my photos to see why I had. Below is a mix of Google Street View screenshots & my photos. First, background history. The Convention Center Metrolink Station opened on July 31, 1993 as part of our original light rail line. The Eastbound entry/exit is located on the SW corner of 6th & Washington.

Eight years earlier St. Louis Centre indoor mall opened. So opening a  transit station adjacent to a mall is a good thing. After helping to kill downtown’s sidewalks, the mall closed.

October 2007 shows the unobstructed sidewalk, MetroLink station, tower & St. Louis Centre indoor mall . Source: Google Street View
September 2009 is much the same. Source: Google Street View
Looking west from 6th Street on May 22, 2010. The oppressive skywalk over Washington Ave would soon be removed as the indoor mall was turned into a parking garage with sidewalk-level retail. The adjacent office tower would also get a new entrance facing Washington Ave.
July 16, 2010 — the glass facade is being removed.
August 8, 2010 — — the bridge/skywalk is gone along with one bay of the old mall.
November 19, 2010 — the office tower’s new entry is taking shape
April 29, 2011 — new sidewalks are poured, new lighting installed.
June 2011 the exterior is basically done
July 2011 — Google Street View captures the recently poured sidewalks. Note the barrier…
Zooming in we can see 4 bolds sticking up from the newly poured sidewalk. Seeing the bolts made me think perhaps Metro planned some signs, I remember seeing new signs about this time.
October 11, 2011 — a worker installs a new sign on the other side of 6th. Recently I noticed this sign has a large base, way too big for the four bolts across the street. Perhaps a smaller version?
April 2015 — at least 4 years after the sidewalk with 4 bolts was poured a wooden box now hides them.
The box looks weathered, itself a trip hazard.
july 2015 — the box is still there unmarked. A Sherif’s van is parked on the sidewalk because that’s what we do in St. Louis.
july 2017 — by now someone added a yellow stick to the top of the box — to point out to pedestrians it is on the sidewalk

So when I posted about this on July 19th it had been an issue for over seven years. Seven years!

The box looks well worm by July 19, 2018

Either Metro or the MX developer planned something that was never going to be installed. Rather than cut the bolts off they built a wood box, then later added a yellow pole to said box to prevent people from tripping.  I know this is just one little sidewalk on a side street, but it illustrates how little concern there is for the pedestrian experience downtown — right next to a transit station.

The box & pole were still there on the morning of July 25th, but July 28th I came around the corner and saw they had been removed and the bolts cut off.

July 29, 2018 — no box w/yellow pole
Close up shows where thw bolts were cut off. No evidence of any electrical

It wold’ve been cheaper if the bolts had been cut off years ago, or realize the sidewalk was too narrow in the first place and the bolts not put in there in the first place!

In the big scheme of things St. Louis still has major problems, in that context this is insignificant. To me and others who use this sidewal, it is important,  There are still hundreds of other issues I deal with just downtown. I can’t solve St. Louis’ big problems, but I’ll take on small issues one by one.

Cities in which residents & tourists have challenges as a pedestrian are not going to have bustling sidewalks. Downtown retail/restaurants can’t survive without foot traffic. St. Louis would be wise to make life easier for pedestrians all over the city — but especially around major transit.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Will You Vote In Tuesday’s Primary?

August 5, 2018 Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Will You Vote In Tuesday’s Primary?
 
Please vote below

Today’s non-scientific poll has nothing to do directly with political parties, candidates, ballot questions, etc. Instead, today’s poll is simply about voting itself.

Americans appear to be more engaged with this year’s midterm elections than they typically are. Not only do about half of registered voters report being more enthusiastic than usual about voting, up from 40% in 2014, but turnout has surged in the 31 states that already have held their congressional primaries – particularly among Democrats.

In those states, nearly 13.6 million people – or 10.1% of registered voters – have voted in Democratic primaries for the U.S. House of Representatives, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of state election returns. By this point in the 2014 midterm election cycle, fewer than 7.4 million people – or 6% of registered voters – had cast ballots in Democratic House primaries. (The same 31 states have held primaries as by this date in 2014.) (Pew Research)

Are you more engaged this year, will you be voting on Tuesday?  Here’s the official poll question:

As always, this poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

Missouri’s Primary is Tuesday August 7th

August 3, 2018 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Missouri’s Primary is Tuesday August 7th
 

Missouri’s primary election is next week, Tuesday. I’ve already voted absentee, hopefully you plan to vote. I covered the St. Louis ballot here, and St. Louis County here. However, last week I neglected to mention three charter amendments on every St. Louis County ballot, all are yes/no questions:

CHARTER AMENDMENT – ST. LOUIS CO. – PROPOSITION 2 
Shall the St. Louis County Charter be amended as proposed by Ordinance No. 27,057 enacted on the 29th day of May, 2018? Said charter as so amended would provide that the council may appoint an attorney, licensed to practice law in Missouri, to its executive staff, and enter into a contract with outside private counsel, who shall be an attorney licensed to practice law in Missouri.   

