New Arch To Riverfront Ramps Are A Great Improvement

 

 When I first moved to St. Louis in August 1990 the grand staircase down to our riverfront wasn’t complete — it was grass with steps only on the North & South edges. At some point the center steps were completed.But even as a young (20s) able-bodied person the steps were …

Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis Consider Ranked-Choice Voting?

 

 When you have two candidates running for office it is easy to understand the winner — the person who receives more than 50% of the vote — even if by just one vote. I’m looking at the March 7th Democratic primary ballot with 7 choices for mayor and 6 choices …

St. Louis’ Easton & Franklin Avenues Became Dr. Martin Luther King Drive 45 Years Ago Today

 

 Last month, on the Martin Luther King holiday, I posted my 13th look at the street named after the slain civil rights leader — see Annual Look At Changes Along St. Louis’ Dr Martin Luther King Drive. From a STL250 Facebook post that has since been deleted: This Day in …

Opinion: Sales Taxes Outdated In 21st Century

 

 We order stuff online frequently because it’s convenient to do so, not because we want to save on taxes. Often we’ll order from target.com so we pay the same tax rate we do when we shop at Hampton Village location once per month.  Amazon is the bulk of our online …

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Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Index Fuel Taxes?

January 8, 2017 Featured, Missouri, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Index Fuel Taxes?
 
Please vote below
Please vote below

The new year brought changes to fuel tax rates in many states:

Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana and Florida will each see modest gas tax increases of less than a penny per gallon, based on automatic adjustments in those states, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Two states — New York and West Virginia — will have slight reductions based on automatic adjustments, according to the institute. The Empire State’s rate will fall 0.8 cents per gallon, and the Mountain State’s rate will drop 1 cent per gallon.

The hikes reflect state efforts to balance budgets for road construction and maintenance when Congress hasn’t raised the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993. State transportation officials and the construction industry contend federal funding hasn’t kept pace with inflation and more fuel-efficient cars. (USA Today)

Missouri’s fuel taxes, however, remain unchanged since 1996. Numerous attempts over the lsat two decades to raise fuel taxes have failed.

From May 2016:

The state legislature did not pass a transportation funding fix during the regular legislative session that ended Friday. One measure that passed in the Senate but died in the House would have asked voters if Missouri’s gas tax should be increased 5.9 cents per gallon to help pay for roads and bridges.

Senator Doug Libla (R-Poplar Bluff) says he worked hard to find a compromise this year in hopes that the proposal would pass.

“The people of the state of Missouri will not be able to vote on whether or not they would like to pay a little more to get better roads and bridges to drive on,” said Libla.

Lawmakers agree transportation funding must increase but they disagree on how to fund it. (MissouriNet)

It seems like some states use indexing to adjust fuel taxes, is this something Missouri should consider?

This poll closes at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills 1/6/2017 (229-246)

January 6, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills 1/6/2017 (229-246)
 
St. Louis City Hall
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen return from their Winter break today, introducing the following eighteen (18) Board Bills — review the full agenda here.

  • B.B.#229 – Ortmann/Spencer – An ordinance approving the petition to establish the Cherokee Street Community Improvement District, and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#230 – Murphy – An ordinance approving a blighting study and redevelopment plan for 5092 Milentz; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#231 – Krewson – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 4485 Westminster.
  • B.B.#232 – Roddy – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 1519 Tower Grove.
  • B.B.#233 – Roddy – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 4101-4117 Manchester.
  • B.B.#234 – Roddy – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 4140 & 4145 Park.
  • B.B.#235 – Roddy – An ordinance approving a blighting study and redevelopment plan for 100 N. Kingshighway Redevelopment Area; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#236 – Coatar – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 1302-24, 1314R Russell & 2128 Dolman.
  • B.B.#237 – Spencer – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 3305 Winnebago.
  • B.B.#238 – Spencer – An ordinance approving a blighting study and redevelopment plan for Chippewa Park Scattered Sites Redevelopment Area; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#239 – Ogilvie – An ordinance approving a blighting study and redevelopment plan for the 5814 West Park Redevelopment Area; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#240 – Ortmann – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 1828 Victor.
  • B.B.#241 – Ortmann – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 2720 Indiana.
  • B.B.#242 – Conway – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 3901-3905 Shaw.
  • B.B.#243 – Cohn – An ordinance approving a blighting study and redevelopment plan for 4137 Virginia; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#244 – Arnowitz – An Ordinance establishing a four-way stop site at the intersection of Field Avenue and Blow Street by regulating all northbound and southbound traffic traveling on Field Avenue at Blow Street and regulating all eastbound and westbound traffic traveling on Blow Street at Field Avenue, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#245 – Kennedy – An ordinance authorizing and directing the Director of Streets to temporarily close, barricade, or otherwise impede the flow of traffic on Enright by blocking said traffic flow at the west side of Sarah, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#246 – Pres. Reed/Conway – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment and the Board of Public Service authorizing and directing the execution and delivery of a Financing Agreement by and among The City of St. Louis, the 14th and Market Community Improvement District, and the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority of the City, pertaining to the financing of the rehabilitation of the real property located at 1401 Clark on which real property is located a multipurpose sports and entertainment venue commonly known as the Scottrade Center and issuance of and provision for repayment of bonds issued by the Authority to finance said rehabilitation; and containing an emergency clause and a severability clause.
In 1993 the convention hall at the back was razed to construct what is now called the Scottrade CenterIn 1993 the convention hall at the back go the Kiel Opera House was razed to construct what is now called the Scottrade Center
In 1993 the convention hall at the back go the Kiel Opera House was razed to construct what is now called the Scottrade Center

