St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Board Bills 37-41

 

 A new Board Bill was introduced at last week’s Board of Aldermen meeting without being on the published agenda. A vote to suspend the rules and introduce another bill was part of the proceeding. This happened at 36 minutes into the meeting (see video). The bill not on the agenda introduced after …

Readers: Gov Greitens Should Veto Minimum Wage Bill

 

 Nearly 85% of those who voted in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll disagreed with the statement that Gov Greitens should sign the bill that would strip St. Louis of setting its own minimum wow higher than that of the state. More than half picked the “strongly disagree” option. Here’s the …

A Look At The New Kiener Plaza (Photos & Videos)

 

 A week ago I posted many photos of the old Kiener Plaza, see Remembering The Old Kiener Plaza. Today we take a close look at the new Kiener Plaza that opened over the weekend. The first three images were taken the afternoon of May 8, 2017 from the SE corner of …

Sunday Poll: Should Gov Grietens Sign The Minimum Wage Bill?

 

 On Friday May 12th, in the final minutes of the session, the Missouri legislature sent a bill to Governor Greitens that would nullify St. Louis’ recent increase in the minimum wage.  The House failed to adopt an emergency clause on the bill, meaning it won’t immediately take effect should Gov. …

Recent Articles:

Opinion: Neoliberalism at City Hall Will Continue to Fail St. Louis

April 12, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Opinion: Neoliberalism at City Hall Will Continue to Fail St. Louis
 
This dawn photograph of the Lambert Main Terminal was taken in June 1956, less than 4 months after its opening. Photograph by Ralph D’Oench, Missouri Historical Society Collections

Anyone who has lived in St. Louis during an election knows Democrats win in this city, but not all Democrats are the same. Outgoing mayor Francis Slay is in the group with Bill & Hilary Clinton, Claire McCaskill, Jay Nixon, etc. — a neoliberal:

Neoliberalism is a policy model of social studies and economics that transfers control of economic factors to the private sector from the public sector. It takes from the basic principles of neoclassical economics, suggesting that governments must limit subsidies, make reforms to tax law in order to expand the tax base, reduce deficit spending, limit protectionism, and open markets up to trade. It also seeks to abolish fixed exchange rates, back deregulation, permit private property, and privatize businesses run by the state.

Liberalism, in economics, refers to a freeing of the economy by eliminating regulations and barriers that restrict what actors can do. Neoliberal policies aim for a laissez-faire approach to economic development. (Investopedia)

Another:

From an economic context, neoliberalism is essentially a modern version of lassez-faire policy. Neoliberals advocate for free and unfettered trade, removing restrictions on capital moving across borders, and cutting government budgets through austerity measures. They argue that free markets and so-called “frictionless capitalism” is the best engine available to create growth and lift people out of poverty. (Fortune: Even the IMF Now Admits Neoliberalism Has Failed)

You can read the International Monetary Fund paper here.

In the municipal context neoliberalism often means privatizing public services.  In Slay’s 16 years as mayor he’s pushed for private charter schools, in 2013 Slay backed a plan that would have led to the privatization of our water system:

City Hall, led by Mayor Francis Slay, had said a $250,000 consulting contract with Veolia Water North America was necessary to help reduce costs and keep water rates down for city residents. But the process was colored by heated protests of the company’s environmental and business practices, with some residents worried the company would try to seize the city’s water and reduce its quality.

Slay’s staff on Tuesday told the aldermanic Ways and Means committee that the company had dropped itself from consideration for the contract. (Post-Dispatch: Veolia Water drops proposal to consult St. Louis water division)

In his last month in office Slay set up a study to privatize our airport.

A majority of readers in the non-scientific Sunday Poll are opposed to privatizing Lambert.

Q: Agree or disagree: St. Louis should privatize our airport by leasing it to a private firm.

  • Strongly agree 3 [8.33%]
  • Agree 4 [11.11%]
  • Somewhat agree 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 4 [11.11%]
  • Somewhat disagree 4 [11.11%]
  • Disagree 5 [13.89%]
  • Strongly disagree 15 [41.67%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [2.78%]

Hopefully mayor-elect Lyda Krewson will reject neoliberal policies that have failed St. Louis, Missouri, and the nation for years.  Voters who blindly back neoliberal Democrats might not be aware of policy alternatives from the left.

— Steve Patterson

 

Panera’s St. Louis Beginnings Not Part Of Narrative, Sold To European Investment Firm

April 10, 2017 Featured, Retail Comments Off on Panera’s St. Louis Beginnings Not Part Of Narrative, Sold To European Investment Firm
 
Panera Bread, Carbondale IL

Last week we learned that Panera is being sold to a German European investment firm:

JAB Holding Co., the owner of Caribou Coffee and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, said Wednesday that it would buy Sunset Hills-based Panera Bread Co. in a deal valued at about $7.5 billion, including debt, as it expands its coffee and breakfast empire.

