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 …

Sunday Poll: Should Municipal Bans On Pit Bulls Remain?

 

 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 …

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): …

Opinion: Loop Trolley Will Surprise Naysayers

 

 I’m not a huge fan of vintage/heritage streetcar/trolley lines — I much prefer modern streetcar lines using 21st century low-floor vehicles (see Kansas City’s streetcar). I have ridden vintage/heritage lines in San Francisco, Little Rock, New Orleans, and Memphis. I wanted to ride the one in Dallas after becoming disabled, …

Recent Articles:

Finally Visited The National Blues Museum

February 13, 2017 Downtown, Featured, Popular Culture Comments Off on Finally Visited The National Blues Museum
 

Last month my husband and I finally visited the National Blues Museum, just a 15 minute walk from our loft. The museum opened in April 2016, but we never got around to visiting until recently. First, we had lunch a Sugarfire Smoke House located in the same building at 6th & Washington.

I’ve been a vegetarian for a quarter century now, but I have no problem eating at BBQ places — as long as they offer something like a portobello sandwich. Smart BBQ places do.

My portobello sandwich at Sugarfire

The museum isn’t large, but it’s well-organized. The displays  and signage is fresh looking.

Entry to the National Blues Museum
Photography isn't allowed inside. but I got one photo
Photography isn’t allowed inside. but I got one photo

There was a concert later in the evening, our tickets would’ve gotten into that as well. I’ll keep that in mind — will plan our next visit, followed by dinner and a blues concert.

Very glad to see the museum completed, I was a sceptic when I first heard the concept.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should Online Retailers Collect State Sales Taxes?

February 12, 2017 Featured, Retail, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Online Retailers Collect State Sales Taxes?
 
Please vote below

As I’ve previously noted, the retail landscape is always changing — big downtown department stores rarely exist anymore — more & more suburban malls struggle. Last month another change was announced:

The collection of state sales tax in Missouri will begin Feb. 1, Amazon spokeswoman Jill Kerr said in an email to the Post-Dispatch. The state sales tax rate in Missouri is 4.225 percent.

Items sold by Seattle-based Amazon.com and its subsidiaries already are subject to sales tax for merchandise shipped to more than 30 states. Amazon will also begin collecting sales tax on Feb. 1 in Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Vermont, and in Wyoming in March.

Amazon does not yet have facilities in the state of Missouri, and online retailers aren’t required to collect sales tax where they don’t have a physical presence. Amazon charges sales tax in Illinois, where it has multiple distribution facilities, including in Edwardsville. (Post-Dispatch)

Posts on social media showed disagreement on this issue so I thought it would make a great poll question:

The poll will close at 8pm, results & my thoughts on Wednesday.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Last Full Meeting Before March 7th Primary

February 10, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Last Full Meeting Before March 7th Primary
 
St. Louis City Hall
St. Louis City Hall

Today is the last meeting of the Board of Aldermen before the primary election on March 7th. Bills that don’t get approved by today are dead. The meeting begins at 10am, it can be watched online here.

From a recent agenda:

  • FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2017 – LAST FULL BOARD BEFORE SPRING RECESS
  • MONDAY, APRIL 17, 2017 – SINE DIE (LAST MEETING OF THE 2016-2017 SESSION)
  • TUESDAY, APRIL 18, 2017 – FIRST MEETING OF THE 2017-2018 SESSION
  • FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 2017 – NO FULL BOARD MEETING

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers Buy New/Nearly New Vehicles

February 8, 2017 Featured, Transportation Comments Off on Readers Buy New/Nearly New Vehicles
 
The Chicago Auto Show is held at McCormick Place

Rarely am I surprised by by poll results, but it happened Sunday. Nearly three-fourths of readers that resounded to the non-scientific Sunday Poll indicated their new vehicle will be new or nearly new.

Q: Your next vehicle purchase will be how old:

  • Brand new 16 [47.06%]
  • Nearly new, possibly certified pre-owned 9 [26.47%]
  • Used 4 [11.76%]
  • Well used 1 [2.94%]
  • N/A — won’t be buying a car 3 [8.82%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 2.94% [2.94%]

I’ve had many cars in the last 34 years — most used or well used. I have had two new cars — both costly mistakes. The best financial times were when I was car-free, but that’s not an option with my husband’s job.

Our last payment on our 2007 Honda Civic will be in early October, we’ll be actively shopping for a replacement then.   The Civic was 7 years old and had 90k on the odometer — just under the 100k our credit union would finance.

Because we want a fairly loaded midsize sedan new is beyond our budget — plus I don’t like owing more on a car that its resale value. Depreciation on a new car is steep. Many people now finance them for 6 years!

Now, if you buy a new car and keep it 10 years depreciation isn’t really an issue. What you can’t control is the other driver that totals your car and their insurance paying you thousands less than what you still owe on it, Sure, their are insurance plans that will replace your car but you pay more for that coverage — increasing your cost of ownership.