CHARTER AMENDMENT – ST. LOUIS CO. – PROPOSITION 3 
Shall the St. Louis County Charter be amended as proposed by Ordinance No. 27,058, enacted on the 29th day of May, 2018? Said charter as so amended would provide that the term employment as used in the County Charter, Section 2.170, shall be strictly interpreted as prescribed in state law, specifically 8 CSR 10-4.150, as that regulation existed on April 12, 2018.

CHARTER AMENDMENT – ST. LOUIS CO. – PROPOSITION 4 
Shall the Charter of St. Louis County be amended to provide for the regulation of campaign contributions, the regulation of interdepartmental fund transfers, and a website to publish certain county financial documents, as set forth in Exhibit A of Ordinance No. 27,059 on file with the St. Louis County Administrative Director and St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners?

I’m not familiar with the issues so I’m not going to weigh in on them, just want every voter to know what to expect so they can decide how they plan to vote before Tuesday. You can begin research into these amendments at St. Louis Public Radio.

Along the line of being an informed voter, I highly recommend every Missouri voter use Missouri’s Voter Outreach Center to find the candidates & issues based on your address & party preference.

— Steve Paterson

Readers Represent a Diverse Range of Ages

August 1, 2018 Featured, Popular Culture Comments Off on Readers Represent a Diverse Range of Ages
 
Steve Patterson on the big wheel received on his 5th birthday in 1972.

Each Sunday Poll is non-scientific, so we can’t extrapolate draw any conclusions bigger than the number of responses. The recent Sunday Poll results, however, do confirm my experience over nearly 14 years.

Q: Which age group are you in?

  • 19 or younger: 0 [0%]
  • 20-29: 3 [8.57%]
  • 30-39: 10 [28.57%]
  • 40-49: 6 [17.14%]
  • 50-59: 7 [20%]
  • 60-69: 8 [22.86%]
  • 70-79: 1 [2.86%]
  • 80 or olde: 0 [0%]
  • Prefer not to answer: 0 [0%]

Readers come from all age groups — younger and older than my 51+ years. That’s very rewarding to know.

Today is my husband’s 35th birthday. Yes, I’m 16 years & 5 months older then he is. I was driving and about to enter my junior year of high school when he was born. Relax, he was 29 when we met.

I’m Gen-X, he’s Gen-Y. We learn from each other, he helps keep me young(-ish). He also helps me by explaining who people are since I’m no longer clued in on musicians, actors/actresses. etc. He’s feeling old at 35, but I guess I did too. Can’t remember that far back.

My oldest brother will turn 70 in less than two years. His first grandchild, my great-niece, turned 20 last month.   I assume those of you with children & grandchildren understand this, but for those of us without kids we don’t experience them growing up daily like you do. It seemed like one day she was all about American Girl and the next she’s in college.

It seems like my husband and I spend more time watching Netflix/YouTube than watching broadcast television. So very different than just a decade ago. We both like watching React videos.  Here’s a fun one watching kids react to rotary phones.

This was all we had when I was a kid. I still remember when AT&T was broken up and we got newer phones that plugged into a wall jack rather than be hard wired. I love watching these kids try to figure out how to text on a rotary phone!

The other side of the spectrum is elders (boomers) react. My particular favorites relate to the only video hame I’ve played: Grand Theft Auto V. First the reached to the trailer, a year later they played the game.  Don’t worry, they bleeped out “expressive language.”

What’s fascinating about the above is their different reactions and views on the influence of violent video games. If you enjoyed watching the elders play GTAV, later they return to get a tattoo. visit the strip club, go to the beach, and fly a helicopter. Again, it’s PG. I want to have a beer with Catherine.

Remember we can learn from each other, so be open to the views and experiences of those who are both younger and older than you are. By all means, enjoy the package of time.

— Steve Patterson

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