Unlike other St. Louis-based companies that have been bought up, there were no financial struggles indicating a sale was coming, no succession questions, no negotiation drama. Panera’s sale came out of the blue, even to analysts who follow the industry. (Post-Dispatch)

Panera locations locally are called St. Louis Bread Company, the name used on the Kirkwood location opened in 1987.  As I said in a recent post, Panera CEO Ron Shaich is from Boston — and he continues to live there.

Nationally Panera’s connection to St. Louis isn’t mentioned at all:

Ron Shaich, Panera’s personable chief executive who controls roughly 15 percent of its stock, said one of the biggest attractions to the JAB deal was the chance to take his company private.

“For the last 20 years, I’ve spent 20 percent of my time telling people what we’ve done to grow and another 20 percent of my time telling people what we’re going to do to grow,” Mr. Shaich said in an interview. “I won’t have to do that anymore.”

Investment analysts have speculated for years that Mr. Shaich, 63, has been looking for a way to reduce his role at the company after spending more than two decades building it up from a tiny 400-square foot cookie store in Boston. (New York Times)

The original creator of St. Louis Bread Co., Ken Rosenthal, sold out back in 1993 — his small chain is not part of Panera’s narrative. To be fair, it is mentioned in their history:

The Panera Bread® legacy began in 1981 as Au Bon Pain Co., Inc. Founded by Louis Kane and Ron Shaich, the company prospered along the east coast of the United States and internationally throughout the 1980s and 1990s and became the dominant operator within the bakery-cafe category.

In 1993, Au Bon Pain Co., Inc. purchased Saint Louis Bread Company®, a chain of 20 bakery-cafes located in the St. Louis area.

The company then managed a comprehensive re-staging of Saint Louis Bread Co. Between 1993 and 1997 average unit volumes increased by 75%. Ultimately the concept’s name was changed to Panera Bread.

By 1997, it was clear that Panera Bread had the potential to become one of the leading brands in the nation. In order for Panera Bread to reach its potential, it would require all of the company’s financial and management resources. (Panera)

When the deal closes in the 2nd half of this year, Panera will be a subsidiary of JAB Holdings. The good news is other JAB subsidiaries appear to keep their headquarters where they were when purchased.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis Privatize The Airport?

April 9, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis Privatize The Airport?
 
Please vote below

Last month outgoing St. Louis mayor, Francis Slay, suggested a change in management of the city-owned airport:

Mayor Slay says he started eyeing the idea of a public-private partnership for Lambert last year.

He says one positive is a potential influx of hundreds of millions of dollars that could be used for things like public safety or MetroLink.

Right now, most revenue generated at Lambert must stay there.

Wednesday, Mayor Slay signed a preliminary application with the federal government to start the process.  Legal and financial firms will study whether privatizing is best for St. Louis. (KMOV)

So this is the subject of today’s poll:

The poll will remain open until 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

Large Turnout For Tuesday’s General Election

April 7, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy, Public Transit, Taxes Comments Off on Large Turnout For Tuesday’s General Election
 

Tuesday’s general election had the highest turnout of any April general in the City of St. Louis for the last decade!

Voter turnout was twice as high for this city general election than four years ago, the last time the mayor’s race was on the ballot. Voter turnout was 30 percent, or about 59,000 voters, while in 2013 turnout was 12.5 percent of voters. (Post-Dispatch)

Must have been the propositions on the ballot because the races for Mayor, Comptroller and half the Board of Aldermen, weren’t competitive at all — the Democratic nominee won by wide margins in every race. Nobody should be surprised.

Signs & campaign workers outside Central Library on Tuesday.

St. Louis continues wasting money every two years by holding a partisan primary followed a month later by the general election. This gives the illusion that different political parties matter in St. Louis. They don’t.

Proponents of nonpartisan ballots suggest that:

  • Political parties are irrelevant to providing services.
  • Cooperation between elected officials belonging to different parties is more likely.

Proponents for partisan elections argue that:

  • The absence of party labels confuses voters; a voter who must choose from among a group of candidates whom she knows nothing about will have no meaningful basis in casting a ballot.
  • In the absence of a party ballot, voters will turn to whatever cue is available, which often turns out to be the ethnicity of a candidate’s name.
  • Non-partisanship tends to produce elected officials more representative of the upper socioeconomic strata than of the general populace and aggravates the class bias in voting turnout, because in true non-partisan systems there are no organizations of local party workers to bring lower-class citizens to the polls on election day. (League of Cities)

If voters only look to see who the ward committee endorsed in the primary or for the “D” in general it explains a lot about the state of St. Louis. We need educated voters who know the issues and candidates!