The meeting begins at 10am, it can be watched online here.

— Steve Patterson

Readers: Next Mayor Should Not Continue Slay’s Policies Unchanged

January 4, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Readers: Next Mayor Should Not Continue Slay’s Policies Unchanged
 
Mayor Slay
Mayor Slay

In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll more than 60% felt our next mayor should not continue the policies of 4-term mayor, Francis Slay. Agreed!

Q: This year St. Louis will have their first new mayor in 16 years. Agree or disagree: the new mayor should continue, largely unchanged, the policies of Mayor Slay.

  • Strongly agree 1 [3.03%]
  • Agree 3 [9.09%]
  • Somewhat agree 6 [18.18%]
  • Neither agree or disagreeii 2 [6.06%]
  • Somewhat disagree 5 [15.15%]
  • Disagree 6 [18.18%]
  • Strongly disagree 9 [27.27%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [3.03%]

Currently there are seven candidates for mayor in the Democratic primary in March, one Libertarian has also filed.

A debate will be held Sunday January 29th from 3pm-5pm at the Busch Student Center on the campus of Saint Louis University.

St. Louis Mayoral Debate: Questions from the People, is sponsored by more than 10 community organizations including St. Louis Action Council, ArchCity Defenders and Deaconess Foundation. We feel it is important to convene a collective space for candidates to respond to real questions by community-focused organizations.

For more information see the event details here.

— Steve Patterson

 

There’s A New Sheriff In Town

January 2, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on There’s A New Sheriff In Town
 

I moved to St. Louis over 26 years ago, in that time there has only been one sheriff: James Murphy.  When I ran for the Board of Alderman in 2005 Murphy was working the poll for the incumbent on the day of the primary — he’s as old guard South St. Louis Democrat as they come.

From September 2010:

Two deputies on Friday won a lawsuit against St. Louis Sheriff James Murphy that claimed a racially hostile work environment but said afterward the sheriff still doesn’t understand the systematic problems that led them to sue.

A jury awarded William “Patrick” Hill and Jacques Hughes a combined $850,000 in actual and punitive damages, deciding Murphy was liable for a weak response when a supervisor in his department hung a noose in the courthouse in 2006.

To award damages, the jury had to decide whether Murphy was liable because his conduct was either evil in motive or recklessly indifferent. (Post-Dispatch)

Sheriff Vernon Betts
Sheriff Vernon Betts

Former sheriff’s deputy Vernon Betts, elected in November, challenged Murphy in 2012:

Murphy, who comes from an influential family in city politics, narrowly defeated Vernon Betts in the 2012 Democratic primary. Murphy had fired Betts, a former sheriff’s deputy, for actively campaigning for the office—something that Murphy had banned for employees. 

Murphy later lifted the ban, which has kept his employees from challenging him at the ballot box.  (Post-Dispatch)

Murphy didn’t run for another term, a crowded field, including Betts, ran in the August 2016 Democratic primary.  Swearing in Vernon Betts, an African-American, as sheriff, is a huge step in the right direction.

It also reminds me of a favorite movie: Blazing Saddles.

Brooks has never been known for his subtlety, and Blazing Saddles is no exception. Gone are the earnest, long-winded speeches about racial harmony that characterized movies like The Defiant Ones; instead, the film, co-written by Richard Pryor, tackles race and racism head-on and with humor. (It’s so un-PC that Brooks told Jimmy Kimmel in 2012 he wouldn’t be able to make the film today.) (NPR)

Warning, the N-word is spoken three times in the following clip.

Hopefully Sheriff Betts will get a better reception than Black Bart did.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should The Next Mayor Continue Slay’s Policies?

January 1, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should The Next Mayor Continue Slay’s Policies?
 
Please vote below
Please vote below

In April Francis Slay will end his 4th term as mayor — the longest serving in St. Louis’ history. Slay had previously indicated his intentions to seek a 5th term, but in April 2016 announced he wouldn’t run again. Those seeking to replace him have until January 6th to file to be in the March 7, 2017 primary. Independent candidates have more time to file for the April general election.

For many, Slay is the only mayor they’ve known since they began voting. Today’s non-scientific question is seeking to find out if readers want Slay’s policies to continue.

The poll closes at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

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