Later this year we will be looking at late model cars:

  1. Hyundai Sonata Limited w/Tech Package (2015)
  2. Honda Accord EX-L or Touring — 4 cylinder (2013-2015)

Why these two? As I explained last year, these are the two most affordable cars with memory seat — the Sonata also has memory mirrors.

We’ll potentially spend twice as much as we spent on our current car, but will be much newer with significantly fewer miles. Because we’ll be financing it for longer we’ll keep it longer.

Still, the appeal of a new car is strong. We’re heading to Chicago today for two days of auto show media events — the Chicago Auto Show opens to the public on Saturday February 11th, closing on Monday February 20th. Will be posting to Twitter & Facebook starting tonight.

— Steve Patterson

Reading: Handbook of Biophilic City Planning & Design by Timothy Beatley

February 6, 2017 Featured, Reading Comments Off on Reading: Handbook of Biophilic City Planning & Design by Timothy Beatley
 

Several book publishers contact me regularly to see if I’m interested in a review copy of new books, some know my interests and just send the book — like today’s.

I usually understand at least the title of the books, but today’s required a quick search to understand one word: Biophilic.

The biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. Edward O. Wilson introduced and popularized the hypothesis in his book, Biophilia (1984). He defines biophilia as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”. (Wikipedia)

Ah…makes sense. People have since applied this hypothesis to the built environment. Here’s a trailer for a documentary on the subject:

Twice before I’ve posted about books by Timothy Beatley, in March 2005 I included his book  Green Urbanism: Learning from European Cities in a post on my favorite urban books, in November 2013 I included a book he edited called Green Cities of Europe: Global Lessons on Green Urbanism in a post on new books on urban planning.

In his latest book Beatley continues the green theme by applying Wilson’s biophilia hypothesis to cities.

What if, even in the heart of a densely developed city, people could have meaningful encounters with nature? While parks, street trees, and green roofs are increasingly appreciated for their technical services like stormwater reduction, from a biophilic viewpoint, they also facilitate experiences that contribute to better physical and mental health: natural elements in play areas can lessen children’s symptoms of ADHD, and adults who exercise in natural spaces can experience greater reductions in anxiety and blood pressure.

The Handbook of Biophilic City Planning & Design offers practical advice and inspiration for ensuring that nature in the city is more than infrastructure—that it also promotes well-being and creates an emotional connection to the earth among urban residents. Divided into six parts, the Handbook begins by introducing key ideas, literature, and theory about biophilic urbanism. Chapters highlight urban biophilic innovations in more than a dozen global cities. The final part concludes with lessons on how to advance an agenda for urban biophilia and an extensive list of resources.

As the most comprehensive reference on the emerging field of biophilic urbanism, the Handbook is essential reading for students and practitioners looking to place nature at the core of their planning and design ideas and encourage what preeminent biologist E.O. Wilson described as “the innate emotional connection of humans to all living things.” (Island Press)

One of the best ways to initially size up a new book is to review the table of contents:

Part I. The Power and Promise of Biophilic Cities

Chapter 1. The Power of Urban Nature: The Essential Benefits of a Biophilic Urbanism
Chapter 2. Placing Biophilic Cities: Planning History, Theory and the New Sustainability
Chapter 3. Urban Trends and Nature Trends: Can the Two Intersect?
Chapter 4. Biophilic Cities: Examining the Metrics and Theory

Part II. The Practice of Biophilic Urbanism: Cities Leading the Way
Chapter 5. Singapore: City in a Garden
Chapter 6. Wellington, NZ: Nature on the Edge
Chapter 7. Milwaukee: Greening the Rust Belt
Chapter 8. Birmingham: Health, Nature and Urban Regeneration
Chapter 9. Phoenix: The Promise of Biophilia in the Desert
Chapter 10. Portland: Nature in the Compact City
Chapter 11. San Francisco: From Park City to Wild City
Chapter 12. Oslo: The City of Forest and Fjord
Chapter 13. Vitoria-Gasteiz
Chapter 14. Global Survey of Cities: Shorter City Cases and Exemplars

Part III. Exemplary Tools, Policy Practices
Chapter 15. Detailed Profiles of Biophilic Design Tools Techniques, Design Ideas

Part IV. Successes and Future Directions
Chapter 16. Biophilic Cities in the Age of Climate Change: Mitigation, Resilience Through Nature
Chapter 17. What Can Be Learned From the Best Biophilic Cities?
Chapter 18. Key Obstacles to Biophilic Cities (And Ways To Overcome Them)
Chapter 19. Conclusions and Future Directions

The publisher also provides a link to a Google Books preview.  It’s available in hardcover, softcover, and E-book formats.

— Steve Patterson

Advertisement



FACEBOOK POSTS

Archives

Categories

Advertisement


Subscribe