REJECTED BY VOTERS:

PROPOSITION A AMENDMENT TO THE CITY CHARTER (Proposed by Initiative Petition)

A proposed ordinance submitting to the registered voters of the City of St. Louis an amendment to Article XV of the City Charter repealing Sections 4 and 5 and enacting in lieu thereof four new sections, Sections 4, 4a, 4b and 5, the purpose of which is to abolish the Office of Recorder of Deeds and consolidate the functions of that office with that of the Assessor, and place any realized cost savings in a special fund known as “the police body-worn camera fund” dedicated to the purchase and use of police body-worn cameras by the city Metropolitan Police Department subject to appropriation from the fund by the Board of Aldermen for the express purpose of the fund (the full text of which is available at all polling places).

PROPOSITION B AMENDMENT TO THE CITY CHARTER (Proposed by Initiative Petition)

A proposed ordinance submitting to the registered voters of the City of St. Louis an amendment to Article II of the City Charter repealing Sections 1, 2 and 3 and enacting in lieu thereof four new Sections 1, 1(a), 2 and 3, the purpose of which is to move the Primary Municipal Election date from March to August and the General Municipal Election date from April to November in even-numbered years, commencing in 2020 and continuing every two years thereafter, and providing for a transition to accomplish those changes (the full text of which is available at all polling places).

PROPOSITION 2 (Proposed by Ordinance)

Shall the use tax paid by businesses on out-of-state purchases and derived from the one half of one percent increased use tax, which corresponds to approval and levy of an Economic Development Sales Tax in the City of St. Louis, be used for the purposes of minority job training and business development programs, and a portion of construction costs, but not construction cost overruns, of a multipurpose stadium for soccer, local amateur sports, concerts and community events? A use tax is the equivalent of a sales tax on purchases from out-of-state sellers by in-state buyers and on certain taxable business transactions for which a sales tax is not levied. No taxpayer is subject to a sales tax and a use tax on the same transaction. The City shall be required to make available to the public an audited comprehensive financial report detailing the management and use of the portion of the funds each year.

PROPOSITION NS BOND ISSUE ORDINANCE (Proposed by Initiative Petition)

A proposition submitting to the registered voters of the City of St. Louis a proposed Ordinance authorizing and directing the issuance of general obligation bonds of The City of St. Louis, Missouri, not to exceed $40,000,000 principal amount in aggregate (of which no more than $6,000,000 in principal amount shall be issued annually) for the purpose of stabilizing, as limited by the Ordinance, residential properties owned by public entities, as described in the Ordinance, and authorizing the execution of an agreement relating to the expenditure of the sale proceeds of such bonds (the full text of which is available at all polling places).

APPROIVED BY VOTERS:

PROPOSITION C AMENDMENT TO THE CITY CHARTER (Proposed by Ordinance)

Shall Section 4 of Article XVIII of the Charter of the City of St. Louis be amended to add paragraph (f), which provides for the enactment of an ordinance establishing a residents’ preference to residents of the City of St. Louis upon successfully passing a civil service examination for civil service positions with the City?

Section 4. Ordinances to be enacted – The mayor and aldermen shall provide, by ordinance: (f) City Residents’ Preference. For a preference to be granted to residents of the City of St. Louis who successfully pass an examination for a civil service position.

PROPOSITION 1 (Proposed by Ordinance)

Shall the City of St. Louis impose a sales tax at a rate of one half of one percent for economic development purposes including (1) North/South Metrolink, (2) neighborhood revitalization, (3) workforce development; (4) public safety, and (5) to upgrade the city’s infrastructure, with annual public audits?

Old buildings will continue to deteriorate, the big hole in the urban fabric will remain West of Union Station. But as early as 2026 an 8-mile light rail North-South line will be running.

Francis Slay has been mayor for 16 of my nearly 27 years in St. Louis — hopefully Mayor-elect Lyda Krewson will be able to move the city in a positive direction.

— Steve Patterson

Readers: NLEC’s Closure Will Not Be A Negative For St. Louis

April 5, 2017 Downtown, Featured, Homeless, NLEC Comments Off on Readers: NLEC’s Closure Will Not Be A Negative For St. Louis
 

An overwhelming majority of those of voted in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll don’t think the closure of Larry Rice’s New Life Evangelistic Center (NLEC) will be a long-term negative.

A: Agree or disagree: today’s closure of the New Life Evangelistic Center (Rice’s homeless shelter) will be a long-term negative for St. Louis.

  • Strongly agree 7 [11.67%]
  • Agree 3 [5%]
  • Somewhat agree 2 [3.33%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 1 [1.67%]
  • Somewhat disagree 4 [6.67%]
  • Disagree 12 [20%]
  • Strongly disagree 30 [50%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [1.67%]

The majority are correct, if the closure remains permanent it’ll be neutral to slightly positive for everyone — including those who end up homeless.

NLEC Monday morning

Rice is motivated to keep homeless a visible problem on the streets — that brings in followers and donations. The rest of us concerned about the homeless want to get the homeless off the streets as quickly as possible. The last homeless person I helped had only been on our streets one night when I met him.

If it stays closed, his current supporters will eventually realize religion classes & cold baloney sandwiches isn’t the solution to homelessness

— Steve Patterson

 

Advertisement



Archives

Categories

Advertisement


Subscribe